Saturday, August 1, 2009

Cash for Clunkers

From an environmental perspective I think that the Cash for Clunkers program's impact is going to be pretty negligible. To calculate the true environmental contribution you have to consider the following. The overall trend of car purchases has been toward more fuel efficient vehicles. Which recent record gas prices on everyone’s mind most people will factor in gas prices already into their purchasing decision. Additionally newer cars are more fuel efficient on average. So the added value of the program is the difference between the additional fuel efficiency between the car a customer would have purchased and a car that they purchased through cash for clunkers. However since the purchases will be made sooner than later, we will see the improved fuel efficiency sooner.

About 750K new cars could be purchased under this program compared to annual US sales of over 10 million per year. If we assume that as a group these vehicles will be 20% more efficient than cars that would have been purchased without the program, we can see that the program’s environmental impact is not that large compared to what the status quo would have been.

Perhaps there is a peripheral effect of introducing fuel efficient cars to groups that would have never considered them otherwise as well affecting their lifetime purchasing habits to at least not have a negative bias towards more fuel efficient, (smaller, non American) vehicles.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Two acts of violence, one commonality

I am starting to worry more about what I have previously posted. In a span of less than a week there were two incidents of violence in the U.S. centering on the issue of morality. Dr. Tiller, a late term abortion doctor in Kansas was murdered earlier this week and today a store called the Grand View Topless Coffee Shop in Maine was burned down; officials say that it was arson. While the second act of violence does not seem to be in the same class of violence as the first, it should be noted that the store owner lived in the space adjacent to the store and had to evacuate his family 1am in the morning.

While these incidents seem independent from each other, they center around a similar issue; an objection to a perceived immorality. I worry that if and when individuals who have similar moral objections to lawful activities congregate, they will attempt larger scale acts of terrorism.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Facebook > (Digg + Twitter + Myspace)

I was having a discussion with a fifty-something about Twitter and I was annoyed with his overenthusiasm for Twitter. I'm sure Twitter has a niche market but it will not ever be as remotely as relevant as Facebook.

Facebook has the core features of Myspace and Twitter, so there is no reason why a person would migrate from Facebook to Twitter. The biggest problem I see with Twitter's long term growth is that there are no clear customers. Facebook's friend feed is already superior to Twitter's. Celebrity twitters are also an unreliable source of content. Take a look at Ashton’s threat to leave twitter.

I can't wait for the day that I will no longer hear about Twitter.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Radical Christianity

This is one of the few times that I hope that I am wrong.

I worry about a future where there is domestic terrorism by fundamentalist christians. The reason why I imagine this scenario to be possible is that fundamentalism at it's core is the same. Fundamentalists allows for certain truths to be held beyond logic. Once these truths become challenged to a critical degree I believe that it is possible for domestic religious fundamentalists will take radical action. As non believers and religious moderates change national policy to regect truths held by these fundamentalists, I forsee a future where these groups feel threatened.

Once gay marraige is recognised on the federal level, once creationism is remoeved from any type of school curriculum, once there is a clear majority of liberals on the supreme court I worry that the religious right will determine that America is godless and that it is their responsibilty to rectify the issue. Someone please tell me why I have nothing to worry about.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Facebook notes

Not mine, but Yishan Wong's. I just think that quality of mind that Yishan presents is refreshing. You can find him here

Monday, March 2, 2009

Future mall offerings

While walking through my local mall I came across a big bright white box in the middle of the mall. Upon closer inspection I saw that this was a tooth whitening booth. This booth seemed uncannily modern and I paused to consider whether this was only the beginning of instant medical treatments that would be commonly offered in the mall. While traditional mall services such as nail salons and hair stylist have existed for ages, I imagine as the technology become widely available we can begin to see a whole host of procedures being offered in consumer friendly locations such as malls.

Minor procedures like Botox clinics in malls are already on the rise and will probably become common place within a few years.  I wonder how long it would be before one can have their skin color changed at the mall.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Depreciation of Parents

The social structure of the family has evolved so that parents provide children with food, shelter, and education. These elements are fundamental components of sustenance for children.

However, today, a child receives a majority of their education from school, the internet and their social networks. Teens do not look at their parents as a resource for education and information. Teens independence from their parents is commensurate with their proficiency and access to alternate sources of information/education.

As the proliferation of access to quality information has increased to the point where children in their teens have better information than their parents, the value of a traditional family is further eroded as an evolutionary strategy.

I wonder what would happen to the structures of families when society develops to the point where every individual could be guaranteed shelter and food.