Distributed Energy & Clickbait

youtube-Logo-4gc2reddit-logoOff the keyboard of Thomas Lewis

Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666
Friend us on Facebook

Published on The Daily Impact  February 10 & 13, 2017

Discuss these articles at the Kitchen Sink inside the Diner

Distributed Energy Soars at Last

 

 

 

Finally, after 130 years or so, we’re thinking about a better way to handle electricity than with strings strung on sticks. (Wikimedia Photo)

 

 

 

For those of us who have been arguing into the wind for years about the urgent need to abandon our total reliance on the electric grid in favor of distributed energy — making it where you use it — it’s a sight for sore eyes. An enormous government program is building tens of thousands of direct-current microgrids to power homes and businesses and towns all over the country, providing people with electricity that is far less expensive and more reliable than is provided by the grid.

The program began field testing its microgrids just three years ago. For a single household it consisted of a solar array, a basic battery, and a 12-volt wiring harness. By staying in 12 volt, the microgrid avoids the expense and inefficiencies of inverting the power to 120-volt, and makes use of the increasing availability of 12-volt lights, motors, computers, TVs and appliances.  By the end of of this year, 100,000 microgrids will be up and running, with no slowdown in sight.

Another triumph of American ingenuity? Hardly. You can have America’s grid when you pry it from our cold, dead hands. This is a triumph of Indian innovation.

With its one and a quarter billion people — four times the population of the United States — India is the second largest country in the world. Since achieving independence from Britain in 1947, the massive and long-subjugated country has moved with surprising speed toward a position of world leadership; it is, for example, one of the few countries in the world to possess nuclear weapons.

But progress has been uneven. Poverty, environmental degradation, corruption, and plain vanilla incompetence lay across the country’s many accomplishments like a toxic fog. This is especially true when it comes to energy: one fifth of the population has no access to electricity at all; half of those who are connected to the grid find it so unreliable and expensive they may as well not have it at all

For years India has been pouring money into bigger generating plants, bigger and longer transmission lines, and myriad electrification projects. Yet of its 29 provinces, only four can boast that all of their households have electricity. The only meaningful gains have been made by the recently inaugurated microgrid program initiated by the Indian Institute of Technology at Madras.

Now, tens of thousands of homes are making enough power — reliably and cheaply — to power their lights, computers, phones, televisions, fans and certain other appliances. Whether the microgrid is alone or working in tandem with the grid, it allows people for the first time to count on being able to read at night, cool themselves with fans, communicate, and watch entire TV shows uninterrupted.

That might not seem like much to you and me, and we may not see the point at first of doing microgrids here. That’s because you and I think of the grid as sturdy and reliable, and most of us consider investing in backup power only if it lowers our electric bills. But the grid is not sturdy and reliable, it is elderly, leaky, outdated and infirm [See “Rage Against the Dying of the Lights,” The Daily Impact December 5, 2014], and one day soon it is going to fail us entirely.

On that day we are going to regret deeply all that time and money we spent grafting wind “farms” and solar “farms” and nuclear plants and coal plants and natural gas plants onto our rusting forest of sticks and strings. There is nothing sustainable, or renewable, or common sensible about gathering a gazillion watts of “renewable” energy in the middle of a desert or on a remote mountaintop and them having to ram it through an aged, leaky, decrepit grid to its eventual destination. We will also deeply regret, for example,  saving a few bucks by installing solar panels with built-in inverters to 120 volt — inverters that must be connected to the live grid for the solar panel to work.

We will regret letting the industry convince us that the only way to make energy is to burn fossil fuels in huge plants, the only way to distribute it is through strings strung on sticks (wait, hook it to the Internet and call it a “smart” grid), that high costs and frequent outages and increasing vulnerability are just the way it is. We may even, if we have the time while trying to survive, take a moment to regret that Thomas Edison lost his argument with Nikola Tesla, and Edison’s vision of an America of neighborhoods served by small DC generators never came to be.

Until now. In India.      

 

Clickbait, Fake News and Low-Calorie Science

 

 

 

 

A tiny drone tries to gather pollen from a lily, to show that it is just as good at it as a bee. [Photo by E.Miyako]

 

 

 

The hucksters of high tech are abroad in the land, proving they are the equal of Donald Trump in their ability to tell brazen lies and feel no shame. These days, that’s called leadership. Their latest whopper is that we don’t need to worry about the fact that we are killing off the bees that pollinate our food crops, we can do the job mechanically. Here’s a typical headline inspired by the latest revelations in the field: “Should pollinating drones take over for honey bees?”

 

Consider the technique used in the headline –it’s the craft of clickbait, not journalism. The journalistic headlines would be “Scientists have used a small drone to pollinate a flower.” Yawn. If you said, “Scientists prepare to replace bees with drones,” the lie would be so big and so obvious that scientists would have to protest and your credibility, if any, would suffer. But who could blame you for simply asking the question? (Headlines asking questions, by the way, are an indicator of fake news.)

The story itself breathes heavily through an account of a team in Japan outfitting a little drone with some horsehairs and sticky stuff and successfully transferring some pollen from one lily (a flower selected for its large size and accessible pollen) to another. Mission accomplished, in approximately half the attempts made. The team leader — Eijiro Miyako of Japan’s Nanomaterials Research Institute — said he felt “happiness that I’m a scientist.”

Couple things. The drone they used cost over a hundred dollars and required a human operator. To pollinate just the almond crop, in California alone, each year requires 35 billion bees pollinating three trillion flowers on 900,000 acres. Each little drone, with its four slashing propellers, is going to scare and injure real bees and damage plants while barging around the flowers.

Well, sure, comes the response, we’ll have to develop some kind of artificial intelligence to make the drones self-piloting, and we’ll have to achieve economies of scale, but we can do that. Eventually. In other words if we had some ham we could have ham and eggs if we had some eggs.

Over and over again we are treated to the same cycle; some minor achievement in the lab, announced with a flurry of irrational predictions about the brave new world to come because of this breakthrough. Fusion (at room temperature) has been announced a half dozen times. A week or so ago a breathless account of the creation of metallic hydrogen caught the world’s attention until it fell apart of its own weight.

These “studies” continue to flourish for the same reason that clickbait ads and fake news flourish; because of the avid appetite of ill-informed people for easy solutions. When the ad offers a quick and easy cure for cancer, or the fake news proclaims that a politician we don’t like has been caught running a child sex-slave ring out of a pizza parlor, or fake science proclaims that we no longer have to worry about the bees dying or the globe warming or the world running out of oil, way too many of us turn off our critical faculties and go back to sleep.

Money flows to the grant proposals that envision finding out that what we want to be true, is true. Money flows to the clickbait ads that offer easy solutions to complex problems. Eyeballs cascade to the fake news that proclaims what we want to hear, or what we are afraid we’ll hear. And the institutions that once imposed responsibility on these offerings — the universities, the regulatory bodies, the great newspapers — are vampires now whose souls have fled, leaving behind only a vast craving for cash.   

There’s no one left to tell us there aren’t going to be driverless cars and tabletop fusion and eternal life and a cure for cancer and a mechanical replacement for bees and a simple fix for climate change; to tell us it’s up to us not to be taken, not to be gullible, not to accept a view of the world that’s simple and easy and deadly wrong. It’s hard work, but somebody’s got to do it, and there’s no drone that will do it for you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Knarf plays the Doomer Blues

https://image.freepik.com/free-icon/musical-notes-symbols_318-29778.jpg

Support the Diner
Search the Diner
Surveys & Podcasts

NEW SURVEY

Renewable Energy

VISIT AND FOLLOW US ON DINER SOUNDCLOUD

" As a daily reader of all of the doomsday blogs, e.g. the Diner, Nature Bats Last, Zerohedge, Scribbler, etc… I must say that I most look forward to your “off the microphone” rants. Your analysis, insights, and conclusions are always logical, well supported, and clearly articulated – a trifecta not frequently achieved."- Joe D
Archives
Global Diners

View Full Diner Stats

Global Population Stats

Enter a Country Name for full Population & Demographic Statistics

Lake Mead Watch

http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/NA-BX686_LakeMe_G_20130816175615.jpg

loading

Inside the Diner

I shot him an email. No phone number. Maybe its a scam.

News flash. John Wayne is part of the problem, not part of the solution. A lot of America's worst problems can be traced directly to John Wayne, although I don't blame him. He was just an actor.

I hope you improve too, and you might. But right now I doubt you could really cope wth getting up and down that much. I know you'd get along fine with the other live-aboards and you could hire some help, but it still sounds tricky to me.AC is not a bi...

I'm gonna let the thread drift enough to respond to K-Dog's comments on the white supremacists.So...half a million people, tops, are even interested in hard-core white supremacy enough to click on a website. Out of 326M people in the US.  125K care en...

Quote from: Surly1 on Today at 05:56:20 AMQED. Like you, I've actually seen him talk to women.Yes, and I have seen both of you in action with your wives as well. I will refrain from adding an ad hom graphic. ...

Recent Facebook Posts

No recent Facebook posts to show

Diner Twitter feed

Knarf’s Knewz

Quote from: Eddie on March 13, 2018, 05:21:10 PMAl [...]

Quote from: knarf on March 13, 2018, 03:33:01 PMAU [...]

Quote from: knarf on March 13, 2018, 03:25:04 PM [...]

A new study found that the Great Recession correla [...]

From 2003 to 2005, Gina Haspel was a senior offici [...]

Diner Newz Feeds
  • Surly
  • Agelbert
  • Knarf
  • Golden Oxen
  • Frostbite Falls

The Doomstead Diner Daily 4/26[html]News digest br [...]

[img]https://scontent.forf1-2.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0 [...]

The Doomstead Diner Daily 4/24[html]... [...]

The Doomstead Diner Daily 4/23[html]News digest br [...]

Quote from: Eddie on April 22, 2018, 10:58:00 AMTh [...]

Quote from: David B. on April 12, 2018, 04:20:53 P [...]

Quote from: David B. on April 12, 2018, 04:20:53 P [...]

Quote from: agelbert on April 12, 2018, 03:47:06 P [...]

Quote from: Eddie on March 13, 2018, 05:21:10 PMAl [...]

Quote from: knarf on March 13, 2018, 03:33:01 PMAU [...]

Quote from: knarf on March 13, 2018, 03:25:04 PM [...]

A new study found that the Great Recession correla [...]

From 2003 to 2005, Gina Haspel was a senior offici [...]

https://news.goldcore.com/ie/gold-blog/russia-buys [...]

Dear Readers,  This is a must read and a view that [...]

I did study those instruments when I was younger, [...]

Quote from: RE on Today at 05:13:10 AMThe NEW Chai [...]

After more than a decade sitting in the same El Ch [...]

 I just fell off my 5 gallon bucket seat reading t [...]

Quote from: RE on April 20, 2018, 09:05:29 AMQuote [...]

Quote from: Eddie on April 20, 2018, 08:33:16 AMTh [...]

Alternate Perspectives
  • Two Ice Floes
  • Jumping Jack Flash
  • From Filmers to Farmers

A Duty to Know By Cognitive Dissonance   Conversations Mrs. Cog and I have often revolve around awar [...]

The Pendulum – Part Three Seeking Balance By High Desert   Missing in the mix of hundreds of bug-out [...]

The Pendulum – Part Two Hard Work, Bad Luck and Murphy’s Law By High Desert   Missing in the mix of [...]

The Pendulum - Part One Retreat to High Ground By High Desert     Missing in the mix of hundreds of [...]

The (Mind) Games People Play By Cognitive Dissonance     Fair warning! This is a long and dense read [...]

Event Update For 2018-04-24http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

Event Update For 2018-04-23http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

Event Update For 2018-04-22http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

Event Update For 2018-04-21http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

Event Update For 2018-04-20http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

NYC plans to undertake the swindle of the civilisation by suing the companies that have enabled it t [...]

MbS, the personification of the age-old pre-revolutionary scenario in which an expiring regime attem [...]

You know things have taken a turn for the desperate when women have started to drive. Or rather, whe [...]

From Filmers to Farmers is re-launched on the astounding open source blogging platform Ghost! [...]

The blogging scene is admittedly atrocious. Is there really no option for a collapse blogger to turn [...]

Daily Doom Photo

man-watching-tv

Sustainability
  • Peak Surfer
  • SUN
  • Transition Voice

Mycelial Mind"One thing we can say about our fungal cousins. They are vastly better connected to the natural [...]

How Many Trees Do We Need?"A city like New York (18.6 million people) should require 55.8 million trees to provide its ox [...]

First they locked up the Knowledge"If you were given the choice between continued life on earth and computerized devices and the [...]

Just One Word: Bioplastics"Any carbon that does not go back to the atmosphere can just chill. It can be a building or a b [...]

NTHE is a Four Letter Word"Collective neurosis can be attributed to a concatenation of causes — diet, electrosmog, epigen [...]

The folks at Windward have been doing great work at living sustainably for many years now.  Part of [...]

 The Daily SUN☼ Building a Better Tomorrow by Sustaining Universal Needs April 3, 2017 Powering Down [...]

Off the keyboard of Bob Montgomery Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666 Friend us on Facebook Publishe [...]

Visit SUN on Facebook Here [...]

To fight climate change, you need to get the world off of fossil fuels. And to do that, you need to [...]

Americans are good on the "thoughts and prayers" thing. Also not so bad about digging in f [...]

In the echo-sphere of political punditry consensus forms rapidly, gels, and then, in short order…cal [...]

Discussions with figures from Noam Chomsky and Peter Senge to Thich Nhat Hanh and the Dalai Lama off [...]

Lefty Greenies have some laudable ideas. Why is it then that they don't bother to really build [...]

Top Commentariats
  • Our Finite World
  • Economic Undertow

"You cannot replace energy with debt." tell the frackers that :). Bankruptcy is not based [...]

Communism philosophy totally missed the boat too with its focus on "means of production". [...]

Of course, if the financial system collapses, the decline rate will be much faster. This is somethin [...]

"Much like the hunger games layout. With the games themselves optional. This scenario is a slow [...]

Steve, another great article, thank you, your insights and summations are invaluable. It is a very d [...]

Here is how you will know when we have DOOM/COLLAPSE! You are absolutely certain that you can not go [...]

I go back and forth on this whole thing being quick or a slow burn collapse. Thus far the fire marsh [...]

Understanding? -to stand under and look up at something and to allow yourself to be in awe. Everywhe [...]

RE Economics

Going Cashless

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Simplifying the Final Countdown

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Bond Market Collapse and the Banning of Cash

Off the microphone of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Do Central Bankers Recognize there is NO GROWTH?

Discuss this article @ the ECONOMICS TABLE inside the...

Singularity of the Dollar

Off the Keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Kurrency Kollapse: To Print or Not To Print?

Off the microphone of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

SWISSIE CAPITULATION!

Off the microphone of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Of Heat Sinks & Debt Sinks: A Thermodynamic View of Money

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Merry Doomy Christmas

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Peak Customers: The Final Liquidation Sale

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Collapse Fiction
Useful Links
Technical Journals

In this paper, the ability of two joint bias correction algorithms to adjust biases in daily mean te [...]

This study examines the impact of changing climate and product market conditions on crop yield and l [...]

Mountain ecosystems are considered to be vulnerable to climate change, with potential detrimental ef [...]

Follow on our http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/forum/