One of the stupidest things I’ve ever read *Updated*

Sometimes, one can get to thinking that politicians, though I often disagree with them, are trying to improve things, working for the common good, or even at least trying to advance their own personal careers and ambitions.

Clearly, this isn’t the case for all politicians. Via djw at LGM, I present to you Washington State legislator Ed Orcutt in support of a state bike tax to disincentivize biking:

Also, you claim that it is environmentally friendly to ride a bike. But if I am not mistaken, a cyclist has an increased heart rate and respiration. That means that the act of riding a bike results in greater emissions of carbon dioxide from the rider.  Since CO2 is deemed to be a greenhouse gas and a pollutant, bicyclists are actually polluting when they ride.

There is no way Ed Orcutt thinks this is an actual point or that saying this is somehow helpful. He is just interested in purposely pissing off people like me as much as possible. I wish trolls would stay on the internet / under bridges and not be running our country.

*Update*: Ed Orcutt apologizes for the stupid comment:

“My point was that by not driving a car, a cyclist was not necessarily having a zero-carbon footprint,” Orcutt wrote in an email delivered to constituents. “In looking back, it was not a point worthy of even mentioning so, again, I apologize.”

Good on him.

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6 Responses to One of the stupidest things I’ve ever read *Updated*

  1. Impressive insights from Ed, but at the same time, made me think of http://xkcd.com/386/

    • zolltan says:

      Well, this blog is on the internet, and anytime we disagree with someone it’s because we think they’re wrong, so…

      I think what separated this from a typical case of people being wrong on the internet was that here we have a state representative who seemed to be performing an action to deliberately anger his constituents without any other effect. In retrospect it looks like he was actually just being dumb. Which is less newsworthy, of course. But still newsworthy in the sense that we should try to refrain from electing stupid people.

  2. vj says:

    Isn’t there a valid question of the environmental impact of energy that bikers consume? Like it’s always assumed to be zero because they don’t use any gasoline, but they presumably do use energy which comes from plants and livestock which are much more costly in terms of land, energy and human resources than say corn crops which are sort of the car equivalent. Also, at least for people who commute by bike regularly the ‘getting in shape at the same time’ benefit is probably negligible.

    Also it would seem like people are fairly inefficient as propulsion engines, like I know a large percentage of energy is used by just the brain, then there are all the other bodily functions. Cars on the other hand are quite inefficient because of their weight. I don’t know if anyone has done a comparison of this stuff, but to me it would at the very least seem non-trivial.

    But it’s also possible that I’m a very stupid person.

    • zolltan says:

      It’s possible to make anything non-trivial with sufficient attention / desire. It’s possible that the cyclist will eat the same amount and just become less fat, or that they will replace some other form of exercise with cycling, or it is possible they will feel so good about themselves they’ll go to a Brazilian restaurant and eat steak that was obtained from a cow that acres of rainforest were burned to raise. Whatever. Even in the car you have a person who is breathing, needs to eat and is spending most of their energy upkeeping their brain. But to me it really seems like a super simple question.

      The carbon cycle basically ensures that the carbon exchanged by eating and breathing is balanced (because everything you eat is either plants or something that eats plants) so the question is the indirect burning of fossil fuels that leads to the amount of extra food you eat because you were on a bike compared to the amount needed to produce the gasoline and then the burning of the gasoline itself.

      Does the change in amount of CO2 in the atmosphere for the last hundred years follow fossil fuel use or (total animal biomass)*(rate of respiration)? What is the amount of land that would be necessary to fulfill the world’s energy needs with biofuels (huge!)?

  3. Zuuko says:

    at the very least, you should refrain from eating beans before hopping on your cycle, you bike-driving, gas-emitting wanker

  4. Pingback: Worst Book Review Ever | Rated Zed

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