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View Diary: The Wisdom of Deathbed (Nuclear) Conversion (39 comments)

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  •  To me it's more of a social problem (2+ / 0-)
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    barath, Joieau

    than a technological one.  Concentrating essential services in the hands a small elite invites abuse.

    I love science and have nothing but respect for people who figure out how things work.  Among my heroes are those who did the work on nukes and the bomb (like Feynman who's one of my very favorite people).

    I guess I just don't think highly complex technology is that safe in the hands of profit driven capitalists.

    •  Well, you're certainly (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Urizen

      right about that. But if you trace the history (including all the footnotes about what is and isn't still classified), you'd see that they literally "fell in love" with this power. To the point where it blinded them to the obvious shortcomings, which they never bothered to think through.

      Nobody really wants to be the agent of Armageddon, but let's face it - the power was originally developed for the purpose of killing the most humans possible. There's a reason they call 'em Weapons of Mass Destruction. There is more gnarly, deadly crap inside the fence at ANY nuclear plant on the planet than you'd be treated to from the biggest nuclear WMDs. And there it sits in non-hardened buildings (some 5 stories above the ground) in glorified swimming pools. More and more every year. They burp constantly, release constantly, and now we all know they melt down and blow up too. Corium is some weird shit, we have no idea where Daiichi's several big flows will end up (it ain't over yet).

      I'd much rather have some solar panels on the roof and maybe a wind turbine on the ridge. I can live with those, so can my children and grandchildren and descendants out to the proverbial seven generations. Nukes, meanwhile and despite hundreds of billions of dollars in national wealth wasted on them over 50 years, don't even have a place to bury their crap.

      Sort of makes the 'right' choices obvious, don't you think?

      •  to anybody except a lunatic (1+ / 0-)
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        Joieau

        One issue with fundamentalists of biz is their blind faith that markets will solve any problem so they tend to ignore problems like disposal of waste etc.  The other (xtian) fundamentalists don't think we're gonna be here long enough (that rapture thing) for long term issues to matter.  Put together these two groups have been dominating our politics since the eighties.

        •  Meh. Those fundy (2+ / 0-)
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          Urizen, G2geek

          Armageddon-worshippers are entirely and completely non-qualified to make any decisions with impact about how we as a species (or even just a nation) plan for the future. Anyone who denies evolution, global warming, and eschews education entirely doesn't need to have a considerable input into the future-oriented debate.

          •  James Watt (1+ / 0-)
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            Joieau

            Reagan's Secretary of the Interior was precisely one of these.  In answer to a question about nuclear waste, he said something along the lines of "who knows if we'll even be here?"

            •  Check this out... (0+ / 0-)

              Daiini may be as bad as Daiichi.

              Three at Daiichi. Two (at least) at Daiini. Several in Tokai and (what's the I-facility?). Not going looking this late in the day. 11 plants, all their pools, plus commons and the down unit pools. This is immediately threatening to every life form on the planet, much less just us.

              Wow. Who'da thunk we'd nuke ourselves so badly, then have Japan deliver the fatal blow? ...fitting, in a poetic sort of way if there were a future when humans would care to read...

      •  so were explosives. (1+ / 0-)
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        Urizen

        Developed for the express purpose of killing as many people as possible.  

        So does that mean we should eschew all uses of explosives?  

        How'bout railroad tunnels through mountains?  How'bout anything built with concrete, which uses crushed rock quarried with explosives?  

        Attributing "intention" to technologies is the logical error of anthropomorphizing.

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 05:22:27 PM PDT

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        •  The Chinese invented gunpowder (1+ / 0-)
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          G2geek

          to make fireworks with.

          Totally agree with:

          Attributing "intention" to technologies is the logical error of anthropomorphizing.
          •  sometimes a culture misses an application. (1+ / 0-)
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            Urizen

            The ancient Greeks or Romans (darn, can't remember which) built little steam-powered thingies that spun around in circles, used them as religious artifacts to demonstrate something about the actions of the gods, and failed utterly to recognize that steam could have any practical use whatsoever.  

            So probably we can all end up agreeing that speculating about the motives behind the original development of technologies, doesn't help us take the steps needed to get the right technology mix and cultural mix to deal with sustainability crises in this century.  

            Really it comes down to a few simple things that have become overlain with excessive policy complications:  reduce population, reduce consumption, convert to climate-clean energy, convert to a steady-state economy.  Along the way, relentlessly defeat those who attempt to block the necessary progress on each of those fronts.  

            "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

            by G2geek on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 07:13:55 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  "Intent" is of course (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          G2geek, Urizen

          the province of the people who wield the power. In the case of nukes, it was originally governments engaged in all-out war. And who fell so "in love" with the power that they kept it going as a merely 'cold' war for 40 more years. In which enough nuclear weapons were amassed on all sides to kill every man, woman and child on earth 400 times over. They called it "MAD" because it's as insane as human power structures can get. Then they monetized it and farmed it out to greedy corporations, with lax oversight and real proliferation issues (which have borne explosive fruit).

          We do see quite a bit of cognitive confusion from the authoritarians about nuclear energy production. On the one hand we are supposed to cheerfully give up our rights and liberties on the off-chance that some dark person in a turban will someday get his hands on a pound or two of nasty nuclear material and detonate a not too impressive "dirty" bomb. On the other, we're supposed to think it's hunky dory that the entire hemisphere is grossly contaminated with three melted and blown up reactors, 11 more that were also damaged in the 3/11/11 quake and tsunami and contributed to the fallout, and at LEAST 7 spent fuel pools still waiting for their chance to burn and melt. More nasty contaminates than in all the nuclear weapons ever detonated on this planet. Hundreds of tons' worth of deadly-forever crap they can't do anything about - if you can see it, you're dead.

          When authoritarians fall in love with a power this immense - and in this case the secrecy and deceptions that hold it exclusive - bad things tend to happen. Bad nuclear things that will remain deadly for thousands of years. I am of the firm opinion that if in an emergency they can't turn the damned thing off, they've got no business turning it on. We can do better.

          •  You have an excellent piece of... (2+ / 0-)
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            Urizen, Joieau

            ... highly-effective rhetoric in the line "...if in an emergency they can't turn the damned thing off, they've got no business turning it on."  That's the kind of messaging the left needs to do more of: simple, straightforward, compelling.  

            The intent of people who wield power is simply to maximize their personal net energy balance vis-a-vis the ambient.  This they do by getting other people to "work for them," a remarkably accurate expression in that all living organisms are energy-converters and "conversion of energy from one form to another" is the definition of "work" in physics.

            So in other words, humans as energy-converters seek to harness the output of other humans as energy-converters, on their own behalf.  This is mediated through money as the "energy storage medium," though money is also a form of "information," and information has at best a slippery relationship with the laws of thermodynamics.  Money is the only form of stored energy that can be caused to increase by an act of human will, purely as a function of passage through time, in contradiction to the natural entropy of all other forms of concentrated energy over time.  

            From which one can conclude that a high inflation rate is in keeping with the thermodynamics of entropy, and also benefits all us worker-bees at the expense of the plutocrats.  No wonder they do everything in their power to hold inflation down.    

            "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

            by G2geek on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 07:49:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Fire department? Hospital? (1+ / 0-)
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      Urizen

      "Concentrating essential services in the hands a small elite invites abuse."

      That arguement applies to anything beyond unskilled labor.

      Be careful what you wish for.  

      "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

      by G2geek on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 05:19:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think the way we run healthcare (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek

        makes my point.

        Fire Departments don't operate on a for profit basis and have far less potential for exploitation, dontcha think?

        It may be silly of me, but I think publicly (as in taxpayer) owned monopolies of essential services make a lot sense.

        •  Yes, I agree. (1+ / 0-)
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          Urizen

          Publicly-owned regulated monopolies, for example single payer, and in some cases private ones such as the Bell Telephone System.  

          What I dread is the potential for privatization of law enforcement in some parts of the US.  

          But the point is, highly skilled workers of whatever kind, including doctors and lawyers and so on, are always "elites" compared to everyone else.  The point of representative democracy is to limit the risk of any of those elites gaining disproportionate control over things other than the matters within their expertise, and limiting even that.  

          "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

          by G2geek on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 07:03:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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