Why are the vast majority of architects liberal?


 Both parties do what their masters tell them, and the "will of the voters" matters not at all. 

And yet, politicians WANT to be re-elected, and when enough of their constituents have flat-out told them that  vote this way or that will result in their not being re-elected, they have changed their stance.  This has happened, frequently - granted, money helps, but my own city's public school system, smoking codes, property tax policy, and bike lanes are examples of the will of the electorate working.

I think Steven Ward once said it best here: if you don't bother to vote, you really shouldn't get to bitch about the outcome. If you seriously can't get off your holier-than-thou ass to cast a vote for the party whose general platform  is less in contrast with your own world view, then just shut the hell up about it, and don't accuse others of being brainwashed because YOU want to imagine you're somehow better.  You're not. The "botnets" of apathy and conspiracy theory  have pwned you, dear, while the rest of us keep working.  I may totally disagree with the teabaggers, but at least I can respect that they are working towards a goal.  You, on the other hand, are just lazy. And then you try to present that laziness as something to be proud of?! Pathetic.

Jul 8, 12 3:43 am
i r giv up

i'm mostly with donna....

voting affects internal policy.

international relations are a completely different matter though. there, fear and the rule of anarchy pretty much decide every action of every state. and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Jul 8, 12 4:50 am

I know what youre saying gw, that certainly exists, but your everyone-in-the-universe-but-me-is-an-evil-automaton worldview is a little self-absorbed and more than a little over the top. We are not all as stupid as you'd like to think. Who gets elected controls the composition of the cabinet. Defense secretaries, Attorney Generals, heads of the EPA and HHS do have an effect on the policies of their bureaucracies, and that influence can have profound real-world consequences. The defense department under William Cohen and the defense department under Donald Rumsfeld behaved in very different ways. The change from d to r may not mean all of a sudden we will have no military, but it does have a huge effect on the way it's deployed and funded. Investments in education and energy do radically shift depending on which party holds office. Voting rights, civil rights, environmental crimes can be prosecuted very differently depending on who the sitting AG is. Obviously the power of a cabinet member is in no way absolute, you are even right that it is grossly overstated, but that doesn't make it non-existent. What you consider an irrelevant inter-bureau conflict between the state department and the department of defense controls whether we do or do-not invade Iran. If you dont think that matters then you are simply allowing your self-satisfaction to conceal your apathy. 

Jul 8, 12 11:42 am

What I'm saying is that voting is narcissistic, just like donating $5 to fund African aid programs or posting trite political talking points on the Internet.. It changes nothing, sometimes actually makes the situation worse, lets you avoid the discomfort and risk of really acting for change, but makes you feel better about yourself because you "did something."

Jul 8, 12 12:17 pm

and what everyone else is saying is that you're wrong gwharton :)

Jul 8, 12 12:40 pm

so gwharton -- what's the logical extension of your "voting is narcissistic" argument? 

Let's say, for the sake of discussion, that a huge preponderance of the voting age population thought as you do.  Say, at that point, 10% or less of the population took the narcissistic route and actually voted in any election.  Where would that leave us -- better off ? Somehow, I don't  think so. 

To me, that feels a lot like a totalitarian state, where only the 'governing elite' make the decisions.  In such cases in the past -- e.g. Franco's Spain; Stalinist Russia, Assad's Syria, etc -- the 'governing elite' always seem to make decisions that benefited only the 'governing elite' -- leading ultimately to the destruction of the economy, if not the state.

Or, maybe you think NOBODY should ever vote. Who decides then who shall govern? Pretty sure in that scenario the "deciders" will be those with the most weapons. Is that what you're advocating?

I think your whole concept is intellectually bankrupt.

Jul 8, 12 3:09 pm

African aid puts a selfish face on altruism. While it does enable dictators, in the long run it is better than nothing, just like voting is better than sitting on the sidelines.


i r giv up. I read over that article,
I'm really on the fence about nuclear energy at least in large scale energy policy, it's cleaner but has many bugs to figure out especially for earthquake-prone zones like those in Iran. Renewable energies are the way to go.

If Kenneth Waltz suggests nuclear technology could actually save the day, creating a balance of powers in the middle east, if an Iranian bomb what it takes to create stability….I don't know if Russia and China will be able to convince US/Israeli/Saudi interests of that. Maybe the outcome of Syria will determine if that's even possible, although it is looking like Assad is on his way out.

Jul 8, 12 4:05 pm
i r giv up

the problem with renewables is that PR campaigns have convinced everyone to ignore that land is a huge resource that should be conserved. the sheer scale of the interventions required to switch existing consumption to solar and wind dwarfs the crap out the risk involved the cleanest most compact and least ecologically damaging source of energy (nuclear.).

it comes down to the same reasons that organic farming is ecologically harmful. ideally,  you want to have the smallest spatial footprint in order to allow more of the spaces in between cities to be taken over by nature. the more space you're required to use in order to generate any product whatsoever, the more nature you displace.

matt ridley makes a great argument for this in "The Rational Optimist".


as to the iran argument:

i think the best example is india and pakistan. 30 years ago (screw that, 20) if you had posited that both of those countries would have nuclear weapons, most non-realists would have said that they would annihilate each other within months.

not the case.

Jul 8, 12 4:23 pm

gwharton, the narcissistic fool with the wool firmly pulled down over eyes seems to include yourself by your own definition...

about energy

renewables and the land area they might consume do not compare to the damage caused by global warming.  not remotely close.  cost of adapting to new weather patterns is enormous.  it destroys massive amounts of farmland, nature and urban space, and increases hardship especially for the resource poor, forcing bad decisions that make all of the above even worse.  as far as nuclear goes, i was all for it, just like stewart brand, until there was radiation in my drinking water not long after fukushima went all pear-shape.  f'get about it, nuclear is on my shit list and should not be used in any place subject to natural disasters.

Jul 8, 12 7:36 pm

oh my Will

i r, I'm familiar with Ridley and the pro-nuclear stance, just think that all out nuclear is an unlikely outcome. Bioreactors and other renewable applications will play their part in the energy sector, by being smaller, more efficient and integrated in buildings instead of being spread across land. A similar stance could be taken on organic farming,  which works best at local levels on rooftops for those that have interest to do it. It's difficult to integrate nuclear technology in the same way. But between coal and oil, nuclear wins, how long this will last...have no idea.

As to Iran, I can't see how Waltz's argument for a weapon will play out, but I'm not familiar with his predictions.

Jul 8, 12 8:09 pm
i r giv up



let's look at this way:

1 nuclear plant rapes 2 square miles of land and produces around 1,000 megawatts.

to produce 1,000 megawatts you need shit on 375 square miles of land if you're using windpower.

if you're using solar panels, you need around 30 square miles of panels.


bullshit. the net effect of those things on global warming are far far far worse than that of replacing all of our power plants with nuclear.

fucking hippies.

Jul 8, 12 8:47 pm
i r giv up

also, as to the organic argument: i'm all for using chemical fertilizers. it is beyond stupid not to.and way way irresponsible. fixating nitrogen from the air is not going to make your testicles shrink or give you random cancer. you breathe that ish. i think there's a great argument to be made about organic pest control, but even then, eating a bit of sevin powder once in a while is not going to kill you.

Jul 8, 12 8:50 pm

I'm just coming into this, but the issue with chemical fertilizers isn't consumption,  but the severe environment impact from frequent improper use. The same  goes with pesticides.

Jul 8, 12 10:11 pm

Really, Give up? Do wind farms shit on the land like this?

or is it like this?

Jul 9, 12 1:06 am

 you're using solar panels, you need around 30 square miles of panels

You are assuming that those panels are being put on wild lands.  Solar can be integrated on areas that are already built up. 

 nuclear plant rapes 2 square miles of land and produces around 1,000 megawatts

Yeah until there's a melt down.  

also, as to the organic argument: i'm all for using chemical fertilizers. it is beyond stupid not to.and way way irresponsible. fixating nitrogen from the air is not going to make your testicles shrink or give you random cancer. you breathe that ish. i think there's a great argument to be made about organic pest control, but even then, eating a bit of sevin powder once in a while is not going to kill you.

  There are many well established ways of achieving sustainable agriculture. Your science is way off buddy.  Are you serious with these comments?     



Jul 9, 12 1:26 am

i r giv up

i ain't no hippie.  more like old timey republican truth be told (or libertarian even).  for instance i still believe in education...

with all respect you are calculating the wrong way.  urban roofscapes can accommodate solar power, and in any cases there are other ways to do it, including reducing use to begin with.  Land use is not an absolute kind of thing and even a mega solar plant is not as anti-nature as a nuclear power plant.  what you mean by raping the earth is not so clear to me in any case. it seems like a substitute phrase for a real position, frankly.

i think too that you are taking the stance of the privileged and believe climate change is going to mean little more than extra air conditioning or some nonsense like that. I suppose even the big stuff for us in the first world is kinda manageable, like droughts in Australia or southern USA and larger storms etc etc.  What is harsh is the effect of crop failure in the less developed parts of the world and of extreme events like Zhud in Mongolia.  That is where climate change hits hardest and needs to be responded to with real intelligence.  The amount of damage is enormous so far.  much more than solar power installations on all the yurts might cause. 

in the case of mongolia, climate change has serious knock on effects in the urban centers...and it ultimately does affect YOU even, in a way, cause mongolia is sitting on a massive amount of rare earth metals.  which is what you need for your iphone and shit.

now i don't expect you to know all that cuz it ain't part of your world, but it is pretty standard kinda story for a good chunk of the planet and you very probably should know better. the calculations involved are not really done by the square meter.

it's not bullshit, just complicated.

Jul 9, 12 7:38 am
i r giv up

dear jl-retarded.

let's do some math again:

megawatt power needed to power nyc: around 10,000.

10,000 / 1,000 * 30 = 300.

300 square miles to power the city with the lowest carbon footprint per capita (what every city should be aspiring to in terms of consumption).

now to keep it thorough: 300 square miles of panels to power a city that's 470 square miles.

is that realistic? nope. lay down the crack pipes.

stfu, and learn to read, jldownie.

Jul 9, 12 8:20 am

Well it seems pretty obvious you really want to believe this. Neglecting the fact you dont seem to want to acknowledge that uranium mining exists, your numbers on solar are way off. What efficiency are you assuming?


The problem with Solar and wind isn't land blight. They are pretty innert installations, more innert than farming or golf courses or pretty much anything else we do to the land anyway. The real trouble is consistency. Solar and wind tap into somewhat chaotic energy sources, and matching that chaotic signal efficiently to demand means a huge amount of energy storage of some kind. Obviously in the short term that could be mitigated by routing power through a smart grid and using existing fossil fuel or nuclear plants when demand required, but if we really want to get to a state where we are running on 60%, 80%, or 100% renewable sources, some solution to this would need to be found. 

Jul 9, 12 9:22 am

this is, of course, not a conservative/liberal issue and therefore it does it a disservice to marginalize the discussion in this thread. that said….


to say that wind and/or solar would condemn the u.s. landscape to negative land use is to ignore the example of germany. as most of us probably heard, they have *already* achieved the landmark recently of generating 50% of their power from renewable sources. i doubt anyone would say that they have completely spoiled their land resources. they have significantly less land resources than we do, yet, through strategic policies and smart planning, they’re showing the rest of the world how this can work. 

if we’re not paying attention, i can only assume that it’s an aggressive/willful ignorance.  

Jul 9, 12 9:43 am

this is, of course, not a conservative/liberal issue and therefore it does it a disservice to marginalize the discussion in this thread. that said….


I kind of think non-partisan issues are the best kind of thing to talk about in discussions like these. Without spoon-fed answers we actually have to think about real solutions to things.

Jul 9, 12 9:59 am

I love this thread.  It's such a muddle that I have no idea who I agree with or why but I love that people are now openly calling each other "retards" and "fucking idiots".

So here's why Americans that vote are such self-righteous fucking morons, they keep yapping that it's about choice but when they vote they are choosing to endorse they whole shitty two-party thing...and then they complain.  Not voting is very much a willful choice as well and clearly the more honorable path for anyone with a rebellious, radical or otherwise independent mind.  A 3rd (or 4th or 5th, etc) party vote could have validity if anybody would try it but they don't because Americans are a herd of stupid shit heads that can only go left or right.  Simple commands;   green means go, red means stop and heaven forbid should somebody build a round-about and people have to think about what to do!  Same with voting, you think you have a choice and the truth is that you do, your just too stupid to see the real choice.

LOL, American fucking retards!  How fun it is to watch an empire fall, yo!

Jul 9, 12 11:03 am

I love this thread.  It's such a muddle that I have no idea who I agree with or why but I love that people are now openly calling each other "retards" and "fucking idiots".

heheheheeh Come on! It is new norm.

I think voting will be meaningful when these candidates stop attending $40000 a-plate dinner parties. Using that kind of events is downright repulsive thing to me. I think it is 21 century version of Louis XVI’s fantasy lalaland dinners in history. And yet, they can still in touch with people from main street. Amazing! Oui Oui

Jul 9, 12 11:34 am

Bite me you fucking pollywag!

Ha, yo!

Jul 9, 12 11:49 am

Handsum - why don't you educate us about the perfectly Utopian society in which you live. We'd be interested to learn of your freedoms and prosperity. Placenames, please. Yo!

Jul 9, 12 12:02 pm

I love this thread.  It's such a muddle that I have no idea who I agree with or why but I love that people are now openly calling each other "retards" and "fucking idiots".

I suspect that people do this when they form an ideology based on what they think the world ought to be like then try to make up a reality to match their ideology.  Calling people names is a way to distract from the holes in their reasoning.  Rush Limbaugh has been doing this for years, though instead of using curse words he makes up names like 'feminazi.'  jl-retarded and jldownie are clear examples of this, where the poster feels the need to attack another person with little regard to the source of their opinion. 

I think we would all be a little better off if we listened to other people, or read the posts that actually have some sort of content, and actually think about where they're coming from.  We can try to understand what is happening in the world a little bit better from other people's perspectives, then form an ideology based on what we understand to be reality rather than rejecting real life because we hold our ideologies too close.

Jul 9, 12 12:09 pm

Utopian=Archinet . It is THE place where people can do pissing contest, name calling & denounce each other. What a place! I think it is much better than Thomas More's Utopia. The best part is everyone can be public scolder in chief by taking moral high ground.

Jul 9, 12 12:15 pm

Fuck you you fuckin fuck!  There is no uptopia!  There's only places with fewer stupid Americans than other places.  Unfortunately, there is a lot more stupid fucking Americans in America than just about any other place.  At least as far as I can tell.

Suck on that, yo!

Jul 9, 12 1:36 pm

Handsum, is the ulterior motive here to get archinect to implement a censor?

Jul 9, 12 1:54 pm

In my travels abroad, I've slowly come to the conclusion that people are actually mostly the same everywhere. Greed is everywhere. Corruption is everywhere. But so is kindness and generosity. I've guessed that just about anywhere you go in the world about 10% of the people are complete assholes, but everyone else is actually incredibly thoughtful and pleasant in their own way. All most people care about is providing for the families, and for most that just means they've got more pressing shit to do than worry incessantly about abstract notions of utopian politics. 

Unfortunately, much of the time, it's the assholes who stand out. Americans are actually incredible people. We work like dogs and eat like pigs. For all of our faults, we got a lot of good things going on here. It's just a matter of having the patience and determination to outwit the pricks and make things a little better when we can.

Jul 9, 12 2:00 pm
i r giv up

crawling in my skin

these wounds they will not heeeeaaaaaal



Jul 9, 12 2:06 pm

Handsum - thank you for your thoughtful and courteous reply. You confirm your superior intellect with each new post. My admiration for your erudition and ability to mount a cogent and persuasive counter-argument knows no bounds. Yo yourself, you motherf**ker!

Jul 9, 12 2:06 pm

Civility and thoughtfulness are oozing out of this thread. :P

Jul 9, 12 2:15 pm

oe, I agree.  America is not perfect by any means, and I can understand why other nations despise our foreign policies, but overall america is a big fat diverse creative force filled with cool ass people.  10% are insane, maybe 30-40% in florida, but overall the people are good at heart.  This does not mean that they are well informed, it just means that they are not intentionally being destructive by driving their suv's.    To me, america is a great idea that has yet to be fully realised.  The path to change is slow, corrupt, and often disapointing, and yes, both sides suck and voting does not usually make much of a difference in the short term, but over time voting (or the trends of what we vote for) does matter. 

Jul 9, 12 3:09 pm

At the very least, voting is a reminder to the power structure that we are here.  If you chose to not vote, IMO that is ok as long as you counter that with some action that is greater than yourself.  An effort to create that 3rd or 4th party (which I agree should exist) or something that makes that inaction an action. 

Jul 9, 12 3:24 pm

Actually, I live a few miles downtown from a suburb that has more roundabouts than any other in North America.  I do like the roundabouts a lot, they are so efficient when everyone uses them correctly!  But I hate going to that particular suburb because it's eerily like Stepford.

Jul 9, 12 3:27 pm

Minimum wage for you, coming to all of America soon.*



*except, of course, Goldman Sachs.

Jul 9, 12 4:51 pm

I don't think zerohedge or that tyler durden guy is your best source for news.  I think he's making you more bitter/angry than you have sounded in the past.  They could have focused on fixing the problem in Penn. but for whatever reason they chose not to.

Maybe better tax policy would have helped, instead of the gov. forming a closer bond w/ JP Morgan

maybe, if you're concerned and in penn., you should vote for a better governor

Jul 9, 12 6:02 pm

when these conversations devolve into cursing and namecalling, they're remarkably LESS entertaining, imo. i'm getting old, i guess.

Jul 9, 12 7:27 pm

Agreed, Steven.  This is the first time I've checked this thread, for the reasons you give.  And, looking past the first few reasonably civil posts, it predictably hits about a zillion degrees Farenheit pretty quickly.

These threads (and most political discourse, imho) are much more about group-think and collective (though creative!) attacks on the other side than they are about persuasion.

Jul 9, 12 10:34 pm

i like that this thread has been derailed multiple times, it could go on forever. You get to see various sides of an argument.

By the way, Spain just got a bailout.

Jul 9, 12 11:11 pm

You guys should have seen it when that white supremacist was here.

Jul 10, 12 1:00 am

Quick side notes on renewables and land use policy (warning:wonkiness/nerdiness about to ensue): 

- The land wind farms occupy doesn't just stay fallow and unusable. Where I grew up in southwestern MN, farmers would lease small chunks (usually about 20ftx20ft squares) of their land to utility companies, which would then install turbines on the land. Boom. Profits to both the utility and the farmer/lease-holder, plus you can farm all around that tiny footprint. Oh, and in case people here haven't visited flyover country here, there is a FUCKING LOT of farmland.

- Offshore wind is another way to get renewable electricity that doesn't take up usable land and space. A number of countries have already made big investments in it, to considerable success. (The turbines didn't even interrupt traditional fishing in the village my friend stayed in in DK).

- Rooftop solar. Anyone who's stood in a tall building in a city can see the vast, absurd amount of wasted real estate on top of buildings. The downside is the legal frameworks for leasing rooftop space are still questionable, and big solar companies seem much more prone to wanting to go build megaprojects in vacant deserts than in, well, occupied ones like Phoenix.

- There are tons of similar creative things that have been proposed as sites for solar. As sunshades for large parking lots is one that comes right to mind (seriously. who would complain about that. a cooler car, clean electricity, and on land that was already, well, a parking lot). I've heard some other, wilder ideas about placing solar panels over grassy, vacant highway medians, which the federal gov't already owns and barely uses. I'm a bit skeptical about that, though -- it seems like the kind of huge-scale, top-down, monoculture, sort of Modernist approach that technophiles love to float, that never seem to actually translate to reality.

Anyway. Pardon my ramblings, just figured I'd clear that up. It's a pretty common misconception.

Jul 10, 12 6:28 am

I have always thought that the future of energy would be at the scale of particles. Wind turbines are so old fashioned and well, analog. I don't understand the Higgs boson particle, but I hope it is the beginning to the answer we seek for an energy rich, clean future. Any thoughts?

Jul 10, 12 8:18 am
i r giv up

work on understanding it, lazy ass.

Jul 10, 12 9:22 am


What are you talking about? Seriously, does anybody here even know how to READ?!!!  

A spanish bailout?  In case you haven't noticed everybody is broke.  The spanich government bails out the spanish banks by borrowing money from the Spanish banks.  Brilliant.  And when that scam doesn't work, the EU steps in with, for example, a near broke Italy borrowing money (at 7%) to lend to Spain at 6%.  BRILLIANT!  Germany will not/can not bailout ALL of Europe.

It's all over already.  The BIG CRASH is here.  Literally right around the corner.  Maybe tomorrow.  Maybe September when we all get back from vacation.  But the really nasty shit is hitting the fan SOON.  

But, by all means,keep fretting over the vote.

GOD OF PISS, This is ridiculous, yo!

Jul 10, 12 10:16 am

First of all Handsum, I think you're forgetting that the world is quite likely to end in December.  So we only have to hold it off for a few months.  December is after November, so the election is still important.

Second, in the unlikely event that the world does not end in December, we will have to start dealing with some of the bad decisions we've made.  It might be better to have elected leaders that want to help everyone instead of only rich people.  It might help to have elected leaders that want to balance their budgets instead of leaning on JP Morgan to cook the books. 

Third, even if there is a worldwide global complete economic collapse, that doesn't mean the end of the world.  You may have to learn how to field strip a deer or throw a trotline to live, but you can still get by.  I suppose it will be hard to keep hospitals open and services running, so healthcare could be pointless and some people might not make it.  We'll just have to do the best we can with whatever we're left with.  Instead of taking a summer vacation, I suggest getting a first aid kit and a fly rod :)

Also, we've know the Spanish bailout was coming for some time haven't we?  The markets should have been prepared for that.  Italy too.

Just think of voting as a hedge against complete annihilation of civilization.

Jul 10, 12 10:50 am

"I have always thought that the future of energy would be at the scale of particles. Wind turbines are so old fashioned and well, analog. I don't understand the Higgs boson particle, but I hope it is the beginning to the answer we seek for an energy rich, clean future. Any thoughts?"


I haven't heard anything to suggest higgs really helps us get closer to cheap energy. I know for decades now people have theorized about extracting energy from vaccuum energy and microscopic black holes, but the physics on that seems pretty well sowed up. The closest thing on the horizon is fusion. Although there's been an enormous amount of effort and incremental progress I dont see it likely even that becomes a widespread viable option for decades. 

I really do think our best long-term bet is solar. A shocking amount of energy reaches the earth from the sun. At 60% efficiency you could run a house and two cars from a 10' by 20' array. There are a huge number of really promising technologies emerging, and its growing exponentially. All it's really waiting for is someone to finally break through with the means to mass produce them cheaply. Wind is a great stopgap, it's totally proven and the new towers are insanely efficient. With better drilling technology geothermal could grow to be more widespread. The real economic advantage to all this stuff is once it's built it's more or less done-deal. There's obviously maintenance and upgrades as time goes on but the expense would be no where near what we put in day-in-day-out scraping the barrel for oil. Coal is cheap as hell, which is why we use so much of it, but even without global warming it's a toxic nightmare.

Maybe one of the saddest things about America in the last 30 years is a total collapse in our ability to plan ahead. It's probably the reason I never liked libertarianism. It just smells like putting your head in the sand. 

Jul 10, 12 10:59 am

Haha Curtkram. :)

I've never understood how people can sustain themselves on this perpetually impending apocalypticism. Doesn't continually getting worked up for nothing get tiring?

Jul 10, 12 11:05 am

It's all over already.  The BIG CRASH is here.  Literally right around the corner.  Maybe tomorrow.  Maybe September when we all get back from vacation.  But the really nasty shit is hitting the fan SOON. 

I think you are right about that.  A bailout is nothing to get happy about.  The whole system is unsustainable. 

"I have always thought that the future of energy would be at the scale of particles. Wind turbines are so old fashioned and well, analog. I don't understand the Higgs boson particle, but I hope it is the beginning to the answer we seek for an energy rich, clean future. Any thoughts?"

The higgs is the field that interacts with all of the other particles and gives them their mass.  metaphorically, The higgs is to space like the water is to the ocean.  It is the reason why there is a speed of light.  I am sure that eventually this discovery will lead to some cool things.  For example, if an object can be manipulated so that it does not interact with the higgs, it will be massless and be able to move at light speed or beyond.   This is a really big discovery!   



Jul 10, 12 12:47 pm

HIggs could speculate on treating energy like the internet.

Nuclear is over, it was cooler in the 70s as a mass solution. Even if you breed plutonium instead of mining you are still dealing with hazardous processes. Same goes for solar.


I still have hopes for algae.

Jul 10, 12 3:03 pm

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