Monday, June 20, 2011

Powerless

TVA decides they should look into little reactors for power generation: compact, modern designs with better safety. An article about it -- a spiffed-up press release -- gets posted over t'Huffington....and the Huffies go mad in comments. "Ewww, noooooo!"

Then freeze in the dark, dammit, and let the rest of us get on with it.

Elsewhere, a bunch of greenpeacers clumb a smokestack in IL and put up an itty-bitty sign that says "QUIT COAL." (They also started to spray-paint the message on the stack, petrochemicals an' ozone-eating propellent an' all, planet-saving coming in second to agitprop.) Another lot decided to rappel off a bridge in the path of a coal barge (sadly, not that close. Um, you do realize barges haven't got brakes, as such). All are now facing felony charges (the latter group also looking at charges for "Performing an aerial exhibition without a net." That'll go on your permanent record, kids). 'Sa pity they can't serve time in a facility without electrical power, all natural. Have another quilt, kid! Sure is a cold winter....

These people won't be happy until we're all locked in, freezing in the dark without any of Mr. Tesla's juice.

22 comments:

North said...

Put 'em all in California. Take both of the good people out of California.

Then quit waiting for the 'big one' that is supposed to break California off and let it slip into the ocean.

I say we all put crowbars in the fault and split it off ourselves.

Roberta X said...

California's not cold enough in the winter; it would just reinforce their delusion.

perlhaqr said...

Minnesota. Better yet, Canada.

Nathan said...

Such a pity that so many heads could be so full of mush.

Robin said...

Stupidity like that should hurt more.

Mad Saint Jack said...

http://blksunsoc.blogspot.com/2011/06/1000-words-for-bobbi.html

Drang said...

What was it Tam was just saying?

Old Grouch said...

Speaking of powerless, did somebody's radar get stuck for about 30 minutes this morning?

More fortunate than the guys up the block: Shortly after 5am, studio lights dim, picture loses vertical sync and disappears, voice is heard saying, "Oh, Wow!" followed by roughly 90 minutes of blank screen and silence.
(Interestingly enough, xmtr did not shut off. Deadman controls obsolete nowadays?)

Timmeehh said...

"Mr Tesla's juice". LOL

You should TM that!

Anonymous said...

I understand the a/c is quite good in the Minnesota prisons about February.

Roberta X said...

BTW, in a very real way, it is Mr. Tesla's juice we all get; 60-cycle alternating current is a compromise between iron-heavy lower-freq AC (Buffalo was 25 Hz for decades and even home appliances had big, fat motors and transformers because of it) and higher-freq AC, which doesn't take much iron at all (which is why airplane juice is 400 cps) but suffers higher capacitive losses and power-factor woes and has one other, teeeeny problem: by 900 Hz, you can't feel it until it's doing serious damage.

So Mr. Alternating Current picked a lower freq -- of course, he picked up the habit of not wrapping his lunch hooks around wires and terminals carrying unknown potentials, approaching them instead with a for-the-time cautious fingertip or the back of his hand. Many electrical tyros were not so careful and never attained their own full potential.

At least one Depression-minted EE of my distant acquaintance considered 110V/60cps picayune stuff, to be tested across adjacent fingers; but he reported that while 60 merely tingled, 25 cycles hurt like the dickens. (In case you're wondering, he died of very old age, much liked and fondly remembered).

Roberta X said...

MSJ: delightful!

North said...

I tested my father's ability to turn off the right breaker through both arms. I also tested the sheetrock wall behind me with my shoulders.

Both failed.

Hat Trick said...

" never attained their own full potential."

I see what you did there. :-)

I have an uncle who used to use the two finger technique to check outlets. He learned during the late depression. I thought he was nuts. Claimed it only tingled.

Roberta X said...

North: Ow.

Ever since I chopped through some "it's off!" flexible conduit containing a 208V/50A/3ph circuit, using a big set of fiberglass-handled loppers ("bunny ears"), I turn 'em off myself, then check with a sniffer. There was a very bright flash....

warlocketx said...

Once upon a time...

A company I worked for was the bought-out remnant the founder of which was very bright and very odd. He had several ne'er-do-well relatives who were machinists, welders, &ct., and to keep them in jobs he would do things like having them build equipment racks from scratch, welded up out of 1" aluminum square tube.

I was crawling around in such a rack, built to support an elaborate Data General computer system. It was obsolete, and we'd decided that the rack, taken to a scrap dealer, would support a nice beer & barbecue weekend, so I was clearing out the power distribution wires with a pair of side cutters.

DG equipment ran on 220V. There was a brilliant flash and loud pops of breakers, and everybody came running. I never felt a thing.

When I left for greener pastures they presented me with the side cutters, mounted in a framed shadowbox. Just a pair of 8" side cutters, with a chunk melted out of one cutting face that doesn't quite sever it. It still occupies an honored place on my souvenir wall, right next to the Air Force photo-reconnaissance planning slide rule.

perlhaqr said...

Many electrical tyros were not so careful and never attained their own full potential.

*snerk*

Nathan said...

Gah. Hat Trick beat me to it.

And I had an experience like North's back when I was about 12. And all the old man had to say was, "That'll teach you to make sure for yourself."

Ken said...

My stupidest electrical trick involved a spark timer. It was sufficient to get my attention.

JC said...

All guns are always loaded, and all circuits are always energized. And by the way, your voltmeter probably neededs annew battery.

Roberta X said...

Y'know, that may be the thing I like best about the Simpson 260/Triplett 630: no batteries needed except to check resistance. (I dug our my oldest 260 the other day, a model with a *metal* front panel -- and the same 5kV top range as all the pre-OSHA 260s. "Don't watch the food cook," kids, and don't cuddle with the meter when testing the hot stuff, either.) A long time ago, I got into the habit of checking either a drycell or the wall socket (or both) before using a meter for a serious measurement. Okay, it's not gonna tell you of the amps shunts are any good but at least you'll know that it's working and if it's way off. Modern test probes with fat tips and finger-protecting flanges can be a little hard to cram into a wall socket; Fluke offers some that are great for the job, including a couple of needle-point types.

Power is like a gun; when you take a gun apart for cleaning, it's loaded until it's a collection of parts. The juice is hot unless you shut it off yourself and checked it; and in most cases, locking it out is not such a bad idea, even at home: a spouse, friend, or child may otherwise innocently "reset" the circuit you have turned off. Itty bitty one-breaker locking-out widgets and a little padlock would not cost much.

North said...

You are right, Rx. It was a painful lesson - but I was a teen. The only lesson a teen learns is a painful one.

Also - 5kV makes your friends wet themselves.