Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Are you one of the Science People? Be honest...

Once again, let's all laugh at Bobby Jindal. He has accused the Obama administration of being run by "science deniers" because they won't follow his energy policies. At the same time, he won't say that evolution is real.

We've known for a while now that the demons of silliness have taken possession of the Louisiana Governor. But Jindal's hypocrisy points to a rather interesting paradox.

In America, the Dems like to portray themselves as Science People, and they consider the Republican party to be the naural home of those awful Anti-Science People. But in Europe, lefties tend to express greater skepticism toward Big Science. Why? Because in Europe, the advocates of nuclear power are the ones who speak in terms of Reason and Rationality and Hey Look At All Of These Complex Equations On My Whiteboard.

Bobby Jindal calls Obama a "science denier" because Jindal advocates a greater reliance on nuclear power. In other words, the war between the Science People and the Anti-Science People may soon become europeanized.

Liberals, like all other human beings, only pretend to be led by pure reason. In fact, they are as likely as anyone else to rely on emotion -- usually the emotions we call smugness and rage.

Suppose (and this is just a hypothetical) that a scientist at UCLA were to come out with a study suggesting that women are more neurotic than men are. How would your average liberal react? Choose the answer you consider most likely:

Response 1: "Hm. I am skeptical. May I see your data?"


Be honest. Response 2 is closer to the mark, isn't it? In fact, isn't there someone reading these words -- right here, right now -- who is just itching to go into a "Response 2" tirade, simply because I dared to employ that particular hypothetical in my thought experiment?
Is contrarianism an emotion? Or is it a logical response to world of echo chambers and unhealthy consensi? Or is it just the thinking man's trolling?

In any case, to me emotions are like shit: every healthy human must experience them, but it's not acceptable to parade yours in public. Unless you are a very young child, of course.

Ultimately all is emotion. Even if you work logically for the betterment of humanity, it is emotion that motivates your work for mankind. Similarly if you work for the good of your bloodline, or if you sacrifice your fellow man to the devil or Mammon or that giant plastic owl at Bohemian Grove to gain yourself power. Ultimately, all motivated by some form of emotion.

I can think of only one exception. Most of my acts are geared towards avoiding homelessness, not because I fear the sky, or the cold (I can't afford heating anyway), or crime, or lack of pirated movies, or lack of storage space for my guitar, but because my one priority in life is having a safe and secure place to have a shit. And so we come full circle.

I think the liberal aversion to nuclear power has more to do with our inability to safely and permanently store the spent fuel rods and other concomitant waste byproducts than it does with any sort of denial of science.

If the Fukushima disaster taught us anything, it's that seemingly horrible tragedies can become unimaginable tragedies when a nuclear disaster is thrown into the mix.

Also, Bobby Jindal is an idiot by any measure.
Liberal smugness is infuriating. I find eating in a restaurant populated with liberals unpleasant. I prefer fast food or a Chinese restaurant populated by Chinese.

My response to your hypothetical UCLA study would be:

1. How much more neurotic? Is the statistical difference just noise? Is this worth my time?

2. How do you define neurotic?

Hence, the NFL problems.
How about if the study were by historians and the proposal were: If Israel were not as aggressive as it has been in its past, it would no longer exist today.
The main reason Jindahl's, and any rightist, support for nuclear power is surprising to me is that ramping it up will surely require massive government financing, support, and implementation.

In a very narrow sense, however, he is absolutely right - if the humanity wants to sustain present levels of energy consumption beyond the next 50 years, there is absolutely NO alternative to massive expansion of nuclear power.

The liberal support for "renewable energy" surely brands them as the anti-science people, as any attempt to claim that renewables can fill our energy needs betrays incomprehension of 10th grade physics and 2nd grade arithmetic.
Morgan, the waste from coal burning is far more harmful and larger in scale than anything from nuclear power. Moreover, current generation nuclear plants can work on a 'closed fuel' cycle, i.e. to reprocess most of the fuel, leaving literally no more than a drawer-full of the most dangerous waste.
There is no rational case to be made that managing an extremely small volume of waste is more dangerous than literally fumigating the whole planet by burning ~2,500 mile-long trains of coal EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

The background radiation in Fukushima now is at about the same level as Denver, CO.

Even Chernobyl does not qualify as a major disaster, in comparison with the dailly damage from coal-burning -> 50 immediate radiation related deaths, estimated 4000-20000 additional deaths due to radiation triggered cancers over the next 30 years after the accident.
Re: Anon regarding Israel: How many of them historians would interpret your postulate as a strong indication that, all things considered, an 'Israel' in Palestine was yet another terribly bad idea, right in the middle of a century full of bad ideas?
The waste from coal burning is non-existent, unless you mean the CO2. The dust and ash is used as fertiliser and in the production of environmentally friendly concrete.

But only the twenty thousand deaths, you say? Why on earth was I worried? And I'm sure the recent news about how German pigs are still too radioactive to eat is just scaremongering.

As for "closed" fuel cycles, those have been around for decades. In theory. In practice reprocessing waste into fuel is expensive and time consuming, so it doesn't happen. There are closed cycle plants around now, but they never actually operate that way.

The EU has been pushing for new nukes, it's a big boost to French and German industry if they do it, and there's currently one being built in Finland. It was meant to be finished years ago, but as has happened with every nuclear plant I've ever heard of it is years late, billions over budget and doesn't have various features that were vital to selling it to the public. Assuming it ever gets finished it'll be dangerous and ludicrously expensive for the rest of time. And the EDF and company will be wanting to build them everywhere on the continent.

Which reminds me of a joke. A Scottish radio programme, a football call-in show, got a call from someone wondering why Scotland never selected Antti Niemi in goal, and the host says "He's Finnish". And the caller says "finish'? He's only 29!".

Vote No, Scots.

The operative phrase in the arguments against renewable energy and in favor of nuclear is "...maintain current levels of energy consumption..."

Clearly we as a species need to address our rampant consumption of ALL resources, not just energy. We're fishing the oceans dry, spoiling the planets fresh water resources, burning all the carbon-based fuel we can get our hands on, and mining the earth of any and all elements we can find. In short, if this planet were an organism we'd be its cancer.

Until we can collectively address the excesses of our behavior, which will happen exactly never, our species will continue on its collision course with extinction.
Powerplant pollution kills more than 13,000 people ANNUALLY, in the US ALONE, not counting actual incidents. So, yeah, nuclear comes on top as safer for sure. Not to mention that coal burning releases radiation into the air constantly - the background radiation near a coal plant is literally higher than that next to a nuclear plant

Besides, the risks are not a function of how is the energy is produced, but simply the function of the enormous concentrations of energy. The deadliest form of energy production is hydro-power: the Banquaio Dam failure in chinca alone directly killed 26,000 people, and another 145,000 due to subsequent epidemics and famine.

Even solar is more dangerous than nuclear: the people who die as the result of the highly complex and toxic (and energy intensive) production of solar panels (not to mention installation) result in stillmore deaths per Kw.

All things considered, nuclear is literally THE safest option we have.
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