An Inconvenient Truth

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by otter, Jun 25, 2006.

  1. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    It doesn't matter a whit that we're not building the same design as Chernobyl or TMI again. The next nuclear reactor accident will happen in a way that neither you nor anybody else today can possibly imagine.

    But if you're absolutely convinced there is zero chance of another accident, then you're not only optimistic, you're dangerous.

    You can send the check to Chris Scoones as a contribution for keeping this site online. I'll have the bridge delivered.

    K
     
  2. otter

    otter Banned or Parked


    I've mostly heard "half-life" used in respect to radioactive isotopes, although there are many others (like carbon dating and its more sophisticated relatives) which follow a similar pattern. Put way crude, if you take a pound of uranium isotope, in X,000 years HALF of it will have changed/degraded into something else. In 2X,000 years, half of the half will have changed/degraded into something else. And so on. Generally, what happens is less radioactive energy is produced in parallel to the degradation of the isotope. BTW, it is also axiomatic that you can't predict WHICH half. Sort of like if you take 100 people and say 50 of them are gonna die in the next 75 years. 50 WILL die - this is statistical - but you won't be able to predict WHICH 50. So what this is, is a statistical tool used to predict the life expectancy of nuclear waste and the age of old, old bones, among other things - and therefore, incidentally, the probability of the relative amount of toxicity available in a given environment at a given time in the future. How different life forms react to those various levels of toxicity is another piece of science.

    Still curious about closed system nuclear power, or closed system anything, for that matter.

    Entropy rules!

    Otter
     
  3. James Mello

    James Mello Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"

    Errr, the former president of Greenpeace is now embracing Nuclear power. He wants some items address, among them waste disposal, and safety, but the general consensus among us Hippies, is we have to do something, and Nuke may be a viable way of doing it.

    Other than that, GO NUKE! :)

    -- Cheers
    -- James
     
  4. James Mello

    James Mello Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"

    Not trying to be a dick, but carbon dating is done precisely because the carbon is radioactive.

    One major thing that we keep forgeting is that doing things the way we are at this point is poisoning our world too. It's just the waste is more spread out over a larger area in the form of mercury, radioactive carbon, CO2, and other stuff. Take all of it and concentrate it closely, and you'll get a slurry that no one would want in their back yard.

    The fact is, we need to shit somewhere. Right now we just drop little turds everywhere, but we are rapidly running out of places to take a dump.

    -- Cheers
    -- James
     
  5. gt

    gt Active Member

    well, that is certainly an acceptable response in my book: '...i don't give a shit how nuclear reactors work or what safety standards are deployed, i don't like the idea...', works for me as well.

    now, come up with an alternate source of power to replace the boogy men represented by nuclear and you too can be a hero.

    i'll just kick back and wait for your engineering marvel to be revealed right here. fact is, we only have so many technologies available to us. given the finite nature of things at the moment, we should be thinking about how to enable and deploy these options with maximium safety and effectiveness in mind.

    i understand that you don't agree, and thats fine with me, now meet the other challenge mentioned above.
     
  6. Riane

    Riane Mouse doctor

    Congratulations for insulting just about every successful scientist that has ever lived. As an "unemployed scientist" employed at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center I too work in the lab 60 hours a week, writing, performing experiments and doing research for relatively low pay. I am paid by the National Institutes of Health, which means I am accepting "hand-outs" and "living off goverment grants". Yes I too write grants. Personally, I'm trying to do my part to understand a little thing called cancer. The work of earth scientists is equally important. Note that these "unemployed scientists" and "hippies" happen to be employed at many of the world's best research institutions. And these "hand-outs", also called grants are very competitive, funded at an extremely low rate, and reviewed by the world's top scientists.

    Its really not that hard to avoid ignorance if one tries.
     
  7. chadk

    chadk Be the guide...

    So there is a smaller group of guys who have some control over what get's funded and what doesn't? Is that true? :confused:
     
  8. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    iagree Well-stated Riane.

    K
     
  9. gearhead

    gearhead Active Member

    I have written a couple grants myself, I spent a tremendous amount of time on them. keeping them accurate, making sure to leave not one thing out. but i didn't lie enough,appareantly so both were not funded. My (public) employer, then found that their are professional firms(liars really), out there that can write up these grants for us. We pay these firms a huge sum ( YOUR MONEY BY THE WAY), and then we review and submit. It always amazes me how dire, inflated and sensationalized the wording is, and it is ALWAYS, not reflective of the truth, our needs, and our circumstances. Are you going to tell me, that there is no "ABUSE" taking place among those who seek grant monies, and those that allow funding for grants in this enviromentally charged society we live in. Do some people that call themselves or are recognized as scientists not depend on grant monies to make a living in this life that they have chosen. And please, kind sir, don't attempt to get a guilt me, by comparing your grant writings with who/what, you know it is i am talking about. lets keep it apples and apples.
     
  10. troutfanatic

    troutfanatic A day not spent wasted is.....wasted.

    A month or so ago I read an article in the Seattle times about how views of global warming have changed in the last twenty years. Bottom line it stated that there was a universal agreement in the scientific community that global warming is occuring. The only dissenter that they could find was a guy funded by British Petroleum. Go figure.




    Actually, Yes we do know by core samples at the north and south pole and other glaciers that give an instant photo of what was happenig at the time. Ice tends to freeze and hold everything including gases and carbon dixiode, not jsut water and microbes.
     
  11. troutfanatic

    troutfanatic A day not spent wasted is.....wasted.

    Post deleted.
     
  12. troutfanatic

    troutfanatic A day not spent wasted is.....wasted.

    Sure every little bit helps. Figure not the immediate gain but the gain or reduction in gas consumption over a four year period.

    Say you save a tank a week at 20 gallons a week. Thats 1040 gallons a year. If one third of our population in the US did that it would equal 104,000,000,000 gallons. Current US consumption is at 11,698,250,000 per year. Thats 8.8% a year. Thats quite a bit.
     
  13. Snake

    Snake tryin' not to get too comfortable

    What about solar power? It's waste-free, non-toxic (well, except for melanoma), and powers the planet already. Has significant research into solar power been suppressed because there's not enough profit associated with it (the conspirist in me), or is it technical limitations for efficient conversion (the scientist in me)?
     
  14. otter

    otter Banned or Parked

    sorry James -

    you are absolutely right - plenty of naturally occuring isotopes out there. What was is my head was the unbelievable difference between, for example, uranium ore as mined and the off the scale radioactivity of uranium when we have done cooking it up to power plant strength, let alone weapons grade. And on the organic end of the scale, if you take 6 billion human beings at one, one pound dump a day, times 365 days/year, that's - heewhack - TWO TRILLION, ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY BILLION POUNDS OF PLAIN OLD ORDINARY HUMAN SH-T PER YEAR, AND I'M NOT GONNA CALCULATE THE VOLUME!

    Otter
     
  15. Snake

    Snake tryin' not to get too comfortable

    Not to hijack the thread, but yeah, that's the way science funding in the US works, and it's far from a perfect system.

    The problem is that science is so friggin complex anymore. Research is so specialized, that there aren't a lot of people that TRULY understand whether your experiments will yield any useful results. So the Govt convenes panels of people, who have previously published in your field/discipline/specialty (the EXPERTS), to review your proposal. Hopefully, this makes sure YOUR money (ie taxpayers) is spent on good projects. But this system doesn't promote pure discovery-based research, it discourages new researchers with truly innovative ideas but rewards mediocre old-timers (once you are connected and "part of the club") and the reviews aren't always unbiased, especially if the proposal is a little too close to a reviewer's own research.

    Not too mention the funding's getting pretty skinny.

    Thinking about grad school and an academic/research career? Don't do it. Go to work for a pharmaceutical company, or weapons/security/aerospace outfit, if you want a steady job and decent income.
     
  16. otter

    otter Banned or Parked

    Snake -

    There's no question that some people will first follow the profit - look at Enron, and the evil results of that kind of greedhead corporation. The potential of solar power is awesome. However - and a big however - nobody's figured out how to convert it efficiently into conventional power (i.e., electrical) on a large scale. Now its a fairly well proven law of physics that the energy you get out of any given process will be somewhat less than the energy you put into it. And here comes the profit thing again, what company is going to spend a dollar's worth of energy to produce a dime's worth of profit? Good example is hydrogen fuel for cars - at present it takes way more energy (read $$) to crack the water molecules into hydrogen and distribute it than the $$ it takes to suck oil from the ground and distribute it. Similar situation in solar, in terms of efficiency of conversion process. Not saying it can't be done - and solar energy, calculated in watts or whatever energy unit you want to use, is a resource far more gigantic than the power needs of Homo sapiens. But we're not there yet. And the more money we spend on the "easy", profitable sources of power - oil, coal, natural gas, hydroelectirc, nuke - the less we will on the so called "alternative" energy sources, and the later we will be arriving to a large scale way of utilizing solar power (ditto wind power, tidal power). And by the time we get to that it may be too late to salvage both a large part of the environment and a large part of the human race. So we're between a rock and a hard place in terms of the beliefs and practices of the present civilization, and making strategic decisions about what we should do over the next couple five centuries. I'll say once again that Kyoto - whatever flaws you wish to find with it - was the first genuine global attempt at an energy strategy, and the USA basically walked away. I'll leave the why of that to your own consideration.

    Otter
     
  17. Snake

    Snake tryin' not to get too comfortable

    It's absolutely insane how often our decisions are made by "profit".

    Maybe an world-wide economic collapse would bring back a little balance? Sure, it would be tough for a while (20-40 years? Better be able to barter, baby!), but a little spurt of human NPG (negative population growth) might be just what the planet needs.

    I don't mean to sound like some irrational environmentalist, whacko survivalist or doom-monger. Just thinking about what's going on, trying to understand. Probably useless.

    Again, great thread, Otter! We might not all agree on the specifics, but it's got people writing, thinking, exchanging ideas. Amazing!
     
  18. gearhead

    gearhead Active Member

    You do! And in the circles i run, working in public education (not a teach) I hear this all the time. Many of them feel and speak the same way, when not hanging pictures of monkey Bush next to the American flag in their classroom. No joke, wish it were. For those of you leaning right, I strongly encourage you to visit your kids classrooms, when a Parent night "IS NOT" scheduled, and check out the hangings on the walls, in some of these classrooms, 7th grade on up.
     
  19. Snake

    Snake tryin' not to get too comfortable


    What???

    Are you saying that public servants in the education sector are secretly teaching our children to embrace liberal values?

    Or teaching them to become irrational environmentalists, whacko survivalists or doom-mongers?

    I fully support your right to free speech, but seriously, I don't know what you're saying...........
     
  20. 509

    509 New Member

    A few comments on posted remarks...

    A month or so ago I read an article in the Seattle times about how views of global warming have changed in the last twenty years. Bottom line it stated that there was a universal agreement in the scientific community that global warming is occuring. The only dissenter that they could find was a guy funded by British Petroleum. Go figure.

    Don't believe what you read in the Seattle Times. BP is the first oil compnay that switched sides on global warming. They even have a carbon calculator on their web site. See my earlier post on how you can compute your own contribution to global warming.

    What about solar power? It's waste-free, non-toxic (well, except for melanoma), and powers the planet already. Has significant research into solar power been suppressed because there's not enough
    profit associated with it (the conspirist in me), or is it technical limitations for efficient conversion (the scientist in me)?

    Solar power is greatly supported by everybody that does not use it. As the owner of a solar house...it is very, very expensive for very little electricity. You can live just in a solar house if you want....cut your electricty use to 10% and send a random person 25,000 dollars for the capital costs....oh, pick another random person and send them 25 cents for each kilowatt hour. Just like living in a solar house....and now you know why evrybody that can switch from solar to grid at a resonable price does it. But it does work.....All comments about solar don't apply to hydro....now that's an awesome solar power source.

    It's absolutely insane how often our decisions are made by "profit".

    Actually profit is a very sane for economic decisions. The role that energy plays in ecological systems, money plays in economic systems. For the past 100 years we have had communist governments that killed 150 million people to eliminate "profit" in their societies. I'll take the profit motive with all its wars.

    Last comment...if you believe in a hydrogen economy you have to believe in nuclear energy. There isn't a large enough energy source other than nuclear to produce a viable hydrogen economy....and it still might not be viable at that.