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Jan 02, 2002 (9:12 pm)
"Ah, but those are not "facts" exactly but "factoids"...that is, numbers without real meaning in real lives...they are statistics that create a misleading conclusion (not necessarily with bad intent by you)."
Where I come from, hard measurements are called facts. I have yet to see anything that disputes them. As a matter of fact, those measurements are used in the Clean Air Act, so if they must be good for SOMETHING. If we don't use statistics to measure progress, please tell me what we should use. People's opinions? The fact that in their "real lives," some people don't feel well on a particular day, and blame their illnesses on air pollution? Well, some people (none of whom work for the auto industry) have the opinion that all pollution controls are a waste of time. We could go by their opinions, I guess. Everyone I associate with seems pretty healthy - and I live in Harrisburg, which is hardly a bucolic paradise.
"American Lung Association says 50% of US population gets a grade of "F" for exposure to ground ozone, the form of ozone your statistics did not mention and a real health hazard."
Reread my post: "Average ozone levels in urban and suburban areas decreased 25 percent between 1980 and 1999." Further on in the post: "And as for Houston - air pollution violations decreased 50 percent by 1999 from 1970s levels. Ozone pollution remained the same - pretty impressive for a place that experienced a whopping 30 percent increase in population in the 1990s alone."
"One would think from all this good news that nobody around the world was dying anymore from air pollution or that auto companies didn't haveto be forced into cleaning up their cars."
I'm talking about air pollution in the United States. What other countries do to address this challenge is up to them. Our country has taken several steps to address it - and those steps are working.
And as for forcing auto companies to clean up cars - yes, that's part of the adversarial system we have in this country. Business and government are supposed to be separate. Granted, this isn't always the case. (For example, I wouldn't be surprised if the automakers are secretly supporting those Senate bills that sparked this thread. Who ultimately benefits when old cars are retired? Manufacturers who make new ones. Even if the owners of clunkers don't buy a brand new car, they will buy a newer one. The owner of that newer one is, in turn, guaranteed a market for his or her older car. He or she will thus be better positioned to purchase a brand-new vehicle.)
To paraphrase Winston Churchill, our country's economic system stinks. Unfortunately, everything else is worse. It certainly works better than the socialist system advocated by many Greens and actually put into practice in Eastern Europe and the old Soviet Union. In those countries, business and government were one, supposedly controlled by the people. Unfortunately, in practice business couldn't generate the profits necessary to pay for luxuries such as pollution controls and advanced technology. And layoffs by the government-controlled companies to pay for that pollution control equipment were unthinkable, since govermment was also everyone's employer. The sclerotic system couldn't absorb unemployed workers, risking unrest and disorder. We all see just how clean the environment is in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.
Yes, the automakers resisted the Clean Air Act, primarily because they literally had to invent the technology to make it happen. And it wasn't entirely the Japanese who led the way. General Motors invented the catalytic converter, which is used by every carmaker. And Chrysler had its Lean Burn system on the market in 1976. As I recall, this was the first effort to reduce emissions through computer control of the engine - also now common on every car. Let's give the Americans some credit for beneficial innovations.
"As for the oceans, my friend a very well-known marine biologist (sharks) , guesses that unless we do something, the oceans will be dead in about 150 years, and so will we. Of course, I presume we won't be that stupid, so does he. But hey, you never know!"
Well, that's one person's opinion. I would suggest getting another opinion - not to mention some hard facts. Maybe your friend needs to visit Lake Erie - he (or she) might find it enlightening.
"The improvements we've made in air quality could be turned around in a red hot minute by lax controls or public apathy."
Wait a minute here - you live in San Francisco, which is supposedly very liberal and environmentally conscious. I live in Harrisburg, Pa., which, according to the prevailing liberal viewpoint, is in the dreadful, unenlightened part of the country that's full of gun-toting rednecks just waiting to trash the planet in their 4x4s and rusty, smoke-belching 1977 Impalas. Yet I'm the one who is confident about environmental progress?!
Well, you can relax - I'm happy to report that COMMON-SENSE envionmental protection measures enjoy widespread public support here in the stix. (I don't know about San Francisco.) And no one wants to drive around in decrepit 1977 Impalas. But if organizations keep using junk science and people's opinions to cry "Wolf!", no one will listen to them.
As for your asthma - you have my empathy. Hey, look on the bright side. Thanks to our capitalistic system that rewards the doctors, researchers and drug companies who spend money to develop effective, safe drugs, we can live a full life. And we're finding the REAL cause of asthma, and can prevent it from afflicting the next generation.
badtoy: Thanks for the compliment. I can also see the improvements here in southcentral Pennsylvania. Sometimes you can have your cake and eat it, too!
#55 of 63 de nada.
Jan 03, 2002 (6:45 am)
By the way, I know what you mean about Lake Erie -- I lived in Monroe (south of Detroit) for seventeen years, right on Lake Erie. The lake was beautiful by the time I left, in 1992. The Walleye fishing is the best in the world.
Jan 03, 2002 (9:15 am)
I'm sure there were tons of statistics in early 2001 to support that terrorism was on the decline, too. And the statistics during the Vietnam War were extremely encouraging...so much so that we kept at it for many years.
Fact is, people are still sick and dying, and because you or I aren't one of them, and our little lake isn't polluted, doesn't correct the problem or the threat.
Like I said, all this progress could be tipped over in a minute as soon as we get lax and overconfident. And if the American flags start waving, then you can really watch out! Capitalism is a very amoral beast, you need to harness it and pen it up if you want the best out of it.
#57 of 63 This is getting amusing.
Jan 03, 2002 (12:51 pm)
Mr. Shift rambles on about the problems inherent when someone disputes his abstract lefty rhetoric with "factoids," but claims "his friend" who is an expert on Sharks (but not oceans as systems) expects the oceans to die in his grandchildrens lifetime unless something is done.
HA HA HA. No, HAAAA, HAAAA, HAAAA.
"And if the American flags start waving, then you can really watch out." that quote should worry everyone reading it, though.
"Fact is, people are still sick and dying, and because you or I aren't one of them, and our little lake isn't polluted, doesn't correct the problem or the threat." - NEWSFLASH - All humans are in a constant slow process of dying. It will take from 50-90 years in a typical adult american.
Geez, in real life, there is no guarantee of no exposure to bad stuff. (unless you work for OSHA)
Mr. Shiftright, you just got peeled like an onion. First we got elitism about the relative merits of old cars, then social engineering, now we have gotten down to your hysteria about the evils of corporations (except Alfa Romeo) and needs for control of the market by the government.
Things aren't that bad, take a look outside the window at the real world. Then lighten up.
#58 of 63 Thank you, David.
Jan 03, 2002 (2:57 pm)
The wise man knows that he knows not.......
Jan 03, 2002 (3:11 pm)
Well, I see you have the ridicule gun out. Try to use real "ammo", like ideas for instance, and lay off personalities. Anyway, sorry, I'll have to delete your post for obvious reasons.
Let me offer an example of how a "good news" statistic leads to a bad conclusion.
Let's substitute CRIME for AIR POLLUTION so that we are technically "on topic" here, okay?
Let's say you live in a high crime area. Well, lately it's gotten much better. The "good news" is that crime is down 25% in your neighborhood from last year!
WRONG CONCLUSION: You are now safe
Why wrong? Let's dig into it a bit.
So we have 25% less crime. Instead of 100 people being killed, only 75 were killed, and instead of 500 cars busted into, it's down to 375.
Of course, if you didn't dig into the "good news" statistic, you wouldn't know that.
So you aren't safe. The better conclusion is that you are in less danger than you were.
Does this mean you will be in still less danger year after year from now on? NO
Does this mean you should fire the police, the job's done? NO
TWISTING A GOOD NEWS STATISTIC TO A SPECIAL INTEREST (for example)
The Conservative: "Since crime is down 25%, re-elect me and I'll get it down even more. I'm tough on crime. I have no other accomplishments to speak of, but I'm doing a good job in this area PS: I don't live here".
The Centrist: "Crime is down, but not enough and the cost is too high. We need to switch to program B with more self-help programs and ditch Program A. PS: I don't live here"
The Liberal: "All you did was jail people, and when they are out of jail crime will go up again. You are attacking symptoms, not the real core issues. You are not stopping crime, you are pushing it around to somewhere else. PS I don't live here"
The American Nazi Party: "Crime is down an amazing 25% in your neighborhood. We are partly responsible for this. Give us more power and we will eliminate crime altogether. PS: We are moving here"
The Neighborhood Association: "Crime is down but we are being unfairly harassed by police and we're sick of it. PS We live here and it ain't fun".
I maintain that in a sense all of these points of view are "true", all relate to the statistic, but none are really 'good news'.
Thinking those air pollution statistics are "good news" is, in my opinion, very risky, in that it views the problem superficially and tempts citizens to stop worrying about it.
Jan 03, 2002 (3:18 pm)
"I'm sure there were tons of statistics in early 2001 to support that terrorism was on the decline, too. And the statistics during the Vietnam War were extremely encouraging...so much so that we kept at it for many years."
Those terrorism statistic would have been accurate until September 11. Distortions only occur if the pre-September 11 figures are used to claim that terrorism declined throughout 2001. As for Vietnam, as I recall, the Army fudged the statistics.
You claimed that air pollution is getting "worse and worse." I have yet see so much as an opinion from a marine biologist friend supporting that assertion. For that matter, I haven't seen anything that debunks my facts. You trotted out a claim that so many people are dying from air pollution per year. But what about figures for prior years? How can we compare those figures in without knowing that the figures were for 10, 20 or 30 years ago? I also note that life expectancy in the United States is at record highs, so we must be doing something right. For that matter, Japan has one of the highest life expectancies in the world, yet its air pollution problems are much more severe than ours.
Let me see here - the Clean Air Act contains standards for both the amount of emissions a vehicle can emit and the ambient air quality of various urban areas. Those standards, incidentally, were not drawn out of a hat. You excoriated the automakers for saying they couldn't meet those standards and initially dragging their feet in doing so. But when GM, Ford, Chrysler and the imports got down to business and built cars that met the emissions standards, and the effectiveness of their efforts is shown by improving urban air quality levels, you basically say..."it doesn't really matter, because I don't believe the statistics." Get up on soapbox with those arguments, and you'll be eaten alive by sharks - and I don't mean the kind your friend studies.
"Like I said, all this progress could be tipped over in a minute as soon as we get lax and overconfident." And you accuse the SEMA people of being paranoid. Let him who is without sin...
"And if the American flags start waving, then you can really watch out!" Yes, instead of waving the flag, maybe they'll do something more constructive - like following in the footsteps of the San Francisco Bay area native who went off and joined the Taliban.
gearhead7: "Things aren't that bad, take a look outside the window at the real world. Then lighten up." Right on...I guess some people can't stand good news.
#62 of 63 Nice stereotypes, shifty....
Jan 03, 2002 (4:04 pm)
And as with all stereotypes, there's some truth and a lot of supposition.
Fact is, LA's Rampart Division id a great job cleaning up the neighborhood -- and it didn't take a few corrupt cops to do it either. But now that the lawyers have gotten involved and the DA gave a sweetheart deal to that dirtbag Rodriguez, Rampart's anti-gang efforts have been curtailed and violent crime is up over 30%.
That takes care of the conservatives and the fascists. It also demonstrates the weakness of the liberal position.
Moving away from sterotypes: while your logic is good as far as it goes, you have yet to refute any of the "factoids" posed by grbeck. Credibility wise, it's grbeck 5, shifty 0. Please try again -- it's a great topic.
Jan 03, 2002 (4:14 pm)
Topic closed for flaming. Let's get back to cars!