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Old 08-16-2010, 07:40 PM
 
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They would be able to walk into an Electric Power plant and explain how the power plant works!

If Alexander Graham Bell were to walk into a modern day communication center he would'nt know a thing, yet probably be happy with the advancements.

Here is a interesting fact: Energy companies spend *less than one quarter of one percent in Research and Development. They spend alot of money on exploration, but very little on innovation in the field of energy.

We have to update our energy system, we have to become more efficient, we have to do this now!

--- *Source - Donald Sadoway, Professor of materials chemistry at MIT
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Old 08-16-2010, 09:13 PM
 
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Somehow I suspect that Edison, Westinghouse, and Graham didn't face the government regulations that utility companies face today. During their era innovation and success were rewarded. Today...not so much.

As long as this is a speculation and opinion thread I do suspect if Edison were alive today he would have figured out how to get more light out of LED's and make that light multi-directional.
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Old 08-16-2010, 09:53 PM
 
Location: Tucson AZ & Leipzig, Germany
2,338 posts, read 7,735,221 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Werone View Post
They would be able to walk into an Electric Power plant and explain how the power plant works!

If Alexander Graham Bell were to walk into a modern day communication center he would'nt know a thing, yet probably be happy with the advancements.

--- *Source - Donald Sadoway, Professor of materials chemistry at MIT
I disagree with Professor Sadoway. If Alexander Graham Bell walked into a typical ATT or Verizon telephone central office in the center of almost any city in the US, he would see endless of familiar things that would remind him of his tenure as President of American Telephone and Telegraph:
1. There are still "main distribution frames" that have tens of thousands of copper pairs from outside cables that connect in the central office to a telephone switch. The main frames look almost identical to those used 100 years ago. Although fiber optics are common for many locations, landline phone service over copper pair is still the most common way phone service is delivered to homes and businesses in the USA (but probably not for long).
2. The 20 Hz (hertz) +75 volt AC ringing current that is sent down one of the two wires (still called the "ring wire") that rings a landline telephone is the same today as when it was introduced in Bell's era.
3. The -48 volt DC loop current on a copper wire pair for landline telephone service is the same as it was in Bell's era. The -48 volt DC loop current is what carries the analog voice wave along the copper pair using the same principles that were in place in Bell's era.
4. Most telephone central offices are laid out the same as they were in Bell's era. There is the DC power room, with large stacks of batteries and large rectifier assemblies that convert commercial AC power to -48 volt DC power. There is still a main distribution frame, one for copper pairs and today there is a main cross connect frame for fiber optics. There is still a cable vault where cables enter the building underground from the street. There is still a switch room. Although the switches use digital technology today, the principles of voice transmission over copper pair are still remarkably similar today to what it was 100 years ago.
5. If a person had permission to enter a large telephone company central office, they would be amazed at all the old stuff that is still operational and providing service. I know of copper pair cables in the cable vault of the ATT "Bush/Pine" central office in San Francisco that are over 100 years old, and still providing telephone service to downtown business customer locations. These cables have lead wrapped splice sleeves with the names and dates of technicians engraved that prepared them for service in 1906 and 1907, not long after the San Francisco earthquake.
6. The big companies remaining in the landline telephone business are still running many of their key operations based on the former "Bell System Practices", a massive encyclopedia of everything related to technology and operations in the telephone world.
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Old 08-17-2010, 06:55 AM
 
Location: Londonderry, NH
41,505 posts, read 51,238,770 times
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I wonder how much money the railroad companies are spending on innovation. According to an article in TRAINS magazine a special high speed freight train carrying perishable fruit still requires five days to get from Spokane, Washington to Rotterdam, New York. This is about a 25 mile per hour average! No wonder we still have so many tractor trailer rigs overcrowding our roads. The article avoided pointing out just how SLOW the train was but was bragging about how FAST it went.

Apparently ancient rules prevent freight trains from travelling over 80 mph and then only on specially upgraded track. Passenger trains are shunted aside to allow the slow coal drags the right of way. No wonder we have such poor passenger service in this country.

IMHO this has to change and I believe the government has to take the lead. We have to transfer government subsidies from the highways and airlines to the rail road passenger industry. This may require the purchase of new right of way, building new track and electrification designed for really high speed trains. Then a trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles by train would take less time city center to city center than a short haul airline trip. The same could be done for the Boston, New York and Washington corridor.

The entire thing could be funded by reducing our overseas airbases and getting out of our devastatingly expensive Imperial wars. The money is there but we are just wasting it on our petroleum empire fantasies.
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Old 08-17-2010, 08:24 AM
 
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Communication is going wireless and using fiber optics. The copperlandline has come full circle and is obsolete. The copper landline limits bandwith immensely, so communication has progressed.
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Old 08-17-2010, 09:34 AM
 
29,988 posts, read 37,103,870 times
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Originally Posted by Werone View Post
Communication is going wireless and using fiber optics. The copperlandline has come full circle and is obsolete. The copper landline limits bandwith immensely, so communication has progressed.
That is all well and good until satellite systems are rendered useless be it via war, weather interference, or solar flares. The copper land line is not obsolete but instead prudent back-up technology.
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Old 08-17-2010, 10:40 AM
 
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We have other means of communication if satellites go down. The communication industry is pretty robust.
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Old 08-17-2010, 10:41 AM
 
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The thread is to point out the lack of innovation in the energy industry.
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Old 08-17-2010, 10:48 AM
 
Location: Orlando, Florida
43,858 posts, read 44,524,126 times
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I'm not sure that just pointing fingers at the energy industry is the only answer. We, as consumers, don't really do our part either in trying to conserve in every way possible. What we are saying is that we want everything we have now, we want it cheaper and we want someone else to figure out how to provide that for us.
For example: my AC is on, my computer is on, my TV is on, I am making lunch in the microwave and chances are there is another light on somewhere in the house.
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Old 08-17-2010, 11:37 AM
 
1,278 posts, read 1,058,182 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GloryB View Post
I'm not sure that just pointing fingers at the energy industry is the only answer. We, as consumers, don't really do our part either in trying to conserve in every way possible. What we are saying is that we want everything we have now, we want it cheaper and we want someone else to figure out how to provide that for us.
For example: my AC is on, my computer is on, my TV is on, I am making lunch in the microwave and chances are there is another light on somewhere in the house.
I agree. Lets begin change by being the change we want to see and raising awareness of the issues. Negativity will lead us nowhere fast.
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