Thursday, July 06, 2006

There's A Telephone Pole Outside My House

Maybe they're called "utility poles" these days, same as the Post Office is now the "Postal Service." Far as I'm concerned, they're phone poles and post offices.

But I digress.

This one has a lot of wires hanging on it. First ones, going up, belong to the phone company; that's standard everywhere in the country. No matter what you call the stick, no matter who owns it, telephone is the first set of wires on the bottom. Ma Bell and all her little Ding-A-Lings don't want their repair crews climbing through anyone else's copper, especially if it carries the product of the local electric company.

Next up is the cable tv. (I might note, at this point, the travels of a squirrel while I was writing the paragraph above. It ran past my house on the cable wire and across a busy street, just as casual as you would like.)

After that comes any other incidental wires and, always on top, electrical service. Whatever is the topmost wire is the high voltage. We have some transformers dropping the voltage for local use; I'm hoping none of these blows up, as they provide quite a (dangerous) show when they depart this world. On the other hand, since they are grounded, lightning will be more prone to hit them rather than us.

I sometimes wonder how many miles of wire we have hung/buried on our planet? That includes suspension bridges, as well as communications wires in buildings, electrified railroads, power grids, etc. I'm not interested in how many times to the moon and back; I want to know how far it would reach to Mars.

With no apologies to Frank Sinatra
(check my entry for Sunday, July 2):

"Fly me to the moon / and let me play among the stars.
I want to know the wire it takes / to reach from Earth to Mars."

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