Podcast: Updated weekly in the wee hours of Sunday night/Monday morning. Subscribe on Stitcher, Spreaker, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or iHeartRadio
With a wind advisory in effect for everyone south of Highway 20 here in Iowa, it's a good time to think about capturing some of that wind energy and turning it into money. The US Department of Energy wants the country to get 20% of our electricity from wind power by 2030. That date seems far off, but ask the parent of any college senior: 22 years can pass in the blink of an eye. Now, if we're to make any money off the deal, we have to capture the wind energy, turn it into electricity, and move that electricity to other parts of the country. One plan to help do that would involve putting up $10 billion worth of super-high-voltage transmission lines which could get the electricity out of the Upper Midwest and off to other parts efficiently. But maybe we could get the same job done by putting high-capacity superconducting power lines down the middle of the Interstate medians that already pass through the nation's biggest population centers. It's worth considering. Meantime, across the ocean, our friends in the UK are working on installing nearly 200,000 residential windmills by 2020.
How many times can a person repeat a verbal tic like "You know"? Well, if that person is Caroline Kennedy, who wants to become the next Senator from New York, that number is 142. She said "You know" 142 times in one recent interview with the New York Times.
Some crazy thoughts are coming out of Russia these days: Joseph Stalin has just been voted the third-greatest Russian of all time in a vote for a TV series. Yes, that's the same Stalin who was responsible for sending millions of people to die in the Gulag and starving millions more in Ukraine. Stalin's history is probably being whitewashed thanks to his role in leading the Soviet Union through victory over the Nazis in World War II, but the role of Communism remains inexcusable in causing decades of needless suffering throughout the world -- including yet today in North Korea.
It's hard to tell whether the Stalin vote is more or less nutty than the talk of a Russian professor who says there's a 50-50 chance that the US will break up within the next two years. To that, one can really only ask what would really cause such a thing to happen. Sure, we have some colossal economic threats and we have some shining examples of political trouble right now, most prominently the troubles Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich is having. But those problems are easily matched by the things we have going for us. The economy may stumble, but we still have cell phones, air travel, and biochemistry, among many other things. And with those tools (and the knowledge they both represent and enable), we are practically immune to revisiting the Dark Ages. And when we have trouble with a fishy appointment to the US Senate by a governor who has little or no public support, Article I, Section 5 of the Constitution already has us covered. Straight from the text:
Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members [...] Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.So, with all the troubles in the world, at least a little reason for hope: We have rules and tools alike, all of which help us get through the tough times. And we'll probably come out of them all a little stronger for having survived.
Keywords in this show: Blagojevich, Rod • breakup (United States) • Communism • Constitution of the United States • Dark Ages • Department of Energy • electricity • electrical transmission • Gulag • Kennedy, Caroline • North Korea • residential windmills • Russia • Stalin, Joseph • technology • Ukraine • Ukrainian famine • wind energy