Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

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 ó 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 ")

Poisoning Big Tech's Data Well
Bring on the Civic Notification Distorter.

Sci-Fi Organic Technology
'This latter is a sharp -whoof- almost a thunderclap...' - Gary Shockley, 1984.

Nuclear Batteries May Pack Inner Punch
'... the most super-valuable substance in the solar system.' - Edmond Hamilton, 1940.

Listen Up, Coppertop - Wearable Device Turns You Into A Battery
'It's our way or the highway.'

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

Implantable Covid-Detecting Microchip Developed By DARPA
'Employees... were implanted with advanced microprocessors...'

SpaceX Requests Starlink For Starship
'... sweating, heat-blistered engineers at every interplanetary radiograph station on three planets.'

SF Writers Predicted John Deere Autonomous Tractors
'The huge plow... seemed to shake itself - and began to move back southward.'

DARPA Funding AI Fighter Pilots
'Cultured brains on a slab.'

StoryFile To Help William Shatner Become Landru
"I am Landru. I am he! All that he was, I am."

Telehealth Drones To The Rescue
'A shadow passed over him, and he looked up.'

Capture Asteroids In A Bag
'... just as a small boy catches a swift ball in his cap.'

Sony Pocket Air Conditioner Is Phil Dick's Idea!
'... he went to the hall closet to get his pith helmet and his mandatory cooling-unit.'

Is It Possible To GROW Planes And Vehicles?
'These are your rudimentary seed packages...'

Guard Dog Robot Security Check
'We still use people at the main gates, but here it's an automated sentry.'

Sheepskin Parchment Helped Medieval Lawyers Prevent Fraud
'The single sheet he held, and even the words and signatures upon it, were all integral parts of a single giant molecule...'

Space 'Hurricane' Has Been Seen
'... it was the biggest of the four hundred odd storms raging in the Fifty Suns region.'

PR2 Fencing Robot Perfect For Kwisatz Haderach-in-training
'Now, we'll work on your timing. Let me see you catch that thing sinister.'

Sole Morphing Astronaut Boots - A New Pair Of Moon Boots?
'Itís an ideal device for kangarooing along in lunar gravity.'

Mice Gestate In Mechanical Womb
'... in the Decanting Room, the newly-unbottled babes uttered their first yell of horror and amazement.'

3rd Century BC Gold Bee Is Just The Start
Bees knees, I order you to freeze!

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.