So many things to address as summer lingers on and gas prices rise.

Due to a number of requests by readers who have been confused by unfounded comments concerning energy conservation and human settlement patterns, our next column will provide a brief primer on that topic.

One cannot blame those who are trying to protect their Business-As-Usual turf and their ideological icons for attempting to obfuscate the issues. The inevitable need for Fundamental Change is well settled. We are now just quibbling over the price – how long the inevitable can be denied and who bears the burden of past misdeeds.

Unfortunately, several recent comments on energy conservation and human settlement patterns has confused some who thought they had a good grasp on reality. By not responding to these comments, these readers suggest that we are conceding that these commentors (rhymes with “tormentors”) have a basis for their postings beyond short-term self-interest.

As you might guess, many of the erroneous posters are afflicted with Geographic Illiteracy and an addiction to confusing Vocabulary. This includes the well known and highly respected “Anon 1:47 PM” commenting on Sunday’s “THIS JUST IN.” He/She/It touted Joel Kotkin’s latest contribution to confusion: “Hot World? Blame Cities” in the Sunday WaPo Outlook. For a refresher on Joel’s misuse of words see our columns #s 71 thru 74 starting with “The Foundation of Babble” 28 November 2005.

Actually Joel Kotkin and Ali Modarres make many good points in the op ed and repeat things we have been saying for years. You would not (and Anon 1:47 did not) know it because of confusing Vocabulary.

By the way, who is ripping off whom? We heard and recycled the Supreme Court joke re the Nobel prize early Saturday morning, long before Saturday Night live.


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  1. Anonymous Avatar

    It is pretty well established in the technical literature that the least amount of travel occurs when the job density pretty well matches the population density.

    One reason U.S. cities have such a transportation problem is that their job density falls off as distance from the center much more so than European cities. We have more sprawl, but they have more job sprawl, if you dont mind using a confusing word, in a general non-specific way.

    It is also pretty well established that a collection of smaller centers is mre efficient economiclly than one big one. Again, some European and Asian countris have deliberately planned an archipelago of business centers, tied by good transit.

    It is frequently said that city dweller use less energy because they travel less, but it is probably an incomplete analysis because of all the other energy uses. Over all, I think it is fair to say that cities run on power, and their true environmental footprint is much larger than the area of the city.

    Some widely dispersed settlemtent patterns have among the lowest per capita energy uses in the world, but they also have a low standard of living, by some measures.

    I hope that when you enlighten us on energy usage and settlement patterns you will be able to support your idea with readily available references and data other than your own.

  2. E M Risse Avatar

    In general I do not respond to “Anon” comments but, Anon 4:53 as read your comment, I believe you are corrent in your view of “well established technical literature” and your observations are consistant with our findings, I think.

    The reason I do not know is that you use several of the Core Confusing Words over and over and I have no idea what you think these words mean.

    In the column to the right of your post is a link to GLOSSARY. It would help us in framing our column if you could rewrite your note and not use any of the Core Confusing Words.

    As you know most technical literature in the Europen Union does not use these words and that should help you frame the comments.

    In any event, thank you for your input and I hope you find our analysis useful.


  3. Anonymous Avatar

    Sorry, Ed.

    I meant to signmy initials.


  4. Anonymous Avatar

    “I believe you are correct in your view of “well established technical literature” and your observations are consistant with our findings, I think.”

    Despite our long running, and even famous feud, I don’t think we are that far apart as far as precepts go.

    What I can’t figure out is how we wind up so far apart in terms of conclusions.

    Not long ago, I made a new acquaintance and it developed that she was a BR reader.

    She said that when she reads your stuff, at first she gets “sucked in”, (I think because the preceps are real) but then, at some point she felt your logic makes a logical leap that defies comprehension.

    This description was unsolicited, and surprisong to me, but it matched my observations exactly.

    I have long since concluded that this is because your conclusion is foregone, and there is no real way to get from the beginning to the end of yuor discourses logically.

    I sincerely hope that tomorrow you can prove me and my new friend wrong.

    I will try to keep an open mind.


  5. Anonymous Avatar

    I honestly believe you have some good, original ideas on land use. But you are in trouble because you simply cannot articulate your thoughts clearly and fall back on your “vocabulary.” Instead of explaining, you refer us to “primers” or months-old columns that we really don’t have time to bother to look up. This is meant as constructive criticism. Maybe you should have an editor vet your material for clarity before publishing.

    Anon 1:47

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