Friday, September 5, 2008

The boring nitty gritty of engineering

This video by a retired General Electric executive patiently takes you through the facts about wind energy. The most interesting thing about it is the insight it gives into the sheer scale of the national economy.

If you know me you know someone who personally knew someone (Grandpop L) who started his life in a world and time when less mechanical power was generated in the entire world than can today be generated by ten, or maybe twenty, of the wind generators this fellow talks about. Grandpop L was born at a time when for 99.9% of the world's population one horsepower was generated by one horse, or else it was generated by four humans busting their asses.

Jules Verne, who died in 1905, was probably the most outrageously visionary thinker alive when Grandpop L was born in the 1890's. Told on his deathbed that within a hundred and three years a rational person would envision the world producing and erecting a thousand, let alone nearly three hundred thousand, windmills of the size this fellow talks about, Jules Verne would have dismissed the idea as a fever dream.

Hat tip to Mario Lewis who linked to this video on National Review's Planet Gore blog.

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