Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

How much will more drilling get us?

I heard on the news today someone put the idea out there that people might be willing to allow more drilling in places like ANWAR in response to high gas prices. But how much will drilling in ANWAR really lower prices?

I saw some stuff online (like at fact check.org) that suggested that ANWAR at most would only increase our domestic oil supply by about 5%. Since our domestic supply doesn't come close to meeting our demand, a small increase in domestic supply won't help prices much.

I get the impression we are stuck with these prices. Would some of the more scientifically inclined members of our group care to elaborate on how increased domestic drilling might influence our gas prices?

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Not only would the amount of crude in Alaska do little to compensate for demand, but the actual acquisition would be a logistical nightmare. The current swath of oil drilling platforms in Alaska are restricted to a small port city called Barrow, which is hundreds of miles from ANWAR, & no one knows where this oil is exactly, meaning a considerable effort would have to be mounted to find it & considering how inhospitable the Alaskan wilderness is it would be not only costly but extremely hazardous. Then the pipeline in Barrow would have to be redirected & probably recalibrated to allow for the increased flow of oil. Then once the oil finally got to Valdez, you'd still have to refine it. The oil companies granted contracts there would hardly be able to absorb the cost which would in turn be passed onto the consumer & could potentially raise the cost of gas in the states that see that oil. To be honest, if I were an oil executive I would've written off ANWAR a long time ago simply for these reasons.

Dead Parrot said...

If there was much oil to be found in ANWR, GWB would have invaded Alaska instead of Iraq.

History Buff said...

I've seen a couple of news articles in the Houston Chronicle that say that McCain wants to lift the off shore drilling ban in effect off the coasts of several states. Now that the price of oil is effecting their pocketbooks the not-in-my-backyrders may call to have this ban lifted, although this may be just as deliterious to the environment the oil would be easier to get at.

Dr. Strangelove said...

The irony is that offshore drilling and ANWAR drilling are only likely to be cost-effective for oil companies if prices remain high. Tapping these resources is not about price, but about energy security. And frankly it won't provide much. It will, however, create some jobs and make some already-rich people even richer. Which is of course the point.

Pombat said...

Outsiders view: your gas prices are NOT high, even at four bucks a gallon.

Check out prices in Europe, UK, even Australia. Even with generous currency conversions to skew your numbers up and theirs down, that's a whole bunch of countries paying a LOT more for gas than you do (and have been for a while). When I left the UK a couple of years ago, 90p a litre was 'cheap' - that's about $6.80 a gallon at an exchange rate of $2 to GBP1 - the average is now apparently GBP1.18 a litre (www.petrolprices.com), which works out to $8.85 or so per gallon.

Your clothes prices are not high either, nor your prices for cosmetics, CDs etc etc. Not compared to a set of similar countries in terms of standard of living etc.

(disclosure: in a seemingly hypocritical turn, I fully intend to take advantage of these low prices to stock up on basic items such as jeans when I visit the US later this year - they are items that I actually need and will be buying *somewhere*, and I figure I may as well pay low prices for them. Plus Spotted H can get long enough jeans in the US, unbelievably tricky here)

The US comes across as about the most consumerist nation on the entire planet though, so maybe higher prices in the US will be good for the world generally? Maybe not being able to afford to drive EVERYwhere will encourage those that can to walk or cycle instead? Maybe it'll put pressure on local government to increase public transport facilities for everyone? Maybe it'll lead to a nice attitude shift towards a more sustainable way of life?

Here's hoping.

Raised By Republicans said...

"Outsiders view: your gas prices are NOT high, even at four bucks a gallon."

You're absolutely right about that. But of course from a political perspective, our voters don't compare our prices to prices in Australia. They just compare today to last year and then howl about the increase.

"The US comes across as about the most consumerist nation on the entire planet though,"

I doubt our life styles in the US really differ that much from those in Australia, Japan or Western Europe - better variety of bluejeans sizes aside. European (and Australian) cities have congested roads full of cars and people there fly to vacations all over the place and watch TV and buy useless luxury items too.

History Buff said...

Most ubergreens here in the US are actually happy about the rise in gas prices just for the reasons you state Pombat. I for one would love to see better mass transit here in San Antonio. Right now it is abismal. It takes 40 minutes to ride the bus to the movie theater 2 miles down the road. I could walk there faster as long as the cars on the highway don't run me down. And riding a bicycle on a city street down here is suicide.

Pombat said...

RbR - you're absolutely correct on both points in fact, but I'm going to continue anyway :-)

Gas - yes, your average voters don't compare outside of the country. You guys on here however are smarter than the average bear, so I kinda expect you to have a less America-centric view of the world than them.

And consumption, yes, plenty of other countries consume, often ridiculously (Japan is a very good example as you say) - somehow though, the developing countries, those billions in India and China, are all holding up America as their lifestyle beacon.

I'm going to be very interested to visit the US later this year, as I've only previously visited as a child, and see if the impression I get from news, The Economist, The Daily Show, other non-US visitors to the US, etc, is borne out by my own personal experience. And it's little things that I've seen/heard of, such as bagging groceries in a paper AND a plastic bag, and people driving to shops just a two minute walk down the road without even considering walking that's the kind of thing I'd be shocked to see.

I'm certainly not saying that other countries aren't consumerist - stats I've seen have Aus consuming at close to US rates - just that the US comes across as one of the biggest, and that maybe a culture shock of high prices, not being able to afford a materialistic lifestyle, will do a lot of people there some good.

Personally, Spotted H and I are trying to do our bit to be less consumerist, and more sustainable - yes, we still fly places, we use electricity, we buy new things...but...
- we don't buy 'stuff' just for the sake of having stuff - most of what we consume is actual consumables: food & drink,
- our white goods were bought with efficiency (water and electricity) as a main criteria,
- all of our light bulbs are energy saving ones,
- we use 'earth friendly' detergents for crockery & clothes and wash clothes on a cold wash,
- we put the washing machine hose into our wheelie garbage bin so that we can wheel that water outside for the garden,
- we keep our shower time down by turning off the shower when lathering shampoo etc (i.e. not actually needing the water running),
- we flush the toilet with shower water (and if we owned our house, we'd have rainwater tanks and a decent greywater system),
- we do not have a clothes dryer (one of the most energy wasting household devices), instead drying our clothes on a line outside in the sun (thus using that already available energy) or inside on a drying rack - I hear that in the US, drying clothes outside is considered a 'trailer trash' activity - is that true?..,
- we have a worm farm for our kitchen scraps,
- we recycle everything we can (except for the paper/cardboard that the wormies will eat),
- we don't actually own a car (although granted we do have the luxuries of good weather, healthy joints for cycling & good public transport system)
- we buy in bulk to save on packaging
- we take our own bags to the shops/market
- we shop at the market for food as much as possible, to keep the food miles down and support local business, whilst getting fab food at good prices (again, granted, a good local market is a luxury)
- and the piece de resistance, our television is older than I am (and Spotted H is very proud of it, and the circuit diagrams he has for it - it was his parent's first colour TV, they replaced it when his dad could no longer see it properly).

I'm sure there are other things we do, but I'm tired right now - suffice to say we're trying, and we like to think we're making at least a little difference. Imagine the difference if every citizen of the US, UK and Aus all decided to stick to that list above - wouldn't it be wonderful?

USWest said...

That is an impressive list of things, Pombat, and yes, you are doing way better than me. But then, I don't have a washer and dryer at home. Nor do I, as an apartment dweller, have a place to compost.

Pombat is right about gas in Europe. Also, many highways are toll roads, at least in France. And they aren't cheap. The Toulouse/Bordeaux highway cost like 25 Euros each way. It's well worth it because they are clean, very well maintained, and safe. So they see their money at work.

But driving on those highways is a choice because you can take a bus or one of the regional trains. You have a choice not to drive. But in the states, especially once you leave the East Coast, you don't have that choice, as History Buff pointed out.

If I want to take the train from my hometown to LA, which is about 600 miles, it will cost me about $100 and take me 12 hours. I will be left in Burbank and then I will have to take a bus into downtown LA-such as it is. Once there, I have the choice of a cab or light rail provided it will get me where I want to go. The light rail in LA is very limited. Now imagine doing that with a family of 4.

If I drive, I use 2 tanks of gas, which at today's prices run me about $100. I can go straight to my destination, and stop when I want along the way. It will take me 5 hours. Which is the better proposition?

So why do Americans scream at the gas prices that the rest of you find normal? Because cars are our primary mode of transport. It is all we have. But, yes, we are spoiled. We love convenience and we will pay a high price for it, even if we whine while doing so. And when I talk about how we have to change, I mean that we are going to have to start living more like our grandparents did.

We will have to walk more, cut back to 1 car, use buses more when we can. We will have to start shopping for a week and then holding to the week's planned menu rather than picking whatever strikes our fancy on the way home from work. This ends up costing more than planning ahead. We may have to accept that getting a new TV when the old one breaks isn't such a wise idea. And RBR proved admirably that it is very possible to live in LA without a car.

This is already happening. I have several people here at work who are down to 1 car. More carpooling is going on. 4 day work weeks are in vogue and telecommuting it getting a big bump. Scooter sales are up big time (I want one but I am being discouraged from getting one due to safety concerns). People are trying to trade in SUVs for something smaller, but now the dealers don't want to take them because they can't re-sell them. And the housing crisis is forcing some people to scale back into smaller homes in metro areas that are closer to their jobs.

Just an additional idea: unlike Europeans, our consumer goods are not weighed down with VATs. We, on the other hand, have to pay for a lot of things that in Europe (don't know much about Australia, sorry) are paid for by higher taxes. The obvious example is health care and education (even public schools are semi-private since state funding is so limited), child care, etc. So the extra gas money bites a bit more for the average American family. For me as a single person who lives 6 miles from my job in location with a mild climate that doesn't require me to pay high heating or cooling bills, I am not feeling the pinch as badly. Because I don't live in the snow, I don't have to replace my car every 5 years because the bottom is rusted out thanks to salted roads. But the family in Michigan has this problem. So it isn't as simple as, "gee you guys are whining too much over gas prices." I am adjusting to the changes with just the occasional whine that my last raise is now going into my gas tank, which tells you something about my last raise.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Wow, Pombat! That's amazing. Let's see which of those things I do over here in Los Angeles... Um, well... Er... My appliances and light bulbs are rated energy efficient, and our bathroom fixtures are of the modern water-saving (somewhat) type. Oh, and my trash company claims they sort and recycle, but since they will not take separate bins for recycling, I have to trust them on that. That's really about it.

I commute to work every day (no carpool, just myself) and my gas ("petrol") budget is now about $60 per week. My perspective: that now exceeds my weekly lunch and latte budget. I know, I knkow... I could be considerably more environmentally conscious at home, but since I still have to drive everywhere in Los Angeles, the savings would not be nearly as much as one would hope. We really need a citywide solution here. Oh, for a decent subway system!

btw, what does the worm farm do? Do you use it for your garden? (I have no garden... I live in a condo.)

The Law Talking Guy said...

Pombat - I read this: "and the piece de resistance, our television is older than I am"

Is the old clunker more energy efficient than a new one? Wouldn't be true of cars, dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, etc. Sometimes we can be deceived as to what is more environmentally friendly.

I am also curious: what do you think the total cost of these "green" choices is for you? What impact do you think these have on the environment? In other words, what is the bang-for-the-buck? I ask this because I am emotionally supportive of "acting green" but I wonder sometimes if it doesn't become a substitute for the real political action necessary for change. Dick Cheney referred to conservation as just a "private virtue" but not a national policy. In a way, I think he may have been onto something.

Raised By Republicans said...

"I'm going to be very interested to visit the US later this year, ...and see if the impression I get from news, The Economist, The Daily Show, other non-US visitors to the US, etc, is borne out by my own personal experience."

It will probably depend on how widely you travel in the US. Southern California is probably the most car intensive part of the country. Public transit sucks and the scene from LA Story where Steve Martin drives to his own mailbox at the end of the drive way, is only a humorous exageration, not fundamentally invalid.

If you were to got an eastern city however, you'd see a lot more walking and use of public transit.

Pombat, I'm impressed with your green list too! I really should do more than I do. My big claim to green fame is that I lived in LA for 9 years and never owned a car at all. I did get rides from friends every now and again but I took the bus or walked for my daily needs.

Now, I live close enough to my office that I either walk or take the bus unless the weather is dangerously cold. I also drove an old used car until the transmission got fried then I bought a fuel efficient/low emmission Honda (couldn't afford a Prius). I don't dive much so my monthly gas bill for my car is less than $50. And I keep my thermostat set to 80 degress F in the summer and 62 degrees F in the winter.

History Buff said...

Being green in Texas is almost an oxymoron. But I try. I recycle cans,glass and plastic at the curb recycling done by the city. Recycle paper and plastic bags by taking them to the recycling bins at the local school and the grocery store. And soon I'm going to take used frying oil that I have saved up to the local biodeisel company, and used batteries to the hazardous disposal place.

I also give away clothes and other reusable things to local charities.

I try to remember my reuseable bags at the grocery store, and I remember about 1/2 the time. Most people don't use them even though they are making a big push to sell them at the local grocery store.

I just recently bought a compost maker through a city-wide initiative that dropped the price by 75%. I thought I would just go run in and pick one up, but when I got there, there was a two hour line, I was amazed. (I think a compost maker is similar to a worm farm)

I still drive, but I try to consolidate my trips as much as possible, and I coast downhill :). I also sometimes walk to the bank and the grocery store when it's not 102F outside.

As far as using a clothesline, I could probably get away with it in my neighborhood, but a lot of subdivisions have restrictions against clotheslines. I know my cousin in Corrales New Mexico got in trouble for using one.

I have replaced all my light bulbs and use low flow toilets and shower attachments, but I've never heard of using shower water to flush a toilet. How does that work?? We also don't have any type of gray water system here to water the yard or for toilets--it's illegal. The only state I know of that has a gray water system is Utah--they call it Weber water. But we have drought resistant plants, so we hardly ever water them.

I think I'm a bit atypical, at least for Texas, but there are parts of the country that are very green conscious, like Portland Oregon and Seattle Washington. It really depends where you are. The US is a very diverse country.

USwest said...

A lot of the environmental initiatives in the U.S are made a the city and state level. So they are varied. So for instance, Berkeley has banned plastic bags in grocery stores. But it is a local thing.

I do nearly everything that History Buff mentioned. I live in a good location well served by grocery stores and restaurants. So I can walk more than I do. Often it is a question of time and also, I have many stores and such on my way to work. So I stop there. And if I need several things, which I usually do, then walking isn't practical.

I water my small garden after 5 pm to mitigate evaporation. I don't use pesticides at all. So what is my roses bushes have rusted leaves? The ocean is 5 blocks down the hill and whatever I do will run off. Our car washes in town are all recycled water.

We have recycled in this country for years and we recycle more than many Europeans. But our recycle company is finicky about what they take and if you put something wrong in, they usually send it to the dump and threatened fine you.

I think the garbage man is the biggest litter maker in town. I am always picking up litter that flew away from the garbage truck. And that company is a pain in the ass finicky as well.

My office used to have a battery recycle service but not anymore. So now I don't know where to take them and I don't have the space in a 1 bedroom apartment to save EVERYTHING. So those now end up in the trash. I give things to charity. I won't go to the dump because they charge to leave anything behind. So if I am going to do that, I had better have a bunch of stuff, which I don't normally. And the dump is far away so gas, gas, gas.

I take my own basket to the store and when I forget, I usually ask for paper bags which I use for recycling at home. I reuse zip lock bags and glass jars. I quit going home for lunch. Saves gas.

I started to buy bamboo made stuff because it was "sustainable". And I liked how it felt. Then some greeny pointed out that in China, they are ripping out natural forests to plant more bamboo since it is so "in" now. Sigh. So much for that.

My take is that I live on earth. I can try to conserve more, walk more, etc. But my presence is still going to be felt. And I agree with LTG. Where's the economic pay off? Pennies don't encourage much. And most of us have done the low hanging fruit. The rest is a little harder to do or out of reach for individual action.

Pombat said...

Firstly, all of you - it doesn't matter if you're not doing EVERYthing you possibly could be - if you're doing SOMEthing, no matter how small, it's helping!
(and you're all doing something, so you're helping, yay!)

RbR - I'm very impressed at the car-less years in LA - wow! We're hoping to get to LA and New York, so there'll be quite the comparison carwise. Will be very interested to see how other things compare in the two places (although possibly too excited about being on holiday to notice!).

LTG - we have considered the energy efficiency of the TV versus the resources used to make a new one, and concluded that since we barely ever turn it on (we watch less than five hours a week, if that), it's worth keeping it just to amuse our friends.

In terms of what our 'green choices' cost us - I reckon they make our life cheaper actually. For example, cycling everywhere - bicycles are a *lot* cheaper to maintain than cars, parking is free, and we get the added bonus of a health&fitness fix whilst commuting, meaning we don't have to spend time&money on the gym - perfect! The light bulbs were more expensive than standard ones, but they're meant to last longer - we'll see how they go. The worm farm we actually got for free as part of a sustainable living seminar series I went to, which is great. Earth friendly detergents have turned out to be cheaper (huh?), reusing water means lower bills, etc etc.

And in terms of how much we're affecting the environment? Probably not very much at all to be brutally honest, but it's a cumulative thing - if I can talk all of you into being more 'green', then 'my' effect has gone from two people to ten, which must make more of a difference...

Worm farm - yep, very similar to composting, except you have a whole bunch of worms in a bin on legs, eating scraps. They produce both a fertilising liquid (especially if you water the bin!), and rich compost-style earth for lobbing on the garden. Seem to be lower effort than the compost bin too, which is why we chose it.

For indoor composting - have a google for Bokashi bins and the like - may be an Aus only thing at the moment, but they're an indoor option that apparently work well.

Flushing toilet with shower water - take a bucket of water and throw it down the toilet - there's a weird vacuum type effect. Still need to flush the toilet every few times, to prevent it smelling, but it saves/reuses a little bit of water at least.

And as far as things like the difficult garbage companies, laws against washing lines etc - it takes time, but if enough people demand otherwise, it'll change.

The Law Talking Guy said...

I want to echo what USWest said. For all but the most urban Americans, cars are all we've got. And many cities, like LA, Atlanta, Houston, etc. (those built largely after WWII) don't have much decent mass transit either. In rural areas and suburbs, high gas prices are brutal. It will take 20 years or more to readjust American cities and suburbs toward mass transit, and that still leaves rural people in the lurch.

The solution is large-scale, long-term public investment in public projects. It requires re-zoning for mixed use and changes in all kidns of settled expectations. And still, nothing will convince most Americans that we should relegate the large single-family home on a big lot (the "American dream") to the dustbin of history.

The real solution for us - to preserve our way of life and our environment - involves ever more fuel-efficient vehicles. Opposition to that goal is the worst thing the Big Automakers have done to us.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Pombat, FYI, composting is very difficult in Southern California. I've been trying it for a year. The compost heap basically dries out real fast. And pouring water on decaying foliage is frankly not all that environmentally sound anyway. Seriously, I even bought (organic) blood meal. The good news is that the "compost" heap keeps compacting. But my compost thermometer (bought that too) doesn't register any serious decay action.

History Buff said...

This is the reason I really want to hear Obama's energy policy. I would love to see stuff done at the national level, and I try to vote for candidates that will do something about all this, but my choices are limited. (One other thing I do is I invested in a Green investment fund that encourages companies to use green practices.)

Hey, if Obama wins what do y'all think the chances are that he would offer EPA to Al Gore??

Raised By Republicans said...

History Buff here is what Obama has on his website about energy and the environment:
http://www.barackobama.com/issues/energy/

The key thing is that he's a Kyoto booster - he wants to reduce carbon emmissions by 80% by 2050.

Keep in mind that Presidents can set broad goals but the details get determined by Congress. Just having a President who says, "I want an environmental bill and I won't veto anything that makes us better" would be a HUGE difference from what we've had thusfar.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Hey, I just googled "Bokashi bins" and found this interesting description. It looks cute, too. Sounds like it might even work in California's climate! Might be a bit expensive, though.

Raised By Republicans said...

By the way, I also just heard a debate on PBS's NewsHour between Obama's main policy advisor and McCain's on just this subject.

McCain's man was saying (paraphrasing) "We need to drill the coasts to reduce prices and give us energy security..."

Obama's man said, (paraphrasing) "That's not an honest position. The US only has 3% of the world's oil. We cannot effect the price by turning the spicket and increasing our production. We need to get away from this silly debate about foreign oil and domestic oil. The problem is that we need to reduce our dependence on oil - period."

Part of the coverage also showed a clip of Obama saying that we needed to increase investment in all types of alternative energy - he notably did not mention hydrogen (a George Bush favorite about which we have blogged before).

Anonymous said...

While my recycling efforts are often limited to "let's see how many cardboard boxes I can put in the recycling bin this week," the energy-efficient washer and dryer we installed are pretty neat. I have noticed a real dip in our utility bills, especially during months when we aren't using the heater. The washer also uses much less detergent.

As for gas, my long commute is mitigated by a day of telecommuting , a car that gets good mileage, and living in an area where it's possible to walk to the grocery store.

-Seventh Sister

PS - Pombat, the weak dollar has had some interesting effects on the garment industry. Jeans makers like Levis (as well as a fancier brands like Earnest Sewn, etc.) have been keeping production in the US since their products are more competitive/cheaper in foreign markets.

Also, the rapid pace at which high-fashion knockoffs are being produced by companies like Forever 21 and H & M has actually shifted some production back to the US and Europe. Given the cost of fuel, I think this trend will continue. Though the garment industry is hardly the shining star of labor relations or worker treatment...

Pombat said...

Hokay, this is the problem with the time difference - I come back to lots of comments I want to reply to!

First, cars. As someone who grew up in the UK (in Sandhurst and then a place called Gwehelog, which I'm sure you've all heard of), I know all about being dependent on the car because of a complete lack of public transport. As a teenager, I went to Cardiff by public transport once - it's a 35-40min drive from the house, by PT it took me about 3.5hrs, which included two buses, a 50min stop in the inbetween town due to bus timetables not being synchronised, a train, and a 2.5mile walk. And somehow people cope with the ridiculous gas prices I've quoted above.

Granted, as pointed out by someone, things like medical care are fairly much taken care of in the UK, but then other things are taxed much more heavily (gas! ;-p), so it may well work out. I certainly don't know many people in the UK who can afford an "American dream" style house though (not even at the old cheap prices!).

Fuel efficient vehicles - yes, they would be fantastic, can't wait! Ditto decent investment in PT.

LTG - interesting that you're struggling to compost - the people I know here who compost are pretty successful (although one of them accidentally grew pumpkins, but then she's ridiculously green fingered). Are you using a heap, or d'you have a bin? If just a heap, investing in a bin - made of recycled plastic naturally - could be worth a shot. If you're already using a bin, no ideas, sorry! We've brought the worms inside to keep them a bit warmer, and thus eating more, but the design of their bin allows for that, unlike compost bins.

History Buff - ethical investment, yay! That was a new idea I heard just recently, am looking into it too.

Dr.S - yeah, the expense was why we didn't go for a Bokashi (that and the fact that we have space for the worms). Interesting what the link says about feeding Bokashi waste to worms though - if that works, I might actually get a Bokashi too, to deal with the stuff the worms don't like before feeding it to them. Bit obsessed with the wormies at the moment, apparently talking to them is weird...

Seventh Sister - yeah, I've noticed that all our little eco-things are making life cheaper too. It's pretty cool. Interesting what you say about the garment industry - hadn't realised that before (on a side note, may have to get some recommendations of places to shop from you).

And yep, Obama's sounding great isn't he? It could be because I'm a little more informed about politics now, or it could just be Obama, but I'm actually excited about the idea of him as your next president :-)

Raised By Republicans said...

I think Obama (who lived in Indonesia for several years as a child) would be the first President since Herbert Hoover (he lived in Western Australia and China for years as a young adult) to have lived for a long time overseas without having been sent there during a war. That alone will give him a remarkably different perspective than our usual types who are either proud of the fact that they never travel at all (Bush II) mainly did so while in the military (Eisenhower, Nixon, Carter, Bush I, McCain etc) or only did so as tourists for relatively short, managed trips (both Clintons and Reagan).

I think having seen how people in Indonesia live their daily lives (even it was 30 years ago) will give Obama a different take on things like environmental policy and foreign policy.

History Buff said...

Pombat--If you are going to shop in New York City the best deals are in the Garment District--I think it's on 7th Avenue. But beware--lot's of Chinese stuff.

RbR--I'm glad to hear about all of the living abroad that Obama has done. Most Americans have no idea how the rest of the world lives and we don't have to go very far in the US to see lots of misery--Mexico. I have always traveled and I think it has effected my outlook on life. I realize how good I have it here. I'm probably one of the few people, other than my family, that I know that isn't whining about gas and the price of food.

Oh one other thing Pombat, I also telecomute so I don't drive alot, except when I'm doing a housing survey and then I rent an economy car that get's better gas mileage than my 1992 caprice station wagon (which can actually get 25 mpg on the highway-lots better than a SUV)

The Law Talking Guy said...

Yes, Pombat, I have a heap. Basically it's a heavy-duty chickenwire cylinder that is a little over a yard in diameter and about four feet high. Various websits said that would work. Bins are expensive - I thought compost was supposed to save me money somehow. Thinking about it, I wonder if I should line it with plastic. I'll keep thinking about it.

By the way, I went to google maps UK. Gwehelog is pretty looking town. And you did better namewise than nearby Usk.

Anonymous said...

Pombat, I can definitely suggest some places. If you're going to be in LA in August, that is the most wonderful time of the year (the Barneys warehouse sale). Dr. S has my email address if you want to talk offline.

Spotted Handfish said...

I would just like to clarify that my telly being older than Pombat probably has more to do with my poor shopping than anything else. It will probably be less useful when we move to full digital transmissions, at which point I think I'll stop watching television. (There's nothing on anyway.) I might start watching the worms. It's sort of like a dynamic zen garden that you don't have to rake.

Oh, we also save energy by not turning on lights that we don't need. Personally while reading I don't turn on lights: I can never remember what I've read anyway, and I save money and trees by not having to buy new books.

I'm baulking at going vegetarian though, which would save a lot of energy not to mention reducing methane emissions. Instead I prefer to eat kangaroo (Pombat does a great fillet with lemon myrtle). Yum!

History Buff said...

I'm not going vegetarian either but I usually only eat meat once a day. My son however is a carnivore-so I guess we even each other out.

USWest said...

You guys and your worms are cracking me up. I take it you never had an ant farm growing up! No one ever gave you sea monkeys?

I hear ya on the TV thing. The only thing we watch other than PBS (our rough equivalent to the CBC or BBC)is DVDs.

I spend more time on-line anyway.