OT: Have we become that stupid ..

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One of our most memorable vacations was effectively traveling from coverage-free zone to coverage-free zone for two weeks. When we pulled into Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the darn thing beeped, and had 14 voice messages.
Should have left it unplugged.
John Madden said that for him, success was not having to tie his shoes, if he didn't want to. Measure yours however you wish.
Patriarch
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Patriarch wrote: ...

Yep. :)

Yep.
Being able to choose to whom I respond and more importantly, when, is not the topmost measure of my contentment but certainly well up on the list.
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Patriarch wrote:

I ain't got no stinkin' cell phone... :)
I'd simply point out the retrenchment in the communications business indicates all isn't necessarily well in the cost/business model...
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Your choice. Some of use prefer to call people, instead of places. Or be reached where we are, instead of where our telephone is.

And still isn't, but it's improving. Regulation (and social engineering influenced taxation) is still the major cause of distortion in the economics of telecommunications. However, the flow of technology in that field is much like the flow of the Mississippi: It can be temporarily diverted, but that water is going SOMEWHERE.
Patriarch
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Patriarch wrote:

And some of prefer to <not> be...I spent too long where it was mandatory to want anything to do with it now that I don't have to... :)
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On Fri, 02 Sep 2005 22:15:34 -0500, Duane Bozarth

Did they start making cell phones without "off" buttons and forget to send me the memo?
Lee
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Lee DeRaud wrote:

If _having a cell phone was mandatory_ then I guess leaving it off was not acceptible.
However, given that cell phones haven't even been around at all for that long spending 'too long where it was mandatory' implies a rather rapdid burn out.
--

FF


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snipped-for-privacy@spamcop.net wrote:

Yep...it was mobiles before the cell and required call in if out of range on a schedule. Not my idea of a way to continue.
And to the other question--if I had one and simply left it in the 'off' position that would seem a somewhat funny use of resources it seems to me.
The wife has hers and if we're on travel can use it for emergency and the absolutely required "check-in" w/ the kids--otherwise, if I'm not in, I'm "not in" and I intend to keep it that way... :)
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<snip>

A major cell phone company had a marketing phrase for a short time: "Work is not a place." There's a knife that cuts both ways.
Patriarch
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Patriarch wrote: ...

Amen, brother!
I will note that it appears that >99.44% of all cell usage is of absolutely nothing more than frivolous use and something approaching probably 90% is annoying to others... :(
And, yeah, I'm a grumpy old man... :)
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For the most part, the 'utilities' are/were 'natural monopolies'. Natural gas distribution, for the most part, still is. Electrical power, too, at least at retail. Communications & video programming, not nearly so much so, technology and politics having managed feasible alternatives.

Where the electricity is generated using oil or natural gas, these facilities serve to compete for resources which might be used in other activities, or for which a reduction in demand might reduce pricing. But fuel substitution and/or new technology is generally not immediate, or without unintended consequence.

Where you can put a refinery IS highly regulated. At least in MY part of the world. And there are at least half a dozen of them within a 20 minute drive from my home, in one of the most expensive areas of the world for real estate.
The technology is also heavily regulated, as are the characteristics of the products. Not all refineries can produce using just any feedstocks. (And now we reach the technical boundaries of my understanding of refinery technology...)

The politics are not irrelevant. Politics are the means whereby society has the conversations leading to decisions as to what we value, and how, and over what time horizions. And the process is inefficient, awkward, noisy, and hard to judge when we're in the middle of the fray. I don't see an acceptable alternative, however. Central planning certainly didn't work, did it?
<snip>

Taxes are a viable means of introducing social or strategic factors into a market, not just a means of raising revenues. To some degree, they are means of allowing other generations a vote in the market. Is it a perfect system? Not from where I sit. Suggest an alternative.

And I agree here as well. At some point, we have to communicate with each other, government, producers, corporations, markets, voters, that a vision of the future has to go beyond 36 months, or the next quarters' earnings report,or the next election.
We didn't screw this up in a year or two. It isn't one storm, or one refinery or platform problem, or one set of regulations, but the cummulative effect of years of decisions. We won't fix it in a month or two, either.
By the way, thank you all for the reasoned, though completely OT discussion. I haven't thought about some of these issues for some time. It's been an unusual week, in that regard.
Patriarch, who loaded up a cord of firewood for a member of the family today, because natural gas will be much more expensive this winter, even in sunny California.
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Patriarch wrote: ...

There's been a major unintended consequence particularly w/ NG as the move to convert from "dirty" coal to "clean" NG has really been a tactical blunder... ....

But most (I'd venture all?) were there <long> before the real estate was either so regulated nor so expensive...

There's a <MAJOR> piece of the puzzle virtually no one in the general public has a clue about...
I heard a nationally syndicated talk pundit the other night (and no, it wasn't elRushbo or even one of that ilk) going on about how the limits were artificial and all, and in some ways he was reasonably correct. But one could tell that even he, who is generally pretty level-headed and has good economic sense and is reasonably well read, had absolutely no clue about actual production or generation processes.
...

I saw a comment in the "Talk Back" section of the Wichita Eagle the other day apropos to the above I liked--
"To those folks who comment that a gallon of gas is cheaper than a gallon of water or that we're paying so much less than those in Europe, I say my car doesn't run on water and I do not live in Europe." :)
...

There's an important point there, too. The problem I have is that in the current environment it seems like the only purpose of those who are making policy is to "win" for themselves and their party of affiliation, irrespective of which party that is. That has essentially short-circuited any constructive solution to any problem not just energy for going on to 15 years now.
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Tim Daneliuk (in snipped-for-privacy@eskimo.tundraware.com) said:
| The truth is that most people use energy but very few pay attention | to the politics of energy production. In one corner you have the | Green Gasbag environmentalists who worship the earth and indulge in | fantasy science. In another you have the politicans who want to get | paid off before anything moves forward. In another corner, you'll | find the irresponsible regulators who pay attention to all the | wrong things. This allows genuine environmental atrocities like | Love Canal to go unmonitored until it is too late so we have to use | tax monies to clean up what should have been paid for by the | polluter. In the final corner we have positions like the one | above: Let's *inhibit* the energy companies from being too | successful and lets blame them for all our miseries. Is it any | wonder we have a supply/demand problem with energy today?
In your haste to stereotype you missed a corner: That in which there are serious people engaged in the attempt to deliver useful alternative solutions through research and careful engineering.
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/solar.html
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Morris Dovey wrote:

Please note that I specifically limited my "stereotyping" to the "politics of energy production". This was in no way a slap at the legitimate work being done in alternative energy research. But you and your colleagues are no part of the cabal to which I referred, so you don't get a corner...
--
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tim Daneliuk snipped-for-privacy@tundraware.com
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Hi Morris, Tim et al,
On Thu, 1 Sep 2005, Morris Dovey wrote:

On the contrary, my take on Tim's posting was that serious R&D on alternative energy sources will flourish without government interference, especially as prices rise on conventional energy sources. I think it's well supported by a basic understanding of economics for which Hazlitt's book, Economics in One Lesson, can shed some light. Note: Tim did state "the politics of energy production". My interpretation of his position is that political interference in the arena of energy production, distribution etc. introduces perturbations of the market's natural distribution of resources. To drag this back to rec.woodworking, do you as a purveyor of passive solar heating technology think that people can homebrew such panels. Further, do you think that solar generation of electricity given technological advances can generate enough DC power to run a decent table saw or similar?

--
Joseph Crowe

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Joseph Crowe (in snipped-for-privacy@eris.io.com) said:
| On the contrary, my take on Tim's posting was that serious R&D | on alternative energy sources will flourish without government | interference, especially as prices rise on conventional energy | sources. I think it's well supported by a basic understanding of | economics | for which Hazlitt's book, Economics in One Lesson, can shed some | light. Note: Tim did state "the politics of energy production". My | interpretation of his position is that political interference in the | arena of energy production, distribution etc. introduces | perturbations of the market's natural distribution of resources. To | drag this back to rec.woodworking, do you as a purveyor of passive | solar heating technology think that people can homebrew such | panels. Further, do you think that solar generation of electricity | given technological advances can generate enough DC power to run a | decent table saw or similar?
[1] Yes I do. Not too long ago one of the regulars' 12-year old (grand?) daughter did her own research and under his watchful eyes built a small working demonstration panel for a school science fair. If a 12-year old can, then I'd have to believe that determined adults can. To build reliable, long-lived, highly efficient, full-size panels is a slightly different matter, but within the capabilities of any woodworker willing to put forth the effort. It's a lot easier than, say, building your own car from scratch - but a lot harder than buying mine. :-)
[2] Even with the current state of photovoltaics with enough PV panel area and sufficient battery and inverter capacity, it's possible to run even an obscenely large table saw. Having said that, I'll also say that I don't consider it an economical solution to powering stationary tools. PV panel cost is high and efficiency is low. You'd need a lot of panel/battery to power my Unisaw or CNC router.
FWIW, I'm working with a friend to build a solar-powered stirling engine to drive a generator. I'm hoping to learn a bit about electrical power generation in the process. My involvement is centered about collector fabrication and plumbing. It's a fascinating project!
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/solar.html
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wrote:

I recently judged the Connecticut finals for the annual statewide "Invention Convention" held at UCONN. I was there as an engineer, other judges include patent attorneys, manufacturers, etc...
If you saw what some of these kids came up with, you'd believe the conspiracy theorists who rant about oil companies squashing energy saving technology. <G>
Some of it was _very_ good... And some of it came from _ELEMENTARY_ school kids!
Barry
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wrote:

Last I saw about PV efficiency a couple years ago the real problem was that manufacturing them took almost as much energy as the *lifetime* output of the resulting cells. I'm sure the ratio has improved, but probably not to the point where they can be considered effective in reducing energy consumption.
-- "We need to make a sacrifice to the gods, find me a young virgin... oh, and bring something to kill"
Tim Douglass
http://www.DouglassClan.com
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Tim Douglass (in snipped-for-privacy@4ax.com) said:
| wrote: | || [2] Even with the current state of photovoltaics with enough PV || panel area and sufficient battery and inverter capacity, it's || possible to run even an obscenely large table saw. Having said || that, I'll also say that I don't consider it an economical || solution to powering stationary tools. PV panel cost is high and || efficiency is low. You'd need a lot of panel/battery to power my || Unisaw or CNC router. | | Last I saw about PV efficiency a couple years ago the real problem | was that manufacturing them took almost as much energy as the | *lifetime* output of the resulting cells. I'm sure the ratio has | improved, but probably not to the point where they can be | considered effective in reducing energy consumption.
I had in interesting conversation about this issue with Dr Royal Haskell(sp?) at IBM. Royal had come up with a breakthrough method for "pulling" silicon ribbons at high speed. IBM patented the process, which wasn't considered useful for anything but photovoltaics - and by now the patent (even if extended) has expired.
Anyway, I asked if, given an initial supply of the ribbon, it would be possible to build a PV "farm" in, say, Arizona that would supply all the power needed for a production facility to turn out the ribbons and fabricate solar panels in consumer quantities. We kicked that around enough to determine that the idea was, indeed, feasible.
Predictably, IBM had no interest in producing or marketing PV panels or materials (Why should they - they were making and selling multi-million dollar computers at capacity) and so, to the best of my knowledge, nothing was ever done outside Royal's lab.
I would guess that the facility we talked about could be improved upon using solar furnaces (much of the energy consumption went into maintaining silicon in a molten state) and the efficiency of the cells significantly improved with the knowledge we've acquired since those days (1973-74).
If the cost of production energy were so reduced, the entire economic equation would be radically changed...
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/solar.html
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Morris Dovey wrote:

Sounds like time to write a proposal and a business plan and find a venture capitalist...if it's really doable, <someone> will.
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