Friday, August 15, 2003


Apparently there was a very nice view of the stars from Times Square in New York last night. I saw some footage of the dark silhouette of New York city: just the outline in the night. Really quite extraordinary. I hope they get the power back soon. I will be interested in reading a detailed overview of the causes of this when they are known. There clearly remain many weak spots in our infrastructure, and possibly they have gotten worse since everything has been getting more and more networked.

The state of New South Wales in Australia had a year of major blackouts in the late 1970s (although in those days there was very little air conditioning, and peak power usage came in the winter, not the summer). In response, the state government (which owns and in those days ran the electricity system) was so frightened that it would lose the next election if it happened again that it built an enormous number of of new power stations. The excess capacity was so great that we only just caught up with it a few years back.

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