01 December, 2009

Modern times - or are they?

If you've been reading about my travels and travails then you'll know I've already had a lively encounter with American electricity. I haven't had any more shocks but I am not filled with confidence by the wiring in my new apartment which leads lights to stay on when turned off, unless you really push the switch down firm. And I do find the plugs which fall out of sockets incredibly easily a bit worrying.

And then you walk out of the door and look at the streets. This country may be modern and my broadband connection is beautifully fast, and everything comes with a cupholder. But seriously, what is this about?

Practically every street is a sea of wiring. Perhaps these are phone lines (I am no expert) but something about the following makes me wonder. Yesterday on the San Francisco Chronicle website, there was a story about residents of a Californian town who were told to stay indoors because a high voltage cable had been dislodged by an owl. A not very heavy bird managed to cause a high voltage cable to dangle down in a residential street.


Doug Cutting said...

The wires on top are high-voltage. There's a transformer every block or so that steps the voltage down for the second-highest wires, which houses connect to for their power. The lowest sets of wires are telephone and cable.

The owl was using a long piece of metal in its nest atop a pole, and it shorted a wire to the pole, which caused the wire to burn through and drop to the ground. I've never heard of this happening before, although I have heard of owls shorting high power lines with their wings and causing a power failure to a neighborhood.

Eliane said...

First ovens and now high voltage electricity. You are now my official technical expert on all things likely to blow up in my face.

And btw explaining what the cables are does not make me feel any safer. UK streets do not look like a mad macrame worker has had a go at them.