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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  May 27, 2012 7:15am-8:00am EDT

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better than if no action is taken. it's about half an hour. >> hi, thank you all for coming out here. i wanted to start off this evening by talking a little bit about a name you probably haven't heard before, h. j. rodgers. and he is not very well-known, but turns out he is one of the major forces in the history of electricity for some very rare reasons. h. j. rogers in 1882 was one of the richest people in the city of appleton wisconsin. beyond a paper mill and his literally building a mansion on the hill. and in a summit he made a fateful decision. he went on a fishing trip with a salesman from edison electric lighting company. at the time, h. j. rogers had never seen an electric light will. he actually owned a gaslighting utility in appleton, so
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technically electricity was an up-and-coming competitor for him, but he came back from that fishing trip the proud owner of the rights to license and use edison technology in the city of appleton. and it didn't think the beginning of the end for him as a successful businessman. i like this story a lot because it really goes against the narrative of the most of us learned when we are in junior high and high school, this idea that thomas edison invented the electric light bulb in 1879 everything kind of comes together perfectly, like electricity is this killer app that solves a problem is going twhenyou they had ended it it immediately to the reality is a lot messy than that but in reality the incandescent light bulb was invented in 1879. it was invented in 1804 by a chemist who became the first person to run an electric current through a thin wire competing that one up to the point where you begin to grow and produce light. is better known as a chemist than a guy who discovered the
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element of potassium and sodium but is also the guy who invented the incandescent light. in between humphrey davy and thomas edison, you have 80 years of different inventors, tinkering around with this technology that was never quite ready for prime time. even by the time h. j. rogers came along in 1882, electricity still wasn't a sure thing. i think this is important to know because we're in the middle of these energy crises. we have climate change bring down on the equivalent amounts of fossil fuels. with infrastructure that has been updated in 30 years and all those things will require technology to solve our problems. but its same time we like to tell ourselves stories about technology that don't match up with reality. would like to talk about times where one guy had one of the and completely change the world. and that's really not what success normally looks like. if that's all we know, we're doing ourselves a great disservice. if you don't understand that the electric grid that we have today isn't a perfect thing, that it
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is not an ideal system and has a lot of flaws that damage, put us at risk even beyond renewable generation, you're not going to understand what our energy problems actually are. and you're not going to understand what the solutions are either. that's one of the big reasons i wrote my book, "before the lights go out" but i want to tell the stories that help people understand how this technology that we base our entire lives around works and how it's going to be affecting what we can and can't do about energy over the next 30 or 40 years. to tell that story i have to start in the state of wisconsin. in 1882, thomas edison was putting together the first centralized electric at any time world in new york city. at the same time, h. j. rogers was working on his electric grid in appleton wisconsin. and came very close to actually eating edison to the punch but edison opened his grid in august 1882, 2 weeks later in september, h. j. rogers' grid came online. it was the second centralized
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electric grid in the entire world. it was the first hydroelectric power plant in the entire world. and more important, appleton wisconsin was the first place that somebody other than thomas edison without edison's team of geniuses working around him try to take this technology and apply in the real world. and he failed initially. and when you understand why h. j. rogers failed from the other better understanding of how our good works today and why there are some problems with it. h. j. rogers first problem was a technological problem. specifically, he had no idea what he was doing with the technology he purchased. there were no such thing as electric linemen in 1882. there were no such thing in his electrical engineers but that was the job, is edison's staff was inventing as they went along in new york city, and none of them had, wes with the generator h. j. rogers bought. he bought the technology but he had made anybody to come in and tell him what to do with it.
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that matters because the grid is a lot harder to manage than he realized. i do like to talk about electric grid as being a lot like a lazy river at a water park. the grid isn't just like one wire that connects you to a power plant. it's a circuit of wires that connect power plants to consumers and back up into the power plant begin but you have to have a complete loop or you will get blackouts. likewise, the grid has to operate in the specific parameters, the electricity that flows along it has to move it at a constant speed which is analogous to what engineers call frequency. and has to move along at a constant depth. that's analogous to what engineers call voltage. and how you maintain a constant speed and constant depth is by maintaining caning an old perfect rows between electric supply and electric demand. if that gets out of whack but even a fraction of a percent, what you get our blackouts. h. j. rogers did not know this. and he made some mistakes because of that.
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i told you that he owns the paper mill in appleton, and this paper mill was powered by a water wheel. and so he thought he could save some money by having the same water wheel that powered his paper mill also power his electric generator. and the problem with this is that the paper mill have a lot of demand for its services. the electric generator had exactly one customer, which was h. j. rogers himself. so on days that the paper mill was running at full capacity, that generator was producing way more electricity than that little grid needed. and throughout h. j. rogers' magic, electric light bulbs would burn out that everyone called -- cost $36 but that quickly became an expensive mistake. but even if h. j. rogers had been technically competent, and there were people who are technically competent who set up some of these earlier grades, there's a good chance he still would have failed. that's because of the business problem. in 1882, there were exactly one
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thing that you do with electricity, and that was like a light bulb. and you couldn't make enough money from lighting light bulbs to recoup the costs of building the infrastructure necessary to light that light bulb. this was a huge problem. up until the 19th century, very, very few american businessman had any kind of experience dealing with businesses that required you to build this massive expensive infrastructure before you even get started but it was something that was affecting a lot of different industries at the time, not just electricity but also long distance rail. in all of those industries what you saw were companies failing over and over. h. j. rogers eventually went bankrupt. the people about the electric utility in appleton from them also went bankrupt. and so did the people who brought -- bobby electric utility from them. it was not until the 1920s that anybody was able to make owning an electric utility a profitable business. and even then it was only
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because electric utilities set out to create their own command. they said that with this concerted effort to invent things that people could use electricity for, and along the way the grid the electric toaster over. they invented the electric curling iron and a lot of different things to do with electric motors but i'm sure some of you have seen history books where you can see small towns networks of electric streetcar. a lot of those were owned by utility companies trying to find something for people to do with electricity during the day. so that work to make electricity a profitable business but it only worked in cities. it only works in places where you could build one infrastructure answer a lot of people at the same thing but it didn't work in real communities, and so for many, many years rural america was not elected by. they didn't have the same kind of modernity that the rest of the country did. it wasn't until the 1930s until 1950s when the federal, stepped in and start spreading
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the cost of building this infrastructure over the entire country that you were really able to get everybody up to the same speed on a technological basis. so i think there are a few important things that we need to learn about the history of electricity. the first thing is that the electric grid we have right now, it evolves. it wasn't designed. and often evolve enhance the people who have no idea what they were doing. and it shall still today, we don't have stored on our electric grid. i think that's a big surprise to a lot of people because we have batteries all throughout our lives but there aren't batteries on the electric grid. and so the palace between supply and demand that still has to be maintained is something that has to be maintained manually by people and grid control centers all over the united states. they were 24 hours a day seven days a week, and have to maintain that balance on a minute by minute basis all throughout the day. the second thing we need to learn is that technology can fail for a really long time.
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and still end up becoming something that is completely ubiquitous to the way with it. i think there are a lot of analogies between the history of the lightbulb and history of solar power because i've had people tell me well, you, solar cells were a bit in the 1940s. people have been pushing this as the energy solution since the 1970s but they are still expensive and they're still not widely used include are a failure and we should just move on. but if you look at the history of the lightbulb, you can see that a technology can fail on a technological basis for 80 years. they can fail on a business case basis for another 40 and still end up becoming something that we are completely dependent upon today. finally we need to learn that big changes that just completely sweep the nation are not necessary things that happen individual by individual. we don't have an electric grid system today because individual people decided they wanted to rid your house up for
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electricity. it's a lot more complicated than that but it was something that involved private investment, public investment and how all of those things allowed people to make individual choices in math. and something that affects the way that we have to think about the future of electricity today. so all of these things that i've been telling about, how the grid works and what some of its walls are and where it came from, these are things that experts in energy already know. but they are not necessarily things that the general public knows, or the even the people who have to make decisions about our electric infrastructure know. and i think that's a big deal. i set out to write this book partly because of nepotism i guess. my husband is in energy efficiency and analyst, so what he does is to get how to make buildings as energy efficient as possible for the least amount of money. after he got his job he started coming on and talking to me about the stuff that he was learning and the stuff he was trying to explain to his clients, and he kept talking
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about how there were these things that were completely basic information to them to the point he didn't even think they were worth talking about, that his clients had no idea about. and it affected the decisions that they made and it affected mistakes that they made. and i really wanted to try to bridge that gap between the bubble of expertise and everybody else. i think that bubble of expertise is something that is really, really easy to get into. and i know that because i made that same mistake. i have background in journalism, and i wrote mostly for print magazines and to a lesser working for boing, boing in 2009. and i didn't realize that i got myself into a bubble until i started writing for boing, boing. this is because you don't get a lot of feedback as a journalist in print magazines or newspapers. you might get an e-mail from somebody but issued from a crazy person who writes in all caps and is really angry at you.
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and boing, boing was the first time i actually had conversations with readers in the comments section. and to see real-time responses to what i wrote and what people, what questions people at and what things they didn't understand. because of boing, boing, i got out of this bubble that i kind of trapped myself in. and i started to learn about how i could better communicate science to people and what i was doing wrong as a science communicator. one of the things i learned was that the words i didn't realize were jargon that were jargon. reading the boing, boing comments, i realize most of my readers, educated people, people who are excited about science didn't know what peer review meant. about half my readership meant -- thought to review meant a paper again to be completely correct and not be questioned at half of them thought it was a system that favored peoples friends and kept that new ideas. and very, very few of them seem to realize that there was this complicated process that was really all about editing
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scientific editing each other's work and figuring out ways to say, you know, this might not be correct information but we have said that you're probably doing the signs correctly. you're probably not making mistakes in your methodology. you're probably not making ridiculous leaps of logic, even though we don't know whether you're right or not. and that's a hard thing to cling to people. it's a hard thing to remember to explain to people. we don't do a good enough job right now as science communicators of remembering that there are things that we know that other people don't know. we have to get outside of our bubble. i think the internet does an amazing job of forcing me to do the enforcing of the writers to do that as well. and i think the internet in fact does an amazing job of communicating science. one of the things i learned last summer while i was preparing to do a presentation at a convention of science museums was some statistics about how
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americans understanding of science have changed over the last 30 years. there's a guy at northwestern named john miller whose entire specialty is studying public understanding of science and sociology. he's been doing this for 30 or 40 years, and in 1988 he found a 10% of americans understood science well enough to understand what you're reading in the new york times science section. he did the same survey in 2008. and that number had gone up 20% of americans could now understand "the new york times" science section. there's a possibility that has to do with "the new york times" science section getting dumber, but i can like to think that it has to do with how we communicate science changing. 30 years ago the only place you going to read about a new paper was in a newspaper, which has a very specific tone to the way they write. they have very specific audiences via reaching out to. and today, if you go online you
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can find so many more different ways that people are talking about that same paper. they might be doing it serious or. they might be doing as a joke. they might be doing it as like an interactive discussion, and each one of those things is a different way for somebody to get interested in science you might not have thought out that science to begin with it which is a newspaper. it allowed you to bring in new audiences and it allows you to reach out to people in their own cultural language to talk to them about stuff that was really only one niche 30 years ago. and i think that's help immensely. i'm incredibly proud to work on the internet as a science journalist, and i think it makes my site writing better and i think it really was an incredible part of making me able to write this book. so that is what i wanted to talk to you guys about today, and i am extremely happy to take questions, or talk to you guys about anything from kimmy getting science to boing, boing to the book itself.
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>> okay, thank you very much, maggie. let's give her all a big and. [applause] so for the q&a, we have a microphone here. we will pass it around pecks lake you could just wait and to get the microphone before you asked the question. >> i just want to know, do you have any ideas out there about how to combat the anti-science campaign that is going on right now? >> i do actually but this is one of the things i ran into in the course of writing this book him was an incredible story that made me think about communicating these controversial topics in the way i never thought about doing before. is a nonprofit in a state of kansas the started doing these focus groups in 2008, i think, where they were talking to people about what you thought about climate and what you thought about energy. they kept running into this
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thing over and over again whether that somebody thought that climate change was a socialist plot, that when you can read and asked him what he thought about energy, he changed out, he owned a priest and he was excited about wind power. and does because he had other reasons to care about energy and just climate change, that there were different way she could get to the same conclusions. and the one of the things that i think would be really helpful in this discussion is trying to break down those walls up i'm on this site and join that site, and we can talk to each other. i think there's a lot of opportunities for me to say i've seen evidence that shows me that climate change is actually happening. i'm not going to tell you it's not that i may have other reasons to care about energy so let's have an energy -- conversation about energy and what compromises we can come to together and what things we can agree and. i think we need to do more of that. one of the things that has disappointed me about
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environmental writing online is that it tends to be very preachy to the choir. and i think we need to do a better job of talking to more people about this stuff in making an effort to reach out to communities and individuals who might not be drawn in by the same message that i'm drawn in by. so that someday i talk about in the book and it's something that i think it's a good way to kind of start to get around the anti-science messages, i sort of circumventing its entirety. >> thanks for explaining the lifecycle of a idea and how long it takes. i have a question, now you've convinced me that solar power and wind power stuff is going to be fine but it's going to take a little water. let me ask you a practical question if you don't want to my wife's family owns a little tiny beach cottage in a little tiny beach down and these guys have approached that down and say we're going to put wave energy capture a mile offshore, no one will ever see them and we will
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get that into your town and bingo, it's electricity. however, this requires a wider to be brought from the wave generating machine to the that which is going to go under somebody's house or somebody's neighborhood, and this seems like so incredibly horrifying satellite images isn't getting off the ground. so how does that kind of capacity of energy to get generated, turning to actually actually energy getting into houses? >> yeah, so this is something that i think is really interesting. before i wrote this book i did some research on new media some, like a not my idea. and whether there was anybody thinking about ways to get around that. i ended up running into some really interesting research. in europe they have had a lot of solar and wind development, and along the way they have figured out some way to get around this
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problem. a lot of it ends up coming down to having communities be participating in these projects rather than having the projects happen to them. i think in denmark, if you build a wind farm enough to offer the community or the person is proper you're building on a 20% stake in that wind farm. and suddenly it disappeared. and i think that's a really great idea. i have no idea what it would take to actually get something like that implement it in the u.s. because it through different from how we have traditionally thought about infrastructure development. the idea of this inter- active participatory infrastructure development is really very different and you end up running into i think a lot of institutional inertia like well we've never done things that way. thus we don't want to because change is good but it's almost on the part of industry as opposed to on the part of individuals. i think there's a lot of potential to solve those
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problems that things were to kick is thinking about how we do things in a different way. >> other than the horrible inefficiency, can you toggle the more about what is wrong with the great and might do to fix that? >> absolutely. so one of the things that's wrong with the grid is the fact that we have to manually balance supply and demand met by minute. if we had stored or if it's some of the technologies that make up a people talk about when they talk about smart grids, we could do a better job of the stuff that we are completely dependent upon every minute of our lives more reliable. because right now we are at risk of a lot of different things that can cause great failures. texas actually learned his last winter. they had cold snaps that weren't anticipated, and so they had
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demand for electricity rising that they were expecting it to rise that much, and then they had the cold freezing pipes at some coal-fired power plants that supply dropping off exactly when the demand was rising, and what you get out of that is black as but that's something you could circumvent a little bit and you can have a better chance of getting around if there were storage on the grid. it's not really just about how we make the world safe for wind and solar and how we build a hip utopia. that's how we prepare ourselves for the 21st century. we have a lot of this technology that hasn't changed since the 1970s, and i can't think of anything else i depend upon that much that is using 1970s technology. so that is like one of the biggest things i think is making this grid more stable, making something that has less inheritance, you know, fiddling around behind the scenes that has to happen to actually get it to work. it's not as stable as it looks
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right now, and i think we could do a better job of that. [inaudible] >> yes. all, it's a lot of different things actually. one of the things that people are talking about when they talk about smart grids is demand response. so right now these guys that control supply and demand on the grid and keep it balanced have only one way to control the demand side of that equation, and that's why these customers were called demand response customers. organizations that use a lot of electricity like a factory, and they are paid a premium to be on-call so that great controller can call them up in the middle of the day and say we have too much demand and not enough supply, we need to shut off your power for a little bit, and they can kind of dialback them out there using or shut off completed for a few minutes until we get the grid balanced out again so people don't have blackouts to one of the things we're talking about is expanding the market out to smaller businesses and individuals,
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basically making a something we all participate in, usually using smart appliances so these appliances that can communicate with the grid controllers or that can sense changes on electric grid and respond to those, it's usually stuff that you don't actually have to have drawing electricity all the time to get the benefit from it so if your air conditioner doesn't have to be on constantly to keep your house cool but it can be offer a couple of minutes and then back on again. the same thing like with your refrigerator. there have been some really good studies of this, the pacific northwest and pacific northwest national laboratory. they have done this in real world test cases and cities. and they found that when you set this up right and you give people the option of being able to opt in and out of it whenever they want, they have a control panel in the house, they can say i want to be on demand response to date, i don't want to be on it tomorrow, when you do that, not only do they not notice, that the appliances are going on
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and off at all, but they also never opt out. like as long as they have the ability to do it, they don't necessarily do it. at giving people the ability is really important because you didn't have the issue of having to participatory interaction with infrastructure rather than having infrastructure happen to you. that's one of the big things smart grid refers to. you are a whole host of other technologies, some of which affect consumers and others that you would never know have changed, but it's more than one thing and i think that's part of the confusion. [inaudible] >> yes, actually. that's part of making sure that you can produce, if you want to produce electricity, if you want to be and electricity produced, that's about helping you be able to work with the grid in a reasonable way. like right now if you're an electricity produced, if you have solar panel on your roof into putting electricity in the grid, the grid and source can
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see. they don't know it's coming from, they don't have any ability to cut it off if we have too much on the grid. and so that's one of the big things that smart meters are going to enable them to do is have the the, you know, a good citizen of the grid rather than a squatter on the grid. >> is any feeling that electric cars might take off enough that they will take the amount of electricity we need to produce in a fast way than they can build, or build networked? >> i don't know that that's going to happen. in fact, there's actually electric cars could become have the potential to be a source of storage on the electric grid. and one of the problems with that idea is that people don't think they're going to get rolled out fast enough to supply that storage that we want fast enough. the problem is it takes a really long time for the u.s. electric fleet, or u.s. vehicle fleet rather, to turnover.
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i think people are telling me we are on the order of 40 years. we've had like tons of previous we sold them but it still only a drop in the bucket compared to the number of cars that are out there. and i think that we are more likely to not have that happen as quick, so quickly, you know, is the grid. if anything and it will get more of this step will be able to use it as storage and that will help the grid. cool, think you guys all for coming. i really appreciate it. [applause] for more information visit the author's website, maggie >> several years ago when the queen was at one for yearly garden parties, buckingham palace making her way through a crowd of nearly 9000 people and
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reading a selection, she was asking such standard questions as, have you come far? when one woman looked at her and said, what do you do? several days later at a friends birthday party, the queen described exchange and confess, i had no idea what to say. it was the first time in all the years of meeting people that anybody ever asked her that question. my job and writing "elizabeth the queen" was not going to explain what she does, but to tell what she is really like, and to take the reader as close as possible to elizabeth, the human being, the wife, the mother and a friend, as well as the highly respected leader. today, i'm going to talk first about what it was like to write about queen elizabeth, and second, i'd like to share with you some of the many surprising
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discoveries that i made about the queen. because she is the best known women in the world. people feel as if they know her, it's a real woman is very different than the woman in the helmet -- velvet. this is my six biography, all of them about larger-than-life characters that barbara mentioned, but there is no one like the queen, and she lives in her very own remarkable world. while other heads of state have come and gone, elizabeth is the longest serving leader in the world, spanning the 20th and 21st centuries. she is the 40th monarch in the thousand year history of the british monarchy. reigning over the united kingdom of england, wales, scotland and northern ireland, along with 15 rounds and 14 overseas territories. she's the second monarch to
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celebrate a diamond jubilee, marking 60 years on the throne, which is a milestone that she will reach on february 6. the only other was her great, great grandmother, queen victoria. whose celebration was 115 years ago. in 1897, when she was 78 years old. if elizabeth, who will soon turn 86, is still on the throne in september 2015, she will surpass victoria's reign of nearly 64 years. between the two of them, victoria and elizabeth have been on the throne for 124 of the last 174 years, and have symbolized britain far longer than the four men who were teens between their reigns. elizabeth is always surrounded by people, but being queen makes
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her a solitary and singular figure. it is crucial for her to keep a delicate balance at all times to a she seems to mysterious insistence, she loses her bond with her subjects. but if she seems too much like everyone else, she loses her mystique he or she doesn't carry a passport. she doesn't have a driver's license, although one of her cousins told me that she drives like a bat out of hell on the roads of her country estates. she can't vote. she can appear as a witness in court, and she can't change your face from anglican to roman catholic. and because of for hereditary position from everyone around her, including her closest friends and her family, bows and curtsies when they greater, and when they say goodbye to her. although she was trained by strict nannies who prevent her from being spoiled, she was also trained from childhood to expect
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this deference. a friend of mine told me about the time when then princess elizabeth came to visit his family castle in scotland, and he playfully threw her on a sofa. the 12th earl took him by the arm, punched him in the stomach and said, don't you ever do that to royalty. the princess didn't mind, my friend told me, but that was the structure in which she was brought up. so how does a biographer, particularly an american, penetrate the royal bubble, especially when the queen has has a policy for the past 60 years of not granting interviews, actually it really wasn't too different from the way i've approached my other books, which was to turn to those who know her best for insights and information. i am a longtime anglophile, and i visited britain frequent over
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the past three decades and have made a lot of friends, some of whom helped me when i was reporting my book on princess diana in the late 1990s. when i started researching the queen's life, i went back to a group of key sources who agree to help me again, and who introduced me to more people who knew the royal family. they also serve as my advocates in getting cooperation from buckingham palace. my book on diana had been fair to the royal family, and particularly to charles so the senior staff of the balance briefed the queen, and they gave me the green light. as a result, i had access to her and her circle of close friends and advisers. while the queen has disciplined herself to keep her views and emotions under wrap in public, those close to her shared with me some of her fascinating opinions and feelings.
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what would her most about prince charles and his marriage to diana was falling apart, for example. what would happen if she became physically or mentally incapacitated? and even some politically sensitive opinions, including one hot button issue that she discussed with an american ambassador. her friends explained the secrets of her serenity and her courage, and they size you up, sometimes in unusual, unusually perceptive ways. monty roberts, the california horse whisperer, was one of her most unlikely friends told me that when the queen gave him good advice, she showed an incredible ability to breathe intention, just like a horse does. with the assistance of the balance i was also able to watch the queen and prince philip in many different settings at the carter prayed at windsor castle, while presenting honors at
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buckingham palace, the best teachers. and that one of her annual garden party at the palace. or that i received a personalized invitation on white board embossed in gold with queen's crown and cypher, announcing that the lord chamberlain had been commanded by her majesty to invite me. everybody got that. watching the queen at the garden party make her way along a line of people, i was struck by her measured pace. hurt lower chamber and was the senior official at buckingham palace later told me that she moves slowly to absorb everything that is going on and to take as much in as she can. i also marvel at her mastery of brief but focused conversations, and her sturdy stance, a technique that she once explained to the wife of one of
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her foreign secretaries, by lifting her evening gown above her ankle and saying one plans, one feed, a part like this. always keep them parallel, make sure your weight is evenly distributed, and that's all there is to it. as i observed the queen over the course of the year, i accumulated impressions that helped me understand how she carries out her roles, and how earnestly she does her job, with great discipline and concentration in every situation. she is not just a figurehead. and she has an impressive range of duty. every day, except christmas and easter, she spends several hours reading the government boxes that barbara just describe. they are red leather boxes that can only be opened by four keys. she reads them in the morning
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and at night, and even on weekend. one of her close friends told me about the time during one of the queen's visit when she was deskbound all morning, must you, man? her friend asked. the queen replied, if i miss once i might never catch up again. mary, who is the youngest daughter of the queen's first prime minister, winston churchill, told me that when elizabeth was a young 25 year-old queen, her father had been impressed by her attentiveness that she always paid attention to whatever she was doing. it's hard to imagine the amount of information that the queen has accumulated over six decades, and she has used this in exercising her right to be consulted, to encourage and to warn when she meets with government officials, as well as senior military officers, clergymen, diplomats and judges. who come to her for confidenti
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confidential, private audiences. as she once said, the fact that there's nobody else there isn't a feeling that they can say what they like. the most important encounter of these encounters have been the weekly audiences with her 12 prime ministers. consider the trajectory from churchill, who was born in the 19 century and served in the army of her great, great grandmother, queen victoria, to david cameron, her current prime minister who was born three years after her youngest child, prince edward. she actually glimpsed for the first time for future 12th prime minister when he appeared at age eight in a school production of told hall with edward. probably her most fascinating relationship was her work with
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barbara that you. and in the course of my report i gained some great insight into how that relationship worked, and some of which contradicted the common view. the queen does not have executive power, but she does have unique influence. in her role as head of state she represents the government officially, at home and abroad, but she also serves as head of nations which means she connects with people to reward the achievement and remain in touch with their concerns. two decades past the normal retirement age, she still does something like a hundred engagements a year. traveling around the united kingdom to cities as well as tiny hamlets. charles bolden who served as press secretary to both john major and margaret thatcher, told me that the queen knows every inch of this country in a way no one else does. she spends so much time meeting
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people that she has an understanding of what other people's lives are like. she understands what the normal human condition is. she's also spent an extraordinary amount of time pondering citizens and members of the military for exemplary service. in 60 years, she has conferred more than 400,000 honors and awards, and given them in person over 600 times. people need pats on the back sometimes, she has said. it's a very dingy world otherwise. traveling with the queen is particularly valuable, especially overseas royal trip to bermuda. she was 83 at the time after program called long days and meeting and greeting to her stamina was impressive. matched only by 88 year old prince philip. whenever they go off on a trip together like that, the lord
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chamberlain always accompanied to the airport and philip turned around and waves at him and says, mind the shop. i got a real sense of how much in saint philip and elizabeth are. with an expert choreography, sort of like fred astaire and ginger rogers. i also saw aspects of him that contradict his caricature of brashness and insensitivity. he always watches the queen intently to see whether she needs any assistance. i once saw him bring a little child over to greater. he often spots people in the crowd who can't see very well and he will walk them out to give him a better vantage point. when the queen needs a boost, he is also there with a humorous side such as don't be so sad. on the last night in trinidad i also went to close range from what i heard about several
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people, that the queen doesn't perspire, even in the hottest temperature. the british high commissioner who is hosting a garden party in his hilltop home on such a steamy evening that everyone, including me, was dripping from the heat, but after an hour of lively conversations with some 65 guests, the queen walked past me very close by, and it was absolutely no moisture on her face. one of her cousins who traveled in the tropics with her explain to me, in her own way, that the queens is scanned does not run water, and that while it may look good, it does make her uncomfortable. i saw further evidence of this a year later on a july day at ground zero in manhattan when the temperature hit 103 degrees. and one of the women, the queen spoke to said to me afterwards, we were all pouring sweat, but
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she didn't have a bead on her. that must be what it is like to be royal. during these trips, i was able to see the buckingham palace machinery on the road. to get to know the senior officials and to get a feel for the atmosphere of round the queen and the waiter household has changed from the early days when it was run entirely by aristocratic men. as i stood in the lobby of our hotel in trinidad, her master of the household pointed toward a half-dozen -- all dressed in navy blue suits. see sam over there, he said. he has a master degree in paleontology. it was a far cry from the stereotype of thousand abbey. >> you can watch this and other programs online at >> into served two combat tours in iraq is in the for infantry officer. re


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