Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Portland Auto Show entertains their customers with… Bikes!

Posted by on January 29th, 2016 at 9:50 am


Custom-built bike ramps at the Portland Auto Show.
(Photos: The Lumberyard Bike Park)

When the biking-est city in America hosts a big auto show, it should come as no surprise that bikes find their way into the mix. Such is the case with the Portland Auto Show, the big motoring to-do happening now through Sunday at the Oregon Convention Center — a location bordered by a streetcar line, a light rail line, and bike paths.

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Amid the bevy of attractions at this year’s show that includes a rock-climbing wall, celebrity appearances, and a “kid zone”; Portland’s indoor bike park The Lumberyard has set up shop. Or in their words, they’ve “invaded” the auto show.

The Lumberyard has erected several ramps and jumps and invited pro riders to come in and infiltrate this bastion of car culture.

Pros like Paddy Gross, Levi Weert, Jamie Goldman, Ben Hucke and Steven Bafus will be doing regular demos through the weekend and there’s even a little skills course where kids can test their bike handling.

These kids have a different idea of “getting behind the wheel”…



— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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  • Michael Whitesel
    Michael Whitesel January 29, 2016 at 10:14 am

    Jonathan, thanks for the post! The jumps need to be removed on Saturday night after close to make room for the Blazers on Sunday morning. So, if anyone wants to check out the riding demos, make sure to come out Friday or Saturday…

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  • Adam H.
    Adam H. January 29, 2016 at 10:36 am

    Auto Shows are still a thing? Huh.

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    • Granpa January 29, 2016 at 11:11 am

      Yup. There is an entire reality and value system outside of the Bike Portland fishbowl.

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      • q January 29, 2016 at 11:51 am

        Otherwise known as the me-first no thoughts to consequences 1950’s teen dream that has helped bury our economy, cover our cities in exhaust, deplete our environmental resources, kill and maim tens of thousands and create a lifestyle based around sloth and consumption that has become the status quo for millions of our fellow citizens.


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      • Mike January 29, 2016 at 12:55 pm


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    • Spiffy January 29, 2016 at 11:43 am

      I expect them to become more of a thing as they get desperate for sales…

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      • Doug January 29, 2016 at 12:15 pm

        Automakers posted a solid 9% sales gain in December, an exclamation point that sealed 2015 as the biggest sales year ever for the industry, they reported Tuesday.


        If facts around here matter they often don’t seem to matter much but, 17.46 million new vehicle sales an all time record. Somebody said fishbowl, how about echo chamber.

        I don’t get the car hate around here either. How do you hate a thing? I’ll hate bad drivers; but cars are things, you can’t rationally hate a thing.

        Besides every century ride, swim meet, track meet, fishing trip, little league game, ski trip, everything fun I ever did I did happened after a automobile trip. The society we have built benefits greatly from the automobile, I know I have.

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        • 9watts January 29, 2016 at 12:28 pm

          People know its almost over so they go for one last binge, hornswoggled by the low gas prices.

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          • Mike January 29, 2016 at 1:05 pm

            Rrriiiggghhhttt. It’s almost over… Has anyone informed the rest of the world? The auto or petroleum industries? Or are you speaking of a broader “the earth is 4.5 billion years old and oil will only be used for another 100” kind of time line?

            Hoodwinked and bamboozled by those flimflam men, I tell ya! I’ve half a mind to give them the what for!

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        • Sam January 29, 2016 at 12:30 pm

          You know, I think cars have done great things for America; we actually comprise a substantially vast area.

          That doesn’t mean I think the suburban lifestyle is good for people. Being unable to go anywhere in your day-to-day life except via car is awful.

          It’s simplistic to think that people around here hate cars, the thing. That’s not it at all. The criticism is directed towards a culture unwilling or unable to arrange their lives so that a trip to the grocery store wouldn’t involve 20 minutes behind the wheel.

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          • fourknees January 29, 2016 at 3:01 pm

            I live in the burbs, and unlike other cities Portland suburbs are actually fairly compact. More spread out than downtown, but fairly easy to get to the grocery, library, etc by bike, although on the Westside there are a fair number of gaps in the bike network.

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          • Pete January 29, 2016 at 5:16 pm

            In all of the suburban places I’ve lived, my neighbors have shopped at whatever grocery store is within a stone’s throw (unless it’s for toilet paper – for that they drive to Costco on weekends). Because it’s been so close, they’ve gotten in the habit of driving over more frequently because they don’t plan meals and stock up. The fact that it’s so close – even where I live now in Cali where the weather is so often beautiful – has rarely been a deterrent to driving. Same goes for fast-food places. I won a bet with my next-door neighbor when I first moved here that I could walk over and through the front door of the Safeway faster than she could drive over and park.

            People value time and convenience over just about anything else, and biking is perceived as preserving neither.

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            • B. Carfree January 29, 2016 at 10:42 pm

              But if they value time and convenience over everything else, why are they still driving everywhere, even to those locations that can be more quickly accessed by walking and cycling?

              I think many people are simply physically lazy, and horribly unhealthy as a result, and almost all people are creatures of habit. Once people lock in on driving as the only way they go any place, the facts no longer play a role.

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              • wsbob January 31, 2016 at 12:05 am

                “But if they value time and convenience over everything else, why are they still driving everywhere, even to those locations that can be more quickly accessed by walking and cycling?…” b carfree

                I think the percent of the population in the situation you describe, is small. Even in the city’s older close in neighborhoods, most people live further than ten minutes away by foot, from work, shopping, school and recreation. Biking and walking can be a great means of travel, in ideal conditions. Outside of such conditions, when it’s dark, cold, wet, late, heavy with traffic, motor vehicles can be a mighty nice way to travel.

                Additionally so when there’s a number of family members and friends to transport. Seriously…is a family member going to transport them with a bakfiets cargo bike, towing a couple trail-a-bikes? Not to overllook that some extraordinary people in Portland have actually done so, but no…people are going to find the opportunity to have a motor vehicle for such travel, to be very attractive.

                Communities today could benefit from more extensive development of infrastructure for practical walking and biking, than most actually get. What they get instead, is recreational infrastructure for those modes of travel. Today, a small group, including myself, rode through one such community southeast of the intersection of Barnes and Cornell roads. Very homey places to live, and beautiful concrete paved MUP’s, most, much more than a half mile from services and amenities on Cornell or Barnes. What percent of people living there can find walking and biking to be a practical way to go get groceries, pick up the kids, etc? Most people in this neighborhood, and it’s a big one…are going to have some sort of car to meet their practical travel needs. Many of he kind of motor vehicles on display at this auto show, can fit that bill wonderfully.

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              • gutterbunnybikes January 31, 2016 at 12:01 pm

                It’s because people confuse travel speed with travel time. Even if you drive the speed limit, here in Portland with congestion and traffic lights most 35 mph streets equates to roughly a 20mph non-stop travel time.

                For example, a frequent destination of mine is 3.7 miles from my house, it takes between 12-15 minutes to get there by car, which equates to an actual travel speed of roughly 15- 18 mph, despite the fact that 1/3 of the trip is a posted 30mph and the other 2/3s of the trip are 25 mph.

                Google Maps directions spell it out quite clearly with travel times and distance calculations. The difference in travel time between 35 mph and 25 mph is very slight, and nearly non-existent at peak times.

                I can leisurely ride my bicycle to this same destination in less than 20 minutes (I tend to wander a little on the bicycle), home a little longer since it’s uphill. I could easily match the car time if I got a faster bicycle (I ride old gas pipe three speeds) and I had the inclination to pedal hard.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 31, 2016 at 12:44 pm

                There certainly is a class of trips where biking is the fastest mode. They tend to be shorter, a couple of miles or less, and/or involve destinations where parking is laborious, such as downtown or Hawthorne or NW 21st.

                There are few trips where transit is fastest, but, though slower, many may have compensating factors, such as going to the airport or a morning commute to work.

                Overall, I think transit trends to be the most expensive (at least until bike share arrives) if you already have a car, again with a few exceptions. And this, I think, is a pity.

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              • Pete February 1, 2016 at 2:36 pm

                Some of the excuses I’ve heard are that they are tired after working all day (at desk jobs, for the most part). I find that ironic because it’s that exercise that tends to correct your metabolism and give you energy. My current next-door neighbors belong to gyms, and they also drive to a nearby high school track to run on weekends. They asked me last weekend what I thought they should do with the two old bikes they have hanging in their garage, which are actually in great shape for their age. They should have known my answer… Ride the Damned Things!! 🙂

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        • 9watts January 29, 2016 at 1:25 pm

          “Besides every century ride, swim meet, track meet, fishing trip, little league game, ski trip, everything fun I ever did I did happened after a automobile trip. The society we have built benefits greatly from the automobile, I know I have.”

          That strikes me as a rather defensive and dependent view of the world. Surely you’re not saying you can’t imagine us having any fun once the cars dry up and blow away?
          If I held that view I certainly would want to try to begin weaning myself off the car to soften the inevitable blow to my future fun prospects.

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          • BeavertonRider January 29, 2016 at 2:05 pm

            How do i get me and my kids to the coast?
            How do i get me and my kids to camping near Crater Lake?

            I am so curious to know how you think people will travel after you get your way and ban private car ownership.

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            • Zimmerman January 29, 2016 at 3:09 pm

              I think he expects you to not do those things, and like it.

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            • 9watts January 29, 2016 at 3:22 pm

              “How do i get me and my kids to the coast?
              How do i get me and my kids to camping near Crater Lake?”

              I take the public buses to the Coast with my family already. No need to wait.

              As for Crater Lake, I haven’t been. I suspect if I decided to go there I’d take Amtrak to Chemult and bike from there. But I haven’t looked into it closely. There may be easier ways to do that.
              If you don’t have a car you figure it out. But if you still have a car there’s really no incentive to discover all the alternatives, and you learn very little.

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              • Middle of the Road guy January 29, 2016 at 3:37 pm

                I’ve learned it is faster and more convenient to do in a car.

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              • 9watts January 29, 2016 at 5:21 pm

                Oh. OK. I guess that settles it.

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            • B. Carfree January 29, 2016 at 10:47 pm

              The families that I meet who ride their bikes to the coast and to Crater Lake all seem to be having a lot more fun than the ones that drove there. Perhaps looks are deceiving, but the kids on tandems and triples sure have bigger smiles and more laughter.

              Then again, these trips are really big deals for the families that do them. They plan extensively, sometimes for months. That’s a lot different than deciding on Thursday that everyone should pile into the car on Saturday morning and the expectations of the active families may become self-fulfilling.

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              • Middle of the Road guy January 30, 2016 at 10:41 am

                You’ve ridden your bike to Crater Lake?

                I did the Crater lake Century last year…I did not see any families riding their bikes there. Nor any other time I have been there.

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              • 9watts January 30, 2016 at 7:41 pm

                Perhaps they found a destination closer to home that suited their fancy.

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          • Mike January 29, 2016 at 2:12 pm

            Have no fear, our fun is safe – we will all be dead and gone long before cars dry up and blow away.

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            • 9watts January 29, 2016 at 3:23 pm

              Après moi, le déluge?

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              • Mike February 1, 2016 at 12:01 pm


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          • Middle of the Road guy January 29, 2016 at 4:03 pm

            actually man, your comments usually come off as “I do it this way, therefore your should too because I know what is right for you”.

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            • 9watts January 29, 2016 at 7:56 pm

              I have no idea what is right for you, but I have an idea what we as a society will be able to afford and not afford very soon, and I think we would do well to prepare for those eventualities.

              I assume that the bicycle (the subject which brings us all together here) has the potential to play a significant role should we opt to become more resilient. And the car, though familiar and massively subsidized, and apparently convenient, is the opposite, as some of these comments evidence.

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      • Mike January 29, 2016 at 1:08 pm

        Just like all bike shows NAHBS, OHBS, Interbike, etc. etc. – because the bike manufacturers are getting so desperate for sales.

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        • Dave January 29, 2016 at 1:37 pm

          Hey–linking a consumer bike show like NAHBS with a car show could be a GREAT idea. Americans like any kind of cool wheels–and many bike people are also car people; TI Cycles’ Dave Levy is a high performance driving teacher, for instance. A framebuilder in Montana named Dave Kirk drives a Lotus Seven part of the time–I think the crossover potential is huge.

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    • wsbob January 29, 2016 at 7:49 pm

      With the three bucks off coupon from the O, it costs nine bucks to go to the show. Is it worth it? My dad loves going, or I might not, but I’d say it’s definitely a great way to see some amazing technology and design in new vehicles.

      Saw the action at The Lumberyard’s area. The kids were great at riding the half pipes there…graceful, clean flips and landings. While we were there, nothing crazy wild, but very entertaining. Lumberyard’s staff was great too, very friendly. Talked with a young lady that hosts parties at the center. Another mentioned the addition of a pizza, bar thing happening there now. Excursions in the works, to nearby areas for mountain biking. They gave away great stuff too,or at least stuff I like…Clif Bars.

      Why were they there at the auto show? Many people that like cars are members of families with kids…and most kids like to bike at least some. For people in Portland, to be able to load your kids up into your big, new pickup or SUV, and take them to an indoor place where they can have fun trying out this kind of reasonably safe, energetic riding, despite Oregon’s often wet gloomy weather, is something.

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  • Paul Wilkins January 29, 2016 at 11:16 am

    They were there last year and it was great! One of the pros had his Bugatti in the specialized section with the antique fire engine, cop cars, and Airstreams. Absolutely a great show!

    Haughty noses need not attend.

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    • Brian January 29, 2016 at 11:33 am

      Took my son last year and he loved it. It was cool getting to check out classic cars and new innovations close up, as well as some shredders on the ramps.

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  • not that Mark January 29, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    One of the greatest experiences I have had in life was walking up to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. And likes the millions of people who visit each year, I got there by car. There’s also a back packing trip in the Olympics, weekend camping and mountain biking by Mt Hood, going to the coast for breakfast, family vacations as a kid, road trips in college, and so on. I don’t drive as much anymore. But I like having the option.

    The world becomes a very small place without cars. And the only people capable of seeing all these things and having these great experiences if cars go away will be the rich.

    The one major thing bikes and cars have in common is mobility. As kids bikes gave us the ability to venture further from home. Cars increased that range enormously. Cars give mobility to people who are mobility impaired like the elderly and disabled. People have more job options.

    There’s a massive demand for mobility around the world. The people who meet that demand in the future, and solve the energy problems, will become very rich. That’s a huge incentive for solving these problems.

    Cars are like religion; they do more good than bad. And won’t go away. And that’s good.

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    • 9watts January 29, 2016 at 6:12 pm

      I recommend reading a little Ivan Illich, who foresaw exactly this inability to think outside the automobile forty years ago:

      The habitual passenger cannot grasp the folly of traffic based overwhelmingly on transport. His inherited perceptions of space and time and of personal pace have been industrially deformed. He has lost the power to conceive of himself outside the passenger role. …
      …He has lost faith in the political power of the feet and of the tongue. As a result, what he wants is not more liberty as a citizen but better service as a client. He does not insist on his freedom to move and to speak to people but on his claim to be shipped and to be informed by media. He wants a better product rather than freedom from servitude to it. It is vital that he come to see that the acceleration he demands is self-defeating, and that it must result in a further decline of equity, leisure, and autonomy.

      Inevitably modern technology has polarized society. It has polluted the environment. It has disabled very simple native abilities and made people dependent on objects… Like an automobile which makes the world inaccessible, when actually in Latin “automobile” means “using your feet to get somewhere.” The automobile makes it unthinkable. I was recently told, “You’re a liar!” when I said to somebody I walked down the spine of the Andes. Every Spaniard in the sixteenth, seventeenth century did that. The idea that somebody could just walk! He can jog perhaps in the morning, but he can’t walk anywhere! The world has become inaccessible because we drive there.

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      • Zimmerman January 29, 2016 at 10:18 pm

        And yet I can enjoy using an automobile for transportation and still not be a slave to it. Life is not binary.

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        • 9watts January 29, 2016 at 11:12 pm

          “Life is not binary.”
          I would agree with that, but some folks here in this comment thread leave the impression that the services their automobiles provide will only be jettisoned the way Charleton Hesston relinquishes his firearms.

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          • Middle of the Road guy January 30, 2016 at 10:43 am

            No, that is simply how you are perceiving them. Ironic statement from you, however…since you do tend to get pedantic and one-sided with regards to bicycles vs cars.

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          • Zimmerman January 30, 2016 at 1:01 pm

            Someday the arthritis in my wrist may force me to have it fused in place. That doesn’t mean I’m going to have the surgery now while it’s causing me no pain.

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  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty January 30, 2016 at 12:15 am

    Funny thing is that many kids today (here in Portland, at least) don’t really want to learn to drive. Speaking anecdotally, but something may have shifted in at least some segments of our society.

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  • bikeninja January 31, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    Climate change is quickly changing the moral debate on cars vs bikes. Choosing to drive is no longer a benign personal choice but a choice that affects the future of the planet, ourselves and our descendents. Defending your use of a car because it is convenient or fun is no longer good enough. If we are to leave the majority of the remaining carbon in the ground then we must all come together on how we can quickly eliminate the private automobile from the planet. Despite what many people think, the embeded fossil fuels in a modern electric car prevent it from being a realistic solution. Bikes are truly the future for us all.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty February 1, 2016 at 3:50 pm

      Your individual choices mean nothing on the global scale. I do not believe a low-energy future is going to happen; instead we need to focus on more sustainable forms of energy generation.

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      • Brendan Treacy February 1, 2016 at 4:04 pm

        By the same logic no one should vote because each individual vote is irrelevant. Social change is real, society is composed of individuals, and their choices.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty February 1, 2016 at 6:44 pm

          That’s true. Nonetheless, I do vote (and do what I can to keep my emissions low).

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      • 9watts February 1, 2016 at 5:31 pm

        Ah, but you are implicitly suggesting that individual behaviors (that are well understood and time-tested) won’t scale up as well as engineering and material inventions (that are still for the most part either (energetically and materially never mind economically) expensive or merely imagined) will trickle down. This is a familiar claim but one that reveals all sorts of built in assumptions that privilege technical progress over social change that are all debatable.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty February 1, 2016 at 5:45 pm

          No, I am asserting that your contribution to climate change is infinitesimal on the global scale. Even if you reduce your impact to zero, it won’t help.

          The cumulative impact of 1,000,000 people might budge the needle (or it might not), but your share will not.

          The only way to “scale up” individual actions is by political action, in which case it isn’t really individual action anymore.

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          • 9watts February 1, 2016 at 6:02 pm

            The point isn’t whether 1 behavior or 1 solar panel will make the difference at the global scale. Neither will. Your and my preferred strategies both require a scaling up for them to have any meaning at that scale.
            But you were–and I stand by my earlier statement–implicitly saying that big, whiz-bang technologies will trickle down and make that difference while little individual actions won’t catch on (scale up) and make a comparable difference.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty February 1, 2016 at 6:06 pm

              Individual actions, absent a larger political framework, have very little potential to impact global climate. My view is that large-scale technological change has a much greater potential.

              So yes, your summary of my thinking is more-or-less accurate.

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              • 9watts February 1, 2016 at 6:10 pm

                Right. Your theory of social change appears to be that it needs help from above.
                My theory is that what you call a political framework almost invariably trails the changes that come from below. They can and do serve a valuable purpose, but they are not what is driving the kind of historic change we’ve experienced or the kind of change we’re likely to see soon w/r/t climate change and our energy future.
                = social movements.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 1, 2016 at 6:16 pm

                I think getting society to transform itself in some very fundamental ways over a relatively short period of time will require help from above, yes.

                What is required totally dwarfs other bottom-up social revolutions (smoking, gay rights, etc.), the effects of which are hardly universal (or even widespread on a global basis).

                Absent technological change, social action alone cannot be sufficient. The numbers just don’t scale.

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