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10/30/2006: "More Hot Air on Hot Air"
In an article this morning, the New York Times yapped on about a Global Warming symposium at which "1,800 entrepreneurs and experts watched a PowerPoint presentation of the most promising technologies for limiting global warming: solar power, wind, ethanol and other farmed fuels, energy-efficient buildings and fuel-sipping cars."

It went on and on about the truly regrettable state of affairs energy research funding is in ("Military research has increased 260 percent, and at more than $75 billion a year is 20 times the amount spent on energy research."), but ignored one of the most highly developed energy-saving technologies in the world, one that improves public health and social harmony as well: you guessed it, the bicycle.

Even "fuel-sipping cars" sip fuel--and they take up room, lots of room (aside from roads, every car in a city requires an average of eight parking spaces available for it if it is to be even marginally useful), causing sprawl, which requires more fuel-sipping cars sipping more fuel, which take up a lot of space, which requires more driving, ad infinitum.

And they make you fat, lazy, and suspicious of your neighbors, since everyone on earth is on the outside of your windshield, and doesn't listen to the same music you do....

Half of global warming emissions come from the "transport sector." Most sprawl--which disrupts community, reduces cities' tax income, and smears over productive land with dead asphalt--comes from accommodating cars.

Get with it, oh mighty policymakers! It's the cars! (And all those instant-on TVs).

You want electric vehicles: use trains; take up no room at all if they're underground. Make it easy for folks to ride their bikes to work or stores or subway stations, as they do in Japan. (Hell, even if you can't walk, it's easier to roll or shuffle onto a level-boarding train than to contort yourself into a car.)

Ride your bike. Then smell the air. And smile. At your neighbor.

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