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Sunday, September 11, 2005

PHEV's and other musings

I don't know about you, but I think it's high time I stopped ranting about Hurricane Katrina for now. I've said pretty much everything I have to say on the topic, with the exception of my opinion of Lt. Gen. Honore. I've been really impressed with him, and from the beginning, he's been nothing but brutally honest about the situation. He didn't candy-coat anything that needed to be said and he really got things moving. In fact, he was the first ranking government official to do so. As a result, for what little it's worth, Lt. Gen. Honore only needs three things: More troops, more resources, and another star on his shoulders. Being of Creole heritage and being a native of that region, he was able to communicate in a manner Louisianans respect and understand, including the things that are unsaid but understood by anyone born into the cultures of Louisiana. In many ways, Louisiana is another country even moreso than any other state in the Union. This is doubly true of bayou country. New Orleans was the cultural and culinary capital of my region. She will be missed sorely.

Now, for something that was actually part of the title of the post, I've expressed my support for biodiesel and PHEV's (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles) in the past. I encourage everyone to join the California Cars Initiative group on Yahoo, as I find it has some seriously thought-provoking material. In the 135th post on that group, the fourth point referred to "a 'neo-con-green' alliance of environmentalists and national-security conservatives who see it as the best way to rapidly reduce consumption of foreign oil." I guess I don't quite fit into either of the groups referenced in that alliance, but that's nothing new. Those of you who read my blog know that I stubbornly refuse to fit neatly into any category. So as for me, I see strong arguments in favor of both the neo-cons and the environmentalists supporting PHEV's. Reducing smog and our dependence on foreign energy sources is good for the nation as a whole. However, that also ignores the positive human rights implications of PHEV's. A reduced demand for petrochemicals equates to reduced funding for regimes that treat women as chattel at best and treat all of their people with the exception of their ruling classes like shit. Reducing the money available to tyrants is a good thing. My personal preference would be to see diesel-electric hybrids be at the forefront, since, with my admittedly limited understanding, biodiesel can be used straight in many, if not most, existing diesel engines and all newer diesels. is a good site for information on this topic. Also, is a good trade site owned by the National Biodiesel Board and has some interesting information. Also, even as old as he is, Willie Nelson is still kinda cool. Thankfully, such sites and other car sites exist, because my actual knowledge of cars is limited to adding and checking the oil, gasoline, and antifreeze, and changing the air filter. Somehow, that makes me feel less manly than I'd prefer, but I guess we each have our own knowledge base and things that make us curious, and the drive to expand the former and satisfy the latter. In my case, the first is esoteric, the second encompasses very nearly everything, and the third is sorely lacking in this regard.

Hurricane Ophelia looks like she's heading towards North Carolina or maybe Virginia. I hope the same thing for this storm that I hope for all storms: That they be weak and fast-moving. Yoda knows we don't need any more natural disasters for a very long time. And yes, I say "Yoda knows" because I think I like that fictional character more than the Christian god. I was experimenting with the term to see how well I liked it. I may start saying it more to further cement others' belief that I'm a geek. Well, that's all for now.

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