Archive for May, 2008

New Pedestrianism

Friday, May 23rd, 2008 recently interviewed Michael E. Arth (New Urban Cowboy; Labors of Hercules) who has recently converted a Florida slum formerly known as ‘Cracktown’ to a new area now known as “The Garden District”. His New Pedestrianism ideas revolve around changing zoning laws in order to create a more pedestrian-friendly town where cars are thought of as secondary to walking. Additionally, businesses would always be in the center of town with houses & neighborhoods on the periphery, and with nature and bodies of water bordering these communities instead of concrete jungles and highways. I found his ideas to be a bit idealistic, but grounded in practical reality. The man definitely knows he has an uphill battle ahead to quite literally change the world, but he is up to the task and believes that we can change the way we live if we put forth the effort – from corrupt federal officials attempting to pacify 320 million-plus Americans to localized, mostly autonomous small communities.

Here are some links to check out:

Most cars can be eliminated within twenty years interview with Michael Arth
New Urban Cowboy
Michael Arth’s website
Golden Apples Media
New Pedestrianism

Here’s a snippet that recently published:

The world’s 800 million cars could be reduced by 90% or more with the application of pedestrian-oriented urban design, and two technologies that are already in their infancy. Urban designer and futurist, Michael E. Arth, presenting a paper on the future of urban design at the Congress of New Urbanism (CNU) in Austin, Texas, on April 5th, and in various publications and interviews, says that self-driving public taxies, virtual reality, and the application of pedestrian-oriented urban design, could eliminate most cars within 20 years.* A newly released feature documentary, New Urban Cowboy: Toward a New Pedestrianism, tells the story of Arth’s revival of a former crack slum and demonstrates an idealistic form of urban design he calls New Pedestrianism.

Michael E. Arth writes: “Ninety percent of the time, cars are parked somewhere taking up resources. If we traded private cars for efficient, zero emission, self-driving public taxis, we can have any type of vehicle we want, when we want it, for a fraction of the cost of owning a vehicle, and we would take a huge step toward solving a wide range of problems, including global warming. Almost all of the world’s annual 1.2 million deaths** and 48 million injuries, resulting from motor vehicle accidents, are human-caused, so smart autonomous cars should be able to prevent most of those casualties too. Doubters need look no farther than existing car sharing programs, and GM’s 2008 Opel Vectra, which will have ‘Traffic Assist’ and will reportedly be capable of driving itself on the highway in heavy traffic. Insurance companies, automobile makers, lawmakers under control of industry lobbyists, and the minority of drivers not wanting to be chauffeured, may resist replacing so many private cars with so few self-driving public cars, but the environmental, safety, and economic reasons for doing so are utterly compelling.

“The third component of this reduction in cars is the imperative to make our physical world attractive, livable, safe, and sustainable. In order to build for the future, we should make our inner cities more pedestrian friendly—as is already happening in various town centers around the world. New developments should follow the tenets of New Pedestrianism to create vibrant, compact villages, where cars are kept on a separate network at the rear of all buildings, with pedestrians and cyclists traveling on a peaceful, tree-lined, front lane. This will further reduce automobile dependency and improve our environment. With more and more time spent in cyberspace, physical activity will become even more important for the health.”

Biofuel Crops Bad For Envrionment

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008


Countries thinking of joining the rush for biofuels run the risk of planting invasive plant species that could wreak environmental and economic havoc, biologists warned on Tuesday.

In a report issued on the sidelines of a major U.N. conference on biodiversity, an alliance of four expert groups urged governments to select low-risk species of crops for biofuels and impose new controls to manage invasive plants.

Wow, really? Who would have thought it could harm the environment to take plants from one continent after tens of thousands of years of evolution, and transplant them into a totally new environment? No one realized this might be a bad thing for native vegetation?

Goes to show again that as a society, we are not forward-thinking in the least, and care only about trends and immediate payoffs instead of the future.

Overpopulation myths

Monday, May 19th, 2008


As a citizen of this planet, it only makes sense to ensure a bright future for as many of us as possible; ironically, this involves decreasing our numbers drastically. Talking about overpopulation doesn’t do most folks any good because there’s no money in decreasing overall consumption. Having as many consumers as possible around is best for government (taxes) and business (profit) in the short term, but in the long term, this will lead to resource wars (more money toward defense spending; again this is good for government). This is a common sense issues we don’t talk about because our politically correct society can’t admit that a planned population reduction would take away too many ‘freedoms’ (even though family planning is the intelligent and least invasive path to take). Government figures are mostly useless in that they feel if we are kept happy with TV and entertainment, we won’t squawk too much about the real problems; these are not the people who are going to lead us into a future of tough decisions and new cultural heights.

Per the above link, asks and answers a few tough hypothetical questions from our politically correct society in regard to overpopulation:

Each individual is sacred and carries an intrinsic value. For this reason we should not attempt to reduce the overpopulation.

We don’t necessarily need to take any human life. Effective methods of reducing overpopulation include family planning, which is 100 % harmless to already existing individuals.

We have no moral right to limit the reproduction of individuals, as this violates basic human rights.

All human individuals are part of the world in which we live, and if we deplete the resources of this planet, many people will find themselves born into poverty. If we make the individual sacred, we defend a careless attitude towards the larger life, including other species that also have the right to exist. We’re not the only living creates on this planet; if we care about ourselves, we must also care about the environment that sustains our very existence.

We have more important problems to focus on, like social and economic inequalities.

Aside from the anthropocentric perspective that seems to place the human species above its environment, social and economic problems are closely linked to the problem of overpopulation.

Police Resort To High-tech Tactics due to Idiot Drivers

Monday, May 19th, 2008

The targeted drivers will hear, in addition to the conventional siren, a deep, guttural sound, then feel a vibration beneath their feet. The goal, police said, is for the driver to look up, see the flashing blue lights, and get out of the way well before the police cruiser has approached the car.

Drivers “are not hearing us,” Dunford said. “They’re not looking into their mirrors, checking for what’s behind them, as they should . . . It’s a very dangerous situation that’s developing.”


Instead of building the walls of technology higher, why not teach people at a young age to treat driving as a privilege instead of a right? This is a band-aid fix for a much larger problem in society. People being so blatantly stupid and self-absorbed as to ignore cops on a busy road, without realizing other drivers are getting out of the way of an ambulance and/or cop car, need to be removed from the roads until they can show they will treat the privilege of driving with respect.  It’s too easy for government to become corrupt when it’s easily shown how moronic the masses are, starting with police corruption and use of technology to thwart even innocent bystanders.

More Misguided Ideas re: Immigration

Monday, May 19th, 2008

Even so, there are undoubtedly many Mexican immigrants who strongly want to integrate their families into American society. Many of these immigrants find their path to the American mainstream blocked, however, by the simple fact that they cannot live or work legally in the United States. Without legal status, there is no road to citizenship. Economic advancement is difficult when one is relegated to the shadows of the labor market.

What, if anything, should we do to encourage assimilation? The anemic progress of Mexican immigrants is but one sign that our current immigration policy is not working. Before deciding what to do about it, though, we need to make some important decisions as a society.

[full article text]

To answer the question in the second paragraph above…nothing. Why should we encourage assimilation by a group of people that crawled through sewage or waltzed through a national forest in New Mexico to get here? It’s bad enough illegal immigrants are given more benefits than citizens in our society, but it seems now we should incent them even more to ‘assimilate’.

The goal of the government, in attempting to assimilate illegals, is higher wages, more consumer activity, and a better economy. Illegal immigrants are considered the next economic boom by policymakers, so encouraging assimilation makes sense. Make illegals feel even more welcome than they already feel, and pretty soon they’re working in offices, consuming, and racking up huge amounts of debt. Some of us are working to abandon this lifestyle; apparently the government feels it works just fine as long as we overpopulate via illegal immigration and keep feeding the corporations with our hard-earned cash.

The difference between the prior, mostly European waves of immigration and the current wave of Mexican (illegal) immigration, is that Mexicans live directly south of Texas and can therefore sneak in undetected. Worse, they’re not thrown out when they are found by our government; it usually takes being caught for committing a crime to actually be sent back to Mexico. Even then, an ICE unit in my own town admits that most of them just sneak back when they get the chance.
As I wrote earlier, when one has to work hard for citizenship and when there’s an understanding that you’re certainly welcome to contribute in your new home as long as you appreciate the privilege and don’t attempt to reverse colonize or negatively affect our established culture, immigration is a wonderful thing. Sadly, that is not the reality of immigration today, and both sides are at fault for selling out any lingering American culture & values that were left before economics took the reins and sold us all down the river.

Targeting The Wrong Foreign Nationals

Friday, May 16th, 2008


Apparently our government has decided to wake up and start throwing people in jail who don’t belong here.

Oops – wrong people! Our government wants nothing to do with jailing illegals, sending them out of the country, and building a border fence. But a guy from Calabria (Calabrese people stopped emigrating to America en masse about thirty years ago)? He must be a threat; lock him up and throw away the key!

This guy was here to see his girlfriend, so they lied to him, told him he couldn’t go back to Italy, and left him to rot in a jail cell. Good thing he wasn’t just here to sight-see on his own, or we likely never would have heard about him. And of course the government is not in the business of apologizing when they’ve made a mistake.

This is an example of a perfectly legal visit from a foreign national; our government is too busy locking up the wrong people to realize the true problem: illegal immigrants bring down our economy for citizens (who deserve better treatment), and this “they do the jobs that no one else wants” logic is backward. People would have been fine doing those jobs had illegal immigrants never been allowed to stay here and work in the first place; if you introduce a population of people who are willing to work for less and add the moral hazard of a welfare state for the formerly employed citizens, it’ll sure as hell seem like they don’t want to work. Why would they? They’re getting paid by your tax dollars to reproduce, shop, and build up credit card debt.

This is what happens when economy and industry run society. Mix in a little political correctness and you’ve got a backward system targeting sacrificial lambs to slaughter, while ignoring the real problem.

More people are recognizing the problem of overpopulation

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

A fairly well-respected government figure is trying to stimulate discussion on what many people already know: there are too many people on the planet, and since we continue to reproduce at insane rates along with a Chinese and Indian middle-class growing by the hundreds of millions, most of whom desire first-world lifestyles (read: access to clean water, electricity, and trash removal), there aren’t enough resources to come close to supporting everyone.

Only very recently has it been established that having one or two kids makes the most sense; even us Americans are coming around to this idea. Most of us are from large families and still don’t feel the need to start a very large family of our own. If only the rest of the world would follow suit.


Smart Article On Trucks

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

Though this article is presented to a Canadian audience, more American drivers need to contact their local bureaucrat for assistance with this issue.


You can read the above-linked article for the first page or two, and ignore most of the technical reasoning behind it unless you’re interested; you’ll get the point within the first couple pages. Nicely written article by Ted Mitchell, in structure as well as reasoning.

I have a friend who owns a large pickup, the largest GM makes before the trucks have to be diesel-powered (more torque, more fuel-efficient). He works in an office all day and has zero need for a truck bed.  A healthier society would only allow selling pickup trucks and SUVs to vehicle owners with commercial license plates.  If you’re not a business and can’t get a commercial plate, you should be paying an annual gas-guzzler tax to own a pickup or SUV if allowed to own one at all.

I think the idea makes a bit too much sense for anyone to support. Just drive defensively; that’s what you can tell yourself while avoiding being jackknifed or back-ended by some idiot in a pickup who’s driving it because it looks cool.

Gas-guzzler economics

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

“The SUV craze was a bubble and now it is bursting,” said George Hoffer, an economics professor at Virginia Commonwealth University whose research focuses on the automotive industry. “It’s an irrational vehicle. It’ll never come back.”


This goes to show once again that Americans love excess, and will do anything to have more as long as it doesn’t cost more – for no other reason than it’s more and they can have it.

It seems to be just fine to own an SUV when gas is $0.99/gallon. Where were these economists ten years ago? Consider that Europe pays per liter nearly what we pay per gallon…3.8 liters to the gallon = nearly 4 times the price. Now that prices are higher here, suddenly people realize that owning a big truck or an SUV for no good reason doesn’t make any sense.

I’ve said for years that the only language Americans understand is the language of the dollar. Now that our dollar is nearly worthless, we curse when trading in that Toyota Sequoia for a Honda Civic. Must be that damn war in Iraq, or something.

Americans typically don’t account for total cost of vehicle ownership, compounding the problem of selling more trucks to idiots who don’t need them. Ford & GM are giving these trucks away at 0% financing plus cash back, and the buyers think it’s a steal, until gas prices rise. Do they think American manufacturers give these trucks away out of kindness?

Video Game psychology

Monday, May 5th, 2008

In a February post on MTV Multiplayer, blogger Tracey John wrote about her experience playing Carnival Games. She could change her character’s pants, shirts, shoes, and hairstyles, John wrote. “But when it came to skin color, it only offered different faces in one pale hue. In other words, as a minority (I’m a Chinese woman), I could not replicate my skin color for my avatar within Carnival Games (much less if I were African-American or Hispanic). I found that a bit offensive.”

Last year, the trailer for the upcoming Resident Evil 5 depicted a white soldier shooting black zombies. A contributor to the blog Black Looks wrote: “This is problematic on so many levels, including the depiction of Black people as inhuman savages, [and] the killing of Black people by a white man in military clothing . . .”


So now our psychologists are playing video games and analyzing the many different ethnic options associated with the characters, instead of trying to warn people of the dangers inherent in denying nature and denying reality; e.g., video games themselves. Would it be better if you could choose to be a black or hispanic individual in these games? Is this in the best interests of our kids; are we really spending time studying this?

The problem is not supposedly racist video games. The problem is that video games exist and kids sit for hours and hours playing into their digital alter-egos, stunting mental and physical development, rather than playing outside. When are we going to wake up and eliminate these terrible means of self-centered entertainment?

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