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Roscoe Bartlett: The Congressman Who Went Off the Grid - POLITICO Magazine

Stashed in: Interconnectedness!, Teh Internets, politics, Apocalypse

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When Roscoe Bartlett was in Congress, he latched onto a particularly apocalyptic issue, one almost no one else ever seemed to talk about: America’s dangerously vulnerable power grid. In speech after late-night speech on the House floor, Bartlett hectored the nearly empty chamber: If the United States doesn’t do something to protect the grid, and soon, a terrorist or an act of nature will put an end to life as we know it.

Bartlett was born in Kentucky in 1926. When he was an infant, his family moved to western Pennsylvania, where, he tells me, he “grew up dirt poor on a tenant farm.” It was there that he picked up most of the skills he has used to make life comfortable in his West Virginia retreat, and it’s also that upbringing that moved him to go into public service, after a science career that saw him go through IBM in its start-up years and the U.S. Navy as an engineer, before becoming director of the Space Life Sciences research group at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, where he helped the U.S. win the space race by, among other things, developing a device that allows astronauts to breathe at high altitudes and low temperatures.

“Growing up on a farm, you just learn to make do. You couldn’t possibly make enough money to hire an electrician or a plumber,” he says. “I went to the Navy, and they had some problems and I thought, ‘Gee, I can fix that.’ And I ended up getting 19 patents.”

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stashed in Awesome b/c ol Roscoe is awesome.  The article tried hard to make him come across as nuts, but he's probably the truest geek Congress has ever had.

Gasp, I just realized we have the same word for electricity as for what elected officials get. 


That can't be a coincidence. 

I thought it was just the doomsday preppers who worried about the grid. 

But now it seems like everyone has something to think about concerning our online activities. 

Just how dependent is our society on the grid? Just about everything is interconnected. 

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