Total Drek

Or, the thoughts of several frustrated intellectuals on Sociology, Gaming, Science, Politics, Science Fiction, Religion, and whatever the hell else strikes their fancy. There is absolutely no reason why you should read this blog. None. Seriously. Go hit your back button. It's up in the upper left-hand corner of your browser... it says "Back." Don't say we didn't warn you.

Monday, December 27, 2004

The Insanity Parade: Electric Windmill Car Edition

Some of you have been clamoring for another episode in my series of posts, The Insanity Parade, in which I critique one or another of the nutballs that I find lurking on the internet. Well, "clamoring" might be too strong a word. Really, the requests for another episode have been more like the half-hearted moaning found in George Romero zombie films (braaaaiiiiinnnnnsssss....) but I like to imagine that I'm more important than I actually am. In any case, this series of posts has always been a crowd-favorite, and has been idle for too long- in this case, since August. So, today we're going to dive back in with a brief installment.

Last time, you'll recall, I went after one William Cooper's arguments that the Apollo moon landings were hoaxed. Now, I'm not saying they weren't hoaxed, though I have never seen any plausible evidence in support of such a notion, but Mr. Cooper's arguments violated basic physics so egregiously as to make them utterly ridiculous. That he, and others, apparently took them seriously makes me weep for the failures of our educational system. At the end of that edition of the Insanity Parade I promised that, the next time, we'd explore the work of a man who seems entirely unaware of the concept of friction. Indeed, that is what we shall do today.

Allow me to introduce Mr. Greg Buell, founder, CEO, and (so far as I can tell) sole member of the Light Year Conquest Corporation. We will be exploring his charming website which is, if nothing else, a warning to others about the misuse of animated banners.

Now, before we really get going, I think it's important to note something: Mr. Buell is insane. I don't mean that metaphorically either, I mean that he is totally bugfuck crazy. To say that this guy barks like a moonbat is, frankly, somewhat insulting to the moonbats. If he isn't currently receiving professional help, he should be, and if he is, he needs more.

With that out of the way, we can proceed to discuss the tremendous contribution Mr. Buell makes to the internet. And a tremendous contribution it is, too! He is to start with a prolific poet. His most recent masterpiece, regarding how he spent his 57th birthday, is simply magical. I am particularly fond of the line that reads, "Gravity spectrum goes from Mexicans to Aliens." Such a witty double entendre, Greg!

Indeed, as a poet Greg Buell's output is simply staggering, including other works of genius like: Famous Wives, Orwellian Hell of no sex and alone on New Years Day 2003, (Sing it brother!) "Do you want to have sex with me?," and, my personal favorite, She Said Lousy Lover He Hit Her With His Golf Club.

There is so much more to Greg than just the poet, however. He is also an astute political analyst, noting that a large portion of American policy is actually dedicated to preventing him from inventing "gravity control." Indeed, the U.S. government appears to be hard at work using clones of Greg's supposed paramour Leslie Coon, to torment him. And you thought these pictures came from Abu Ghraib. Greg's analysis even goes so far as to expose a conspiracy among Colorado lawyers, or, as Greg says:

Torture, repression, suppression in Boulder Colorado caused cops and kids to die burning in fiery car wrecks for more oil money. In this case Boulder, Colorado was following orders from DC - this is on video tapes!

Boulder Colorado lawyers who hang out at the Boulder Rock Club rape boys (and there probably are pictures in some observers digital camera scrapbook.) It's blatantly sadistic fag behavior but all the fags in Boulder Colorado know it feels good to ram it in boys - or men in Iraq. The worst is yet to come for DC and Boulder Colorado.


Simply charming.

Now, some of you are probably wondering why "burning in gasoline" comes up so frequently in Greg's writing. That is, simply enough, because Greg is the inventer of the Electric Windmill Car. What is this, you ask? Well, details are sketchy, but so far as I can tell it is an electric car that is covered in- wait for it- windmills! Doubtless one is expected to wear wooden shoes while driving it. The basic idea appears to be that as the car drives, the windmills will turn, generating electricity to recharge the batteries. Thus, one need only charge the car once and it will be able to drive forever more with the assistance of its windmills. Pretty neat, huh?

It would be pretty neat, except that it doesn't make any sense. The second law of theormodynamics, you know, entropy, tells us that energy tends to spread out, become less concentrated, and disperse throughout a given environment. Put more concretely, in the real universe we are subject to friction and, as a consequence, loss of energy. So, in short, the amount of power generated by those windmills will not equal he amount of power spent moving the car- especially when you consider that the windmills will increase drag, thus increasing the amount of power needed to move the vehicle. Yes, you read that right: you will have to spend power to get power out of the windmills, and the amount you spend will exceed the amount recovered by the windmills because of friction. So, far from eliminating our need for fossil fuel, the electric windmill car would actually increase it. Nice try, Greg. Keep working on it, though- I'm sure you'll invent that perpetual motion machine eventually. So long as "eventually" means "never in a million years" anyway.

But, even without the Electric Windmill Car, there are still many reasons to visit Greg Buell's home on the net. For one thing, he has a number of fine photo galleries that cover a wide variety of topics. These topics include, but are not limited to, geese, Greg's extensive collection of movies, aircraft carriers, the location of Greg's tent, ballerinas, raunchy topless shots, and astronomy. The careful visitor can even find pictures of the woman Greg loves with such disturbing obsessiveness, Ms. Leslie Coon.

Finally, and most importantly, this website hosts what I am prepared to say is the single most awesome mp3 anywhere on the internet. Get a broadband connection (because the file is huge) and treat yourself to a Greg Buell poem, actually read by Greg Buell! What could be better? No, seriously, check it out.

Now, do I bring all this up because I want to take cheap shots at an obviously sick man? Well... yeah, but that's hardly my only point. My real point here is that despite the obvious lunacy of this site, I'm actually glad it's here. Believe it or not, I'm totally serious about that.

I'm a stickler for scientific accuracy, and knowledge of basic physics. I honestly do not see how people can stand to go through their lives ignorant of such things- particularly given that we, as voters, are responsible for evaluating the products of science when we make decisions about pollution, global warming, product safety, and a host of other issues. So, on that level, I really don't like Greg's site because it demonstrates the sort of lack of knowledge that I find so peculiarly disturbing.

Yet, at another level, Greg's site says something positive about our society. Greg is a total nut, but he has the ability to exercise his right to free speech. He has carved out his little niche on the internet and has his own space in which to express himself and his ideas. I may think his ideas are stupid, and his poetry nonsensical, but that's okay. Greg's website, however nutty, is a testament to the power of that simple idea: that we should all be able to say what we think.

It also, however, serves a further purpose: I am a tremendous fan of free speech, as you all know, but I am also a staunch opponent of compulsory listening. The simple truth is that having the right to say what you want, does not mean you have the right to force other people to listen. People have to assess what they hear, judge if it is worth listening to, and then act on those judgements. As in so many things, when it comes to speech, it is a case where the "buyer" must beware. How does Greg's site figure into this? Well, most people who visit it probably decide not to listen to his speech, or not to take it seriously. This plants the basic germ of an idea: one must be an active, rather than passive listener. One must judge whether or not to believe something, rather than sitting dumbly and absorbing whatever comes through the nifty electronic box. Such blatant insanity provides a foundation for skepticism and critical awareness of the media. In short, by being crazy, I like to imagine that Greg is helping the rest of us tell what is nuts from what isn't.

Does this mean that I support the right of religious groups to segregate their children and teach them bad science? Well, yes and no. On the one hand, once all children receive some basic level of education in the sciences that allows them to function in society, I have no particular problem with such schools. On the other hand, I can't say that I approve of schools whose purpose seems to be the preservation of ignorance. If a religious doctrine indeed contains universal truth, it should have nothing to fear from exposure to other ideas. In my view, children should be exposed to a variety of different ideas and taught how to make decisions about them, not hidden away from dissent in a bubble of manufactured conformity. This goes for public schools as well as private schools; as I have said, I have no objection to the teaching of creationist ideas in public schools. I only object to the teaching of such ideas as science- creationism is no more science than my blog is a literary masterpiece.

Free speech and free listening are two sides of the same coin. To be allowed to say what one wishes is divine, but such a right must be accompanied by a healthy skepticism about the words of others. The presence of both in a society helps generate healthy, effective debate and, hopefully, useful solutions to problems. The constraint of speech, or the sheep-like acceptance of whatever is heard, combine to make a society corrupt and incompetent. Greg Buell, and others like him, do us a public service by helping us learn how to decide for ourselves what to take seriously, and what to ignore.

Well, that brings another episode of the Insanity Parade to an end. What will be up next for this series? Who knows? More importantly: who cares?

10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I discovered Gregs site myself a while back. I actually have become attached to his saga. I feel badly for the man, at the same time he is fascinating.

But... be careful what you call science. Science is knowledge. The study of science has created a process (scientific process) whereby theories can be proposed and, hopefully in time, be proven as fact.

Unfortunately a TON of the so-called science in our society are actually theories, not proven facts but are spread and spouted as though they are absolutes.

I am not saying that it is necessarily a BAD thing, and in fact some theories have been proven by great scientific finds!

Still, we do NOT really know how our universe came into existence. We do not even know how our universe functions on a sub-atomic level. We can observe behavior to a certain extent, but we still cannot extrapolate structure or process of interaction between observed behaviors.

The world is full of possibilities and many more mysteries of "science" that will never actually be solved.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005 12:05:00 AM  
Blogger Drek said...

Hey Anonymous,

Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. A few remarks in response.


You say:

But... be careful what you call science. Science is knowledge. The study of science has created a process (scientific process) whereby theories can be proposed and, hopefully in time, be proven as fact.

But much of this is incorrect. Science isn't a body of knowledge that has created a method by which theories can be proven to be fact. Rather, science is a method of inquiry (or a solution to the problem of epistemology) that has generated knowledge as its product. Moreover, science does not produce "proven facts" as inductive reasoning ultimately cannot produce knowledge that is universally true throughout time and space. So, all scientific conclusions are, at heart, provisional and subject to later modification. To see a more detailed discussion, that is rooted in a particular discussion, see this later post.

You continue to remark:

Unfortunately a TON of the so-called science in our society are actually theories, not proven facts but are spread and spouted as though they are absolutes.

This is, however, largely nonsensical. That something is a theory does not make it "so-called science." If it's a scientific theory, it's science. Secondly, the term "theory" in science does not mean "unsupported conjecture" as most people tend to use the term, but rather means, "One or several interrelated hypotheses that have been subject to numerous tests and have yet to be falsified." Thus, to refer to something in science as a "theory" is quite a compliment- and usually indicates that the assertions contained within that theory have reached the highest level of verification generally attainable.

Moving on, you say:

Still, we do NOT really know how our universe came into existence. We do not even know how our universe functions on a sub-atomic level. We can observe behavior to a certain extent, but we still cannot extrapolate structure or process of interaction between observed behaviors.

But this is quite irrelevant. To say that we do not know a thing now, is not to say that we cannot know a thing. Certainly we do not know how the universe came into existence, (apart from the big bang) but this is more an issue for metaphysics than science (Because people will always ask what caused any given cause, eventually to the point that we no longer have a possible source of data on the subject), and so is no problem for us. As for our knowledge of the universe at a sub-atomic level: quantum mechanics is a rather well-developed body of theory and is advancing at a substantial rate. We know quite a bit about sub-atomic behavior. Likewise, while sociology and psychology still have much to learn, we have also made much progress.

Finally:

The world is full of possibilities and many more mysteries of "science" that will never actually be solved.

To which I can only respond that present ignorance does not equate to future ignorance. We are creatures capable of learning, and science is a system capable of the same. I think it far too early to draw conclusions about what will, or will not, be explained via science. With, of course, the exception of those matters not amenable to scientific investigation to begin with.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005 4:28:00 PM  
Blogger texino said...

Howdy, I am Texino of Panama. I think that your posting about Mr. Greg Buell is well reasoned and given in a polite manner. I appreciate this, as I am the leader of an experimental African Church as well as the President (unelected) of the international banjo
group www.banjohome.com and I must often take my share of harsh critique due to my claim of having an extra-natural staff i.e. Two Zombies, a Boogieman, a Bigfoot and the Mahoney family who are actually four brown bears participating in a project designed to see if they will eat their two cubs. My life is a difficult scientific swirl and coupled with my job with The ACP (panama canal) things do get confusing. Anyway, my staff and I salute you for your reasonable approach in the discussion of fine madness and hope that you would be so kind to Dr. Texino and his crew should some person complain that our existence is scary and we should be harshly blogged.

Thank You
Tomas Texino
The MECH Institute
Bocas del Toros
Republic of Panama

Wednesday, May 03, 2006 6:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too, have been following the saga of Greg Buell for a while now, too. He has a new website now.

http://www.electricwindmillcar.com

He also lives in the next town over from me. Maybe I should seek him out sometime?

Sunday, March 25, 2007 9:57:00 AM  
Blogger Natural Depression Treatment Research said...

in defense of those that you refer to as crazy or nuts, I would like to say that Mr. Buell is better off than you are, mentally speaking. What is wrong with the idea of a windmill driven car? Or, what is wrong with you? Are you stupid or something? It is a great idea. And so what, the law of physics may be in conflict... at least at this time. A suggestion to your self-imposing arrogance: Read The Philosophy of Science by Alex Rosenberg. Science is not at all without variables. I would suggest that you think a little out of the box, but then again, that suggestion won't work with you. What may not be possible today may be possible tomorrow.
Best Wishes
Thomas Fox

Monday, May 26, 2008 1:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I accidently stumbled upon one of Mr. Buell's site's today. I live in Boulder and the name seemed familiar to me so I googled him. Most of what I continued to read was, to put it simply, frightening. I may have met him before and won't ever forget his name since I'll be sure to run like hell in the other direction.

Sunday, November 30, 2008 1:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to work at one of Greg's former places of employment. Although I never dealt with him personally, I did hear stories about his unusual behavior and beliefs.

Something else I heard back then, is that Greg suffered rather horribly while serving in the Viet Nam war (oops, make that "police conflict"; technically it wasn't a war). Coincidentally, one of his poems is titled "POW inventor" and mentions his POW status.

Yeah, he's not altogether there, but how many of you douchebags could do a stint at the Hanoi Hilton and emerge with an intact mind after the experience?

If you must rip somebody, rip on someone like that self-made fruitcake sack-of-crap Tom Cruise for all the make-believe Scientology bullshit he embraces and promotes. Greg Buell is just a victim of circumstance.

Thursday, July 30, 2009 6:47:00 PM  
Blogger Drek said...

Anonymous,

A fair question, it's true. I doubt anyone could survive being a Vietnam POW and emerge entirely unchanged by the experience. And this is one douchebag who hopefully will not have to find out how he would deal with such a situation. That said, the mere fact that someone has experienced terrible conditions does not- in and of itself- relieve them of the burden of criticism. Likewise, I would observe that I did not track down a random veteran and heckle him. I instead responded to a website put up by an individual hoping to address the public. He inserted himself into the public sphere and that changes the rules somewhat.

You say he is a vet- given his age that could certainly be the case and while I have no reason to doubt you, you of course understand that Greg's site itself doesn't exactly seem trustworthy. Given the content even if he were to state clearly that he served in Vietnam, one would have to wonder, much less if he states it in a poem.

Nevertheless, I was, perhaps, overly caustic. I do apologize to Mr. Buell if I was too harsh, though I maintain that the electric windmill car simply won't work.

As for Tom Cruise: One man's fruitcake is another man's role model. I am no fan of scientology but, honestly, Cruise doesn't need my help.

Thanks for dropping by.

Thursday, July 30, 2009 7:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I spent 2 years in high school then 3 years in college studying physics (and the requisite math). Somebody kill me.

Monday, June 14, 2010 6:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is wrong with the idea of a windmill driven car? Or, what is wrong with you? Are you stupid or something?
.
.
.
Best Wishes
Thomas Fox

___________________

Did you just sign that with your real name?

Make me dictator and I will force everyone to take 2 years of math and physics, at the point of a gun if necessary.

Monday, June 14, 2010 6:50:00 AM  

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