This is a book recommendation. Sadly, it’s out of print, and I can find none in any of the used book sites I have used. The good news is it’s cheap on Kindle.

I found out about it here if you want a short opinion second to the one that follows.

I can’t believe I’d never heard of the book, either.

The flying car topic of the title is used to weave a sort of ‘back to the future’ look at at technology, American ingenuity/entrepreneurialism, and government regulation. There is a strong science fiction presence used to ask “Why did, or did not, the predictions of 1930-1960 SF come to pass?” It’s a good summary of my contention that much of that literature should have been required reading.

Appearances, among many others, by H. G. Wells, Issac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke.

The brilliant Dr. Richard Feynman also takes a bow in a discussion of Heinlein’s novellas Waldo and Magic Inc..

I cut my teeth on SF with Tom Swift, and my strong technological optimism arguably started with that series. (I wonder if there is anything comparable now for 10 year olds?)

The author, J Storrs Hall, is a techno-optimist, too, and he suggests that after the 1960’s America became a much less “can do” polity than we had any reason to expect. We went from the Wright brothers to 747s in 50 years, from Goddard (1926) to the moon in 43. Now we’re mired in CAFE standards and cronyism.

Hall does spend a fair bit of time discussing the history of ‘flying cars’ and that alone is fascinating. There’s much more. He also makes very intriguing points about nanotech, nuclear power, AI, cybernetics, economics, city planning, and other topics.

One major consideration is envirostatism (my term), where he contends that the GREEN point isn’t CO2, pollution, or any of the other excuses offered. It is essentially anti-human nihilism.

For example,

“Green ideas have become inextricably intertwined with a perfectly reasonable desire to live in a clean, healthy environment and enjoy the natural world. The difference is of course that in the latter case, the human enjoying the natural world is a good thing, but to the fundamentalist Green he and all his works are a bad thing.”

Lest you think this is hyperbole, he supplies some words from the mouths of the horses-asses:

The prospect of cheap fusion energy is the worst thing that could happen to the planet.
-Jeremy Rifkin

Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.
-Paul Ehrlich

It would be little short of disastrous for us for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy because of what we would do with it.
-Amory Lovins

The title of this piece is Cassandra backwards. I closely paraphrase J Storrs Hall,

“There seems to be a bizarre reverse-Cassandra effect operating in the universe: whereas the mythical Cassandra spoke the awful truth and was not believed, these days “experts” speak awful falsehoods, and they are believed. Repeatedly being wrong actually seems to be an advantage, conferring some sort of puzzling magic glow upon the speaker.”

We hear California wildfires are caused by global warming climate change, when it’s actually envirostatist mismanagement, and the conscious intent to build windmills rather than maintain power lines. The California satraps agree with Rifkin, Ehrlich, and Lovins. In order to cripple the supply of energy, what have their like told us that wasn’t true?

California wildfires are caused by climate change. Gavin Newsom – yesterday
Four billion people will die between 1980 and 1989 from climate change. Paul Ehrlich – 1970
The polar ice cap will disappear by 2014. Al Gore – 2007
The planet will warm by 3 full degrees (0.1, actually). James Hansen – 1988
We will see the ‘end of snow.’ Untrue, no matter how many times it’s been predicted. various – 2000, 2015, 2017, 2020
Air pollution will reduce the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half. – Various – 1970

Amusingly, we also didn’t see an ice age by the year 2000. Kenneth Watt – 1970

Meanwhile, we see the very people who want zero CO2 emissions steadfastly oppose nuclear energy. Which is zero emission, safe, and causes immensely less environmental damage than windmills or solar panels. They are not protecting the environment, they are attacking the very idea of human well-being. This antipathy is in the spirit of Rifkin, Ehrlich, and Lovins. It is about authoritarian power in the way Critical Theorists describe it: There are no objective truths. Human history and culture are merely examples of a struggle in relative political power dynamics.

They don’t mean power as in horsepower, they mean justifying the political power of Antifa and BLM riots.

And don’t get me started on Critical Theorists’ “science” on “individuals with a cervix,” or what 2+2 equals.

Anyway. I recommend the book.

Planet Without Humans

My initial reaction to the release of Michael Moore’s Planet of the Humans was bemusement. Sure, it’s tittilating that some far left icon would point out the Green energy fraud. But, I was also conflicted. On one hand, some envirostatist heads are exploding. On the other, I expected an hour and forty minute exposure to an indictment of capitalism by a multi-millionaire who makes shit up.

Not exactly. Crony capitalism is the symptom here. The real problem is human beings.

If you’ve been paying attention to the windmill and solar panels flimflam, you won’t find very much new about the Green energy con men, though it is devastatingly presented, and many people won’t be aware of the details. The feature that has catastrophic global warming skeptics talking about the film is its condemnation of the corrupt public-pirate partnerships which Moore erroneously calls capitalism while eliding the fact that without the government’s “Green” subsidies this bullshit would stop immediately. Be careful about enjoying the ‘split’ on the Left. Because, while Green energy is a scam, that isn’t Mr. Moore’s end game.

The novelty of a far left critique of the Green energy cabal wears off fairly quickly. The film carefully sets up a no win ecological dilemma only to be solved by drastic reductions in human population and impoverishment of those who remain. Except for Extinction Rebellion leaders, of course, who will still be compelled to fly about in private jets making sure we conform.

Planet of the Humans is an extended public service announcement for Extinction Rebellion, whose goal is to reverse the industrial revolution. And, more broadly, drastically cut human population, “Corona is the cure, humans are the disease.

Now, ER has distanced themselves from this (bad PR), but it’s right in their wheelhouse, and isn’t a new or controversial idea. It’s simply an update of Malthus (1798), Paul Erhlich (1968), The Club of Rome (1972) and the Duke of Edinburgh:

“In the event that I am reincarnated, I would like to return as a deadly virus, to contribute something to solving overpopulation.”

-Prince Philip speaking to Deutsche Press Agentur in 1988.

The radical depopulation message is not expressed directly, but it is left lying face up on the table as our only hope. Yes, Michael, Big Green is a bunch of lying profiteers whose ruinous solutions to imaginary problems are magical thinking – which some of us have been telling you since forever – but that doesn’t mean we don’t already have a well developed technological solution for your CO2 concerns.

I’ve never seen a better argument for nuclear power plants. Nukes solve the CO2 ‘problem,’ create high paying jobs, provide secure energy, save destruction of wild places, strengthen the grid, are less expensive, cause less ancillary pollution than ‘green’ energy, and are an actually sustainable power source because we can recycle and reuse the fuel – even create it – as part of the energy cycle.

That nuclear power goes entirely unmentioned in a film calling out technological advancement as futile proves my oft stated point: It’s not about wildlife or CAGW. ER admits this. It’s about white supremacy, colonialism, patriarchy, racialism, Eurocentrism, hetero-sexism, and class hierarchy. Like every other Leftwing intersectionality cult: It’s about the power to dictate how, where and whether you live. Gretchen Whitmer is showing us the trailer here in Michigan.

I did learn one thing from the film; that radioactive waste from mining rare earth metals necessary for solar panels and windmills is simply spread over the desert, despoiling the ecosystem. So, even the nuclear waste argument from the anti-nukers fails.

I did laugh out loud at the company name the narrator used for the corporation formed by Al Gore and David Blood (Goldman Sachs’ Asset Management head), but this film is not a joke at the expense of the Left. It would be good if it resulted in the disappearance of the Green energy extortion industry, but Mr. Moore’s preferred policy replacement is far more draconian and portends a huge increase in human suffering.

Phoenix Falling

Joaquin Phoenix is a sanctimonious ingrate.

“We’re talking,” said Joaquin Phoenix as he accepted his Best Actor award for “Joker,” “about the fight against the belief, one nation, one race, one gender or one species has the right to dominate, control and use and exploit another with impunity. I think that we’ve become very disconnected from the natural world and many of us, what we’re guilty of is an egocentric worldview, the belief that we’re the center of the universe.”

We may be talking, but not coherently.

What’s with the conflation of nations, beliefs, races, genders and species, aside from the fact they’re all nouns? And, I’m not sure where “impunity” figures into it.

For simplicity, let’s just examine “species.” For millions of years every species has been ready to kill every other species. We’re the only species to have done anything about that, and not just for our own. In fact, we’re the only species who can muster any angst about other species.

You can argue that we can do a better job (as we continually have) of maintaining a pleasant and safe environment – but we can do that precisely because we’ve exploited the natural world. We have not done so with impunity. We have suffered immensely.

Mr. Phoenix’ disdain for humanity is exceeded only by the natural world’s indifference to humanity. His worldview might profit from reviewing the history of, oh, subsistence farming – an occupation to which the envirostatists and eliminationists would have us return. Call it equality of outcome for all species.

Contra Mr. Phoenix, we should celebrate our success in moderating the natural world. That’s actually what the Oscars are about. His very profession is unimaginable without the wealth we wrested from nature. He wouldn’t be collecting an award for his existentially trivial efforts in the universe he proposes. He’d have been eaten, died of malaria, or starved to death.

The universe is apathetic toward us, but we are still close enough to its center to electronically transmit, into the comfortable homes of millions of people with nothing better to do; a ceremony staged by an industry that wouldn’t exist without the immense labor and intelligence of millions of human creators and consumers. A ceremony, moreover, to hand out trinkets celebrating expertise in make-believe; in a bright, climate controlled theater filled with healthy, wealthy humans; in a city unimaginable a century ago; in a world where environmental improvements go hand in hand with accumulation of wealth; and where poverty and hunger are well on the way to elimination.

Mr. Phoenix stood on the shoulders of billions of human creators in order to tell us we aren’t doing it perfectly. Have him get back to me when he’s got coronaviruses singing Kumbaya.

More like Jihad

The Children’s Crusade
By the inestimable James Lileks

The Climate Panic Movement is all about saving the children who walked out of school to protest and got a three-day weekend. If you argue with the children, you hate science and want them to die when melting seas push a tsunami of hungry polar bears into Nebraska.

Well. The “deniers” need a manifesto to read to these children. Something along these lines.

It’s great. RTWT

The mills grind slowly

“Thus, I do not see what use there is in those mills of the gods said to grind so late as to render punishment hard to be recognized, and to make wickedness fearless.”

Sometimes it is hard to immediately distinguish good intentions from wicked fearlessness. Whirlwinds may be reaped either way.

I recommend this Megan McCardle article, California has difficult choices to make. Its politicians keep avoiding reality. for its summation of the fearless irrationality of California’s energy policies.

I’d suggest it’s even worse than McCardle thinks. If California power generation becomes 100% renewable the problem becomes intractable even assuming a miracle.

So, let us first assume the miracle: Elon Musk invents a method of burying all California’s electric transmission lines for a few dollars per mile – by combining Tesla’s impeccably capable self-driving software with a fleet of miniature Boring Machines powered by his SolarCity solar panels and ultra-stable batteries. Power lines are thereby quickly made safe from the danger of sparking wildfires. Only a few of the machines spontaneously combust or crash into underground gas lines. Which are, in any case, being phased out. Santa Ana blackouts are a thing of the past.

Next, assume that Governors Brown and Newsom, the California legislature, and the envirostatists pushing 100% renewable electricity generation accomplish their objective, and that 50% of that renewable power is generated by windmills, since it’s only sensible not to depend entirely on solar panels, even if Elon Musk donates the entire output of SolarCity for a decade.

We will not go so far as to assume the Santa Ana winds simply cease to blow, however. Those winds are above the windmill cut out speed and will necessitate shutting down the windmills when the Santa Ana blow.

California blackouts, when the wind doesn’t blow and when it blows too much, would become a permanent, designed in, feature of the grid.