California Gets Shockwave Rider-Style Avoidance Zones

You're no doubt aware that California's famous PG&E (Pacific Gas and Electric) has repeatedly cut off power to up to one million customers to cut down on wildfires. Now we learn that this will continue for decades.

In the past three years, hugely destructive forest fires in California have caused billions of dollars worth of damage to homes and businesses, even wiping out the entire town of Paradise last year. Years of prolonged drought have turned much of the vegetation in the state into tinder which ignites easily when it comes in contact with downed power lines.

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), which serves most to the area around San Francisco, has admitted that its transmission lines have been responsible for many of those fires, especially when high winds buffet the electrical grid. That admission is the reason why the company declared bankruptcy earlier this year, acknowledging that paying for the damage it caused could exceed the entire value of the company.

PG&E is supposed to maintain the corridors its transmission lines pass through, trimming tree limbs that hang over the wires and clearing the brush from beneath them, but in recent years it has failed to do so diligently. The company says there are 27,000 miles of wires that need such attention, but as of the first of October, it had completed the necessary maintenance along only 7,000 of those miles.

When windy conditions were forecast earlier this month, the company attempted to limit the danger of more forest fires by shutting off the electricity to up to 1 million residential and business customers, in some cases for as long as a week. The blackouts caused another kind of firestorm a flood of complaints from angry customers.

It sounds like yet another of science fiction writer John Brunner's speculations in his prophetic work The Shockwave Rider has come true. He even nails the exact location, if not the actual cause. He describes "paid avoidance zones" in which the government didn't bother to provide services like power and communications because it was just too expensive following a natural disaster.

The paid-avoidance areas were created as a way of economizing on public expenditure after the Great Bay Quake. It was cheaper to pay the refugees to go without up-to-the-minute equipment. Which they couldn't have afforded anyhow.

...settlements created by refugees from Northern California after the Great Bay Quake. Literally millions of traumatized fugitives had straggled southward. For years they survived in tents and shanties, dependent on federal handouts ..
(Read more about Brunner's Bay area Paid Avoidance Zones)

Brunner's Shockwave Rider has an amazing number of prophetic ideas. See articles on the Autoporter - personal baggage handler, Computer Worm (Tapeworm) - first use of the concept, the Data-Net , the Delphi Pool , Electronic Voting , Hearing Aid - someone to listen, National Network Surveillance and Tiered Internet service .

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/17/2019)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Engineering ")

Smellicopter Combines Live Moth Antenna With Mechanical Drone
'The organic tissue is inserted in the master tank and then sealed.' - Philip K. Dick, 1955.

DARPA's Virtual Caves Explored By Virtual Robots
'If there's anything in here worth looking at, these pups'll find it.' - Ridley Scott, 2012.

Samsung Gets Transparent Smartphone Patent
The Transparency of Things to Come

Jet-Powered Flying Suits Tested By Navy
'With his motor in operation, he moves like a diver, head foremost...' - Philip Frances Nowlan, 1928.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

DALL-E Makes Creative Images From Text
Okay, sf fans. If you could have some art created from a science fiction sentence, what sentence would you pick?

BladeBUG Robots Clean Massive Wind Turbine Blades
'There were the cleaners, with large padded feet, who were apparently polishing their way the whole length...'

Looms To Manually Weave Lunar Rover Wheels
It's fascinating to me how the Apollo program forced people to think outside their usual boxes.

IceBot Antarctic (Planetary?) Robotic Explorers Made Of Ice
'Some will combine in place to form more complicated structures, like excavators or centipedes.'

Glad 2020 Is Over
Maybe you missed one of these?

PEDOT Polymer Could Enhance Brain-Machine Interfaces
'the hair-fine wire going deep into Owen's brain, down into the pleasure center.'

Study: Robots Encourage Humans To Take Risks
Not exactly Three Laws compliant.

Kinetic Buildings And Psychotropic Houses
'There was a dim whirring, and the spheres tipped and began to rotate...'

Jupe Urban Escape Pods Have Tesla, SpaceX Roots
'The houses are prefabricated units... and they sell at the flat rate of five hundred dollars a room set up.'

Best Robot Dance Video Of 2020
'I can Mashed Potato... I can do the Twist.'

Vertical Farm In Singapore's Output Is 1.5 Tons Per Day
'A towering eighty-story structure like the office "In-and-Out" baskets stacked up to the sky.'

3D Printed 'Blisk' Manufactured In Orbit
'It can be mass-produced only in the orbiting factories...'

Comercial Airlock 'Bishop' Now On ISS
'They put the bones and the glass can that had contained the soup into the double-doored partition or vestibule...'

Space Station Could Use Some Martian Sawgrass
'What better purifying machine is there than a plot of grass?'

ARTUu AI Copilot For USAF
'A series of short beep's and chirps issued from his speaker...'

Smellicopter Combines Live Moth Antenna With Mechanical Drone
'The organic tissue is inserted in the master tank and then sealed.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.