This is the truth, nothing but the truth, and the whole truth, with a waterboard as my witness!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Electric Cars, Hackers, and Economic Woe

I'm evaluating a broad array of "internal public consumption" news, and then I reflect that that term is no longer applicable, and then considering the lead in the headlines, wonder why now?

Lets look at the story Israel Looks to Electric Cars. The article describes the electric car: In an interview with TIME, Israeli president Shimon Peres called the project, "an experimental lab, a pilot project, before it's applied to other, bigger industrialized nations."

My gut reaction is why now?

My second observation is the report by CIA that Hackers breached power grids, and Israel blocks fuel supplies, closes border to poor territory to retaliate for Hamas rocket attacks `800,000 in darkness' as Gaza power cut off, and finally US Video Shows Potential Destruction Caused by Hackers Seizing Control of Electrical Grid.

My gut reaction is why now?

Well the intersection of these reports show that the hacking to date, without the specifics of a SCADA exploit, seem to be more prognostic of an evolving trend in state sponsored denial of power than any actual threat to utilities by hackers. My gut reaction to the DHS video was why there was no mechanical governor on the turbine?

A mechanical -- also known as a counterbalance or flyweight -- governor uses the centrifugal force of the engine's rotation to measure the load on the engine. This measurement is matched to the setting of an adjustment nut. If the load on the engine falls below the setting, a spring opens the throttle and speeds the engine up. An air-vane governor uses the air from the rotating flywheel to determine the speed of the engine. Caution: An incorrectly adjusted governor can cause the small engine to operate at excessively high speeds and damage or destroy it.

I have one question, was the governor tampered with in the DHS video? Could the same results been achieved in the video and without a hack by simply tampering with a mechanical governor? I want to point out that all OEM manufacturers for a variety of reasons install governors to prevent injury and protect the equipment, given the model of the turbine used in the DHS video, public domain information would show that the governor would have been tampered with 'mechanically' prior to a sucessful hacker exploit. My note: A press release does not negate physics nor the corpus of knowledge gained from working with steam, small gas engines, or diesel governors. And in respect to flux managed electrical engines the theory of centrifical runaway is impossible!

My gut reaction is why now?

The escalation was most notable in theattacks on Serbia’s electric power grid. On May 2, NATO aircraftstarted attacking Serbian transformer stations with highly conductivefilaments designed to short-circuit live electric power lines. Whilesuch attacks caused much of the central Serbian power system toshut down, the effects were only temporary. (source:

Hmmmmmmm... My gut reaction is why now?

Iran leader under fire for gas shortages


First, most conflicts today are internal, not between states. This tendency will continue, and states will find their attention increasingly riveted, and resources committed, to dealing with what goes on in countries: shifts in population, the expectation of--and demand for--material progress, and attendant demands on food, water, and energy.

Second, some states will fail to meet the basic requirements that bind citizens to their governments--essential services, protection, and an environment conducive to stability and growth. In some instances public expectations will outrun national capacity or governmental abilities. When these states fail, refugee flows, or worse--ethnic or civil conflict, and even state disintegration--occur, with the potential for outside intervention.

Third, governments whose states are relatively immune from poverty and political instability will still find that they are losing control of significant parts of their national agendas due to the globalization and expansion of the economy, and the continuing revolution in information technology. "National economic policy" in an era of globalization of trade and finance is fast becoming an oxymoron. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), from multinational businesses to trans-national relief agencies, will not supplant the power of governments, but they will weaken them. Governments will have limited avenues for influencing the agendas of these organizations. The good news is that governments will derive benefits from technology that moves information, goods, and services rapidly. The bad news from the perspective of governments is that they will have less and less capacity to control these flows unilaterally. International organized crime groups will take advantage of such technology as well, bypassing governments, or seeking to undermine them when governments try to block their efforts to run and expand their illegal activities.

Now Greg Palast makes a 'partisan political point' and at that face value could be dismissed unless of course after reading it the question could be ignored:

One year ago today, the lights went out. Even when the Big Blackout ended, the power pirates who have us by the bulbs kept us in the dark, fibbing, fabricating and faking their way through a series of bogus excuses for a disaster created by greed overload.

Instead of fixing the system, the fix is in. We now know that goof-ups and bone-headed moves started the power outage rolling — but it’s spread, from a few tree branches out of Ohio to a third of the continent, occurred because power companies — First Energy and Niagara-Mohawk to name two — had slashed staffing and maintenance.

The under-manning and the under-spending all occurred beneath the banner of “deregulation.” In the bad old days of bureaucrats with thick rule books, the government told the power companies exactly how much to spend on repairs. Under “deregulation,” the rules went out the windows and repair cash was carted off as special dividends to stockholders.

I’m sitting here with Jerry Oppenheim and Theo MacGregor, two of this planet’s most respected experts on electricity systems. They are just shaking their heads in disgust: nothing learned a year after the disaster. Rather, we have a blackout on reason, with “deregulation” — the disease — sold as the cure.

George Bush’s Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is allowing the power companies to reach into our wallets and take out more cash to add wires to the transmission system — in effect replacing the loot these guys carted off in the last ten years of deregulation. “But that won’t keep the lights on,” says Oppenheim, former Assistant Attorney General in New York in charge of investigating utilities. “It’s not a lack of wires or lack of power plants that caused the blackout. The Administration is adding complexity to an overly complex system — all to avoid acting on the obvious conclusion: deregulation has failed.”

Is CIA in the service of the private sector energy sector as their computer response team, or if the threat to the power grid is as serious as reported, why have we as a society NOT returned control of the grid to government control, or more importantly to CO-OP control?

I guess the question is this, considering the threat, is deregulation a good idea? I don't think so! I also don't think that deregulation has worked, nor will it provide the grid we need for national securty, and that possibly the CIA, Rand, DOD, DHS, and 'others' have been Hoodwinked into thinking that it can!

So this was a long blog and at some point must be brought to an executive summary.


The denial of electrical power is identified in strategic war goals.

The two demonstrated examples of denial of grid service (ommiting Iraq examples) are state sponsored.

Darpa developed a communication system based on survivability to function in the event of a nuclear strike via node nased dependency, the internet

Our current Energy Policy and 'economic stimulus package' does nothing to decentralize ownership and generation of electricity to the public and make our grid reliable for the purpose of national security.

Current limits on decentralization of electrical generation are capped at .05% in CA and half that nationally where net-meterring is allowed.

Our current energy policy, national security stated goals (as expressed by these news releases are at odds.)

The decision to add these electric cars transfer an additional burden onto a system that does not economically scale due to deregulation, and if electric cars are added by my point in a previous blog, pass those payments to other electrical rate payers.

And finally that there is no political will to do the following: Allow decentralized electrical production be created by private citizens in excess of their current consumption for profit to decentralize the US grid system, produce greater amounts of electric for a transformation to electrical cars, and limit the need for extensive large scale centralized expenditures for infrastructure.

Basically the press releases acknowledge that, as energy gets scarce that we will relly increasingly on electric and that that reliability will be critical to national security if not an integral part of the art of war.

But the statements and acknowledgements do nothing to address the underlying core challenges of generating more electricity in the United States and decentralizing that production, for the purposes of national security.

Deregulation of electric has become a failure in an economic model, a national security model, and finally a human model where societies are designed to cooperate to acheive a goal, and by political fiat, our energy policy does the opposite.

So let me get this straight, the Hackers are going to turn off the juice to their computers huh???

Or the next time there is a disaster or failing (say use Katrina) the serendipity of not witnessing the ineptitude will be coincident with an outage.

You have to assume that CIA is now the bitches of the private sector, or that we have no real energy policy, both the above assumptions, or that these news releases are a nefarious indication that the next time the lights go out that the culprit is probably a state sponsored act.

I just don't fucking get it... the dumb fuckers built a turbine with out a mechanical governor or the DHS bought a perfectly good turbine, mechanically disabled a governor, and then made some ridiculous statement that hackers could acheive that, and CIA believed it!

That is why I'm ranting today...

An economic stimulus package that does not power the economy is simply inflationary or pouring gas on a fire, even if the stimulus package is aimed at forestalling systemic default and deflationary pressure, the stimulus should be aimed at residential electricity generation for a long term stimulus to an economy.

Targeted tax beaks promoting a greater Cost of owwnership value should be targeted to high end sub-prime housing risk and offered to homeowners of retirement status.

Qualified installations of Solar power should be given priority.

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