In Milan, Ohio, where Thomas Alva Edison was born in 1847, there is a grassy town square just around the corner from Edison’s first home. It was to this square that his father dragged “Tommy” one afternoon for a public whipping, because the curious lad had just burned down the barn in an effort to figure out how fire worked. Or so the legend says. But consider where we’d be without inventors such as Edison and all those others who gave the 20th century world its electrical standard of living.

Now, in the 21st century, we’re moving beyond 20th century technology; as pointed out in the previous column, though, we are doing so reliant on early to mid-20th century infrastructure that is corroding, collapsing, and continually breaking down, causing direct and indirect loss. Our computers would not work without electricity, which is carried by an overwhelmed electrical grid that is prone to blackouts. As our summers become hotter and we turn the air conditioners colder, we can anticipate more brown-outs as the electrical generating systems continue to become inefficient, inadequate, and antiquated.

Regardless of whether or not we believe the scientists who blame carbon dioxide emissions for global warming, few now deny that there are climatic changes afoot, and that the warming is affecting our weather. Summers are hotter, winters more snowy, and spring is either too wet or too dry, producing either flood or drought.

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