Decadence, Part 3: Democracy

Decadence_Title_(Screenshot)And so we return to the series. On this one, we’re going to have to turn some filters on since we’re mostly Americans.

He focuses here rather strongly on Australia, which is fine, but Australia is not America, and most of us are Americans. Our problems are not dissimilar, but in ways Australia is the most nanny state of us all, and the amount of government meddling in lives would likely shock us. I also sense a  lessening of the old fear in the English-speaking world (by those opposed to the government, at any given time) of the old fear of “Mobocracy”.

I also notice a decided lack of respect for the base reason we formed states in the first place, to protect ourselves and our property from others, whether gangs, other states, or a flood of refugees who want us to take care of them, and turn themselves into illegal immigrants to be such.

But even if we don’t agree with all he says here, he does an excellent job of limning the issues.

Enjoy, and think.


Find and Repair a 230kV 800Amp Oil-Filled Power Cable Fault

scattergood01Have you ever wondered what guys like I do, when we’re not telling you that you need to do some completely unaffordable thing to keep your house wiring safe? We’re telling the utilities the same thing.

I ran across this the other day, talking about fixing an underground cable from a powerplant in California. It also highlights one of the reasons why a fair number of us are not fond of underground, no matter how much prettier you think it makes the landscape. 🙂

How do you fix a shorted cable ? Not just any cable. An underground, 3-phase, 230kV, 800 amp per phase, 10 mile long one, carrying power from a power station to a distribution centre. It costs $13,000 per hour in downtime, counting 1989 money, and takes 8 months to fix. That’s almost $75 million. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power did this fix about 26 years ago on the cable going from the Scattergood Steam Plant in El Segundo to a distribution center near Bundy and S.M. Blvd. [Jamie Zawinski] posted details on his blog in 2002. [Jamie] a.k.a [jwz] may be familiar to many as one of the founders of Netscape and Mozilla.

To begin with, you need Liquid Nitrogen. Lots of it. As in truckloads. The cable is 16 inch diameter co-axial, filled with 100,000 gallons of oil dielectric pressurised to 200 psi. You can’t drain out all the oil for lots of very good reasons – time and cost being on top of the list. That’s where the LN2 comes in. They dig holes on both sides (20-30 feet each way) of the fault, wrap the pipe with giant blankets filled with all kind of tubes and wires, feed LN2through the tubes, and *freeze* the oil. With the frozen oil acting as a plug, the faulty section is cut open, drained, the bad stuff removed, replaced, welded back together, topped off, and the plugs are thawed. To make sure the frozen plugs don’t blow out, the oil pressure is reduced to 80 psi during the repair process. They can’t lower it any further, again due to several compelling reasons. The cable was laid in 1972 and was designed to have a MTBF of 60 years.

Finding out the location of the fault itself was quite a feat. It involved time-domain reflectometry (inconclusive), ultrasound, and radar (didn’t work) and then using an Impulse Generator-Tester (Thumper) which got them pretty close to the defective segment. What pinpointed the problem was a bunch of car batteries and some millivoltmeters. They hooked up car batteries to both ends, tapped the cable at several points and knowing the drops and resistance of the cable, got within a few feet of the fault. Finally, X-Ray equipment was brought in. Sure enough, they could see the cable shorting against the steel wall of the pipe. Cutting open, and closing it all up, required certified welders spending up to 8 hours on each section to avoid damage to the paper insulation. The welders placed their thumbs 3 inches away from the seams they were welding, and stopped when it got warm to touch, allowing it to cool off before starting again.

The failure was attributed to “TMB”, short for Thermal Mechanical Bending. TMB causes the cable to wiggle in place due to load surges. This eventually causes insulation failure due to abrasion against the pipe and separation of the many layers of paper tape. They repaired the short, put aluminum collars in most of the joints to hold the splices in place, and have added a load management scheme to reduce the current peaks. Apparently, the fix wasn’t good enough. According to this Wikipedia article, “the 315 megawatt capacity Scattergood Steam Plant (Unit 3) to West Los Angeles (Receiving Station K) 230 kV line is having to be replaced after only 45 years of operations, due to multiple failures within this rather long single-circuit, oil-filled, “pipe type” cable.”

Find and Repair a 230kV 800Amp Oil-Filled Power Cable Feels Like Mission Impossible | Hackaday.

TDR’s are one of the most useful diagnostic tools ever, they pay for themselves quite quickly but it’s nearly impossible to convince bean counters that think Radio Shack sells useful meters that a $2K plus tool, that doesn’t fix anything, and occasionally isn’t good enough is justified. Heck, I haven’t even quite convinced myself yet. Thumpers work (sometimes) on the principle of “letting all the smoke out”. It’s much easier to find a broken something than a cracked one, after all. For the rest, if you’re interested follow the links.

It’s part of the reason than the electrical trades are often so fascinating to be in.

And there’s this, from his comment stream, showing how sometimes we manage to get authorized to buy a new widget.

Debate Roundup

A bad man makes everything bad – even things which had come with the appearance of what is best; but the upright and honest man corrects the wrongs of Fortune, and softens hardship and bitterness because he knows how to endure them; he likewise accepts prosperity with appreciation and moderation, and stands up against trouble with steadiness and courage.

Malus omnia in malum vertit, etiam quae cum specie optimi venerant: rectus atque integer corrigit prava fortunae et dura atque aspera ferendi scientia mollit, idemque et secunda grate excipit modesteque et adversa constanter ac fortiter.
Seneca. Epistle. XCVIII

English: Barack Obama delivers a speech at the...

English: Barack Obama delivers a speech at the University of Southern California (Video of the speech) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Part of the reason that Obama looked so bad last night is something we’ve talked about before, he’s an ‘affirmative action‘ hire. He’s never had to perform to the standards that the rest of us have, and last night he ran into a man who has objectively excelled. Mark America nails it here.

Anybody who’s ever raised a child knows that for them to get stronger, they must “take their lumps” along the way.  If you shelter children too much, particularly from the consequences of the choices they’ve made, they don’t learn from their worst mistakes, errors, and simple bad judgments.  The mainstream media has been treating Barack Obama as an affirmative action case for more than four years, and on Wednesday night in Denver, they paid a price:  Unprepared on the facts, and unaccustomed to facing pressing, difficult questions, Barack Obama looked stunned at first, and then annoyed, and finally petulant as he was thoroughly drubbed by Mitt Romney in the first Presidential Debate.  Even Jim Lehrer couldn’t prevent it, despite his obvious efforts to coach and guide President Obama. No amount of deck-stacking on the night could save Obama from his own state of unpreparedness.  This stunning defeat was a demonstration of the real world result of affirmative action, and since the media who has sheltered him is composed of leftists who believe in that nonsense, rather than toughen-up Obama, they will seek to shelter him further.

Continue reading Media Malpractice Leaves Obama Unprepared

Read the link and you tell me, isn’t that exactly what we saw, a confused, out of his depth man-boy who has never had to compete on a level playing field, who didn’t understand that being POTUS is what we used to call “Where the rubber meets the road” a job rooted in reality, not what somebody thinks “ought to be”. I think Mark is right too in that his sycophants and the media (but I repeat myself) will continue to shield him, which doesn’t bode well for him. Welcome to my world, it’s called reality.

Then there’s this from Cassandra over at Villainous Company

 More Romney, Unexpectedly

Veteran pollster Frank Lunz:

Undecided voters in focus group swing sharply toward Romney; Frank Luntz: ‘I’ve never seen anything like this’; CBS post-debate poll shows big win for Romney

Though the Editorial Staff are very much enjoying the public spanking meted out last night to pundits on the left who have relentlessly trashed Romney and pundits on the right who have… well, relentlessly trashed their own guy (when they weren’t publicly wetting their pants in fear of the next soon-to-be-forgotten tempest in a teacup), we have to say that we really don’t understand why any of this should be in the least unexpected.

Romney’s whole life is a list of unexpected outcomes. Privileged youngest son of a self made man gives away his inheritance and goes on to amass a fortune worth over 200 million dollars. Sons of famous men – especially youngest sons – don’t usually equal, much less exceed, their father’s achievements.

Republicans aren’t usually elected governor of liberal states. When is the last time we saw a Republican earn so much respect and loyalty from those who have worked with him – even his political opponents – that one of them went on national TV to testify to his character and integrity?

Righty pundits spend way too much time worrying about Mitt’s supposed lack of conservatism. The man’s life demonstrates that in everything he does, Romney has conservative instincts and values. That he’s not ideological about it doesn’t bother us one bit.


So, while nothing in life is ever certain, we’re hopeful. When it came to the war on terriers, George Bush had an overwhelming array of forces against him and yet – because he focused and refused to give in – he prevailed in the end. We sense that kind of focus and determination in Romney. It’s not to be found in his words, but in his life.

And that’s what really matters.

Villainous Company: More Romney “Unexpectedly!”.

This is somewhat tenuously connected but, it does go to character, which has a lot to do with being a decent president, and that what we were talking about above in regards to Romney.

Via Maggie’s Notebook from Hillbuzz’s Kevin DuJan comes this. Is it true? I haven’t a clue but, I know this, in Chicago, which may be the most corrupt city in the country, you can buy anything you want, or your life can be a living hell. I do know Kevin has been talking about this since before the 2008 election, and has paid a price for it.

Dr. Jerome Corsi has bravely broken the longstanding embargo on talking about Jeremiah Wright’s “Down Low Club” at Trinity United Church of Christ here in Chicago.  You can read his article on this HERE, via WND.

Like “Fight Club”, the first rule of the “Down Low Club” is to never talk about the “Down Low Club”.  If you do, you will be murdered.  That’s not a joke.  There were a string of murders from 2005-2007 that involved men who were killed because they had knowledge of Jeremiah Wright’s Down Low Club and the closeted gay black men who partook in the club’s orchestrated cover-up of their homosexuality.

Read more

Interesting times, huh?


Green-tech bust Solyndra busted for abandoning toxic waste

Image representing Solyndra as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase


Ah, good old Solyndra. Just when you think its gone away with the ½ billion dollars it scammed from its friends in the administration, here comes some more good news. Apparently they are refusing to clean up the toxic mess they left behind at their Miltipas plant. If they aren’t forced to clean it up, guess who is going to have to do it? Yep, the taxpayers, again. From Hot Air.


So much for the “green” in green-tech stimulus.  When Solyndra went bankrupt and flushed over a half-billion dollars in taxpayer money down the drain, it didn’t leave much behind, except for some expensive glass tubes … that they destroyed rather than sold.  They also left something else behind for taxpayers as a memorial to the wasteful spending that Solyndra now exemplifies, and somehow it’s both ironic and fitting (via Katie Pavlich):

Three months ago, CBS 5 caught Solyndra tossing millions of dollars worth of brand new glass tubes used to make solar panels. Now the bankrupt solar firm, once touted as a symbol of green technology, may be trying to abandon toxic waste. …

It’s not just the leftover hazardous materials, but also the machinery used to apply them to the glass tubes. “Certainly those tools will need to be decontaminated, cleaned up, handled correctly as they are taken apart,” he said.

Swardenski told CBS 5 the disposal process is going smoothly in Fremont, but what about nearby Milpitas? Solyndra leased a building on California Circle for the final assembly of its solar panels. But the cleanup at the leased building in Milpitas is in limbo, because Solyndra doesn’t want to pay.

CBS 5 found the building locked up, with no one around. At the back, a hazardous storage area was found. There were discarded buckets half filled with liquids and barrels labeled “hazardous waste.”


More including Video at Green-tech bust Solyndra busted for abandoning toxic waste « Hot Air.

In other news:

I see that windmills stirring the air are leading to increased surface temperatures around the wind farms. Of course, you realize that the weather service stations are at ground level so this will contribute to the global warming climate change hysteria.

Happy May Day to the occupy movement and the rest of the degenerates riff-raff they have accumulated.



Solyndra, Once More, with Gusto!

English: Official portrait of United States Se...

Image via Wikipedia

This nonsense just keeps occurring, well, coming to light would probably be a better phrase. This one was brought to my attention by my friend, LoopyLoo through her My Blog.

I have noted in energy publications that there is a huge capacity in solar panel construction with US and European companies being hurt the worst, even China has overproduction to go along with their low labor cost. The thing is that was foreseeable with governments jumping on the bandwagon and throwing huge wads of cash at it.

The other thing is, as I have been saying being a scientist does not make you a venture (or any other kind of) capitalist. Just because something can be done doesn’t mean it should be, especially on an industrial scale. That’s why Steven Chu was a poor choice for Secretary of Energy. He’s not necessarily a bad (or good) person but, he’s decidedly a square (or at best hexagonal) peg in a round hole.

The video is from CBS News:


All in all, I think we need for the government to be the government and the market the market, and if we’re lucky; never the twain shall meet.

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