The International Advertising Association (IAA West) features a panel of media gurus to discuss the dynamics and future of tablet-enabled advertising and media moderated by Greg Stern of Butler, Shine and Stern.
Panelists include Matt Van Dalsem, Vice President, Marketing, BlackRock; Greg Sterling, Principal of Sterling Market Intelligence/Analyst, Internet2Go; Andy Berkenfield, General Manager, Duncan/Channon; Carilu Dietrich, Director of Global Advertising, Oracle; and Thom Campbell, US Media Manager, Intel Corporation.
Jane Barrett, president of IAA West says, "The advertising, media and marketing community is at the precipice of yet another phase of technology driven change. The rapid evolution of media from paper to glass is fostering significant change and opportunity for our industry. We have empanelled thought leaders from the Bay Area Advertising and Marketing Community to discuss the burgeoning phenomena of tablet enabled media and expect a lively discussion to ensue."
The IAA is the only global partnership of advertisers, agencies, the media, and related services. Its mission is to promote the critical role and benefits of advertising as the vital force behind all healthy economies and the foundation of diverse, independent media in an open society to protect and advance freedom of commercial speech and consumer choice; encourage greater practice and acceptance of advertising self-regulation; provide a forum to debate emerging professional marketing communications issues and their consequences in a fast-changing world environment; take the lead in state-of-the-art professional development, education and training for the marketing communications industry of tomorrow. For more information, please go to www.iaawest.org.
Andy Berkenfield, General Manager of Duncan/Channon, earned an advertising degree from the distinguished Newhouse School at Syracuse University. He cut his marketing teeth working on packaged goods at multinationals in New York, then moved to San Francisco to get into retail and image brands. At Foote, Cone & Belding/SF, he held senior jobs running Taco Bell, Levi's and the $100 million Sega Dreamcast launch.
Joining Duncan/Channon in 2000, he brought a new level of strategic leadership and led giant-killing pitches for Clos du Bois, Network Associates (now McAfee), Birkenstock and others.
Thom Campbell is U.S. Media Manager for Intel Corporation.
Carilu Dietrich is Director of Global Advertising for Oracle.
Greg Sterling is the founding principal of Sterling Market Intelligence (SMI), a consulting and research firm focused on the Internet's influence on offline consumer purchase behavior. He also is a Senior Analyst for Internet2Go, an advisory service from Opus Research tracking the evolution of the mobile Internet.
Before SMI, Sterling ran The Kelsey Group's Interactive Local Media program. Prior to The Kelsey Group, Sterling was at TechTV where he helped produce "Working the Web," a national television show on e-business and the Internet. Before that he was a founding editor and executive producer at AllBusiness.com. And prior to joining AllBusiness, Sterling was a practicing attorney in San Francisco.
As CEO of Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners, Greg Stern looks after general agency and client management as well as the strategic direction of the company.
After graduating from Brown University, Stern worked with Ogilvy in New York, Hong Kong and Indonesia. He met John Butler and Mike Shine while working at Goodby and later joined them in starting BSSP. Stern sits on several boards, including the 4As and SFJazz.
Matt Van Dalsem
Matt Van Dalsem is Vice President of Marketing at BlackRock.
Microcomputer design and manufacturing company, the first successful personal-computer company. It was founded in 1976 by Steven P. Jobs and Stephen G. Wozniak, whose first computer was manufactured in the Jobs family's garage. The Apple II (1977), with its plastic case and colour graphics, launched the company to success, earning Apple over $100 million by 1980, the year the company first offered stock to the public. The 1981 introduction of IBM's PC, running a Microsoft Corp. operating system, marked the beginning of long-term competition for Apple in the personal-computer market. The Macintosh, introduced in 1984, was the first personal computer to use a graphical user interface and a mouse. The Mac initially sold poorly, and Jobs left the company in 1985, but eventually it found its niche in the desktop publishing market. Meanwhile, Microsoft's Windows operating system eroded Apple's market share. Apple recalled Jobs in 1997. He returned the company to profitability by introducing more innovative products, such as the iMac. Apple introduced iTunes, software for playing music that has been converted to the MP3 format, and the iPod portable MP3 music player in 2001; in 2003 the company began selling downloadable copies of major record company songs in MP3 format over the Internet.
The only problem with Apple's products is that they are products of Apple. People do not appreciate being told what to do, and they hate being controlled. Stevie boy releases products and tells you what you can and can't do with them. Until recently it was illegal to jailbreak your iPhone. So, to Apple, its not really even your device after you have bought it. With all the advertising they are generating from these devices, they should be giving them to you for free instead of charging you 500 dollars. Maybe then I could understand the level of authority they still want to have. It all boils down to this, people want flash, and they HATE syncing data. Sadly those two changes will never happen because of the Appstore. Apple is echoing every mistake they made in the 90s but this time Android will be sinking their ship instead of Microsoft. I hope you enjoyed the ride Steve. Around 3rd quarter 2011 don't find yourself holding their stock. And as far as the iPad form factor, if you haven't wasted your money on one yet, wait until next year. India has made a touchscreen tablet style PC that will be available for 35 dollars and MIT is working on one that will cost 100. Better options are right around the corner.
I must ask a question at this point.
Why is it that you can't understand anything I'm saying, and continually need to follow tangents, take offence, get personal, insert assumptions, reject facts, dismiss a valid premise in favour of a biased one, and effectively quote mine my comments to interpret part of a sentence to mean something other than what it does as a whole?
It's just I fear I am completely wasting my time, and this is very time consuming. It appears that you cannot grasp any concept beyond that of pure mathematics, and that you have already decided to reject my evidence before I have even presented it, on the grounds that you dont trust the source, even though that source is the manufacturer and would therefore err in their own favour to be beneficial to their cause.
"the Prius has a remarkably high value as a used car, so that the owner can book an even higher effective monetary gain.
Predicting potential depreciation is troublesome,"
I wasn't predicting. I was looking at historic data.
"increasing in popularity as it currently is also reduces future values as the used car buyer will have more options...."
So far it's doing well. If you feel you can predict the future, more power with you.
"And with technological advancements, more vehicles entering the field, as well as range extender hybrids and EV taking the environmental limelight, the usefulness and popularity would also be expected to decrease."
So you think Toyota will not update the car or come out with their next technological step... why?
"Another problem is with your example of a 12 year ownership, you will now require a new battery."
Maybe, but again, you are guessing.
"Adding a several thousand dollar repair bill to an outdated and no longer all that impressive vehicle in terms of efficiency,"
You can say that about every car that people put a new engine and transmission in. Yet, they do it all the time. You have to compare the real world cost for that with the cost for Prius repairs. You can't take the worst case scenario for one case and assume that nothing similar exists for the other.
"is cause for scrapping as it simply doesn't make economic sense to repair, essentially making your depreciation 100%"
Why would that be? If all you have is a well working vehicle with a bad battery, you can always opt to replace the battery and worst case you can opt to take it apart for parts. In no case is the remaining value 0. It's the same as with any other vehicle type.
"whereas the non-hybrid would still be going and have a market value."
That's a false comparison. If you destroy the transmission of a regular ICE car, the car won't work, either. The Prius does not have a transmission, so it would be fine... that's the same example as yours, and just as false.
"But realistically, how many cars that old are still on the road?"
The median age of US cars is about 9.4 years, right now, so half the vehicles are older than 9.4 years. That leaves plenty of 12 year old cars on the road.
"...most people view cars as throw away items, especially the new generic style less crap they spit out these days."
That's not true in the US where many people can never afford to buy a new car, yet having a car is absolutely necessary.
"So given these problems, and others along these lines, why do you assume your back of the envelope calculations filled with inaccuracies and assumptions are more valid than, say, a detailed report by a not-for-profit membership organisation..."
You will have to tell me which organization you are talking about. And if you want to invalidate my back of the envelope calculations, you will have to do it one by one. That's the rule of the game... if you want to follow the scientific rules of engagement, that is. If you have done your homework, it shouldn't be that hard. However, if you don't know how to do that, why do you think you understand the methodology of your other source? Do you think they can arrive at a correct result in other ways than by large numbers of small calculations?
The difference is that I am showing you mine, while, in all likelihood, you haven't seen theirs. You seem to believe their "authority" based on their age. At least that's what it looks like as you are not even giving me a proper citation of what exactly your reference is.
I don't have to invalidate anything I haven't seen up-close. You, on the other hand, have a dozen or so first order estimates in front of you, which you do have to engage with... if you want this discussion to continue on any level.
"which has been in the car business for a 100 years, and has been working on this running cost issue for decades, and has taken every single factor into account using actual measured data to compare almost every production vehicle on the road?"
That's the claim. It's a pretty tall claim. But tall claims need tall proof. In this case, they need to give us the complete list of their data sources... and access to the data. And then they need to show us every single calculation they have made and how it fits into a general methodology. And not just on the Prius, but on every other car they have ever done. And then they need to show us the comparisons of their predictions with the actual statistically measured cost for these vehicles. We need that to test their predictions against reality and if we find that the correlation is good for other vehicle types, then they have some level of credibility.
If they can't do that, it's no more and no less than a useless bunch of numbers. A phone book to me, maybe a bible to you. However, since I don't run on faith, I couldn't care less.
Show me the data sources, the methodology and the test against reality and we are in business.
I am looking forward to seeing the EVIDENCE.
"As for the cost benefits, I don't think you have a leg to stand on, once the supporters of the technology are conceding they have lost I'm fairly certain it can be taken as fact."
Which supporters are that and why is it relevant? Either the technology is efficient and one can prove it, or it isn't and then one can prove that. If you can prove that the technology is inefficient, you don't need to refer to "some supporters" without even telling us who they are in particular. You could, very simply, or with an enormous effort, show that the technology is not efficient.
Again, I am waiting for evidence here.
"Because if you are supporting something, you are not going to give up and concede a point when you are correct, and therefore weaken your standing."
I am not sure who you are talking about and why somebody conceding something has any relevance for a matter of physics. The question is:
"Are more Joules necessary to build a hybrid than it can save during its average lifetime?"
"Is more CO2 being generated by the production process than is being saved by the product?"
These are both questions of physics and chemistry. They have to be both answered by means of physics and chemistry.
After all, we don't let people vote about the position of the elements in the periodic table, either. There is absolutely no difference between the task of ordering the periodic table and that of testing a specific hybrid design for its efficiency. One might require more brains and the other more work, but the methodology to answer both is the same.
So get to work! You have a hypothesis to prove.
"It's simple logic that doesn't require any understanding of the topic."
Try submitting a dissertation to a university claiming something like this and see what happens.
"If I'm supporting something I'm not going to tell you it's main perceived benefit is non-existent, unless of course that is an unarguable fact, which in this case it is."
So, OK, who said that and in what concept? And by what scientific process did that person arrive at that conclusion? Citations, citations, citations, please...
"Now, Toyota not responding to independent or even government authorities regarding their cost in producing the car would be nothing special.
They quickly leaped to their flagships defence after another study challenged their environmental credentials."
The Prius is not even Toyota's flagship... they have much better selling models.
But if you accused your neighbor of beating his wife, and he tried to defend himself, would you see that as a proof of his guilt?
If yes, you are welcome to join the Holy Inquisition. You are a little late, but, at least, you have the right spirit!
"However, their silence is deafening on this issue."
So if you accused you neighbor of beating his wife and he remained silent, would you see that as a sign of his guilt?
If yes, you are welcome... oh, we had that.
Moreover, if you have answered both questions with yes (and it seems to me that you just have), logic dictates that the assumption of his guilt is independent of him defending himself or not. In your eyes he is always guilty. The only question is... why did you even waste your time asking? You knew the answer already!
"This kind of links back to Apple with it sticking its head in the sand and hoping legitimate problems will disappear. They've done it often in the past and it's happening again with the iPhone4's reception problems."
Did you do a scientific test on these reception problems? Did anyone? Cool... so they did. And you are going to provide us with a citation of the used methodology and the collected data? OK... you get the drill.
Now, it looks like another venerable institution did what they always do, and the gave us an opinion:
So, by your own methodology of believing old venerable non-for-profit institutions, this should put the case to complete rest! Consumer Reports (see.. I am giving you a citation!) told us so... so we have to shut up, because consumer reports is so old and so non-profit that they are always right. Even when they are not... but that never happens and we have no right to ask them how they arrived at their conclusion!
OK... if you think that I was just making fun of this, please get yourself a dozen iPhones from a randomized production sample, an anechoic chamber, the necessary calibrated test antennas, the 4G communication test systems and software, a bunch of really good RF test engineers and do the test yourself. I am sure that you can figure it out... I for sure could. I just don't care. But if you do care... and boy, do you care... and nobody does the job right in your opinion, then, the only way out is that YOU do the job yourself.
Tell me I am wrong. And then tell me why I am wrong. It will make for an interesting, if tortured argument.
"It is the documentation from their defence which is the proof of their environmental failings."
Citations, citations, citations... please link to the documents.
"As you said yourself, if they were going to err it would be in their favour, and they clearly have done that."
No... I believe I said that if you forced Daimler (or most other companies who have secrets) to reveal their cost structure, they would try to fudge the data to make it hard for their competitors to figure out their key secrets from the publicized data. How that becomes your statement about Toyota is beyond my grasp. You will have to explain it in detail. Or maybe I am thinking about the wrong statement. Can you please quote what I said that you are referring to?
"Sure the graph looks nice and the title "proves" their point,"
"but it's a simple process to reverse engineer their graph back to the pure data, remove the invalid assertions and recompile the figures."
If it's a simple process, you certainly won't mind sharing it with us? I love simple processes. Especially the ones that lead to pure data!
"And this doesn't take into account the other factors in production energy use, which, given faulty and exaggerated claims in other sectors are also likely to be present."
That might be so, but you would have to prove all of that. Right now you are guessing or worse.
"I'm being as kind as possible to give them the absolute best case scenario, from there you can make further assumptions on what greater impact their vagaries could produce."
But... you haven't done anything so far, except to run around in circles, avoiding any concrete evidence...
"I'm working on a presentation in my spare time which dissects their claims and hope to have it posted soon."
I am not holding my breath. It might take a while... and the results... oh, my, judging by the current performance....
"Now, is a hybrid economically viable for the manufacturer? I think there can be no doubt about that, otherwise they wouldn't be making them in these large numbers. So that is a no-brainer, just as well.
Only, partly true. I'm sure they make plenty of money from them,..."
Oh, goody... so you happen to agree with me????
" but as far as I can see it, the biggest driving factor in their increased popularity among manufacturers (they all have them on the road, or at least in the works for release in the next few years) is the restrictions on emissions."
Reduction of emissions is not a popularity contest... it's a mandate of the law. Do you think it is wrong for manufacturers to tell customers that they meet AND maybe even exceed the law???
Would you like them better if they were above the limits and stayed quiet about polluting the environment more than we allow them to?
"The technology is being enforced despite minor/negligible environmental benefits, simply because the tailpipe emissions make a nice scapegoat to an ill-informed public."
I showed you that the technology is not being enforced in the US. We have laws telling manufacturers what to achieve, not how to do it.
"The public look at the emission figures and think we've made progress, we haven't."
If you can lower toxic emissions like NOx, CO and HC, that's not progress to you? Wow... and I thought you wanted your food clean and pure? But now you seem to care little about your air. Interesting mix...
"It's good to see you are actually looking into the issue now,..."
I've been doing that for years. :-)
"and have even gone some of the way to disproving your own laugh tests."
If you think that, you do not understand the methodology. It's not about proving pre-conceived notions but about informing YOURSELF on the technical level of the experts about the issues, so you can tell bull from truth.
"Although that does prove to me that you we're previously speaking from a position of authority"
I am speaking from a position of authority because I have done my homework and so I feel comfortable talking about the results.
"I'll leave the environmental credentials of the cars to your research for now and come back to it later, if you wish."
I am looking forward to it.
"In my next post I'll also teach you about that Hummer thing, but for now I'd like to refute your theory on finances."
I am terrified!
"Put simply you have started with a false premise, and extended it with invalid assumptions that are equally incorrect and have therefore reached the wrong conclusion."
It is for you to question my premises and to disprove my conclusions. That's what this is all about.
"Let's look at the ownership perspective: people tend to buy as much car as they can afford
This may be true from the point of view of some consumers,"
So you are agreeing with me for some consumers. Good.
"but it could also be said that a hybrid buyer is doing so because they are trying to save money,"
Just what I said, again. There are people who are making the kind of economics calculations that I showed you.
"I've had friends in that situation and I've had to walk through the issue with them to point out the flaws."
That's nice... but you would have to tell me what you told them. In the end you might have given them poor advice. We can't know without the details.
"It could also be true that they are buying a hybrid on the grounds that they are worried about the environment."
Indeed, but how would that change the economics of the car? Or is your worry that they could afford a much larger car, like a luxury Mercedes, but chose the much more economical Prius, instead? In that case you would have to defend the environmental impact of the Mercedes vs. that of the Prius. I think that would be a waste of time. The important case is approaching the problem from the lower end... people who can buy a Prius but who could also buy a smaller car instead. The comparison then becomes, in most cases, the slightly cheaper, slightly lower efficiency ICE vs. the slightly more expensive but slightly higher efficiency hybrid.
"This is actually the most typical case, an old (retired) person looking to make a statement and leave the world in a better place for the sake of their grandkids."
There you have the same scenario... a buyer who can afford the car. That they are also making a statement doesn't change the economics. If the car supports that statement, everyone wins, and we get economical and ecological advantages. If the car does not, the people still might feel happy... until we prove that the car does not do what they hope it will.
So we have to demonstrate its ecological inferiority to some other car they might have bought if the Prius had not been available or... if they had known that their hopes for ecological improvement were false.
Which brings us back to my initial statement that they are likely going to buy as much car as they can. The latter is actually more important in a physical sense for the older folks than for the young. They want a car which is comfortable to get in, with headroom and legroom to move around while you are getting in and out. The Prius has that, many smaller and cheaper cars do not.
"In which case, any generic hatchback would also fill the role, or even something as seemingly useless to the average consumer as a Smart car."
A generic hatchback might, a Smart Car won't (been there... squeezed that!), for sure not for the elderly. I would be glad to compare a generic hatchback of your choice with the Prius. I think that might be a fair comparison in terms of utility.
"Also your theory on the same price could mean you are comparing a sleek efficient hybrid to a big and simple truck, which simply isn't a valid comparison, or even to the top of the range euro diesel, which you yourself dismissed as invalid."
A simple truck, at least in the US, does not come close in fuel efficiency. You are burning through your ecological budget in no time. A Euro-Diesel is, as far as I know, not available. I am not even sure we have the low sulfur fuel those things need. Japan and Europe are a different case and there the comparison might become one of size... which should actually work against the Prius. I have no clue how you want to park that thing in many old European cities.
"Also, the government incentives, be it tax concessions, manufacturer backing, or the most important factor, restricting emissions, lead to the end result of every car eventually becoming a hybrid."
Maybe, but that's the far future. It does not impact the current market much. In any case, in America they believe in market forces... you should have seen high gas prices driving Prius sales! So, unless you believe in some magic that will keep oil prices low, the market will drive vehicle efficiency all by itself.
"In this case you simply cannot compare like priced cars, because the bigger or more upmarket car you refer to, will now cost $5,000 more as well."
Only if you assume that the cost of hybrid systems are going to stay high. I don't even believe that the cost of hybrid systems would be that high, right now, if we had the sales volumes of non-hybrids.
"These legislations are based on the technology, not the price of the car, possible market factors, or even the emissions."
Not in the US if I understand it correctly. Emission standards do not prescribe the technology, merely the required results. PZEV does not care about the technical details, either, it merely sets limits on measured emissions.
In general, the US legislators have gotten better results from requiring outcomes and leaving the implementation to industry.
"It is a blanket case of hybrid good, non-hybrid bad. Even if the hybrid is a big heavy 4x4 producing 250g/km compared to a hatchback emitting 100g/km. In the end you have to compare like for like, the only difference being the drive system. Thus my problem with yours, and Toyota's false comparisons."
I don't think the sales numbers work out like that.
Most people want the hybrid efficiency, not the hybrid sticker. And I would still like to see the 100g/km hatchback. It's not something you can buy in the US easily.
"Penn and Teller: Bullshit, or just BS in polite markets."
Got to watch that... hope it's on Youtube or similar.
"I am saying defending the constitution to the point of violence is not that different to a suicide bomber. Both are over-reacting to a man made and out dated document. There was no mention of a Penn and Teller book..."
Defending the constitution with arms is part of the constitutional rights of the US citizen. The German army is required to ignore, and, if required, to act against a government that ignores the constitution. Germans have learned from past mistakes (where the army would follow any orders) and Americans wanted to make sure that oppression never came back though the back door.
As for practical applications of this... there were none, so far. Neither country has gone through a constitutional crisis worthy taking up arms over. Knock on wood...
"Overeating bad food is worse than overeating good food"
I have read medical books on the topic years ago and they seem to disagree with you on this point. The human body is designed to metabolize most anything you throw at it. You can overeat just as easily with high quality produce as you can with McDonalds. It will taste better and you will feel better about yourself based on the medical myth that good food is better for you. Which, in some way, is even more of a self-deception.
"you see disgustingly morbid, bed-ridden, fattys piling food in continually."
That's probably what you see. What I see are people who need medical and psychological help. Sorry that we disagree... but at this point you are losing big time points with me... your intolerance is showing.
"By all conventional wisdom they should have exploded is a puddle of their own fat, but they fester away for decades, I think the nutrition from all that food may be counteracting the effects of obesity."
Your conventional wisdom here has the quality of kindergarten speech and reasoning. At best. At worst it is filled with hate.
"More is learnt about this everyday, certain foods fight certain medical conditions etc, if you eat enough of everything then your health isnt as bad as expected, even if you are overweight."
You may want to give me some citations here...
"But if all they are eating is deep fried chicken and chips then conventional wisdom prevails and they die very quickly."
Again, you need to give me citations... do you have a controlled test in which one group was subjected to an 1800kCal diet of fried chicken and chips (plus the essential vitamins etc., which everybody who overeats on pretty much any diet gets, anyway) and a daily dose of light exercise? Do you have a 20 year cardiovascular study on this group and a comparator arm of one eating 1800kCal organic French cuisine every day?
If you don't, your argument is pretty much mote... you DO NOT KNOW what happens on such a diet vs. the other. You only know what happens to people on an UNCONTROLLED diet of fried chicken. And that, my friend, is not what you claim...
"This shits me,..."
Me, too... but we seem to agree that it's true, right?
"That is market exploitation."
Yes and no. If you compare a ranch with grass fed cattle with one with industrially raised cattle, you will see why there is a cost premium. It's the same for chickens, eggs and most other produce. You can produce more cheaper industrially... and given the hunger of the world one has to ask if non-industrial production techniques could actually feed everyone... I don't know. My gut feeling is they couldn't.
"People are paying more for the priviledge of healthy food, and they wonder why the poor have worse health or eat bad food."
I don't think they wonder... they merely don't care. And those who care are facing a real problem. It's not like there aren't plenty of people who are trying to change the system... it's just that the system is resisting.
"Some want to tax junk food to counteract this, but as I said its the market that has decided, not the actual cost of production, so all that would do is artificially inflate all food prices."
Yes, a tax would be regressive because it hits the poor most. And quality regulations will shift supply and demand and the market will raise the prices. There are always consequences when you manipulate these things. The only question is how you can go from here to a better place without catastrophic consequences and undue burdens on many.
"Don't get offended, this was not a personal dig at you or your views, it was at the country you live in."
I didn't take it personally... I merely said that you need better reasons than what you can hear on the internet. No amount of information in the world can tell you what the people in other countries are like. Trust me. Before WW I, the French and the Germans hated each other... most of that hate was whipped up by politicians and the media. They killed each other in scores in the trenches. Had a significant number of them taken the time to go to the other country (France and Germany have a very lovely border region!) and meet the enemy, WW I wouldn't have happened and neither would WW II... After the war politicians found a better way: cooperation and exchange. Europe is growing together, maybe faster than is good for her, because of the fear that isolation will lead to another catastrophe.
That is what I am saying. It's all right not to like the US... but before you do... come to the US and spend some time here. Compare some of the targets of your dislikes against the reality.
"If you live in America, you're an American"
That is part of your problem. You can not imagine that something can be more complicated than black and white. When I was living in Germany, I wasn't culturally a German, either. When I go back to my home country, I do not feel at home. I feel at home where my love is. And that can be anywhere in the world. I do not have to become 100% part of something, ever, and can, therefor be always part of everything.
"I was merely saying I'm happy I don't live there."
How do you know? Did you ever try? Not that there is one America. There are places in America where I wouldn't want to live and many Americans will tell you the same thing, just in harsher words than me. There are places both in and outside of America where I can imagine living some time in the future.
"I'm sure there are certain advantages regarding the whole freedom situation, (I, for example, would like to buy a Secma F16 but can't due to safety regulations) but the US is also one of the worst nations in the developed world when it comes to general welfare of it's citizens."
Depends on how much money you have... just like in every other country of the world. Or do you really think you can't get better medical care in Sweden, Switzerland or Japan than the average person if you have money? Sure you can. It's just that in the US people do not mind talking about that. In Switzerland etc.. some facilities are only available to you on invitation. You are not even likely to know about them without being initiated in certain circles.
Do you think that is any more "democratic" (in the sense of egalitarian) than the US where the one and only metric is your bank account?
"Education levels, life expectancy, violent crime, racism, etc, etc."
Indeed. And it all depends where you are and who you are. The US is not homogeneous, neither is any other country in the world. We just happen to acknowledge it and we have a wider distribution than many other countries.
"So is English your second language?"
Nope. It's not my first, either. :-)
"Because there seems to be a lot of crossed wires more than actual disagreements, and you have even quoted youself and argued against your own points, I assume thinking that I have said it, but in a different context."
Maybe... you are free to point those occasions out to me. I will be more than glad to clarify... we can check if I really contradicted myself or if I just see things a little more differentiated.
"That post seemed to descend into an angry rant by the end there..."
Angry... no. Somewhat irritated and impatient, yes. You can be very irritating at times... your position against overweight people without self-control... either I misunderstand or you are truly intolerant. I don't like that... and I do have emotional reactions, too.
OK... time for another laugh test. If we can believe the table in
at 55mph a Prius like electric vehicle would need 200Wh/mile. If we assume that a vehicle of almost full utility should be able to travel 150 miles at highway speed on one charge (that's one third the distance a regular car can do and in the US, outside of urban areas, it is often necessary to be able to travel almost this far between refueling opportunities). So that means we need 200Wh/mile*150miles=30kWh in electric energy. LiIon batteries can achieve up to 250Wh/kg, so with that technology we would need a 120kg battery pack. However, since we can not deep-discharge the batteries without seriously reducing their lifetime, we have to increase the battery mass to 150-180kg and end up with 200kg total system mass including the necessary cooling and support and electronics and what have you.
Not too bad, actually. What's the mass of a gasoline engine plus four or five gear automatic transmission compared to an equivalent electric with a much easier two gear transmission? So according to some Yaris blogs, the engine is about 187lbs, which would be something like 85kg. Add to the the weight of the transmission, for which I couldn't find the specs, yet, but let's gestimate 25kg (they do look heavy, don't they?), and we are up to 110kg for the regular drive train. 150miles worth of gas at 50mpg needs a 3gallon tank... including the gas that's probably another 10kg. So we are (200-110-10)kg=80kg more heavy with the battery alone than with the engine assembly plus transmission plus tank in an ICE car. Add to that probably something like 50-60kg worth of electric engines and gears, and we are about 140kg over with the electric car.
That's not too bad, either. Certainly not a deal breaker for a relatively short distance EV. If one wanted to achieve the 450 mile equivalent... that's another problem altogether. Now we would have to add another 300kg worth of batteries, which is probably not just cost prohibitive but also bulky. OTOH, over-sizing the battery decreases the stress on the battery and the SOC (state of charge) variations for normal use will be smaller by a considerable amount, which means much longer battery lifetime. But that's an optimization problem which requires a lot of knowledge about the actual battery specs and degradation mechanism.
It seems that an EV much below 150 miles is impractical, OTOH, it competes with a real hybrid with three times the range. An EV with more than 150 miles range, OTOH runs into serious limitations by the battery size with current technology.
So let's see if we can get some significant energy savings from this. Assuming the use patter is 12,000 miles in EV mode and 3000 miles in hybrid mode. What do we get? Short city and highway driving might need 150Wh/mile on average. Total energy required is 150Wh/mile*12000miles=1.8millionWh=1800kWh. Using a 90% charging efficiency, that's 2110 kWh from the grid. I think the US average for CO2 generation per kWh is about 1.3lbs:
CO2 emissions in EV mode are therefor on the order of 2740lbs. The same 12000 miles driven with a Prius would have required 12000miles/50mpg=240gallons of gas. Multiply with something like 1.2 for well-to-tank, makes 288 gallons of gas, at 19lbsCO2/gallon that's 5470lbs. Our PHEV or EV saves (5470-2740)lbs=2730lbs of emissions a year, roughly half the Prius.
Now we are getting some data about GHG emissions from Li battery production here:
75kg/Kwh... let's look at the CO2 emissions per mile: 150Wh/mile*75kgCO2/1000Wh=11.25Kg/mile=25lbs/mile. If we made a PHEV with 40 mile radius, this would result in 1000lbs of CO2 emissions for the battery, which can be saved in less than half a year based on our 2700lbs savings from above.
So, from a CO2 perspective, and based only on the battery data and with probably slightly optimistic assumptions for the efficiency of a PHEV drive train, we can amortize our CO2 investment in half a year. Discount for some of the overly optimistic assumptions and we are in business in a year.
OK... this I buy. And if one were to increase the fraction of renewables and nuclear in the energy mix, we are doing even better, even against a reasonable hybrid design. Even the fully electric car does OK... but the payback period would be more on the order of two or three years, it seems and depends on how much one can discount for the CO emissions for the ICE, transmission etc..
Interestingly, the source above claims that CO2 emissions for NiMH batteries are similar those for Li batteries. So if we assume 100kgCo2/kWh (I can't see the graphs well enough to tell), we would incur a 6.5Ah*200V*100kgCO2/kWh=130kgCo2 penalty for the Prius battery. That's far less than 360kg that I got from Ni mining alone. Let's do another check... the Prius battery has 1.3kWh and a mass of 44kg. That's a power density of 30Wh/kg... a far cry from the limit of the technology, which is closer to 80Wh/kg. One wonders if they had to de-rate the battery so much to get the reliability? And then, maybe it's the Japanese paper that underestimates the environmental impact for battery production? Maybe they assume Canadian sources for Ni? They certainly seem to think that full recycling is counterproductive... that's interesting. I need to investigate further.
Hope you don't mind the length of this?
I am mostly trying to show you how much thought I think one should put into such a topic as compared to saying "the majority of the press reports...". And, needless to say, at this point I am feeling the need to broaden the search... not all of my laugh tests are converging as nicely as I would expect in case of reliable data sources and proper reasoning... which means, I need to double-check both!
It's good to see you are actually looking into the issue now, and have even gone some of the way to disproving your own laugh tests. Although that does prove to me that you we're previously speaking from a position of authority and being condescending on an issue you didn't really understand. I'll leave the environmental credentials of the cars to your research for now and come back to it later, if you wish. In my next post I'll also teach you about that Hummer thing, but for now I'd like to refute your theory on finances.
Put simply you have started with a false premise, and extended it with invalid assumptions that are equally incorrect and have therefore reached the wrong conclusion.
Originally Posted by Periergeia
Let's look at the ownership perspective: people tend to buy as much car as they can afford
This may be true from the point of view of some consumers, but it could also be said that a hybrid buyer is doing so because they are trying to save money, I've had friends in that situation and I've had to walk through the issue with them to point out the flaws. It could also be true that they are buying a hybrid on the grounds that they are worried about the environment. This is actually the most typical case, an old (retired) person looking to make a statement and leave the world in a better place for the sake of their grandkids. In which case, any generic hatchback would also fill the role, or even something as seemingly useless to the average consumer as a Smart car.
We can debate that issue forever and not reach a conclusion, it's a waste of time and effort and won't ever be a proven fact no matter which stance you take, or personally wish to believe.
Also your theory on the same price could mean you are comparing a sleek efficient hybrid to a big and simple truck, which simply isn't a valid comparison, or even to the top of the range euro diesel, which you yourself dismissed as invalid.
Also, the government incentives, be it tax concessions, manufacturer backing, or the most important factor, restricting emissions, lead to the end result of every car eventually becoming a hybrid. In this case you simply cannot compare like priced cars, because the bigger or more upmarket car you refer to, will now cost $5,000 more as well. These legislations are based on the technology, not the price of the car, possible market factors, or even the emissions. It is a blanket case of hybrid good, non-hybrid bad. Even if the hybrid is a big heavy 4x4 producing 250g/km compared to a hatchback emitting 100g/km.
In the end you have to compare like for like, the only difference being the drive system. Thus my problem with yours, and Toyota's false comparisons.
Originally Posted by Periergeia
A hypothetical Prius with the hybrid drive train removed?
Luckily there are such things already on the market, several cars come in both hybrid and non-hybrid form, allowing a relatively fair comparison. Not quite, but I'll say more about that at another time.
Originally Posted by Periergeia
the reliability and upkeep costs being the same
Untrue, trivially I could point out that there have been a lot of recallable issues with hybrids, countering the reliability suggestion.
Other ongoing costs such as servicing are increased, a simple call to your dealer will confirm that. Potential repair costs are also higher.
You also haven't mentioned insurance, inherently higher in a more expensive car.
Originally Posted by Periergeia
the Prius has a remarkably high value as a used car, so that the owner can book an even higher effective monetary gain.
Predicting potential depreciation is troublesome, increasing in popularity as it currently is also reduces future values as the used car buyer will have more options. Simple supply and demand issue. And with technological advancements, more vehicles entering the field, as well as range extender hybrids and EV taking the environmental limelight, the usefulness and popularity would also be expected to decrease.
Another problem is with your example of a 12 year ownership, you will now require a new battery. Adding a several thousand dollar repair bill to an outdated and no longer all that impressive vehicle in terms of efficiency, is cause for scrapping as it simply doesn't make economic sense to repair, essentially making your depreciation 100% whereas the non-hybrid would still be going and have a market value. But realistically, how many cars that old are still on the road? My fleet of a Morris Mini, Wolseley 1500 and Suzuki Supercarry have an average age of nigh on 40 years, but I am the exception, most people view cars as throw away items, especially the new generic style less crap they spit out these days.
So given these problems, and others along these lines, why do you assume your back of the envelope calculations filled with inaccuracies and assumptions are more valid than, say, a detailed report by a not-for-profit membership organisation which has been in the car business for a 100 years, and has been working on this running cost issue for decades, and has taken every single factor into account using actual measured data to compare almost every production vehicle on the road?
Originally Posted by Periergeia
"As for the cost benefits, I don't think you have a leg to stand on, once the supporters of the technology are conceding they have lost I'm fairly certain it can be taken as fact."
Why does it have to be taken as a fact?
Because if you are supporting something, you are not going to give up and concede a point when you are correct, and therefore weaken your standing. It's simple logic that doesn't require any understanding of the topic. If I'm supporting something I'm not going to tell you it's main perceived benefit is non-existent, unless of course that is an unarguable fact, which in this case it is.
Originally Posted by Periergeia
Now, Toyota not responding to independent or even government authorities regarding their cost in producing the car would be nothing special.
They quickly leaped to their flagships defence after another study challenged their environmental credentials. However, their silence is deafening on this issue. This kind of links back to Apple with it sticking its head in the sand and hoping legitimate problems will disappear. They've done it often in the past and it's happening again with the iPhone4's reception problems.
It is the documentation from their defence which is the proof of their environmental failings. As you said yourself, if they were going to err it would be in their favour, and they clearly have done that. Sure the graph looks nice and the title "proves" their point, but it's a simple process to reverse engineer their graph back to the pure data, remove the invalid assertions and recompile the figures. And this doesn't take into account the other factors in production energy use, which, given faulty and exaggerated claims in other sectors are also likely to be present. I'm being as kind as possible to give them the absolute best case scenario, from there you can make further assumptions on what greater impact their vagaries could produce. I'm working on a presentation in my spare time which dissects their claims and hope to have it posted soon.
Originally Posted by Periergeia
Now, is a hybrid economically viable for the manufacturer? I think there can be no doubt about that, otherwise they wouldn't be making them in these large numbers. So that is a no-brainer, just as well.
Only, partly true. I'm sure they make plenty of money from them, but as far as I can see it, the biggest driving factor in their increased popularity among manufacturers (they all have them on the road, or at least in the works for release in the next few years) is the restrictions on emissions. The technology is being enforced despite minor/negligible environmental benefits, simply because the tailpipe emissions make a nice scapegoat to an ill-informed public. The public look at the emission figures and think we've made progress, we haven't.
Originally Posted by Periergeia
You need to tell me which of their shows you are talking about.
Penn and Teller: Bullshit, or just BS in polite markets.
Originally Posted by Periergeia
Wait... are you saying that there are jihadists running around willing to die with a copy of Penn and Teller's book in their pockets? I think I am having a hard time to parse your words here.
I am saying defending the constitution to the point of violence is not that different to a suicide bomber. Both are over-reacting to a man made and out dated document. There was no mention of a Penn and Teller book...
Originally Posted by Periergeia
And they will do exactly nothing about overeating. You can still overeat with good produce.
Overeating bad food is worse than overeating good food, you see disgustingly morbid, bed-ridden, fattys piling food in continually. By all conventional wisdom they should have exploded is a puddle of their own fat, but they fester away for decades, I think the nutrition from all that food may be counteracting the effects of obesity. More is learnt about this everyday, certain foods fight certain medical conditions etc, if you eat enough of everything then your health isnt as bad as expected, even if you are overweight. But if all they are eating is deep fried chicken and chips then conventional wisdom prevails and they die very quickly.
Originally Posted by Periergeia
Try buying affordable healthy food
This shits me, at my works lunch shop I can buy a huge burger, egg, bacon, cheese, with a side of chips. Everything bad for you and relatively more expensive in ingredient cost, and also because it requires more time and energy to make, yet the salad roll beside it costs more. That is market exploitation. People are paying more for the priviledge of healthy food, and they wonder why the poor have worse health or eat bad food. Some want to tax junk food to counteract this, but as I said its the market that has decided, not the actual cost of production, so all that would do is artificially inflate all food prices.
Originally Posted by Periergeia
Fat people were rich and rich people are always more attractive than poor people... especially when you are starving.
Are you implying we can roast the fattys for dinner? Mmmm crackling! It would solve 2 problems in one go, obesity and the hungry. (kidding)
Originally Posted by Periergeia
I am not an American, either. Which makes me a rather poor speaker for America, by the way. Are you now glad not be a European? A German, to be precise, because I talked about Germany a lot? Would you be glad not to be Chinese if I told you I was Chinese? What if I came from the Fiji Islands
Don't get offended, this was not a personal dig at you or your views, it was at the country you live in. If you live in America, you're an American, I care not for racialethnic/geographical backgrounds. I was merely saying I'm happy I don't live there. I'm sure there are certain advantages regarding the whole freedom situation, (I, for example, would like to buy a Secma F16 but can't due to safety regulations) but the US is also one of the worst nations in the developed world when it comes to general welfare of it's citizens. Education levels, life expectancy, violent crime, racism, etc, etc.
So is English your second language? Because there seems to be a lot of crossed wires more than actual disagreements, and you have even quoted youself and argued against your own points, I assume thinking that I have said it, but in a different context.
That post seemed to descend into an angry rant by the end there...
OK... sorry for piling on... but I just found an interesting source about CO2 release from nickel production.
The quality of the source, unfortunately, is as poor as they come... it's a FUD page of the Canadian nickel industry... which seems to have some serious trouble. I hope the data they are showing comes from some serious mining business source and is halfway correct... but for now I haven't found anything more concise. So let's run with it but keep the data quality in mind!
On average, it seems, about 30 tons of CO2 are being generated per ton of produced Nickel. If you use this number for the Prius battery, we end up with 12kg*30kg/kg=360kg of CO2. The number varies a lot, though, depending on where it is produced and how. Canadian mines seem to be a factor of 5 better than the average (Of course they are, dear! Especially when they wrote it themselves!)... but that's not much of a consolation... wherever the nickel for the Prius battery comes from, it's missing somewhere else... so we have to take the average!
One gallon of gasoline produces about 20lbs of CO2 when burned. So that's about 9kg.
And then some for production and transport of the oil and refining...
the energy needed for gasoline production seems to be on the order of 16% of the end product. Now, that's not the same as GHG production, but to first order it's probably close. 9kg*116%=10.4kg.
360kgCO2/10.4kgCO2/gallon gasoline = 35gallons. In other words, the nickel production is covered by about half a year of gasoline savings when compared to a 40mpg vehicle under average US driving conditions.
I admit, not as good as I was hoping for... but still not bad.
What bugs me the most, though, is the awful disparity in GHG emissions among production locations for something as simple as nickel. This shows that we absolutely need to tax CO2. It's the only way to reduce the environmental impact of materials by repricing closer to their real value which takes external cost into account, at least somewhat. Of course, if we did that with oil... gasoline prices would probably double.
Oh... wow... thanks for letting me loose on this topic! I had no clue how much enthusiasm people had for the car... it's amazing.
So here is someone who is totally into simulating the car and the hybrid technology.
I kind of doubt the approach a bit... simulation is a thorny field (I do it all the time myself) and it takes a lot of work to calibrate a simulator to such a complex dynamic system as a car. So, without having both the simulator and the car and probably a couple weeks to play with both, I'd be a bit worried about some of the extrapolations. The site has some interesting photos of the Prius technology, though.
... as you can imagine... I spent hours looking at more and more Prius sites... and some of them are quite amazing.
But the more I look at the Prius websites, the more I understand how well executed the Prius design really is... it's one of those solutions that are utterly fascinating both for their conceptual simplicity as well as the actually achievable efficiency. But the more I look, the harder it becomes for me to believe in electric cars actually presenting a significant improvement... for now.
If the quoted efficiency numbers are anywhere near correct, the Prius achieves about 30% tank-to-well efficiency. Use the above figure and it's 26% well-to-wheel. Following
1kg of gasoline equals 1.59kg of coal in energy equivalent. In terms of CO2 emissions, the gasoline has an even higher advantage: gasoline contains 87% carbon, by weight, so the CO2 equivalent of gasoline to coal is more on the order of 1.83. If we add the average coal fired power plant efficiency of 45% (including some 6% distribution losses) to that, we get a factor of close to 4! So an electric vehicle fueled by coal fired power plants would have to be more than 100% efficient to break even on the CO2.... either that or I made a mistake... I will have to check my calculations, again.
OK... so electric vehicles and coal fired powerplants, unless they become way more efficient and we have a smartgrid seems to be a total loser. I never looked at it that way... but it's pretty clear that the efficiency problem is huge... too many losses in a long chain of energy conversions. So that leaves nuclear and the renewables... and the need for quite efficient electric cars to make much of a dent beyond ten year old hybrid technology.
"If you misinterpret something it doesn't mean I have made a mistake, it means you have. Perhaps now you can admit this?"
Nope. But we can leave it at this. I still don't buy your comparisons of different industries that produce products of very, very different consequences to the user.
"I use these because they are effective.
I can't agree with that, either. You mentioned people often give up rather than continuing to debate you, I think this kind of off topic nit picking could be why they give up."
But that would be my personal communication problem and not a problem of my reasoning. The most anti-social person can have a point. To make the reception of the message dependent on the voice of the messenger is an intellectual no-no. I know it is hard to tolerate, still... it is just as necessary as it is to accept that some things are complex enough to give one a headache.
I am provocative for a reason. It forces people to think about what I say or admit that they simply dislike me and that they are not willing to confront the facts I am presenting.
This is true for EVERY debate, including those where two seemingly equally (dis-)likable people are offering two different outlooks. The real person is usually the one who gives a detailed picture full with complexity and uncertain outcomes. The fake is generally the one who simplifies things to the point that listeners will immediately like it. People do feel an urge to believe the simple message and don't like risking a headache thinking about the tough one.
I have absolutely no incentive to play on the level of the fakes. And it won't help you because it will not sharpen your senses for the truth.
I don't care to win... there is nothing for me to win here, if you think about it. To me, by any standard of wisdom, this is a waste of time. I know this stuff. I have spent half a lifetime thinking about it. I can talk to plenty of liberals among my friends about my political thoughts and I can talk to physicists and engineers and other scientists about the technical stuff and they will immediately know that I have some points to make.
The only person here who can win is you. You can learn to listen to my argument and think about them. You don't necessarily have to agree with them, but the maybe the next time you think about the topics, you will remember some of what I said and maybe, one day, you will see that I did make some rather interesting points, after all. That's, at best, to your advantage, not mine.
"They assume you are deliberately being counter productive, or that you are simply an idiot who can't follow the relevant parts of the conversation. Such tactics don't progress the conversation, leading to a stalemate, and both parties leave in the exact same position as they arrived."
At which point they simply prove that their mind is made up and that they don't want to seriously confront arguments that are unfavorable to their position.
"Only criminal... I see how a seemingly black and white issue can actually have a large grey area, but modifying an existing regulation to reduce that grey area has to help."
Yes, it helps attorneys (the non-criminal kind, at least), because all of their clients are now seeking new strategies to play the system. Every time you change the law (especially relating to business), you invalidate a large number of previously understood limits and risk profiles. Companies, especially the largest ones, have the means to explore the new limits of the law and, in countries like the US, where much of the interpretation of the law is by litigation, they will litigate to see how much they can get away with. This is relatively low risk if you have billion dollar profits, risk paying a few million in fines (or not even) and pay your in-house attorneys millions either way. Those are either sitting around twiddling thumbs or they work for their money... the cost is the same.
What I am basically saying is that everything that boils down to fines is ineffective when you are dealing with large businesses. They earmark part of their budgets for legal, anyway. And you won't be able to personally punish the managers in most cases, either, so what's the real risk?
"Granted your system is different, so it may be harder to implement."
I have seen several different systems and they all have problems. In most cases the law is simply not an effective tool. For one thing, the law works extremely slowly. In most countries lawsuits take years or decades. The number of instances a defendant can go through is plenty. Each time they can force the judges to read an increasingly longer case file. There are business lawsuits in the US which have files with hundreds of thousands of pages, and the casual observer (including attorneys) will tell you that none of them are relevant to the case. But a judge can't just say that without having gone through them... which can take years, at which time the defendant's attorneys will bring in another load... and start over again. Judges are required to work with procedures that are designed to keep the innocent defendant safe, which, by a guilty defendant's lawyers can be used to delay the case until it is not even relevant any longer. And that's just one strategy that any law firm worth their money will play... the more complex stuff is to trap the other side and the judges procedurally. One mistake by either and the whole case goes out the window.
So when does the law work quickly? When it is dealing with someone who does not have the means to effective counsel. That would be in most criminal cases where the defendant can only afford the attorney assigned to him or her. Usually the DA is way better equipped than the poor lawyer who has no clue about the case and who has to work with a client who doesn't understand at all what is happening. But in business you have law firms working with ten, sometimes a hundred times the manpower of the court and the public.
"The point of sexist/racist issues were regarding advertising content, not in general....
"This is done without court, it's a matter of regulations set forth via a code of conduct that TV and radio companies abide by."
Oh, that works in the US just fine... for nudity. We can't show full frontal nudity for a second without the whole system being dragged through the mud for
months. But if they want to show torture, murder, abuse, violence, death a dozen times a day... no problem. You won't hear a peep. You want to publish right wing political lies 24/7? Fox will take care of that for you. They thrive on it. And it's all protected by free speech. You want to broadcast hate speech and call for violence against the Jews? No problem. You can get away with it. It's free speech, as long as nobody can prove that you have incited a real act of violence, you are free to go.
"You couldn't for instance have an ad on TV where you claimed blacks were violent, mentally inferior, criminals no matter how much of a redneck you were and actually believed it was true, and no amount of claiming "free speech" would get you through."
There are plenty of radio shows in the US getting away with way worse every day. In any case, that's not how they do it on tv. You can, for instance, show the same riots (e.g. during the O.J. Simpson case) over and over again and then let the "viewer" (who is a redneck and who "knows" beyond any doubt what he has to think about other races) decide what they want to associate.
Not to mention those "religious" folks who keep saying that whatever natural catastrophe happens in the US, it's God's punishment for certain states allowing gay marriage. Perfectly legal. I wrote to my representatives once... never heard from them. Not because they like it, they simply know that there is nothing they can do. Congress can't and the Senate can't, either. Any action on their part would merely be conceived as government overstepping the constitutional boundaries. And that would be a 100% win for the religious nuts.
"The ruling court here is more the court of public opinion. If we don't like it, it's gone. Maybe that could end up in a totalitarian regime in the name of political correctness."
Now you are talking. Sadly, the public opinion is not a good court of law. It likes to hand out the verdict before the charges have been read and the evidence has been presented. We got plenty of mob mentality here, too. It is being fueled by the same free speech that protects advertising. And it's the same that let's me say whatever I want about the government without ANY fear.
"I can see glimpses of that, but it seems a stretch."
You could see more than glimpses of that in millions of households across this nation. There are way too many people who are frustrated and who have no other safety valve than their prejudice. Whole media companies are founded on the exploitation of these energies. Not that this is anything new... the Roman Republic had the very same thing going on. There are reasons why some like to compare the US with Rome... and conclude that we are burning.
"I don't view it as being any less free than unlimited corruption and money ultimately wins."
Like I said, we don't have corruption. We have a legal system in which you can publicly motivate politicians to support your cause. sarcasm off/
"I'm quite worried about your constitution. When I watched some of Penn and Teller's BS, I noticed how passionately they believed in it. It's held up as infallible."
You need to tell me which of their shows you are talking about. They have done a lot of stuff, much of which is plain funny and harmless, some of which is actually quite true. And sometimes they are going too far.
"It then seems comical to me that such people then turn around and denounce the Bible as being just a book."
Well, the bible is a book. It is a book written by people with a history and containing materials heavily censored by history. There was many times more material written by authors who are lost in time because their writings never made it into what we call the bible. The one thing that we know for certain is that God has not contributed a single word by his own hand. Every Catholic theologian will tell you that without blinking. And you really have to believe them... their official predecessors were the ones who put the bible together.
So what is there to "denounce"? Unless you believe that the people who own the copyright to the book don't know how it was written... OK, I will chalk this up as another poor choice of words.
"In essence it's the same thing, in that ideals are set forth by previous generations with an outdated view of the world, and the people back both texts with the same level of passion that they can get offended to the point of violence over something which could actually be progress.
Wait... are you saying that there are jihadists running around willing to die with a copy of Penn and Teller's book in their pockets? I think I am having a hard time to parse your words here.
Liberals and people like Penn and Teller do get to hear the accusation that they are radicals all the time... but I don't think that sticks too well. At least not if one is willing to take the definition of "radical" seriously.
"In the US you can buy changes to laws"
You can do that in most other countries. In the US you can do it fairly directly. But in countries like Germany there are also political parties that will generally side with business owners and with large corporations. The money trail is much harder to track or does not even exist, but the phenomenon is the same. There is a German word for that: "Seilschaft". It means a group of mountain climbers who are hanging on the same rope... if one falls, they all do... a strong incentive not to let anybody fall... and to pull into the same general direction.
"Isn't that a tad anti-democratic and against the whole "free" ideals the country is built on?"
Freedom and democracy (in the most direct sense of the word) are not necessarily coupled that closely. The US is a very free country (I can totally subscribe to that, no matter how much I dislike most aspects of US politics), it is a "federal constitutional presidential republic", i.e. a political system which guarantees people constitutional rights, but beyond that it is only a representational democracy (which is a much weaker form than a direct democracy), i.e. a system in which the people have an indirect influence on the system, but they don't rule themselves. And, given the two party system and weak margins for either party in the federal elections but usually pretty large margins on the state levels, it is a pretty weak democracy at the present time.
And even in those states where more direct components of democracy exist, voter impact is, at best, questionable, at worst, counterproductive, because it is being abused in even worse ways than the direct influence on politicians. You can get laws passed in those states which neither party would ever approve and which, in the long run, clearly harm both the voters and the system for the profit of powerful interests.
"My point is, it's been sacrificed already, you might as well sacrifice them in the name of fairness or improvement, rather than corruption."
Lenin and Stalin made exactly the same arguments...
"prohibition of alcohol
You mentioned this before as some sort of knock down argument, and it wasn't even on topic. I was talking about banning advertising, not the product, as with cigarettes."
And I was talking about what happens when you try to regulate biological addiction. I was talking about the demonstrated hold that our biological and mental functions have on us. It isn't a knock down argument but an important learning example and an explanation for why some things are bad as they are and why laws won't change them easily. We are making slow progress with regards to cigarettes, but alcohol and harder drugs... hardly.
"We now have rules banning junk food ads during kids TV shows, to prevent unhealthy habbits."
And they will do exactly nothing about overeating. You can still overeat with good produce. I would gladly take you to my favorite French restaurant and prove it to you. Apologies if you happen to be French... I know that the best French restaurant I can go to does not come even close to the average real French restaurant.
I am not against those rules about fast food, at all. I am all for them. But I don't think they will solve the medical problem.
"I'd have thought the kids don't have any money so the real issue is that the parents have lost a battle of wits, or wills, with a 4 year old."
Most parents, at least in the US, for one thing, don't know better. They are doing the same thing to their kids that their parents did to them. The parents who know better now have to battle with their kid's psychology and the little technical problem that preparing healthy food takes time and money, both of which they don't have. Try buying affordable healthy food at a typical US grocery store. It's not going to happen. You have to go to half a dozen places to find a variety of, usually rather pricey produce and halfway natural products.
"But by the same token I don't see why it should be rammed down a kids throat that they like chips, I'm certain they already know that."
Agreed... and agreed and agreed... but the McDonald's of this world are only exploiting a biological mechanism, they didn't create it. In the past most people were very, very lean... and the beauty ideal of the day were fat people. Why? Fat people were rich and rich people are always more attractive than poor people... especially when you are starving.
"They always cost freedom and they always cost money, time and effort to apply and implement.
Some freedoms are worth sacrificing,"
As soon as you can convince a large and powerful group in your country that "some freedoms are worth sacrificing", you are about half an hour away from dictatorship. You can find the proof in any major history book. Until very recently, there was a real worry in the US that we had almost made it across that line. I, for one, won't be sure until we have passed the next ten to fifteen years without a total revival of the right.
"I'm sure you're happy your neighbour isn't within his rights to murder you and take your wife."
That's not a right he ever had in any society worth living in. It's not a right that can be given to him by any law, either.
Please read the foundation of pretty much any democratic constitution in the world. They all say, in different ways, that people have a right to life and all freedoms that do not interfere with the freedoms of others. This is something we learn at age twelve or so in school. And it is, hopefully, the one lesson that sticks with everyone.
I think this was, again, one of those comparisons of yours which I can't take seriously. There are lines of arguments along this way, and I am familiar with some schools of socialism and communism where the individual has to sacrifice some or even all of his rights for the right of the collective. Tens of millions of people have lost their lives based on those legal theories during the purges in the Soviet Union, China, North Korea, Cambodia and other communist countries... with absolutely no visible gain for those societies.
"And besides what freedoms have you lost if you aren't subjected to advertising gimmicks?"
There is nothing in the US (or the German) constitution that protects me from advertising. There are, however, protections for free speech in both, with more or less well defined exceptions (for hate speech), and none of them say that product advertising violates any fundamental right of the citizens. You are welcome to show me how you want to construe a case for your law against advertising that withstands the constitutional tests of free countries.
Once you give the state the power to punish all types of speech which are not explicitly defined in the constitution as illegal, you give them the power to punish pretty much any speech which is not protected. Since you can't foresee for the future what this will do to your society and how it can be abused, you are on a very slippery ground. The government could, for instance, prohibit certain ideas which are not in line with their political orientation. Governments often use the word "subversive" for this kind of speech. It would then be impossible to be effectively politically active for the opposition. And what do you know...
We do not subscribe to that kind of idea in the democratic West. We've been there in the 19th century and times and times again in the 20th. We rather accept bad product advertising over mind control.
"I don't see this as so trivial,"
"Not even in comparison to the things I just told you about?"
No. Just because you have a list does not mean everybody has the same list.
And if there are enough people who don't like yours, they will mount a very, very heavy reaction to you trying to cram yours down their throats.
That's not a battle on the fringe. That is their right and that is human nature.
"And you can find endless numbers of "simple solutions" that ended in human tragedy.
You said that already, I said the opposite is also true,"
You can believe what you like. The test is reality. If you are not willing to deal with it now, the discussion for you is over at this point and I can save my arguments.
"I think much of the rest of what you have to say simply confirms my original stance, that I'm glad to not be an American."
I am not an American, either. Which makes me a rather poor speaker for America, by the way. Are you now glad not be a European? A German, to be precise, because I talked about Germany a lot? Would you be glad not to be Chinese if I told you I was Chinese? What if I came from the Fiji Islands? Do you have any preferences for what you don't want to be based on the fact that you don't like what one particular guy who could be anything (including a lesbian Greek girl...) had to say about some particular country they have or have not lived in will tell you?
Be careful now... I am not a good reference point to hang your likes and dislikes on. THE ONLY WAY you can tell what you would find acceptable to be is by living in a country for, I would say, at least ten to fifteen years. That is the least amount of time it takes to learn anything of value about a people and their political system.
"Your systems sounds even more screwed than I thought."
They are not my systems. I merely happen to live in them. Which means I can either understand them or I can stay ignorant. I prefer the first.
"I only recently heard about public ads for prescription medications and that freaks me out. Drug addicts are drugs addicts, but making medically induced delusions a normal and highly profitable part of everyday life is just scary."
Most prescription medications won't make you delusional (in the clinical sense of the word) and even the antidepressants that are being advertised will do this only in very rare cases. They can have severe side effects in certain patients and some of them seem to induce overwhelming suicidal thoughts, but I am not sure delusions are the most common mechanism in this case. I might be wrong about this.
What is clear is that Americans over-medicate and that some doctors are willing to give medication to patients which are asking for it for rather questionable reasons. My current doctor, for sure, will not, and I appreciate that. But, as far as the quality of medical coverage is concerned, I am one of the lucky ones. And, honestly, if I wanted to get stuff that I don't need, I know where to go... if you can pay for a prescription, there are doctors willing to give it to you for the hourly rate of a private medical consultation.
"It's hard to look at things like this and not think the "freedom" ideal is just as deeply flawed as any other. I'd be more worried about that than illegal drugs."
It's hard to imagine why someone would throw freedom out for such a trivial problem.
"You must be a fast typist! I don't have time to respond to 3 essays in one day."
No need. I have plenty of free time right now. That's all.
"Perhaps you could wait for me to address the car issues. This seems to be petering out anyway."
Agreed. Take care. I mean it.