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Re: [at-l] The world a viewshed

> Rest assured that more and more powerlines will go underground, or will
> surface routed through surface conduit, 

I'm glad about that.

> but there are problems that need to be
> overcome such as how to manage the heat.
> Transmission lines are warm, they
> lose a certain amount of energy over distance.

In conduits we could better reuse that heat, no? Recycle it under the roads
so we don't need to use salt and machines. Or use it to heat water for
local consumption. Why waste it heating up the atmosphere?
> By stringing them at a
> reasonable distance from one another, that heat is safely shed without
> insulators and the insulation of the wires themselves, 

I wonder how much heat these big power lines actually pump into the
atmosphere? Give it to us in Newtons, with figs.

> but if those power
> cables are bundled up together or packed together into an insulated space
> a conduit, they are unable to shed heat faster than it is built up and
> eventually the insulation on the individual cables will melt and scorch,
> you have a short and a fire.

Ceramics?  As both insulators and superconductors and conduits?

> I don't think that it is possible to make a "valueless" inquiry, humans,
by our
> nature and our very involvement in the system are prejudiced in our views
> it, attitudes toward it and even the way we perceive it.  Our concpet of
> viewshed for instance, might be meaningless to someone whose vision is
> within a different spectrum, say up into the IR spectrum or down into the
> spectrum.  Viewshed matters little to an Elk or Moose, all they really
> about is "is it safe" and "is there food?"  

I think "science" attempts to make objective statements about the world
around us. I like the point about viewshed in UV or IR, but it also
illustrates how we detect and eliminate the "prejudice" you describe,
through the objectivity which led to the distinctions in wave lengths and
the insights by which we can tell which "eye" better detects which

As for what we can objectively conclude about what matters to the mind of
an Elk or Moose, I simply don't know. A part of me wants to believe that
anything endowed with an eye must also experience some sort of "enjoyment"
or "pleasure" in what it observes. Likewise, anything with a sense of
"touch" must respond positively or negatively to the stimulus, either
looking for more or recoiling. Similarly with the other senses, and perhaps
with some we don't possess. But when we get especially rigorous in our
objectivity, such musings probably won't stay around for very long.

> No-one is environmentally neutral.

Yup, not even an aemeboe.  Does the organism exist for the environment, or
the environment for the organism? The anthropic principle? Organisms
reproduce those traits which best suit it to its environment; survival of
the fittest; there's all kinds of different ways to put this principle.
There's a feed-back mechanism of some sort at work here which humans have
for thousands of years used to produce specific traits in domesticated
animals and plants and in which we may now more directly intervene,
altering the organism and/or its environment, or both, at will, although
most often we have done so from a remarkable ignorance (unintended
consequences).  For whose or which's good or ill we should or shouldn't
ask? Does Mother Nature know best? Is Mother Nature operating when we are
conscious and/or when our presumably conscious acts have unintended
consequenses (i.e., when we're ignorant)? Isn't extinction a necessary
component of evolution? Does it really matter if we extinguish some genes
directly via hunting, or indirectly via global warming, or if we stay away
from it entirely? Can we avoid interferring in the process? On what basis
other than personal opinion and aesthetic preference do we pursue
environmental values? Let us all don face masks to protect the
microorganisms floating in the air.

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