Sunday, January 27, 2013


Folks, instead of posting a picture I am posting a link to read that is about this post subject material.
While I see some problems with some of the content of this site, I do think that overall it outlines some problems over this renewable energy that most aren't aware of.

From Murph

I’m sure most of the readers on this site are quite familiar with all the hype concerning sustainable/green power being pushed by various sources all over the news and internet.   I have written about them periodically over the years and I’m going to hit on it again today.

First, some things that I think we can agree on concerning the basics of this.   Everyone of the schemes for nearly free power also demand the use of non renewable resources, everyone one of them, from nuclear to wind to solar power to the touted free power from the ether or the magnetic characteristics of our universe.   To build the machines to harness those power sources takes non-renewable resources, at least in human lifetime measurements.  

Secondly, we need a working definition of “sustainable”.   In the absolute sense, which, seemingly, no one wants to talk about, it means that resources are not used up faster than they can be regenerated.   I can understand the reluctance to look at it that way because everything that is renewable in human life time terms is based on sunlight, including, lumber, farming, water critters we eat, drinkable water and breathable air.    That does not include the vast amount of substances we mine out of the ground.  They are renewable but on a scale of time that makes them meaningless in terms of human societies.   So, excluding what might as well be termed as non renewable resources what is talked about in sustainability is how long those non renewable resources can last and under what conditions and scale of usage.  

If we try to produce all the electricity needed by the use of the “green” technologies, we also have to look at how much of the non-green technologies and resources also have to be used.   It appears to me that the amount of non-renewable resources to do this would be incredible and that does not include the cost of infrastructure to utilize it and the cost of maintenance and repairs.   The current big buzz is of course solar and wind power.  

I am going to assert that from an economic and resource position, neither of these sources are viable.   

Take wind power.   I presume all of you have looked at these huge wind turbines that are mainly being built in China.  They are gigantic and take a huge amount of infrastructure and non-renewable resources to build, install and maintain.   Plus, I have mentioned before, there is a very simple problem with physics here.  It is called the law of conservation of energy and the laws of thermodynamics.   Simply put, if you remove energy from one place and convert it to another form of energy, you have inherent losses but the amount of energy stays the same, just at a lower lever.   We all know that the movement of air (wind and currents) controls what the weather is at any particular location and time.   The energy to move air around is controlled by many other factors but one of the largest factors is the sun, heating and cooling areas of the earth and causing wind.   So, putting up a windmill pulls energy out of the air movement and converts it to electricity.   The result is less energy in air movement to some amount.   If enough of these huge wind turbines are built and installed, the question comes up as to whether they will have an ultimate effect on the movement of air, ie, the weather.   Now I realize we are talking about a huge artificial system compared to the even larger ecological system we call weather.   But, I have seen no studies concerning what can/probably happen if we build enough of those huge turbines.   I rather suspect and assert that there will be a large influence on weather patters if enough of them are put up.  What amount of changes and the observable effects is not being investigated as far as I know and what the tipping point would be.  Is this just another example of ignoring the consequences of our actions? 

Virtually the same observations also apply to solar power.  If enough of the sunlight hitting the earth is converted to electrical power, what happens to the weather patterns influenced by the heat of the sun?   Again, I find no research on this subject.

The standard retort concerning this is that the ecological system is so huge and the amount of energy it contains is so big and the amount of energy we could possibly drain from the system is too small to make a difference.     This point of view is touted by folks with little or no training in the sciences, mostly by the political class but not limited to them.   

IMO, it is a mute point.   I do not think that we have the resources or the ability to make sufficient investments to get to the point of unforeseen consequences.   But, government and private business is going to try.   The amount of damage they can inject into the ecological system and society by trying is going to be severe I think.   

On to the “free sources of energy”.   There is lots of information on the web concerning these schemes.   I have no idea concerning their validity.  However, for the same reasons above, there ain’t no such thing as “free energy”.  To use the purported electromagnetic properties of our universe takes non renewable resources in the form of rare earths and oil and mined metals.   I am going to assert that there isn’t enough of these resources left at a price that is affordable to make either home units for everyone or scaled up devises to feed the electrical infrastructure we have or could develop.  

Now, in contradiction to all of this, I will admit that I would produce my own electrical power for my own usage if the cost benefit ratio made it worthwhile.   I also admit that I would ignore that ratio if the cost came down enough where I could handle the out of pocket cost.   What it comes down to is being able to continue to use electrical power in the advent of the grid having prolonged outages or just plain going away.   Home generators can handle short-term power outages.   It’s the longer term ones that I would invest the money in for our use.    But, currently, to run our household on personal generation of electrical power is not feasible.   I suspect this is also true for most homeowners in this country.   What I can do is put in, relatively speaking, enough generating capabilities to run essential elements of modern life, namely, preservation of refrigeration and water source and maybe even cooking.   Heating would still be a problem since we have a central electrical furnace.  (The codes involved to put in a wood heater present an even larger outlay of money)   A friend who lives nearby has put in a small system to run the essentials with some success.   To put in something similar would cost me in the neighborhood of $1500-$2000.  This might be doable, will take some more investigation.  

I am all for individual homeowners being able to continue operations at home in the event of a cut-off of power from the grid.   I am also in favor of finding a way to produce power that is not so destructive of the environment and is affordable.   However I think that the present directions of this push are a blind alley.  In the end, I think we are all going to have to learn how to live without access to continuous multiple power sources that are needed to keep us comfy and uninvolved in the events taking place around us.  

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Picture from "Django Unchained"
 2013 Now What?

Here it is – the first week of 2013. I find myself crawling out from my emotional bunker as I realize that I have survived the much-anticipated assorted disasters of 2012.

Now what?

 We still seem to be facing the same challenges to our well-being: the globally orchestrated financial debacle, the corruption of the government, the burgeoning police state, the deterioration of the environment, never-ending resource wars, the failure of our healthcare system, disarming the citizenry, and on and on. I read a report recently that said if we add up all the governmental debt and include all the social security and Medicare obligations that have already been squandered, each man, woman, and child would owe over $180,000 – with interest. That puts us and our progeny in the “indentured servant” category. Slaves, essentially, since it is an amount that can never be re-paid.

We are living in a concentration camp without walls because they don’t need walls anymore. Our owners have drones, militarized police, unlimited surveillance, and have abolished our right to a free trial everywhere in the country. You can’t even characterize it as a reservation, since, even nominally, there is no place we can call our own. Much like a plantation in some areas, with the one percent living in the Great House, and the rest of us wage slave/consumers doing our obligatory debt shopping, while the old and disabled are fleeced by the medical and pharmaceutical industries. What the hell happened?

Charles Eisenstein has a good take on this progression in his essay on Reality Sandwich entitled “The Space Between Stories.” He writes,

“Sometimes I feel intense nostalgia for the cultural mythology of my youth, a world in which there was nothing wrong with soda pop, in which the Super Bowl was important, in which the world's greatest democracy was bringing democracy to the world, in which science was going to make life better and better. Life made sense. If you worked hard you could get good grades, get into a good college, go to grad school or follow some other professional path, and you would be happy. With a few unfortunate exceptions, you would be successful if you obeyed the rules of our society: if you followed the latest medical advice, kept informed by reading the New York Times, and stayed away from Bad Things like drugs. Sure there were problems, but the scientists and experts were working hard to fix them. Soon a new medical advance, a new law, a new educational technique, would propel the onward improvement of life. My childhood perceptions were part of this Story of the People, in which humanity was destined to create a perfect world through science, reason, and technology, to conquer nature, transcend our animal origins, and engineer a rational society.
From my vantage point, the basic premises of this story seemed unquestionable. After all, it seemed to be working in my world. Looking back, I realize that this was a bubble world built atop massive human suffering and environmental degradation, but at the time one could live within that bubble without need of much self-deception. The story that surrounded us was robust. It easily kept anomalous data points on the margins….”

Eisenstein says that we are between cultural stories. We are living through the dissolution of the story that we were telling ourselves about our reality and creating a new one. Hopefully, it will be a more sustainable one.
Unfortunately, our public educations do not include much history about the coping mechanisms people who were slaves used to survive. We have the enduring legacy of music –  the Blues, the dances, the slang terms used so the “massas” couldn’t understand what they were talking about. We have the eloquent prose of Frederick Douglas and Sojourner Truth. We also have the wisdom of the American Indian leaders of the day. It wasn’t all about picking cotton.

Today, as our collective consciousness is coming to terms with our vanishing liberty, a new movement out of (all places) Canada has emerged. Calling itself “Idle No More,” it is beginning to catch the imaginations of people all over the world. Here is an excerpt from an essay entitled “The Wild Fire of Idle No More” by Morgan Maher on Reality, 

“…Naomi Klein commented: “The #idlenomore round dances taking over shopping malls during xmas rush r the most subversive actions I've ever seen “
Klein's excellent article for the Globe and Mail succinctly maps the vast, complex details that fuel Idle No More
" … the time for bitching and moaning is over. Now is the time to act, to stand strong and unbending for the people, places and principles that we love.

… the Idle No More movement – its name at once a firm commitment to the future, while at the same time a gentle self-criticism of the past. We did sit idly by, but no more.
During this season of light and magic, something truly magical is spreading. There are round dances by the dollar stores. There are drums drowning out muzak in shopping malls. There are eagle feathers upstaging the fake Santas. The people whose land our founders stole and whose culture they tried to stamp out are rising up, hungry for justice. Canada’s roots are showing. And these roots will make us all stand stronger."

Idle No More is spreading like hurricane wildfire throughout the world. Canada, USA, Europe, Australia, Egypt, Palestine, Colombia... the list goes on.

I am wondering the escalation of the neo-con efforts to dominate and control the global masses, is leading to our recognition of our combined slavery whether we are on the “left” or the “right.” We are beginning to react in a way that encourages a more indigenous and human reaction to the despicable reptilian corporate abuses.

Whether one is by nature a warrior, a teacher, a healer, a techie, or simply a concerned parent or comedian,  seems to be a place for each of us in the generalized resistance.

Check out some of these links and let me know what you think.