KEYNOTE ADDRESS MAY 1997 To IEEE/PSRC Williamsburg, VA

It's a marvelous 50th ANNIVERSARY! I appreciate this so much and enjoyed the 75th so much that I can hardly wait the next five years when we most surely will celebrate the 25th anniversary unless we can get our historian to straighten out his books.

Last year we celebrated the 150th  anniversary of Thomas Edison. He's the fellow who gave us the telephone answer of,"Hello". Alexander Graham Bell, who invented the fool thing wanted people to answer with, "Ahoy". That may have worked out pretty well at sea, but most folks wouldn't have cared for it as a general thing.

Edison was a brilliant inventor despite the fact that he had little formal education and lived in New Jerdey. His first invention in 1877 was the phonograph which could soon be found in thousands of American homes where, as Dave Barry pointed out, it basically just sat until 1923 when the record was invented. But Edison's greatest achievement came in 1879 when he invented the electric company. Edison's design was a brilliant adaption of the simple electric circuit. The electric Company sends electricity through a wire to a customer, then immediately gets the electricity back through another wire. Then (this is the brilliant part) sends it right back to the customer again.

This means that an electric company can sell the same batch of electricity thousands of times a day and never get caught, since very few customers take the time to examine their electricity very closely. In fact the last year in which any new electricity was generated was 1937. The electric Companies have been merely re-selling it ever since, which is why they have so much free time for studying rate increases.

I am IEEE/Power System Relaying Committee, born and bred and as IEEE enthusiasts, you might be interested in the perspective of one member who treasures his many happy hours spent, well-in happy hour after the meetings were over.

I attended my first PSRC meeting in September 1957 in Denver which was the first meeting of the Main Committee west of the Mississppi River. Most of the hostile indians were gone by then. At that time, as now, THE COMMITTEE abounded with miscellaneous geniuses and n'er do wells. Bill Sonnemann was our head character in 1957 and all 5' 4" of him ruled the Committee with an iron hand. 54 people showed up at that meeting which was the largest attendance ever up to that time. The PSRC membership hovered at about 50 for many years until about 1967 when it started to take off.

Lew Blackburn, with his wonderful enthusiasm and knowledge, was secretary for ten years. We owe a lot to him and we miss him. The membership grew until in 1967 it was about 100 strong with 24 honorary members. Honorary meaning they can't any longer find anyone who will buy them an airplane ticket.

PSRC has always had its share of people with unique qualities. Some of our early pioneers were quite proficient with the spoken word and were able to sustain their elocution  to the level of the finest congressional filibuster. The Committee managed to survive in spite of these silver-tongued orators. I always felt that if you couldn't say what you had to say  in two or three sentences in a meeting like that, you probably didn't really have anything of much significance to say anyway.

OTHERS THAT HAVE ALWAYS BEEN WITH US don't say anything. They sit and ponder and blink, but never object, suggest a change or express agreement. I often wondered if their suppressed comments might not be a whole lot more interesting than those from people who couldn't stop talking. Then, on the other hand, their comments might have been as exciting as picking out socks.
I am frequently asked how one goes about joining the PSRC. It's a lot like making out an application to play golf  in the Masters or to apply for the Congressional Medal of honor. You Don't !! You are appointed to the PSRC by the Chairman, prior to which   you have demonstrated, for two or more years, your willingness to work and to participate  and to contribute. Membership is a high honor. It is sort of like the house of representatives-with ethics.

At that 1957 meeting everybody spoke American, nobody had a beard, there were two gray heads, there were ,as now, a limited number of  people of questionable character, there were no women, there was no "artificial intelligence" [It was all real], and no virtual reality [we had only real reality]. None of our logic was fuzzy, though some of it might have been suspect. We wore our neural networks on our shoulders and our genetic algorithms were nobodies business but our own.

There were about the same number of filibusterers in the committee as we have now. There were no double clicks on the web page. THE ONLY VIRUSES WERE BIOLOGICAL AND THE MEETINGS HAD MORE TO DO WITH RELAYING THAN DATA ACCESS, LOCAL AREA NEWORKS, WAVEFORM ANALYSIS, INTELLIGENT SYSTEMS, DIGITAL SIMULATORS AND MOST MEMBERS HAD NOT EVEN HEARD OF THE iec, aol, url OR EVEN bILL gATES FOR THAT MATTER.
tHE INTERNET, OF COURSE, HAD NOT YET BEEN CONCEIVED. mOST OF US KNEW WHAT A HAIR-NET WAS. wE ARE STILL WAITING FOT THE OUTER-NET. i AM TOLD ON GOOD AUTHORITY THAT THE INTERNET IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT DEVELOPMENT SINCE THE FLUSH-TOILET. iT ALLOWS YOU TO CHAT FOR HOURS ON END WITH MILLIONS OF PERFECT STRANGERS ON SUBJECTS YOU CARE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT. wE DON'T NEED TO WORRY ABOUT WHAT'S AROUND THE NEXT CORNER FOR COMPUTERS BECAUSE WHEN WE GET THERE, wE WILL BE OBSOLETE AND OUR COMPUTER WILL NOT HAVE NEARLY ENOUGH MEMORY.

IEEE papers seem much less exciting today than they were in previous generations. There was one AIEE paper from 1938 which I recently discovered and have been dying to order called,"Adventures in Respiration" by Yandell Henderson. I would wager that we have a lot more adventures in respiration than Mr. Henderson ever dreamed of.

There was another called, "Injuries From Artificial Respiration" which sort of piqued my curiosity. I could imagine several different ways in which these injuries might occur.

Our new [then] chairman, Bob Dempsey, has agreed to start off in a brilliant burst of energy and do certain things he feels have been lagging and get some results right away. He will:

  • immediately get to the bottom of this whole Bigfoot thing.
  • examine the prospect of supplying the PRSC MINUTES through the Home Shopping Network.
  • look at the possibility of producing an ebonic version of all of the Psrc guides.
  • explore the possibility of getting the pulitzer prize for lyrical poetry for our next psrc guide.
  • examine the reliability issue more fully and try to find out why all relay engineers are dependable, but very few are secure.
  • arrange for the purchase of t-shirts which will have in bold letters,"are you using the proper protection?"
  • contact Sandra bullock and suggest that she could benefit tremendously from participation in the psrc meetings.
  • organize a working group to find ways to cause a  telephone to automatically respond to the introductory phrase,"I'm not selling anything, i just want to introduce our new free program to you" by announcing to the caller "your number has been identified, and it will be sent, with a contribution to Pat Robertson, Also you may expect a personal call from the audit division of the internal revenue service, after which they will tax you back to the stone age---and don't call this number again.
  • cease his incessant pleadings with Bill clinton to sleep in the Lincoln bedroom.
  • find out why they always give you weather at the airport, even though nobody lives at the airport.
  • not schedule any future meetings during a large canadian low. However he is not averse to a mexican high.


Our new [then] SECRETARY, george nail has agreed TO:

  • Find a way to steam stamps off of the transmittals to the prsc, so they can be recycled like the nameplate  holders.
  • Discover new ways to make our sizeable bank account appear to be approching bankruptcy, thus necessitaying a  near certain increase in all assessments.
  • Continue to find new ways to convey some form of  simplified news to the Neanderthal, knuckle-dragging  segment of the prsc who have no computer, no intention of  getting one, and who still look at a keyboard with a great deal of suspicion and abhorrence.
  • Examine the reason why it should ever be necessary to supply two forms of identification to get into Mexico, and with all of the tequila there is in this country, why anybody would want to go there.
  • Explore the possibility of buying the psrc their own forest to cover the paper requirements for guides which go beyond the 23d revision.
  • Work out a way to trade members like they do in baseball. we could get a couple of screwball pitchers from the Substations committee in exchange for a psrc player who seems to be out in left field most of the time.
  • Bring better order to some working group meetings by buying a small handgun.        
  • Determine if there might be any interest on the part of  John Huang in supporting the activities of the psrc or at  least to find out the name of that guy running the buddhist temple.    


I have been asked if I plan on going to the pes summer meeting in berlin. well, in 1944 when i was in the army air corps, i did have plans to go to berlin on a social call, but i didn't make it. our goal was to blast the fuehrer back to his wallpapering business. perhaps i should go help sweep up some of the residue left by my compatriots.

Working in the psrc, one gets some interesting slants on words and punctuation, and i would like at this point, since i may never get another chance, to point out the understanding i have developed for some of these "snow" words.
1. "User configurable"- when you see that expression, it tells you two things: one that the device is settable and two that the author of whatever is being written has a great deal of difficulty with the use of the english language and wants everybody else to join him.
2. "knowledge based"- that is as opposed to ignorance based, neither of which is related to stupidity based.
3. "Download"- After something has been uploaded or perhaps sidewise loaded, it may then be downloaded. this may be to compensate for the fact that there are upscale neighborhoods and no downscale, pickup trucks and no pickdown trucks.
4. "par" - one shot better than a bogie or one shot worse than a birdie or a phase-angle regulator or a project authorization request. at least once in a write-up or discussion, one should identify which of these are being discussed because i, for one, am going to leap to the conclusion that it is the former, and let you worry about the phase-angle regulator and the project authorization request.
5. "inter-operable"- according to the dictionary means"operates in a community". So i have concluded that it's something like a city bus or an abortion clinic and probably a lot closer to an abortion than a bus.
6. "Fuzzy logic"- as defined in a recent ieee paper :" handles uncertaintities due to intentional vagueness rather than avoidable imprecision or stastical aggregation". Footnote-"may require naïve physics"------[Really Now!!]
7, "parameterization"- means to change settings
8. "deasserted"- removed the input- [better to use one word rather than three- one that nobody understands compared to three that any knuckle-head could understand, but the three lack the aura of erudition, in spite of the fact of conveying information to the uninformed.
9. "equivalency"- to make the same
10, "computerized"- done with a computer-[Nouns converted to adjectives are the domain of the obfuscator and scoundrel. Place the salt-shaker on the table-The salt has been tableized.  the unruly horse has been placed in the stable-the horse has been stableized].
11. "privatized"- made private
12. "reconfigurated'- changed
13. "oxymoron"-words coupled together which are mutually exclusive.-- Example- fuzzy logic [The clearest way we can broadcast our ignorance is through the misuse or distortion of the language]

If you do make it to membership in the psrc, you can look forward to:
1. A wonderful lesson in north american geography, as our presence in Williamsburg proclaims .
2. A knowledge of relaying that has been seared in the furnace of practical, experienced criticism.
3. learning the secret handshake
4. an intimate understanding of human foibles along with a list of the principal trouble-makers.
5. having access to a hundred or more of the most informed relaying experts on the face of the globe
6. learning that a circuit-breaker is merely a device used to increase the interrupting capability of a relay.

As you go on past the psrc to retirement you discover:
1. you should never sweat the small stuff.
2. Everything is small stuff.
3. "how should i know? you should look it up" comes in handy
4. "whatever" is useful.
5. 'Who cares" takes care of all other contingencies.
6. Everybody knows the same amount. it's just about different    
    things.
7. high expectations lead to failure.
8. low expectations lead to failure.

In relaying, you will quite likely not become rich, but you will most assuredly have a rich life filled with the rewards of knowing you made some power system better, and some utility executive less irritable.

I will close with,"aloha", A hawaiian expression meaning either hello or goodbye which just goes to show that if you spend enough time in the sunshine, you don't know whether you are coming or going.

I go now to write my book. I have chosen the title,"From here to senility."
walter a. elmore

Relion advanced protection & control.
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