Cutting-edge Technology Resting on a Shaky Foundation

From the dawn of time, humans have used various methods to communicate: smoke signals, drums, messengers on foot and horseback, carrier pigeons, telegraphs, wired telephone, and today’s mobile phones and the Internet. We have always had the need to communicate with each other.  Technology has improved the methods we use to communicate with each. Communication has become more convenient and effortless, generally. Unfortunately, today’s modern communication systems rely on a system that is flawed and have not had much improvement in the United States.

Yes, we have gone from the use of fires sites, to candles to kerosene lamps to electricity to provide us light, but the grids that transport electricity have fallen behind the improvements that our communication systems have experienced.  We see how vulnerable our electrical grids are as seen in the power outages due to outdated equipment and network design. The damages that Hurricane turned Tropical Storm Sandy caused to the supply of power to the Northeast underscores this vulnerability of this antiquated system.

As a nation, we have become more reliant on access to electricity for most of our activities in our daily lives. We use electricity to cook our food, to wash our clothes, to secure and heat our homes, to power our electric cars, and to power our phones and computers. Electricity permeates our lives and we have become very dependent on this power source.  It is amazing to me that the public is not demanding that the power companies improve the backbone of our power supply in this nation. Think of all the money that has been lost because of the delayed repairs of the services in Northeast. Imaging the billions of dollars that may have been lost with the inability of the stock market being down.

We are so concerned about securing our borders, and we should; however, we have lost sight of the great need to secure our electrical power grids by modernizing these systems and ensuring that they cannot be affected by certain natural and man-made events. This can lead to economical and security disasters. It is said one should build one’s house on solid ground and not on sinking sand. If we don’t improve our power grids, we run the risk of building our fancy communications systems not only on a shaky foundation but also on quicksand.

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