NYT Repeats 70-Year-Old Disney Ideology

So, The New York Times devotes its Sunday magazine this week to the future of the automobile in the United States. The introductory editorial refers to the video below, with the comment “Disney couldn’t have foreseen, in 1958, the political realities of today that would make their imagined future impossible.”

This asks us to overlook the main point and content of the video, which was certainly not serious projection, but ham-handed promotion of the notion that cars are somehow about science and efficiency, rather than profit and behavioral compulsion. That the NYT misses the point that techno-hype has always helped sell capitalism’s cars-first dictatorship speaks volumes, and explains the thoroughgoing lameness of this pathetic edition of this always tame magazine.


snake eating own tail The New York Times editorial board today blithely states the two foundational axioms of the quasi-official “liberal” view of sustainable transportation: 1. That it is an important topic, so long as the alternatives are cars, cars, or cars. 2. “Electric” cars, if somehow fully implemented, will somehow be sustainable.

ROFL times a million.

Meanwhile, the million-and-first laugh is that one of the NYT’s main complaints about existing trends is that the GHG emissions of the US transportation sector have now surpassed those of the electricity-making sector! In response to this event, the paper of records calls for us to continue using 95-percent-idle, 4,000-pound piles of complex materials for our everyday locomotion, but to do so by making them run on electricity!

Orwell didn’t get the half of it. In market totalitarianism, Doublethink is not only beyond rife, but spouted by the elite without the smallest hint of second thought.

Telling Equation

The least surprising possible news from today’s New York Timess:

New legislation to pay for transportation is a priority for both parties because the nation’s Highway Trust Fund is nearing insolvency. Anthony Foxx, the transportation secretary, has said the trust fund could begin “bouncing checks” by this summer. That would force a halt to construction projects around the country, officials have said.

Note the equivalence between “transportation” and “the nation’s Highway Trust Fund.”

Musk Rat

ev-lemon The recent New York Times report on the profound defectiveness of Tesla’s $72,400 lemon has provoked Tesla’s “Chairman, Product Architect & CEO” Elon Musk to try to defend his rolling turd.  Among the pathetic excuses is this one:

For his first recharge, he [the NYT reporter] charged the car to 90%. During the second Supercharge, despite almost running out of energy on the prior leg, he deliberately stopped charging at 72%. On the third leg, where he claimed the car ran out of energy, he stopped charging at 28%. Despite narrowly making each leg, he charged less and less each time. Why would anyone do that?

Musk, of course, knows the answer full well: People would do that because, even using his “Supercharger,” he’s talking about spending an hour-and-a-half each time waiting for his lemon to draw its coal-derived fuel. People would stop waiting because they have lives, and means of transportation are supposed to exist in order to facilitate, not devour, those lives.

Musk has the chutzpah to conclude with this line: “[W}hat is at stake for sustainable transport is simply too important to the world to ignore.”

Of course, the electric car is to sustainable transport what the potato peeler is to ditch digging.

NYT Peddling “Electric” Car Myth

crossed_fingers In America, questioning the reign of the automobile remains, despite the times and the laws of physics, as forbidden as ever. Instead of acknowledging that the idea of using 3,500-pound objects to accomplish our daily errands was as foolishly unrealistic as it was profitable to capitalists, we are now being lavishly trained by our dominant institutions to remain utterly ignorant of the pertinent realities of our dire energy-and-infrastructure situation.

The latest propaganda blast comes via today’s op-ed page at The New York Times, where a character named Seth Fletcher holds forth on the supposed virtues of “the electric car.” Though he hails from Popular Science magazine, Fletcher never mentions the basic physics of automobile transportation, which will always involve use of stupendously wasteful amounts of mass per unit of accomplished locomotion. Neither does Fletcher make a single reference to where all the new electricity to power 250 million “electric” cars is going to come from. Instead, as is the norm, Fletcher talks as if electricity is itself the original power source:

Electrification is not an all-or-nothing proposition — it’s a process, the gradual replacement of gas-burning engines with batteries and electric motors.

Fletcher, in fact, explicitly treats batteries as energy sources:

Today, at universities like Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and in national laboratories like Argonne and Lawrence Berkeley, scientists are developing technologies that could power a post-oil age — batteries nearly as rich in usable energy as gasoline.

Of course, no present or future battery will ever, on its own, be rich in usable energy. Batteries store energy made elsewhere.

And, predictably enough, guess how many times the words “coal” and “nuclear” appear in Fletcher’s op-ed? Yep: Zero.

Oh, and by the way, Fletcher also hugely fudges the data:

When cars like these are being driven on a large scale, the benefits will be substantial. The Electrification Coalition, an electric-vehicle advocacy group, estimates that if, by 2040, 75 percent of all miles driven in the United States are powered by electricity, oil consumption by light-duty vehicles will drop from the current level of nearly nine million barrels a day to two million.

Not only is that the rosiest of rosy assumptions, but note the key qualifier “light-duty vehicles.” According to the recently defunded U.S. Energy Information Administration, 40 percent of present petroleum use occurs via the operation of heavy-duty vehicles and pipelines. Fletcher doesn’t want to talk about that, because it destroys his fairy tale. (He also fails to explain how he imagines burning even that rosy 2 million barrels of oil a day in light-duty vehicles is a sustainable endeavor.)

As the headlining of junk analyses like this Fletcher piece shows, the powers-that-be in this society are going to take us all over the cliff, mentally and physically, if we don’t shake ourselves free from their heedless embrace. Contrary to assurances from obscurantists like Seth Fletcher, hugging the “electric” car is accepting, not rejecting, the path of death and destruction.