Groveton spins an illuminating tale about setting a hot air balloon flight record from Miami to Seattle in the comments on “THE ROLE OF MAINSTREAM MEDIA.” This tale speaks volumes about almost every comments in response to the four IT’S THE SETTLEMENT PATTERN STUPID posts. Groveton may have heard the original version of this tale from a DotCommer who thinks that Seattle is the center of the Universe but it has some holes.

It is not clear that it is even theoretically possible to fly any balloon, much less a hot air balloon, from Miami to Seattle. If it is possible, the flight would take one North and East over the Atlantic and the approach to Seattle would be form the West, thus if the balloon were over land and the balloonists had determined they were on course they would have set the record wherever they landed.

There are, however, two more important lessons from this tale:

If one does not understand the overarching Conceptual Framework – either the direction of prevailing high altitude winds or New Urban Region Settlement Patterns – they are lost before they start.

So far not one negative commenter has demonstrated they understand – or are interested in trying to understand – human settlement patterns. It one does not know what they are talking about…

Second, had the balloonists in Groveton’s story read the work of Bacon and Risse before they left Miami, they would know that wherever they found them, they would be in the right place. Get out of the balloon and start helping to evolve functional human settlement patterns.



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10 responses to “GROVETON’S BALLOON TALE”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    I notice you didn’t take on Groveton’s intellect in anything of substance, like his comments on profiting from your home, vs profit from other investments.


  2. Anonymous Avatar

    I rather liked Groveton’s story, although, given the prevailing winds in North America, he would do well to turn around the origin/destination points (or, better yet, say it was a LA to NYC venture).

    But odd things do happen to balloonists, quite apart from teaching allegories. During the Prussian siege of Paris in 1870, the French launched balloons from Montmartre in order to take messages to France beyond the Bosche ring of steel. The plan was to reach the French-held town of Tours, in southwestern France where a provisional government was holding forth. Quite a few balloonists got out safely. One team of indomitable aeronauts found themselves in high winds and fog for hours and caught only brief glimpses of the ground. The balloonists heard water and were concerned that they had gotten out over the open sea. Finally they came down in a snow-covered deserted landscape. They hiked for miles before finding a small hut and their discovered that they were in Norway. Not bad for a trip by air in 1870.

    NoVA Scout

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    Groveton seems like a pretty smart guy. Perhaps, his unliklely trip was caused by a change in the prevailing winds caused by simultaneous mega-bursts of hot air by Congress and Tysons Land Use Task Force. Neither of which produced anything of value this year, but did pontificate foolishly about darn near everything.


  4. Anonymous Avatar

    “So far not one negative commenter has demonstrated they understand – or are interested in trying to understand”


    You are simply wrong on this. There are people here sharing information which you ignore, and people asking honest questions, which you answer with babble and economic nonsense. When people post a question and preface it with a comment like “I’m not expecting an answer with much substance but…” It is an indication of how much your efforts have been discounted.

    Larry, in particular, has asked you direct questions which you ignore or bury in useless generalizations or opinion stated as fact.

    Yes. We understand that energy and the economy are intricately linked. We understand there is limited carrying capacity for the worlds pollutants. We understand that energy goes one direction and entropy the other.

    That doesn’t mean the world is going to hell in a handbasket.

    We also understand there is a limitless amount of sunshine out there – if we can just collect it. At one time Solarex published a study that said that solar cells used more energy to produce, than they could return in their lifetime.

    That is no longer true. Today a solar cell will return more energy than it takes to produce in (only!) 5 to seven years. But that is just the energy budget of the solar cell. One still needs to build all the other infrastructure, and after that return a profit, someday. Which is something you fail to understand.

    All the functional settlement pattern in the world will make no more difference than all the sunshine in the world, if there is no profitable way to implement it. Some people will be richer than others. Some will even (gasp) drive private vehicles!

    Avoiding going to hell in a handbasket is going to take a lot of work. You can get a lot more work done if you have enough energy to use, and therefore we should plan on using as much as we can get our hands on, without squandering it.

    Doing without, isn’t going to help us get the work done.

    I believe there are some people here interested in promoting an agenda that does us all some good. If there is anyone here who has not demonstrated anything, it would be yourself. You support your own quotes with your own writing based on data that is misrepresented to suit your own opinion.

    When you have something concrete to say in plain english, with verifiable facts to support you position, then I’m sure we would like to hear it.

    Until then, you could do us all a favor and keep your bitter, doomsaying, self-righteous, and economically ignorant, comments to yourself.

    Now, I happen to agree with you, that we are facing enormous problems. I’m not even convinced that we will solve them without killing off a lot of people, or letting them die off. As you say, we need a lot fewer people consuming a lot less stuff.

    Well, if that is really the answer, then it seems to me that functional settlement patterns is a rather small concern, in comparison. Who lives where runs a far distant second compared to who lives, and how.

    It shouldn’t be to hard to figure out how many people can consume how much stuff, and that will give us an idea of how many of us are left and how well we will live. After all, the true output of the environment is NOT how much we produce, or where we live. It isn’t the economy or the energy we produce: it is how well we enjoy life, which you seem to have forgotten entirely.

    Now all you need to do is explain to us how you would pick and choose. Quantity vs Quality. You, after all are willing to establish regional commissions to pick and establish better settlement patterns, you may as well pick who is going to enjoy them as well.

    Where we differ on Armageddon is when it might happen, and what we should do in the meantime. I’m sanguine enough to believe that if it is a couple thousand years after I’m gone, or even a couple of hundred, then in the final analysis what I do isn’t likely to become the last ice crystal to sink the Titanic.

    Those passengers will need their own lookout. They will know how to sustain themselves far better than I can tell from here. Now, am I willing and interested to help? Sure. But even eternity for someone else is not worth giving up everything for. Even extinction is a natural event.

    So, how can we help?
    We have already learned to reduce the energy payback for solar cells from infinty to something like 25% of their useful lifetime. What that means is that with enough knowledge we can enjoy enough energy to reverse (some) of the effects of entropy.

    We are still stuck with the entropy of biota, interlocking relationships, codependencies and a whole lot of other things we know next to nothing about.

    With problems like that, I really don’t see the point in trying to “educate” people that they will be better off with less or where they should live. When that times comes, they will know. But it doesn’t follow that either we, or they, will be better off if we do with less in the meantime.

    Environmentalists seem to think that believers in a free market will choke to death on their own exhaust fumes still clutching their copy of Atlas Shrugged. What they don’t get is that a dirty environment has a price, and so does a clean one.

    We need profits to pay for the clean one.

    So when you have some ideas that might be a little more profitable than pouring a square mile of concrete so we can all live over the subway, then we are all ears.

    Otherwise, maybe you should stop playing Don Quixote and consider retirement.


  5. Anonymous Avatar

    For a truly fantastic balloon story read “The Flight of The Eagle” or catch the Norwegian Movie if you can find it.

    Spectacular and chilling. In the end, the final survivor writes the tale of the men being picked off by polar bears, one by one.

    The actual photographs from the expedition were found in the arctic and incorporated in the film. The crew was credited with the discovery that the polar ice caps rotate.


  6. Groveton Avatar

    I really only have one question – what would you do about mass overconsumption? Not “what is it?”, not “is it bad?”, just “what would you do to reduce or end it?”.

    Ditto for dysfunctional human settlement.

    Ditto for the decline and fall of the Mainstream Media.

    I guess that’s more than one question. I’ll take a concrete answer to any of them.

    Dr. Risse – what (specifically) would you do and how would you do it?

    For the record, the balloon story was fist told to me by my Dad after I told him I was taking courses in economics. As you might imagine, the people on the ground with the true but useless information were economists.

  7. Groveton Avatar

    Q: How many Jim Bacons does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

    A: 1,001. One to screw in the bulb and 1,000 to debate whether the light bulb represents a locational variable cost.

    Q: How many Grovetons does it take to scres in a lightbulb?

    A: None. Dillon’s Rule prohibits anyone in NoVA from doing anything – including screwing lightbulbs.

  8. E M Risse Avatar

    Groveton said:

    “I really only have one question – what would you do about mass overconsumption? Not “what is it?”, not “is it bad?”, just “what would you do to reduce or end it?”.

    Good question and the answer is deceptively simple:

    Start charging the full cost of the items consumed including the location variable costs but also all the other costs that economists call externalities.

    As you may know a number of NGOs in Europa have worked out complex equations to calculate the full cost of both air and surface shipping transport. EU Agencies are dragging thier feet, in large part due to stonewalling by US of A Agencies. The full cost of aircraft operation is the most blatant example about which we are familiar.

    One place to start is to charge the full cost of energy and the full lifecycle cost of goods and services.

    “Ditto for dysfunctional human settlement.”

    Here the answer is also simple but one must understand the drivers of dysfunction and what constitutes functional human settlement patterns.

    What the market values the most is a good place to start.

    Removing barriers to the evolution of functional settlement patterns is a second step.

    It seems that many readers of Bacons Rebellion Blog cannot get beyond what they like as individuals, or what they have invested in the past.

    In a finite world, it is the cumulative impact that matters.

    As I have told Larry Gross over and over, I do not have time to rehash what I have already written as clearly as I can. In this casee it is in Vol II of “The Shape of the Future” The six overarching strategies.

    “Ditto for the decline and fall of the Mainstream Media.”

    This I have specifically spelled out in THE ESTATES MATRIX.

    “I guess that’s more than one question. I’ll take a concrete answer to any of them.

    “Dr. Risse – what (specifically) would you do and how would you do it?”

    See Above.

    My father felt the same way about economists.

    Keep up the good work.


  9. Anonymous Avatar

    “Start charging the full cost of the items consumed including the location variable costs but also all the other costs that economists call externalities.”

    “One place to start is to charge the full cost of energy and the full lifecycle cost of goods and services.”

    By George, it is possible for you to talk some sense, when you try.

    Aren’t the locational costs primarily a matter of energy cost, even if it is embedded energy, as in the case of sewer service lines?

    When you talk about full costs,do you concur with the general form of the formula that says:

    Total costs = (cost of production/distribution) + (benefits of production/distribution) + (costs of pollution(externalities) from production) + (costs of preventing/mitigating pollution, including remanufacuture, recycling).

    The real question here is do you mean ALL the costs and ALL the externalities, or just the ones you like?


    “In a finite world, it is the cumulative impact that matters.”


    But what matters a long time from now is worth a lot less than what matters now. Are you suggesting they are equal?


    Is functional settlement pattern ONLY about energy usage, to you? If you remove the barriers to functional settlement patterns, does that mean you get to set up barriers angainst dysfunctional settlement? So much for the market.

    What the market values the most is a good place to start?

    Have you looked at the four rules in “Its Elemental” Number two says, don’t ask the market, especially the top of the market.

    Could you try to be at least a little consistent?


  10. the fan dance continues at a relentless pace…… zzzzzzzz

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