Tag Archive: Nuclear

Google Gagarin

It Was 50 Years Ago, Today

…when mankind left the gravitational confines of our Earth.

Google Gagarin

Google Gagarin

Yuri Gagarin

Yuri Gagarin

A poor boy from the steppes, Yuri Gagarin, simultaneously became the first man in space and the first man to leave Earth and orbit it completely.  (This is something that took NASA several steps before John Glenn finally emulated the feat).

While of humble background (like Jesus), his father was a carpenter (like Jesus) and his mother read voraciously (as Jesus knew the scriptures).  Obviously, Gagarin wasn’t Jesus, but he did die in his mid-thirties which parallels Jesus’s early death.

Gagarin Launch

Gagarin Launch

I was alive when Gagarin stunned the world by being shot into space.  I remember very few photos of the man or the event.  The West was naturally very embarrassed by being overshadowed by a dictator-led communist state.  Most scientists were just astonished.  Most politicians and the mainstream media were extremely alarmist in public (and fully actioned in private) because the inter-continental aspect of chucking a nuclear weapon sized piece of machinery aloft at the height of the cold war was paramount in their minds.

What struck me then and since was the fact that Gagarin always seemed to have a happy cheeriness about him.  When we now see his pre-flight pictures, his confidence is astounding, because remember, before the voyage, mankind had conflicting ideas about the very survivability for a man in the entirely hostile and unforgiving environment of space.  Some said that a man would die within half and hour from radiation….

Of course, the Soviet scientists had tested these theories with mammals (dogs & ape) and knew that even though the animals died on their space-flights (and were destined to die, by design), they knew that a man could survive the flight and if a return to Earth could be made, he’d live to see another day.  They’d also done a small step-by-step approach to their rocketry so even though the rocket was made primarily as an ICBM, its designer was actually more interested in getting men into space and had designed accordingly.  (see this article on Sergei Korolev and his space-flight dreams).

This, Gagarin duly did, by re-entering the atmosphere in his capsule and then, when the speed had sufficiently reduced, by opening his capsule and leaping from it to then descend on a conventional parachute.

Amazingly, this all worked, perfectly.

International Space Station

International Space Station

We now see the benefits of this early Soviet work because for the next few years, transport of people to the International Space Station (ISS) will be done by the Russian Soyuz spacecraft alone now that the NASA Space Shuttle is grounded for good.

The Soyuz is a direct descendant of Gagarin’s early capsule and the subsequent work and deaths of Soviet cosmonauts.  Later joint work with NASA and their own accidents and astronaut deaths have made the Soyuz platform very reliable, in space flight terms.  See this Wikipedia article for a full introduction to space-flight of all kinds.

Google Celebration

Google, characteristically, have celebrated Gagarin’s achievement (and that it was, make no mistake, he was a very, very, brave man), with a decorated main page which I’ve copied for posterity above.

Hooray For Gagarin.

So it was 50 years ago today.  An event that changed the world and our perception of it and ourselves  in the universe.

It’s only people some years older than myself who actually remember the previous world where people remained fixed to the planet and could only dream and wonder about the reality beyond.  For myself and folks younger than me, we can only to imagine what that world was like because we are part of the world that Gagarin’s bravery opened up for us..

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Laws are like sausages — it is best not to see them being made: Mercenary Guidelines for a Better World

Guidelines for a Better World

Sausages

Sausages

Laws are like sausages — it is best not to see them being made.  Perhaps I should re-phrase this as:

The Rules of Law and International Diplomacy are like sausages — it is best not to see them being made

It’s a strange world out there.  Two recent political events have brought two previously unlinked ideas to my mind.  The events are:

Wikileaks disclosures
Innocents Killed In Iraq

Innocents Killed In Iraq by US gunship

For the Wikileaks disclosures, I see them as a highly embarrassing thing for those involved, but an empowering thing for us mere mortals who are divorced from the diplomatic process.  Normally, all the guts of the process are hidden.

In the case of the cover-up of the turkey shoot of unarmed civilians by US helicopter crews, it is something of which we should all be aware, no matter how discomforting for us.

In truth, we need better leaders in the West, people of real morals and guts so that we do not have to see the guts of innocents sprayed on the streets ever again to realise how crap the current bunch are.

Mercenary Forces

Mercenary forces I see as a fact of current and historical life, the old colonial powers especially – indeed, the UK has its own dirty hand in this.  For nigh-on 200 years the UK has even had its own full-time mercenaries, the Gurkhas, typically used in near-suicidal conflict situations.  Also, currently, from the standpoint of an Afghan tribesman, the British Army in Afghanistan could be seen as little more than mercenaries in the employ of a puppet king, Hamid Karzai.  For the tribesman, little has changed – there’s money about but he sees none of it whosoever is in charge.

Diplomacy

Click to see Sausage Making process from the inside.

Sausage Making

In the meantime, we have diplomacy.  For the West, this is a world of essentially astute well educated  folk, usually adept in law not technology, that seek to make deals with not-so-nice folk for our own country’s benefit.

 

Because these deals are done at the guttural level, like sausage-making, it’s an unpleasant process to stumble upon – which is exactly what we’ve seen with the Wikileaks Diplomatic Cable exposures.  Naturally we are aghast that such things go on in our name.  For me, it seems to be a wholly unpleasant process in our current world and something I’d wish to eliminate.

Earth in an oil drop

Taking the current crisis in Libya;  for the previous three years the Blair/Brown Labour Government has made overtures with Libya, sold arms and even SAS training, but all with the aim of ensuring Libya kept it’s hands off the nuclear button.  Seems good-ish.  Laudable aims, jaw-jaw nor war-war and all that.

This process, now revealed, is ugly – but no more so than our current Prime Minister Cameron sucking up to some Gulf Arabs who, like Libya, run a similar kind of oligarchic, autocratic, nepotistic state, full of outlandish greed and luxury with no voice for the inhabitants!  Seems pretty bad.  ………   It is bad.  Really bad.  It’s the same process as before, and we only do it because we need their oil.   Forget about Grand Prix cars and World Cup Football – it’s all about the O. I. L.  – OIL.

So What to Do?

Use Oil?  Sell Bullets.

Most of the recent interventions of the West’s (let’s call them wars should we – after all, thousands have died?), have been into countries that maintain a nice, steady flow of oil to us rich, lazy, westerners.  We think nothing of flying the globe or motoring to the shop for a cheap item that has most probably already crossed the globe once on its way from China, so yes, it’s important we can do this, right?…

On the other hand, our presence in places like Sudan, Rwanda or Congo has been notable by our absence.  Millions have brutally died.  (a.k.a. we don’t care as you’ve no oil.)

Meanwhile our presence in places like Nigeria or Bhopal, India has been notable for our poisoning of the local inhabitants without a trace of remorse or compensation by those involved.

Not Use Oil?  Don’t Sell Bullets.

  • Self-sufficient city planned near Seoul

    A Planned Self Sufficient Korean City

    Consider our own little part of the world.  It’s a place that many people in the world aspire to live because we are essentially free and most material things in our lives can be satisfied.

  • Consider how bright and technologically advanced we consider ourselves to be.

Now consider a world where we eliminated our dependency on chicken dictatorships – a world where we used our technological prowess to eliminate the consumption of oil and our addiction to the making and selling of arms, mostly to these self-same oil rich oligarchies. It’d be a world where we, the citizenry,  didn’t have to look on aghast as all our tax money was spent on bribing simple crooks to talk to us nicely.

Surely, like Egypt & Tunisia, those sort of oligarchies would collapse if we stopped buying their oil and stopped selling them our finest weaponry?

And if they didn’t, so what? There’d be no need for us as a nation to be thrown into hypocritical situations and taking ghastly actions for which we’d later be thoroughly ashamed.  Those areas of the world could take their own destinies into their own hands.

Green Shoot Of Peace

Green Shoot Of Peace

And Diplomacy? For us, we should see more not less of the words and processes done in our name.  We are not children and sooner or later, if the diplomats have fucked it up, we’re going to find out anyway, much as we did after WW1, WW2 and anywhere else our sons and brothers get killed in someone else’s war.

  • We need a proper, ethical, foreign policy.
  • We need diplomats of guile and courage, just like now,  to promote it.
  • And really, we really, really, need to be self-sufficient for all our needs and not rely on corrupt tin-pot states that have not left the Middle Ages in outlook.  This single thing is the most important thing for us and the peaceful futures of our immediate descendants.
  • We need a bit of courage to do this – to wean ourselves off this drug-like dependency on crooks of no substance who happen to sit on stuff we just happen to need, now.  Lets use our technological nous and make the current now a thing of the past – like stone axes and bronze swords, historical curiosities.
  • Mercenaries have courage – after all, if caught they’re usually the first one’s strung up.  See Dead Mercenary Taken to Tripoli Morgue, Libia Protests 2011.   But if the mercenaries have a proper home – what then?  There’d just be the few psychos like there’s always been, because you know, most people, even young hotheads, don’t want to wind up in an early grave.

Remember;

Courage is Contagious.

Get the t-shirt!

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Long Live Wikileaks!

Long Live Wikileaks!

Wikileaks at 213.251.145.96 Wikileaks at 213.251.145.96

These images will take you to the current IP addresses of Wikileaks. It follows on from my earlier help to the organisation here when a bunch of Swiss bankers mysteriously managed to influence “independent” judicial decisions in America.

The fact that I even have to do this is an abomination on the face of our so-called freedoms.

Governments: Unfit for purpose.

The Wikileaks “Cablegate” revelations have ensured that the vested interests of non-elected mad Arabs (UAE, Saudis) insisting that the US should bomb an elected group of mad Arabs (Iran) are plain for all to see.

They’ve also have ensured that a whole raft of dirty tricks are now afoot. Coincidentally (not), as soon as Wikileaks released all the”Cablegate” stuff into a full download, the US Gov could then see what was coming and the dirty tricks have become even deadlier, nastier, and even less freedom-loving. It obviously proves that worse revelations are to come.

The Obamas/Clinton democrats are now joined in unison with the US republicans bellowing for instant executions without trial, Israelis, Arabs, Chinese and a host of other countries in an amazingly eclectic unholy alliance that proves that the whole diplomatic world is a very unhealthy cabal of back-scratching plebian egoists with the safety and reputation of their own peoples far below that of the maintenance of their own expanding clique of free-loading arse-lickers.

The fact that they can get the tiny oligarchy of the DNS servers to pull the website index globally on whistle-blowers says it all about internet freedom and even the Internet’s resilience to nuclear attack (yes – its first purpose was to ensure that all nukes got released and that there would be some vestige of command and control, when invented by DARPA).

The fact that normal journalism is now so economically cow-towed that they are for the most part meekishly submissive to the authoritarian demands of various states and multi-national corporations, also says it all.

The fact that sexual allegations against Wikileaks founder coincided with the start of the leak about helicopter gunships mowing down unarmed civilians in broad daylight and have since been expanded to continue with the recent shut-down of the site following an unprecedented DDoS website attack says it all.

The fact that Wikileaks has upset all sides of all governments says it all and reveals them all to be unfit for purpose.

It makes me wonder if my father should’ve bothered turning up at D-Day or Okinawa. What was he fighting for, or against?

Buddhism, Ikeda, Mandela and Education

Today (coincidentally!), Daisaku Ikeda in his Daily Encouragement address to the world, said;

Monday, December 6th, 2010

—- DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT —-

“It has been more than 20 years since I first had the privilege of meeting with Nelson Mandela, the lionlike champion of human rights. Recently, former President Mandela, who had just turned 92, sent me an inscribed copy of his latest book. …I wish to share these words…as an expression of my deepest respect: ‘To the youth of today I also have a wish to make: ‘Be the script writers of your destiny and feature yourselves as the stars that show the way towards a brighter future–for our country, our continent and the world.’ ‘Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.‘”

What we see with the attacks upon Wikileaks, is an attack on freedom as it attacks the open knowledge base with which people need to be informed and thus educated. Without knowledge we are nothing.

We are like the women of Afghanistan, shackled by their surroundings of a male hierarchy and ignorant of everything except that which they’re told – except in our case, it’s our elected representatives who choose to hide the truth from us. And in the USA, with over 850,000 people now holding “top secret” status, (which is 1.5 times the population of Washington), we see that the weight of state machinery now devoted to hiding the truth, is immense.

What must be remembered, is that in nearly every single prominent Wikileak, the government has been found out to be doing bad things in our name. It’s nothing to do with national security as they claim, and everything to do with protecting those with comfy state jobs and a falsely clean reputation, no matter what they do.

Further Reading:

This is a copy of the main page entry.

Related Posts:

Wikileaks

Long Live Wikileaks!

 

Wikileaks

Wikileaks

The image will take you to the current IP address of Wikileaks.  It follows on from my earlier help to the organisation here when a bunch of Swiss bankers mysteriously managed to influence “independent”  judicial decisions in America.

The fact that I even have to do this is an abomination on the face of our so-called freedoms.

Governments: Unfit for purpose.

The Wikileaks “Cablegate” revelations have ensured that the vested interests of non-elected mad Arabs (UAE, Saudis) insisting that the US should bomb an elected group of mad Arabs (Iran) are plain for all to see.

They’ve also have ensured that a whole raft of dirty tricks are now afoot.  Coincidentally (not), as soon as Wikileaks released all the”Cablegate” stuff into a full download, the US Gov could then see what was coming and the dirty tricks have become even deadlier, nastier, and even less freedom-loving.  It obviously proves that worse revelations are to come.

The Obamas/Clinton democrats are now joined in unison with the US republicans bellowing for instant executions without trial, Israelis, Arabs, Chinese and a host of other countries in an amazingly eclectic unholy alliance  that proves that the whole diplomatic world is a very unhealthy cabal of back-scratching plebeian egoists with the safety and reputation of their own peoples far below that of the maintenance of their own expanding clique of free-loading arse-lickers.

The fact that they can get the tiny oligarchy of the DNS servers to pull the website index globally on whistle-blowers says it all about internet freedom and even the Internet’s resilience to nuclear attack (yes – its first purpose was to ensure that all nukes got released and that there would be some vestige of command and control, when invented by DARPA).

The fact that normal journalism is now so economically cow-towed that they are for the most part meekishly submissive to the authoritarian demands of various states and multi-national corporations, also says it all.

The fact that sexual allegations against Wikileaks founder coincided with the start of the leak about helicopter gunships mowing down unarmed civilians in broad daylight and have since been expanded to continue with the recent shut-down of the site following an unprecedented DDoS website attack says it all.

The fact that Wikileaks has upset all sides of all governments says it all and reveals them all to be unfit for purpose.

It makes me wonder if my father should’ve bothered turning up at D-Day or Okinawa.  What was he fighting for, or against?

Buddhism, Ikeda, Mandela and Education

Today (coincidentally!), Daisaku Ikeda in his Daily Encouragement address to the world, said;

Monday, December 6th, 2010

—- DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT —-

“It has been more than 20 years since I first had the privilege of meeting with Nelson Mandela, the lion-like champion of human rights. Recently, former President Mandela, who had just turned 92, sent me an inscribed copy of his latest book. …I wish to share these words…as an expression of my deepest respect: ‘To the youth of today I also have a wish to make: ‘Be the script writers of your destiny and feature yourselves as the stars that show the way towards a brighter future–for our country, our continent and the world.’ ‘Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.‘”

What we see with the attacks upon Wikileaks, is an attack on freedom as it attacks the open knowledge base with which people need to be informed and thus educated.  Without knowledge we are nothing.

We are like the women of Afghanistan, shackled by their surroundings of a male hierarchy and ignorant of everything except that which they’re told – except in our case, it’s our elected representatives who choose to hide the truth from us.  And in the USA, with over 850,000 people now holding “top secret” status, (which is 1.5 times the population of Washington), we see that the weight of state machinery now devoted to hiding the truth, is immense.

What must be remembered, is that in nearly every single prominent Wikileak, the government has been found out to be doing bad things in our name.  It’s nothing to do with national security as they claim, and everything to do with protecting those with comfy state jobs and a falsely clean reputation, no matter what they do.

Further Reading:

Related Posts:

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.

Belief

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.

Lovelock

relax...

Relax

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.

Obstacles

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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