Wednesday, May 18, 2011
John Stossel writes about the latest left-wing smear campaign which, not too surprisingly, is aimed squarely at America's ability to produce energy cheaply:
[W]hat's the explanation for the most dramatic part of the movie [Gasland]: tap water so laden with gas that people can set it on fire?Stossel later notes something about fracking that many members of the general public will likely be confused about:
It turns out that has little to do with fracking. In many parts of America, there is enough methane in the ground to leak into people's well water. The best fire scene in the movie was shot in Colorado, where the filmmaker is in the kitchen of a man who lights his faucet. But Colorado investigators went to that man's house, checked out his well and found that fracking had nothing to do with his water catching fire. His well-digger had drilled into a naturally occurring methane pocket.
[H]ydraulic fracturing is a wonderful thing. It's not new. Companies have done it for 60 years, but now they've found ways to get even more gas out of the ground. That's the reason gas is getting cheaper and panicky politicians no longer rant about America "running out of fuel."Read the whole thing. Stossel notes early on that, unlike many other left wing hack jobs, this movie has a more "convincing" feel to it. He also suggests a better remedy to the kinds of problems Gasland claims to be occurring, and it isn't the government regulating how we acquire our fuel.
Natural gas is not risk-free, but no energy source is.
----- In Other News -----
Ars Technica features an interesting post about how social influences lessen the wisdom of crowds -- at least in terms of an "average" of their answers being correct: "[W]hen someone sees that the rest of the crowd is giving an answer close to their own, it gives them greater confidence that their answer is likely to be right. " This could result in, "the range that the social panels produce [being] centered on the wrong value, and [possibly] so distant from the correct one that it's excluded entirely."
In "Federal Food Police against Business and Science," Steven Malanga notes, among other things, that, "lowering sodium consumption not only doesn't benefit most people, it may actually increase risk of heart attacks for some." Forcing us to abide by advice -- bad or not -- is the opposite of the purpose of a proper government. It is particularly galling that, on top of the fact that we are not being left free to judge such advice ourselves, it is as if the long history of reversals and declining certainty in much of the research used to justify government guidelines and regulations has no weight with the people making them. It's bad enough to be forced to follow someone else's advice, but when that advice is bad, and following bad advice can be worse than having no advice at all...
Drat! I keep forgetting to switch over to a Hellenic keyboard mapping! Thanks for reminding me, Google: I'll try to remember to do that next time. (If this confuses you, see image at the (possibly upper) right.)