Yes, comrades, that's black pudding. It's disgusts Americans but is one of the things that made me what I am today. And oh that I had such a heart-stopping plate in front of me right now! (Lifted from BreakfastLiverpool)
Saturday, November 15, 2008
“I’m Godzilla. Remember how I got started?”
The nuclear discussion continues as Aeswiren responds to Faux Smoke's worries about a nuclear power plant going “BOOM!” Plus the crucial difference between fission (generally bad) and fusion (perhaps potentially okay.)
“Fusion reactors cannot go boom. With Fusion you have to make an enormous electro-magnetic effort to create and contain a superhot plasma within the reaction vessel. If anything turns down the power, or breaks the vessel the plasma cools and the reaction stops either instantaneously or within a second or two. The material in the reaction vessel at any one time weighs a few grams, okay? It's not like an atomic pile of uranium fuel rods that can go critical and melt down. A couple of grams of superhot plasma is not a threat, especially since it won't stay superhot if anything goes wrong.”
All of a sudden, people forget about 3mile island, Chernobyl?
“It's a good thing to understand exactly how and why those disasters occurred. Chernobyl was caused by a bunch of scientists running a dangerous experiment from their base in Moscow on a device they were not completely familiar with, situated a thousand miles away. I'm not arguing for the construction of a lot of old style PWR Fission reactors. But I'm aware that China is putting 562 more coal fired power plants on line. That Europe is adding 50. That the US is dependant on coal for most of its electricity. Global warming is happening, the ice will melt, our civilization will have to move uphill away from the coasts and to do that we will need a new source of high density energy. Renewables, especially solar, could be one solution, but will require pretty large solar farms in places like Spain, Algeria, Australia and Arizona. Coupled with the new wave of efficient fuel cells, that might be enough. But our cities are so wasteful, and so power hungry, as is our industry, that it might not be enough and that would keep energy costs high. I think we might be better served by developing nuclear fusion as fast as possible. Then, we're safe, in a sense. With abundant electric power, fuel cells, electric cars, rail, etc. we have a chance of making it through the great crisis that the rising sea levels are going to bring us somewhere in the next century.”
The secret word is Containment
Jody Reynolds – RIP
Thursday, November 13, 2008
The following email came from Frances Beinecke of the NRDC
"Dear Mick, Nearly 1,000 endangered gray wolves could face slaughter if the Bush Administration's new wolf-killing plan goes through -- and we only have two weeks to stop it. Click to send your Official Citizen Comment right now -- before the administration has a chance to pull the trigger on its scheme to strip wolves of their endangered species protection. This parting shot by the outgoing administration would leave wolves vulnerable to mass killing by the Northern Rockies states. Over 60,000 online activists have already submitted Official Citizen Comments and registered their opposition, but we need 40,000 more by the November 28 deadline. Your Official Citizen Comment could be the last, best hope for wolves, so please take a few seconds to send it right now. We don't have a moment to lose. The administration is taking public comments only until November 28 -- the day after Thanksgiving. Even before this plan was announced, park biologists were predicting a crash in Yellowstone's wolf population this year. And wolf pups are dying from an outbreak of a yet-to-be-determined disease. What these struggling wolves need is a humane national recovery plan, not a state-sponsored massacre. That's why I urge you to click to submit your Official Citizen Comment right now -- before the Bush Administration has a chance to put its deadly scheme into action. Sincerely, Frances Beinecke, President, NRDC Action Fund"
Click here to send a protest
The secret word is Ugly
Mitch Mitchell – RIP
Barrington Bayley – RIP
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Our pal Faux Smoke writes…
“Fuck electricity at 10cents a watt... I want to be safe & not have to worry about one of these things fucking up & going BOOM! & what's all this shit with pro-nuclear power? All of a sudden, people forget about 3mile island, Chernobyl? Suddenly, because the cost of gas is on the rise mother fuckers forgot about how many people fought for how long to get major nuclear power plants deactivated... that was just, for shits & giggles or something?”
Meanwhile we’ve heard from Aeswiren over the last few days about how nuclear fusion might be the answer. I find myself seeing possibilities in both arguments which leaves me admitting that I simply don’t know enough. Since we're in the process of bidding farewell and good riddance to a president who never learned to pronounce the word “nuclear” (and a wanna-be vice president with the same ignorant incapability) it might be time for us to actually educate ourselves on the subject. To this end Faux Smoke also sent a link to a disturbing story with the angry comment
“Mini nuclear reactors being buried in concrete in commercial efforts, right under our noses? Isn't this a public safety hazard? Shouldn't the public get a say in this shit?”
From the Observer in London
“Nuclear power plants smaller than a garden shed and able to power 20,000 homes will be on sale within five years, say scientists at Los Alamos, the US government laboratory which developed the first atomic bomb.
The miniature reactors will be factory-sealed, contain no weapons-grade material, have no moving parts and will be nearly impossible to steal because they will be encased in concrete and buried underground.
The US government has licensed the technology to Hyperion, a New Mexico-based company which said last week that it has taken its first firm orders and plans to start mass production within five years. 'Our goal is to generate electricity for 10 cents a watt anywhere in the world,' said John Deal, chief executive of Hyperion. 'They will cost approximately $25m [£13m] each. For a community with 10,000 households, that is a very affordable $2,500 per home.”
Click here for more on these mini-nuke power units.
The secret word is Critical
Monday, November 10, 2008
Here, as promised is the Nuclear Fusion Rant from our pal Aeswiren...
"Thing to remember is that Fusion research was (deliberately) starved of money for the past 25 years. To the point where Europe is the leader in the field. The fingerprints of Exxon Mobil are said to be all over this, but it's not an easy story to track down. No surprise there. But if the US threw $500 Billion at the problem, the first commercialTritium-Deuterium Fusion Reactors would be online in maybe 15 years. From that to Deuterium-Deuterium would be the next technological jump, and from that toWater-Deuterium in maybe another 25 years.
Fusion is something to explore, no matter what, because that technology, ultimately, is our space drive, it's what will lift us from Stage 1 to Stage 2, get us off-planet, grow up somewhat and ensure that we have a future that wouldn't be cut short by an inconvenient 10 mile wide spacerock. Even if we detected something coming in from way out, like in the orbit of Neptune, and we had maybe two or three years, we could do nothing to save ourselves. Nothing. And a major impact would wipe out civilization and take us back to 100,000 years ago, just like that. Start over, but this time without any easily accessed deposits of copper, coal, iron, oil, you name it. Some folks might say, "okay-- fine, we'd just be bands of hunters and gatherers, fitting into Gaia's envelope along with the wildebeest and the lion." But I think it'd be a fucking, criminal waste of the opportunity to take the big next step and become a Stage 2 Civilization, spanning our solar system, etc. And later, we can rehab the Earth and turn most of it into a nature park, and visit it and go "wow, mom, the gravity's like, heavy."
And if you’re now muttering about Aeswiren’s taste for interplanetary travel, or dismissing his ideas as advanced Star Trek, let’s just remember that without humanity's inate and insatiable curiosity we’d still be on all fours, in the long grass of some stinking veldt, wondering if it was safe to stand up.
The secret word is Imperative
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Pic from Tom Sutpen
Dimitrios has sent us the following. If anyone has any practical ideas please send them to the Jay Babcock email address below.
“Michael Moorcock is ailing a bit and he needs help. He'd be able to get a lot more writing done right now if he had a wireless keyboard with large keys that he could use with his PC. He's been looking around and apparently there are no BIG KEYS keyboards that are wireless. Could that be true? And if it is, could some helpful fan out there build one for him? Surely there's someone out there who loves Mike's work and would like to help him. Anyone interested can write to Mike Moorcock care of Jay Babcock at Arthur Magazine — firstname.lastname@example.org.”