Thursday, April 9, 2009

Maryland, my Maryland - Lacrimosa

"Do you not fear Death and all your Sins laid bare?"
- Davy Jones, Pirates II

"Things fall apart and the center cannot hold."
- William Butler Yeats, the Second Coming


Despite the New Age notion that technology is out to kill US, it seems, yet again, that Yankee know-how is providing solutions to the problem of providing clean energy alternatives to help free US from dependency upon fossil fuels. Such a loosening of the deadly coils of burning things - oil, coal, uranium or whatever else that smokes - would permit this country to alter its foreign policy to the point where War is not so easily appealed to as a solution for every problem. Not appealing to War is appealing in and of itself but it would also loosen the grip of lobbyists in Washington who pervert the budget process of the federal government to the extent that we spend more money on blowing things up than all of the rest of the world combined, leaving far too little resources for the social benefit programs like universal health care, quality public education, smart agricultural policy, and the desperate need to rebuild the country's infrastructure before it literally falls into ruin.  All of these changes and the strong economic base on which they depend, can only occur when clean, renewable and inexpensive energy sources are developed and deployed. The key to our national security and rational foreign policy, the key to a strong, well-balanced economy, and the key to a resilient and just social fabric is a sound energy policy. And frankly, it doesn't much matter what the rest of the World does; if the US doesn't get its act together sooner rather than later, then Mother Earth is going to have one helluva time with planetary menopause. And we've all had mothers go through that, haven't we?

As in any revolution beyond our control, several things are happening at once.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Maryland, my Maryland - Prestissimo

"Ideas are like jackrabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen."
- John Steinbeck

"They're conquering the world with arithmetic."
- Frances Flegenheimer, The Cotton Club

At the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology a group of researchers has managed to transmit electricity without the need for wires.  MIT has dubbed its work in this field of wireless electricity as Witricity:

"WiTricity is based on using coupled resonant objects. Two resonant objects of the same resonant frequency tend to exchange energy efficiently, while interacting weakly with extraneous off-resonant objects. A child on a swing is a good example of this. A swing is a type of mechanical resonance, so only when the child pumps her legs at the natural frequency of the swing is she able to impart substantial energy. Another example involves acoustic resonances: imagine a room with 100 identical wine glasses, each filled with wine up to a different level, so they all have different resonant frequencies. If an opera singer sings a sufficiently loud single note inside the room, a glass of the corresponding frequency might accumulate sufficient energy to even explode, while not influencing the other glasses. In any system of coupled resonators there often exists a so-called "strongly coupled" regime of operation. If one ensures to operate in that regime in a given system, the energy transfer can be very efficient."

Not only is this form of transmission non-polluting it also has the potential to be much more efficient and less likely to strain our aging electrical grid. Our toys get more powerful all the time. As they do, they put greater strains, not just on the grid itself, but also household wiring, causing a rise in power consumption to run the toys and keep the house cool because of the heat these toys generate. But we're a consumer society, after all, and capitalism has always served this country well.

[to be concluded in the 3rd Movement: Allegro]

Maryland, my Maryland - Allegro

"As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country."
- (Abraham Lincoln)

"Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world."
- (Archimedes)


Politics and
Ethos. Probably the most political animals in Washington work at the Pentagon. Nobody else in the government has had such success in getting the things they want like the military has. After all, the argument goes, to shortchange the military is to put our national security at risk, and the cost of failure is unacceptable. Unfortunately, it is now beginning to dawn on certain factions in the Pentagon that the cost of success is also unacceptable. Recently, the Pentagon issued two reports: