Monday, July 26, 2010

BBC Friday Comedy Podcast Quotes

You should listen to this podcast because it's funny and it's not from America and it'll make you smarter.

"Being thrown out of the tea party for being a racist is like being thrown out of the conservative party for drinking Pimms."
"When Shakespeare invented words it was on purpose."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

So There Are No Fish in the Ocean?

Over 500 penguins have washed up dead on the shores of Brazil recently as well as some turtles and a porpoise.  The cause of death appears to be starvation.  These penguins usually feed over a wide area and should be finding huge amounts of food.  I have this horrible feeling this is another sign of the death of life in the oceans of the world.  In 1808 the passenger pigeon numbered in the billions and there were many millions of bison.  By the end of that century there were no passenger pigeons and only a few thousand bison hiding in Yellowstone.  Yes we can obliterate all life in the oceans because we're foolish enough to believe we can't.

Maybe sealife isn't going extinct in the Atlantic and this is a hiccup, but the chance of extinction in the Gulf of Mexico is very high:
"World killing event."
Turtles and crabs may become extinct in the Gulf.
Brown pelicans, just removed from endangered species list, threatened.
Here's seven more.
Too early to say if it's the worst disaster in history or not, but it's up there.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Nuclear Energy = Fool's Gold

There are many arguments in favor of nuclear energy.  None of them holds up to scrutiny. 

"It's carbon neutral."  This is the closest to a true statement but it isn't true.  Tons of oil and coal will be burnt in the extraction, refinement, and transportation of nuclear fuel.  Compared with your average fossil fuel burning power plant it isn't much but I don't think I'm splitting hairs by pointing out that nuclear energy is not carbon neutral.

"It's cheap."  Someone please point to a nuclear plant that hasn't over-run projected costs by billions of dollars or has actually lowered anyone's electric bill.  I'll wait.

"It's safe." or "Technology and design has improved to such a degree that a failure is impossible."  To that I'd like start by saying, "See BP."  All technology has a chance of failure.  This chance is almost always much greater than those designing and building the technology think it is.  The safest cars' accelerator pedals stick, skyscrapers designed to withstand an airplane collision collapse after a collision and an intense fire, deep water drilling rigs claiming to have no chance of an accident explode and kill the Gulf of Mexico, two space shuttles fall to the earth in flames.  Anything made by humans will fail eventually.  And as recent events have shown us when a "low possibility" event occurs in a very complex situation, the result is usually a catastrophe many times greater than any "plausible" worst case scenario accepted before the event. 

The very idea that we believe we can store radioactive waste for over 100,000 years while it decays to a safe state is astonishing.  The same people that built Three Mile Island or Chernobyl are going to build the chambers where we house the waste from nuclear reactors.  We can't even get short term storage right, apparently.  Tritium has been leaking from the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant for some time and it will probably end up in the drinking water of New York.  We can't keep very good track of the deadliest poison known to man, plutonium, which has a half life of 24,000 years.  As far as humanity is concerned the life span of plutonium or any other slowly decaying radioactive material is infinite.  We will not be here 100,000 years from now.  Some other form of us or some other creature will have taken our place long before the poison ceases to be deadly.  Cultures and societies will rise and fall violently and to think we can guard this horrendous danger against those future persons is laughable.  An oil spill, no matter how immense, is finite.  For the human race, the radioactive material we are making today will last beyond forever.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Success In Afghanistan According to Patraeus (This Modern World)

Another Glimmer of Hope: Court Tells FCC Its Rules are Stupid

Though you still can't play George Carlin's "Seven Dirty Words" routine on the radio, you won't get the living shit sued out of you if someone accidentally curses or if one bad word slips by the censors.
We now hold that the FCC’s policy violates the First Amendment because it is unconstitutionally vague, creating a chilling effect that goes far beyond the fleeting expletives at issue here.
Thank fucking god.  The very idea that the FCC could levy a half a million dollar fine against a broadcaster because someone said "shit" is just beyond insanity.  I want my country back, and my country is one that is progressing and improving, not regressing and devolving.

The Fag Hater Doth Protest Too Loudly

BP Claims Oil Flow Stopped

As of 2:25pm CST BP claims the oil gushing from the Deep Horizon disaster has been slowed almost to zero.  Supposedly the new arrangement will allow for them to siphon off all the oil being released (as of today that is $76 per barrel and it is estimated 60,000 barrels per day so that's around $4.5 million per day of income to offset the billions of damage) if the well is fractured and they have to relieve pressure while they complete the relief wells.  If the pressure goes up and stays there they will seal the well for now.  The well will not be completely contained until the relief wells are finished and the well is filled with concrete.  Let's just hope it's not Haliburton that is in charge of the cement this time.

Glimmer of Hope? D.C. Agrees to Mass Arrest Settlement

The District of Columbia has settled a decade long class action lawsuit over the illegal mass arrest and detainment of peaceful protesters.  The fact is this will make no difference in New York or Los Angeles, or Chicago until similar suits have sat in courts for a decade or more.  It is shameful that the people we hire for cops have no time for serving the public because they believe the public is a bunch of prisoners they have to beat.