Mid-week misanthropy, vol. 36

We are encouraged to mark Earth Hour 2009 this Saturday by switching off our lights from 20:30 to 21:30.  Their “about” page tells us that

For the first time in history, people of all ages, nationalities, race and background have the opportunity to use their light switch as their vote – Switching off your lights is a vote for Earth, or leaving them on is a vote for global warming. WWF are urging the world to VOTE EARTH and reach the target of 1 billion votes, which will be presented to world leaders at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen 2009.

“[L]eaving them on is a vote for global warming”?  We can project our interpretations onto other people’s actions just by writing stuff on the internet now?  Sweet!  Let me try:

Switching off your lights is an expression of simple-minded smug insufferability, and leaving them on is an expression of common goddamn sense.

Did it work?  Dammit!

I wrote about Earth Hour last year, and it sure looks like the sad farce is degenerating into a gigantic circle-jerk of activism — one billion grass-eaters raising each other’s awareness.  This time around, though, my university has picked up on the notion with enthusiasm, and is encouraging its departments and labs to turn off their lights for Earth Hour.

Now, the only people who are likely to be in the lab at 20:30 on a Saturday night are faculty, post-docs, and grad students doing research.  Many of those will be working on, for lack of a better term, “green” projects — hydrogen fuel-cell design, say, or sustainable forestry studies, to pick a few projects within fifty metres of my lab.  Research time is not fungible: you can’t schedule a good idea, and you can’t break off halfway through its development and pick it up an hour later without losing a great deal of mental context.

And the WWF wants to shut their fucking lights off.  Super.


In keeping with the “environmentalism for dipshits” theme, we find this from California:

The problem stems from a new “cool paints” initiative from the California Air Resources Board. CARB wants to mandate the phase-in of heat-reflecting paints on vehicle exteriors beginning with the ’12 model year, with all colors meeting a 20% reflectivity requirement by the ’16 model year.

This is what happens when you don’t have a carbon tax, but want to reduce fuel consumption (in this case, dinosaur corpses recycled to power air conditioners) regardless.  It seems like a reasonable idea in principle, but as ever there’s a problem:

Paint suppliers also say heat-reflecting pigments that could be used in automotive applications contain toxic heavy metals that cause environmental damage and create health and safety issues during manufacturing and recycling.

But surely California’s benevolent expert overlords in government made careful studies of the alternatives and found nothing better?

Some California rules are problematic because they are utopian and unworkable. This legislation is flat-out lazy. It’s a cut-and-paste job from the state building code that ignores smarter, more-effective automotive solutions already in production or on the way, such as more efficient AC units and solar-powered ventilation fans that work automatically when a car is parked in the sun.



And speaking of California and turning off the lights:

Here’s a quotation from sfgate.com:

Turn the lights out — or pay.

That’s the message of legislation being revived by Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, who will introduce a measure Tuesday mandating that skyscrapers turn off all nonemergency lights at night as a way to save energy.

Because, of course, no-one would ever work late in a skyscraper.


Finally, we note an apparent end to hyperinflation in Zimbabwe:

Prices of goods bought in US dollars, Zimbabwe’s new official currency, fell by up to 3% in January and February. They were the first official figures since the country’s recent adoption of the US dollar.

Well, that’s one way to do it.

2 Responses to “Mid-week misanthropy, vol. 36”

  1. March 28, 2009 at 10:20

    Liberals are all for green initiatives…. as long as someone else pays for them and they’re located in somebody else’s backyard.

    So we have Diane Feinstein fighting development of solar and wind energy projects in tme Mojave desert and Ted Kennedy halting wind power on Cape Cod. Closer to home local DFL’ers are fighting tooth and nail against a wind energy project, a vineyard/winery and $1B biotech park. ‘Cause, you know, we need to generate clean energy and create new jobs — as long as the measures we take don’t affect me.

  2. September 22, 2014 at 21:19

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