Sunday, March 12, 2017

Are More People Studying Electricity?

I was wondering about that even before this power outage started 4 days ago, on the 8th of March, 2017. DTE, the electric and gas utility I use, says that over 650,000 accounts were affected by the outage, which coincided with a severe cold spell, that most of them have had their power restored and that I will be one of the 90% to get the juice turned back on before midnight tonight. I wonder whether that estimate is accurate in my individual case. I wonder what it's going to be like for the last 10% to get their power back.

I was thinking about electricity before Wednesday morning when my electricity went out, and studying books such as Rojansky's Electromagnetic Fields and Waves, because I hope and believe that, Trump, Putin and the Koch brothers be damned, we are on the verge of a huge transformation away from fossil fuels and toward electricity generated by solar, wind and other green energy. I've mentioned before in this blog how I'm taking another one of my stabs at advanced math. Studying electricity, and physics, is part of that stab.

Since Wednesday morning I've been wondering things like, How much suffering would have been alleviated if more people here in the Detroit area had solar panels on their roofs, and, What actually is up with these smart grids one hears about in the news, and just exactly how smart or stupid are our grids around here? And, Will more people study electricity as a direct result of this outage? Surely some will. How many have already begun?

What, if anything, could I have done better since Wednesday if I had been an expert on the subject of electricity?

A few years ago DTE switched me over to a smart meter. Among other things, this means I, or anyone else with a smart meter, don't have to phone in a power outage because as soon as my power goes out, DTE already knows it.

Or so they say. I have no reason to suspect mendacity on DTE's part, but the truth is that I still know very little about electricity, and so I have little means of judging public or private statements about it.

I'm 55 years old. If you're shaking your head and muttering something like, "Starting to learn about electricity when he's 55?" -- meh. I'm not claiming yet to have actually learned anything. But Izzy Stone, one of my heroes,

started studying ancient Greek in his 60's and Hungarian after age 80. When I grow weary I just think of Izzy and my strength returns. I also haven't stopped doing push-ups and crunches every day, but Izzy has less to do with that directly. I don't happen to know what his exercise regime was like, or if he had one at all.

I'm also wondering: has President Chump said anything publicly at all about this power outage? I mean, I haven't noticed the National Guard in town handing out blankets and hot soup.

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