Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Fukushima

Tomorrow Never Was

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Nuclear power: the dream that failed. From the Economist.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 11, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Monday!

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* ‘Democrats Gleeful at Prospect of Running Against Gingrich.’ That’s the first bit of Gingrich-related news that’s made me nervous.

* io9 has the trailer for Joss Whedon’s long-delayed The Cabin in the Woods.

Duke University trustee Bruce Karsh and his wife Martha have donated $50 million to Duke for a permanent endowment to support need-based financial aid for undergraduate students from the United States and other countries, President Richard H. Brodhead announced Monday.

* Randy Balko vs. paramilitary creep.

* Aaron Bady on the Oakland Commune.

* How Doctors Die.

* Henry Aaron: So… here is my prediction. The Supreme Court will sustain the individual mandate, and it will do so not by the narrow 5 to 4 split that has become so familiar, but by a vote of 7 to 2. Or 8 to 1. Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Sottamayor, and Kagan are virtually certain to find the mandate constitutional. But also voting to sustain it, I believe, will be Justices Scalia and Kennedy, based on reasoning similar to that of Silberman and Sutton. Justices Roberts and Kennedy are in play and I am assuming that either or both will vote to affirm the mandate. Justice Thomas, who has staked out a far-reaching opposition to federal regulation in many currently accepted forms, will say that the mandate exceeds Congress’s constitutional authority.

* Apocalypse now: Radioactive water from Fukushima might have found its way into the Pacific ocean and experts believe it could contain strontium.

* Apocalypse tomorrow: In fact, according to the latest science, says Anderson, “a 4 degrees C future is incompatible with an organized global community, is likely to be beyond ‘adaptation’, is devastating to the majority of ecosystems, and has a high probability of not being stable.”

* “If you have got a population of 9 billion by 2050 and you hit 4 degrees, 5 degrees or 6 degrees, you might have half a billion people surviving.”

* And today from America’s finest news source: Global Warming May Be Irreversible by 2006.

* But it’s okay that we’ve ruined this planet; after all, there’s always Keppler 22b.

Monday Night: Scooby-Doo, Stalin’s Daughter, and More

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* “You can’t regret your fate,” Ms. Peters once said, “although I do regret my mother didn’t marry a carpenter.” Josef Stalin’s daughter has died. More at MeFi.

* Occupy the Mystery Machine: The very first rule of Scooby-Doo, the single premise that sits at the heart of their adventures, is that the world is full of grown-ups who lie to kids, and that it’s up to those kids to figure out what those lies are and call them on it, even if there are other adults who believe those lies with every fiber of their being. (via)

* Behind the scenes of Planet of the Apes.

* No second acts in America: The life and times of Chris Hardwick. (also via)

* Terry Gilliam, the heir of Fellini and the enemy of God. (you know what I’m gonna say)

On his flight to Los Angeles, Gilliam tried to watch the $1-billion hit “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” and he felt battered and sullen by the time the landing gear came down. The old wizard says it’s the stage magicians who rule Hollywood now.

“You just sit there and watch the explosions,” Gilliam said. “I couldn’t tell you what the movie was about. The movie hammers the audience into submission. They are influenced by video games, but in video games at least you are immersed; in these movies you’re left out. In films, there’s so much overt fantasy now that I don’t watch a lot because everything is possible now. There’s no tension there. People can slide down the side of a building that’s falling and they don’t get ripped to shreds? The shots are amazing, but if there is no consequence, no gravity, what’s the point? I can’t watch Hollywood movies anymore. There’s no room for me.”

* Safe, reliable, and too cheap to meter: Japan’s science ministry says 8 per cent of the country’s surface area has been contaminated by radiation from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

* “For our brewery, growth depends on abundant clean water and quality barley and hops—and climate change puts those ingredients at risk. Our supply chain—including barley, hops and water—is especially vulnerable to weather in the short-term and to climate change in the long-term,” Orgolini told Forbes.

* Medicine and “never events.”

* Of islands and invaders.

* Against Gremlins.


* Nearly half (48%) of all Americans say that the U.S. is the greatest country in the world, and another 42% say that it is one of the greatest countries in the world. Fewer than one-in-ten (8%) Americans say that the U.S. is not one of the greatest countries in the world.

There are sharp generational differences on this question. Millennials are the least likely to say that the U.S. is the greatest country in the world, with just 32% holding this view. This number rises with each successive generation, culminating in nearly two-thirds of Silents (64%) expressing the view that the U.S. stands above all other nations. Within the Silent generation, it is the oldest members who feel most strongly about America’s greatness – fully 72% of those ages 76 to 83 say the U.S. is the greatest country in the world. About half of members of Generation X (ages 31 to 46) and the Baby Boomer generation (47 to 65) believe that the U.S. is the greatest country in the world.

* “Berkeley Police Defend Actions by Sensationistically Claiming Protestors Could’ve Used Lethal Violence.” That’s good enough for me!

* The engineers behind Russia’s failed Mars attempt could face criminal charges.

“Recent failures are a strong blow to our competitiveness,” explained Medvedev. “It does not mean that something fatal has happened, it means that we need to carry out a detailed review and punish those guilty.”

* Speaking of punishing the guilty: The Walker recall is already almost halfway there. @wi_defender: One signature every 3.456 seconds for 12 days. #WIRecall #RecallWalker #damn

* Corporate synergy watch: Staples is launching Dunder Mifflin brand paper.

* And in terrible local news:

The North Carolina Senate voted (27-17) Monday to repeal the Racial Justice Act, sending SB 9 off to Governor Bev Perdue. The Senate’s approval came just hours after the Judiciary Committee heard emotional testimony on both sides of the legislation.

Johnston County District Attorney Susan Doyle told legislators that DAs were “fearful” that the two-year-old law had the potential to parole death row inmates.

One shudders to think!

Thursday Evening

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* Aaron Bady has an interesting, informative, and important post on his experiences at the Occupy Oakland general strike yesterday.

* 100,000 at the strike?

* Seven weeks of Occupy, at In Focus.

* Imagine what it’s like to be a normal student nowadays. You did well—even very well—in high school. But you arrive at university with little experience in research and writing and little sense of what your classes have to do with your life plans. You start your first year deep in debt, with more in prospect. You work at Target or a fast-food outlet to pay for your living expenses. You live in a vast, shabby dorm or a huge, flimsy off-campus apartment complex, where your single with bath provides both privacy and isolation. And you see professors from a great distance, in space as well as culture: from the back of a vast dark auditorium, full of your peers checking Facebook on their laptops.

It’s no wonder, in these circumstances, that many students never really internalize the new demands and standards of university work. Instead they drift from course to course, looking for entertainment and easy grades. Nor is it surprising that many aren’t ready when trouble comes. Students drink too much alcohol, smoke too much marijuana, play too many computer games, wreck cars, become pregnant, get overwhelmed trying to help anorexic roommates, and too often lose the modest but vital support previously provided by a parent who has been laid off. Older students—and these days most are older than traditional university age—often have to work full-time and care for children or parents, or both. Those likeliest to encounter these problems are also the ones who haven’t been schooled since birth to find the thread that can lead them through the labyrinths of the bureaucracy. They aren’t confident that they will see an invitingly open door, where a friendly adviser or professor is eager to help them, and they don’t have parents hovering, eager to find that helper for them.

* How could a late entrant still shake up the Republican field? Nate Silver reports. You already know my thoughts on this.

* One-half of Floridians believe the GOP is intentionally sabotaging the economy. Gee, you think? On the one hand, I’m surprised the number is so high; on the other, I’m amazed there’s anyone who can’t see this…

* Mars 500 wraps up this week. io9 says it doesn’t prove anything.

* Corporations against DOMA.

*  A Utah man who claimed to be an illegal immigrant from Mexico to avoid going to prison is now wanted by police after he returned to the United States and acknowledged his true identity to a judge.

* If episodes of fission at Fukushima were confirmed, Mr. Koide said, “our entire understanding of nuclear safety would be turned on its head.”

* This week we celebrate 100 years of dropping bombs on people from planes.

* Two great tastes (okay, one): The Muppets on WWE Raw.

* Will John Edwards walk?

* And the headline reads, “Cash-strapped Chicago mulls easing marijuana law.” Do the right thing for the wrong reasons if you have to, just do it…

Safe, Clean, and Too Cheap to Meter

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Written by gerrycanavan

November 1, 2011 at 12:20 pm

‘Confessions of a Nuclear Power Safety Expert’

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Nuclear engineer Cesare Silvi studied unlikely outside threats to nuclear plants in Italy, which soured him on the energy source and caused him to go solar.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 14, 2011 at 11:05 am

Thursday Night Links

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Four for Monday

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* Raleigh’s Shaw University will close for the rest of the semester following damage from the tornado this weekend. It’s amazing how local tornadoes can be; Durham is not that far away, but here the storm was hardly even worthy of note.

* Fukushima reactor shutdown could still be nine months away.

* xkcd maps out the next 90 years based on the top Google result for each.

* And American Electric Power Company Inc. v. Connecticut may be our last best hope for carbon pricing. Two guesses which side of the argument the Obama administration is on.

Quick Links for Tuesday

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* Must-read post from my friend Aaron Bady on coal-mining in Appalachia.

* Intergenerational warfare watch: Student loan debt poised to top a trillion dollars.

* Although it has still only released about 10% as much radiation as Chernobyl, Fukushima is now the second-ever accident to reach level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale.

* Either President Obama is the world’s worst poker player, or he’s getting more or less the deals he wants. For what it’s worth my friend Steve Benen thinks reports that Obama will endorse Simpson/Bowles tomorrow are overblown; I suppose we’ll see.

* And Donald Trump’s birtherism has now catapulted him to the top of the GOP field. Astounding. Well done, sir.

Back from Canada Links

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Friday Everything

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* Ralph Nader has found an awesome new way to troll the nation: he will campaign to kill athletic scholarships.

* Fox has renewed Fringe. This is great news—but I still haven’t forgive them for Firefly.

* Vermont’s not green, it’s red: Vermot House passes single-payer health care bill. It’s also expected to pass the state senate, too, which means things are about to get very interesting.

* I haven’t put up anything about Fukushima in a while, but suffice it to say things still sound very bad. (UPDATE: More here.) Nuclear power advocates—who I seem to recall assuring me that nothing bad could possibly happen at Fukushima because of updated, failsafe reactor designs—have now begun assuring me that what happened at Fukushima could never happen again because of updated, failsafe reactor designs. Okay, that ship turned out to be sinkable. But this one…

* Great moments in abuse of power: A deputy prosector in Johnson County, Indiana, has resigned his job after it was revealed that in February, during the large protests in Wisconsin over Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-public employee union bill, he e-mailed Walker’s office and recommended that they conduct a “false flag operation” — to fake an assault or assassination attempt on Walker in order to discredit the unions and protesters. Josh Marshall catches the most interesting angle: “the fact that he lists his 18 years of experience working in GOP politics as his experience for doing this sort of stuff.”

* Cheating scandal in the game of kings.

* Incomprehensible Shouting Named Official U.S. Language. It drives me crazy when people don’t speak it.

* And from Inside Higher Ed: Who’s in your fantasy research institute this season?

Monday Afternoon Links

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* The no-fly zone in Libya seems to have reminded people that we’re always currently bombing Yemen too. Nick Baumann at Mother Jones has your primer.

* Kucinich watch: Obama’s Libya Attack An Impeachable Offense.

* Republicans could actually be right: Obama might be watching too much college basketball.

The President went 5-3 again on Sunday (missing on VCU, Marquette and Florida State). He has 10 of his Sweet 16 teams alive, six of his Elite Eight (no Pitt or Purdue), three of his Final Four left (Kansas, Duke, Ohio State), and both of his title-game participants (Kansas, Ohio State).

He’s in the 99.9th percentile of the game and his 490 points rank him 7,549th overall

Thanks Tim for the link.

* George Monbiot argues that Fukushima proves the case for nuclear energy. More here. I remain unpersuaded.

* The models say 2012 will be close. I’m unpersuaded about this, too. Via Ezra Klein.

* And Sepinwall more or less nails my take on the Big Love finale:

Bill Henrickson had been shown pretty clearly over five seasons of “Big Love” to be an utter cancer to his family: myopic and petulant and manipulative and self-righteous and constantly causing pain, large and small, to the three women who had chosen to be his wives. Bill’s destructive effect on his loved ones was clear to me as a viewer of the show for a very long time, and it was clear to many other viewers of the series. I’m just not sure if that was ever what creators Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer intended us to think of Bill, and the finale left things very muddled in that regard.

…If you went into the finale with more affection for Bill, and/or the series, perhaps you were more touched by it all. (Though before Bill’s grandstanding at the state Senate meeting, it was a fairly listless hour.) But ultimately, the show I wanted “Big Love” to be apparently wasn’t the show Olsen and Scheffer were making. I can see that quite vividly now.

Spoilers, obviously—and more reactions here.

A Person Could Spend an Entire Year at This Fukushima ‘Hot Spot’ and Still Not Receive a Lethal Dose of Radiation, Although He Might Suffer Some Radiation Symptoms, Such as Nausea

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Written by gerrycanavan

March 18, 2011 at 7:23 pm

Midday Thursday Mostly Nuclear Links

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Wednesday Night Links: The Sequel

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* Repeating myself from Twitter: you should know how great the Benedict Cumberbatch/Martin Freeman Sherlock series from the BBC is. How we spent our evening. Great fun.

* The situation at Fukushima continues to worsen: now they’re dropping water from helicopters. The news just gets bleaker and bleaker by the day.

* Understatement of the day: Japan crisis revives global nuclear debate.

* Chris Newfield recaps the UC Regents Committee on Finance.

* Michigan Governor’s Anti-Union Power Grab Is Unconstitutional

* Attempts to recall Democratic legislators in Wisconsin aren’t coming together. I’m sure the Koch brothers will make it happen, but I’m glad it won’t be easy for them.

* Wanna Cut Wasteful Spending? Let’s Start with Abstinence-Only Education.

And once you become willing to take on the philosophical baggage of a multifoliate universe (and aren’t bothered by your countless identical twins), some of the deepest and most vexing problems about physics become easy to understand. All those nonsensical-seeming quantum-mechanical laws—that a particle can be in two places at once, that two objects can have a spooky connection that appears to transcend the laws governing space and time—instantly become explicable the moment you view our universe as one among many. And from Greene’s point of view, the 10⁵⁰⁰ different cosmoses described by string theory have ceased to be an unwanted artifact of the theory’s equations, instead becoming a factual description of universes that actually exist. Each of these universes is a bubble cosmos with its own cosmological constants, and as he says, “with some 10⁵⁰⁰ possibilities awaiting exploration, the consensus is that our universe has a home somewhere in the landscape.” Which is to say, string theory can no longer be accused of describing a landscape of fictional universes; our universe is just one in a collection of cosmoses as real as our own, even if we’re unable to see them. Charles Seife at Bookforum on Brian Greene’s multiversism. Via (where else?) 3 Quarks Daily.

* And MetaFilter remembers creepy moments from ’80s sitcoms.