Heavy Iron = Energy Independence

New York Sun

So, will high oil prices finally force everyone to buy cars the size of toaster ovens, or ride bicycles? Suburban-driving soccer moms, or working Joes driving delivery trucks or taxis may find themselves thinking along those lines every time they pull up at the pump. But the highway of the future won't be crowded with cars like the dinky Honda Insight or Toyota Prius. SUVs will survive and thrive.

The Art of Energy: The Future will not be Painted in Oil

Slate.com

The past, present, and future of our energy economy are on display at the Museum of Modern Art. Don't look for a barrel of crude; admire, instead, what curator Terence Riley describes as "a remarkably beautiful object, half metal, half composite, that goes together in this crazy way that only a computer could understand." A mere 4 feet long, this relatively small but stupendously powerful exemplar of indigenous American craft is a fan blade from a jet engine that powers a Boeing 777. The unnamed artists who created it work for General Electric, the corporate Medici of the modern turbine.

Q&A: Why the Environmentalists Have It All Backward

The Star-Ledger

Everything you think you know about energy is wrong.

In their new book "The Bottomless Well," Mark Mills and Peter Huber preach that efficiency is wasteful, waste is good and fossil fuels are the next best thing to nuclear power. They say America can thank environmentalists for extra coal burned today.

Why the U.S. Needs More Nuclear Power

City Journal

Your typical city dweller doesn’t know just how much coal and uranium he burns each year. On Lake Shore Drive in Chicago—where the numbers are fairly representative of urban America as a whole—the answer is (roughly): four tons and a few ounces. In round numbers, tons of coal generate about half of the typical city’s electric power; ounces of uranium, about 17 percent; natural gas and hydro take care of the rest. New York is a bit different: an apartment dweller on the Upper West Side substitutes two tons of oil (or the equivalent in natural gas) for Chicago’s four tons of coal. The oil-tons get burned at plants like the huge oil/gas unit in Astoria, Queens. The uranium ounces get split at Indian Point in Westchester, 35 miles north of the city, as well as at the Ginna, Fitzpatrick, and Nine Mile Point units upstate, and at additional plants in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New Hampshire.

Can the Terrorists Turn Out Gotham’s Lights?

Who stayed lit after Gotham's lights went out during the blackout of August 2003? Batteries and standby generators kicked in to keep trading alive on the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq. But the AmEx failed to open; true, it had backup generators for the trading-floor computers, but it depended on Consolidated Edison to cool them, so that they wouldn't melt into puddles of silicon. Banks kept their ATM-control computers running at their central offices, but most of the ATMs themselves went dead. With their robust backup generators, Verizon's wireline switching centers smoothly handled traffic volumes three times above normal, but cell phone service deteriorated fast, since soaring call volumes quickly drained the cell tower backup batteries. Traffic lights went out, but backup generators kept the city's Traffic Management Center alive enough to re-synchronize about half of them quickly when the power came back on. The dedicated fiber line that links City Hall to the city's broadcast media went dark when a Time Warner hub lost power. The radio communications system for police, fire, and other emergency services progressively lost capacity as the backup batteries for many radio repeaters ran down. Power from a satellite truck, though, allowed Katie Couric and Lester Holt to broadcast the Today show from Rockefeller Plaza.