Tag Archive: hazard

Now You See it, Now You Don’t!

Is Nuclear power Safe?

  • Watch how the politicians duck and dive.
  • Watch how they pick and choose which bits of ‘science’ to believe!
Gymnasium at Pripyat

Abandoned for 100 Years

Last week, smiley Alan Johnson fell out with serious Professor Nutt because the professor said some factual scientific things, things proven by statistics and analysis to have an overwhelming degree of proof.  This was that drinking alcohol and smoking is far more dangerous than cannabis and ecstasy pills.  See dont-shoot-the-messenger-if-you-dont-like-the-message and associated links.

Now, this week, Ed Milliband has taken the opposite approach and said:

Nuclear power is safe, says Ed Miliband

So, despite there being three major accidents involving nuclear power, he says it’s safe!  In actual fact, he said this:

“I do understand the anxieties that there are because there have been concerns about nuclear power.”    “I think it is right that we go ahead with this. It has a good safety record. There is no evidence that people’s fears about nuclear are grounded, in my view.”

The trouble with this, is that a nuclear accident isn’t the same as a car crash, it isn’t at all like a train crash or a plane crash.  It actually isn’t anything like an earthquake or tsunami, natural hazards that many have to live with.

Hinkley Point

Hinkley Point Power Station

In a nutshell, if Hinkley Point Power Station down the road from me goes up in a similar fashion to Chernobyl, because of the prevailing wind, most of England will be uninhabitable and we’ll all have to go to Scotland!

The Three Close Shaves

In order, there was Windscale when I was a child and was exposed to Strontium in the milk which had to be chucked away for months.  The records show that this was a really close shave for us in Britain and Scandinavia – only half an hour away from a worse-than-Chernobyl disaster!

Then we had Three-Mile Island, another skin of the teeth episode but this time by the Americans.

Then there was Chernobyl which has left a 100 mile square piece of Russia uninhabitable and left sheep inedible thousands of miles away in Britain for years.  If the Chernobyl event had been here, as I say, all the Midlands would’ve needed evacuating.  As it is, Russia is very, very big, and they’ve room to move…..  We don’t.  It’s a little island.  Full of jobs-worth’s and idiots, by the sound of it.


Subway to Nowhere

Subway to Nowhere

Q. So which scientist is Milliband believing?  Which scientist says it’s “safe”?

Q. What evidence is Milliband ignoring that leads him to think people’s fears are “ungrounded”, as he says?

A. The evidence of his head in the sand, that’s what!

In this case he is using the infrequent bad events and calling them safe because they don’t happen often.  And because we’ve been very, very lucky; that’s all.

The stats show something different, because there are only about a couple of hundred nuclear plants across the globe!  Three have gone up!!!  For me, this is piss-poor odds and I don’t wish the lottery-like risks, especially when there are a host of other alternatives.




James Lovelock said some years ago that nuclear power was inevitable in order to have a controllable and civilised future.

He’s a clever man, but that doesn’t mean he’s always correct.

In his same speech (on TV some years ago), he said that an incident killing about 1 million people every 100 years was almost inevitable, but comparing it to road transport, or to dying from an overheating world, or the natural cancers we’d get anyway,  then many more would die in the same period….

That’s statistics and that’s a scientist speaking.  It’s the balance of probabilities and the the certainty of proof expressed in numbers.

However, it does not make it right and it does not make it something to which we should aspire.


Mr. & Mrs. Pump

Vested interests

There has to be a better way – and there is.  There are a pot of technologies available, especially when the economies of scale in mass manufacture are taken into account.  I don’t mean battery cars, the biggest red herring ever.  But there ARE a host of solutions and the biggest obstacles are:

  • Vested interests – oil companies and the politicians and businessmen that are attached.
  • Lack of belief – we people can do anything we set our minds to – even splitting the atom and making global war with it!
  • Stasis in Innovation – a host of tools are already available but people are scared and no-one wants to take the first step…

But look at it this way.  If all houses and industrial premises are forced by law to be covered with low cost film photovoltaic cells, how much electricity will we have and how many people MIGHT get hurt if a roof collapses?

A. A lot of electric and not many people!

Surely, something like this is worth trying rather than putting a host of concrete death stars on our doorsteps?

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Taliban Torture America

Pfc. Bowe R. Bergdahl, aged 23,

Afghan Soldier Captured: Pfc. Bowe R. Bergdahl, 23, of Ketchum, Idaho

Afghan Soldier Captured: Pfc. Bowe R. Bergdahl, 23, of Ketchum, Idaho

of Ketchum, Idaho, is a member of the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, from Fort Richardson, Alaska.  He was captured in circumstances that aren’t clear and has appeared in a Taliban video (prev at http://articles.latimes.com/2009/jul/20/world/fg-afghan-soldier20), seen world-wide.

So far, it appears he’s been well treated, although three soldiers captured in Iraq by the same mob were all killed, so this must obviously prey on people’s minds.


(see my rampant post, Americans Love to Torture – OfficialIf you’re offended by it, you’re not listening.)

What I’d like to know, given that in a recent poll, over 50% of Americans think torture is okay, is he one of the 50%?  Are his parents?  Is his battalion commander?  Is US Military spokesman, Capt Jon Stock?  Is Navy Lt. Robert Carr, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan?

Capt Stock said this, while condemning the use of the video.   He told Reuters news agency:

“The use of the soldier for propaganda purposes we view as against international law.”

Lt Carr said:

“The Taliban are using the soldier for propaganda purposes”

Illegal Imprisonment and Adherence to International Law

Now some facts.

  • The USA continues to imprison people in Guantanamo Bay without trial or due process.
  • The site in Cuba was obtained illegally and is operated illegally even under the ‘rules’, agreed under duress, of it’s illegal occupation.
  • The USA (& UK) has recently tortured people in strict denial of the rules of the Geneva Convention, their own laws and/or constitutions, and the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

Sad Chickens Roosting

Grim Reaper

Grim Reaper

So while people wring their hands over a very short list of very likely fates for Pte Bergdahl, it’s only karmic retribution for their historical and continuing acts.  They must change, as Obama was wont to say in his electoral campaign.

I say;

  • They cannot continue to act in this way, killing people with scythe-like impunity using robotic planes in some bizarre kids computer shoot-up.
  • They cannot continue to act towards people in flagrant disregard of their own constitution and laws.
  • They cannot even think that torture, of any kind, is okay.  Not just “don’t do it” – No!  They must not even think it.

Because what happens is that it’s all thrown back, tenfold.


New York´s Liberty Island - Statue Of Liberty & Seagull

A Beacon

Like Justice, being “seen to be done”, US actions, at home and abroad must be above reproach.

They must be a beacon – a pure demonstration of good civil behaviour, in words, thoughts and deedsThe beacon light though, is very dim.

Eagle Peak

Something like this was said by Shakyamuni – the Buddha of legend.  In Chapter 16 of “The Lotus Sutra”, a compendium of his later sayings, he said, in qualifying what it takes to be a Buddha (which anyone can be, let it be known):

When living beings become truly faithful, honest and upright, gentle in intent, single-mindedly desiring to see the Buddha, not hesitating even if it costs them their own lives, then I and the assembly of monks appear together at Eagle Peak.

Eagle Peak represents a place of happiness for all sentient beings.  It means that if you behave like that, happiness will undoubtedly appear – you will be a Buddha.

If you don’t, then shit happens.

The USA & UK are most definitely NOT “honest and upright, gentle in intent”, and the shit is happening.

Of course, the Taliban and all misogynist, small-minded folk like that are the absolute pits.  And yes, shit is happening for them as well! It’s not all hunky-dory by a long chalk.

The point is, that we (meaning the USA & UK) do not have to act like them.  The surest way to prove the justness of your cause is to behave properly.  In short,

  1. Don’t bomb haphazardly killing all in sight with a lame excuse.
  2. Don’t torture
  3. Don’t disregard your own laws and international laws of behaviour

Pfc. Bowe R. Bergdahl might then have a chance.

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Murderous, Stupid, Boy

ZackThis is the full text of an ‘article‘ posted on the Michigan State University (MSU) news section by ‘the State News opinion writer’ apparently.  Zack (for it is he) has his own particular version of personal rights and responsibilities, somewhat at odds with US law.  His article worked though – he has had a shed load of comment…

Black 2001 Saturn SC2. That’s the car I drive – and if you’re a bicyclist on the road but not in a bike path and you see my car, I hope you’re wearing a helmet, because I might run you over.

Maybe not intentionally.

But you see, with all these things I can do in my car nowadays, such as choose a different song on my iPod, send a text message while driving or fall asleep at the wheel because I had to wake up for a worthless 8 a.m. biology lab, I might not notice you.

And, considering you are where you should not be, I might hit you.

The simple fact of the matter is, MSU has so kindly provided sidewalks for people on foot and Rollerblades, and MSU’s ordinance should be revised to require bicyclists be there too. The university has outlined bike paths on certain roads, but bicyclists can’t just create imaginary bike paths like they do.

I cannot drive my car on the sidewalk, so why must you ride your bicycle where I drive?

Many of my friends ride bicycles on campus, so I’m not trying to berate a whole demographic of students. I appreciate bicyclists who advocate environmentalism, since they are making up for the damage I do with my car.

I respect bicyclists who use bicycles as a form of exercise, since people certainly can never get enough fitness in their everyday routines.

But for as much as I respect and appreciate bicyclists, I will not hesitate to honk at them when they are interfering with the roads.

My concern is not merely about inconvenience.

Bicyclists on the road are a driving hazard to people in automobiles, since many bicyclists make turns without using hand signals and ride too close to other vehicles when there is no designated bike path.

For example, I was driving to work Tuesday when a bicyclist pulled up in front of my car in the right lane on Farm Lane going northbound where it intersects with Shaw Lane. There is no bike path at this portion of the road, and I needed to be in the right lane to avoid the left turn only lane, but the bicyclist was in the way.

Instead, I had to speed ahead and veer away from the fast-approaching rear end of the car in front of me, just barely making it into the right lane.

Some will say I could be more patient on the road.

But roads are for cars, not bicyclists. The bicyclist should not have been in the car lane.

It’s possible some bicyclists are trying to live out their dreams of being Lance Armstrong, and the smooth terrain offered by the roads where big, people-killing cars are designed to travel on are more desirable than the sidewalk pavement.

I get it, bicyclists – you’re in the Tour de France. Well, in your head at least.

But in reality, my gas-guzzling, carbon footprint-leaving car is trying to get around you, the bicyclist. And you, the bicyclist, prefer to coast, not along the side of the lane but in the exact middle.

Maybe in your head you are actually driving a car. Maybe that’s why you believe you should be behind a pickup truck and in front of 15 other cars trying to pass you.

And maybe you are Armstrong, so talented and in shape and able to pedal so, so fast. But Armstrong’s average speed in the 2001 Tour de France was 24.9 mph, which is 0.1 mph less than most of the speed limits on and around campus.

Plus, I’ve had difficulty finding students who actually obey the speed limit anyway.

It’s common for motorists to drive at least 5 mph above the speed limit, which makes your task to out-pedal Lance Armstrong all the more daunting. And considering you’re not actually Armstrong (even if you do wear a skintight yellow bicycle uniform), you likely are not going 24.9 mph.

And, oh yeah, Armstrong is competing when he is bicycling – your leisurely ride through campus might not even register on a police radar.

But, hey, snap out of it. You’re not Lance Armstrong.

And those are the headlights of my black 2001 Saturn SC2 bearing down on you.

Zack Colman is the State News opinion writer. Reach him at [email protected].

Published on Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Zack’s piece is a prime example of why there are no such things as ‘accidents’. All crashes and killings are someone’s fault – maybe it’s inattention, but it’s everyone’s duty to be attentive. If you can’t do it, get off the road.

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Tories Join in Spreading Fear and Doubt with the NHS

Strangely post on August 6th, 2008
Posted in Freedom Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hospitals ‘infested with vermin’

In the latest bout of the fear and gloom sweeping the country, (BBC link above), this time it’s the tories mixing facts and data up with proper information – and typically, the media are going along with it because it makes good copy.

Read the article, illustrated with a picture of a rat……..

on some grass!

They say that “cleanliness is threatened”.  Make what you will of that one – it’s a nonsense sentence bereft of actual meaning but loaded with dread….

The gist of the article is that hospitals and NHS Trusts are doing lots of pest control inspections.

That’s all.

Not that they’ve found lots of pests and have to get rid of them; just that they called pest controllers in.

The article has hundreds of lines of FUD (fear and doubt), and even a link to insect infestations – of the home(!!), but only six lines of real information.

I quote them here (my emphasis in the quote):

Health Minister Ivan Lewis said that hospitals were responsible for ensuring their buildings were clean and that patient safety was not compromised.

“The Hygiene Code requires NHS bodies to have a pest control policy that anticipates and manages this issue.

“Trusts should take rapid action and follow through with surveillance in place to avoid pest incidents and minimize hazards.

“Use of pest control is a sign of good proactive management.”

So in other words, the tories are criticising the hospitals for doing their job properly!

Have they done a similar question and answer session with that organisation of finance and private health, BUPA, of whose many failings I delved into in an earlier post this year?  …er, well no.  They can’t because as a private company, BUPA isn’t subject to the Freedom of Information Act from which the tories got their “data”.

How convenient.

I really think more people should be aware of the very real difference between data and information.  They are definitely NOT the same!

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CTC info: Sheldon Brown and Critical Mass, Monty Python and Lupins

These two bits are from a recent CTC mailing… The extra opinions and slight exaggerations are my work!

Sheldon Brown

So farewell then, Sheldon Brown. You never did get to vote for Obama. I’m actually a bit sad because you looked a bit of a nutter who livened up the cycling debates in a quite sensible and logical way. I made my new back wheel after reading you up a bit… (radial non-drive side, two cross drive side, double butted spokes.) It works and has stayed true.

Bristol’s Critical Mass Discouraged by Authorities, Friday 25th May 2007

Start of Ride

Start of Ride

Last year there was a Critical Mass cycle ride which is a well known form of demonstration or publicity for the benefits and hazards of cycling. At my guess, the 60+ cyclists in the photo at left are taking up the road space of about 8 travelling cars or 15 parked ones. In light of the problems that followed, maybe each person should drive a tank instead… What would be the speeds and congestion then? Would they be safe from attack?

This link

It's only a Scratch!!!

It's only a Scratch!!!

(and the picture above) shows a bunch of cyclists whizzing round Bristol in excess of the normal average speed for London (12 mph) ! Apparently this is too slow for Bristol so a car driver rammed a cyclist with his car, broke his bike and the cyclist got a wee bit peeved.

Someone else blocked the car so that soon-to-be-attending police could catch him (remember, the cyclist had just been attacked with a ton of metal).

ow!  Geddoff!!

ow! Geddoff!!

So the police told him to fuck off, he lost it a bit (probably been to the pub) and ended up having his knee bent over a sharp kerb which could possibly cripple him for life. (see pictures on the link or copied at left)

Now he’s been prosecuted – and guess what? Well now, the case has been thrown out of court and the police have still taken no action against the dangerous car driver. You must recognise evil and stupidity wherever and whenever you are; In this case, dressed in a police uniform with short hair. We expect the law to be upheld at all times, not when they feel like it and need a few points for their monthly bonus.

Remember, if you’ve read the link, the cyclist was arrested for “non-motor vehicle obstruction of the highway”. While this was going on, ELEVEN police cars had blocked the highway much more effectively.

Actions really do speak louder than words. Dangerous murderously aggressive car driver let go. Noisy cyclist slapped down. Police state, identity cards, people? Your country is safe with us! Hah! Fair play to the magistrates for spotting a lemon disguised as heinous behaviour.

Fear and Loathing in the UK

Also remember, these are the same lot (i.e. the law, the establishment, the powers that be…) who want the right to lock anyone up on THEIR say-so if THEY think you’re a terrorist or something – for 56 days, without access to lawyers, friends or anyone except THEIR appointed representatives. And then they want another 56 days after that if they can’t pin something on you!!! Ad Infinitum.

Where is the freedom in this? This potential law is much more powerful than the straight contempt of court law (which has the same effect on the individual). Except, you don’t even have to go to court to disappear into the cells.

As an aside, during WW2, there was a strike and the war government tried to get it banned and the strikers locked up. Churchill, (not one of my favourite people), put the blockers on this idea saying that the war was on to protect people and their rights, one of which is the right not to work…

Now we are being told to be frightened of a few piss-poor bombers who are about as effective as Inspector Cluso. I say let them drop their bombs because then we’ll all know who they are and can get them. Currently, there’s a movement in the country to tar all Muslims with the same terrorist brush; which is really really bad. So I can only think it’s by design to keep everyone scared – woooh!

The only freedom being protected is the freedom to drive like a maniac and burn up all the earth’s resources until everyone is dead. I’m reminded of the Monty Python lupin sketch with Denis Moore. Freedom to have as many lupins as we want… mmm, yummy.


Ironic Addendum

Arrest, Park, and Ride

Arrest, Park, and Ride

After perusing the photos from the campaign website, I’m reminded of the irony of it all. Let’s see;

  • the ride was to promote one sustainable form of transport from many
  • the car driver was annoyed because the traffic was slow
  • another person decided to help a fellow human being after he was assaulted with a deadly weapon
  • better use of buses would ease congestion

Check out the picture. The guy is being bundled into the police car. Check the background…..The Bristol park and ride bus is COMPLETELY EMPTY!

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