Wednesday, January 09, 2008

California: big brother will control your home temperature

It sounds as a joke but it is probably a serious proposal (PDF). The California Energy Commission is going to decide whether the Californian utilities will control heating and air-conditioning in your house and all other buildings with a radio-controlled thermostat:
NC Times
The mechanism would apply in "emergencies". For example, during a heat wave, it would guarantee that the citizens of California can't really use air-conditioning. ;-) Air-conditioning will only be possible if the temperature around is already the optimal one.

In Ontario, as Tim Patterson reports, a similar policy already works on a voluntary basis. You save CAD 25.00 on your electrical bill if you allow the big brother thermostat in your house.

Well, there can be cases when such extreme measures may avoid blackouts. But I think that one could still find more market-friendly solutions of such situations. For example, electricity-powered transportation could switch to fossil fuels, much like other places where this switch is possible. Also, the price of electricity could be variable and jump whenever it is necessary. But forcing all citizens to buy and have a gadget in your home that is controlled by someone else seems a little bit too much.

An even better solution might be to build some new power plants, for example nuclear ones.

And that's the memo.

Thanks to Marc Morano.

Three quadrillion lawsuit

The Katrina victims have sued the U.S. and its engineers who designed the levees for more than USD 3 quadrillions - USD 3,014,170,389,176,410 if you care.
The U.S. would have to pay the U.S. GDP for 250 years. The amount is approximately equal to the total product of mankind in the world between homo erectus and 2008. If the amount is paid in pennies, the coins would reach 150 times to Saturn and back.

There are a few hopes for the engineers. One of them is that someone figures out that the quadrillionish plaintiffs are insane and must be medically treated. Another chance is a new hurricane that will kill all of them. At any rate, I think it is very clear that the levees were not delivered with these full guarantees and relatively ordinary people such as fallible engineers simply can't be responsible for events that are so much more powerful than a few human beings. Even if you slash the amount by three or four orders of magnitude, you would still have an absurdly high amount.

Many people - but not all of them in the Gulf of Mexico - have surely suffered but it is unacceptable to transform their suffering - one that was caused mainly by Mother Nature - into a huge financial tragedy for additional groups of people or profits for other folks who don't deserve them.

The levees at least have some rational core. However, CNN Money informs about possible lawsuits against a toymaker and cruise operator for "not telling enough about their contribution to global warming". Unless it is going to be swiftly and universally accepted by lawyers as a fashionable postmodern insanity, this tendency poses a real threat to the judicial system and the global economy.

If you want to know one more example of the recent madness, read what project "Dr" Richard Somerville, a member of the losing debate team of the alarmists, is considering:
"I think a dramatic shocking surprising climate event that is unambiguously due to global warming may be the only thing that motivates people and governments."
Well, before Mr Somerville is executed for threatening the civilization, he should pay millions of dollars to Michael Crichton for shamelessly stealing the idea of a vast ecoterrorist attack described in "State of Fear".

Hat tip: Anthony Watts

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