Monday, August 16, 2010

Humans can be quite stupid

After the biggest marine oil spill in history, the "Obama administration said Monday that it would require significantly more environmental review before approving new offshore drilling permits, ending a practice in which government regulators essentially rubber-stamped potentially hazardous deepwater projects like BP’s out-of-control well."

That is a positive step. The explosion and the subsequent gusher was an accident, but BP has a history of accidents. This is the same company whose TV ads say they are "beyond petroleum". Ever since the Exxon Valdez oil spill, I have always wondered how people can be so careless when transporting oil. Companies should take even greater care when extracting oil from beneath the ocean. How many environmental disasters does it take for humans to change their ways?

Before writing this post I thought the Deepwater Horizon disaster was the biggest oil spill in history, but it turns out the 100 year old Lakeview Gusher was about twice as big in terms of oil spilled. I was not surprised to see the "Gulf War oil spill" ranked as the third largest oil spill, caused by the incredible stupidity of Saddam Hussein and his disregard for the environment.

Also related to humans wasting energy and changing the environment, I read today about New Yorkers who leave their air conditioners on while away from home.

“Using it when you’re not home is outright irresponsible and disrespectful of all the rest of us,” Dan Hendrick of the New York League of Conservation Voters said. “There’s no good way to look at this. The worst thing is, you’re warming our climate to cool your apartment for your own comfort.”

There is an explanation to this madness:

But as any introductory economics course might explain, tenants who blast air-conditioners on their landlord’s dime are making rational, predictable choices.

“This is Homo economicus coming out in full feather,” said Prof. Lawrence J. White of New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business. “When something is free, until some point of satiation, you will take up a lot of it.”

So stupidity is a human thing. OMG!


Maury said...

The oil spill turned out to be the biggest non-event of the year. No tainted seafood. Nobody attacked by dime-sized tarballs. No heartburn, indigestion, or upset tummies.

The Gulf of Mexico has its own way of dealing with crude oil. The stuff has been seeping up from the seabed for millions of years. Bacteria evolved that eat it. Yum.

Don Cox said...

""When something is free, until some point of satiation, you will take up a lot of it.""

Like electricity in Iraq.

Dolly said...

The oil spill is a lot more serious, but is also a bad omen for the U.S.
Sometimes when bad fortune starts (Britney Spears) then it keeps on.
There is general consensus that USA is going down.

Maury said...

In your dreams Dolly. The US economy will grow by $450 billion or so this year. That's roughly the size of the GDP in Saudi Arabia, the largest Arab economy. And we'll add the equivalent of Saudi Arabia's economy to our wealth again next year too. And the next, and the next. I can make that bold prediction, because the US has been growing at that rate for decades.

Now, give us your growth predictions for those jihadi powerhouses Dolly. How will the economies of Sudan, Somalia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan fare over the next few decades? Will they make it out of the 7th century, or be able to feed themselves without Amreekan food aid?

Anonymous said...

Dolly has a bad case of penis envy.