Friday, June 25, 2010

Electric earth

Gophers. I hate them, you hate them, we all hate them. Tunneling in here, taking our jobs. By gophers I mean Mexicans. They tunnel in here too, right? I'm not sure. I think I may have mixed up a racist metaphor here. Maybe I need Rand Paul to explain other similarities between underground dwelling tunneling mammals and Mexicans looking to cross the border, otherwise his new suggestion for the border doesn't make much sense.
Republican Senatorial candidate Rand Paul wants to build a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border. It's a rather ho-hum proposition in the larger context of conservative ideas -- except that Paul wants that fence to be electric and he wants it built underground.

Among the variety of proposals to stem illegal immigration along the southern border, the construction of an underground electrical fence appears to stand alone on the extreme. ... Indeed, when approached in the halls of Senate several weeks ago and asked about the idea (though not told who proposed it), National Republican Senate Committee Chair John Cornyn (R-Tex.) assumed it was a joke.

"I have not heard that," the Texas Republican said. "Underground? What would happen? How would that work?"

That's actually a good question and one that Paul's campaign won't answer. His website says only the following: "My plans include an underground electric fence, with helicopter stations to respond quickly to breaches of the border." The details of how it would be built, what it would take to make it work and how much it would cost are left unanswered.
Surely this is all just a massive misunderstanding over a typo. Surely he means an electronic fence. Something that monitors the border... electronically. Not some sort of fence that shocks people if they touch it... only buried underground. No? He repeatedly mentions it on his website and in public? Whoo boy.

Alright, I'm no electrical expert. I'm only tangentially related to a couple of electricians (father and brother). But the way I understand electricity, other than the fact that it involves high tech lighting bolt capture and that elves force it out the magic holes in our walls, is that it involves this concept called "Grounding". Wherein there are means and methods employed to prevent contact with dangerous voltages if electrical insulation. There are many ways to "ground" an electrical system, but they all stem from the fact that the physical ground, aka dirt, is a zero voltage conductor that can absorb an near limitless amount of current. In other words: you can't fucking electrify the ground no matter how many fences you bury underneath it.

You would think a doctor, no matter if it is one who certified himself, would understand this. Nope. He wants to spend at least a billion dollars building the underground electrical fence in the hopes that the pure force of his libertarian ideals will electrify the ground.... or in effort to stop what he must assume are a large number of Mexicans that tunnel in to this country.

Eh, I'm for it. It'll be a less egregious waste of money than most of the stuff we do. Plus it'll give us the moment where a bunch of technicians explain to Rand why his plan to bury fences and pump volts into the earth hasn't seemed to work on anything except the Southwestern Border Gopher and the moment where he rushes over to Google, types in "electric" then "electronic", slaps his forehead, and then says something like "Maybe.... we should.... increase the.... watts?" That's worth a billion or two, right?

No comments: