Yet another weird SF fan


I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan
 

Friday, October 21, 2005

One Reason for High Oil Prices

Earth First! has been opposing alternative energy sources (seen via Instapundit):

Mountaintop removal is a new form of coal mining in which companies dynamite the tops of mountains to collect the coal underneath. Multiple peaks are blown off and dumped onto highland watersheds, destroying entire mountain ranges. More than 1,000 miles of streams have been destroyed by this practice in West Virginia alone. Mountain top removal endangers and destroys entire communities with massive sediment dams and non-stop explosions.

I noticed they're suing in Federal court:

Four federal agencies that review applications for coal mines have entered an agreement that would give state governments an option that could speed up the process. The Army Corps of Engineers, Environmental Protection Agency, Fish and Wildlife Service and Office of Surface Mining said that the agreement was intended to streamline the procedures companies go through when applying for permits to start surface coal mines, including those that remove entire mountaintops to unearth coal.1

Environmental groups are beginning to challenge these policies in federal district court. The current program allows the Army Corps of Engineers to issue a general permit for a category of activities under the Clean Water Act if they “will cause only minimal adverse environmental effects” according to federal regulation. Coal companies then also must seek individual “authorizations” from the Corps for the projects for which they have received a general permit.2

Apparently the people in coal country aren't bothered.

I also noticed that I scooped Project Censored on an issue:

There are 15,000 industrial plants in the United States that produce toxic chemicals. According to the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA), about 100 of these plants could endanger up to a million lives with poisonous clouds of ammonia, chlorine, or carbon disulfide that could be released into the atmosphere over densely populated areas by a terror attack. Unprotected chemical plants are possible candidates for future attacks by terrorists. These are some of the most vulnerable pieces of infrastructure in America.

I reported on this years ago:

Chemical weapons are often analyzed in terms of numbers of lethal doses. We can apply that to other substances. One possible weapon along those lines is the nicotine bomb. The LD50 for nicotine is 35 mg/kg of body weight. If we take a typical American body weight as 100 kg (a round figure but one which might be typical of Americans), we can see that a lethal dose is a mere 3.5 g. There are roughly 8,000,000 people in NYC. Eight million lethal doses of nicotine is a mere 28 tons—which can fit in a truck.

If nicotine is turned into a controlled substance (as seems increasingly likely), they might try using an aspirin bomb instead. Since the LD50 of aspirin is 1800 mg/kg, the necessary amount is 1440 tons. This is too large for a truck so the “militants” will have to take over an entire aspirin factory. This is an exceptionally humane weapon since the victims will feel no pain.

Of course, this implies that Clinton was completely correct in ordering the bombing of that aspirin factory in Sudan.

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