Choose Joy

By Energia

safety blip

I often take safety blips in case I don't see anything more interesting later. This isn't an emergency blip per se, it is a safety blip.

I had some wonderful news I was going to share, to help offset all the bad in the world, but I forgot what it was. 

I'm sure it had to do with renewable energy and rural electrification. 

Since I don't remember what it was, I'll throw out something random. 

Long, long ago, in the US, electric companies used to throw, "electric circuses." They'd get a big tent and a woman would show everyone how to use different electric appliances. People had nothing better to do because they didn't have TV yet, so they would come and be dazzled. 

I've been thinking a lot lately about cooking and I've even done it, twice this week. 

A few years ago I made an argument I considered so radical that I had numerous people at my company read it before sending it off to the client. The notion was we should stop pushing improved cookstoves in developing countries and just go to modern fuel stoves, either electricity or LPG. We've tried improved cookstoves (meaning more efficient, less polluting) for three decades. We've made them so they burn less charcoal. We've made them so they can be locally produced and repaired. We've done focus groups and iterative design so they met the expressed desires of the women who we hoped would use them. We've made solar cookstoves that use no charcoal at all. They are all failures. Let us just stop already and do something transformative. 

With an electric cookstove you release no pollution, meaning you do not damage the cook's lungs. You don't release soot that makes its way to Artic (not exaggerating). You don't deforest, you don't change the microclimate, you don't destroy local agriculture. You can turn it off when you are done so nothing is still burning and poor women don't reach in and grab the still burning charcoal to pull it out of the fire and stop its consumption and burn their fingers. You can set something to cook and then LEAVE and do something else in the house rather than attend the food non-stop. IF you provide reliable electricity (not a given), women who live in a city actually prefer your new-fangled cookstove. If you can use a pay-as-you-go meter, people can pay - this is huge - the same amount for electricity as they do for charcoal, or $1 a day. You can even finance electric cooking appliances through the electric bill. 

It is one of the things I hope to add to my portfolio at work. I've even discovered there is a group of people working on it, so it shouldn't b too difficult for me to get to be involved. 

This weekend we will get walloped. "Winter storm watches and warnings blanket a 1,700-mile swath across the central and eastern United States, heralding the approach of a significant storm system that could plaster 70 million Americans with snow."

Here, we have a winter storm watch. "In the immediate Washington area, the Weather Service is calling for 1 to 3 inches of snow, with up to 5 inches in a few areas, along with 0.1 inches of ice. It also cautioned wind gusts could reach 45 mph." 

I guess I will stay at home.

Stay safe and hope you keep power. 

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