atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#7112: I had to read that one carefully to understand

This Arse Technica article on EPA mercury controls is meant to make the reader say, "Well, WTF, why aren't they considering co-benefits?"

It comes down to a few important details, though. First, the economic benefit of reducing power plant mercury emissions comes to a whopping $5 million. That's MILLION, not billion: "In both the EPA's original and current estimate, the benefits of reducing mercury are relatively minor--the current estimate places those benefits at about $5 million a year."

But the measures being taken to limit mercury emissions also limit particulate emissions, and limiting those come with economic benefits of about $10 billion. Billion with a "B".

At the core of this discussion is whether or not the EPA can consider such "co-benefits" when they're considering the economic impact of their regulations. Clinton-era EPA said "yes", Bush-era "no", Obama-era "very yes, make the price of coal power 'neccesarily skyrocket'", Trump-era "Hell no, what's wrong with you idiots".

It's important to realize that if you're going to consider the beneficial unintended consequences, you must also consider the negative unintended consequences. Where does that end? "This change costs $6 billion dollars, benefits the economy to the tune of $10 billion. Oh, and by the way, ten thousand people lose their jobs and a starving man in India loses an eye." --seriously, it turns into "how far down do the turtles go?"

When we're talking about power generation, we need to balance the cost of the pollution controls against the benefit of controlling what the rule is meant to control, full stop.

And not to put too fine a point on it, but if controlling mercury emissions results in a five million dollar economic benefit--spread across the entire United States!--it's probably not worth doing.

Also, they can't post an article about an environmental topic without scaremongering: the article's second paragraph begins with, "Some chemical forms of mercury are potent neurotoxins and are a clear public health risk," but it doesn't ever say that those "chemical forms" are emitted by coal-fired power plants.

* * *

And so now we turn to COVID-19, the tiresome virus which has monopolized the news for too long already.

The one caveat I would add here is that coincidences do happen. Tens of thousands of "wet markets" across Asia, yet COVID-19 comes from the one closest to a level 4 virology lab--it would be an amazing coincidence, yes. It is possible. Unlikely, yes, but still possible.

However, I think it's a lot more likely that this is merely the result of a catastrophic fuck-up on the part of the lab itself. There was an incident, the person or people exposed to the virus were not immediately quarantined, the virus got out, and the Chinese government tried to cover it up, because communists.

I find that more likely than this being a purposeful release on anyone's part. Napoleon's corollary to Occam's Razor being, "Never attribute to malice what can be attributed to incompetence."

* * *

It's time to reopen our economy. The curve has flattened. Let's stop playing around with dictatorial nonsense and stop pretending we need to. This is ridiculous.

* * *

I am, for the only time in my life, awaiting Ramadan with baited breath. Because I want to see if the powers that be treat muslims the way they treated Christians and Jews during this nonsense.

If they don't, then they're just treating this thing as a way to seize power.

* * *

This person sounds like a real winner. Holy shit. This is supposedly the National Institute of Health's "lead" researcher on COVID-19 vaccines, and she's a leftist moonbat:
Her Twitter biography reads: "Virology. Vaccinology. Vagina-ology. Vino-ology. My tweets are my own. My science is the world's."

Reportedly, she "has engaged with online theories calling the pandemic a black 'genocide' and condemned what she called 'systematic oppression' by white people."

Yeah, okay.

* * *

It's an old story, actually. The entertainment industry has always done this, to one extent or another. It used to be that the right simply had a sense of humor and pretended that the entertainers were laughing with them rather than at them. Taking the high road, as it were.

But those days are largely over.

As I recall--and mind you the man retired before I really paid much attention to politics--Johnny Carson never really talked politics, either on or off his show. Back when The Tonight Show was the show to watch after the news ended, when there were three networks and that's it--Carson did not jeopardize his standing with the audience by blabbing whatever leftist tripe he actually believed all over the place. (I have a feeling he'd be dismissed as a nazi by today's left, of course.)

The leftists feel safe denigrating the right now, openly and with hostility, because the market for entertainment has fragmented so much that they're not really risking anything. They know that calling Trump a nazi will endear them to a good 40% of the country--and that's a huge market all by itself.

But, of course, because the left has lost the total control of the airwaves that they had in the 1970s, right-wingers have options, so they don't have to sit there and pretend that the hatred being spewed at them is just all in good fun. And when they don't--when they vote with their feet or eyeballs--these shows suffer. They might not be shut down, but they lose ratings, and losing ratings means losing money. Sooner or later someone realizes that if they had someone who was less of a leftist prick in that timeslot, they might make more money on it.

Look at the backlash that was suffered after Roseanne was canceled. The show was a ratings powerhouse until they cut it--and now they've replaced it with yet another mediocre sitcom with mediocre ratings.

I honestly don't care what an entertainer's politics are, but I think he serves everyone best (including himself) if he just keeps mum about politics and never mentions them. Regardless of which way he leans.

* * *

On this day, 245 years ago, the Revolutionary War began. If you want to know why we have a 2nd Amendment, this is why: the British troops were marching on Concord to confiscate a stockpile of weapons, powder, and shot. The colonists realized that if that stockpile was taken it would set a very dangerous precedent, and so moved to protect it.

* * *

Today is warmer than yesterday was. At 10 PM I took out the trash, stood on my front porch in bare feet and marveled that it had snowed four inches the day before. That's the midwest for you, though.

I didn't take a muscle relaxer last night. I don't feel woozy now. I guess I'd better get after the Jeep's crank position sensor. Eh?

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