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Blaze
2003-Nov-01, 06:29 PM
This might be the wrong board to post this question to, but has there been any scientific explanation (whether astrological or geological) for all these worldwide power outages this year?
Watching the news last night, I heard California had a pretty wide spread power outage. I believe it was in Los Angeles?
Anyone?

Some links:

http://www.disasternews.net/news/news.php?articleid=2041
http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/mld/ledgerenquirer/news/5537017.htm
http://www.helsinki-hs.net/news.asp?id=20030825IE3
http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/08/14/power.outage/
http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/6515862.htm
http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/sports/colleges/university_of_kansas/6814790.htm
http://sanjose.bizjournals.com/sanjose/stories/2003/08/25/daily68.html
http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/s961990.htm
http://www.bradenton.com/mld/bradenton/news/6878994.htm

The Supreme Canuck
2003-Nov-01, 06:41 PM
That may have something to do with the wildfires there. Plus the California power grid has been pretty bad for a few years now. Not enough supply for the demand. Nothing to worry about.

Added: The articles also seem to have different dates. These are just normal power outages throughout the course of a year. It just looks bad when you collect them. :wink:

TriangleMan
2003-Nov-01, 07:52 PM
has there been any scientific explanation (whether astrological or geological) for all these worldwide power outages this year?
Some links:
http://www.disasternews.net/news/news.php?articleid=2041
The article itself gives the reason - an uprooted tree.

http://www.helsinki-hs.net/news.asp?id=20030825IE3
The article itself gives the reason - maintenance on a line.

http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/08/14/power.outage/
Here's (www.cbc.ca/news/background/poweroutage) some detail on that blackout.

http://sanjose.bizjournals.com/sanjose/stories/2003/08/25/daily68.html
The article itself gives the reason - an overloaded line likely from a squirrel impacting the line.

http://www.bradenton.com/mld/bradenton/news/6878994.htm
That article is about the Italy power outage, already explained in the first link.

So far that is 5 of the 9 links, no astronomical or geological reasons.

Blaze
2003-Nov-01, 08:05 PM
I've been around long enough to dissect then discern what the media (and politicians) are not telling us!

So again, I’ll pose the question, has there been any reason (outside of the lame excuses that they DO give us) that would suggest the cause of these blackouts?

Blaze
2003-Nov-01, 08:07 PM
I've got to believe it's either solar or tectonic related

The Supreme Canuck
2003-Nov-01, 08:07 PM
Well there might be, but there is always the principle of Occam's Razor: the simplest solution is usually the correct one. In these cases, the simplest solutions are given and are therefore the most likely.

Musashi
2003-Nov-01, 08:10 PM
Yes, that those excuses are not lame :)

The generation and distribution of electricity, especially on the scale we are talking about, is an inherently fragile thing. It takes very little to disrupt the power system. Because of this, there are a lot of safeguards put into place to prevent real damage to the production facilities and the end users. This makes electricity less dangerous, but even more fragile. Small things will lead to a blackout as opposed to destroying the plant. It's the nature of the system to have blackouts. Add in fun things like lightning, high winds, animals, heat spells, etc. and you get brownouts and blackouts. I don't feel that it is a recent occurance, but I think that it is becoming a larger problem (in California at least) because the demand keeps growing and the supply is not following.

Musashi
2003-Nov-01, 08:11 PM
If it is solar or tectonic related, why aren't the media telling us that?

Blaze
2003-Nov-01, 08:12 PM
Never heard of Occam's razor and I must say, it's an interesting way of thinking and seeing things! Thanks!
(just looked it up)
------------------

Occam's razor is a logical principle attributed to the mediaeval philosopher William of Occam (or Ockham). The principle states that one should not make more assumptions than the minimum needed. This principle is often called the principle of parsimony. It underlies all scientific modelling and theory building. It admonishes us to choose from a set of otherwise equivalent models of a given phenomenon the simplest one. In any given model, Occam's razor helps us to "shave off" those concepts, variables or constructs that are not really needed to explain the phenomenon. By doing that, developing the model will become much easier, and there is less chance of introducing inconsistencies, ambiguities and redundancies.
http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/OCCAMRAZ.html

Humphrey
2003-Nov-01, 08:14 PM
I''m with canuck and triangleman.

We had a local power outage last week. A tree downed a line. It was that simple.

No UFO's, no Govt. coverup there. Just a downed line by a tree. It happens all the time.

A grounhog chews into a buried line and youm have a small power outage.


Added: one reason why if power is disrupted from a power plant, many go offline is because of over usage. If one major power plant goes off line for some reason, the others have to cut power to some sections of town or go offline themselves. The demand for power from them by the increased amount of consumers would lead to overusage and even more problems.

Think of it in terms of a delivery service. You have 4 postal service stations. All four overlap eachother and send out packages to the individual houses. Say one of the stations goe off line. So the three tremaining stations have to deliver all of the packages of the 4th sation but with no increase in amount of trucks available or manpower. This can cause overstressing of the services, so instead they just shut down sections of the area at a time and only deliver to certain sections untill the station comes back online.

MAke sense?

Archer17
2003-Nov-01, 08:18 PM
Blaze, you now have have this issue on 3 threads in 2 different fora. I posted a link from the BBC regarding your concerns in the Planet X forum. Here (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3149028.stm) it is again.

Donnie B.
2003-Nov-01, 09:57 PM
A grounhog chews into a buried line and youm have a small power outage.
Not to mention, crispy fried groundhog... :wink:

Kaptain K
2003-Nov-01, 10:19 PM
I've been around long enough to dissect then discern what the media (and politicians) are not telling us.
Let me guess. You are a conspiricy theorist? :roll:

TriangleMan
2003-Nov-01, 10:25 PM
(cue groundhog-conspiracy music) 8-[ 8-[ 8-[

Superluminal
2003-Nov-01, 10:30 PM
With all the record setting solar activity, the sun probally has played a small part in some of the outages.

Humphrey
2003-Nov-01, 10:46 PM
A grounhog chews into a buried line and youm have a small power outage.
Not to mention, crispy fried groundhog... :wink:

Hmm... Does it taste like Chicken?


[heads over to Taco Bell to find out...]
(yah i know bad joke, they don't have that high of a quality meat.)

WHarris
2003-Nov-01, 11:30 PM
A grounhog chews into a buried line and youm have a small power outage.
Not to mention, crispy fried groundhog... :wink:

In the blackout my parent's house experienced a couple of weeks ago, it was a crispy fried squirrel. That's what it gets for chewing into a line leading into a transformer.

Archer17
2003-Nov-01, 11:36 PM
A grounhog chews into a buried line and youm have a small power outage.
Not to mention, crispy fried groundhog... :wink:

Hmm... Does it taste like Chicken?


[heads over to Taco Bell to find out...]
(yah i know bad joke, they don't have that high of a quality meat.)It might've been a bad joke, but I got a charge out of it .. :D 8-[ :oops: :-#

Humphrey
2003-Nov-01, 11:50 PM
I think i better not go. I find Taco bell re-Volting. Same as buying Joules fro m wal-mart.

But i do get amped up thinking about a power outage during a scary flick with my fiancee. ;-)

Archer17
2003-Nov-01, 11:54 PM
..But i do get amped up thinking about a power outage during a scary flick with my fiancee. ;-)Bet'cha sparks fly then :wink:

tuffel999
2003-Nov-02, 01:00 AM
Not power related per se but when I worked at IT in my university one of our T1 lines went down. Now with the way the line was layed out the diconnect could have happened anywhere over a 30 mile length(thanks Peachnet :evil: ). Anyway, so they started back tracing the line form the other end. low and behold the line was out for several days and finally they found the reason. 4 feet from where the line entered the IT building a squirrel had chewed through the line becasue the casing had come lose. 12 days to find a disruption 4 feet from the IT directors window! So crazy things like that can cause huge problems. Damn squirrels!!!

HenrikOlsen
2003-Nov-02, 01:20 AM
On the other hand, we do get some power outages that seem to be related to geomagnetic storms, such as the one they had in Malmö a couple of days ago when we got hit by the big CME.

Xbalanque
2003-Nov-02, 02:01 AM
(cue groundhog-conspiracy music) 8-[ 8-[ 8-[

And yet nobody has mentioned Caddyshack, the pinnacle of the groundhog-conspiracy genre.

:lol:

sarongsong
2003-Nov-02, 05:16 AM
Blackouts were a key weapon the energy manipulators used in their California shake-down. You'll gladly pay more when the lights go out; pay now, question later. Another key factor in their greed was to forego maintenance in favor of immediate profit. Doesn't hurt to have friends [FERC] in high places, either. Now they are being "punished" with fines in the low millions for profits in the billions.
http://makeashorterlink.com/?A23832966
If it worked here...

JS Princeton
2003-Nov-02, 05:59 AM
I'd point out that a lot of uneducated people who fall victim to conspiracy theories have messed up ideas as to how things actually work. When there is a blackout, it doesn't mean that every transmission line has stopped working, it rather means that the powergrid has shut itself down due to overloading. The powergrid may be the most complicated, most poorly designed, and most precarious bit of technology created by humankind. It is highly susceptible to a cascade effect of itty-bitty problems becoming big ones in a hurry. That's why there's a bit of a clamour for an upgrade to the grid: a better-designed system is far less likely to have the catastrophic problems our current one seems to throw at us.

If we do not upgrade the grid system and soon expect more massive blackouts in the future. This isn't the result of conspiracy, but merely the fruits of poor and haphazard engineering. While the powergrid is an amazing thing, it's very precarious. Something to think about the next time you flip a lightswitch.

Musashi
2003-Nov-02, 07:49 AM
Hey, that's what I said! ;) It always feels good to get confirmation or support from someone like JS or Jay.

aurora
2003-Nov-02, 05:19 PM
(cue groundhog-conspiracy music) 8-[ 8-[ 8-[

And yet nobody has mentioned Caddyshack, the pinnacle of the groundhog-conspiracy genre.

:lol:

I started playing "I'm All Right" in my head...
:lol:

crux
2003-Nov-02, 10:06 PM
Blaze wrote
"Occam's razor is a logical principle attributed to the mediaeval philosopher William of Occam (or Ockham). The principle states that one should not make more assumptions than the minimum needed. This principle is often called the principle of parsimony. It underlies all scientific modelling and theory building. It admonishes us to choose from a set of otherwise equivalent models of a given phenomenon the simplest one. In any given model, Occam's razor helps us to "shave off" those concepts, variables or constructs that are not really needed to explain the phenomenon. By doing that, developing the model will become much easier, and there is less chance of introducing inconsistencies, ambiguities and redundancies.
http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/OCCAMRAZ.html "

Perhaps because my background is in the arts rather than the sciences,
I think it is about time to let go of Occam's razor.

While it may it be a valuable tool when creating a scientific model - It could also be a way to "dumb down" a creative, thinking and therefore potentially "dangerous" portion of society - the scientists. (when it comes to control or lack there of)

I think care should be given when applying this "razor". Should it really be applied to everything? Sounds like a convenient way to put blinders on a society - I guess it is all in how it is used.

It reminds me of the control imposed by the governing church of the day on Medieval society...

tuffel999
2003-Nov-02, 10:23 PM
Who was it who said never attribute to malice what can be easily be explained by stupidity? (or something like that, somone throw me a bone here)

At any rate it is a good philosophy becasue more things can be explained through shear stupidity than malice or manipulation. This falls along the lines of the simplest answer is most often the correct one. People tend to over analyze things at times. Most times the simple answer is the right one because the universe tends toward simple things over complicated ordered things and this really does work in society too(I know I am applying entropy to people but hey people are lazy as a group).

crux
2003-Nov-02, 10:37 PM
People tend to over analyze things at times. Most times the simple answer is the right one because the universe tends toward simple things over complicated ordered things and this really does work in society too(I know I am applying entropy to people but hey people are lazy as a group).

I may be mistaken but are you suggesting that one should not question and challenge but accept with complaciency that which they are handed?
I would think that this would go against the entire premise of scientific research and discovery.

Is the world still flat?

tuffel999
2003-Nov-02, 10:46 PM
I may be mistaken but are you suggesting that one should not question and challenge but accept with complaciency that which they are handed?
I would think that this would go against the entire premise of scientific research and discovery.

Is the world still flat?

No just that the easy answer quite often is the correct one. In the spirit of the thread as it was started the reasons given in the articles are all very possibly the correct reasons. Dumb things really happen to the power grid all the time. It is life. Unfortuantely for some folks that there isn't a conspiracy around every corner. Every time something happens it does not have to be because some great conspiracy by the governemnt to subvert its people. Tree branches are much better at taking out power than the government. How many bombs where dropped in Baghdad in both Gulf Wars and power still flowed? To be honest the government isn't really capable of pulling off all the conspiracy people chalk up to them, they just aren't that good. Sorry they aren't.

(Oh and the world was known not to be flat back in acient greek times at the latest since the earth's circumference had been calculated.)

The scientific method has 4 parts:

1. Observation and description of a phenomenon or group of phenomena.

2. Formulation of an hypothesis to explain the phenomena. In physics, the hypothesis often takes the form of a causal mechanism or a mathematical relation.

3. Use of the hypothesis to predict the existence of other phenomena, or to predict quantitatively the results of new observations.

4. Performance of experimental tests of the predictions by several independent experimenters and properly performed experiments.

Conspiracy theories offer only 2 of these points not all 4. #-o

HenrikOlsen
2003-Nov-02, 11:07 PM
The thing to realise from the beginning is that for any given set of experimental data, there exists infinitely many theories that explain those data.

An honest scientist doesn't talk about a theory as being correct, in the sense of being The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Instead a theory is correct in the sense of adequately explaining all known neasurements.
Other desirable properties of a theory is simplicity and practicality.
Simplicity because the simple theory is easier to make predictions about, and practicality because those predictions must be testable.

Occam's razor is what you use to pick which theory you want to continue working with, not decause the theory picked is the correct one, but because it's the one that makes prediction easiest.

tuffel999
2003-Nov-02, 11:25 PM
The thing to realise from the beginning is that for any given set of experimental data, there exists infinitely many theories that explain those data.

Experimental data only comes in at step 4 theory is at step 2. You have to observe, formulate a hypothesis, predict and then experiment. You don't experiment first. What Blaze(Edit: Blaze may have linked it but THe Supreme Canuck correctly used it) wrote was kind of correct in that Occram's theorm will help at step 2 formulate a hypothesis for why something happened. For example.

1. Power goes out. (There are know any number of reasons why the power went out) You see a tree on top of the lines that have been pulled from a transformer.

2. So you theorize that the tree has fallen on the lines pulling them from their mounting and disrupting the power flow. Not that there is some great geomagnetic phenomen occuring because it does not fit the observation. If you saw no tree than maybe it was something else but if you see a tree on the line. No other model would be as logical.

3.So next you make a prediction that a tree can fall with enough force to break the lines mounting and cause a disruption of power.

4.Now you experiment. If the data does not fit the hypothesis you try a new hypothesis.

Edit: Horrible typing.

aurora
2003-Nov-02, 11:44 PM
I may be mistaken but are you suggesting that one should not question and challenge but accept with complaciency that which they are handed?


Of course not. However (to bring this back to the original topic) when given a choice between a power outage that was reported to have a logical explanation (like, a car hit a power pole and knocked the line down) why should we suddenly assume the power outage was due to Planet X?

AntEater
2003-Nov-03, 12:05 AM
I'd more blame it on modern technology:
Not the blackouts themselves, but rather the potential conspiracy theorists knowing of them...
While power outages in New York and such even made headlines worldwide in 1977, who in NY would have known about a power outage in Sweden or Italy by then?
Only due to the internet, such news are carried around the globe.
I remember when I was in Yugoslavia (Croatia, to be exact) as a child (three times from 1986 to 1989) we had power outages serveral times during each stay.
After every minor storm, the lights went out, yet nobody had any conspiracy theory since everybody knew how crappy the power grid was.

Jpax2003
2003-Nov-03, 12:26 AM
I think blaze is correct and we should suspect that there is a conspiracy with power in America and elsewhere. However, the conspiracy is not about new weapons or space aliens. The conspiracy is about the increasing state of disrepair in our electrical grid. We all know about Enron... little conspiracies are everywhere, but big ones are usually not real.

I think Heinlein said something like "don't invent a conspiracy to explain something when mere incompetence will do"

The conspiracies don't cause the problems, they cover them up.

Many years ago a young family member of mine climbed a tree as a child and accidentally touched a live wire getting electrocuted (but surviving). Turned out the wire was not supposed to be there, they had jumped across a property line instead of along it. The tree was not trimed and the line was degraded. The next night, they came and raised the line several feet higher up the pole and then claimed in court it had always been that way. Trust me, there are conspiracies with the utilities.

Musashi
2003-Nov-03, 12:39 AM
Maybe. But a 'conspiracy' to prevent losing in court vs. a 'conspiray' to... do something (I'm still not clear what) big... not the same thing. In fact, I wouldn't even consider your case a conspiracy, just good, old-fashioned butt-covering post-facto. The other day I screwed up my boss's wire strippers trying to cut a screw. When he asked why they were messed up, I just said 'they've always been like that.' No conspiracy, just plain lying.

Donnie B.
2003-Nov-03, 02:14 AM
I'd more blame it on modern technology:
Not the blackouts themselves, but rather the potential conspiracy theorists knowing of them...
While power outages in New York and such even made headlines worldwide in 1977, who in NY would have known about a power outage in Sweden or Italy by then?
Well, communication is certainly better today than it was in the past, but I think you're exaggerating a bit. There have been intercontinental telegraph lines since the 19th century, telephone lines since the early 20th, and satellite communications since about 1960.

I happened to be in London when the first great New York blackout hit in 1965. My family's flight home was delayed a day. I don't think the internet was used to spread the word back then, but somehow PanAm found out about it...

Now, if you mean, who in New York would care about a blackout in Sweden or Italy, you might have a valid point... :P

Donnie B.
2003-Nov-03, 02:16 AM
Maybe. But a 'conspiracy' to prevent losing in court vs. a 'conspiray' to... do something (I'm still not clear what) big... not the same thing. In fact, I wouldn't even consider your case a conspiracy, just good, old-fashioned butt-covering post-facto. The other day I screwed up my boss's wire strippers trying to cut a screw. When he asked why they were messed up, I just said 'they've always been like that.' No conspiracy, just plain lying.
Shame on you, Musashi! I'm gonna tell... :wink:

AntEater
2003-Nov-03, 02:17 AM
That was what I meant:
While the rest of the world did notice a blackout in NY, New York certainly never heard about blackouts in Italy or Sweden.
Not even sure that people in Sweden heard about blackouts in Italy 20 years ago. And if yes, it was reported in a 20 column story on the last page of the newspapers.
In times when news were still largely broadcast by news Agencies via Teletyper, the media largely selected what made news and what not. Today, everybody with internet access has more capability of getting news than, lets say the New York times had in the 1970s.

crux
2003-Nov-03, 03:56 AM
Jpax2003 wrote:
I think blaze is correct and we should suspect that there is a conspiracy with power in America and elsewhere. However, the conspiracy is not about new weapons or space aliens. The conspiracy is about the increasing state of disrepair in our electrical grid. We all know about Enron... little conspiracies are everywhere, but big ones are usually not real.

I tend to think this is more the case also - I never said anything about a 'conspiracy' and aurora, never even brought up the concept of "planet X" nor did Blaze (at least I don't think so...) where did that come from? Please re-read my post if you wish. I am just implying that I do not believe everything I read. I am just not sure that we are being told everything regarding these grid failures. I do not know why - Does that mean that I fall into the label "conspiracy theorist?"

There really is a lot of corruption behind the scenes - (I am thinking more along the lines of corporate greed) I do recognize that there were an awful lot of blackouts - around the world is a short period of time - I do not think this is the "norm". Unfortunately, I really do not have the energy right now to investigate whether this is truly something that happens all the time - and I am sure that most of the people on this thread can't invest that sort of time in research to answer the question either.

I really do want to thank everyone for taking the time to answer my post in such a mature and respectful manner. I have learned a lot. I had never heard about Occam's razor regardless of my opinion of it - I do now understand how it is applied and used. I also want to thank "tuffel999" for explaining the 4 steps of scientific method and HenrikOlsen for explaining how Occam's razor is actually applied.

I know from first hand experience that even a squirrel fried on a pole can bring down electricity. I used to work for a high end post production facility that was brought to its knees in utter blackness for half of a day due to one little local squirrel. Needless to say it cost the company many thousands in billing hours.... but that was a local event, it took down half a block in Arlington Virgina. Are there not many many fail safes built into the grid to contain such damage so it does not spread so far?

thanks again.

Jpax2003
2003-Nov-03, 05:41 AM
I didn't mean to imply that you were a conspiracy theorist or crackpot. However, there are some people out there who think that the utility deregulation and subsequent blackouts are indicative of a large corporate conspiracy. Again, not space aliens or antichrists, or that kind of thing.

If you do some research you may find some compelling articles on the subjects of utility monopolization, internationalism, economics, and US politics. I would recommend visiting www.why-us.org or reading the Greg Palast book The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.

russ_watters
2003-Nov-03, 06:50 AM
A grounhog chews into a buried line and youm have a small power outage.
Not to mention, crispy fried groundhog... :wink:

In the blackout my parent's house experienced a couple of weeks ago, it was a crispy fried squirrel. That's what it gets for chewing into a line leading into a transformer. Squirrels are as a matter of fact, the leading cause of power outages in the eastern US.

AntEater
2003-Nov-03, 07:04 AM
Strangely, for Europe the culprit (IMHO) of more blackouts is actually not monopolization, but de-monopolization...
Take Germany, for example (we didnt have blackouts sofar, though).
For ages, at least since WW2, but I suppose even before then power supply was a monopoly. This did not mean the grid was run by the state, but by serveral companies who had a local monopoly for electricity. This was regulated in a contract with the state. Since these firms had no competition, investments were pretty regular. In fact, Siemens or AEG could always rely on domestic contracts as a steady source of income.
For that reason, at least the west german power grid was always up to date with the latest machinery (the east german still used the prewar equipment, which was still better than anything in the east block).
In recent years, this system has been abolished, and the energy market has been liberalized. Since it is Germany, this did not mean less regulations but more :D (we laywers want work).
But investments in new systems have plummeted in the "free energy market" years, even with the old monopoly companies (some of which actually went bankrupt).
Since the liberalization was a EU project (I think even a WTO demand), I suppose the situation in other EU countries is similar, and in eastern Europe, nothing was done or will be done since the wall came down.
My personal opinion is that there are some things which simply cannot be run on a profitable basis and still work properly. These include public transportation, sanitation and power supply.

TriangleMan
2003-Nov-03, 12:01 PM
Squirrels are as a matter of fact, the leading cause of power outages in the eastern US.

(cue squirrel-conspiracy music) 8-[ 8-[ 8-[

kucharek
2003-Nov-03, 12:06 PM
My personal opinion is that there are some things which simply cannot be run on a profitable basis and still work properly. These include public transportation, sanitation and power supply.
Point is, that in such cases you need strict rules and control that everything is according to the rules so no company working in such a field can gain an advantage by cutting down costs on safety issues. So, when you deregulate and demonopolize such things, you actually need more rules and control than before.

Argos
2003-Nov-03, 01:15 PM
Brazil is threatened by power shortages in account of exceptional droughts which have happened in the last five years, once the nation´s energetic matrix is hydroelectrical (85%). The lack of investments in the expansion of the power grid by the operator companies is also blamed for the menace (and I´ve heard that this seem to be the case of California too).

informant
2003-Nov-03, 01:56 PM
I think care should be given when applying this "razor". Should it really be applied to everything? Sounds like a convenient way to put blinders on a society - I guess it is all in how it is used.
Well, you don't have to accept Occam's Razor, if you don't wish to. Not all scientists do. In fact, strictly speaking, Occam's Razor is more a common sense rule than a principle of science. It's got more to do with the solution of mystery novels than with the invention of quantum mechanics.

rigel
2003-Nov-03, 02:37 PM
I have to go along with the squirel conspiracy. Years ago it was just tree limbs that would cause the outages around here. The utility comapny has since maintained their limb cutting program so that outages were rare, an occasional construction company digging up a line. Now it seems that squirels are making a comeback. I know, because they have a secrete base in my attic. Once I am able to translate, I'll be able to predict the nest outage.

Iain Lambert
2003-Nov-03, 02:52 PM
well, it makes sense - squirells are among the leading victims of the lack of oak branches due to electricity companies cutting them back. If they take out enough electricity lines the companies will go bankrupt, and not cut any more down.

TriangleMan
2003-Nov-03, 03:06 PM
Have you seen these terror squirrels (http://www.scarysquirrel.org/special/profiles/)?! 8-[ 8-[ 8-[

gethen
2003-Nov-03, 05:38 PM
Occam's Razor has a counterpart in the field of medicine. It goes something like, If you hear hoofbeats, don't look for zebras. In other words, what is the most likely explanation for the condition you observe? That's where you begin to look. You can always go big game hunting later if you must. Both ideas are just the stuff of common sense. Why look for the most obscure explanation first? Thoroughly investigate the most likely first, and you'll most likely find your answer there.

On another sad not--my brother-in-law almost had a house fire when a mouse chewed through his air-conditioning wiring. So it's gotta be a rodent conspiracy.

TriangleMan
2003-Nov-03, 05:44 PM
So it's gotta be a rodent conspiracy.

(cue rodent-conspiracy music) 8-[ 8-[ 8-[ :lol:

sarongsong
2003-Nov-03, 05:45 PM
Looks like India has their own threat, too:
"NEW DELHI (AP) - In a capital city where cows roam the streets and elephants plod along in the bus lanes, it's no surprise to find government buildings overrun with monkeys.
But the officials who work there are fed up. They've been bitten, robbed and otherwise tormented by monkeys that ransack files, bring down power lines, screech at visitors and bang on office windows..."
http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-3340136,00.html

LTC8K6
2003-Nov-03, 08:02 PM
If you hear hoofbeats, don't look for zebras.

Well, that depends on where you happen to be standing at the time. :D

aurora
2003-Nov-03, 09:06 PM
Occam's Razor has a counterpart in the field of medicine. It goes something like, If you hear hoofbeats, don't look for zebras. In other words, what is the most likely explanation for the condition you observe? That's where you begin to look. You can always go big game hunting later if you must. Both ideas are just the stuff of common sense.

The same thing applies to PC repair. Whenever something goes wrong with my computer, the first two things to do are to:

reboot;
check all the cables.

In other words, always check the stuff that is commonly the problem and also check the stuff that is cheap to fix.

Same thing in auto repair -- check the fluid levels before putting in a new transmission.

Jpax2003
2003-Nov-03, 10:48 PM
Reminds me of an old Far Side cartoon. Two guys crouching behind a tree in a park. One says to the other "First come the squirrels, then come the squirrel guns."

Incidentally, or ironically, as the case may be... Yesterday evening I had a transformer blow on the corner. Traffic light went off and cars hit other cars. They fixed it and guess what? 4am this morning it blew again. Not a tree in sight. I think the ComEd crews just wanted overtime. It's now a blue-collar conspiracy. Luckily, my power stayed on, it was all the other buildings in my complex that went out. Someone up there likes me.

J Pax

P.S. I tried shaving with Occam's Razor, but I prefer Wilkinson's Sword.

mike alexander
2003-Nov-03, 11:55 PM
In a relatively deregulated competitive system you can roughly apply evolutionary concepts and get the same answer. The 'winner' in such a competition is the one showing the best differential success ('making the most money') in the local environment. Since evolution doesn't look forward, but promotes the contestant with the most immediate success, there is little pressure to make long-term investments when short-term competition is the deciding factor.

Kebsis
2003-Nov-04, 04:37 AM
If you're looking for a more interesting reason for the blackouts, it could because there are finally starting to be too many people on the antiquated power grids that many countries including the US are using and are reluctant to update.

TriangleMan
2003-Nov-04, 11:48 AM
It's now a blue-collar conspiracy.

(cue blue-collar conspiracy music) 8-[ 8-[ 8-[

Oh when will these conspiracies end!? :lol:

informant
2003-Nov-04, 11:53 AM
Let's start a conspiracy to end all conspiracies! ;) :D

gethen
2003-Nov-04, 01:49 PM
Already been done. (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=3899&highlight=conspiracy)

Donnie B.
2003-Nov-04, 11:47 PM
I tried shaving with Occam's Razor, but I prefer Wilkinson's Sword.
Try Damocles'... it's always handy! :o

Jpax2003
2003-Nov-05, 08:18 AM
Hmm, now whose sword was it that cut through that pesky knot? Gideon's? or was it Gideon's knot and Alexander or something like that?

HenrikOlsen
2003-Nov-05, 09:07 AM
Gordian knot, Alexanders sword.

sarongsong
2003-Nov-19, 10:19 PM
"The nation's worst blackout began with three power line failures in Ohio and should have been contained by operators at FirstEnergy Corp., a three-month government investigation concluded Wednesday..."This blackout was largely preventable," Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said..."
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