The unbelievable, glo-ing Industrial Rev-
- olution began in the 1700s, but not until past 1850 was the holy grail discovered: lightning in a wire, electricity.
- Turbines move, creating electricity. Because battery storage improvement has proceeded at a shitty rate, we have a 24-hour electrical grid and power generation system that runs consistently and shunts from one sector of North America to another, sending power to heat our stove burners so we can cook food, cool our food so it doesn’t spoil, light our rooms, flush our toilets for us, let our telephones work, recharge our cell phones and make these glowing magic machines, wonder of the world, we call computers work.
- The Romans had aqueducts and arches and yes, watermills. But these are not what we call technology. Technology is about a level of complexity, frequently involving machines, which itself involves artificial movement of cogs and wheels and hydraulics, leading to actions that are amazing, desirable and well-nigh magical.
- In any battle between true magic and high technology, of course true magic wins out every time, but the mass replicability of technology (a hundred million dancing brooms, metaphorically speaking) has a kind of oomph on its own.
- Electricity has replaced nearly everything that came before. Because it hides unseen in our walls, and a front of computers or stoves uses it, we often completely disregard it. If there was ever a nuclear war, and future humans were left to piece together the valuable pieces of the past, electricity would hardly merit a mention in novels, the most common surviving source of tales and facts about the dominant technological sprawling civilizations we live in. In fact, there would be more stories about magic in the fantasy genre than there would be tales of tech in the modern world. Why does computing work depend on 5 volts of power? What even is a V? How can 0’s and 1’s, on or off, powered and unpowered, make a computer go?
- The food you eat at the supermarket all comes from factories. The assembly lines that move forward, the automatic cooking, always tasty, never spoiled, whether Pasteurization or Mason-Jar-like sealing in our tin cans, works like magic. We depend on this ease of manufacture, to the point that the prices of food are heavily subsidized by electricity.
- Knowledge of electricity is not widespread. My father, who in his working life was a nuclear engineer, had an extensive understanding of it as a front-line commando worker who simulated nuclear reactors and their pulses of outgoing energy. As a computer-programmer-in-training, at the University of Waterloo, I came to understand electricity in a more subtle way, in the software rather than the hardware, software always being my thing more than the cables and networks that glue the office together.
- It always seemed to me that the power and grace (yes grace) of electricity was a hallmark of the ultimately artistic situation of our civilization. Although I hate much of civilization, especially the shoddy societies it automatically produces every time, I admire the form and color of technology as it keeps streams of cars flowing to the timing of electrified, solar-powered traffic lights and powers our vital information-source TV sets that deliver our weather reports — rain or shine — before we step out of our doors in the morning on the way to work.
- Electricity is a miracle that demands to be taught, understood, and supported, in the sense, of instance, of channeling massive government subsidies away from social programs and toward *snarling vicious snap* proper battery storage that can keep the blue-white sizzling genie on tap for longer. It is a travesty and a shock that we are still working with dawn-of-electricity battery “technologies” when, to use one example, nuclear plants have shown massive advances over other power generators, and even old artifices like windmills have been updated for the modern world. Battery power must grow reliable, and become a massive commonplace.
- The U.S. military, as demonstrated in the Balkans during the unwise de facto Albanian protectorate, can drop disrupters on power grids, throwing a massive psychological monkey wrench into the civilian populace. Whereas conventional bombing in WW2 didn’t do much, the loss of power seemingly permanently is a de-testicularizer that fucks wid people bad. Kinda especially hard to live in the towering apartment buildings that characterize modern homes for many. No elevators, you know.
- When life throws lemons at you, make lemonades. When someone disrupts your power grid for you, make nukes and get ’em back.
- I think Iran knows in some sense that it will always be a jerking marionette at the U.S. beck and call as long as it doesn’t have nukes of its own. They don’t even have to reach the U.S. proper; the threat of wiping out Jerusalem and Tel Aviv will be enough to break the hearts of the poor little Middle-East-quagmire-addicted Americans. One day the Pax Americana will learn to ignore the Israelis, and life will march to a new electrical drummer — and unlike the fake Energizer bunny on ads, this one will really THUMP THUMP THUMP on and on without surcease.