Thursday, July 5, 2012


“We’re having a heat wave!  A tropical heat wave!”  Oh, man, is it hot! Another day of record-breaking heat is on tap for today.  The jet stream pattern break predicted for tomorrow has now been pushed back to Saturday.  Two days to hunker down and try to ride out the wave.  Fingers and toes crossed the power holds!

The last couple weeks have been exceptionally difficult around Bon Bon Pond as the Fairy Falls electrical line is failing and in need of near constant attention from the crews at Excel Energy.  We lost power on Monday and twice yesterday.  Monday’s outage was an “intentional relief of overload” and Wednesday’s was categorized as “reclosure failure.”  On Monday I drove up to Otchipwe Avenue and talked with the team.  I was told the local grid is so bad they planned a pre-emptive strike to re-route power to another line in an attempt to prevent a catastrophic failure. 

When normal business resumes on Monday, I am calling Excel and will demand to know the long term plan to handle the problem.  It seems obvious that either a new line,  or additions to the existing line, are necessary.

The ramifications of near constant brown-outs and outages are far-ranging.  On the surface there is the inconvenience of having no lights, or power to the water pump, but this hassle is only the tip of the iceberg.  Appliances, TVs, and, most of all, computer equipment is subject to serious damage.  In October of last year, my three-year old Windows Vista computer died unexpectedly.  I called a computer technician and was informed the power source had literally fried as a result of years of abrupt shut downs.  Last week, both my washing machine and dryer stopped working.  During the service call the repairman told me the dryer had been affected by the outages.  In a nutshell, repeated sudden losses of electricity are expensive.

I should mention that I have tried to take precautions and purchased an expensive computer backup battery—which, by the way, failed on Sunday night and left me unprotected for Monday’s blackouts.  I also use surge protectors but this not an option for 220 appliances like the dryer or my older AC system. 

If you live in the US and are reading this tale of woe from air conditioned comfort, be warned!  My plight could well be your problem—and soon.   The power infrastructure of our country is old and failing.  Environmentalists have effectively prevented the construction of any new coal or nuclear power plants. According to the *US Department of  Energy,  the last nuclear reactor built was the "River Bend" plant in Louisiana. Its construction began in March of 1977. The last plant to begin commercial operation was the "Watts Bar" plant in Tennessee, which came online in 1996.  Additionally, the *DOE reports that as of January 2012 only one new coal plant has been approved for construction.

With all due respect to well-intentioned environmentalists, current solar and wind technologies are nowhere near ready to take on the mammoth task of powering the United States of America.  Besides, as a bird lover, I HATE wind power and would like to see turbines banned and removed as they are responsible for killing millions of wild birds. 

It’s fashionable today to get on the “coal and nuclear are evil” bandwagon, but the consequences of ignoring an aging and failing power grid are dire.  People need to understand that even if there were a political change in Washington tomorrow it would take YEARS to get new plants up and running.  In the meantime, we are vulnerable to catastrophic failure.  I really do not believe most Americans understand the seriousness of the matter.  Read on:

10 sobering realizations the Eastern U.S. power grid failure is teaching us about a real collapse

Sunday, July 01, 2012
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of

In the wake of violent storms, the power remains out today for millions of Americans across several U.S. states. Governors of Virginia, West Virginia and Ohio have declared a state of emergency. Over a dozen people are now confirmed dead, and millions are sweltering in blistering temperatures while having no air conditioning or refrigeration. As their frozen foods melt into processed goo, they're waking up to a few lessons that we would all be wise to remember.

Here are 10 hard lessons we're all learning (or re-learning, as the case may be) as we watch this situation unfold:
#1) The power grid is ridiculously vulnerable to disruptions and failure
All it takes is Mother Nature unleashing a little wind storm, and entire human cities are cut off from their power grid. Wind and trees, in other words, can destroy in seconds what takes humans years to construct.
#2) Without electricity, acquiring food and water in a major U.S. city can become a difficult task
Right now, masses of people across the Eastern U.S. are scrambling to try to find food and water. Fortunately for them, malls and gas stations are open, providing (processed) food, water and air conditioning. That's because the power outages are fragmented, affecting some neighborhoods but not others.
In a total grid down scenario, food and water supplies in a given U.S. city will disappear almost overnight. It's much the same for gasoline, batteries and even ammunition. All these supplies (and many more) will simply be stripped from the shelves.
#3) Most people are simply not prepared and therefore worsen any crisis
The average American citizen practices zero preparedness. They are 100% dependent on the power grid, the city water supply, and long-distance food deliveries to their grocery store. They have no backup plans, no stored food, no emergency mindset and no hope of surviving a real crisis. All they know to do is call 911 when something goes wrong and 911 simply won't be there.

As a result, their lack of preparedness worsens any crisis. Instead of being part of the solution, these people become a burden on all the emergency services and supplies desperately needed across the region.
#4) Cell phones are a fragile technology that can't be counted on in an emergency
One of the more interesting observations about the current crisis is that many cell phone towers are out of service. That's because they have no electricity and / or they have been damaged by wind or debris.
As a result, people who depend on cell phones for their lifeline to friends, relatives and 911 emergency services were suddenly left with non-functioning devices. Even in areas where cell phone towers were still operating, many people had no place to charge their phones because their own homes were cut off from electricity.
When the grid is up, and there are no storms, solar flares or disruptions, cell phones are truly amazing devices, but they are vulnerable to even small-scale natural events, and they therefore cannot be relied on when you need them most.
#5) The internet is wildly vulnerable to natural disasters
According to news reports, these storms took down a portion of the Amazon Cloud, and this in turn shut down Netflix, Pinterest and Instagram. Those services have now been restored, but they were offline for several hours during which many of their users no doubt thought the world was coming to an end.
#6) The government uses every crisis to try to tell everybody what to do
Consider this quote about the CDC telling people what to do: "The U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention was among many government agencies trying to keep people informed -- from knowing when the food in your suddenly inoperable freezer can't be eaten to taking a cool bath if you don't have AC."
Seriously? Does the government have to tell people to take a cool bath in order to avoid overheating? Do people not know when food has spoiled? And even more strangely, is it now the role of the U.S. government to tell everybody what to do in every emergency?

Whatever happened to common sense? I can tell you what: It moved out to the country.

Out in the country of Texas, Georgia, Kentucky and just about everywhere else, ranchers and farmers still have common sense. They know about backup water supplies, and they can figure things out for themselves. It seems to be city people who need the most instructions from Washington D.C. because many of them have forgotten the fundamental skills of human survival. Their lives depend entirely on the grid.
#7) 911 and other emergency services are quickly overwhelmed

Fortunately, there have so far been no reports of outbreaks of violence or social unrest. But that's a timing issue: If the power stays off for another few days, and food and water remain hard to come by, the "politeness" of society quickly erodes and you end up with desperate people doing desperate things. Calling 911 is, of course, completely useless. This is a scenario where home defense and self defense skills can truly be lifesaving.
#8) A national grid-down situation would be far more complex to repair
The recent storms that caused this "grid down" situation for millions of Americans was a local event, and its repair and restoration has been aided by workers arriving from outside the affected regions. In a national grid down scenario, however, there will be no excess human capital to lend to the situation. Every worker will be busy trying to restore the power grid in their own home regions.

This means repairs will take significantly longer, and according to some experts like David Chalk and James Wesley Rawles, a national grid down scenario has the potential of being unable to be repaired at all, resulting in years of no power grid which would obviously unleash mass death across the U.S. population.
Across all fifty U.S. states, only Texas has its own independent power grid, and even that grid has been strained by recent high temperatures.
#9) Many emergencies arrive unannounced
The Eastern seaboard of the USA was shocked by this recent "derecho" wind storm. Unlike a hurricane which approaches over a period of several days, this derecho event arrived without notice and struck without warning.
This is yet another reminder to be prepared at ALL times because many events arrive with no notice whatsoever. The power grid can be taken down by an EMP weapon
#10) Mother Nature will humble humanity
Any time human beings get too arrogant and too big-headed about all their amazing cell phone technology, hi-rise cities and nuclear power plants, Mother Nature just shrugs and sends forth a tsunami of water or wind as a subtle reminder to stay humble. All of humanity's greatest constructs are but fragile toys to the truly awesome power of Mother Nature and the resilience of planet Earth.

If the power grid goes down across planet Earth for just one year, 90% of human civilization will perish, and along with it all the DVDs, Nike shoes and designer bling as well. Even the entire fictional construct of society's laws and banking system will cease to exist. That's because they were all fictional to begin with.

Mother Nature is real. Consciousness is real. Seeds are real. But much of what humanity has so far created is paper-thin and temporary. It can all cease to exist in the blink of a cosmic eye. There is nothing humanity has yet done that contributes anything notable to the universe. We are but specks of irrelevant dust against a backdrop of a beautifully woven tapestry of life, energy and consciousness. If the universe is keeping score of lasting achievement, human civilization has still not risen above zero.

We are fragile beings exploring a sea of such greatness and scale that our own lives seem silly by comparison. What humans think of as a natural "disaster" is but a tiny expression of natural patterns to Mother Nature. If we truly hope to survive as a species, we would be wise to remember how insignificant we really are in the greater scope of things... and why we must learn to respect nature and the universe rather than arrogantly thinking we have conquered it with GMOs, nuclear power and a supercollider.

Humanity has much to learn and much to demonstrate before we count for anything. Only through humility do we even stand a chance of seeking to gain that understanding rather than destroying ourselves from runaway "scientific" arrogance.

It’s high time for my countrymen to get out of the dark and  put aside the pipe dreams of  water and wind and sunshine and dedicate all our efforts to improving existing technologies.  Our very way of life depends on it. 

For another sobering look at our failing energy grid, read this 2006 article.  Unfortunately, the situation has only gotten worse since the story was written.


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