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Tuesday, 08 December 2009 03:52

BuzzFlash Mailbag for December 8, 2009

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Subject: Jesus or else

Dear BuzzFlash:

I admit I'm sounding like a broken record lately, but I was disappointed to see on the news this morning that people were lined up once again all night in Sioux City, Iowa at a Barnes and Noble store waiting for their moment with the Divine Sarah Palin. Some more info from her visit last week - locals interviewed who saw her were enraptured with her and claimed she was a fine representative of their values and world outlook. Of course there were many more who thought the whole thing is a ridiculous circus as gullible GOP morons who never question their leaders gather to feed from the trough of hate and supposed Christian superiority. Still, the number of people who are falling at this woman's feet is alarming. I read the post of an evangelical group in Utah that supposedly can convert homosexuals to straights through "therapy" that basically hammers home their own belief system, minus any real understanding of the gay lifestyle, and involved very bizarre exercises like pretending to brutalize one another with baseball bats to recreate supposed terrifying moments in the students' pasts. I view this unnecessary reliving of a horrible time for many abused people as a thinly veiled fascination and repressed urge on the part of the so-called counselors to delve into homosexual territory themselves.

In fact, it seems the evangelical crowd is becoming more invasive toward the gay and lesbian community, totally ignoring the megachurch industry that is raking in millions from gullible people trying to buy eternal life, ferociously defensive about guns, and extremely pro-war, especially in the Promised Land. Palin, I fear, is one of those powerful evangelical zealots who, if they can get away with it, would make participation in the Christian faith compulsory. These people consider anyone who doesn't share their exact belief systems as either "lost" in dire need of "saving", where they can become totally "free in Jesus", which makes no sense whatsoever when one considers the blindfold one must wear to be a good "Christian" - i.e., Creationist, anti-science and totally compliant in the rituals they have bestowed upon themselves over the millenia, or the "enemy", Satan and his army, trying to wipe them out. Those who haven't heard the "good news", and I'd like to find someone who hasn't, thanks to society allowing these people access to everybody and basically kissing their holy asses in order not to offend. And they think nothing of taking their "message" to Muslim and Buddhist countries where converts will face torture and death, and call them "martyrs".

I know of a few people here in the Bible Belt who have stated they have no qualms about forcing a Holy War upon the Middle East, and probably anywhere else, in order to make everybody "Christian" for their own supposed good. You see, it's all out of love and eternal salvation these people want to wage a genocidal campaign in places like Israel and Iran, while they sit back in the US and let somebody else's kid die for it. The three most radical evangelicals I know never served in the military, nor have their children. Two dodged the draft with student deferments; the other was young enough not to be in a draft, but chose not to enlist. Nobody cheers louder when our soldiers die pointless deaths than these cowards. They of course "support the soldiers", but that's a hollow statement when the military shouldn't even be in Iraq or Afghanistan in the first place. How about that for pro-life? Seems the only time fighting for life is for newborns, while senseless slaughter for adults is no biggie. I say senseless death is senseless death, regardless of age. We have to give the religious right their freedom of speech and right to practice their faith, to be sure.

We cannot allow these people to convert anybody at the end of a gun barrel or threat of prison, which is a closer threat than most people realize when you understand just how mindless these people are and how willing they are to follow the leaders right off the cliff. Alarmist? If Mike Huckabee and or Palin become front-runners for the GOP in 2012, remember this letter and tell me then how close we've come to a theocracy. Better use that 1st Amendment and demand your freedom FROM religion while you can.

Fayetteville, AR

Subject: The Smart Grid Project

I've spent some time recently perusing the DOE Web site and reading the Smart Grid PDF documents available there. My motivation for doing this was primarily a natural curiosity about what the project was all about and why it's taking so long to see any sign of it. I was somewhat gratified to read that a pilot project is being undertaken in the state of West Virginia. But I was totally dismayed to learn that the scope of the project is extremely narrow and is full of gaping holes in important areas of basic subject matter related to energy efficiency.

In the first place they seem to have skipped the analysis phase and accepted what appears to me to be a rather minimalist set of goals that the project attempts to address. It seems obvious to me that a project with such broad implications for the future direction of the generation, distribution and consumption of electrical power should start with an analysis of the history of electrical power in this and other countries. What were the parameters that drove the development of our current system? How does our system differ from other widely used systems and standards? What are the advantages and disadvantages of these various standards? Most importantly, what modern trends in consumer devices might impact a comprehensive redesign of our electrical grid? I couldn't find any reference to any of these fundamental considerations anywhere on the site.


Ignoring history is a significant modern trend in American educational practice. It's perhaps understandable in the "information age" where everyone seems to just assume that we know everything and have little, if anything, to learn from historical analysis. I've previously submitted to the mailbag a proposal for teaching science and history together in elementary and secondary schools. Predictably the topic failed to ignite any interest - the "progressive movement" being what it is today - 100% political and personality driven.

Since interest is so limited, I'll give just one example of why the history of our existing grid system can offer valuable insights into the design goals for the modern electrical grid project at DOE. The system originally implemented by Thomas Edison's company, General Electric, was based on direct current. This system was actually rolled out in major metropolitan areas like NYC and San Francisco. Remnants of it still exist today, largely providing power for elevators in older office buildings. It was quickly discovered however that DC had propagation characteristics that made it very unsuitable for distribution over longer distances. The 60 cycle, three legged 230/115V hot-neutral-hot system overcame these deficiencies and quickly became the standard that we use today. Up until quite recently this has been a practical and generally efficient method for the transport and use of electrical power. But starting with the invention of the transister and trending sharply upwards with the advent of LCD flat panel TV's and computers demand for low voltage DC power has increased steadily until today these devices represent the largest portion of the electrical load. Everyone is familiar with the ubiquitous "power bricks" that adapt 110V down to 12V DC that most modern electrical devices require. These devices are not very efficient (a quick feel will tell you that many of them convert as much energy into heat as they do into useable electrical power) and most consume power whether or not an end device is actually plugged into them. Concurrently with this development, home generation of electricity from solar and wind energy has become much more common. These sources of energy are inconstant and require storage facilities that are invariably DC.

So we have an original DC or AC source, stored in a DC medium, up converted to 110V AC and then immediately down converted back to the 12V DC that modern appliances require. AC is still obviously required for transmission over distance, but at the home level the requirement is primarily for 12V DC. So the question becomes why not cut out the up and down conversions and wire homes with standardized DC outlets that devices like televisions and computers can plug into directly? These could be wired side-by-side with conventional 3-prong outlets to accommodate devices that require them - but increasingly devices could be manufactured to directly use the new 12V standard. The wiring would have to be slightly different, but would not represent a significant impediment or expense to an updated electrical code that would mandate their implementation in newly constructed homes. Existing office buildings could offer larger versions of the power brick devices that are much efficient until offices buildings are updated to the newer standard.

My question is: shouldn't these rather obvious considerations at least be addressed by the DOE? If we're going to do something this big we owe it to ourselves to get it right.

Tim Mooring
San Francisco, CA


One of my favorite T.V. shows is "Dexter" on the Showtime cable channel. It is about a friendly serial killer. Well, here in America, we have a very unfriendly serial killer living amongst us. His name is George Walker Bush! Bush is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people in Irag and Afghanistan and other parts of the world. By the dictionary definition, that makes George W. Bush a serial killer! Why is this man not behind bars where he belongs? Bush and Cheney destroyed this country, and they did it on purpose. They have no right to continue to live in American after all the damage that they have done to this country and to the rest of this world. Bush and Cheney are serial killers. They are also guilty of high crimes, misdemeanors, felonies and treason. Why are these evil criminals not in prison or in front of a firing squad where they belong????

Shirley Dianne Jackson
Portland, Oregon

Subject: Global Warming Deniers Conjure Up A Conspiracy Of Climatologists

"The blame the messenger game?"


"But why?"

"In order to block efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases."

"Based on?"

"The greed of the fossil fuel industry."


"The public accepts the scientific evidence that greenhouse gases are causing climate change and gets behind efforts to do something about it."

"The consequences if the deniers prevail?"

"Doomsday by the end of this century with someone's (could be yours, could be mine) child or grandchild destined to be the person who has to answer the call, 'Will the last one out please turn off the lights.'"

"But if the public ignores the deniers and supports reducing greenhouse gases even though this may entail serious life style changes?"

"Reason will have prevailed over irrationality and superstition to the extent that there'll be a real chance for peace on earth and goodwill to all living beings."

A BuzzFlash Reader

Subject: EPA Labels Greenhouse Gases A Danger To One's Health

"Based on the EPA's endangerment finding, in his capacity as chief executive is President Obama going to take on the polluters by putting limits on greenhouse gas emissions?"

"Most likely he'll cave and say something like, 'We must never forget that, like the rest of us, these fossil fuel polluters are people and we can't just put them on the doll like we did the auto workers."

"But if he does cave people are going to die."

"Cause of death?"

"When it came to limiting greenhouse gases, President Obama caved."

"Why doesn't he go to the people, the way he did during his election campaign?"

"Get back on the populist trail?"


"His populism was all show."

"The reason being?"

"He's a company man."

A BuzzFlash Reader

Subject: War tax

I totally agree with Jane Hawes....she has it right....raise taxes for both the war and social security on the very wealthy...no wonder they are wealthy...they pay less than half what the rest of us do for Social Security tax..I can remember a time, when we only worked three months out of the year for Social Security....it is not fair!!!!!!!!! And as she says...most of the very wealthy have no kids fighting in either of those two wars....Iraq being so useless....and costing a horrid amount of money...actually we should bill Erik Prince for that war...that is where all the money went....it is disgusting what Blackwater got from a contrived and made up war....most people know that! Either bring them all home...or pay for it with a war tax on the wealthy.

SW St. Louis

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