Monday, November 27, 2006

Recycling is BS?

So say Penn and Teller in this video of an episode of the comedic duo's provocatively-named Showtime series that is now propagating across the Internet.

What is remarkable about this video is that Penn and Teller actually track down and confront the federal regulator that is responsible for much of the pro-recycling hype, a one Dr. J. Winston Porter, PhD who was the Assistant Administrator for Solid Waste and Emergency Response at the Environmental Protection Agency during the Reagan and Bush I administrations. Porter was responsible for an 1989 EPA report that claimed that the US would run out of landfill space if it did not recycle at least 25% of is garbage waste—ignoring the salient fact that landfill space is cheaper and ultimately less polluting than the recycling craze he started.

The other refreshing angle is the unvarnished contempt Penn and Teller have for the irrational. They so utterly demolish the pro-recycling environmentalists, one almost feels sorry for the bastards—were they not behind wasteful and inefficient myth-making. Pretty compelling stuff for only a 30-minute program aimed at a mass audience.

NB: The language in this clip may be inappropriate for some viewers—discretion is advised.


Anonymous said...

Excellent Nick. Thanks for posting. I read a book a few years ago entitled "In Defense of Garbage," which I highly recommend. In fact, I'm surprised that these guys didn't quote from the book itself.

Anonymous said...

Hi Nick and Ed: Thanks for posting the Penn & Teller thingee. I really enjoyed it.

Anonymous said...

Isn't this video copyrighted?

Penn & Teller have done a lot of awesome shows. Why not support them by going out and buying the DVDs?

Apollo said...

I love watching Bullshit on tv and I also enjoy listening to Penn on the radio. The only problem with Penn(I dont know about Teller) is that he considers himself a Libertarian, and you can really hear him say all the classic Libertarian mistakes on his show.

Kyle Haight said...

For what it's worth, Teller is apparently enrolled in one of the sessions of Scott Powell's "A First History for Adults". Powell is an Objectivist history teacher who works at Lisa VanDamme's private school in southern California.

I don't have any evidence to suggest that Teller is an Objectivist, but it's an interesting 'six degrees of separation' connection.