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Re: Burns:: Friday Fanaticism

The point is that there is only so much oil on the planet. It makes sense to use as little as possible. Almost every motorcycle uses 1/2 (or less) of the fuel used by almost every SUV. Only exceedingly fuel efficient cars use less fuel than most motorcycles (even if the bikes are flogged and the cars babied).

But bikes are not the savior needed since even though bikes use 1/2 the fuel of all other vehicles, the demands for oil are still such that all oil reserves will eventually be depleted. The demand for energy has to reduced very considerably to a reach a sustainable level. That can happen by finding substantial alternative energy sources, designing more efficient machines (cars, computers, washing machines etc.) and by reducing the demand/usage of such machines.

Finding substantial alternative energy sources has proven to be a thorny problem (the lack of workable solutions shows this to be true) and so far the unreasonably low price of oil (the cost of military action is not reflected in the price of US oil) has further stymied the development of alternative energy sources as well as energy efficient machines.

Although a decrease in population would help reduce the demand, as pointed out, the US only has a small fraction of the world population and it is unreasonable to think that remainder of the world will not attempt to emulate the US in energy usage. Even if there is a significant reduction in global population, it won't happen overnight.

Given the projections that the worlds oil production rate will peak in about five to ten years but that energy demand will continue to increase, it is likely that a great reduction in the amount of energy used will occur but not in the way that might be desired. The supply will probably just run out though prior to that event, significant battles for what remains will likely be fought.

100 years from now our surviving descendents will wonder why we stupidly pissed away all the oil (it is a rich source of important chemicals including pharmecuticals). The answer is not that SUV drivers ride motorcycles, the answer is that all vehicle drivers ride bicycles (and make other significant changes in lifestyle). That doesn't make me very happy as a motorcyclist but I think that's way things are unfolding.
 

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Selfishness vs. self-interest

The distinction between self-interest and selfishness is rather fine. Selfishness difers from self-interest in that a selfish person behaves without regard for the welfare of others. There are few people that are not to some extent selfish. Further, I'd be surprised to learn that there are any species not primarily selfish as opposed to self-interested. I doubt that self-interested species would exhibit any reproductive advantage. Perhaps you could provide an objective counter-example demonstrating that selfishness does not predominate self-interest?

Main Entry: self·ish. Pronunciation: 'sel-fish. Function: adjective. Date: 1640. 1 : concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself : seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others. 2 : arising from concern with one's own welfare or advantage in disregard of others.

Main Entry: self-in·ter·est. Pronunciation: -'in-t(&-)r&st; -'in-t&-"rest, -"trest; -'in-t&rst. Function: noun. Date: 1649. 1 : a concern for one's own advantage and well-being [acted out of self-interest and fear]. 2 : one's own interest or advantage [self-interest requires that we be generous in foreign aid].
 

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Re: Burns:: Friday Fanaticism

Well said though the path from solar photons striking the planet to oil in oil-fields is not especially direct. Indeed, the oil producing nations have of late been careful to not allow prices to rise too greatly because they fear that the technically innovative will be economically motivated to devise ways to use less oil which in turn means less oil sold (every good pusher knows that the marks must be kept strung out). A clean fusion process (or something similar) would spell the economic death of many oil producing nations.
 
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