~e; EM convention report

From bc <human@electronetwork.org>
Date Mon, 8 Apr 2002 22:58:13 -0500

 [there was a Worker's Union convention in town,
 and it was free so biked down with camera and
 was able to talk to various Trade Unions from
 various fields that deal with electromagnetism
 in their work. it was fascinating and there are
 a few photos that will be put up, but ran into
 a problem when of the 3 major exhibitors visited
 was directly connected with one company and was
 okay'd to take photos, then a higher-up came by
 and said it was proprietary (public) booth info,
 so photos were not acceptable. in any case, here
 is a short update on what was learned, should the
 photos not be substantial enough to put online...]
 the telecommunications/communications workers had
 a really nice booth, like a beer tent at a street
 fair, with someone who was 'weaving' small wires,
 and a floor-display of a man-hole (sewer) cage-like
 device that is like a fence around a sewer when its
 lid is open, and it is being used for telecom work.
 the display nearby it was a fiber-optic trunk of
 some kind, which i did not understand much, as it
 was a bunch of wires and no one to ask what it does.
 on the back of the tent there was a display of the
 different kind of telecom wires. from copper to
 fiberoptics. amazingly, most of it is underground,
 in sewers or trenches. very little is on the poles
 for electric/cable/phone, besides the necessities.

* telecom data-wiring display ~62k

 most is sewer-based infrastructure, a lot of lead-wiring
 still exists they say. the 'network interface' is a new box,
 it seems, put in the house for datacommunications. the thing
 on the right is often outside (green for camouflage, aesthetics)
 which has the lines that go to houses, and their phone numbers.
 note the fiber cable versus the other cables, sizes. the fiber,
 one strand, can handle 600 calls at once, they said. only the
 smaller casings of wire can be on distribution poles, not the
 big heavy ones, or so was the answer given about these behemoths.
* weaving/splicing telecom wires ~49k

 the person did this and let me take a shot of it, asked about it,
 if it was like weaving. basically it is how they (telecom workers)
 make 2 sets of wires into one set, by using a bar/connector, that
 attaches to each loose end of the wiring sets, and the bar/connector
 has metal in it, it seems, that once attached to both wires, acts
 as a conductor to let the electricity/data flow through the bar/
 connector, and in-between the two different sets of wires.
* telecom sewer fence  ~38k

 maybe not the most glamorous fence, for a sewer, but that is where
 the data flows, and a lot of the work fixing and troubleshooting
 the data systems happens underground, where the wiring is. and so
 they need to de-gas the sewers for the workers (which is why they
 have those ventilation hoses pumping air in and out of the sewers
 when people are down there) and this fence could be an indicator
 that it is telecom work being done, which has been a curiousity
 when seeing this and the pumps, but no people, and a telecom truck.

 the 2nd booth was for autoworkers using electronics.
 some of the fascinating things there were plastic
 sensors (reminding me of .mil sensor tech, for audio,
 temperature, etc), and the 'guts' of the e-infrastructure
 in automobiles, a backbone of wires, and also the chip-
 sets which run these systems, with data cables (looking
 like parallel printer cables from the booth graphics).
 it was so similar in aesthetics (and literally, techno-
 logy itself, it is the same stuff, just another use),
 that it was less like experiencing a car w/computing,
 and more a computing car/auto. always knowing the spark
 plug being the one big-leap for autotech in terms of
 electricity, yet, most all advances in technology are
 EM related (from a consumer's viewpoint) with add-ons
 such as anti-lock brakes (computer info), GPS, radar,
 airbags (sensors), lights, automatic windows, wind-
 shield wipers, on and on. in any case, cannot show
 pictures of this but someday it will be worth finding
 public resources to look into em car-culture further.
 third place was biggest, the Electrical Workers. some
 amazing things there. a working mockup of a distribution
 sytem with transformaters and linemen. and talked with
 many workers about the technology and how it works. and
 learned a lot. some of which is my own mistaken (book)
 knowledge on the subject. on most e-distribution poles,
 there is not a lightning-line (there is on high-voltage
 pylons tho), it is often a thing attached to a transformer.
 also, there was some pass-thru oil canister which would
 allow the e-line to stop and restart itself should a tree
 branch fall on a line and cause a problem. the power would
 go off, check to see if the tree branch is gone, try again,
 and if not, break the circuit. also, Aluminum Wire is used
 as the conductor when sending e along the e-wires. it is
 coiled/wrapped around steel wire. and there was a knot of
 such a wire on display (knot tying around insulators is
 an art, much like fishing knots and boat knots). like-
 wise, talked with electricians who work on buildings,
 'construction electricians' who do small scale to large
 scale custom installs of the highest tech systems that
 exist, i imagine. there seemed to be a differentiation
 between a light-industrial to commercial and residential,
 and then industrial electricians. it was an impression,
 that some may specialize in this area. trying to make a
 comparison between a carpenter and an electrician, and
 an e-engineer and architect, these persons were like an
 urban planner, in some ways, as the scale of the systems
 they worked on were high-voltage and high-density jobs.
 or that is one intepretation. will see if some photos
 can be put up now before sending this online now...
powerline ~48k

this is the most intense thing, a high-voltage powerline
with cutaway section to show its insulation beteween the
copper wiring inside (all of those wires in a bunch in
the middle, and the outer shell). the outer shell is to
keep the power within the cable itself and there are
certain effects that happen with that much EM in such
a place, where someting akin to powerline harmonics (a
thing which happens between lines) happens inside the
line itself, within its own design. it is known and an
effect of EM and materials, the name of the effect is
now forgotten, yet it may be part of what goes into the
layers of the design for a powerline. the main point that
was new was that, unlike datacom, the e-worker told me
that those bundled wires, with e-power, acted as one
giant wire, not 40 or so smaller wires each carrying
some current. meaning, that that whole bunch of wire
acts as one wire. which is one big thick wire of EM,
and is what is strung along the high-tension pylons,
the 500kilovolt lines. enough to power a state in the
USA, the person said, one of these lines. what is also
interesting which a little fuzting in photoshop tried
to bring out was the 'oyster' effect of whatever 'di-
electric material' is next to the wire itself. it is
very strange and quite fascinating as a material to see.


e-workers powerline knot on insulator ~42k

this is when it became known that electric power is sent via the
aluminum line itself and not a copper with insulated cover, which
is how it is often seen. apparently all distribution pole wiring
is done straight aluminum but have not seen it as such. also,
the 'knot' here is quite important, with regard to the design
of insulators, going back to the days of glass-insulators on
telegraph/telephone poles, as they are shaped for knot-tying.


e-workers demo of e-distribution poles/infrastructure ~86k

this is a mockup of the e-distribution system, with transformers
on the poles, and that strange 3-resets then break-the-circuit
thing, which is on the middle pole. the linemen there actually
had the electricity from the outlet put into the transformer
and stepped up (made into a higher-voltage) to demo the system.
they had line tools (long handles for live-wire work) and other
things. the people who work on lines are unique, in that they
have a 'lineman's rodeo' for competing/rewarding the skills of
those who climb the pole, do emergency repairs, and whatnot. it
is something that has probably been done now for over a century,
lineworkers, and to see such a substantial demo is great for .edu



the electrical workers that were most difficult to categorize were
under the 'construction electricans' title. they are more associated
with the building trades, as the following few photos show. notice
that the commercial and residential wiring is happening inside of
walls (metal or wood stud systems/balloon frames, boxes/outlets).
thus, the term 'infrastructure' can be seen as what is beneath or
between the walls of a building, underground, above ground, or in
plain sight. it is a keyword yet to define it is quite a challenge.

eworkers commercial wiring ~45k

eworkers residential wiring ~52k

eworkers tools ~74k (interesting display of tools as a composition).

then, last and no reason other than typologies of industrial
buttons (as opposed to ordinary fixtures for light switches and
whatnot that one normally could find in a store). these are more
of the industrial equipment realm, like balers, and assemblyline
equipment and likely things big, mean, and dangerous as machines.

eworkers buttons 1 ~21k

eworkers buttons 2 ~18k


did not find any robots, except for a mascot. yet talked with a lot
of the workers about basic education about em and they seemed to
relate from their perspectives about the value of learning more
about it, as a general knowledge, not only technical/careerwise.
much was learned, and a sense that there would be willing parti-
cipation in educational demos of the tech were felt as possible.


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