News & Analysis
Does the Market Really Want 'Smart Meter Version 2.0'?
New Arm chips herald 'Internet of things' ... New processors from Arm Holdings use so little power they could allow a new generation of connected devices, from credit cards to light bulbs. Tiny chips could mean even credit cards can be connected to the internet ... The chips, just 1mm by 1mm and powered by tiny batteries, will drive the so-called 'Internet of things', Cambridge- based Arm Holdings hopes. It anticipates uses across lighting, motor cars and a range of other devices that use new sensors. Many companies are investing machine-to-machine communications, but new processors are required if they are not to consumer significantly more power. Arm's will sell for less than 20p each, it is expected, and last for years on a single charge. Some analysts expect 60 billion connected devices to be active by 2020. Vint Cerf, one of the founders of the internet, has raised the prospect, for instance, of wine corks incorporating chips so they can alert owners to the best time for wine to be drunk, or raise the alarm if they are opened without the owner's knowledge. – UK Telegraph
Dominant Social Theme: Ain't technology grand? It's what the market wants.
Free-Market Analysis: All right, here we go. Smart Meters aren't doing so well these days. But it turns out, like the soldiers hitting the beach on D-Day, there are troops in reserve. The "free market" rolls on, as we can see from this report in the UK Telegraph.
Is all as it seems? (Is that ever the case?) We find this to be yet more evidence of a certain kind of elite dominant social theme. The power elite that we cover regularly uses these themes – fear-based promotions – to frighten Western middle classes into giving up power and wealth to specially created globalist institutions.
One of the biggest such memes is the idea that the "free market" itself is "demanding" certain technologies that are useful to the elites in their quest for ever-closer global governance.
We can see a primitive version of this approach when it comes to, say, GM: "Government Motors." Intimidated and dispirited, GM's top execs were bullied into focusing closely on "Green" electronic cars. How's that going for them? Well ... last we looked, they'd shut down their leading automotive brand, the Volt, due to lack of demand.
And now we find another "market demand" generated technology, courtesy of something called "ARM Holdings." Does the average person wake up in the morning with the bright idea that super-small chips ought to be invented to connect credit cards to the Internet? Apparently so.
And yet ... we say no. No more than the average person wakes up one morning with the idea of developing Smart Meters that can keep track of a person's every energy use and damp that usage independently of the user. You can see some Smart Meter articles here:
Of course, Smart Meters haven't exactly proven to be a hit. Last we looked, the producers and installers were subject to a class-action suit. That hasn't happened with these tiny little super-chips yet, and perhaps it won't, but we would argue the impetus is the same.
It's a meme, a theme. The market is not necessarily crying out for credit cards to be connected to computers anymore than the market in aggregate had a need for electronic cars with batteries that occasionally and spontaneously explode.
Now there is, of course, Say's Law, which points out that demand is stimulated by supply as well as vice versa. And far be it for us to argue against supplying the market with things that people will want once they see that they are available.
But our real point is that the marketplace – as has been the case for a century – is increasingly flooded with stuff that serves the interests of the elites, not the masses themselves.
It is the elites that want electric cars and Smart Meters. The methodology is always the same: The inventions are aimed at restricting people's movements and tracking people's behavior. These tiny chips are a hallmark of further control, in our view.
They can be installed anywhere and presage further elements of tracking by the nascent, global police state. Here's some more from the article:
Tom R Halfhill, a senior analyst with The Linley Group, said that "Ubiquitous network connectivity is useful for almost everything - from adaptive room lighting and online video gaming to smart sensors and motor control. But it requires extremely low-cost, low-power processors that still can deliver good performance. The ARM Cortex-M0+ processor will be suitable for a broad range of industrial and consumer applications."
The new, 32-bit Arm Cortex-M0+ processors use around one third of the energy of any 8- or 16-bit processor available today, while delivering significantly higher performance, the company claims. Arm says it is 'the world's most energy efficient microprocessor', and expects it to be used in sensors for medical, domestic and power control uses.
Again, we'd be all for this kind of evolution if we were convinced it was a purely marketplace function and not an elite meme disguised as the Invisible Hand. Our suspicions are further raised when we checked with Wikipedia to find out more about ARM. Here's the applicable point:
In 2011, ARM renewed a five-year, $5 million research partnership with University of Michigan, which extended their existing research partnership to 2015. This partnership will focus on ultra-low energy and sustainable computing.
So what is "sustainable computing"? Here's Wikipedia again: "Green computing, green IT or ICT Sustainability, refers to environmentally sustainable computing or IT. In the article Harnessing Green IT: Principles and Practices, San Murugesan defines the field of green computing as 'the study and practice of designing, manufacturing, using, and disposing of computers, servers, and associated subsystems—such as monitors, printers, storage devices, and networking and communications systems — efficiently and effectively with minimal or no impact on the environment.'"
You see, dear reader? This "green" stuff is like an infection. GM ends up with Chevy Volts and the taxpayer ends up with the bill. In the case of this company, ARM, which wants to "chip" every part of our lives, the principals shall end up with stock options worth millions and we'll end up with subcutaneous tags.
It is ever thus in the modern age. We have no quarrel with marketplace evolutions. But all around us we see signs that the elites, concerned with manifestations of command and control, are actively driving technology in a certain direction.
This is not merely an academic point. It has investment ramifications. Companies, hounded by power elite pressure from the top, will increasingly develop these products whether or not they are viable or profitable. And YOU, as an investor, can be easily sucked into funding one of these schemes.
Conclusion: Of course, you've stopped by here, so we'd argue, perhaps, that you are not such an easy target. But plenty of people are, unfortunately. Another "sign of the times."
Posted by taxesbyanyothername on 03/15/12 02:30 PM
Yes we actually do use electrical supply lines to send info. For awhile they were talking about sending telephone signels through them, but keeping that amount of info from being frazzled by the larger flow and it's variability is very difficult. The amount of info sent by smart meters is miniscule by comparison, a very small fraction of a percent. There is no upstream in AC, (alternating current) in the U. S. standard is 60 Hertz, in other words it changes direction sixty times/second.
Posted by dave jr on 03/15/12 09:20 AM
Being pushed upstream, can the signal step over the "gap" of induced voltage in transformers?
Posted by clark on 03/15/12 02:51 AM
"the marketplace... is increasingly flooded with stuff that serves the interests of the elites, not the masses themselves."
A requirement for that to work is that first things must be digital.
No wonder there's been such a big push for digital this, digital that.
My better half went looking for a crock pot. Not a digital one, they easily fail, don't last long and are often a pain to operate and the manufacturer often cuts corners on overall quality to make up for the cost of the electronics. A simple no fuss - long lasting - dial was wanted. It's hard to find nowadays,.. in stores.
Most things digital, imho, don't last long and break easily, compared to older electronics. My better half agrees. I suspect many others do too.
[Digital appliances and electric meters as job security? Yuk. Or worse,
Click to view link
Click to view link ]
Don't even get me started on the many sensors and other electronics in cars. They are my number one expense and problem.
Excluding the PC, I'm sick of digital... and sometimes I'm sick of the PC too.
Other than flashlights, I've come to the conclusion that if it takes batteries to operate, or has a digital display, it is junk with a short lifespan.
Someone might say, "Well, what about a Honda automobile? They're quality."
Uh-huh, and how far does a Honda go without a working fuel sensor?
Yeah yeah, I know, a fuel injected car starts up better in the Winter, but the cost is high, to buy and maintain.
Prior to fuel injection my biggest expense was a carburetor kit, now it's sensor after expensive sensor. Something the uber rich likely wouldn't understand.
Where's my free market supplied, low cost to maintain, carbureted NEW car? Someone might say there's no market for them. Hogwash. Look at the market for used hot rods.
It's as if on some levels digital was a method to impoverish People.
$500 for a New Car Key?
Click to view link
Also, was it the free market that determined so many cars should be equipped with sensors and such, or was it goberment interference?
See, I told you not to get me started on cars.
As far as the crock pot goes, maybe the market is buying them all up,... but then, don't most People these days eat out all the time and never cook,... or crock pots make great thoughtless gifts?
So, the more accurate figure to look at would be, of those who cook a lot at home, how many of those prefer non-digital?
I mean, if someone is in a hurry to shop (has gobs of easy BenBernake credit) and grabs a digital crock pot because it's there, not necessarily because it's what they want, sales might indicate it's what People want when it isn't. What is that, a kind of malinvestment easy-credit induced feedback?
I have yet to read of someone wanting a smart meter.
And as far as someone wanting a device to tell them what food is still safe to eat from the refrigerator,... I think they just might be a clover.
The Clover Test
Click to view link
Ok, /rant off.
Posted by taxesbyanyothername on 03/15/12 02:11 AM
Using phone lines they have to pay the phone co., and with wireless you still need a "meter reader" driving around picking up the very short range transmissions. Through the supply lines it can all be done by computer at the utility office, or even outsourced. That should cut billing costs considerably.
For spying you might want the drive by, but just for those you suspected. Unless of course you suspect everyone, which of course big brother would.
Posted by Joelg on 03/15/12 12:49 AM
In some places, more agricultural-industrial to run water pumps and that sort of thing, the electric lines also transmit info. They can do it in homes, but I think they were very late to the game compared to copper phone wires. So why do it, when you got phone lines, wireless, etc.?
As to smart meters, the local California utility did it where I live a few months back. My electric bill was lower last month, but I think that was because I was not home and using electricity. I never did follow-up and monitor my electrical usage online, which was part of their pitch. Already being ringed with security cameras and regulated to death by the police state, I would rather be under the thumb of my electric utility. Would not be much of an Internet Reformation without the electric utility, right? Unless you go Green and have your own solar or wind source, and can disconnect from the electrical grid.
But to paraphrase the Bard: Beware the Law of Unintended Consequences. The imagined or hypothesized negative consequences are not a sure thing. Keep your powder dry, and stay alert.
Posted by taxesbyanyothername on 03/14/12 11:40 PM
Whether for spying, or for any other purpose, the version of "smart meters" currently being used makes no sense. Information can easily be sent through electrical supply lines while they are being used as supply lines, and the amount of info. in this use is quite small. So, why did they not, and why do they not go that route? And why is no one else asking this?
Posted by kenn on 03/14/12 11:03 PM
Watched as much of the video I could stomach... about half way.
A: CO2 is not a global warming gas although it is a indicator
B: Man Made GW is a scam and a hoax as has been demostrated over and over.
Try taking a long trip, say to Orlando's Mickey world with an electric car and only use electric power. Do not use the gas engine at all.
Considering the car will go about 25 miles between a charge that takes several hours,,, your vacation may be up before you get half way.
And what if everyone owned electric cars. You don't suppose this will overburden an already overburdened grid or do you suggest nuclear? remember Fukishima? Three mile Island? Chernoble?
And finally,,, what do you have against vegetation that use Co2? If we cooled the planet the way most GW 'believers' want we would kill by starvation half or more of the human population which I think happens to be the real motive.
Electric cars will be okay as soon as a safe reliable source of power can be found. Until then the only true renewable and natural energy (oil) will have to do.
Posted by Friend_of_John_Galt on 03/14/12 10:09 PM
Smart meters have come to Northern California and there has been a strong backlash, hence the headline: "PG&E customers can opt out of SmartMeters -- for $75, plus $10 a month." (San Jose Mercury News, 2/1/12)
Click to view link
I'm not particularly pleased with having a "smartmeter" but at least I didn't have a shocking change in charges as many people got hit with when the new meters were calibrated differently -- and charged more. (Complaints usually resulted in a back bill for "undercharging" with the old analog meters!)
I don't mind the labor saving aspect to the meters -- after all, technological change usually results in greater efficiency and lower costs to consumers. I do mind the not-so-subtle threat that these meters will be used to turn off power during "shortage" situations -- which are becoming more and more likely as California's politicians run headlong down the road of "green utopia" with cap & trade rules and multiple other anti-business policies. (Note, I'm planning on leaving the state in the relatively near future. At least, so far, they can't stop me from voting with my feet.)
All too sadly, the wacky left seems to have a lock on some of the most attractive real estate in the country. [sigh]
Posted by seer on 03/14/12 06:38 PM
"GM's top execs were bullied into focusing closely on "Green" electronic cars. "
Check this out: Click to view link
Posted by Baku on 03/14/12 04:57 PM
Guys, I understand your meme hunting, but it is good sometimes to look on the positive nature of the new technology of our times and people involved in the products. Such an effort requires time and knowledge combined with amounts of invested capital in the factories and development - and this has been happening in the last 20 years. The ARM produces chips used for production of the cheapest device which is actually the future of low-cost computing with support from several open source software linux communities. Its name is Raspberry Pi, a Linux box for $25. It has still not hit the mainstream, but it it going to get the main subject in IT news in 1-2 or 3 years. Click to view link
Posted by Hoss on 03/14/12 04:40 PM
Many state legislatures are working on 'opt-out' laws for 'smart' meters. The backlash is growing. People are not happy knowing that the only possible use for them is surveillance and ease of disconnection.
Reply from The Daily Bell
Ah ... you have a link?
Posted by gamma ray on 03/14/12 03:02 PM
Chips in wine corks with alarms? This stuff reads like parody. What will the technomaniacs come up with next? I know, how about chips inside oral medication to monitor the progress of the drug in the digestive track and as a way to verify that the meds have been taken as prescribed? Oh wait, Big Pharma already began testing chips in meds last year in the U.K.
I do hope the Bell's intuition is correct about smart meter technology not getting any traction.
Maybe the DB should consider inviting Patrick Wood for an interview on the subject of the globalists' plans for technocracy. Since Wood is a long time expert on the Trilateralists, is well versed in Brzezinski's work promoting a new technotronic age, and has been ahead of the curve on the machinations of the global elite for decades, I'm sure the interview would be jam packed with interlacing memes.
Here's a link to Wood's technocracy articles on his augustforecast website.
Click to view link
There's also a nice youtube video of Wood explaining technocracy in a seminar for the Eagle Forum Convention, it runs about 40 minutes.
BTW, it appears that Venus Project acolytes are still actively recruiting leftwing antifascism activists to their version of authoritarian technocracy with an Agenda 21 flavor. Several weeks ago, I was disappointed to see a regular contributor to Washington's Blog favorably citing the Venus Project in two separate article posts. He happens to be teach government and economics in an American university. Hopefully, he will take a closer look at the implications of technocratic centralization and realize what a dangerous and dehumanizing road it is.
Reply from The Daily Bell
We think we "get" the Venus Project, and, perhaps, Washington's Blog, too ...
Posted by RickCarufel on 03/14/12 02:48 PM
Many smart meters are not UL approved or OSHA approved and can in some instances invalidate homeowners' insurance. Read this article I wrote on the subject with links:
Click to view link
Posted by Ol' Grey Ghost on 03/14/12 02:38 PM
I wouldn't mind something in my refrigerator that tells me when something is about to spoil. We once had something wrapped in aluminum foil that had been in the fridge long enough that no one could remember what it was supposed to be. It came down to me to pull it out and solve the mystery. It turned out to be aluminum foil wrapped in aluminum foil. Either it was empty when it went in there or something else in the fridge ate it.
It seems that most people forget the biggest point of the Free-market is that it is voluntary. If you want something in an appliance - like a computer that lets you know the milk has soured - then someone will supply it to you and if you don't, then someone will supply you with that, too.
I can understand the suspicion of the author of this article as the marketing of almost everything technological in nature these days appears to suffer from some form of manipulation and anything that is manipulated is usually done in the favor of the manipulator. Just keep using that old question, "Cui bono?" It keeps the air fresh and clear...