Monday, August 04, 2008

the crazies: a preview

Friends of mine inexplicably get the Deseret News every day, despite only asking to get Sunday only. One of their favorite things to read in the paper is what they call "the crazies" --the letters to the editor. There is even talk by my friends of starting a blog dedicated exclusively to deconstructing the insanity. To encourage such an effort, I hereby give my readers a taste. Here's one, in full.
Energy beliefs are naive
Published: July 31, 2008
It's disheartening to read the naive beliefs expressed in many of the letters regarding energy. The sun doesn't always shine and the wind doesn't always blow; therefore they are not reliable energy sources. Electricity doesn't spring magically from the ground.
It's created by generators. Without a waterfall, fire is the energy source that powers generators. Fire comes in two practical forms: fossil fuels and nuclear power. The Green Gestapo blocks any effort to utilize these potential fire sources. Still, they insist we must switch to electricity. The ambiguity, contradiction and plain silliness of this reasoning is maddening to anyone with half a brain.

Ron Russell

Salt Lake City
Let's see here, belittling group you disagree with by calling them naive, check. Next, using alliteration to belittle, check. Comparing them to Nazis' Gestapo (short for Geheime Staatspolizei: "Secret State Police"), who murdered millions of Jews, Homosexuals, and disabled, check. Oh and I forgot, projection, check.

You see, electricity that is generated via renewables like solar and wind energy are not all used as they are being produced. Rather, there is this thing called a "battery" where electrical energy can be stored, maybe you have heard of those new gizmos? When you search for solar energy storage, you get nearly 3.5 million hits, including news stories of the latest storage technique discovered by scientists at MIT (wind energy storage generates a measly 1.06 million hits). And if anyone can explain what Mr. Russell was talking about with regards to "fire," I am all ears.

Our friend Mr. Russell also uses the straw man technique to suggest that environmentalists demand that we exclusively use solar and wind to supply 100% of our electricity needs immediately. Nobel Laureate Al Gore (So named to peeve Mr. Russell) has proposed a path to achieve the goal of switching to renewables exclusively within 10 years. Former Swift Vote Vet for Truth funder T. Boone Pickens has invested serious cash in building wind farms in Texas and promoting the idea of moving towards wind power generation. Currently, Germany generates something like 20% of its electritiy from solar, thanks to some serious incentives. The U.S. hundreds, if not thousands of acres of uninhabited land where the wind is fairly constant and the sun does shine alot--certainly a lot more than in Germany, whose whether is more like Seattle than San Diego.

If we can improve battery technology, improve transmission lines so that less energy is lost when moved, lower the costs of producing solar and wind energy, and reduce our consuption via increased efficiencies, Al Gore's plan is possible...and preferable to listening to idiots like Mr. Russell.

You know what really grinds my gears? Giving people a soapbox who don't know what they are talking about.

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