Virginia Postrel says they are all related:
Policy wonks assume the current rage for wind farms and high-speed rail has something to do with efficiently reducing carbon emissions. So they debate load mismatches and ridership figures. These are worthy discussions and address real questions. But they miss the emotional point. To their most ardent advocates, and increasingly to the public at large, these technologies aren't just about generating electricity or getting from one city to another. They are symbols of an ideal world, longing disguised as problem solving. You can't counter glamour with statistics.
Glamour always contains an element of illusion. (The word originally meant a literal magic spell.) By obscuring some details and heightening others, it offers an escape from the compromises, flaws and distractions of real life. It shows no bills on the kitchen counter, no blisters under the high heels, no pimples on the movie star's face. In those glamour shots, wind power seems clean, free and infinitely abundant. Turbines spin silently and sometimes appear barely taller than a child. The wind blows constantly and in exactly the right amountnever so much that it piles up unwanted power and never so little that it requires backup supply. The sky is unfailingly photogenic, a backdrop of either puffy clouds or a brilliant sunset; the landscape is both empty and beautiful; and there are no transmission lines anywhere.
Austin Bramwell isn't convinced.
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