Now You See it, Now You Don’t!

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Nov 092009
 

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?

Taliban Torture America

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Jul 202009
 

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.

Torture

(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.

Justice

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.

© 1977, Strangely Perfect.