Sunday, April 3, 2011

"Alpha Rays, Max!" Stay Out of the Alpha Rays! (Will Being Green Create A Truly New (Safe) Energy World?) "Theatre of the Absurd" (Libya)

(If throwing a contribution Pottersville2's way won't break your budget in these difficult financial times, I really need it, and would wholeheartedly appreciate it. Anything you can afford will make a huge difference in this blog's lifetime.)

It's not science fiction, folks. Remember It's A Wonderful Life? Well, not much longer. (Welcome to Pottersville.)

Have you ever paused to wonder in your increasingly busy life why all those high-level conferences like those for the World Trade Organization (WTO) and Davos are so secretive (even though many reporters are present) that all they announce at the end is some cliché like "We've got to encourage growth and get rid of too many regulations?"

Remember Tony Roberts (Rob) as Max in Annie Hall (and why he called Alvy (Woody Allen) "Max")? Remember that unbelievable white plastic radioactive-proof headgear sun visor he wore as a shield against the alpha rays? Get ready. I'd buy stock in that company if I had a job right now (or any money).

Alvy: Max, are we driving through plutonium?

Rob: Keeps out the alpha rays, Max. You don't get old.

Seems there's quite a bit more to think about when being hit with those alpha rays today. (Emphasis marks and some editing inserted to improve readability.)

Fukushima Fallout Reaches U.S.A.

Trace levels of radiation found in rainwater from California to Massachusetts

March 31, 2011

Three of the six nuclear reactors at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have partially melted down and highly toxic plutonium is seeping into the soil outside. Plutonium is less volatile than other radioactive elements like iodine or cesium, but it's also more deadly.

According to Businessweek, "When plutonium decays, it emits what is known as an alpha particle, a relatively big particle that carries a lot of energy. When an alpha particle hits body tissue, it can damage the DNA of a cell and lead to a cancer-causing mutation."

If plutonium leaches into groundwater or pristine aquifers, the threat to public health and the environment will be extreme. This is an excerpt from an article in the Guardian: "The radioactive core in a reactor at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant appears to have melted through the bottom of its containment vessel and on to a concrete floor, experts say, raising fears of a major release of radiation at the site.

The warning follows an analysis by a leading US expert of radiation levels at the plant . . . . Richard Lahey, who was head of safety research for boiling-water reactors at General Electric when the company installed the units at Fukushima, told the Guardian workers at the site appeared to have "lost the race" to save the reactor..." ("Japan may have lost race to save nuclear reactor", The Guardian)

It also appears that underground tunnels at the facility have been flooded with radioactive water that contains high-concentrations of caesium-137. A considerable amount of the water has made its way to the sea where samples show the levels of contamination steadily rising.

From the Wall Street Journal:"Levels of radiation in the ocean next to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have surged to record highs, the government said Wednesday, as operators try to deal with large amounts of radioactive water — the unwanted byproduct of operations to cool the reactors.

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said water taken Tuesday afternoon from the monitoring location for the troubled reactors Nos. 1 to 4 had 3,355 times the permitted concentration of iodine-131. That is the highest yet recorded at the sampling location, which is 330 meters south of the reactors' discharge outlet."

("Seawater Radiation Level Soars Near Plant", Wall Street Journal) All fishing has been banned in the vicinity as the toxins pose a danger to human health.

The Japanese government's chief spokesman, Yukio Edano, issued a public statement admitting that the situation at Fukushima is progressively getting worse with no end in sight. "We are not yet in a situation where we can say when we will have this under control," said Edano. In other words, the emergency effort is failing.

The fact that Japan is experiencing the biggest environmental catastrophe in history explains why the media has been trying so hard to divert the public's attention to Obama's military adventure in Libya.

. . . "The irrefutable bottom line is that we have utterly failed to properly manage the risk from irradiated fuel stored at our nation’s nuclear power plants. We can and must do better." (The Union of Concerned Scientists)

Nuclear energy is a ticking-timebomb. There are safer ways to keep the lights on.

From my buddy over at the 13th Monkey blog, I Understand And I Wish To Continue:

In light of the unfolding Nuclear reactor disaster in Japan.

Is Muon Catalysed Fusion the: NEXT NEW, SAFE, GREEN, CLEAN, EFFICIENT energy solution... Is it the new Energy Saviour? The Fusion Messiah? Is it more safe, less toxic? More reliable? A Global Energy Renaissance? Or just more of the same?

Read on for some of the best insights we have at the moment.

'Theater of the Absurd' Comes to Life

Danny Schechter

Editor’s Note: A telling moment in George W. Bush’s administration came when a White House aide mocked author Ron Suskind for being part of “the reality-based community.”

These days it seems that less and less is reality-based. The various sides of the political/media wars deploy PR smokescreens to deceive the public and blast propaganda themes at their ideological foes, creating a world of menacing to mundane madness.

It's been a long time since I sat in a college literature class and learned about the Theater of the Absurd, the work of great writers like Beckett, Ionesco, Genet and Camus, among others. Their writing was their way of reacting to a world that seemed out of control and maybe out of its mind.

Wikipedia tells us, the Theater of the Absurd “expressed the belief that, in a Godless universe, human existence has no meaning or purpose and therefore all communication breaks down. Logical construction and argument gives way to irrational and illogical speech and to its ultimate conclusion, silence.”

Significantly, the word theater is used for places putting on plays and countries conducting wars. The battlefield is considered as much a "theater" as Broadway. Without waxing philosophical and commenting on the many unknowns that so obsessed Donald Rumsfeld, our modern-day philosopher king of the Pentagonian School, one has to abandon logic and rationality to try to make sense out of what is happening in front of our eyes.

The great leader who led the disastrous invasion of Iraq and who expected that war to be a “cakewalk,” now calls the latest U.S. attack "worrisome,” Rummy may be right this time. Worrisome perhaps, that the media that has been having a ball making fun of Gaddafi’s fears about Al Qaeda and hasn’t looked at intelligence reports that suggest he may be right.

. . . Then there was this inconvenient fact in the Washington Post: “Six days into the allied bombardment of Libyan military targets, it is clear that Moammar Gaddafi can count on the fierce loyalties of at least a significant portion of the population."

(Don't the Pentagon planners know that when you bomb a country, the people unite against the aggressor. For more on this, see the history books.)

As Alexander Cockburn puts it, “The war on Libya now being waged by the US, Britain and France must surely rank as one of the stupidest martial enterprises, smaller in scale to be sure, since Napoleon took it into his head to invade Russia in 1812.”

It's one thing to oppose a policy that seems to have a rational logic behind it, however disguised, deceptive, and misguided. It’s another to find policies built around a politician’s desire to deflect criticism, look good or act for the sake of acting. That’s the essence of absurd.

We would like to think that our “leaders” know what they are doing and behave within some calculus of civilized norms. More often they act in a rushed manner on bad intelligence, or no intelligence at all, “defending” what they do with folksy aphorisms and unverified or unverifiable claims.

. . . Adrian Brown reports: “Vast new cities of apartments and shops are being built across China at a rate of ten a year, but they remain almost completely uninhabited ghost towns. “It’s all part of the government’s efforts to keep the economy booming, and there are many people who would love to move in, but it’s simply too expensive for most. 64 million apartments are said to be empty across the country and one of the few shop owners says he once didn’t sell anything for four or five days.”

We are not much better off in this country. We stood by while Wall Street looted our country. Today, 20 percent of all homes in Florida stand empty. The debt grows, and all of us suffer. They can’t seem to stop it. Republicans promise jobs, but then pass laws that hike unemployment. Ideology has become a substitute for clear thinking, while posturing and polarization define the issues of our times, leading to a stalemate and paralysis. The theater of the absurd has gone from being a literary subculture to a mainstream political strategy. It’s one thing to take an action to confuse your enemies, but today, government is routinely confusing all of us.

Well, I don't know about you, but I don't think it's that confusing. There is nothing ignorant or dumb (or ideological concerning anything except the profits they steal) about the people who run Davos.


Beach Bum said...

Vast new cities of apartments and shops are being built across China at a rate of ten a year, but they remain almost completely uninhabited ghost towns.

I keep hearing something about a coming Chinese real estate bust, maybe this is it?

Suzan said...

Right, B.

Considering that all real estate busts arise from a period of overconstruction and devilry on the part of the financiers (like Alan Greenspan making credit so cheap for so long in a rising housing market) of it, reason tells us that the Chinese thought to rejuvenate their economy the same way that rich capitalists/monopolists (the real thug Communists) (HA! And making reasonable intellectual connections it stands out that this is a fine reason to call those in the opposition to this "business agenda" Communists) did here.

After all, they all attend the same meetings about "recovery."

For them.

Love ya,


Tom Harper said...

According to most polls I've seen, most Americans are still in favor of nuclear power plants, even after all of the contamination in Japan from the earthquake/tsunami.

Too many Americans are getting dumber and dumber. We don't need to wait 500 years for the "Idiocracy" nightmare to arrive. It's here.

Suzan said...

I agree, Tom.

It's hit and it's deadly.

Love ya,