Friday, August 15, 2003

Blackout Musings-I'm surprised at the low level of looting that we've seen in this blackout, especially compared to 1977. That blackout made New York look like Rodney King LA in the general level of mayhem. It it the post-9/11 sense of togetherness? A more law-abiding Millennial generation rather than a bunch of Boomers in the key youth demographic? A residual from the fixing-broken-windows community policing efforts? All of the above? This was an interesting quote that says a lot
"You can't tell me that the whole of the U.S. and Canada can't even sort out their national grid. It's ridiculous," said Becky Jones, 27, whose Virgin Atlantic flight to New York returned to London midway across the Atlantic due to the blackout.
Excuse me, but these are two nations, last I checked. Or are they? Are we one nation in two states, Quebec notwithstanding? I remember a book I read years ago, The Nine Nations of North America, that divided the continent on socioeconomic groupings. One of them, The Foundry, is a "coherent nation made up of the industrialized regions from New York City to approximately Toronto and Chicago." Was it not the Foundry that got whacked last night? I'm not sure what the short-term solution is to fix the electrical grid, but more distributed power production would seem to be a plus. Some have envisioned a large number of small, neighborhood fuel-cell electric generators that would make such wide blackouts unlikely and no one plant a terrorist target; I remember hearing one of the NPR talk shows talk about something similar to the above link. How you actually do that is another thing, but it's a thought worth pondering.

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