Tag Archives: power

  • Blog
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    The New Future of Energy Policy

    The rise of the powergrid (and new taxes)
    by Gregor Macdonald

    Monday, November 26, 2012, 7:32 PM

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    Flood myths are common to human culture. Swollen rivers, tidal storms, and tsunamis make their appearance frequently in literature. But Hurricane Sandy, which has drawn newly etched high-water marks on the buildings of lower Manhattan (and Brooklyn), has shifted the discussion from storytelling to reality.

    Volatility in climate has drawn the attention of policy makers for a decade. But as so often is the case, a dramatic event like superstorm Sandy – the largest storm to hit New York since the colonial era – has punctured the psyche of the densely populated East Coast, including the New York-Washington, DC axis where U.S. policy is made.

    Not surprisingly, in the weeks since the historical hurricane made landfall, new attention is being paid to the mounting costs that coastal world megacities may face.

    Intriguingly, however, this new conversation about climate, energy policy, and America’s reliance on fossil fuels comes after a five-year period in which the U.S. has dramatically lowered its consumption of oil and seen an equally dramatic upturn in the growth of renewable energy.

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  • Insider
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    Finding Authentic Happiness

    The steps that build a solid foundation
    by charleshughsmith

    Wednesday, October 10, 2012, 11:22 AM

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    Executive Summary

    • Why buying into the Status Quo undermines personal empowerment
    • Echew debt and consumerism. Instead, focus on cultivating resilience and social capital
    • The importance of differentiating hedonia vs eudaimonia
    • The key roles of Expectation, Narrative, and Challenge
    • The foundations of happiness

    If you have not yet read Part I: The Pursuit of Happiness, available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

    In Part I, we challenged the assumption that the successful pursuit of happiness is based on material prosperity and what we might call the psychology of the atomized individual.

    If material prosperity is necessary but insufficient, and our social and financial order is sociopathological, what does an authentic pursuit of happiness entail?

    For answers, we can survey recent research into human happiness, and consider “powering down” participation in a deranging social and financial order.

    Pondering Power

    The primacy of power in human society is omnipresent. Humans scramble for power in all its forms to improve social status and the odds of mating, living a long life, and acquiring comforts.  What is remarkable about the current American social order is the powerlessness of the vast majority of people who have “bought into” the Status Quo. 

    When the public vehemently disapproves of a policy, such as bailing out the “too big to fail” banks, they are routinely ignored, and for good reason: They keep re-electing incumbents.  Most have little control over their employment status, workflow, or income, and most devote the majority of their productive effort servicing private debt and paying taxes that service public debt.

    The one “power” they are encouraged to flex is the momentary empowerment offered by purchasing something; i.e., consuming.  The corporate marketing machine glorifies acquisition as not just empowering but as the renewal of identity and the staking of a claim to higher social status – everything that is otherwise out of the control of the average person.

    The dominant social control myth of our consumerist Status Quo is that wealth is power because you can buy more things with it.  But the power of consumption is one-dimensional and therefore illusory.  The only meaningful power is not what you can buy – a good, service, or experience – but what you control – your health, choice of work, income, surroundings, level of risk, and your circle of colleagues and friends.

    The “wealthy” who own an abundance of things but who are trapped in debt are not powerful.  Their choices in life are limited by the need to service the debt, and their pursuit of happiness is equally constrained.

    The kind of wealth that enriches the pursuit of happiness is control over the meaningful aspects of life. It is no coincidence that studies of workplace stress have found that those jobs in which the worker has almost no control over their work or surroundings generate far more stress than jobs that allow the worker some autonomy and control.

    Financial and material wealth beyond the basics of creature comfort is only meaningful if it “buys” autonomy and choice.

    We all want power over our own lives.  Once we free ourselves from social control myths, we find that becoming powerful and “wealthy” in terms of control does not require a financial fortune. It does, however, require sustained effort and a coherent long-term plan…

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  • Blog
    © Alptraum | Dreamstime.com

    The Demise of the Car

    Doomed by escalating oil and infrastructure costs
    by Gregor Macdonald

    Monday, August 20, 2012, 3:37 PM

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    India’s recent series of power blackouts, in which 600 million people lost electricity for several days, reminds us of the torrid pace at which populations in the developing world have moved onto the powergrid. Unfortunately, this great transition has been so rapid that infrastructure has mostly been unable to meet demand. India itself has failed to meets its own power capacity addition targets every year since 1951. This has left roughly one quarter of the country’s population without any (legal) access to electricity. That’s 300 million people out of a population of 1.2 billion. Indeed, it is the daily attempt of the underserved to access power that may have led to India’s recent grid crash.

    But the story of India’s inadequate infrastructure is only one part of the difficult, global transition away from liquid fossil fuels. Over the past decade, the majority of new energy demand has been met not through global oil, but through growth in electrical power.

    Frankly, this should be no surprise. After all, global production of oil started to flatten more than seven years ago, in 2005. And the developing world, which garners headlines for its increased demand for oil, is running mainly on coal-fired electrical power. There is no question that the non-OECD countries are leading the way as liquid-based transport – automobiles and airlines – have entered longterm decline.

    Why, therefore, do policy makers in both the developing and developed world continue to invest in automobile infrastructure?

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  • Insider

    Lessons From The Electrical Outage

    by Chris Martensen

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012, 10:43 PM

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    Okay, it's true that the recent wind storm called a 'dehrico' that struck the east coast of the US was an unusual event.  But there seem to have been a lot of 'unusual' weather events lately. 

    We were heavily impacted by the October snowstorm of 2011 that struck with leaves still on the trees dragging down a lot of trees and branches leaving us without power for 5 days. And were without power on three other occasions in 2011 for a total of 12 days, and so far we are up to 2 events here on my own homestead so far in 2012 totaling about 7 hours.

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  • Blog

    Special Offer – SolMan portable solar generators

    by Jason Wiskerchen

    Thursday, March 29, 2012, 12:05 AM

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    We are pleased to announce that SolSolutions is offering ChrisMartenson.com members a special discount of 5% off all SolMan portable solar generator models.

    SolSolutions designs and builds plug-and-play, mobile solar electric generating equipment for point of use, temporary, off-grid, event, and emergency back-up power. The SolMan is designed and built in the US, using top-shelf American components.

    The SolMan is proven in the field, built to last, and will deliver what it is rated for. The SolMan is a complete, ready-to-go system. It includes PV panels, batteries, charge controller, inverter/charger, monitoring, and AC & DC plugs, all on an easy-to-transport rolling cart, which makes it perfect for low-tech solar tracking.

    The SolMan is a clean, green, quiet source of personal needs electric for when you donʼt have a grid outlet nearby. It will run a trailer, cabin ,or efficient small house, with power management attention. The SolMan is an excellent complement inter-tied with a liquid fuel generator for 24/7 year-round backup power, without having to run a generator all the time, saving you a lot on fuel.

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