Brazil, the blackouts, and Russian nukes

It takes an event like the Brazilian blackouts to bring home the banality of Twitter, where the event barely registered amidst the maelstrom of posts on New Moon and Captain Zeep. But the incidents can be seen as good evidence of just how rickety a lot of the developing world’s infrastructure is getting under the pressure of growth.  With its regional power status—and hosting of both the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016—Brazil will be more in the limelight than most, at least until the developed world starts sharing a similar problem.  At which point we’ll be too deep in our own energy/infrastructure mess to worry about those of others, especially since it turns out that peak oil is coming even faster than we thought, with reports that world oil estimates have been drastically inflated.  In the meantime, we’re grabbing all the kilowattage we can lay our hands on. . . .for example, did you realize that 10% of the U.S. power supply right now comes from dismantled Russian nukes?  The spoils of empire indeed.

UPDATE:  killer blackout pix.

8 Responses to “Brazil, the blackouts, and Russian nukes”

  1. James Davis Nicoll Says:

    I linked to the oil story myself. The responses I got are here:

    In the meantime, we’re grabbing all the kilowattage we can lay our hands on. . . .for example, did you realize that 10% of the U.S. power supply right now comes from dismantled Russian nukes?

    I’m stuck in the Land of Weird Synchronicity and this month it involves people mentioning topics that are in the book I am reading for fun, Whole Earth Discipline by Stewart Brand (who edited a book called Space Colonies, which aged badly, and wrote a book called How Buildings Learn, which was imo pretty interesting). He chooses to see the burning warheads things as a good, since it draws down the number of nuclear warheads available to toss around.

    My sense of what you find interesting indicates to me you’d enjoy WED, although I think you’d find things to disagree with in it.

  2. David Williams Says:

    I remember perusing Whole Earth Catalog back in the day. Will check out WED.

    And yeah, I think that burning the nukes for fuel is indeed the best use for them. And certainly a far better place for them to end up than, say, Bin Laden’s cave.

    Synchronicities seem to be increasing on all fronts right now. . . .

  3. James Davis Nicoll Says:

    When you pick it up, the annotations can be found here:

  4. David Williams Says:

    txs . . ! love that first quote “We are as gods, and have to get good at it.”

  5. Tom Doyle Says:

    Stewart Brand’s work with the clock of the long now project is also interesting.

  6. Brian Says:

    I’m probably burying the lead here, but I don’t think I’d underestimate the power of Twitter so quickly. At the very least I wouldn’t call it banal. And to the point, I can’t find a single reference to this Captain Zeep. (Am I uncool that I don’t know who this is?) I find a huge historical and current trend for brazil+blackout. I’m damn sure Twitter is a lot quicker at producing a real-time stream of information than the legacy search engines are currently.

    Second, best we power our country with the old Russian shit than let it trade on the Al Qaeda Weapons Exchange–who did not take yesterday off as a memorial day. It’s just as good as using fallen steel from the World Trade Centers to build the USS New York. I guess.

    BTW, the Times (original source of the article on nukes & power says the following:

    A subheading on Tuesday with an article about the use of old nuclear bomb cores to produce electricity misstated the source of the bomb material used to generate power in the United States. It comes from bombs dismantled by both the United States and Russia — not from Russian bombs alone.

  7. David Williams Says:

    Fair point on Twitter. I’ll freely admit to being behind the times there.

    And too, re the correction on the bombs. Certainly a modern version of “beat the swords into ploughshares.”

  8. David Williams Says:

    (And Captain Zeep is me starting rumors.)