Andrew D Atkin:
If you want people to become environmentalist's, then the best thing you can do is have them grow up within and amongst the natural world. Then they won't be able to help themselves.
You believe that sprawl is bad. You believe that cars are bad. You believe that public transport is good, or better. You believe that urban rail is efficient. You believe that compact cities are good, or better. You believe there's not enough land. You believe it's natural for house prices to just keep going up, and UP. And you believe that people who wear the environmental badge are, surely, always the good guys?
Well reader, it is and long has been all bullshit. Please read on.
The only images we ever seem to get presented to the general public of the dreaded SPRAAAAAWL are the ones designed to make sprawl look like an environmental apocalypse, whereby sprawl is supposed to seem like something engineered by the devil himself. But what we are never told by the modern planning saints (who are here to do God's work and force us all into high-density apartments - er, excluding themselves) is that urbanisation in New Zealand is a mere 1 part in 150 of the land area. And globally, maybe less than 1 part in 100.
But the truth is sprawl is not only environmentally benign, it can be environmentally beneficial. The following image gives a simple way of demonstrating my point. We can call it "Green Sprawl". It's drawn (barbarically) to make the point of how green-sprawl property development could work. There is of course no end to the different possible styles of development, but the image gives you the core theme anyway.
Imagine housing development that sprawls out more like a spider-web than a concentrated cluster; covering huge areas, if you like. Everyone's back yard extends out to a forest (well it would certainly look and feel that way), with all kinds of plants and trees all around you. Yet strategically planted so residence can still have the sun on their porches. Imagine all you can hear is the wind and natural sounds, because the transport system supporting your development is near-silent and electric. And your privacy, as you might want it, is almost total.
The transport system can be exceptionally efficient because there's no stop-and-go operation from using largely one-way flow-off/on infrastructure, and it can use fully automated cars. Most of the cars can be for single occupancy only (if it's network-based - it would be). Also, it can be mostly run on solar to keep people happy who believe in problematic AGW.
If power-supply for houses is a little more costly because the development's are so spread out, then all you have to do is fairly step-up the price. In response to this, people can (and will) do things like install good insulation, use pressure-cookers for food, employ ground-based heat-pumps, LED lighting, and a bit of clever technology with showering systems etc. All these things can more than eliminate this concern.
Worried about pipelines? People can turn their human waste into fertiliser if need be (use a compost toilet), and catch their water off the roof. Especially in water-rich countries like New Zealand.
So no problem. Rational price pressures will naturally drive housing and lifestyle design, and with good environmental effect. Great, super ecologically-sound resort-style living.
Imagine I got a typical city, say Christchurch, New Zealand, and stretched it out like a piece of chewing gum to cover 4x the area (and filled in the difference with plants)...
The effect of this would be that you double the distances between the stops, because area increases by the square of the distance. So how would that affect the fuel bill and travel time? Maybe an increase of just ~20% because cruising a little longer between the stops means little in a typical urban environment, in terms of transport costs. Most of the time and energy revolves around having to constantly re-accelerate your vehicle - stop-and-go is the curse of transport inefficiency in an urban environment. This is part of the reason why low-density cities are typically just as -and if not more- efficient in terms of transport costs than typical high-density cities.
Another factor comes from the fact that when cities sprawl out, key services follow them. So new transport demand becomes largely localised to the fringes, likewise resisting the development of severe congestion in a growing city so typical of high-density cities.
The "tyranny of distance" is further numbed with the potentials of telecommuting, and full-automation transport technology (as previously commented on). In particular, with full-automation there is the opportunity for unmanned 'micro-cars' than can conveniently post any given item to your door, from the moment you make your order. This is coming (example). So how much of a problem will travel be when you don't have to travel at all?
As you can see, reader, we can well afford to spread out - even dramatically.
Now imagine if the entire world embraced Green Sprawl, similar to how I have described it, and eventually covered not 1% but more like 10% of the entire earths surface with spider-web style property development*. Would this be the end of the world?...you know, the hideous blight of the evil homo sapien who, unlike all other animals, has no business living with nature and should just damn well get back in his zoo? Nope. The opposite. In fact from an environmental outlook I would say that the more we spread out the better.
The environment enjoyed and loved by people, directly, is the environment that will surely be most well defended. And especially with respect to the people who are lucky enough to grow up in it. Indeed, look at how people so consistently say "Not in my back yard!" when someone tries to build a home in their leafy view.
So why not? I mean how on earth can we justify forcing people out of nature and into a "human zoo" against their will? Is it not so wrong that only the rich should be able to do what humans have done since the beginning of time, and live amongst the greenery? And to say - did you know that astronauts in space stations begin to suffer from serious depression when they don't get to work on the plant experiments? The need for greenery is in our genes!
One rationalisation I have come across, to justify killing the sprawl option, is the [erroneous] claim that humans are more productive when forced to live like battery chickens. Shall I decode the reasoning for you? "We planners hereby declare that we have the right to relate to the people's of our city as though they are our personal resource, and we therefore choose to force-create the conditions that will drive OUR people to work harder and likewise produce more".
This kind of reasoning literally moves in the direction of slavery. This is the sort of thing that happens when people get lost in their political positions, and begin to interpret their power as entitlement rather than responsibility.
To take a more detailed look at the twisted reasoning behind forcing people out of the greenery, and into the concrete, see here.
*Massive green cities, from green sprawl, would actually be the among the most biodiverse and life-dense places on earth, second only to the coral reefs and rain forests. True environmentalists (not people-hating communists dressed in green drag) should love it.
Green Sprawl: A model design:
I had a think about how green sprawl would form in practice, and the following diagram gives you my best guess and design suggestion.
I doubt houses, generally, will be built in scattered or grid form. Scattered ultra-low density housing (which mimics a true rural atmosphere) creates an excessively isolated feeling, and grid-style housing creates an institutional pea-in-the-pod feeling. In both scenarios the houses are left without a feeling of "place", which I believe is important to make a home feel good. A home needs to be part of a family of houses. To preserve a neighborhood feel, you need to build them in clusters, mimicking the private cul-de-sac.
The model presented is a very low-density version of my ideal, originally presented in my club economies article.
The green represents rugged plant life, the orange the houses, the blue the one-way road network, and the orange fine-lined areas represent the walkways. And the white represents private garden and lawn.
The houses, in my ideal, would tend to be 2-story though maybe quite narrow (like a town house). This would provide an elevated deck that looks out onto the housing clusters, from a "safe perch", while saving space in a practical way. I can't explain why exactly, but I think this would have a really good feel to it. It gives you the friendly, sociable atmosphere of a (well designed) town-house setting in the front, and the truly private and essentially rural (lifestyle) atmosphere out the back. Note that people's houses can provide an important three-dimensional* contrast, for an interesting view. It can feel rather barren to look out at nothing but green nature.
Note: However, one thing to be careful with, with 2-story houses, is designing them so that people do not have immediate neighbours looking down on them in their backyards. Privacy is so important for a relaxed feeling. This might require rules in developments that ensure that people who build 2-story structures only use textured windows (that don't open) or skylights for certain upstairs rooms. I would imagine this would be fine for rooms such as bedrooms and bathrooms.
The road-network would support an electric transport system that is fully automated, and the roads would only need to be about 2-meters wide - virtually just a footpath. Though it would require a system such as ULTra to begin with, it would be designed so that later on a go-anywhere full-automation transport system can replace the ULTra-type system (which would be inevitable).
The walkways would be little more than a dirt track, and in some areas literally a dirt track. This is all they need to be as the electric transport system can be used by anyone, as required. Street lighting would be reduced to actively lit LED's embedded in the ground, which are cheap and provide for a much more pleasant atmosphere at night, as compared to powerful overhead lighting.
Developments built on purely flat land are notoriously boring and sterile. Hence, it could be a good idea to artificially break up the land with gentle hills, wherever required. This sounds expensive but it wouldn't be; the distance between the peaks and troughs only needs to be about 3-5 meters to kill that flat-land sterility. The roading would not be significantly more expensive because it is single-lane and narrow, making it economical to integrate with shallow slopes. Also, with excavation for slopes you can also look at building artificial ponds.
The roads would be curved (for interest) with super-elevating, making it comfortable and efficient. Typically, the transport speed would be about 30km/h max, with no stop and go, making energy costs a moot concern. Note: When you halve the transport speed, energy consumption drops to a quarter (in electric systems).
These developments, when built at scale, would probably support collectively-owned private facilities. In some ways it would feel more like a holiday park than traditional suburbia...but why not? If it feels better and works better, and saves you from having to buy your own gym, tennis court and pool, etc, then it makes sense. Full-automation transport connects you to standard facilities so efficiently that it makes sense.
Also, as a suggestion, I think it could be a good idea to have an exclusive small vegetable farm, maybe permaculture, and an orchid, collectively owned as part of the master facility. This secures an excellent base for fresh food protected from the variant status of the wider market, and gives you food that you have control over. (You don't have to negotiate with corporate's to not put frog genes in it, etc).
*You need objects in both the foreground and background for a really pleasant view. Otherwise your far-looking view starts to become a "distant postcard", which has a somewhat redundant effect.
Now that's what I call a backyard. Lawn surrounded my rugged plants - my favorite effect. Everyone in New Zealand should be able to afford a backyard like this, not just the rich. And imagine how immersive it would be if you can't hear any traffic, due to the virtues of small-scale electric transport.
This is the future because this is what most people want, and we now have the practical tools to give it to them.
Legislating for Green Sprawl:
If 0.8% of New Zealand is really too much for urbanisation, then we can legislate for Green Sprawl and achieve the exact same effect as densification in terms of not paving over anything.
You simply create some rules along the lines of the following:
10% land area for roading.
10% land area for housing.
20% land area for lawns.
60% land area for garden and forest.
1 bedroom per 200 square meters.
Give that rule to developers so that they'll be forced to build within those parameters. The result will be either high-density development concentrated over a small areas, or low-density development but with houses that tend to be 2-story and have either no road going directly to the houses (for the last 20 meters or so from the road) or housing developed with new transport systems, etc.
Either way, you avoid what some may consider excessive paving-over of the earth, and you do it without taking away the option of detached housing, and without artificially creating crazy high land prices.
The rules would be a bit more complex than that of course, but if these so-called environmentalists are for real, then this is the sort of thing they can and should do to achieve the ends they claim to want to achieve.
But of course they are not for real. They have been indoctrinated into a given planning ideology which is long discredited and morally disgraceful, and they can longer second-guess their group-reinforced beliefs. They are pathetic.
Friday, December 16, 2011
Andrew D Atkin:
Most people's reaction to the idea of the state defining who can and cannot breed is one of knee-jerk rejection, because of course it seems like a violation of citizens rights. I understand, but the fact remains that if you don't believe in breeding licensing then you believe in the alternative; and the alternative is to let thousands of children be born to monsters. That is, people who perpetuate abuses and neglect on levels that you may not even wish on your worst enemy. So choose your greater evil?
How can we be so confident in proposing social policy for the now, when we blatantly ignore the demographic impact of our policies running into the future? How can we make claim to the 'rightness' of our propositions, when we do not even dare have the real conversations?
Current public policy in the western world works to ensure that anyone, not matter their physical or psychological status, can have as many children as they want. Whatever their failings the state will pick up the slack. We do this primarily because we have no tolerance for the idea of leaving children for dead. However, our policy is also reckless - we operate this policy in the vacuum of long-term thinking, and already we are paying dearly for it with the rapid expansion of the underclass.
I have written periodically in my blog that I believe in breeding licenses, but I want to make a dedicated statement on it. We live in a country, and world, where serious child abuse is so common that it is a norm. But we don't take serious action. Why?
The problem is, I believe, that we have far less political pressure than there should be to address this problem. Here are some thoughts as to why:
1. The biggest problem is the out-of-sight/out-of-mind effect. Yes we know child abuse is an ugly and pervasive problem, but it's still only abstractions to our minds because we can't see it and feel it personally.
2. Another problem is that, ironically, not even the people who are subject to child abuse can see it and feel it (fully) because they repress it.
-This relates to the permanence of the damage: See my Understanding Mental Sickness.
3. Once abuse has distorted the mind (and yes, it literally distorts the functioning and even structure of the brain), you get an individual who no longer even knows what normal is.
-Imagine a father beating the death out of his son while saying: "My dad beat me up when I did something wrong and I turned out ok". You get my point.
4. Too many people with personal demons to hide. What child-abuser wants their children to be tested for signs of abuse? This is probably why the topic is often taboo.
So here we have this individually and socially devastating problem that just won't go away. In fact it's getting worse because we have a welfare system that supports highly damaged people in having as many children as they want, and regardless of their personal status. I know it's a bit crass to say so, but in part at least you could interpret the DPB (domestic purposes benefit) as a breeding programme for the criminal class, because functionally that's what it has been for so many cases.
However, removing financial support for woman with children is not a realistic option. Once children have come into this world they should be supported as well as they reasonably can be. They cannot be blamed for a mother's incompetence and, as the reader will probably agree, they should not be left for dead.
But if we are to retain our welfare system and continue to support children, and regardless of who they are born to, then we need to seriously consider actively imposing ourselves so as to regulate who can and cannot have children in the first place. Because the alternative is the status quo - that is, thousands of children being born into hell, leaving us with a profound current and inter-generational problem that will spread and endure indefinitely.
I am not speaking theory I am speaking fact. We are already dealing with the consequences of this today.
Some people believe that education can provide the answer to the cycle of child abuse. They are no doubt well intentioned, but wrong. They do not understand the impact that child abuse has on the individual.
Yes education is important, and it can help to some degree, but it is limited. You can never truly 'enlighten' someone who has been robbed of their childhood. The repression, developmental deficiencies, and distorted emotional programming run far too deep.
Think about it. If education could solve the problem then our species wouldn't need a childhood in the first place. It takes about 20 years in a proper environment for the human animal to develop into a capable parent themselves. You're dreaming if you think a short-term remedial "cook book" programme can substitute it.
The included video gives an excellent overview in the impact of child abuse. It clarifies for the reader what we are really dealing with (link here).
How could it work?
My ideal model is to make it so that mothers cannot breed until they are first awarded a license. However, you cannot regulate to avoid an accidental pregnancy, and a forced-abortion is politically impossible and in my view morally unacceptable. So, there would be many cases where a woman will get pregnant, want to keep her baby (even though she's a mess), and in turn will have her baby without a license. So how do you deal with this?
I believe the punishment would have to be forced surgical contraception once the woman's baby is born. Accept the one baby, do your best for them, but then no more.
Yes I know that is brutal. But the incentive to get a license before pregnancy must be strong otherwise the law will be useless and dysfunctional. I wish there were a nicer way but I can't see it. And remember, a woman can always choose not to "walk off the cliff" by taking proper precautions before sex. The state would only have to be brutal for if she insists on being impulsive and stupid. At the least, the message would be clear: Pregnancy is a serious business.
Who would be awarded a license?
If I had it my way it wouldn't be the bottom 20% of society because I know how damaged 'normal' is. But the points of reference are subjective - no-one is non damaged. Basically, the larger the fractional cut-off number, the faster you can eradicate the impact of severe inter-generational damage within your society.
However 20% would almost certainly be politically impossible. My personal guess is that only the bottom 5% would be restricted from reproduction. Regardless, stopping the worst of the worst from breeding would be a major step forward and put us on the right track.
How do you measure fitness?
It's only recently that we have had the tools to make a reasonable decision.
Believe it or not, the least of the concerning attributes for winning a breeding license would be things like gainful employment, good manners and attitudes, and social conformity etc. These things are skin deep. People can do all the "right" things but still for all the wrong reasons, and vise versa. What you want to look for is signs of substantial psychological damage. This can be detected with background reports, and more importantly physical and mental analysis using brain scans. Genetic physical/mental fitness is a concern to look at as well, which I speak about later.
It's a given that you will never have a perfect screening system. There will always be the borderlines who in principle should or should not have been awarded a license. But that would be a small price to pay for the advantage of stopping the bulk of societies most damaged people from breeding.
Another great advantage of breeding licenses is that you establish the infrastructure for direct population control. No one can argue that this may not one day be a necessity, if it is not already.
I know that people argue that the Malthusians have got it wrong, and that populations stabilise with wealth. But these people are looking at our industrialised societies only from the surface. I can't say for sure, but I retain a strong suspicion that the conditions have long been introduced to (deliberately) keep population growth suppressed in the industrialised world. (See here for my comprehensive statement on this). And if so, then I for one would like to see the exchange of our current form of 'tyranny' for direct controls on population, via breeding licenses.
Better to limit the number of children people can have directly, than to psychologically condition and economically starve them out of the option?
The eugenics question:
The eugenics question relates to the other great advantage of breeding licenses. We can include in the list of prerequisites that parents-to-be have no serious risk of passing on chronic disorders to their children.
In our society we do not let nature "have its way" and let people with chronic genetic problems die of their own shortcomings. Though on a humane level this is obviously great, it's bad practice for the long-term. By facilitating the "survival of the weak" we threaten the future health of our species. So maybe we need to think about doing surgically what nature will otherwise do catastrophically? Again, I speak about this in detail here.
So you think I'm a Nazi? Nope. I'm a realist. And sometimes the nice things to believe are not the real things to believe. And can I say that I'm not the one who promotes the idea that thousands of children should continue to be born to parents who will exchange what should be love with sexual and aggressive release. I won't labour the point, but again, if you're not for effective change then you choose the status quo and whatever it is that the status quo will evolve into. It's not pretty.
I believe that the time for breeding licenses has come. At the least can we start talking about it? If there are better (realistic) solutions to the problems that I'm talking about then great, I'm all ears. But so far I can't see them.
Charles Murray's essay is of interest. He notes that America has dealt with the underclass problem not by stopping it from breeding or rehabilitating it, but by segregating it through prisons and gated communities, etc. This is not a solution to the underclass itself course, it is only a solution for those who don't want to be subject to it directly.
Friday, December 2, 2011
Andrew D Atkin:
Remember that tyranny is the historic norm, our species is just as insane as it ever was, and horrors on the scale of 9-11 (intelligently organised, or not) are no freak show.
So may we dare to ask the question? Was 9-11 an inside job?
The idea of 9-11 being an inside job is not something that any sane person would want to believe. The implications of such a thing--if it were in fact to be true--are difficult to say the least. You would have to re-consider/develop much of your entire world view, and it would be to a view that is far from the happy "western sunshine" model that we all want to embrace.
If you're an American in particular, then an inside job would mean not that you have a luke-warm democracy, but that you have no democracy at all; and it wouldn't just mean that your country suffers from an infestation of psychopaths, but that those psychopaths are in the drivers seat. And it would mean things like the fact that every day you send your kid away to get their schooling, you can know they'll be conforming to programmes specified by an elite that value your children about as much as you or I value livestock. Etc.
Very uncomfortable. But let's look at some 9-11 facts anyway.
There are many facts about 9-11 that justify some rational suspicion. Such as, the fact that the evidence from the collapsed towers was rapidly cleared and melted down (rather than explicitly examined), or the fact that traces of thermite (a military-only type advanced explosive) was found in the debris...and much more 'funny stuff' that I can't recall.
But these things, to me, are no smoking gun. They do not induce my serious suspicion. However, the following clip does...
The official story is that Tower-7 collapsed from a fire and also a boiler explosion in the bottom-center of the building. First respect that no steel-frame building has ever before collapsed from a fire, and Tower-7 collapsed in a manner identical to a perfect controlled demolition:
Now what are the chances of this? What are the chances of the building collapsing like a perfect controlled demolition as a result of a fire? This is like winning first-division lotto three times over, and in consecutive weeks on a single ticket. The chances are not small - they're incredible.
The idea that the exploding boiler can induce a demolition-style implosion sounds hard to believe as well. Does hot water really contain enough thermal energy to pull that off? And what are the chances of the nature (trajectory) of the explosion just so happening to facilitate the right impacts on the major support columns, for a demolition-style implosion to occur? Again the chances are just so small, if not impossible.
Even if a building of this type could collapse from a fire, then you would expect it to crumble away gradually--over hours or even days--as each of the major supporting columns (24 in this case, I think?) finally gives way.
I am not the only one who sees it this way. There is a petition somewhere out there that literally thousands of architects and engineers have signed in support of a second investigation into 9-11. I understand that they are primarily responding to the same things that I am responding to.
Even if you do not believe that 9-11 was an inside job, the Tower-7 collapse is in itself extraordinarily suspicious. I believe it's fair to say that that much is not open to interpretation.
Have you ever seen the movie, Trading Places? (I recommend it - it's entertaining). The producer of that movie is Aaron Russo. Aaron developed a close relationship with Nick Rockefeller, who is the son of David Rockefeller. According to Aaron, Nick Rockefeller gave him substantial insider information about the 9-11 event (and other), and he did so several months in advance of 9-11 actually happening.
Aaron is very interesting, and he certainly doesn't come off as psychopathic or delusional. Aaron had nothing to gain in making his assertions. He was already very successful. He was also knowingly dying of cancer at the time of this interview (now dead).
His interview as follows:
But how would it be possible to pull off?
Compartmentalisation. For example, the military makes top secret planes with only a few people understanding the final project, by compartmentalising their operations. You have one team making the wings (only) and another team making the drive-units (only), etc. Only the guys at the top 'put it all together'. Everybody else only knows what they need to know.
In the 9-11 scenario, if it is in fact an inside job, the people who made the explosives would almost certainly have had no idea what those explosives would be used for; and the people who installed them into the buildings would have been told it was just some form of high-tech fire-retardant, etc.
In a compartmentalised world, and especially one with official secrecy, nearly everyone operates on faith with respect to the ultimate objectives they're attending to. You can appreciate the latent danger of misplaced power in this context, as maybe too few people do (or can) hold the "big boys" to account.
Who believes in an inside job?
If I was earning big money in a government job, or big money on some level of the corporate private sector, I would never write a post like this one. I'm asking for trouble if for no other reason than because of the way it makes me look to my colleages, and clients. This especially applies for if I was in a government job. You get it? Inside-job is not something you're allowed to believe.
So how then do you know that only kooks ask the question and have serious suspicions? Well, all I can say is that you might be very surprised at what many highly reputable and well-educated people [privately] believe about this 9-11 thing.
As I have said before on my blog: Being embarrassed to be associated with a conspiracy is not, in itself, the right reason to dismiss it.
I know full well that government corruption goes way further than what most people assume of it, and what we call democracy is a bit of a human-management exercise joke. The 9-11 event may indicate that it goes even further and that we have the blackest of people running the show.
Maybe there is not enough evidence to be absolute with the conclusion, but there is most certainly enough evidence to be seriously suspicious. A truly honest government would accept and respect that much at least - rather than demonising the critics.
As for the engineers and architects who want a second investigation, we can know that it couldn't realistically prove anything in itself. If 9-11 were in fact an inside job, then asking for a second investigation would be like asking a corrupt judge to find himself guilty and prosecute himself. Obviously at this level of the game it's about power, not justice.