One of the science blogs I used to recommend, but have since deleted is the impact lab. Too many of their science “articles” look to me to resemble paid corporate advertising or public relations rather than actual science. One example is an article named “Is thinking obsolete?
” which claims that the increase in oil and gas prices is completely justified and that anyone who questions this is not thinking. Notice, however, that no actual facts are sited to justify this claim, just some vague statements and rhetorical questions.
OK then, lets take up the challenge and look at some quick facts, shall we? For one, the author implies (by means of a rhetorical question) that the profit on a gallon of gas is less than ten cents. I know enough of “creative accounting” and the methods such as shifting profits to wholly owned subsidiaries to realize that figuring out a large company’s finances can be a major undertaking even for the best accountant, but we can at least look at the overall financial picture:
The price of unleaded gas has increased about 28% or 64 cents/gallon in the last year and about 88% or $1.36/gallon in the past three years. (Prices from aaroadwatch
). Meanwhile, the overall US inflation rate has been about 3.5% in the past year and 3% in the past three years. (From inflationdata.com
). So someone is making over 50 cents more profit per gallon than last year and over $1.20/gallon more than three years ago. Any claims to the contrary are pure nonsense. Other costs (except medical insurance) have not risen significantly more than the overall inflation rate.
It may be argued that the suppliers have a right to make whatever profit they can from their product and I would be hard pressed to find a scientific argument against that. But when fake science and mathematics are used as justification, then I start doubting whether there truly is a valid excuse.
In any case, if you are looking for valid scientific information, bookmark the sources listed on the right. These people seem to do an honest job of presenting the most accurate information they can. Sciencedaily
is an especial favorite of mine lately: I like the way they link to the original source when possible and also have good links to similar information. This makes researching a given topic much easier.