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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Recycling is a Grigri: Just Plain Bullshit

Here's an interesting documentary explaining why recycling is mostly a total waste of time, money and resources. Enjoy the show.

Sorry, the video isn't available anymore, but if you are interested in getting the penn & teller bullshit dvd boxsets, they are available at amazon.com for a reasonable price.



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53 Comments:

  • Anything made from a nonrenewable resource should be recycled. Industrial civilization has mined nearly all of the easily extracted metal ores on the planet, so at the very least its in our interests to recycle all metal cans and containers, IMHO.

    We could use less paper if we didn't have any such thing as junk-mail, but I suppose that's not something that's going to happen anytime soon.

    By Blogger Loveandlight, at 11:29 PM  

  • I liked this episode a lot, and it brought up a lot of good points. However, it never did acknowledge that people would want to recycle because we're going to run out of stuff eventually. They stepped around that issue altogether, in fact.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:43 PM  

  • The way these douche bags try and de-bunk things is as sloppy, lazy and ridiculous as some of the people they take on. They always go for the biggest asshats they can find, then basically shout at them. See the one they did on how climate change is bullshit? Way to go guys - what a ridiculous conspiracy theory that was.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:55 PM  

  • Climate change is not a conspiracy theory. It's just not proven. There's not enough evidence to conclude that humans are causing a change in global temperatures. And who can really claim that higher carbon dioxide levels actually have a warming effect? How could you possibly distinguish this from whatever other temperature variations caused by natural changes in the Earth and Sun?

    I can only guess that we're calling it "climate change" now so that if the scientists want to start telling us about the coming of the next ice age that they can use the same "sky is falling" terminology. "We were always at war with Eurasia."

    "We're going to run out of stuff eventually" -- yes, and Sol will eventually exhaust itself and go nova. But we won't run out of resources anytime soon. The Earth is this ridiculously enormous planet that we live on, there's plenty for you, me, and thousands of generations to come.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:45 AM  

  • With regards to the last comment on climate change vs. global warming. One of the primary reasons to use the term climate change is that the effects of "global warming" at a local scale won't be just warming. Some areas may in fact get colder, like Europe if the freshwater runoff from Greenland's glaciers slow the ocean current that moves tropical warmth from the equator northward (and polar cold down the US East Coast). Other effects include increasing or decreasing levels of precipitation and stronger storm events. So while it's true that on the whole the earth will be getting warmer, the local effects will differ.

    Regarding the size of the planet: yes, earth is big. But all the materials we use come from a comparatively thin layer of the surface, and of that primarily the 30% that is not covered by ocean. Humans now use a large portion of net primary productivity (base of the food chain plants/algae growth), and we're at or near the carrying capacity of the planet. There's only so much raw materials, fossil energy, and places to put it. In the 1800's the earth seemed a lot bigger then it does now. Keeping those materials that were extracted in closed loop cycles is a good idea. Some materials like aluminum are more worthwhile to recycle then others like glass. I believe you're over estimating the earth's resource base by a few orders of magnitude.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:33 AM  

  • It makes sense..

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:01 AM  

  • "The Earth is this ridiculously enormous planet that we live on, there's plenty for you, me, and thousands of generations to come."

    Hey Mr Asleep-and-Snoring, go and watch Al Gore's documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" (more info at http://climatecrisis.org/). It's a message that everyone needs to take seriously as it has the potential to affect every living thing (human, animal and plant) on this pale blue dot, in some way or another.

    If you want to argue that there's no evidence humans are causing climate change, then you will need to demolish the scientific evidence a bit more convincingly than simply with rhetorical questions such as your "who can claim?", "how can you possibly distinguish?" examples. In the words of the University of California, "The burden of proof is on those who would have us think that natural causes are solely or mainly responsible." Why can they say something like this? Because there's a mountain of scientific data to back their statement up! To make your standpoint more compelling, you would need to examine the other side's scientific data and show if it is flawed, or being misinterpreted.

    Your comments strike me as being uninformed (no offence intended). I would heartily encourage you to start reading and researching to become better informed. (Why not start by popping over to Wikipedia's article on Global Warming.. it contains numerous references to books, journal articles and weblinks that you can look into further). Then you may start to understand how scientists and many others have become convinced that global warming is due mainly to human, and not just natural causes.

    This issue is an important global one that the world needs to be working together to solve - and not just governments. We ALL need to examine if we are wasting the earth's resources, simply because there are so many of us humans now. We need EVERYONE pulling together to help work on the problem, and this includes you too!

    So please wake up, seek knowledge, and either help save the planet in some big or small personal way (see the "Take Action" page of climatecrisis.org; or, if you are convinced and can scientifically prove that we are not looking at a potential global catastrophe, please please please share your proof with the world.. it will certainly dispel a lot of worry and anxiety, and we can all happily return to unthinkingly guzzling and gorging on the earth's inexhaustible bounty, in ever-increasing numbers.

    By Anonymous sharpsight, at 3:03 AM  

  • Note: this is not in the least a documentary. It's more a Michael Moore style 'essay film'.

    Nice post though, I'm going to link to it. And stop recycling everything but aluminum.

    By Blogger mrSKINNY, at 3:21 AM  

  • Wow, it's hard to believe that people take stuff like this seriously. I'll ignore the recycling thing, since it's just too stupid (I think every rational person should be able to see the logic flaws), but I would like to comment on the global warming issue:


    >Climate change is not a conspiracy
    >theory. It's just not proven.

    It's a theory. Theories are never proven. They are used to predict the future, and if the predictions are correct often enough, you assume that the theory is correct. This is not a proof of the theory, of course.

    At this point, the link between human-made emissions and global warming has been made so conclusively that there's very little chance that global warming isn't man-made. Of course, you wouldn't know that from watching "fair and balanced" TV shows. Reading studies, however, shows that it is almost impossible for global warming to not be a result of human actions.

    Ten years ago, your argument would have been acceptable. Today, we know that global warming is man-made with a probability that borders on proof.

    By Anonymous LKM, at 4:16 AM  

  • Parts of Scotland are now forced by law to recycle. The whole thing is in it's infancy, and for the initial 6 months, everything collected in the waste recycling recepticles will be sent to landfill anyway.... :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:38 AM  

  • plain and simple: We are running out of materials to make things, and is going to be more expensive to extract it in the future. Mines with hight concentration of mineral are being exhausted right now.

    I thing recycling should be done because nature does. I consider nature clever than us.

    About climate change, it's lying or just being an ignorant to say that it's not proven. C02 and other gases concentration has been monitored for centuries, and it's easy to measure energy absorption in laboratory. That more energy is received from sun is a proven fact. That hurricanes are growing in intensity is another.

    We certainly know there is a climate change, that this change is going to kill us is what is not proven.
    Please, don't mix both.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:07 AM  

  • > We are running out of materials to make things, and is going to be more expensive to extract it in the future. Mines with hight concentration of mineral are being exhausted right now.

    CLUEBAT WARNING ON

    And what stops us from mining the landfills?

    CLUEBAT WARNING OFF

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:44 AM  

  • >And what stops us from mining the
    >landfills?

    For oil? Some processed material can't be unprocessed.

    By Anonymous lkm, at 9:55 AM  

  • This is one of the stupidest things I have ever seen. Did anyone else notice the fact that they never include the cost of maintaining all that trash?? They just keep saying it cost more to recycle a product than to make a new one. But the whole point is that you have to maintain massive trash landfills + the cost of making new products. If they actually included that into the equation, then it would be pretty obvious that you can't just keep accumulating trash + making new shit to consume. It's common sense. Can you imagine how long it's going to take plastics to decay and become natural resources again?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:29 PM  

  • Something that never seems to get brought up in the whole recyling debate. . .if people didn't BUY everything in little plastic containers, but instead, chose to prepare food from scratch, grow gardens, etc., we'd have far less garbage to throw away.

    Too much effort, I guess.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:54 AM  

  • In scientific terminology a theory is by definition a testable and consistant pattern. The theory of gravity, the theory of relativity. Anything else is just a hypothesis.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:31 AM  

  • What an idiot, did he say there are 3 times more trees than in the 20's now thats bullshit. He was actually advocating trees for paper not even mentioning hemp what a sellout. What about the big picture, if every generation just landfills everything what will our planet become.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:05 PM  

  • Currently, recycling is inneficient because the recycling centers that receive our recyclables have to sell the reprocessed material to whatever business wants to buy, say, pastic. This however, is often sold at a loss, which, when combined with overhead costs such as the enormous cost of having trucks pick it up, organize it, process it, and pay all the employees in between, causes us to pay a recycling fee. And I have actually been to a recycling center and I can promise you, those are not jobs anyone would want to have.

    But I digress. The argument that throwing away our waste instead of reusing it is a valid one, but listen to this: right now it is UNprofitable to recycle, which is why we pay the difference. IF natural resources dwindle, the businesses that buy from the recycling centers will pay more for the materials since it would be more scarce in its original state. In other words, if or when natural resources become more rare, recycling will at that time become profitable to everyone and becomes economically feasible. But, until that time arrives, it is not.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:08 PM  

  • So, while comments made by biased Greenies are (rightfully) debunked, we are supposed to accept that landfill "diapers" will keep toxic chemicals out of our groundwater supply based on the statement of a marketing wonk who likes to draw on maps?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:25 PM  

  • yea what terrible jobs people at recycle centers have not like the ones people at a land fill have

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:24 PM  

  • First of all, yes, I would argue that jobs at a landfill are better than at a recycling center. I have been to both, and the employees at the recycling center were sweeping, collecting, and otherwise sorting garbage all day, usually by hand. The employees at the landfill were not only considerably fewer, but also drove massive trucks to move and cover up refuse. I saw not one forced to stoop down and sort anything.

    Secondly, he may be a "marketing wonk who likes to draw maps", but he is correct that restrictions for modern landfills are very tight. The subtitle D clause of the 1976 RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) put into effect very strict guidelines regarding landfills and the dangers of groundwater leaching. The video touched on some of these, but also of note is a filtration network at the bottom of the landfill which collects any water which happens to filter to the bottom (only a couple of centimeters a year are allowed according to the parameters of RCRA).

    Do not criticize what you clearly know nothing about.

    By Anonymous JohnGalt, at 6:07 PM  

  • Among other construction projects, I inspect soil compaction and HDPE liner placement in new landfill cells. Recycling? I've watched the roll-off (dumpster) loads of clear glass, clear plastic, newspapers, etc. 'blended' by bulldozer blade with all the other refuse on any given day. YOU might recycle and feel real good about it, but when it reaches the landfill...well...gosh now, you're a bit old to be still believing in leprechauns...right?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:45 PM  

  • http://www.environmentaldefense.org/documents/611_ACF17F.htm

    This show is at best an opinion without any clear citation of the shouted facts the muddle in between curses. Plastic is recycled because it does not break down at this point. Paper is recycled so that it does not take up space in landfills and according to environmental defense.org “Recycling reduces the pressure to turn natural forests into tree farms, creating substantial environmental and economic benefits.” I don't need to defend recycling aluminum since they didn't have a problem with that (since it is profitable). I read the opinions and was disappointed that no one really raised these points or at least with some documentation, but thats ok cause I did.
    The effects of non-biodegradable plastics on the environment, along with used nylon fish nets and so on have been well established. Magicians are elaborate liars, thats what they are paid to do. Don't expect people like Penn and Teller to enlighten you to a better way of life.
    The main clash is that Penn and Teller are marketers, true capitalists, good ones I suppose. And when they have to pay taxes they probably get pissed off.
    If 40 percent of what you recycle ends up in your landfill. Well thats something you should take up with your local government, not an excuse!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:49 PM  

  • I knew there was a reason I didn't like Penn & Teller. (Apart from the child abuse of Penn naming his daughter Moxie CrimeFighter...) They have picked a premise sure to annoy some people & worked backwards from there to justify their conclusion. Recycling makes social & economic sense. Come see the recycling operation in Wellesley, MA. Our town actually MAKES MONEY by selling the town recyled materials. ($1 million/yr. after expenses) They even compost leaves & grass clippings for townspeople to use in their gardens. The percentage of waste from my home that goes in a landfill is very small. We have a "book store" where people drop off books & magazines for others to enjoy, as well as a reusables section, staffed by volunteers. One can drop off furniture, kitchen items, toys, sporting goods, etc. for others to take for free. (Or, there are charity trailers) On certain days each month, toxic items like paint are accepted. Motor oil, old computers, used eyeglasses, batteries, dead appliances, old cellphones...all are disposed of responsibly. It appears to me that P & T's sole intent is to be provocative. Maybe they should form a club with the equally obnoxious John Stossel. Give me a break!

    By Anonymous MJ, at 2:12 PM  

  • How is toilet paper recyled? I have used recyled toilet paper- We had an outside toilet when I was in school-

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:17 PM  

  • Nice to see the boys have freaked out the entire enviro-lunatic cabal. As far as "localized" changes go, the entire Southern Hemisphere hasn't warmed an iota according to the most recent measurements. Must've been measured by friends of a right-wing conspiracy!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:46 AM  

  • Wow. The amount of stupidity here really suprises me. It's almost like arguing with religious fanatics. "No, no, global warming does not exist, you're just an eco-fanatic, we'll ignore all the fact and data and pretend we're right because that makes us feel better and then we won't have to change."

    Just... wow.

    By Anonymous LKM, at 2:39 AM  

  • The benefits of recycling aren't just about recovering raw materials, but also about recovering at least some of the investment in refining raw materials into specialized alloys or resins (energy savings is a big one); and in avoiding the environmental damage associated with many primary materials extraction processes.

    Some of these benefits aren't reflected in market prices. However, even the subset that are tell a compelling story: that recycling in many parts of the country is a net gain. This gain includes materials well beyond just aluminum.

    In the Northeast US mixed paper earns cities and towns rebates of roughly $45 per ton above the cost of collection. Compared to a roughly $60 disposal fee on waste to a landfill or mass burn facility, we've got a gain of more than $100 per ton -- and the materials are reused.

    For commingled recyclables (steel, aluminum, mixed plastics, and glass), the numbers aren't quite so good. There is still a tip fee rather than a straight rebate. But that fee is only about $35 per ton, rather than $65, cutting disposal costs nearly in half. In addition, many cities and towns have received a portion of the very high sales revenues on aluminum, steel, and #1 and #2 plastics that have prevailed in recent years.

    Are some materials recycled with little gain? Probably. Glass, for example, is heavy, breaks a lot, sometimes contaminates other recyclable streams, is inert in landfills, and is reused mostly for low value uses like fill. But for fiber, plastics, and metals, recycling clearly saves money in most circumstances. And even for glass, if the industry risked losing it's ability to claim glass is recyclable, we'd see adoption of the new machines that can computer sort cullet into separate colors and types in a heartbeat. That would greatly increase the ability to use the cullet for higher value reuse markets -- such as new bottles.

    For another subset of waste products, the recycling falls into the category of hazard reduction: keeping toxic nasties out of landfills or our air. This approach is routine in other areas of environmental management, such as industrial toxics and water pollution. Heavy metals in batteries and old thermostats, electronic wastes, and appliances (which, among other things, often still contain ozone depleting chemicals) all fall into this grouping. The relatively small incremental costs of managing the wastes properly to avoid emissions in disposal sites make great economic and public health sense.

    Maybe one of the geeks running this website ought to run some of the numbers on this stuff before dismissing the entire practice.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:56 PM  

  • Penn & Teller's little "hey, look at us, we're assholes and we're funny" piece is unbelievably bizarre and misinformed. Here's how their logic works, "They say A is true, but A isn't true, therefore recyclers don't know what the fuck they're talking about and they're full of shit." They also make absolutely no sense debunking recycling by quoting industry blowhards and not checking facts.

    There's no question that recycling markets vary and fluctuate, and there's no question that some technology choices for materials handling aren't as good as others, but in our neck of the woods, in Philly, trash costs $70 a ton to dispose of and recycling can pay anywhere from $5 a ton up to $50 or more depending upon the commodity. Penn & Teller do a good job with the history and development of recycling, but they lose it pretending to be tough guy jerks for our amusement. Same with their anti-environmental hysteria piece ... although it's true that a lot of environmentalists are unnecessarily hysterical.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:19 PM  

  • First off, Global Warming IS bunk. I could cite hundreds of examples. But when proponents seriously propose (And in several cases have implemented in Europe)that anyone who's research results contradict 'accepted theory' should be denied funds for further research and banned from publishing, it IS BUNK.
    I have been around for Fifty Years, and the very same people who said The Ice Age Is Coming in the Seventies are the ones saying The Heat Wave Is Coming now, and both because of CO2. They also said that there would be Massive Starvation by 1990, the islands in the Pacific would sink by 1980, 1990, 2000, 2010. And that we all would be wearing rebreathers by 1975. I'm still waiting.
    Last year the big thing was that the Antarctic Icecaps were melting in December. No S**T SHERLOCK! It's the Middle of Summer THERE! And last year, Greenland was melting because of Global Warming and Florida is going to sink. Last month a comprehensive study to determine the rate of melting has shown instead that the Greenland Icecap is actually growing. And, of course, this is also caused by Global Warming. Last years Hurricane season was caused by GW, and this years will be much worse. Then this years Hurricane season was one of the quietest on record. Caused, of course, by GW.
    Finally, if you actually go back and study the effects of laws passed to 'protect' the environment, you find that invariably they have caused more damage and death from obvious side-effects than would have occurred had they never been passed. One example. Leaded Gas. Oh how terrible! Children are dieing from it! (note nobody was ever able to pin down exactly how). We have to replace it with a non-lead-based additive! Which one? why one that is not only demonstratively highly carcinogenic, but one soluble in water. Something Lead is not. Clue kids, ALL TANKS LEAK! So now we have a highly carcinogenic pollutant raging through our water supply, no way to remove it, and the Environmentalists that forced the Oil Companies to put it into the gas is suing because they put it in!
    Little meteorology lesson. It's Cold in Winter, Warm in Summer. Glaciers come, and Glaciers go. Droughts come, and Droughts go. Heat comes from the Sun. When it gets warmer (which it has lately), it gets warmer here on Earth. Or are you going to blame the warming trend on Mars to pollution from the Mars Lander? When your models don't match Reality, it isn't Reality that is screwed up.
    As for recycling, it has Never Paid its way. a classic example is a law passed here in MA. you can't throw away TV's or Monitors anymore. you have to pay to dispose of them, and haul them to a Center. And since that law was passed several years ago, thousands of TV's and Monitors and Computers have ended up filling previously pristine fields and woods. Gee, who would have thunk it?

    By Anonymous Mark, at 9:00 AM  

  • Glad to see MA has rocket scientists like Mark floating around. Makes my state proud.

    It's been awhile since I've seen somebody actually trying to argue that leaded gasoline wasn't a health problem. Kudos to you for taking the path less traveled. Perhaps you are planning a line of lead-based dietary supplements in the near future? For the record Mark, the main issue with tetra-ethyl lead fuel additives was their impacts on brain development and learning, not death.

    Mark's example about computer monitors showing how recycling doesn't pay its way makes no sense. Surcharges were added to these items because they were so expensive to handle as WASTE, and the surcharge helped cities and towns recover these costs. If you don't like the charge, take it up with your Town Meeting or Town Council; the charges are locally-determined.

    Sure, some idiots will dump their computers in the middle of the woods to save a $10 or $15 disposal fee. The same problem has cropped up with pay-as-you-throw programs sometimes, and those are once again about waste management more than recycling. Those damn enviros -- always trying to make people actually pay for the services they use.

    Luckily, the solution with monitors is pretty easy from an economics perspective. Rather than charge people when they dump their equipment, you charge them a deposit when they buy it. They get it back at the end if they dispose of it properly. With a fee you sometimes see dumping. With a deposit/refund system you see the opposite: folks hauling all of those monitors out of the woods to collect the deposits. Maybe Mark just like the disposal costs buried in his property taxes. I don't.

    I've tracked MA recycling for awhile and haven't heard of illegal electronics dumping being a particularly large problem in the state. Perhaps Mark can provide some data to support his point.

    Glad to know he's tracking millenial trends in the world's ice sheets though. I'll bet he's the first one to consider seasonal fluctuations in temperature at the poles, and that this blog is getting millions of hits now as people study the idea. I feel more secure already.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:33 PM  

  • >First off, Global Warming IS bunk

    You're stupid, and I hope you're part of a small minority. I don't want to die because of morons like you. Global warming is bunk, huh? Let me tell you something: I live in Switzerland. Our glaciers are melting. Permafrost ist thawing, and as a result, whole towns are simply falling down the mountains they were built on. In fact, the mountains themselves are crumbling because the permafrost doesn't hold them together anymore. Further down, towns are being flooded. And we're the lucky ones. We don't have to fear rising sea levels or tornados.

    Maybe you're not noticing the effects yet, but if you seriously think that global warming doesn't exist, you're either stupid or misinformed. Turn of Fox News and read some scientific papers for a change.

    The effects of global warming are here today. It's happening right now. If you can't see it, you're either blind or intentionally ignoring it.

    I won't even answer your arguments, they are so absurdly stupid (ice caps are melting because it's summer? What the hell is wrong with you! Do you have any idea what you're talking about?). Just inform yourself. Please.

    By Anonymous LKM, at 3:16 AM  

  • liberals who can create bs out of thin air & blame all problems on a political party are why this planet is in trouble, keep spin doctering these issues & spread you insane disease, not everyone buys it.

    the only problem i've ever seen here on these never ending issues is no one has ever told liberal idiots to stfu

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:21 AM  

  • Classic misguided "market is always right" bullshit. Libertarians like Penn Gillette assume that the cost of recycling and pubic subsidization is unsupportable because it wouldn't happen in the free market. I call bullshit on that. This blind reliance on the market equates to a survival of the fittest approach, and the market only responds to scarcity once the resource is actually threatened. Free market libertarians think it is wrong to sacrifice anything in the here and now to preserve something later, bowing at the almighty altar of market efficiency. It's ind of like saying you should always spend all the money you have right now because it supports the economy, and don't save for later because you can always make more money. The problem is, maybe in twenty years it will be harder to make money, or maybe you will have a catastrophic illness. Similarly, even though it maybe more expensive to recycle now, preserving resources against future shortages or unseuspected needs is not necessarily a bad thing. Preserving a few million acres of forests from being strip mined for bauxite (aluminum) may be useful in the future, not to mention saving some of the fresh water and energy used in transporting and processing raw materials as compared to recycled materials already closer to usable forms and ultimate consumer markets.

    Just my thoughts!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:57 AM  

  • Industrial civilization has mined nearly all of the easily extracted metal ores on the planet, so at the very least its in our interests to recycle all metal cans and containers, IMHO.

    Bullshit. If this was even close to being true, I should be able to trade 1,000 aluminum cans to Toyota for a new engine for my truck.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:48 AM  

  • In response to Mark's comment about why Greenland's ice caps are "growing," (which actually only means that the ice in the middle of Greenland is getting thicker as the rest melts away) I hope this information below discourages others from falling into the trap of actually believing corporate manipulations of good research.

    The science of this phenomenon is fascinating. As ice melts near the coast, it gives up moisture to the surrounding atmosphere, raising its potential energy as the humidity rises. As it's also a lower altitude, the air is warmer, and thus it rises. Up on the wide, flat plains of ice that make up the majority of Greenland's surface, that moisture rich air cools when it reaches the comparatively higher altitude, and the air gives up its moisture in the form of snow. Gradually that snow builds up into ice, hence the apparent increase on the maps shown here. As it turns out, the thickening ice in the center is itself evidence of disappearing ice over the rest of the continent.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:01 AM  

  • By the way, if you want to read more about this, you can get it from NASA. Of course, you are always free to continue to read stupified versions for lazy idiots too simple to check VALID sources. That or simply read research for sentences that you like, ignoring all the more important information that puts things into context. I mean serious! "GROWING"!? Thickening in a small area and melting everywhere else constitutes GROWING for you!?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:08 AM  

  • I don't know if there is global warming and/or what the affects it could casue both good and bad. However, one thing that has never been explained is the warming period in the middle ages. Until that makes sense to me I'd just assume keep the regulators off of everybody.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:46 PM  

  • >However, one thing that has never
    >been explained is the warming period
    >in the middle ages.

    Uhm... Dude. Stop watching Fox News.


    >Until that makes sense to me I'd just
    >assume keep the regulators off of
    >everybody.

    Ah, but that is the wrong conclusion even if your premise were right. You're saying that there needs to be zero chance of global warming not being caused by humans in order for you to do something about it. That's stupid. Even if there's only a 10% chance that we can change this for the better, we should do it.

    By Anonymous LKM, at 2:27 AM  

  • Speaking of garbage, that is what mostly describes this "news" piece. Their good general point about the need for individuals to go beyond the messaging and think about the process was lost in their hyperbole "bullshit" to "stick it to the environmental man."

    Especially with better technology, the inpropreties and inefficiences of recycling are improving and are in an era of constant improvement. Particularly with the "cradle-to-cradle" movement, the closest thing we have to a silver bullet is in design. If we can design products to have a better life when we're done with them (easier, cheaper to recycle or reuse), then a lot of the energy inefficencies of recycling would be mitigated.

    Speaking of bullshit, the piece is clearly biased. Daniel Benjamin, the 8 myth recycling expert, is a known green-washer (someone who disapproves of environmental protection but uses environmental messaging and tactics to promoto their political agenda). He's funded by a free-market environmental NGO, which with PERC is code for green-washing (this is NOT true of all free-market environment people... they have some great ideas).

    Also real quick, the racist undertones towards Native Americans was so 1992 and was way off board. The reason environmentalists "use" Native Americans in their communications is because Native Americans and disadvantaged communities (predominantly the poor and people of color) are more negatively affected by pollution. It's called environmental injustice, check it out.

    By Blogger divrsify, at 2:41 PM  

  • What is bullshit is this report. Recycling costs sometimes more than simply dumping. Yes, that's true. But mostly it's because for landfills you don't pay anything for the environmental damage you cause. Nor does the poor pseudo-analysis in this program take into
    consideration that the landfill land is now unproductive land that is unavailable for other uses.

    Usually when people say it doesn't make economic sense, you can start asking "for whom" and it may not be the best deal for a particular municipality, which might be able to
    find a cheaper deal just dumping it somewhere (or even better, shipping it to a poor country) but that doesn't mean it doesn't make economic sense for society as a whole.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:03 AM  

  • "Classic misguided "market is always right" bullshit." - Anonymous.

    Oh, yes, heil der bureaukrats! The economic truth is that the market is the worst economic system except for all the others that have been tried.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:14 PM  

  • Yep. The posts here are little more than validation of P & T's thesis:

    Recycling is religion. It's an article of faith. Don't try and argue with the true believers. You'll only be branded a heretic...or worse.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:26 PM  

  • Whoever says there is no scientific proof that global warming is caused by carbon dioxide is a moron!!! There isn't a scientist out there that will deny that. The confusion comes from the government. Try watching An Inconvenient Truth...yeah, I know...It's Al Gore, and he's a total duche bag, but he lays out all of the evidence. He doesn't even skew it very much.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:32 AM  

  • I too was blindly religious about recycling, after seeing P&T and reading these comments, I have sided with the greenies. It just makes sense, the first post sums it up. Penn & Teller are entertainers and definitely provoked me, but I was shocked that it was only 30-minute episode. It troubled me too that they only interviewed two people, at extreme poles of the issue. Nationally recycling is a good thing and makes me personally feel environmentally responsible.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:12 AM  

  • As the editor at MMMfiles.com/mmm, I was intrigued by this --- until I decided to do some fact-checking. Here's what I found:

    When I did search on Daniel Benjamin, I discovered a Senior Fellow at CSIS, who is an counter-terrorism expert. Then, thinking I might have the wrong Daniel, I went back to the video, where Penn identifies "Daniel Benjamin of Clumpston University."

    So I did another search for Clumpston University and got zip.

    Undaunted, I went back (again) to the video so I could find out what the "groundbreaking paper" Mr. Benjamin was. Unfortunately, Penn never named it, and when the camera went in for "close-up," the lettering was illegible.

    Then, I went to the credits section, where there was no "thanks to Mr. Benjamin" for his contributions -- only a series of producers' and writers' credits.

    Ladies & Gentlemen, I believe we have all "been had" by another crafty snake-oil man. However, what did you expect? Penn Jillette's claim to fame is as a MAGICIAN. Not an intellectual.

    It is my opinion this piece should be classified as entertainment, and NOT a documentary.

    By Blogger Top Cat, at 2:01 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger kensai, at 10:44 AM  

  • Hi - The Clemson University professor mentioned has his document here:

    www.environnement-propriete.org/english/2004/2004download_pdf/Benjamin2004.pdf

    Or google: "daniel benjamin clemson university"

    Hope this helps.

    By Blogger gare2, at 5:49 PM  

  • The fact that P&T have ruffled the feathers of the, er, Chicken Little crowd is almost as snicker-worthy as this hilarious episode's gags. The idea that human activity causes significant atmospheric change is so patently silly it precludes any intelligent response beyond laughter, yet there are scores out there who are lapping up the eco-fascist religion of the Gores and Greens like warm milk - while the work of ex-ecos like Bjorn Lomborg, of scientists like Michael Fumento, Fred Singer and 19,000 others who've signed the Petition on Global Warming (in opposition to the Kyoto Prayer/Treaty,) the reams of hard data even thriller novelists have managed to find and work into their books (Micheal Crichton's "State of Fear,") - are vilified as heresy. Clearly somebody here is very, very frightened of that lurking menace called "causality."

    Some interesting points published on the JunkScience site:

    1. "Global warming" is a fact - it's definitely warmer now than when it was colder (profound, no?)
    2. The rate of current warming and the identity of the most significant climate forcings are contentious items in the debate.
    3. Land use change and other activities guarantee some human influence on climate - the degree is contentious.
    4. Near-surface temperature reading amalgams indicate rapid warming ongoing.
    5. Near-surface temperature reading amalgams are composites gathered from less than 1% of the Earth's surface.
    6. Near-surface temperature reading amalgams are subject to local influences.
    7. Near-surface temperature reading amalgams have suffered significant urbanization with the closure of rural recording stations.
    8. Near-surface temperature reading amalgams are adjusted for UHIE corruption - the degree and the methodology are contentious.
    9. Near-surface temperature reading amalgams vary widely by region, with better financed and maintained regions showing little warming.
    10. Radiosonde balloon measures test the well-mixed atmosphere.
    11. Radiosonde balloon measures are significantly less subject to local influences and UHIE than near-surface temperature readings.
    12. Radiosonde balloon measures do not indicate atmospheric warming in the 1,000mtr-10,000mtr height where enhanced greenhouse warming should theoretically be readily apparent by now.
    13. Satellite-mounted Microwave Sounding Units test the well-mixed atmosphere.
    14. Satellite-mounted Microwave Sounding Units provide near-global coverage.
    15. Satellite-mounted Microwave Sounding Units are not subject to local influences or UHIE.
    16. Satellite-mounted Microwave Sounding Units suggest a small tropospheric warming trend (about three-fourths of one degree (C) per century).
    17. General Circulation Climate Models are programmed to show warming proportionate to atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.
    18. General Circulation Climate Models do exactly as they are programmed to do.
    19. General Circulation Climate Models cannot yet be programmed with the complexity of the atmosphere.
    20. General Circulation Climate Models have yet to demonstrate greater predictive power than a table of random numbers.

    On these points I believe there is fair to good agreement, if not consensus."

    Add me to the "agreement" column.

    The worldwide implosion of collectivist ideology ca. 1989 left the vestigial socialist in a bit of a pickle: You can no longer claim capitalism "impoverishes the masses" when it is booming while the socialist world has just dumped Marx' noxious delusions on the Trash Heap of History.

    So what's a poor collectivist ideologue to do? Simple: You opt for the reverse - Capitalism doesn't produce too little, it produces too much!

    'Works great - you get to jettison all that threadbare Marxian rot and wrap yourself in a nice, new green coat that's the hottest fad of the day. Your conquest of hated capitalism (or even our semi-capitalism,) can continue without a hitch.

    Today's "Greens" are just "Reds" with a new paint job. Or as the great economist George Reisman puts it in a recent article on his blog, collectivist mentalities function like traffic lights, flipping between red and green as the times demand. If the consequences weren't so potentially deadly (see how long you survive without industrial technology,) this would be high comedy.

    Which is exactly Penn & Teller's point. Bravo, guys.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:04 AM  

  • Learn how they recycle in Sweden!

    Recycling in Sweden

    By Blogger Mark Base, at 7:30 AM  

  • For "TopCat" who insists Daniel K. Benjamin isn't a credible (or even real?) source:

    http://www.perc.org/pdf/ps28.pdf

    It took a bit of searching, but enjoy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:34 PM  

  • Mark said above:
    One example. Leaded Gas. Oh how terrible! Children are dieing from it! (note nobody was ever able to pin down exactly how). We have to replace it with a non-lead-based additive! Which one? why one that is not only demonstratively highly carcinogenic, but one soluble in water. Something Lead is not. Clue kids, ALL TANKS LEAK!

    Actually, Mark, lead was removed from gasoline for one reason only, and that is because the lead in gasoline fouls the catalytic converters and oxygen sensors required in modern closed loop automobile emissions sytems. Are you going to argue that the catalytic converter was a bad idea?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:43 PM  

  • Penn & Teller are completely misinformed. Plastics and tires can be recycled and produce gas and oil for prices much lower than market prices. Global Resources Corp already discovered that. Aluminum and steel are recycled and pay good prices for the metal since it's cheaper than producing it at virgin sources. Old cardboard is in demand that it's actually a profitable export.

    Penn & Teller ignore the facts because it interferes with their religion of Libertarianism. For the real facts turn to science, not pseudoscientist hacks like P&T.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:48 PM  

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