Electricity, food problems in today’s NYT

Two articles in yesterday and today’s New York Times are worth reading if you want to prepare yourself for industrial systems that cannot be relied on. Here’s a chance to modify your behavior to lessen the burden when the systems fail, or better, to encouage as many people as possible to change their behavior so the systems can adapt. When possible, I would like to use the market so people can enjoy its blessings and not get sick or leave future generations with a tab we ran up.

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1. Read “A Power-Grid Report Suggests Some Dark Days Ahead” by Matthew L. Wald, in today’s Times. In short, production and transmission won’t match need in coming years; it isn’t likely to catch up and the trade body empowered to maintain best operations have made a first-ever report “officially filed with federal agencies, and to recommend specific action.” The tea leaves don’t auger well.
The take-away bit is using less power. Turning off unused lights, thoughful use of the new, warmer compact flourescent bulbs and properly shutting off (rather than setting to stand-by) “vampire” appliances is an easy start. Look for Energy Star devices.

2. Read “The Vegetable-Industrial Complex” by Michael Pollan, in yesterday’s Times Magazine, but perhaps better known for his recent book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. He gets the real issue behind dangerous E. coli in spinach.

The take-away bit is supporting local producers and de-centralized production. A garden wouldn’t hurt. Less or no meat consumption — especially from factory farms — is a good idea too.

2.5. The news about the closing of the CBGB in New York is a shame and a problem, too, but perhaps of a different kind.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

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