Power Crisis, Wind Power, Updated Garmin Maps, Fort Drum Air Show

Power Crisis, Wind Power

Interesting.  For quite sometime I’ve been saying that we’re all dumb.

Everyone in the US should have learned from the oil problems of the 70’s (whether we were alive during this time or not), and we should have seen this coming.  We should have been pushing our lawmakers and manufacturers and scientists and everyone else to start looking at alternatives before this high-priced energy problem got so bad.  We shouldn’t have been making a bunch of people rich on our backs, especially people who have no like for us or our way of life in the first place.

We knew it was coming, or we should have.  All of us.

Now all the ways to fix the problems will be decades in the making.

And finally someone of high profile has said it, billionaire T. Boone Pickens.  I like this guy, despite his redneck, backwoods-sounding name.

Mostly because he parallels my exact ideas.  That we should have all known better, starting right in the 70’s, and should have tried to change things and decrease our reliance on oil.

In addition his idea is to use wind power for the long-term solution, propane for the short-term.  A lot of sense there since even propane is going to eventually run low, if we overwhelmingly start using that in our cars and furnaces.  I’m not so sold on the whole propane thing, but definitely wind power is going to be a major boon to the US electrical and power need.

Yea, we have a major problem here, and we’re going to have to start doing something about it.

My father’s idea is to cut back, more and more, and that’s what we’re all starting to do.  But is that really what we should be doing?  Do we want to keep taking steps backwards?

We may have to in the short-term, until we can get away from the sometimes-Republicanesque attitude of head-in-the-sand turning-a-blind-eye to a problem or using stopgap measures or just plain throwing money in the wrong directions.

Take, for example, hybrid cars.  There’s many small cars that get better mileage than even cars like the Prius hybrid.

And the number of resources going into making that car, and then recycling it at the end of its life – is certainly high now.  Maybe more then justifies making the car as a hybrid in the first place.  The naysayers are quick to point out all of these short-comings.

But guess what?  That’s the way everything works.  Once people start using a product a manufacturer improves the entire process, as well as science and engineering – from production to product-death, it’s stream-lined and the whole operation is bettered.

Look at the first Model-T’s.  They were pricey by the standards of the day, and broke down often.  The driver had to be the mechanic too, if he wanted to keep it going.

Once Ford’s came along with his assembly line and improvements were made in both the car itself as well as the standardization of parts and consistency of them – the whole thing took off.  Prices dropped, for the consumer and the car maker.  Garages cropped up, more bodies and options were added; and we had a revolution that caused the country (and the world) to go from horse carriages to moderately cheap over-powered machines that could take you anywhere in a short time, and even a teenager could afford a used one.

But what would have happened if people hadn’t taken a chance on them in the first place?  And paid a little more, or took some extra trouble to fix a cranky engine?

We need the same general attitude with hybrids, hydrogen cars, electric cars, propane cars, alternative power for cars and homes and businesses in general.  Even if there may be an initial high price for it, both in money itself as well as maintenance and recycling.

Once we get the demand up there and improve the whole mess we’ll start looking to be in better shape, decades from here very likely (unless we can have a computer-like revolution in energy production).

On a related note – one of the most weirdest things I’ve seen was local anti-wind power nuts saying they’d rather have a nuke power plant beside them then a wind tower!  Whoa.

Okay, I can understand why some people might think a wind tower is ugly (I personally don’t) but who would rather have nukes right beside them then clean wind?

Some of the stuff these people come up with is laughable – the motion of the turbine causing health problems according to an obscure study, decades old, from a quack who was shunned by his peers.

The anti-wind power group seems to have developed a cult following around here, beyond all reason.

On the level of some of the anti-pro-choice nuts and such (and though I’m an animals rights believer I can throw in some of the animal rights groups to the nut category, same with the gun nuts.  Again, I’m a longtime gun rights advocate also, but some of these people are crazy as hell).

What would happen with these anti-wind tower people if their power starting going out on a random basis?  Or their electricity prices sky-rocketed beyond all reason?

Updated Garmin Maps

These are yet more updated, cleaned up maps for this area.

There’s two sets – one with all the major and minor streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes in the area; and one without.

These of course should work on many of the Garmin GPS units, and can be converted to other formats.

Here’s the directory.  Disclaimer – use at your own risk, I make no guarantees about accuracy.

You should be able to make a directory for which ever file you download (upperny.zip is just the roads, water.zip is roads and the water – both are transparent so they let the basemap show through), and then unzip the .zip into it, then click the .reg file.  This will add the map to your registry and allow Mapsource to access it.

Fort Drum Air Show

Fort Drum had its centennial celebration complete with a large air show.

Dumb of me – I didn’t go!  Despite my life-long interest in flying and airplanes!

My wife and my father weren’t interested, and frankly with the high gas prices I don’t do much that’s unnecessary in the way of driving.

But none of those were a good excuse for me not wanting to go to something I was extremely interested in.  I can’t explain it.

Ah well.  Here’s some pics, courtesy of my niece Heidi.

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