Jack Park wrote:
> News item in this weekend's Sacramento Bee: "Servers to tax power grid"
> (or words to that effect. California has been doing rolling power shortages
> lately. Not sure how much of that is politics to get rate hikes, and how
> much of that is real supply/demand issues. Who cares? It's happening.
> News item earlier about Russia not selling arms to Iran "at this time."
> Gads, its mind-numbing just what goes on in this world. For me, getting an
> OHS/DKR up ASAP is a "must do now."
I certainly agree that getting an OHS/DKR up ASAP is a "must do now" for
lots of reasons. I'd also agree that California needs to do something
now about its power problems.
But, on the topic of dealing with "limits" of energy supply or other
resources, here's an metaphor to consider. (It's so abstract to think
Imagine you are giving a party and have invited a large number of
people. Shortly into the party, when only 10% of the guests have
arrived, someone notices the onion dip is running low. You check in your
refrigerator and discover you are all out of pre-made onion dip!
Shortly, the only topic of conversation at the party is the "onion dip
crisis" and what to do about it. All the beautiful topics you hoped
people might have been talking about -- like art and poetry, or life and
love, wisdom and stories -- have been squeezed out by everyone's concern
over the onion dip supply. Here are some of the various plans you might
come up with to deal with the "onion dip crisis":
1) Ignoring it. Who knows, maybe the crisis will go away. There is
enough onion dip for the next ten minutes of the party in any case.
2) War. Obviously there is not enough onion dip to go around. So, only
the strongest will have the onion dip. By your recruiting a few allies
from the guests with which the remaining onion dip might be grudgingly
and exclusively shared, the onion dip can be safeguarded for the elite
(you and your associates). If that means other guests will go without or
need to be eliminated, so be it. As some of the guests might resist this
notion (if they are not part of the elite), you need to be prepared to
escalate violence all the way -- even if it means threatening to burn
the building down (killing all the guests and yourself), which of course
you must be ready to follow through with to maintain your credibility
and hopefully deter ever having to really do it. To that end you could
light a few Molotov cocktails and very carefully keep them by your side.
Your preparedness, courage, determination, and fortitude will hopefully
ensure you and yours have a steady supply of onion dip without the need
for actual violence (effectively deterring the guests into capitulation
and going without onion dip). As a side effect, by controlling the onion
dip supply, you might expect to have great power over the other guests,
such as gaining favors in exchange for onion dip.
3) Population control. Since only a small percentage of the guests have
already arrived, you realize that there may be enough onion dip to get
by if the rest of the invited guests to don't show up. You could start
calling people on the guest list to tell them the party is canceled, and
if any more guests do show up at the door, turn them away before they
can get inside (even by deadly force if needed). The party may be less
interesting with less people, but there will be more onion dip for the
people already there. And after all, if people aren't at the party yet,
what right do they have to make a claim on the onion dip?
4) Rationing. The remaining onion dip might be divided up into a small
portion for each invited guest, regardless of whether they need onion
dip or not, or whether the onion dip is enough to satisfy them. At least
this way, you think the onion dip is being "fairly" divided. If people
don't like the size of their portion, tough. Perhaps an economy might
come into existence as people trade onion dip for other things. One
might also create a rationing scheme that takes in account individual
guest's needs or how much you like them, perhaps enforced by some of the
techniques outlined in choice two.
5) Efficiency. You observe that guests often put big gobs of onion dip
on a chip. Obviously people are mainly tasting only the outside of the
big gob. So, perhaps most of the onion dip is being wasted as far as a
taste experience. A method might be devised to spread onion dip very
efficiently on each food item. For example, a couple of spoons might be
used to uniformly apply a thin coating of onion dip to a potato chip. By
using onion dip more efficiently, perhaps there will be enough to last
out the party.
6) Voluntary simplicity. If guests realized they could have a fun time
without onion dip, or without much onion dip, then perhaps the party
could go on anyway. Yes, you know people are expecting onion dip, it was
at your last party, you received compliments for it, you like it
yourself, you had placed bowls for it all over the place, but still,
perhaps there are other things in life more important and perhaps more
enjoyable than onion dip -- like conversation itself.
7) Reorganizing. You realize there are onions, spices, soup mix, and
sour cream in the kitchen. Perhaps you can make some more onion dip from
reorganizing other resources you have but which people would not want by
8) Virtual reality. If guests played a video game where they ate virtual
onion dip using a computer screen and some full body Virtual Reality
set-up (and maybe even stimulating some brain pathways for taste and
smell), then guests might feel happy enough that the party could proceed
anyway. And if the simulation is good enough, maybe no one would notice
it was virtual onion dip.
9) Substitution. Perhaps people will eat cheese dip instead? Maybe they
would like such an alternative dip better.
10) Population growth. You can always hope that one of the guests yet to
arrive will bring onion dip or be able to suggest a better solution.
Note this choice is directly at odds with the philosophy behind choice
11) Obtaining more. You could leave the party and go to a nearby
all-night deli in hope they have some onion dip. Of course, if you get
there, you might run into some more friends, along with some of the
guests who left early concerned about the probability of the party
selecting option two, and so who knows when you might return. And of
course, the Deli has a virtually inexhaustible supply of onion dip
relative to your guest list's size. So, you could invite all your guests
to go to the deli with you, and leave a note on the door to have future
guests meet you there as well.
12) Any more suggestions?
So, not to poke too much fun at California's immediate electric power
supply problems, but in my opinion it is due to bad regional planning
and a temporary thing. For example, (from memory) 1% of the United
States land area is currently directly or indirectly used for energy
production (mines, roads, power plants, dumps, power line right of ways)
and if that land area (or a similar sized area) was covered with solar
panels or used for wind production it would produce all the energy
(electric and other) we consume in the U.S.A. Similarly, the peak
electrical load is for air conditioning and happens when there is the
most sunlight, so roof solar panels might help with this. Obviously,
solar energy has its downside too (waste from producing panels, people
falling off roofs, etc.) but the point is there are many possible
solutions, whether they entail efficiency, doing more with less,
lifestyle changes, or generating more power from other sources (or a
So in this context, is there really a "long term" unsolveable energy
crisis worldwide? I think not -- even if there are spot shortages here
and there on a way to an improved balance between supply and demand. I
have an existence proof -- solar power. So, the crisis is only one of
planning and priorities -- or in other words, vision and politics. This
is the same reason people are starving now http://www.hungersite.com
even though there is more than enough food to go around for all human
I think an OHS can help with the vision and planning side. I don't think
an OHS by itself can much to change distorted priorities or
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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Wed Nov 29 2000 - 19:04:26 PST