Daily Archives: March 16, 2011

Some Wednesday Night Science…

I’ve been looking at statistics which relate death rates to the type of power that is used (got into this without thinking while reading information on the 4 damaged nuclear reactors in Japan… and the knowledge that there are two more reactors, 5 & 6, which could be next).

To begin, however, we have to go over a unit of measurement. I’m not a science guy and am probably prone to mistakes… you real scientists and math wizards can correct me in the comments or by e-mail… so bear with me. Most of us are aware of the Kilowatt Hour (KWh). which is the basic unit of measure in our electric bills. To deal with the power/death ratio, however, we are going to need a bigger unit – power put out for a whole society is massive – and that unit is the Terawatt Hour (TWh), which equals 1,000,000,000 Kilowatt Hours.

Ok… if you’ve digested that, here’s a chart I picked up at NextBigFuture.com:

As you can see, death rates per TWh are much, much higher annually in world figures in the burn and smoke power sources. Look at solar, wind, hydro and, unfortunately, nuclear are quite low … the figure of deaths relating to “banqiao” under Hydro are quite high, but this relates to a one time occurance:

  • 1975 failure (in Typhoon Nina–Banqiao dam failure (Chinese history))
    Banqiao Dam

    Location of Banqiao Dam, China

    The Banqiao Dam had been built on the Ru River in the early 1950s as part of a flood-prevention and electricity-production program aimed at controlling the Huang He (Yellow River). At a height of 387 feet (118 metres) and with a storage capacity of some 17.4 billion cubic feet (492 million cubic metres), it was designed to withstand a “1,000-year” flood (i.e., a flood level expected…

As to the danger of nuclear promoting a lower death rate, it should be noted that the Japanese tragedy is not considered a “nuclear accident”, but the result of earthquake and tsunami damage.

Every day when I walk out in the sun and the breeze, I think that I am experiencing the great power supplies that are with us all and that, for the most part, we ignore. After all the years we have known about the problems with coal and oil…and beside pollution we are also involved in wars in the middle east which we probably wouldn’t be were it not for oil… and have known what could be done with sun and wind, I cringe. People are so stupid.

Quote of the Day – Made in America

“I have long been concerned about the decline of American manufacturing and the loss of millions of good-paying factory jobs in our country.  Imagine my surprise, therefore, when several months ago I walked into the gift shop at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, a museum owned by the people of the United States and designed to proudly display our history, and discovered that most of the products there were made in China and other low-wage countries.  These included Chinese-made statuettes of American presidents, including ones of George Washington and Barack Obama, and lunch boxes of Rosie the Riveter, the heroine of WWII.  I thought that was pretty pathetic.

“After several discussions with the leadership of the Smithsonian I am happy to report that progress is being made.  The Smithsonian has told me that one of their gift shops will feature products made exclusively in the USA, and that they will be much more aggressive in selling gifts manufactured by American workers in all of their museums.”

Senator Bernie Sanders (D – VT)


One of their gift shops? One of their gift shops? Give me a break!

AT&T “moving in a direction consumers don’t want to go,” Netflix tells Raw Story

Al Franken, Senator from Minnesota

Sen Al Franken

Found this in Raw Story:

Telecoms want ‘to put Netflix out of business entirely,’ Sen. Franken tells SXSW

Here’s a clip, but go into Raw Story and read the rest:

clipped from www.rawstory.com
Appearing in a recent panel discussion at the South by Southwest music, film and technology festival in Austin, Texas, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) warned that net neutrality, or the treatment of all data on a network as equal, was under threat by Comcast and other telecoms.
But the immediate prize for a company like Comcast especially, he cautioned, is “to put Netflix out of business entirely” by making it too costly to compete with the network owners’ video service.
Franken also discussed the recent scrape between Comcast and Level 3 Communications, which is an intermediary that works with Netflix to deliver video. Comcast demanded that Level 3 enter into a  payment agreement with them, or face being cut off from all Comcast subscribers.
“I came here to warn you the party may be over,” Franken said. “They’re coming after the Internet hoping to destroy the very thing that makes it such an important for independent artists and entrepreneurs: its openness and freedom.”
blog it

Got up early this morning and joined John Case on WSHC…

I don’t usually co-host Winners and Losers on a Wednesday, but John’s regular co-host today is in California, so I surprised my friend by showing up at 7:30.

We had quite a good morning… lots of talk on current issues…poetry and prose readings on the subject of “insanity” (this, in case people tuned in ready to hear the “Are You Crazy?” section with John’s resident psychiatrist)… and a long phone call from our friend Mark.

It’s nice getting out of the house on a Wednesday morning, although I have to get up at 6:oo AM to do it… I’m a late sleeper, since it takes me so long to fall asleep at night. The parking in downtown Shepherdstown (which covers two whole blocks) is really good this early in the morning – plus the Shep U students are on Spring break so there are no cars around. With the exception of the WSHC broadcast area, Knutti Hall is like the dead zone.

Anyway, now I’m back home getting ready to walk the dogs. Then I’ll get around to setting the trap for the small creature who is digging holes in our backyard garden area. I hope you all… Japan Tsunami and Wisconsin union activities aside… have a nice day.