Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Age of Stupid

Few week ago, I got a postcard inviting me to one of several free screenings of the movie, “The Age of Stupid,” at the Palm. It's a futuristic story of the last man on earth going through the earth’s archives (clips from real events) and asking the audience how and why we missed the boat on global warming and hence did nothing to stop the destruction that followed. The last man on earth was played by British actor, Pete Postlewaite.

Excellent film, very well done. The screenings were sponsored by Sunpower, the company now working on the California Valley Solar Ranch project. That project will be a 250 megawatt photovoltaic array located on private property out in California Valley and when up and running will power about 90,000 homes. The project is chugging through the County Planning process and on its jumps through the various other environmental hoops.

I asked one of the representatives the question I was dying to ask and it’s this: Why doesn’t some outfit like Sunpower (at or by the way) start a program of Rent-A-Roof and put solar panels on every rooftop in SLO County. Reply: only about 30% of the homes here are positioned properly to take advantage of solar panels, i.e. a south facing roof. And, let’s say all 30% wanted to participate in some kind of Rent-A-Roof deal, get free power then the company would sell all the extra power back to the grid, doing so might well trigger the law that would find that 30% to be a “public utility.” And that would put the Rent-A-Roof Company in the clutches of the PUC which means a morass of paperwork and bureaucratic red tape and political game playing (It’s the PUC, fer God’s sake!) that could tie up such a project for YEARS, no matter that it was a project that was helping global warming efforts and removing 30% of SLO County homes from carbon based lighting.

In short, great idea but because of the way our laws are set up, impossible to pull off. Too many roadblocks in place and too many special interests wanting to keep those roadblocks in place, like PG&E for example, a company that doesn’t want to see solar anything unless THEY own it and get the profit from it.

Once again, in the age of stupid, money and profit takes precedence over the health and safety of the earth. Why am I not surprised. As the movie title aptly has it: The Age of Stupid. .

The battle for California Valley’s solar plans will be in the news sooner or later. The usual suspects will arrive at the meetings, NIMBYs disguised as “concerned citizens” to talk about pronghorn antelopes and such like. Hopefully, serious concerns like the need for water to run whatever solar array systems go out there will be looked at. As for the pronghorns, one thing that a lot of “concerned citizens” keep forgetting is this: Global warming will destroy various endangered habitats worse than any solar arrays will so the endangered whatevers are doomed one way or the other. The bigger question is: do nothing and lose it all anyway, or do something and lose half. Take your pick.

Well, stay tuned. With luck the international meetings in Denmark will bring forth something more than useless speeches and ignored promises. In addition to a carbon tax, I’d suggest massive government investments in R&D as well. There’s an array of very smart people toiling away in obscurity in their little privately funded start-up companies. That’s all well and good for normal times with inventors working on nice little profitable widgets, but this is literally World War Three Time, which means all the nations of the world need to get their governments on board vis a vis R&D investment since it literally is a matter of national security for everybody.

But that’s unlikely to happen, certainly in our country, since our Congress is a wholly owned subsidiary of CorporateVille and CorporoateVille won’t do anything unless it can make a profit and that includes blocking solar, for example, until it can wring the last dollar out of some carbon based fuel source it owns, no matter that that last bit will be the tipping point of utter destruction. Not important. Corporate bottom line’s important, not the earth. Which is the problem in a nutshell.

And seeing what a hash our Wholly Owned Subsidiary of the Health Insurance Companies i.e. Congress has made of health care reform, I won’t hold my breath on their helping to solving energy issues. That’ll likely have to be left to China or Europe or even India.

Thus do empires and countries rise and fall in the Age of Stupid.


annerallen said...

Well said, Ann! This is such an important point: "one thing that a lot of “concerned citizens” keep forgetting is this: Global warming will destroy various endangered habitats worse than any solar arrays." Elitist NIMBYS disguised as environmentalists make me furious.

Anonymous said...


Churadogs said...

Ah, Merle, couldn't have said it better myself.

Alon Perlman said...

Neither could I Ann.

However I think Merle , based on the attire in the attached picture does appear to be prepared for Global warming, at least assuming that the ice on top of mount fuji has already melted.
"merlemunson said...

10:48 PM, December 08, 2009"

I suggest you go to
and click on "report abuse" then delete the comment post above your comment
Word verification; kneste
Apparently the ghost in the machine has a different phonetic spelling for "kinjitsu"

Sewertoons said...

Wow! Chinese porn!

Mike Green said...

Damn you Toons,
Made me waste three whole minutes clicking on the links.
Cute girl, but hardly porn.

Alon Perlman said...

U r right toons, I was wrong-Taiwan it is.
Word verification: leong
Ok computer, that's what we will call her.
Mike Green is right Ann, I'm recalling my suggestion, please let leong stay on the site.
Stage name-Merle

Sewertoons said...

Mike - there was no girl picture on the site when I went there, so I went to a translator web page and pasted in the Chinese to see what this was about in English. Soft core.

Sorry Mike Green!

Mike Green said...

Well don't do that again unless you have the real deal!
Arron has tutored you extensively!
Yelling "Chinese porn" on a blog, well, that is just beyond the right to free speech, and you oughta know it....
You can't yell FIRE in a theater, (hmnn. maybe a little presumptuous of me, since L.O. doesn't have a theater)..
Uh, what did the text say? I only clicked a few times (OK a lot)
Nice gilrl.
Is this the result of global warming?

Polar bears are going to need a miracle.

Sewertoons said...

Oh Mike Green! You are funny!

(Besides, porn is in the eye of the beholder!)

Hey, how's life wherever it is that you are now? Welcome back!

Churadogs said...

The Age of Stupid, indeed. If somebody had posted a link to some serious scientific papers or new, critical global warning data, would anyone have bothered to click on the link? But porn? Million hits. Talk about fiddling while Rome burns. This is why there is little hope for the human race: Choice between survival and staring at porn? Right. It's porn. This is not a species hard wired for survival, so buy-bye.

Alon Perlman said...

All hail, all hail, the rise of the new Atlantis

Why think
Why link
Wash the future down the sink
Polar bears are now extinct

Same as upper primates
Who Modified their climates
Bought SUV's with refinements
Then wondered where the rains went

Look, look what have we wrought.

Collapsed Atlantic water transport.
Lake Tahoe is now a sea port.
Global summits again fall short
All the arguing was for naught.

All hail, all hail, the new Atlantis

Atlanta Airport Hub sinks in a hiss.
All good intentions gone amiss.
Sealed our fate with a consumption kiss.
Opinion, Guess, or just a hit and miss.

Bring the opinionators to front the class
Wisdom make way for Smarty pantss

All hail, all hail, the new Atlantis

So stand up, raise your glasses,
And watch as the tipping point passes.

Word verification; anester
what we should all be called

Since there won't be future generations who will "C" us as anCestors.

Alon Perlman said...

Mike Green,
We don't have a theatre, but we do have a fire house.
When an emergency services committee meeting finished, I once said "Theater!" loudly.
I didn't yell it though,
Firemen off shift, may had been sleeping.