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U.S. Culture

Their Motto: It's all about US.

Beat the High Gasoline Prices

I wonder who has been preventing these vehicles from being sold in the United States of America? Looking at this line-up, a Prius doesn't seem that special anymore. On a side note, all of these, unlike the Prius, can burn 100% bio diesel and be 100% independent of petroleum-based fuel.

Diesel Vehicles Available in the UK (and most of Europe)
Make/Model MPG
BMW 118d 62.8/49.6
Chevrolet Captiva (SUV) 32.8
Chrysler Sebring Cabriolet 41.5
Citroen C5 tourer 2.2 HDi 42.8
Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCi 40
Honda Accord EX 2.2i-DTEC 62.8/50.4
Nissan Qashqai 52/36
Saab 9-3 1.9 TTiD Aero SportWagon 47.1/41.5
Toyota Auris SR180 45.6
Toyota Hilux 3.0 D-4D 171 HL3 Double Cab 34
Toyota Land Cruiser 3.0 D-4D LC3 31
Toyota Yaris D-4D 62.8
VW Golf Bluemotion 62.8/42
Avergage Fuel Economy of this selection of cars, SUVs, and trucks: 46.5

Where's the Mercy on the Creation?

Misericordia est vitium animi.
A Roman saying that means, translated literally,
"Compassion is an error of the soul."

Message in a Bottle: Paying Money for Something that is Free

"We've come to pay good money--two or three or four times the cost of gasoline--for a product we have always gotten, and can still get, for free, from taps in our homes."

  • Americans spent more money last year on bottled water than on ipods or movie tickets: $15 Billion.
  • Last year, we each drank 28.3 gallons of bottled water--18 half-liter bottles a month. We drink more bottled water than milk, or coffee, or beer.
  • Americans went through about 50 billion plastic water bottles last year, 167 for each person.

U.S. Myth Number Two: Buying a Home is Better than Renting

In the Real Estate section of the New York Times, one finds some rather odd advice from David Leonhardt, A Word of Advice During a Housing Slump: Rent. This seems to go against what our parents have always told us.

Toilet Paper: Who Needs It?

Americans, that's who. The New York Times article, The Year Without Toilet Paper, has actually very little to do with toilet paper, but a lot to do with how one family has decided to live in such a way that they minimally impact the environment. It does, however, raise an interesting question about American culture and its fixation on perceived “needs” for such silly—and wasteful—things as toilet paper.

The American Joy of Litigation

Americans love to sue each other. Look at what big industry is doing to this single mom of five children, aged 7 to 19:

‘Internet Illiterate’ Mom Sued Over Music Downloads

What will they think of next?

Family Hearth Moves to the Backyard
The New York Times
“Homebuyers of large means find themselves facing the latest in outdoor home accessorizing: the backyard fireplace.”

Sounds kind of crazy if you ask me. Also, some other people quoted in this article find the concept kind of bizarre.

An Abnormal Preoccupation with Animals

I went for a Sunday afternoon drive with my family since the weather was so nice. We were driving through some neighborhoods on our way to a park when my Moroccan wife commented on all the people we had seen walking their dogs, "They [meaning the non-Muslim Americans] really do love their animals, don't they? Especially dogs!"

440,000 Americans killed, but no outrage!

How odd! Only 2,800 Americans were killed in the WTC attack on 11 September 2001, yet five and a half years later, bumper stickers, signs in store windows, murals on pick-up trucks, and other memorabilia still pay tribute to this American tragedy of all tragedies.

That was just a one time event. What about 440,000 Americans being pointlessly killed every year when it could easily be prevented? Oddly enough, this annual event is of interest only to the CDC, not the average American on the street. It's not even worthy of a bumper sticker.

Burials: Back to the Basics

In this NPR interview with Mark Harris, author of Grave Matters, he discusses the envirnomental implications of the typical U.S. American funeral/cemetery: