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September 06, 2002

What Lends Credibility to This Conspiracy Theory.

For as long as I can remember there's been this theory that some guy, somewhere has invented the 200mpg carburetor, but was either bought out, or killed by the 'Big Oil'. There are variations such as, car companies bought it but improve the gas mileage of their cars only a few mpg a year, etc.

I'm not one to automatically assume some such theory is either true or false unless there's enough evidence either way. But I've seen some things that make me really wonder about this one.

First of all for nearly 3 decades we've been accosted by incessant whining about how we use too much energy. Environmentalist claim we're polluting "mother earth" (Does it annoy the earth that such mind numbed morons claim kinship?) others claim (validly so) that it pumps money into Arab, oil-producing regimes, that in turn fund terrorism, which we have now been the recipient of. So few people would argue that we need to try to conserve energy, but little real effort has been made along these lines.

Sure we have these occasional, mostly symbolic efforts, that amount to nothing more than a fancy symbolic, feel-good, show. But where are the real efforts?

Take electricity usage. We all know we use electricity when we get that bill. But while we complain about it then, we put it aside, pay the bill, and promptly forget about it. Out of sight, out of mind. I happen to know that it wouldn't be very hard to build a handy little meter, sitting in a conspicuous place, that could show a homeowner how much he's spent on electricity that day. It would require a simply electronic device which includes a clock, and input for price per kilowatt-hour, and an attachment to the main electricity line for monitoring. Set in a place the home owner, or family members are sure to see, reset at midnight each night, and displaying a dollar amount of electricity used that day, you'd better be sure the usage would go down quick.

Another idea for those hot summer days that hike up the electricity bill due to air-conditioner usage would be very simple, in fact is already in use, but in another form. What frustrates me is when I see the inside temperature 10 degrees above the outside temperature, but opening windows, just makes the house get hotter, since there's no breeze to carry that cooler temperature inside. So the air-conditioner must run to keep cooling the house from the heat absorbed by the wall during the day. I helped set up a refrigerator/freezer for a small grocery store once. There was only one cooling unit, in the freezer. But between the refrigerator and freezer was a small door with a fan. When the temperature in the refrigerator section rose above what was set, the door opened and the fan kicked on and freezing air from the freezer was blown into the refrigerator. Once the temperature dropped enough, the fan kicked off, and the door shut.

Now apply that to a house. You have the thermostat set at 75 degrees. During the day it gets up to 80 or so but as evening approaches the outside temperature drops. Once it drops to 5 degrees below the thermostat temperature, the air-conditioner is automatically turned off and powerful fans pull outside air in through the central air vents. No electricity hogging air-conditioner compressor running, just nice efficient fans.

These ideas work, and would be profitable, but aren't available. Why? If our excessive energy usage is a problem, why isn't there a push on to implement these and other wonderful ideas? Makes ya thing, huh.


Posted by Jack Lewis at September 6, 2002 12:50 PM