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Saturday, November 12, 2011



There is always a price to pay for progress.

“You can have a telephone, but you lose your privacy and the charm of distance. You can conquer the skies, but the birds will lose their wonder and the clouds will smell of gasoline” (Spencer Tracy in “Inherit the Wind”).

I just read where the Obama administration has halted the construction of an oil pipeline from Canada through the States to the Gulf of Mexico.  There are concerns of oil spills ruining an aquifer in Nebraska and environmentalists are leery of the country becoming reliant on oil sands petroleum which does not burn as cleanly as other oils.

I am sure the issue is complicated, and we should not rush into projects if they could prove to be dangerous.  I do wonder however, if these concerns are really real or are they a knee jerk reaction against anything oil? 

We can’t drill off-shore, spills could be devastating.  We can’t drill in Alaska, leaks could be devastating.  We can’t pipe oil through the States, leaks could be devastating.  We can, apparently, use oil from other countries who are not concerned with devastating oil leaks.  This is fortunate for us.  If they cared about oil spills and leaks, we would be keeping warm by rubbing two sticks together and we would be walking a whole lot.

I wonder what the environmental consequences of other projects similar to this pipeline might be. 

Could we safely build a railroad line across the continent?  It seems to me that could be devastating to the deer, antelope, coyotes and bison.

It would be great to be able to communicate all over the country by telegraph or even telephone, but that would require stringing lines all over the 50 states.  Just think of the consequences of that to life as we know it.  I guess we could wait for cellular technology to solve that communication problem, except I am not sure if those cell waves are safe.   We should probably hold off on that until it is studied further.  There is always the Pony Express, unless spreading horse shit all over concerns you.  Maybe we could communicate across the globe via a series of smoke signals.  Hmmm…pollution…climate change…I don’t think that would work either.

We could build roads and communicate plus transfer goods via cars and trucks.  Oh yeah, that would be as bad as the railroad and telephone wire idea.

There is always radio and TV.  Have those signals been studied yet.  Sound waves, TV waves….they seem very scary to me. 

We could send mail by boat.  We could go from NY to LA fairly quickly if we could just cut through Panama.  Hmmm…that sounds risky and who knows how many insects, plants or animals a project like that could destroy. 

I guess we could stay in touch with other parts of the country and the world by plane.  Of course that would require building large airports which would upset local ecologies and cause air and noise pollution.  Also where would we get the oil to power such planes? 

Maybe we could drill for it off-shore and in Alaska and then pipe it in.      


  1. Wise observations, very wise indeed. Makes me think about those huge wind turbine farms which harness clean energy but are just a bit of an eyesore on the landscape.

  2. Brilliant post.I am not being sarcastic. You should submit this to something. A newspaper, magazine...seriously. DO IT!

  3. Cranky - Brilliant as usual..Hey if we really thought about it we would probably be able to justify preventing ourselves from breathing.. I find the whole global warming thing to be a trifle arrogant - to think the mankind assumes that he is capable of destroying something that has been here thousands and thousands of years before him. I'm not saying that we should ignore global warming all together - I do my part in recycling etc because it is a good and better thing to do - Hell I even turn lights off because I was told it helps to save Polar Bears - but I simply do not buy into the arrogance that mankind is capable of destroying something as old and ancient as the earth!

    Lou :-)

  4. Great post ~ Am at a similar point in my life and know research is important before making a major decision ~ yet I come back to Helen Keller ~a paraphrased quote ~ 'Life is either a daring adventure ~ or nothing.' ~

    PS ~ I always said when my generation(your generation also) gets into power we are all in trouble ~ hmmmmm