Republican Party Platform on Climate Change

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Tom Adams

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Sep 2, 2008, 11:51:02 AM9/2/08
to globalchange
The press reports a stronger statement in a draft, but here's what it
got watered down to:

"Addressing Climate Change Responsibly

The same human economic
activity that has
brought freedom and opportunity
to billions has also
increased the amount of carbon
in the atmosphere.
While the scope and longterm
consequences of this
are the subject of ongoing
scientific research, common
sense dictates that the
United States should take
measured and reasonable
steps today to reduce any impact on the environment.
Those steps, if consistent with our global competitiveness
will also be good for our national security,
our energy independence, and our economy. Any
policies should be global in nature, based on sound
science and technology, and should not harm the
economy."

(Some omitted here, see:

http://www.gop.com/pdf/PlatformFINAL_WithCover.pdf)

They want to offer a prize:

"Using Cash Rewards to Encourage Innovation

Because Republicans believe that solutions to
By balancing environmental goals
with economic growth and job
creation, our diverse economy has
made possible the investment needed
to safeguard natural resources,
protect endangered species, and
create healthier living conditions.
the risk of global climate change will be found in the
ingenuity of the American people, we propose a
Climate Prize for scientists who solve the challenges
of climate change. Honoraria of many millions of
dollars would be a small price for technological
developments that eliminate our need for gas-powered
cars or abate atmospheric carbon."

But, beware you command-and-control aficionados:

"Republicans caution against the doomsday climate
change scenarios peddled by the aficionados of
centralized command-and-control government."

No word on the same stuff when peddled by mere scientists.

Don Libby

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Sep 2, 2008, 5:35:23 PM9/2/08
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From: "Tom Adams" <tada...@yahoo.com>
Newsgroups: gmane.science.general.global-change
To: "globalchange" <global...@googlegroups.com>
Sent: Tuesday, September 02, 2008 10:51 AM
Subject: [Global Change: 2849] Republican Party Platform on Climate Change


>
> The press reports a stronger statement in a draft, but here's what it
> got watered down to:
>
>

> http://www.gop.com/pdf/PlatformFINAL_WithCover.pdf)
>

Hard to find comparable final doc from the Dems, but here's a draft:
http://www.workinglife.org/storage/users/4/4/images/111/2008%20democratic%20platform%20080808.pdf

or http://tinyurl.com/5sephd

They talk about a new round of emission protocol negotiation that includes
China and India (p37), as well as cap & trade, green tech, conservation &
efficiency (p41).

Both parties pretty much the same on climate policy as far as I can tell.
Much better information on energy and environmental policy can be found on
each of the Candidate's web sites, IMO.

Thanks,
-dl

Tom Adams

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Sep 2, 2008, 6:30:49 PM9/2/08
to globalchange


On Sep 2, 5:35 pm, "Don Libby" <dli...@tds.net> wrote:
> From: "Tom Adams" <tadams...@yahoo.com>
> Newsgroups: gmane.science.general.global-change
> To: "globalchange" <global...@googlegroups.com>
> Sent: Tuesday, September 02, 2008 10:51 AM
> Subject: [Global Change: 2849] Republican Party Platform on Climate Change
>
>
>
> > The press reports a stronger statement in a draft, but here's what it
> > got watered down to:
>
> >http://www.gop.com/pdf/PlatformFINAL_WithCover.pdf)
>
> Hard to find comparable final doc from the Dems, but here's a draft:http://www.workinglife.org/storage/users/4/4/images/111/2008%20democr...
>
> orhttp://tinyurl.com/5sephd
>
> They talk about a new round of emission protocol negotiation that includes
> China and India (p37), as well as cap & trade, green tech, conservation &
> efficiency (p41).
>
> Both parties pretty much the same on climate policy as far as I can tell.
> Much better information on energy and environmental policy can be found on
> each of the Candidate's web sites, IMO.
>
> Thanks,
> -dl

This is the final, I think:

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/papers_pdf/78283.pdf

These platforms are pretty hard to find.

"Lead to Combat Climate Change
We will lead to defeat the epochal, man-made threat to the planet:
climate change. Without
dramatic changes, rising sea levels will flood coastal regions around
the world. Warmer
temperatures and declining rainfall will reduce crop yields,
increasing conflict, famine, disease,
and poverty. By 2050, famine could displace more than 250 million
people worldwide. That
means increased instability in some of the most volatile parts of the
world."

Tom Adams

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Sep 3, 2008, 10:35:40 AM9/3/08
to globalchange
On Sep 2, 5:35 pm, "Don Libby" <dli...@tds.net> wrote:
> From: "Tom Adams" <tadams...@yahoo.com>
> Newsgroups: gmane.science.general.global-change
> To: "globalchange" <global...@googlegroups.com>
> Sent: Tuesday, September 02, 2008 10:51 AM
> Subject: [Global Change: 2849] Republican Party Platform on Climate Change
>
>
>
> > The press reports a stronger statement in a draft, but here's what it
> > got watered down to:
>
> >http://www.gop.com/pdf/PlatformFINAL_WithCover.pdf)
>
> Hard to find comparable final doc from the Dems, but here's a draft:http://www.workinglife.org/storage/users/4/4/images/111/2008%20democr...
>
> orhttp://tinyurl.com/5sephd
>
> They talk about a new round of emission protocol negotiation that includes
> China and India (p37), as well as cap & trade, green tech, conservation &
> efficiency (p41).
>
> Both parties pretty much the same on climate policy as far as I can tell.
> Much better information on energy and environmental policy can be found on
> each of the Candidate's web sites, IMO.
>
> Thanks,
> -dl

Is hard to point to a clear difference in policy.

Of course, George W. Bush said he supported Kyoto when he was
campaigning for his first term, and reversed that instantly after he
was sworn in.

Now we have a Vice Presidential candidate on record with:

"A changing environment will affect Alaska more than any other state,
because of our location," she said. "I'm not one though who would
attribute it to being man-made."

The Republicans seem to need a denier on the ticket to energize their
base.




hgerh...@yahoo.co.uk

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Sep 3, 2008, 6:51:18 PM9/3/08
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Sarah Palin's official website as governor has this:

http://www.gov.state.ak.us/admin-orders/238.html

http://www.climatechange.alaska.gov/cc-ak.htm

Maybe she's been misquoted.

Tom Adams

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Sep 6, 2008, 10:14:38 AM9/6/08
to globalchange
Here is the original source:

http://www.newsmax.com/headlines/sarah_palin_vp/2008/08/29/126139.html

Newmax is a right-wing news outlet:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NewsMax_Media

Perhaps Palin does not have the power to wipe AGW from all state web
pages, or does not want to try it.

On Sep 3, 6:51 pm, "hgerhau...@yahoo.co.uk" <hgerhau...@yahoo.co.uk>
wrote:

Tom Adams

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Sep 6, 2008, 10:22:03 AM9/6/08
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On Sep 3, 6:51 pm, "hgerhau...@yahoo.co.uk" <hgerhau...@yahoo.co.uk>
wrote:
> Sarah Palin's official website as governor has this:
>
> http://www.gov.state.ak.us/admin-orders/238.html

No mention on the above site about whether global warming is man-made.

>
> http://www.climatechange.alaska.gov/cc-ak.htm

This is not really her site. It's probably not easy for a governer to
impose her opinions on the whole state government when they are
contrary to scientific consensus.

hgerh...@yahoo.co.uk

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Sep 6, 2008, 4:14:06 PM9/6/08
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> No mention on the above site about whether global warming is man-made.

It doesn't make much sense to ask for recommendations on greenhouse
gas reductions, carbon sequestration etc... without her at least
seeing some potential benefit in doing these things.

You are right, I don't see an explicit statement that CO2 is
responsible for the warming, but that the warming is bad for Alaska
and that lower carbon emissions are desirable is definitely in there.

> >http://www.climatechange.alaska.gov/cc-ak.htm
>
> This is not really her site. It's probably not easy for a governer to
> impose her opinions on the whole state government when they are
> contrary to scientific consensus.

While it isn't her site, it was brought into existence as a result of
her executive order and said order also contains a list of who's on
the commission. I presume she was perfectly free not to create a sub-
comission on climate change. Though I may be wrong there, maybe the
legislature forced her hand?

I have certainly noticed that the language used by Democrats on
climate change tends to be more doom laden and anti big business,
while Republicans are less keen on damning words and blaming CO2 for
everything. But, when looking at policy actions in terms of the
overall effect on greenhouse gas emissions, I see that there's a wide
range of opinions in both parties (eg on CAFE or gasoline taxes) and
that overall the nuances in emphasis largely cancel each other out.

Talking about concrete action: The main climate related concrete
actions Palin's been involved with so far have been to push through a
nat gas pipeline plan and hit oil companies with taxes. Nancy Pelosi
should be happy with that. After all, Nancy Pelosi managed to make
this statement:

http://blogs.wsj.com/environmentalcapital/2008/08/25/fuel-for-debate-pelosi-suggests-natural-gas-isnt-a-fossil-fuel/

“I believe in natural gas as a clean, cheap alternative to fossil
fuels"

Which just goes to show that it's amazingly easy to appear to be
saying something you don't really believe in. We'll see what kind of
"clarification" Palin comes up with for the one sentence you quoted.

Tom Adams

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Sep 6, 2008, 6:56:55 PM9/6/08
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On Sep 6, 4:14 pm, "hgerhau...@yahoo.co.uk" <hgerhau...@yahoo.co.uk>
wrote:
> http://blogs.wsj.com/environmentalcapital/2008/08/25/fuel-for-debate-...
>
> “I believe in natural gas as a clean, cheap alternative to fossil
> fuels"
>
> Which just goes to show that it's amazingly easy to appear to be
> saying something you don't really believe in. We'll see what kind of
> "clarification" Palin comes up with for the one sentence you quoted.

Pelosi obviously just misspoke. The obvious clarification is that she
meant that natural gas is an alternative to fossil fuels that produce
more carbon per unit energy. There is no vast left wing conspiracy to
deny that natural gas is a fossil fuel.

Senator Barry Goldwater famously said that the cruise missile was just
another ballistic missile. The Pelosi gaffe is in the same category.

Not sure how to clarify: "I'm not one though who would attribute it to
being man-made." I guess she could say that her personal opinion has
little impact on her efforts as governor.

But, for now, Palin seems to have been banned from giving interviews
by the Mccain campaign people, so hell may freeze over before she has
to clarify this.

The web pages you turned up are interesting. I am not sure that GW
Bush is on record as saying that climate change is not man-made, but
the high levels of his government seems to be at war with the idea
that climate change is man-made. Seems just the opposite with Palin.

hgerh...@yahoo.co.uk

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Sep 6, 2008, 9:05:23 PM9/6/08
to globalchange
> These platforms are pretty hard to find.

The presidential campaigns have better documents:

http://www.johnmccain.com/Informing/Issues/da151a1c-733a-4dc1-9cd3-f9ca5caba1de.htm

http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/factsheet_energy_speech_080308.pdf

A few cooments:

1. On cap and trade John McCain gives much more detail, notably
targets for 2012 and 2020, and info on whether he'll allow banking of
allowances to deal with excessive price volatility. Obama has a bigger
target, 80% by 2050, but that's also the only date for which there is
a target, leaving us somewhat in the dark about the near term. They
both want to aution all the allowances, Obama right from the start,
McCain eventually. Both Obama and McCain want to use some of the money
for clean energy research and demonstration, and want to return some
of it to poorer Americans. Obama gives a Dollar amount figure for
auction income reserved for clean energy of 15 billion. If memory
serves right that puts a floor of two Dollar fifty on a metric tonne
of CO2, as US emissions are of the order of 6 billion metric tonnes of
CO2.

2. I found Obama's Green Vets proposal somewhat weird. Why does he
want to train Iraq war veterans so that they can enter the renewable
energy field? Why especially veterans? Shouldn't the people install
wind turbines who are best at it, are keenest on choosing such a
career?

3. It's interesting that Obama specifically mentions the Alaska gas
pipeline as a key priority, and moans that this project was first
proposed in 1976 and that the Bush administration has made no progress
on it.

4. Obama has much more detail on fuel economy and biofuels (60 billion
gallons by 2030), areas McCain hardly mentions. Bush has a target of
35 billion gallons by 2017.

What neither contains is research and market development money for
better bicycles, which would be high up my wish list.

I am talking about this kind of entirely human powered vehicle that's
significantly faster than ordinary bicycles

http://www.sunrider-cycles.com/foto-video/index.php

which I'd love to buy (certainly if it sold for less than 4900). I'd
say this a classical case of a market failure, where there is no
market because small series production and development costs are too
high, and where the state could create one given enough initial
incentives.

Michael Tobis

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Sep 7, 2008, 1:01:44 AM9/7/08
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On point 2, the US has a long history of giving combat veterans
financial aid which would never be offerred to the general population.
This constitutes an important path out of poverty, and consequently,
unfortunately, creates a major constituency for military adventures.
(The odd thing about it in historical terms is that it's the invader's
treasury that is raided in the process...)

<<< http://www.sunrider-cycles.com/foto-video/index.php

Regarding the exotic bicycle, does it come with air conditioning?

<:-)>

mt

James Annan

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Sep 7, 2008, 5:17:14 AM9/7/08
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hgerh...@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

> What neither contains is research and market development money for
> better bicycles, which would be high up my wish list.
>
> I am talking about this kind of entirely human powered vehicle that's
> significantly faster than ordinary bicycles
>
> http://www.sunrider-cycles.com/foto-video/index.php
>
> which I'd love to buy (certainly if it sold for less than 4900). I'd
> say this a classical case of a market failure, where there is no
> market because small series production and development costs are too
> high, and where the state could create one given enough initial
> incentives.

I've been meaning to write about this for some time, so Heiko's prompt
is a convenient nudge.

Every so often someone comes up with a new "transport revolution" -
there was the Sinclair C5, the Segway, and numerous bicycle designs and
power attachments such as http://revopower.com/ . Generally they are
touted as solving the oil crisis, global warming and urban congestion
all in one.

But in practice these "solutions" actually seem to spend their miserable
short existences looking for a suitable problem to solve. The
inconvenient truth is that the world is not waiting for a better bicycle
to solve its transportation problems, or even a better motor vehicle,
and Michael's post points out one of the reasons why. The other reasons
include the inherent laziness of 95% or more of the world's population,
habit, social pressure and status. I like to think that many of these
factors can potentially be changed, but they will certainly not be
changed by a "better bicycle" that shaves perhaps 20 seconds off your 20
minute commute.

I'm sure they make good projects for engineering students, but I am
amazed that people devote so much time and energy to solving a problem
without actually thinking about what the problem is!

(Perhaps it is overkill, but for the sake of completeness I might as
well point out that the vehicle Heiko is interested in would undoubtedly
be /slower/ on my commute.)

James

Tom Adams

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Sep 7, 2008, 5:48:18 AM9/7/08
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Yes, an Biosynergistic Evaporative Cooling System (BECS).

>
> mt

Tom Adams

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Sep 7, 2008, 6:48:18 AM9/7/08
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On Sep 3, 6:51 pm, "hgerhau...@yahoo.co.uk" <hgerhau...@yahoo.co.uk>
wrote:
From the Ankorage Daily News:

"Palin isn't so sure it's not a natural warming cycle, according to
her spokesman, Curtis Smith.

"She's not totally convinced one way or the other," Smith said.
"Science will tell us, and she's proud that UAF will have a role in
that. She thinks the jury's still out."

"I will not pretend to have all the answers," Palin said about global
warming at the recent Alaska Federation of Natives convention, where
delegates passed a resolution calling for a mandatory reduction in
pollution affecting the atmosphere.

Answering a question from the Daily News, Palin cautioned against
"overreaction." She has called the Alaska Climate Change Impact
Assessment Commission report due next March a good place to start. The
commission was created by the Legislature last year. Its seven members
were named Wednesday."

http://dwb.adn.com/front/story/8374799p-8270125c.html

Note that the first quote I posted was very recent, last week.

hgerh...@yahoo.co.uk

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Sep 7, 2008, 12:13:23 PM9/7/08
to globalchange
> > Maybe she's been misquoted.

Ok, she clearly hasn't.

Tom Adams

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Sep 8, 2008, 9:04:42 AM9/8/08
to globalchange
On Sep 7, 12:13 pm, "hgerhau...@yahoo.co.uk" <hgerhau...@yahoo.co.uk>
wrote:
> > > Maybe she's been misquoted.
>
> Ok, she clearly hasn't.

The news is saying that she be interviewed on ABC later
this week.

Perhaps she will be asked about her disbelief that global warming is
man-made. And also about her desire to outlaw abortions for 13-year-
old girls who have been raped by their fathers or brothers.

hgerh...@yahoo.co.uk

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Sep 8, 2008, 4:28:31 PM9/8/08
to globalchange
> Perhaps she will be asked about her disbelief that global warming is
> man-made. And also about her desire to outlaw abortions for 13-year-
> old girls who have been raped by their fathers or brothers.

I certainly hope that all the candidates will pledge to essentially
leave the status quo on guns/abortion/gays alone. Better to focus on
other issues, like climate change say ...

Let me also say something about the scientific consensus on climate
change. In so far as there is one on the economics, it is a carbon tax
starting at a few Dollars per metric tonne slowly ramping up over the
century. Mind you there are people disagreeing with this, who either
believe several hundred Dollars per metric tonne (Stern, Hansen and
Gore come to mind) or respectively 0 would be more appropriate
values.

A few Dollars per tonne means a few cents per gallon of petrol, ie in
comparison to the 3 Dollar subsidy in Venezuela to 7 Dollars tax in
Norway range of other considerations, this isn't much.

Incidentally, I happen to be one of those people who thinks 0 is the
appropriate carbon tax at this point. Doesn't mean I want nothing
done, or that I'd start a big fight to oppose modest carbon taxes.
What I want done is research, development and market development. More
on that in my reply to James.

Hank Roberts

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Sep 7, 2008, 12:54:27 PM9/7/08
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On Sep 6, 1:14 pm, "hgerhau...@yahoo.co.uk" <hgerhau...@yahoo.co.uk>
posted a week-old copypaste talking point from the Republican
collection about Pelosi, without bothering to Google it first to find
the Wall Street Journal, among others, had long ago printed the
correction.

If your goal is to look clever by posting the talking points under
your own name, you should check the updated list.
Otherwise you embarass those you're trying to emulate.

--------
Both party platforms are vending the "sound science" kool-aid, though
it shows up more often in the Republican text.
To check that out, you need one step beyond Google:

http://scholar.google.com/scholar?sourceid=Mozilla-search&q=%22sound+science%22

Remember, folks:

When your goal is to simulate intelligent political discourse, of any
brand, without thinking for yourself,
PASTE IT HERE FIRST before you paste it into a thread under your own
name, to validate it:
http://www.justfuckinggoogleit.com/

hgerh...@yahoo.co.uk

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Sep 8, 2008, 5:13:41 PM9/8/08
to globalchange
> But in practice these "solutions" actually seem to spend their miserable
> short existences looking for a suitable problem to solve.

It isn't enough to develop better bikes, I certainly agree with you
there. What I see though is that government must step in to deal with
the "network" side of things. Bicycles are dangerous, when they have
to share road space with cars doing 100 km/h. Build bicycle lanes and
make car drivers drive more slowly, and it's suddenly a lot less
dangerous. And there's safety in numbers. 1000 times as many bicycles
on the road doesn't multiply accidents by a factor 1000, not least
because car drivers learn about cyclists' behaviour.

they will certainly not be
> changed by a "better bicycle" that shaves perhaps 20 seconds off your 20
> minute commute.

A reduction from 1 hour down to 30 minutes is easily feasible. But
this doesn't just require better bikes, it also requires good cycling
infrastructure. I do think that there is a role for government support
to get the market going. I've been skeptical about that in the past,
but well, I suppose I've changed my mind somewhat. I am a much greater
proponent of policy instruments involving subsidies for cars/bikes/
solar panels/CCS coal fired power plants than I used to be. When
economists favour carbon taxes, I wonder, whether they don't miss the
value of technology development, and proving things, even when given
the circumstances it doesn't pay for the individual until quite some
time has passed and lots of other individuals have made similar
choices. Sometimes, a big company can push something like that
through, with a big initial investment to get the market going; but
that only works, if the company can then hugely profit from the
change; if most of the benefits are socialised away, then why should
the company bother?

Coming back to bikes:

I also think the government can hammer motorists in the name of
safety, in particular I want automatic speed limiters put into cars
that make it impossible to driver faster than 30 in a 30 km/h zone.
And I want bicycle paths to separate the bicycles from any traffic,
where speeds above 30 km/h are allowed.

I think there is a niche for small cars / fast bicycles, but a key
plank in getting that niche to work in practise has to be to ensure
that they can be ridden safely and the people at fault (ie
irresponsible car drivers, who drive huge vehicles at huge speeds and
thereby force everybody else into an arms race of heavier and heavier
cars) are made to take their responsibility.

> (Perhaps it is overkill, but for the sake of completeness I might as
> well point out that the vehicle Heiko is interested in would undoubtedly
> be /slower/ on my commute.)

I've got a commute of 35.5 km. Cycling that takes me an hour an forty
five minutes, unless I've got the wind at my back, then I can do it in
an hour and twenty five minutes, but it'll take me two and a half
against the wind.

I live that far away from work, because it's the difference between
paying 20% or 40% of my net salary on rent, and I get a tax free
commuting allowance that entirely pays for the commute.

I car pool, so I cycle the first six kilometers and then hop into a
colleague's car. Most days anwyay. Public transport would take me two
hours, car pooling comes to 55 minutes. If I drove myself it might be
40 minutes.

I want to avoid that, and that's why I am seriously thinking about
spending 5000 Euros on a bike that would cut the one hour and fort
five minutes to 55 and then I am both flexible and avoid the car
altogether.

jdannan

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Sep 8, 2008, 9:32:45 PM9/8/08
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hgerh...@yahoo.co.uk wrote:
>> But in practice these "solutions" actually seem to spend their miserable
>> short existences looking for a suitable problem to solve.
>
> It isn't enough to develop better bikes, I certainly agree with you
> there. What I see though is that government must step in to deal with
> the "network" side of things. Bicycles are dangerous, when they have
> to share road space with cars doing 100 km/h. Build bicycle lanes and
> make car drivers drive more slowly, and it's suddenly a lot less
> dangerous. And there's safety in numbers. 1000 times as many bicycles
> on the road doesn't multiply accidents by a factor 1000, not least
> because car drivers learn about cyclists' behaviour.
>
> they will certainly not be
>> changed by a "better bicycle" that shaves perhaps 20 seconds off your 20
>> minute commute.
>
> A reduction from 1 hour down to 30 minutes is easily feasible.

Why set your sights so low? I'd go for a 10x speed-up, and make the
bicycle sequester carbon as it goes, filling up a tank with liquid CO2
to dumped at collection points. Oh, and all for $100. With a McDonalds
Meal Deal voucher thrown in for free.

Back in the real world, there are reasons why that isn't going to happen
in the next century, let alone within your working life. And there are
reasons why the bicycle design hasn't changed much in over 100 years,
not /all/ of which are due to UCI restrictions on racing :-)

Human-powered vehicles in a range of designs are already easily
available, and do offer decided advantages at high speeds on open flat
roads. They are no better, and often markedly worse, for practical
transport. This is because they do not have the versatility,
portability, adaptability and manoeuvrability. And they will always cost
substantially more, partly because the market where they actually do
have advantages is so small (almost nonexistent outside of HPV race
events, in fact), and partly because they are larger and more complex to
design and build.

> I also think the government can hammer motorists in the name of
> safety, in particular I want automatic speed limiters put into cars
> that make it impossible to driver faster than 30 in a 30 km/h zone.
> And I want bicycle paths to separate the bicycles from any traffic,
> where speeds above 30 km/h are allowed.

Well I agree that more speed restrictions in urban areas would be a good
thing in general, but separate-but-equal (not) routes are generally not.
The assumed danger of /sharing/ roads with motorised vehicles is rather
small, and the danger of /intersecting/ such routes is much greater. So
swapping some of the former for more of the latter is a bad move.

You will note that in practice where separate-but-equal (not) facilities
do exist, it is inevitably the cyclist that has to give way and take
detours when a conflict occurs. That's not going to do much for your
high-speed commute!

> I've got a commute of 35.5 km. Cycling that takes me an hour an forty
> five minutes, unless I've got the wind at my back, then I can do it in
> an hour and twenty five minutes, but it'll take me two and a half
> against the wind.

I'm surprised you are so slow if the route is flat and clear. If it is
hilly and congested then a spiffy design isn't going to make any
significant difference. Regardless, the number of people with >30km
commutes who are just waiting for a better bicycle before they adopt
that mode of commute can probably be counted on the fingers of one hand
worldwide, and maybe even without going past the thumb...

What really could make a difference, and does not require any
technological miracles, is acceptance of they bicycle as a practical
means of transport over modest distances (say up to 5 miles, which
covers 75% of car trips in the UK). That is primarily a social issue,
not a technological one. In my experience, most people who say "I would
love to ride a bicycle, if only problem (insert arbitrary reason) was
solved" actually mean "I don't want to ride a bicycle and am
regurgitating the most socially acceptable/convenient excuse".

James

JeffRubinoff

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Sep 9, 2008, 5:11:50 AM9/9/08
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On Sep 9, 3:32 am, jdannan <james.an...@gmail.com> wrote:
> hgerhau...@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

...

> > It isn't enough to develop better bikes, I certainly agree with you
> > there. What I see though is that government must step in to deal with
> > the "network" side of things. Bicycles are dangerous, when they have
> > to share road space with cars doing 100 km/h. Build bicycle lanes and
> > make car drivers drive more slowly, and it's suddenly a lot less
> > dangerous. And there's safety in numbers. 1000 times as many bicycles
> > on the road doesn't multiply accidents by a factor 1000, not least
> > because car drivers learn about cyclists' behaviour.
>

...

> Well I agree that more speed restrictions in urban areas would be a good
> thing in general, but separate-but-equal (not) routes are generally not.
> The assumed danger of /sharing/ roads with motorised vehicles is rather
> small, and the danger of /intersecting/ such routes is much greater. So
> swapping some of the former for more of the latter is a bad move.
>
> You will note that in practice where separate-but-equal (not) facilities
> do exist, it is inevitably the cyclist that has to give way and take
> detours when a conflict occurs. That's not going to do much for your
> high-speed commute!
>

...

> What really could make a difference, and does not require any
> technological miracles, is acceptance of they bicycle as a practical
> means of transport over modest distances (say up to 5 miles, which
> covers 75% of car trips in the UK). That is primarily a social issue,
> not a technological one. In my experience, most people who say "I would
> love to ride a bicycle, if only problem (insert arbitrary reason) was
> solved" actually mean "I don't want to ride a bicycle and am
> regurgitating the most socially acceptable/convenient excuse".
>
> James

Do note that the suncycle site is in Dutch. The language of a flat
country where bicycles are the normal vehicle for short-range
commutes, bicycle lanes are ubiquitous (with their own traffic
signals), and auto drivers tend to be highly law abiding.

William Connolley

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Sep 9, 2008, 5:35:51 AM9/9/08
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2008/9/8 hgerh...@yahoo.co.uk <hgerh...@yahoo.co.uk>:

> A reduction from 1 hour down to 30 minutes is easily feasible. But
> this doesn't just require better bikes, it also requires good cycling
> infrastructure.

I think you're just agreeing with James. The better bikes part of /2
is negligible. Certainly for me, who has to do the two long sides of a
triangle, a new bike path is the answer...

> I also think the government can hammer motorists...

Sounds very like wishful thinking. Experiences here suggests that
hammering motorists in the name of anything at all scares politicians
witless (just witness our inability to get the over-70's (or even
over-80's) to retake driving tests).

-William

--
William M. Connolley | www.wmconnolley.org.uk | 07985 935400

Tom Adams

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Sep 9, 2008, 8:23:21 AM9/9/08
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On Sep 7, 5:17 am, James Annan <james.an...@gmail.com> wrote:
> hgerhau...@yahoo.co.uk wrote:
> > What neither contains is research and market development money for
> > better bicycles, which would be high up my wish list.
>
> > I am talking about this kind of entirely human powered vehicle that's
> > significantly faster than ordinary bicycles
>
> >http://www.sunrider-cycles.com/foto-video/index.php
>
> > which I'd love to buy (certainly if it sold for less than 4900). I'd
> > say this a classical case of a market failure, where there is no
> > market because small series production and development costs are too
> > high, and where the state could create one given enough initial
> > incentives.
>
> I've been meaning to write about this for some time, so Heiko's prompt
> is a convenient nudge.
>
> Every so often someone comes up with a new "transport revolution" -
> there was the Sinclair C5, the Segway, and numerous bicycle designs and
> power attachments such ashttp://revopower.com/. Generally they are
> touted as solving the oil crisis, global warming and urban congestion
> all in one.
>
> But in practice these "solutions" actually seem to spend their miserable
> short existences looking for a suitable problem to solve. The
> inconvenient truth is that the world is not waiting for a better bicycle
> to solve its transportation problems, or even a better motor vehicle,
> and Michael's post points out one of the reasons why. The other reasons
> include the inherent laziness of 95% or more of the world's population,
> habit, social pressure and status. I like to think that many of these
> factors can potentially be changed, but they will certainly not be
> changed by a "better bicycle" that shaves perhaps 20 seconds off your 20
> minute commute.
>
> I'm sure they make good projects for engineering students, but I am
> amazed that people devote so much time and energy to solving a problem
> without actually thinking about what the problem is!
>
> (Perhaps it is overkill, but for the sake of completeness I might as
> well point out that the vehicle Heiko is interested in would undoubtedly
> be /slower/ on my commute.)
>

At UNC Chapel-Hill they have made it increasingly difficult to park
near where you work. As a result, most people have to take the bus
from an outlying lot even if they drive a car most of the way to
work. This destroys most of the advantages of driving to work.

I think this is the most effective way to discourage the use of cars
in favor of mass-transit. But I don't think it
would fly politically in many places.

JeffRubinoff

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Sep 10, 2008, 5:32:43 AM9/10/08
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On Sep 9, 2:23 pm, Tom Adams <tadams...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> On Sep 7, 5:17 am, James Annan <james.an...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>
>

...

>
> At UNC Chapel-Hill they have made it increasingly difficult to park
> near where you work. As a result, most people have to take the bus
> from an outlying lot even if they drive a car most of the way to
> work. This destroys most of the advantages of driving to work.
>
> I think this is the most effective way to discourage the use of cars
> in favor of mass-transit. But I don't think it
> would fly politically in many places.

It's also not very nice.

James Annan

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Sep 10, 2008, 8:24:01 PM9/10/08
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Well, car drivers killing people isn't very nice, and we put up with 10
of them a day in the UK (I understand that the USA is far worse, as is
most of the rest of the world). Societies are obviously free to decide
how they wish to allocate resources, and the provision of free plentiful
parking is of course a huge hidden perk to the subset of people who use it.

In the UK, there have been moves to treat workplace parking explicitly
as a taxable perk. I don't know how far this plan has gone. Of course it
was met with predictable howls from the motoring lobby but I don't
really see how they can object to paying the costs of their choices. Car
parking is an extraordinarily wasteful use of land in expensive urban
areas, and spaces are offered to rent for up to 3000ukp per year in
central London (I could probably find higher prices if I tried). I'd be
very happy to pocket that much extra salary and ride a bicycle instead.
Even where land is cheap, imposing additional travel time and cost on
others is still a factor that needs to be considered.

Ah, google tells me that Nottingham is planning to introduce this levy
shortly, and it will ramp up to 350 UKP per year by 2010. I'm sure that
a pound per day is substantially less than the cost of commercial car
parks in the area, and they won't even be at more than 70% occupancy.

James

William Connolley

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Sep 11, 2008, 3:34:46 AM9/11/08
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2008/9/11 James Annan <james...@gmail.com>:

> In the UK, there have been moves to treat workplace parking explicitly
> as a taxable perk. I don't know how far this plan has gone. Of course it
> was met with predictable howls from the motoring lobby...

Not just the motoring lobby, but everyone, because predicatably enough
firms don't want the overhead of working out who drives, so the easy
fix is to just charge everyone, which really winds people up.

-W-the-incompetent

James Annan

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Sep 11, 2008, 3:42:49 AM9/11/08
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William Connolley wrote:
> 2008/9/11 James Annan <james...@gmail.com>:
>> In the UK, there have been moves to treat workplace parking explicitly
>> as a taxable perk. I don't know how far this plan has gone. Of course it
>> was met with predictable howls from the motoring lobby...
>
> Not just the motoring lobby, but everyone, because predicatably enough
> firms don't want the overhead of working out who drives, so the easy
> fix is to just charge everyone, which really winds people up.

Really? I've certainly heard of cases of firms threatening to pass the
charge on to the motons in their staff. Of course there is potentially
the issue of occasional occupancy, but an increasing number of employers
use pay-parking anyway where the tax could be covered by the daily
charge. If I was charged for a parking space I would permanently park up
one of these in it, and at least get some enjoyment out of it:

http://www.artcars.com/gardencar/index.html

But then again a bit of civil disobedience probably doesn't go down so
well in the corporate (mono)culture...

James

hgerh...@yahoo.co.uk

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Sep 11, 2008, 12:12:47 PM9/11/08
to globalchange
> You will note that in practice where separate-but-equal (not) facilities
> do exist, it is inevitably the cyclist that has to give way and take
> detours when a conflict occurs. That's not going to do much for your
> high-speed commute!

In the Netherlands, a separate bike path isn't used as an exuse to
force the cyclist to always give way.

I wonder why William writes about taking the two long ends of a
triangle; if my experience in Birmingham is anything to go by, the
short end is a busy road rather than say a field.

> I'm surprised you are so slow if the route is flat and clear. If it is
> hilly and congested then a spiffy design isn't going to make any
> significant difference.

I suppose I need a better bike ... I live in North Holland and this is
as flat as it gets, the cycle route has 5 km long stretches in it
without a crossing.

The bike I am using cost me 300 Euros, and it's got some accessories
(eg a bag where I keep a rain coat, some connections for a child seat
and a trailer).

I overtake the vast majority of cyclists when I got to work on my
bike. The only people overtaking me on a bike do so on racing bikes in
tight biker's clothing. Maybe they are also in better shape than I am.

> say up to 5 miles, which
> covers 75% of car trips in the UK

10 trips of 1 mile may be ten times as many trips as one trip of 100
miles, but ...

> "I would
> love to ride a bicycle, if only problem (insert arbitrary reason) was
> solved" actually mean "I don't want to ride a bicycle and am
> regurgitating the most socially acceptable/convenient excuse".

There's a big difference between the amount of cycling I do here in
the Netherlands and what I did in the UK. I bet that a great many more
Brits would cycle, if they had Dutch cycle infrastructure at their
disposal.

James Annan

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Sep 11, 2008, 6:06:11 PM9/11/08
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hgerh...@yahoo.co.uk wrote:
>> You will note that in practice where separate-but-equal (not) facilities
>> do exist, it is inevitably the cyclist that has to give way and take
>> detours when a conflict occurs. That's not going to do much for your
>> high-speed commute!
>
> In the Netherlands, a separate bike path isn't used as an exuse to
> force the cyclist to always give way.

What happens when the main road (with parallel bike path) intersects a
minor side road? That sort of crossing is the main site of danger where
even if priority is theoretically given to the path, cars leaving the
main road will still often cut across without paying attention.

> I wonder why William writes about taking the two long ends of a
> triangle; if my experience in Birmingham is anything to go by, the
> short end is a busy road rather than say a field.

In my experience, the only useful examples of cycling infrastructure are
things like shortcuts through areas closed to motor vehicles, or
contraflows in one-way-systems, which are usually designed on the basis
that a mile detour and a hill are a negligible price to pay for less
complex junctions (on a bicycle, the reverse is obviously true).

In practice, these shortcuts don't always need to be made, merely
tolerated :-) But that depends on the situation on the ground.


> I overtake the vast majority of cyclists when I got to work on my
> bike. The only people overtaking me on a bike do so on racing bikes in
> tight biker's clothing. Maybe they are also in better shape than I am.

You won't go at 30kmh without expending substantial amounts of effort,
whatever the bicycle. That is, it will be an athletic workout, not just
a commute. Of course this brings great health benefits, but still may
not suit everyone. In fact a 35km commute is further than I would be
prepared to cycle on a daily basis, and I'm an evangelist with two
decades of regular cycle commuting under my belt and a sporting background.

>
>> say up to 5 miles, which
>> covers 75% of car trips in the UK
>
> 10 trips of 1 mile may be ten times as many trips as one trip of 100
> miles, but ...

It is also 10 times as many cars in the town centre. Of course the real
distribution of trips is much narrower than that, with a lot of travel
in the 2-10 mile range (where people are not cycling but easily could).


>
>> "I would
>> love to ride a bicycle, if only problem (insert arbitrary reason) was
>> solved" actually mean "I don't want to ride a bicycle and am
>> regurgitating the most socially acceptable/convenient excuse".
>
> There's a big difference between the amount of cycling I do here in
> the Netherlands and what I did in the UK. I bet that a great many more
> Brits would cycle, if they had Dutch cycle infrastructure at their
> disposal.

That's a widely held delusion (IMO), fostered by the politically
acceptable excuse that "I would love to ride a bicycle, if only they
would build more paths". Actually, paths are notably more dangerous and
less convenient, with the exception of occasional short-cuts (better
standards might help, but better standards mean fewer paths, which is
why the standards are so low and rarely even met).

Where cycling is popular, this generally long predates any significant
infrastructure installation - that is, the infrastructure follows the
cycling rather than causing it. Feynmann and cargo cults come to mind here..

Meanwhile, it is considered quite natural and acceptable for moderate
commentators in the mainstream media to write things like

"What’s smug and deserves to be decapitated?"

"A festive custom we could do worse than foster would be stringing
piano wire across country lanes to decapitate cyclists"

and indeed cyclists do face this hazard not infrequently, although of
course the location of choice is separate bicycle paths rather than roads.

While such hate speech (and Parris is hardly a rabid mate-monger of
habit, indeed he left the Tories due to their homophobic tendencies) is
considered normal conversation in polite company, there's a large
constituency who will not consider cycling, and a significant minority
who will consider it acceptable to harass and assault cyclists.

Like I said, the issue is social attitudes, not infrastructure.

James

William Connolley

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Sep 11, 2008, 6:12:49 PM9/11/08
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2008/9/11 James Annan <james...@gmail.com>:

> You won't go at 30kmh without expending substantial amounts of effort,
> whatever the bicycle. That is, it will be an athletic workout, not just
> a commute.

Which brings in the obvious fact that a shower at work makes a huge difference.

I have one, so I can cycle fast and get sweaty on the way in. My wife
doesn't, so she can't.

(I also have co-workers who will tolerate me being sweaty for 30 mins
while I cool down).

-W.

Don Libby

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Sep 11, 2008, 6:36:18 PM9/11/08
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From: "James Annan" <james...@gmail.com>
Newsgroups: gmane.science.general.global-change
To: <global...@googlegroups.com>
Sent: Thursday, September 11, 2008 5:06 PM
Subject: [Global Change: 2882] Re: Solving the wrong problem

hgerh...@yahoo.co.uk wrote:
>>> You will note that in practice where separate-but-equal (not) facilities
>>> do exist, it is inevitably the cyclist that has to give way and take
>>> detours when a conflict occurs. That's not going to do much for your
>>> high-speed commute!
>>
>> In the Netherlands, a separate bike path isn't used as an exuse to
>> force the cyclist to always give way.
>

>In my experience, the only useful examples of cycling infrastructure are
>things like shortcuts through areas closed to motor vehicles, or

Here is an example of overly complex, overly expensive cycling
infrastructure of dubious utility from my home town: a solar-powered bicycle
path (no joke).
http://www2.fpm.wisc.edu/trans/tdm/TransportationOptions.htm

-dl

Michael Tobis

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Sep 11, 2008, 7:11:09 PM9/11/08
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We've had this discussion before, but it seems particularly germane, so...

I will not bicycle the last 100 yards to the gate to my workplace; it
would be suicidal. I have discussed this with others. One woman who
comes from the same direction as I do was seriously considering
parking her car a half mile from the campus, then habitually biking to
her parking place, and driving the last half mile.

Yes, there is pavement. It is risky enough in a car, though.

Two lanes each way, plus a center left-turn "chicken" lane which must
be entered at speed, and sometimes must cope with a competing user
coming the other way, plus driveways off to the right on both sides.
Lots of lane changes at high speeds. No shoulder, no sidewalk. The
grassy areas on both sides could easily contain a bike lane but I am
told they are owned by the Texas Department of Transportation, for
whom the influence of non-motorized traffic is nil.

There are various other spots on my commute that are almost as bad.

The idea that bicycles could calm this sort of traffic is unrealistic.
Texas is large and Texas vehicles are large. As a consequence of large
vehicles traveling long distances on straight roads with narrow safety
margins, there is a lot of momentum involved here. Taking up a traffic
lane on a road like this with a bicycle at bicycle speeds is not safe.

mt

James Annan

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Sep 11, 2008, 9:27:28 PM9/11/08
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William Connolley wrote:
> 2008/9/11 James Annan <james...@gmail.com>:
>> You won't go at 30kmh without expending substantial amounts of effort,
>> whatever the bicycle. That is, it will be an athletic workout, not just
>> a commute.
>
> Which brings in the obvious fact that a shower at work makes a huge difference.
>

It can do.......but....it's often another of those "I would cycle if
only..." excuses. I wonder how many of the schoolchildren who cycle to
school (of which there are still actually quite a large number in the
UK, even if it doesn't seem that way) have a shower after arrival.

I never had a shower in the UK (I mean...I never had one available at my
workplace!) - a lot can be achieved quickly and easily with a damp cloth
in a toilet cubicle, for example. In Japan in the summer, it is a
different matter - but the people who have an hour on a packed train and
10 minutes walking in full sun at each end need a shower as much as any
British cyclist is likely to!

James

James Annan

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Sep 11, 2008, 9:57:39 PM9/11/08
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Well I agree that "car is king" design can certainly lead to a very
hostile environment for cycling, and if attitudes are entrenched that
bicycles are toys to be put on the roof and carried to "leisure
facilities" at the weekend, then little is likely to change.

A quick glance at teh google suggests that your employer could possibly
ameliorate one part of the problem by opening a gate to the campus off
one of the quieter side streets. Or to put in another way, they could
just pull down the huge fence that makes the campus entirely
inaccessible apart from a couple of entrances off major roads :-) More
realistically, assuming the reason for the fence is that they are
paranoid about security and unwilling to man what would be a little-used
gate, a simple solution would be to install a small locked gate for
which regular users could apply for a key. It would only solve the
problem in one spot of course, but these little things can make a large
difference.

In fact there already *is* a gate at the top of Niels Thompson Drive,
with what looks like a disused entrance guard. Of course then there is
the issue of how to get to Niels Thompson Drive :-)

James

Michael Tobis

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Sep 11, 2008, 10:52:19 PM9/11/08
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The sole purpose of the fence is to inconvenience employees. Potential
trespassers have easy workarounds which I won't enumerate here.

mt

Tom Adams

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Sep 12, 2008, 9:06:52 AM9/12/08
to globalchange
Well here's Palin on Global Warming from yesterday's debate:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-roberts/palin-maintains-global-wa_b_125880.html

Sorry to use such a flaming liberal site, but it's the first I turned
up with what appears to be a full transcript of the Q&A on global
warming>

Palin says GW "can be" man-made and man "is potentially causing" GW.

I am sure that admitting the theoretical possibility is going to
confuse almost everyone. It even worked on the interviewer Gibson,
one of the top newmen in the USA who immediately said: "now you're
beginning to say it is man-made".

William Connolley

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Sep 12, 2008, 9:36:48 AM9/12/08