Re: A Bleak Projection (crossposted from the Virus List)

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Tue Oct 09 2001 - 10:26:22 MDT wrote:
> In a message dated 10/9/2001 7:00:43 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
> writes:
> << > Not unrelated, last night we dropped 37,000 meals (and no
> > medicines) or putting it in perspective, assuming all of those meals
> > are delivered to people who need them, we provided meals for one day
> > to 1/2% of the people who desperately need them. If we use all of the
> > aircraft committed to date, and all of the flight crews, exclusively
> > to deliver food during daylight hours, we will be able to feed at most
> > 3% of the starving population of Afghanistan - which will probably
> > mean that in February the Hajj will open to the news of 6 million plus
> > dead Afghans. And it will be portrayed and believed to be largely the
> > fault of the US. >>
> Another analysis works less on utter catastrophe to American Policy, then a
> more focused Al Qeidda meta- goal: The capture of Saudi Arabia and the rest
> of the Gulf States.

Actually, the meals are 2200 calories, enough to feed an adult a full
western diet. In extremis, it can feed two adults an 1100 calorie daily
ration, this is fully sufficient for kids and women as well, so the
numbers cited should be roughly doubled.

Since the primary health problem is sanitation, the disinfectant
handi-wipes included in each ration will likely help reduce health
problems significantly (if the people using them understand what they
are for). The matches will also allow people to maintain fires to boil
water for sanitary purposes as well.

> Bin Ladin is a royal son of a royal house (so to speak)
> and his family is the chief business organization that involves all major
> construction in the Gulf. The Bin Ladins have lived in the Boston area, and
> have donated heavilly to Harvard University. They have returned to Saudi
> Arabia on September 19th, 2001 because of safety concerns.

Only a few bin Ladens lived in Boston, and at least one is still living
there. The fact that Osama has been disowned from the family eliminates
the 'royal son' status, although this does give him popular cachet with
the down and out muslims in 3rd world.

> If one sees this as a primary goal of Bin Ladin's, then Robert J. Bradbury's
> up-comming paper on Biomass production of fuels, should be the meta-goal of
> this group. Lastly, I am not so pessimistic on what the results will be from
> our retaliation can achieve, especially if we do not get bogged-down in
> satisfying coalition demands (especially the Saudi govt) in refraining from
> destroying our enemy, as we did in Desert Storm.

Better meta goals would be to boost energy efficiency. This costs far
less (around 1.5 cents per kwh saved) than investing in biomass and
results in better high tech advancements. Unless you can double the
photosynthetic efficiency of plants pronto, biomass is an economic drag
when oil prices are under $35-45 per barrel. Current prices are $24/bbl,
so unless the oil world suddenly imposes an oil embargo on the US,
biomass is a dumb idea.

Even if they do, it would be a smarter goal to invest in developing
Russian oil extraction and distribution infrastructure. Russia could
easily flood the oil market if its bottlenecks are eliminated.

In the interim, major tax credits should be offered to investments in
development and tooling up for mass production of hybrid autos on the
same level as investments in oil exploration are currently 100% shielded
from taxation (i.e. all oil wildcat investments are deducted off the top
of taxable income, but you do pay gains taxes on returns on the
investment). Currently only research investments have a sub 100%
deduction, and tooling investments are taxed normally. Doubling auto
efficiency in a very short period will drive oil prices so low that oil
states will have to seriously curtail production in order to keep prices

This may risk destabilizing the governments of said states if done too
quickly, bit it will certainly make them far more responsive to the US'
concerns as well. Weaning them off the bottle will over time help
moderate them far more than it will hurt.

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