Whitcomb: Power Failures; Test How Far Behind They Are; Imploding Employment; Rush Job

Whitcomb: Power Failures; Test How Far Behind They Are; Imploding Employment; Rush Job

Robert Whitcomb, columnist “Dear Uncle stranger, Cousin known too late, sweet wife unkissed, come, we will celebrate in this thronged mirror the uncelebrated dead, good men and women gone too soon to bed.’’ — From “Dear Uncle Stranger,’’ by Conrad Aiken (1889-1973) “The ‘control of nature’ is a phrase conceived in arrogance, born of the Neanderthal age of biology and philosophy, when it was supposed that nature exists for the convenience of man.’’ — Rachel Carson (1907-1964), American marine biologist and author. Her most famous book is Silent Spring, about the damage done by pesticides. Energy meltdown in Texas Last week’s electricity woes, mostly in Texas, reflect not only changing weather patterns caused by global warming but also America’s decayed and fragmented electricity infrastructure. The Texas mess provides lessons for the rest of the country. Contrary to the assertions of the usual fossil-fuel fans, Texas’s use of a lot of wind power (especially in the summer) was not an important culprit in the disaster. Indeed, the wind turbines along Texas’s Gulf Coast that didn’t have ice gumming their works helped ensure that the crisis wasn’t even worse. And for that matter wind turbines in Iowa and Canada and a lot of other usually chilly places do fine. So, do solar panels, even if you have to push snow and ice off them from time to time. The biggest Texas problem was that the natural-gas pipeline system couldn’t deliver enough gas to meet the suddenly much higher demand for home […]

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