Going the Distance With UHV  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

The Wall Street Journal has a special segment on energy, including this article on long distance electricity transmission (using UHV rather than HVDC) - Going the Distance.

China wants to use melting snow on the Tibetan Plateau to power neon lights more than a thousand miles away in Shanghai. And to make that vision a reality, it is dusting off a 40-year-old technology for moving electricity -- ultra-high-voltage power lines.

UHV lines can not only carry more electricity than regular lines but also move it vast distances with less loss of power. That makes UHV ideal for bringing electricity from remote areas, such as hydropower projects in the foothills of the Himalayas, to China's eastern urban centers.

A number of countries gave the idea a test run decades ago, but improved technology has made it a lot more practical -- and attractive. Now China is betting that UHV can solve its massive energy dilemma. Most of the nation's resources, such as coal and hydropower, are located far from the booming cities that need electricity most. And trucking coal across the country, or building more power plants near cities, would make China's pollution even worse.

The developments are being closely watched around the world. Densely populated India and Brazil also see the technology as a way to secure future energy supplies. In the U.S. and Europe, meanwhile, utilities need to build high-voltage transmission lines to carry electricity from remote regions rich in solar and wind power.

"I would expect that the more countries use renewable energy," the more they look to UHV technology, says Daniel Assandri, senior vice president and head of the power-system division for ABB Ltd. in China and North Asia, which is working on China's UHV project.

China's proposed network will cover 56,000 miles and allow up to 6.4 gigawatts of power to be transmitted on each line -- equivalent to nearly two-thirds of the entire generating capacity of Singapore. State Grid Corp., one of two state-owned power distributors, has said it is seeking regulatory approval to spend as much as $14.6 billion over the next three to four years to roll out UHV power lines.

It's an ambitious plan, but China is in urgent need of an upgrade. According to a 2007 report by the International Energy Agency, China needs to invest $1.51 trillion in its grid through 2030 to accommodate soaring demand for power. And the potential power sources are far from the growing eastern cities where electricity is needed.

Two-thirds of China's coal deposits are concentrated in a handful of inland provinces, more than 620 miles from the manufacturing hubs of the Pearl River Delta. Government planners want power generators to build plants closer to coal supplies and then ship their electricity via the grid.

China also wants to make better use of its renewable-energy resources, particularly hydropower, but two-thirds of its dams are located in distant southwestern provinces such as Yunnan and Sichuan. Hydropower currently accounts for nearly a fifth of China's electricity generation, but much of it is used locally rather than shipped to cities because the grid is inadequate.

The quest to transmit electricity greater distances at higher voltages dates back decades. Governments and utilities began to look seriously at the problem in the aftermath of World War II as a way to meet rising energy demand, particularly in cities.

Conventional transmission lines, which use alternating current, can carry up to 500 kilovolts of energy from power plants to substations for distribution. But they're limited in how far they can transmit power, typically up to about 530 miles. And they lose a significant amount of power -- about 7% of capacity -- in transit, requiring power plants to produce more electricity than is used.

In looking for an alternative, engineers tried a couple of different paths. One was direct-current power lines, which can transmit electricity at greater distances than AC lines, with less power loss. But many utilities felt DC lines were too expensive, since they required converter stations to turn the power to AC so it could be distributed to utilities and consumers.

An electricity worker sits atop a newly constructed high-tension electricity tower located on the outskirts of Kangding in Sichuan province. The State Grid Corp. of China aims to at least triple its ultra-high voltage power transmission lines by 2012.

The other avenue of exploration was higher-voltage AC lines. They first appeared in Canada in 1965, spurring interest in the technology from Tokyo to São Paulo. Several test lines were built during the 1970s in the U.S., but the most progress was made in the Soviet Union. However, interest waned in the 1990s after the Soviet Union collapsed and power demand in Japan stagnated.

Now improved technology has made UHV more feasible. For instance, insulators on UHV systems used to be made of porcelain. Now it's possible to use materials like silicone rubber.

China currently has only one functioning UHV line, a 1,000-kilovolt AC pilot project that represents the highest-voltage system operating commercially anywhere in the world. The line connects two big power grids: one in Shanxi province in northern China, which relies heavily on coal-powered plants, and another in the central province of Hubei, which has abundant hydropower resources, including the Three Gorges dam, the world's biggest. The line enables power to be transferred between the grids whenever there is a shortfall in supply.

More UHV AC lines are planned, but Beijing concedes the technology isn't commercially viable yet. Suppliers haven't achieved economies of scale on core equipment, and the lines aren't yet carrying enough power to show real savings over conventional systems.

As a result, State Grid and China Southern Power Grid Co., another state-owned power distributor, are pushing most aggressively into building UHV DC lines. Despite the need for converter stations, the DC approach is still cheaper for the time being; according to ABB, it's about 25% less expensive than UHV AC over 1,240 miles or more.

State Grid has awarded tenders to ABB, Siemens Ltd. and local companies to build an 800-kilovolt DC line from a hydropower station in southwestern China's Sichuan province to Shanghai. Lu Jian, head of the development and strategic-planning department at State Grid, says the company plans to have around 56,000 miles of UHV lines in operation by 2020, up from about 400 miles now.

Also in the section is an article on ocean energy in Scotland - Surf's Up.
Scotland, which boasts some of the fastest-flowing tides in the world, is placing a big bet on what many believe is the next wave of renewable energy -- marine power.

The government is encouraging companies to invest in projects designed to convert the motion of tides and waves into electricity with the aim of generating as much as one gigawatt of electricity -- enough to power roughly 940,000 homes -- from its coastal waters by 2020.

Although some experts say Scotland eventually could rely on marine power for 40% or more of its electricity needs, the technology is still in its infancy. Among the industry's biggest challenges: developing equipment that can withstand the punishing environment off the Scottish coast and reducing the cost of generation so that marine power can better compete with more established sources of energy. Making things even more difficult is the credit crisis, which has made project financing harder and more expensive to get.

Neil Kermode, managing director of the European Marine Energy Centre, a marine-energy testing site located in Orkney, Scotland, sees a parallel with the early days of the aviation industry, saying that while wave and tidal equipment is well along in terms of development, lengthy testing is required before it can be deployed on a commercial scale.

"I believe we're now where the Wright brothers were when they did the first tentative flights, but they still needed to do short hops and then longer hops before they got to master the sky," he says.

The wave- and tidal-power devices in use today are small -- most are less than one megawatt, or about a third of the size of a typical commercial-scale wind turbine -- and are deployed individually or in very small arrays. To date, only about 10 megawatts of wave and tidal power have been installed world-wide, compared with 120 gigawatts for wind power.

Nevertheless, the potential of marine energy has drawn the attention of Europe's top utilities, including Spain's Iberdrola SA, Germany's RWE AG and E.ON AG and the U.K.'s Scottish & Southern Energy PLC. They are investing in wave and tidal technologies with the aim of eventually installing arrays across the U.K. capable of generating tens of megawatts of electricity each.

41 comments

flickervertigo   says 8:08 AM

i finally read "spook country".

six or seven or eight times.

it seems to me like the main concept is not so much "a cold civil war" as GPS.

when you couple the precision of GPS with programmable airliners, what do you get?

the thing that puzzles me is: why did so many mainstream media outlets give such rave reviews to the book? ..."rave reviews" in the blurbs on the paperback edition i bought in a supermarket...

...but the availablilty of the book in a supermarket is another puzzlement, seeing as how most books available in american supermarkets are dismal pieces of shit...

...and you probably have no idea of where i'm coming from unless you've had a job where you stopped at a supermarket every day and bought a book and your lunch before work, and your work consisted of sitting in a helicopter all day while your crew cut brush and waited for a fire.

if there's a "cold civil war", it seems likely to me that the israelis are gonna get their asses handed to them... the israeli americans are using israel's immunity from criticism to dodge criticism of themselves, and will sacrifice israel in a minute if that sacrifice will enhance their chances of achieving "benevolent global hegemony".

it wouldnt be the first time common jews were sacrificed in service of the hive queens' agenda.

Hmmm - normally I delete comments like this (especially when they have nothing whatsoever to do with the post itself) - the policy here is not to let anything through that attacks any particular ethnic or religious group - so be warned.

However as you start off talking about Spook Country (reviewed here - http://peakenergy.blogspot.com/2008/08/money-shot-william-gibsons-spook.html - which is where the comment would have been better made) I'll respond.

Is the book about GPS ? Well - its an aspect touched on in the book but I found the cold civil war (between liberals and conservatives, not between ethnic groups) subplot the most interesting.

I agree that most books found in American supermarkets are pretty bad, and Gibson seems a little highbrow for that market, but maybe the marketing folk still think he is the same guy who wrote "Burning Chrome" and that he still crosses over to the lower end of the market.

And I'll make one bit at your closing comments (simply because I'm baffled by it) - who on earth is the "hive queen" ?

flickervertigo   says 5:31 AM

i guess what i'm driving at is this: the probable use of GPS in the 9/11 operation was the masterstroke that paralyzed any faction in the "cold civil war" that was opposed to the israeli/israeli american/PNAC/AEI/exxon project to achieve "benevolent global hegemony" by controlling energy...

...a project that, at the same time, is intended to secure israel against the time its american protector goes tits up from peak oil and looters.

if gibson was trying to make people think about the capabilities of GPS, and the PNAC project was kicked off --as per PNAC wishes expressed in their "rebuilding america's defenses" of september 2000-- by use of GPS... well, it's something to think about...

...especially in light of growing evidence of who is really calling the shots for america, as the new justice department drops charges agains israeli american AIPAC spies.

wadosy   says 7:36 PM

i guess i should throw in the CIA pirates, too, huh? ...when we're thinking about "spook country".

that's something else we can consider as we contemplate closing hormuz because of the next 9/11 caused by a shipping container loaded with a little nuke obtained by iran from berezovsky's chechens, who stole the bomb as the soviet union collapsed...

after all, havent the neocons confessed they need another 9/11? ...and if they need another 9/11, and confessed they needed "a new pearl harbor" a year before the original 9/11... well...


yessir, we can think about somali pirates as motive for building pipelines from the persian gulf to israel, thus avoiding the hazards of shipping oil through the pirate-infested waters off east africa...

such a deal

wadosy   says 7:39 PM

you beginning to see why i'm wondering why the reviewers were so enthusiastic about "spook country"?

FV - I really don't get the significance of GPS - especially regarding 9/11 - GPS is ubiqituous now and I can't imagine how it was a make-or-break item for 9/11.

I also don't understand how 9/11 could have "secured Israel" in the event "its american protector goes tits up from peak oil and looters" - can you explain ? (you also ignored my question about your cryptic "hive queen" comment).

Moving on, regardless of how much influence Israel has on US politics, both the Afghan and Iraq wars seem primarily designed to benefit US interests.

wadosy - interesting conspiracy theory about the piracy scare being designed to prompt a shift to piping oil west from the middle east.

The israel pipeline option has been raised plenty of times but its hard to see this ever going ahead - more likely Turkey if you ask me - maybe linking up to the BTC pipeline ending so there are multiple sources of supply.

wadosy   says 4:51 PM

here's an updated map of the pipelines and other stuff... including eritrea, which may have switched sides, which will jeopardize israeli sub bases in eritrea.

http://img222.imageshack.us/img222/3637/pnacplan18apr09.jpg


and here's a google map of a possible israeli sub base in eritrea... zoom out to get an idea of the location.

http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=12.956383,42.889423&spn=0.008187,0.013905&t=h&z=17


here's a google search of articles about israeli sub bases in eritrea...

http://www.google.com/search?q=eritrea%20israel%20submarine&hl=en&ned=us&tab=nw

more debka baloney? ...maybe, maybe not.

OK - thanks for the pipeline map but I know where the pipelines go - my point was that the idea of reopening / fixing up the pipelines that go via israel has been floated since the Iraq invasion and gone nowhere - and doesn't ever seem likely to.

And if the US falls apart (not something I view as likely), the Israelis wouldn't have much chance of keeping those pipelines intact even if they were flowing...

wadosy   says 10:38 PM

the "pipelines to israel" project is part of the whole PNAC scheme, and we are only one more false flag away from going on a total war footing...

...which explains why some neocons are coming right out and calling for "another 9/11".

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=neocons+want+OR+need+another+9%2F11&btnG=Google+Search&aq=f&oq=


they said they wanted "a new pearl harbor" a year before their "new pearl harbor" happened... so maybe another facet of the "cold civil war" is between mostly honest american eforcement people who are trying to thwart another neocon 9/11.


anyhow, if another 9/11 happens, maybe a nuke 9/11, we'd be totally mobilized, hormuz would be closed --as planned-- which would stimulate pipeline construction from the persian gulf to israel.

oh, the humanity! ...as heroic pipeline constuction workers mount a 24/7 effort to lay that pipe to israel, thus saving western civilization!

dunkirk would pale in comparison.

why are the israelis so desperately trying to lie us into war with iran, if not to cause the closure of hormuz?


but there's problems with a nuke false flag, seeing as how nuclear explosions have a "signature" that allow the bomb to be traced back to the original reactor... so the israelis would have to counterfeit a bomb in their labs at dimona that would leave a signature identical to a misplaced russian nuke (as per berezovsky) or identical to a pakistani nuke... or maybe identical to those mythical iranian nukes...


thank heavens there's no data on israel's bombs, so there's no chance of tracing a nuke back to israel.

a nuke false flag on israel itself --an israeli "own goal"--might be just the ticket, seeing as how the holocaust persecution myth is fraying so bad around the edges... what could be more convenient if israel solidified its position by nuking one of its coastal cities that's gonna go under water from global warming, anyhow?

would that be worse than zionists collaborating with hitler?

*shrug*

wadosy   says 10:41 PM

i just noticed that the urls i posted before were chopped off.

but you already know all that stuff anyhow, so it's no big deal.

wadosy   says 10:54 PM

you say you think the US isnt likely to fall apart.

it depends a lot on how quickly the situation deteriorates because of peak oil and the looting by people who see the peak oil handwriting on the wall.

obama's election was probably, in some measure, a pre-emption of anticipated black unrest in the US.

and haim saban bought the biggest spanish-language television network in the US...

so the US wont "fall apart", it will be an orchestrated deconstruction, much like the soviet union.

the main concern is keeping the US together long enough to secure israel... or at least preserving israel until india can assume protectorship of israel... seeing as how india is already being wooed as the successor protector.

india's so far down it still looks like "up" to them, while america has the furthest to fall... we're talking about saving a 4000 year tradition of jewishness here, so it's likely the israelis are thinking way way way down the line, way farther than the oil is gonna last, and they're gonna be planning for the worst case for global warming, too, which will result in a 70- or 80-meter sea level rise...

...which probably explains israel's insatiable appetite for palestinian high ground in the west bank.

wadosy   says 11:40 PM

aha!

the full url appears in your blog format, but not in the "comments" window.

sorry i'm so confused.

what we need here is a few jillion more formats.

wadosy   says 4:12 PM

Results 1 - 10 of about 66,600 for GPS automated landings: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=gps+automated+landing

Results 1 - 10 of about 123,000 for GPS precision approach: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=GPS+precision+approach&btnG=Search

wadosy   says 4:43 PM

Initially the highest quality signal was reserved for military use, while the signal available for civilian use was intentionally degraded ("Selective Availability", SA). Selective Availability was ended in 2000, improving the precision of civilian GPS from about 100m to about 20m.

CPGPS working to within 1% of perfect transition reduces this error to 3 centimeters (1 inch) of ambiguity. By eliminating this source of error, CPGPS coupled with DGPS normally realizes between 20 and 30 centimeters (8 to 12 inches) of absolute accuracy.




On May 2, 2000 "Selective Availability" was discontinued as a result of the 1996 executive order, allowing users to receive a non-degraded signal globally.


well, i'll be damned.

Errr - so what is your point about GPS - I still don't follow - yes you can use it to navigate accurately - so what ?

But planes have had navigation systems for ages and you can crash a plane into a building without using GPS to do it.

You aren't making any sense...

wadosy   says 6:40 PM

what if the pilots --or the whole planeload of people, seeing as how they were goners, anyhow-- were incapacitated ---- and the 9/11 planes were programmed by GPS to hit those buildings?

that would be real inconvientient for purveyors of the official conspiracy theory, wouldnt it?

...seeing as how a GPS approach to the towers would have eliminated the need for oily arab hijackers.

wadosy   says 7:03 PM

anyhow, it would have been technically possible --duck soup, in fact-- to steer those planes into those buildings without pilots or hijackers.

so that takes care of "means" in the good old "motive, means and opportunity" parameters traditionally used in investigations of crimes.

when we get to "motive"... well, that's pretty weird, seeing as how the PNAC guys said they needed "a new pearl harbor" in september of 2000, then were installed into positions from which they could make their "new pearl harbor" happen a few months later...

...installed, i might add, by an election recount in a state governed by the president's brother who was also a PNAC member.

if they wanted "a new pearl harbor", they must have had a motive to make their "new pearl harbor" happen.

then, wonder of wonders, a few months after these guys are installed, their "new pearl harbor" happens.

and how about netanyahu's opinion that 9/11 was "very good"-- is that more indication of motive?

what, then, would have been the motive?

was peak oil the motive, seeing as how israel will have to be secured before its american protector collapses from oil shortages?

and what about exxon's alliance with the parent of PNAC, the AEI? if the taxpayers are gonna foot the bill for this project, and the project includes grabbing oil in the middle east, wouldnt these wars, if successful, be the cheapest way for exxon to gain access to the biggest remaining oil deposits on earth? ...aka, more motive?

and "opportunity"... well, the opportunity was there from the day crusader bunnypants was inaugurated as president, with PNAC members cheney, rumsfeld, wolfowitz, perle, zackheim in position to do whatever had to be done.


if you tack on a couple more parameters, like character and prior convictions, guess who winds up at the top of your suspect list? ...especially if you consider exxon's association with the AEI, shamir's statement that there's nothing in jewish tradition or ethics that disqualifies the use of terrorism, and israel's record of false flag attacks.

wadosy   says 7:18 PM

i just dont see how you're gonna be able to hold the line on the official 9/11 conspiracy theory.

too many holes, too much logic working against it, too many facts working against it, and the underlying motives --peak oil and global warming-- will soon enough become undeniably obvious.

people will start connecting the dots, those dots being, israel has to be secured against sea level rise before its american protector runs out of gas.

pretty easy to understand.

wadosy   says 7:29 PM

anyhow, to get back to the original off-topic, i dont see how the reviewers of "spook country" could be so enthusiastic about the book once they thought about the implications.

...unless maybe they're figuring they can make gibson so famous he'll self-destruct like a rock star before he writes something really really dangerous.

As for your theory about Hormuz and pipelines, I guess we'll have to wait and see - I remain skeptical that anyone has the ability to an execute a plan like that.

Anyway - its been interesting, but I think we've gone on long enough...

And one last note - Gibson has been famous for almost 2 decades - I don't think Spook Country generated anywhere near the interest his old cyberpunk stuff like Neuromancer did...

wadosy   says 10:12 AM

assume for the sake of argument that i'm the guy that told the avionics techs to install a sleeper virus --a GPS flight path-- into those 9/11 airliners...

would the techs know what they were doing? ...hell no. ...they'd be told they were upgrading the navigation software in the airplanes' nav systems.

okay... so i'm the guy that dreamed this scheme up, but i need to find someone to blame... and that's where the torture comes in... i can rip out guys' fingernails or roast their weenies with BICs until i find a guy who can confess convincingly to something he didnt do ...and then i'm home free.

see why torture is so important to the project?


...another little facet of gibson's "spook country", whether you want to admit to it or not.

Well - I'm not sure anyone's admissions made much difference to public perception of the event, but whatever.

As for GPS, I wasn't understanding you earlier - so you are saying the planes were under remote control, rather than anyone steering them ?

wadosy   says 1:15 PM

from Stanford University News Service, 1996.

http://news-service.stanford.edu/pr/96/960116gpsplane.html

"Using a 12-foot model, doctoral student Paul Montgomery has shown that an aircraft can take off, fly a specified course and land automatically without relying on hundreds of thousands of dollars of sophisticated equipment.

"It took him more than three-and-a-half years, but the Stanford aeronautics and astronautics student has managed to fully control a model aircraft using only the guts of a typical laptop computer, simple onboard wind speed and direction indicators, and receivers that track signals from Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation satellites - equipment that costs a few thousand dollars.

...

"Before a flight, Montgomery programs into a laptop computer the path that he wants the aircraft to follow. This information then is downloaded into the airplane's onboard computer. After placing the plane on the runway and starting the engine, he pushes a single button, the aircraft takes off, flies the preprogrammed course and then lands all by itself.

"Averaged over a kilometer course, the deviation in the aircraft's position from the programmed course was typically less than 0.5 meter horizontally, 0.25 meter vertically and 0.25 meters per second in air speed, Montgomery reported."

wadosy   says 3:36 AM

back to gibson's CIA pirates...

assuming for the sake of argument that victoria plame and brewster jennings were deliberately outed to disable the CIA pirates...

and the CIA pirates' mission was to interdict containerized wmd shipments to... wherever...

and some neocons have been calling for "a new 9/11" to supplement their "new pearl harbor"...

who benefits from outing plame, brewster jennings and the CIA pirates?


does any of this have anything to do with gibson's theory that maybe it's possible that "the wind begins to blow from a potentially cleaner direction"?

or is gibson just giving us a little ray of hope to set up a semi-happy ending for the book?

I always thought Plame's outing was just a hit back at her husband for debunking the Niger - uranium lie that the neocons were spreading.

I think the wind is blowing from a slightly cleaner direction, but at the end of the day, both sides are kind of ruthless - its just the liberals are a little less blunt in their methods and don't create as much ill-will elsewhere.

Have you read Kim Stanley Robinson's "Sixty Days And Counting" ? I think you'd like it.

wadosy   says 11:47 AM

re: the CIA pirates and their wmd interdiction program, bigend to hollis...

"...this program,which apparently had been fairly effective, fell victim to your domestic political struggles here. prior to certain revelations, though, and to the name of a cover company being made public..."

maybe the most puzzling thing of all about gibson...

he seems to be aware of so much weird stuff, make so many unusual connections, but has he made even the most oblique reference to energy shortages?

what's up with that? you got any ideas?

is gibson, after all, just an entertainer?

Gibson is an artist - nothing more, as far as I'm aware...

wadosy   says 2:48 AM

thank goodness gibson's artistry doesnt include peak oil.

but maybe that omission explains why the critics are so enthusiastic about "spook country", huh?

the last thing we want to do is have a highly-respected artist speculating on peak oil's role as motive for staging 9/11.

wadosy   says 11:27 PM

"an elite group of amoral supermen"

what's that about?

Huh ?

Where are you quoting that from ?

wadosy   says 7:57 PM

it's one of milgrim's favorite chapters in his favorite book.

wadosy   says 9:06 PM

remember in "pattern recognition" where boone tells cayce "we're gonna be running on russian oil"?

gibson started writing that book before 9/11, then 9/11 happened and was woven into the book, which was published in february of 2003.

after the book was published, putin doublecrossed everybody by dumping the israeli russians of yukos, most of whom fled to israel.

and this meant that the PNAC project would no longer be guaranteed russian oil as they tore up the middle east... which in turn explains why the neocons and their propaganda machinery has been so desperate to vilify putin.

all we got to do now is wait and see how desperate the israelis are... will they do another 9/11 to get the project back on the rails?

and then there's santaria...

you gots to wonder, given the dismal performance of the abrahamic religions, about gibson's preoccupation with voodoo...

if we're given a few thousand years of oil-less decentralization, i wonder if maybe the best religions will evolve as a response to environment.

...provided, of course, that some bastardized version of an abrahamic relgion doesnt sterilize the planet, first.

wadosy   says 2:00 PM

am i going too fast for you?

I'm listening - but remember my injunction about not demonising any particular ethnic group please.

The voodoo theme has been used by some author authors I'd loosely consider Gibson's peers - Tim Powers in particular.

I liked the santaria aspect in Spook Country - whether or not this form of religion spreads in future I don't know - but it seems unlikely (personally I don't have much time for any religion, though environmental themed ones like Gaia theory seem somewhat OK).

wadosy   says 11:03 PM

i'm assuming you're making a living beating around the bush...

good enough... good enough for you, that is, but you're not making much of a contribution towards understanding what our basic problem is, are you?

at least you seem to have some understanding, given your reference to gaia...

gaia will prevail in the long run, of course, but gaia could care less if humanity is part of the picture or not.

...it's up to us to decide whether or not humanity survives, but when you've got nuke-armed deathwish christians and samson option israelis calling the shots... well, the outlook is not so red hot.

peak oil is not a technical problem, but when the truth is too bitter to swallow, you can always make a living beating around the technical bushes, cant you?

Hmmm - what do you mean I'm "beating about the technical bush" ?

If you mean the mix of content here is just techie stuff lately (and not much of that), this is for a mix of reasons.

1. I'm flat out at work (and have no time to track mainstream news)

2. I'm in the middle of getting divorced (and have little time at home to track the news flow, especially on the fringes)

3. Since Obama got in I'm not so worried about the christian rednecks or the neoconservatives - they are both on the outer it would seem and by-and-large Obama is doing OK (or to put it in Gibson's terms, the liberals are winning the cold civil war at the moment)

5. I think peak oil is a technical problem - and once we are free of the tyranny of oil the middle east can sort itself out, without us

6. Bucky says politics are ultimately a waste of time - focus on the technology and put it in people's hands

wadosy   says 1:13 AM

the motivating philosophy of western "civilization" is the problem, and that "civilization" seems unlikely to ever evolve towards living within its means...

it continually tries to devise technical means to overcome the problems it created in the first place... good luck on finding sustainable technical fixes for peak oil and global warming.


it could be that western philsophy will have to be corrected the hard way, by dying out.

and that's why we're in such danger from a last spasm of violence as western civilization tries to prolong its agony by grabbing, at gunpoint, the remaining resources.

when you add the suicidal dog-in-the-manger deathwish christians and samson option israelis, you got a problem, and it's a problem of basic philosophy, unsolvable by technology unless some technical genius invents soul transplants.

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