Monday, October 27, 2008

Random Recall #4: Simpsons Hated Solar?

This weekend, I saw a solar panel and had a flashback to early episodes of the Simpsons, when they said some disparaging things about solar power. It's been a while since I watched those episodes, so I can't be sure what sort of humor they were going for. Specific examples:

Thanksgiving episode (I think) where Homer thanks God for nuclear power, "The safest, most efficient source of energy on Earth... except for solar, which is just a pipe dream."

So, what were they going for? Homer's bitter towards solar because it'll displace nuclear? Solar's so unpromising even an idiot like Homer knows it? I lean towards the former, but it's not really funny.

Monorail episode: "Hey, why don't we just cut off the power?" "We can't. It's solar powered!" "Solar. When will people learn?"

So, making fun of energy propagandists who have to strain to come up with contrived scenarios to argue against solar? At least this one caused a snerk.


William said...

I was googling solar panels the other day, and was surprised to learn that some real estate agents felt that they actually lowered the value of a house. Apparently these agents were operating off outdated notions formed in the 70's, and theirs was a minority view... but I can't that say I fully understood the anti-solar argument even in that context.

There is of course the widespread idea that solar isn't really a bargain (spreading the install cost over the expected lifetime of the panels) vs. fossil fuels, and that it's still in need of breakthroughs in manufacturing costs and/or efficiency. I'm not sure that's true, or ever was, but it is widely believed.

Remember when Carter put solar panels on the White House? Remember when Reagan took them down? OK, me neither, though I read about it much later. But I never did see the rationale given for taking them down, if it was anything more than spite.

Anonymous said...

The joke isn't that they are making fun OF solar power, it's that they are saying something totally ridiculous. I doubt anyone thought that such disasters would occur if solar powered a train.

Actually I'm for nuclear power, as well as solar where it works.

And yeah, real estate agents are all morons. Also, why does this make sense? "Your house is worth less money now, so your mortgage rate is going up." Huh?!

The whole white house thing, as I remember someone saying in some distant cloudy memory, was about "damaging a national treasure", because putting technology on things makes them ugly to some people.

These are the same people who complain when cell phone companies install antennas on buildings like churches and the like. Personally I like the look of giant satellite dishes, it makes it look cool. :D I also like the look of Dr. Wily's giant laboratory fortresses, so yeah.

William said...

"because putting technology on things makes them ugly to some people."

Oh yeah, don't get me started on that. Like those idiot homeowners' associations that try to ban TV antennas (though they legally can't), but are perfectly happy with smokestacks, shingles and shutters -- functional, ugly technology that's been sanctified by time. In fact, the shutters aren't even functional any more -- but people expect them, so they're there for cosmetics.

And the fake panes in my sheet-glass windows...

Lifewish said...

On the same "where did I hear that?" note, I've been trying to re-locate a site I came across a while back. It was a vast listing of cases of people being injured by CAM and other quackery. I think it was called something like "why we care", but I can't remember for sure.

Does that ring a bell with anyone? Thanks in advance.

Bronze Dog said...

You might be thinking of "What's the Harm?"