Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Why we deserve our probable extinction

I read today about the PUMA. It is an 'invention' that GM (of cars fame) and the Segway company are working on, to help solve the environmental and social issues associated with having automobiles as our cheif source of mass transportation.

Quoting from today's Age:

"We're excited about doing more with less," said Jim Norrod, chief executive of Segway, the maker of electric scooters. "Less emissions, less dependability on foreign oil and less space." The 136 kg prototype runs on a lithium-ion battery and uses Segway's characteristic two-wheel balancing technology, along with dual electric motors. It's designed to reach speeds of up to 56 kmh and can run 56 km on a single charge.

Now when I first read this, I naturally thought (as any left leaning petty bourgeoisie untillectual ought to think) 'cool'. Less cars + less pollution + less space = good. 'This seems really good', I Puma is not good. In fact, this Puma is absolute poison. Let me state that again 'ABSOLUTE POISON'. No ifs, no buts, nothing but POISON.

'Now, whoah there, Trotsky,' one might say 'why would you say such things about a cool new invention that resolves a lot of practical problems with our current world?'

Two words: 1) Bike. 2) Fat. To explain -
1) Bike. Let me quote from today's Age again: "A solution to the world's urban transportation problems could lie in two wheels not four, according to executives for General Motors and Segway." Yes. A two wheeled solution exists. It is called bike. Like the GM and Segway folks, you might be unaware of this thing called 'bike'. It is an invention that has been around for almost 200 years. Fact: We do not need a new motorised two wheeled invention, we already have one. In fact this 'bike' as I call it, actually doesn't need a fossil fuel powered engine. Which segues into the next point -
2) Fat. Currently there are approximately 1.1 BILLION people suffering from 'over-nutrition' in the world. That is, there are a lot of people who, for a number of compounding reasons, have reduced health due to their weight. One of these reasons is that we do not exercise enough. And I don't mean 'go to the gym' exercise. I mean, we sit, and sit and sit - this sedentary lifestyle is harming many many people. Michael Pollan, in 'The Omnivore's Dilemma' claims that 19% of meals in the U.S. are eaten in the car. A 2006 article in The Lancet puts 'Overweight and Obesity' as the 7th largest cause of death worldwide (behind High Blood Pressure, 1st and High Cholesterol, 3rd). The Puma is not a mobility device, it is a sedentary device. It does not move you, it means to stop you from moving. This is bad.

Basically this Puma is a steaming pile of moron vomit. In fact, not only is the Puma entirely unnecessary, it will no doubt be incredibly unhealthy for us. Yes, we have a need for alternate transport. This need is already met by bicycles. Or feet? You remember those, or is it so long since you have seen them that you forgot that they were there? Ride a bike, or walk. Yes, that's right, WALK!

This 'new invention' is an amazing example of how we have now gone so far down a particular path of cultural 'evolution' (and I use the term evolution veeeeeeeerrry loosely here) that this device can seriously be proposed as a solution without these people being laughed at. WTF? This is not a solution, it, this Puma, is proof of a mode of thinking is the very cause of many of the world's problems. We are poisoning the earth and becoming land-bound dugongs, killing ourselves and everything else in the process, and yet our brightest sparks of innovation produce this?


1 comment:

Adam Man Tium said...

In response to me, I would like to highlight the fact that as obesity increases, so does amount of greenhouse gas production.

An article in today's Age states: "High rates of obesity in richer countries cause up to a billion extra tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year, compared with countries with leaner populations, according to a study that assesses the additional food and fuel needs of the overweight."*

Simple explanation - fat** people need more energy to be moved around, hence more greenhouse gas production.

Therefore, the PUMA is no solution to any of our problems, it is both cause and symptom of our probable extinction.


* Sorry for the use of non-original source material. I have tried to find the original research article but have had no luck

** And for those of you who don't know me with your eyes, I am no bony athlete. This set of tirades is directed against me as much as anyone.