Saturday, June 29, 2013

back to my usual...

Introducing angles can turn a rectilinear box into a surprise
Yesterday was an intense day, watching testimony come in to the Arkansas Public Service Commission docket. The Arkansas Public Service Commission's own engineer found there to be no problems with SWEPCO's request, and his Q and A was rather astounding.
Q.What is the probable economic impact of the Proposed Electrical Facilities?

A.The expected economic impact associated with the construction will be minimal as construction will be by SWEPCO's own or specialized contract employees. A small portion of project wages may find its way into the local economy through purchases such as fuel, food, lodging, and possibly construction materials.
He made no other reference to economic impact beyond the fact that it will raise rates $.51 per thousand kilowatt hours. In other words, we'll probably be OK here because maybe we can sell them some gas. I am personally astounded that SWEPCO and the APSC offer no recognition of the value of beauty in our lives. Homeowners on average spend $440.00 per year on lawn and garden supplies. Landscaping is a 71 billion dollar industry with nearly 400,000 businesses and almost 1 million employees. The loss of outdoor beauty in the Ozarks is a matter of very serious economic concern, and to lose our beauty means the direct loss of tourism, our number one industry, and the arts, our number two. And yet the APSC engineer sees only minimal economic impact of their unnecessary new powerline.

Just in case you are here reading for the first time, I should add that the poles are 150 ft. tall, well over twice the height of our tallest oaks and the right of way, kept sterile of natural forest growth in perpetuity by the application of toxic herbicides would destroy my back yard and traipse across important tourist sites and important scenic viewsheds all across Carroll County.

When artist Louis Freund was trying to get citizens of Eureka Springs to agree to the formation of an historic district and to allow our entire city to be placed on the historic register, he told folks that while Colonial Williamsburg was spending millions of dollars to recreate what had been lost, Eureka Springs was the real thing, and all we had to do was protect it. When it comes to the beauty of the Ozark mountains, it's the real deal and all we have to do is protect it.

Beauty has tangible economic value. The beauty of the Ozarks is worth 5.7 billion dollars a year in tourism. The beauty of Eureka Springs is a tangible asset that brings millions of tourist dollars into the city each year. That of course is the reason the city pays for a full time gardener, Don E. whose job it is to make certain each of our city parks is gorgeous. (and they are!) It may not be a thing that some engineers can understand. It seems that engineering, while it was once a hands-on activity, has become something else. For some, it's about money and calculations in which the things most important to the rest of us just don't  add up.
It's ironic that these days even engineers can suffer from finger blindness as described by Matti Bergström and be "values damaged" in that they see little to be of much importance beyond their own desire for money and power. There are real things of value about values that come with making something beautiful and useful in one's own hands, and all children should have that kind of learning before they grow up to positions of power and screw things up for the rest of us.

 In my wood shop, I'm finishing boxes for a chapter in the new book, exploring "effective surprise." The design of each and every box we make offers the opportunity to surprise.

Make, fix and create...

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:55 AM

    An impact assessment should never be done by a single person. It should be done by a multidisciplinary team with skills in various domains: law, environnment, technics, economy,philosophy, &c, &c + somebody with no particular knowledge who would come with his common sense because all the others will look at the issue through their narrow point of view and might miss something obvious for the rest of us.