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Finally some recycling coverage considering opportunity costs

Sort of. Recycling is an interesting area of environmental spend that resonates with yuppie city folk to such a degree that it drowns out thinking of opportunity costs. It doesn’t necessarily always make sense to recycle more, ie. “zero waste” messaging. At all policy levels we should be asking what is the best way to spend the next dollar on environmental improvements.

We’re seeing the attention on plastics bring the larger issue to the forefront and there’s lots to talk about surrounding this. How bad are plastics? How much of the problems of plastics in waterways/oceans are caused by not landfilling them? How much of the recycling from the 90s and 00s was just shipping waste to developing countries?

Here’s what I’ve been seeing/reading:

Planet Money – So, should we recycle?
TVO’s The Agenda episode on GTA recycling situation
The Guardian- what really happens to your rubbish?
Globe and Mail – Don’t toss recycling in the garbage. Here’s why


Ricky Gervais refreshing on parenting

Ricky Gervais, with about 10 mins left, on what’s actually important to impart as a parent.

“Give your kids a sense of humor.”

He is interesting throughout on the importance of comedy and free speech.


In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Ricky Gervais. They discuss fame, the effect of social media, the changing state of comedy, offensive jokes, Louis CK, political hypocrisy, Brexit and Trump, the state of journalism, and other topics. You can support the Making Sense podcast and receive subscriber-only content at

* Duration: 2:11h, Played: 2:02h

* Published: 2019-07-12 12:23:50

* Episode Download Link (120 MB):

* Show Notes:

* Episode Feed: Waking Up with Sam Harris –



Dustin Poirier, worth checking out old film

In light of Dustin Poirer’s epic win on the weekend, I went back to check out this film, and I’d recommend it especially if you train. There just aren’t very many good MMA/BJJ docs out there so I was surprised that this even existed.


Does water conservation make sense where you live?

Insert Toronto here for exactly how I felt ten years ago in grad school at a water conference where the assumption is the government is not doing enough to incentivize water conservation.

<sarcasm> Because it always makes sense to spend more on water conservation, recycling, and banning plastics.. and you’re not a good person if you want to make economic choices to prioritize environmental spending that doesn’t fall in line. </sarcasm>

Water Conservation for Michigan – Why?

I suppose I should go along with this: I consider myself a conservationist, and I’m running for Oakland County water resources director. I should go along with the Association for Planning, both from a desire for a good environment, and a desire for their support. The problem is, for most residents here and in neighboring Macomb and Wayne County the water can not run out because it is all recycled.

The map below shows the clean water system for south-east Michigan. The high-population areas of Oakland County and surrounding counties (the ones that are colored in the map) get their water from the Detroit River or slightly upstream in Lake Huron. It’s cleaned, pumped, disinfected and carried to your home along the main pipes shown, and after you use the water, it travels back along another set of pipes to the water treatment plant and back into the Detroit River. All the water you use is recycled.

Map of the main drinking-water pipes serving south-east Michigan

Map of the main drinking-water pipes serving south-east Michigan

When the system is working well, the water we dump back into the Detroit River is cleaner than the water we took in. So why legislate agains too much personal usage? So long as a customer is willing to pay for the going rate for pumping, cleaning and delivery, 1.5¢ per gallon, who cares if that customer wastes the water? Feel free to flush twice, or use a high-volume shower head like in this Seinfeld episode. Enjoy it; we can not run out. The more you use, the less everyone pays per gallon.


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Coyne vs. Wente Sept 2018



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