Monday, June 25, 2012

Stop the Spin and Report the Facts.


Stop the Spin and Report the Facts.

Fox News ran a lead story this morning saying how a utility scale concentrated solar thermal array could “flip airplanes, blind drivers and kill birds”.  I say with all the sarcasm I can muster in print, this is a great bit of reporting that I am certain they derived all the supporting data that could be contained the text of a single Tweet.  The sad thing is, this blip of a story with no supporting facts is just the sort of thing that will resonate in barber shops and beauty parlors across the country because it is graphic, close to home and very visual, albeit completely false.  Nonetheless the damage is already done by this ‘right wing’ faction of the drive by media.

Concentrated solar uses an array of coordinated mirrors to focus sunlight on a small area which creates very high temps.  Typically salt is liquefied at this point, pulled underground into thermal storage areas which allows the mid day sun’s heat to be utilized all night long to power steam generators.  Yes, this means you have solar power at night.

The only danger posed by this type of energy generation is if you stand in the direct beam at a point at or very near the final concentration of light which is a hundred feet off the ground.  Standing in the light even 30 feet from concentration would be standing in really bright sunlight because the strength of the system is in the coordinated concentration beams of many mirrors.  One beam is just sun in a mirror. 

If a plane were to fly into the light stream, it would hit the building and crash because it would have to be so close.

If a driver would drive into the light stream they would have to be flying a plane and they would be burnt beyond recognition, not just blinded.

If a bird flies into the concentrated stream, it will likely die.  Since the heat at the concentration point is in the 1000’s of degrees, it is unlikely a bird will fly there…but possible.  However, I would call this natural selection.

Let’s suppose the control system for the mirrors goes haywire…all the mirrors start spinning and spreading their light at in different directions.  You will see mirrors reflecting sunlight.  They will be bright but no brighter than sunlight bouncing off any other reflective surface.

Now let’s see how planes, drivers and birds would be affected by coal, nuclear, gas and hydroelectric power plants.

A plane flying within 30 feet of any of these plants will likely also crash into the buildings.

A driver will not be blinded by the light from any of these power plants but at the same distance, they would be exposed to high levels of radiation 30 ft from the core, they would drown 30 ft from the turbine, or they would be exposed to dangerous levels of mercury, NoX and countless other harmful pollutants 30 ft from the stack.  This may not kill them today but rest assured, a slow agonizing death from cancer eating away their once healthy bodies awaits.

I am pretty sure the bird will suffer the same fate.

Here is where the real hypocrisy lies.  At the same time they ran this misinformed story void of any logic or fact, they failed to report a story about Chesapeake Energy colluding with competitors to cheat land owners out of their gas rights.  This was a clear case of collusion and market manipulation that affects us little insignificant folks out here call the US Citizen.  This devious action was taken by gas companies who receive 6 times the tax subsidies as all alternative energy combined.  Somehow this is not worth reporting and is trumped instead by a misleading story void of all fact?

I cannot understand why the right and left are so dead set on misrepresenting fact and constantly leaning their arguments one way or another to support their agendas.  Perhaps if media, and with tongue in cheek I will call them ‘news organizations’, would report facts and let all of us out in the real world, us…the unwashed masses who actually live and work in this world, make our own decisions, we could steer the world in the right direction.  But these talking heads and their masters on the right and the left feel they must divide us with half-truths and partial stories to enrage and manipulate us for their purposes.  Meanwhile they let the extremes of both sides take advantage of us for their own personal gains, i.e. Chesapeake Energy and Solyndra.

I for one am tired of being manipulated and will be no one’s pawn. 

They want us to believe that we are either a Left Winger or a Right Winger, a Republican or a Democrat, a Conservative or a Liberal, a Red State or Blue State voter…but I am not Red and I am not Blue…I am some shade of Purple and I would appreciate it if they would stop trying to force me into a box that does not fit me.

Next time Fox says ‘we report, you decide’, I hope they actually begin with the reporting part so I can decide.

Joe Morinville
Energy Independent Solutions
535 Clever Road
McKee's Rocks, PA 15136

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