The Age of Entropia

15 06 2013

As I posted yesterday, I’ve been rather busy driving, and mostly been away from this computer and the ethernet it is connected to…….  but in a frenzied attempt to catch up with all my mail (haah!), a Facebook entry I didn’t bother following up on but which obviously caught my fading memory cells was one word:  Entropia……

As someone with a reasonable understanding of entropy, I thought “what a cooool word..”  We are leaving the dream of Utopia, and entering the new world disorder of Entropia….

The recent collapse of a bridge we drove over in 1979 in Oregon USA is a classic example of Entropia.  The northbound span, according to Newschannel 8, Portland Oregon,  dates to 1917, southbound to 1958. They are maintained by the Oregon Department of Transportation, and both are rated by federal standards as “functionally obsolete.”

This bridge may have been more than adequate when it was built, but obviously, growth in both traffic  and size of trucks going over it (the bridge was hit by a legal oversized truck) means it needs replacing.  But, it seems…..  there’s no money.  Worse, research shows that one in nine US bridges are ‘structurally deficient’…

But America’s decaying infrastructure, and its inability to do anything about it gets worse… because yesterday I discovered it’s spreading to nuclear power stations!

Edison International (EIX) faces a regulatory battle over who will pay for about $3.4 billion of costs related to the decision to retire the San Onofre nuclear plant amid a record number of U.S. nuclear closures.

Southern California Edison, the utility unit that owns and operates what had been California’s largest source of round-the clock electricity, has a $2.1 billion investment in the two reactors and may have to refund some of the $1.3 billion collected from customers since the plant quit producing power in January 2012, Chief Executive Officer Ted Craver told reporters today on a conference call.

Four commercial nuclear-power units, including Edison’s two, have been permanently closed in the U.S. this year, the highest-ever annual total, according to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission data. A glut of shale-fed natural gas and government-subsidized wind has upended power-market dynamics and squeezed margins, making costly repairs uneconomical for some nuclear operators.

But how about this news report…: “An inside source gave Team 10 a picture snapped inside the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) showing plastic bags, masking tape and broom sticks used to stem a massive leaky pipe.”


Welcome to Entropia…….

What prompted me to write this post however, were the results of googling the word samuelalexander‘Entropia’.  Entropia, it turns out, is the title of a book written by Dr Samuel Alexander, an Australian part-time lecturer with the Office for Environmental Programs, University of Melbourne. He teaches a course called ‘Consumerism and the Growth Paradigm: Interdisciplinary Perspectives’ in the Masters of Environment.

He is also co-director of the Simplicity Institute and co-founder of Transition Coburg. He writes regularly at the Simplicity Collective and posts most of his academic essays at

The book reviews are pretty good too…….

“Entropia is a masterful work of the imagination that envisions a world beyond growth and consumerism. This is no escapist fantasy, however, but rather a practical and inspiring reminder of what we humans are capable of – and a wake up call to action. It is a literary manifesto that will inspire, challenge, and give hope.”
Paul Gilding, The Great Disruption

“Looking back from the future, this visionary book describes the emergence of a culture and economy based on material sufficiency. In doing so it provides one of the most detailed descriptions we have of an ecologically sane way of life. Overflowing with insight and beautifully written, Entropia unveils the radical implications of moving beyond fossil fuels. This book may come to define what ‘sustainability’ really means.” Richard Heinberg, The End of Growth

Looks like another book for me to read.  You can get your own copy here.  Enough from me this morning, I’m off to the Gympie Markets.




One response

19 06 2013

Interesting about the nuclear power plants. Trouble with them is you don’t throw a switch and walk away, they require significant amounts of power and maintenance as an ongoing input (cooling “spent” fuel rods and so on.) What happens when that stops? Fukushima, but without the earthquake/tsunami preceding it I imagine.

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