Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

The Utility of Light: Getting Real with the Existing Energy Infrastructure.

by NNadir Mon Jun 18th, 2007 at 11:34:44 AM EST

Crossposted from DKos:   Original with poll Can Be Found Here.

I guess I seem ungrateful
With my teeth sunk in the hand
That brings me things
I really can't give up just yet
Now I sit up here
The critic!

- Joni Mitchell, For the Roses (1972)

I'm not surprised that the Concorde flights were shut down.  There were few things in life as useless as flying to Europe on that British French Supersonic Transport plane.   It was great flying back from Europe on the Concorde, since there was a sense of arriving before you left, but basically flying to Europe was a real waste.    

Think about it.   You left New York in the early afternoon in this little aircraft and you raced into the darkness.   There was nothing especially remarkable about the flight itself.   On some level it was about as interesting as being on a bus, except of course there was reasonably good food and a choice of very nice wines.    

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Irish Trade Unions Call for the Legalization of Nuclear Fission in Ireland.

by NNadir Mon Mar 12th, 2007 at 01:10:50 PM EST

It is illegal in Ireland to fission uranium or any other element for any purpose, including medical reasearch or medical treatment.

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"Wormwood Forest: A Natural History of Chernobyl," Some Comments.

by NNadir Sat Mar 10th, 2007 at 08:49:08 AM EST

My task at DKos - should you be unfamiliar with me - is to talk about nuclear energy, the truths and the myths surrounding it, and the role I think it should play in the desperate fight against climate change.   I make my arguments mostly in a technical way, but I try, within the limits of my abilities, to inject enough humor, human history, personal history, and analysis to make the subject fun, even though there is nothing very funny about climate change.    My goal in all of this is to give my party the best chance it can possibly have, as now we control at least part of the government, at governing wisely.    To me it is an inescapable fact that climate change must be ameliorated, though I very much doubt at this point that it can be arrested.   My oft stated view is that nuclear energy is simply the most powerful tool we have in this fight, the best tested and therefore the most essential.

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German Renewables Report: External Cost of Carbon Dioxide Vastly Underestimated.

by NNadir Sun Mar 4th, 2007 at 02:43:47 PM EST

I trash renewable energy not because I want it banned - believe me I will take any greenhouse gas free energy there is - but because it is my strong opinion that renewable energy will not be enough in the lifetime of anyone now living.   My often harsh words aside, I actually favor wind, solar, geothermal, etc, because whatever they do is something, rather than nothing.

The effect of climate change in economic terms is the subject of much discussion and many efforts have been made to quantify it.    Most typically the numbers I use in insisting that we need for environmental reasons to vastly expand nuclear capacity are the numbers from the European Union's Report on the External Cost of Energy.

It may seem strange that someone who relies on a set of numbers as much as I do would get involved in questioning them, but I am reality based, and very attached to the idea of challenging assumptions.

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French Utility to Deny Italians Participation in New Nuclear Construction.

by NNadir Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 at 04:30:36 PM EST

(I haven't been diligent about crossposting here, but I wanted to be sure to crosspost my most recent post at DailyKos, because it is is European in focus.  The original with poll can be found  Here.  The poll is in the original.)

Not so long ago, it was very fashionable in Europe to be anti-nuclear.   Countries whose governments announced either "nuclear phase outs" or "moratoriums" on new nuclear construction include Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Italy.

In addition Norway and Denmark have declared that they will not allow nuclear capacity.

Interestingly Norway, which until recently was really powered 100% by renewable energy (hydroelectric) has just built its first fossil fuel powered electrical plant.

Only one country, Italy, had nuclear power and shut all of its plants.   (It is ironic that the first man to build a nuclear reactor was an Italian, Enrico Fermi.)

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Profile of a "Dangerous Nuclear Waste," Cesium. Part 1.

by NNadir Mon Jan 29th, 2007 at 09:47:20 PM EST

(This diary entry is cross posted from Daily Kos.The original, with the poll is found here.)

(Disclaimer 1:  This is a pro-nuclear energy diary.

Disclaimer 2:  There's a lot of technical stuff in this diary which is conceivably boring.)

I had a long diary entry in preparation that was all about "Buffalo Bill Cody." "Buffalo Bill" became famous when he won a buffalo killing contest where he killed 69 buffalo in a single day, beating out his nearest competitor who only killed 48.   The entry contained a long digression about the extinction of species and how wherever humans show up, the megafauna, animals like buffalos, and mammoths and giant tree sloths, and the giant Moa, face extinction.

Then I carried on for a long time about how people of European extraction, including those who emigrated to North America, seem to have something against buffalo, having brought two species of buffalo to near extinction, with the native European species, the Wisent, having completely disappeared in the wild by the early twentieth century.    I then gave some more history, telling how wild herds were re-established in the wild in parts of Belarus and Poland from zoo stock.

This was the working title of my proposed entry: "Nearly Extinct European Buffalo Eating Nuclear Waste From Chernobyl!"

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Behaving Like a Lottery Winner: Illinois, Energy, and Dead Golden Geece.

by NNadir Sun Jan 28th, 2007 at 10:09:41 PM EST

(This thread is cross posted from Daily Kos.The original, with the poll is found here.)<

(Immediate Disclaimer:  This is a diary entry about nationalization and nuclear energy.)

Here in New Jersey, there's talk of selling the New Jersey Turnpike to "investors."  We are also thinking of selling our lottery.    What the hell.  We need the money.  We're broke.   Anyway privatization works so well.   Just ask Halliburton.

Today there is New York Times piece about a similar movement afoot in Illinois.   It's written by a guy who, by his own admission, used to fleece Lottery Winners.   It's actually an interesting piece.

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The Loss of Life Per Metric Ton of Carbon Dioxide Avoided: Considering Diesels.

by NNadir Tue Jan 23rd, 2007 at 09:29:17 PM EST

(This thread is cross posted from Daily Kos.  The original, with the poll is found here.  )

There is a science to which the public pays almost zero attention, especially in discussions of energy, but also, regrettably, in discussions of quite a number of other topics.    The science in question is called "combinatorial optimization," and it is a branch of mathematics that seeks to determine, to describe it as simply as I can, what mixture of conditions will give the best (or worst) possible outcome.

For example:  Suppose you are installed in the White House by the Supreme Court because some of your Daddy's friends work there.   Here is a combinatorial optimization problem you might face:   A dictator with whom your family has had a falling out is ruling a country that controls a resource in which your family, your family's friends and your country has an abnormally obsessive interest...    

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Obama's Energy Program Will Work: It's Why I Don't Want Him as Our Nominee.

by NNadir Mon Jan 15th, 2007 at 10:59:34 PM EST

(This diary entry, decidedly American in its orientation, is crossposted from DailyKos.  The American Politics may lack importance here, but the matter of FT fuels is nonetheless international.

The Original Entry at DKos can be found here.

Polls connected with this entry can be found in the original.)

Many people today are too young to remember unbiased straight forward "journalism."   There was a time, believe it or not, when journalists reported something called "news" without much further editorial content, except for editorials that were identified as such.   In those times, people instead of saying "U.S. Air Force Strikes Militants in Somalia in an Expansion of the War On Terror," people who were called "journalists" would simply report something along these lines:

"US planes Strike Somalia."    

In this type of telling, spin by the participants - the US President's claim that there was a "war on terror," and the question of whether the victims of the bombing were "militants" might be discussed in the article, but the spin would come from the participants, not the "journalist."   They might say for instance, "Bush told reporters that the bombing was part of the 'War on Terror'." In this case it is clear that Bush, and not the reporter, is defining the meaning of the event.   Unless explicitly quoting another person, the opinion of the political views of the bombing victims might be identified as "forces allied with those opposed to the Saudi royal family" or "persons who believe in jihad," or some such thing.

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Bait and Switch: German Nuclear Phase Out, Renewables, Coal and Carbon Dioxide.

by NNadir Tue Jan 9th, 2007 at 11:37:48 AM EST

(At the kind invitation of Jerome a Paris, I will be crossposting some of my recent diary entries from Daily Kos here.   Nearly all of my diary entries there are on the subject of nuclear energy and climate change.  The Original Entry at DKos can be found here.  Polls connected with this entry can be found in the original.)

In a close election, a little over a year ago, Germany fell to the conservatives, leading to the replacement of Bill Clinton's friend, Gerard Schroeder as Chancellor.   Schroeder of course, was left of center, and I think the number of people here who would prefer Andrea Merkel to Gerard Schroeder, is a vanishingly small number.  

I'm certainly not here to say that I am happy - at least from what I hear - about the "German Thatcher," Merkel.   From my perspective one Thatcher is entirely too many.

But let's talk about Schroeder.  In case you're wondering about what Gerhard Schroeder is doing now that he's left politics, one of his new jobs is as a Member of the Supervisory Board of Gazprom, the Russian natural gas conglomerate, a conglomerate that benefited by Schroeder's policies, in particular with respect to the European Baltic gas pipeline.   It's right there in the Wikipedia article on Schroeder.

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A Calculation: How Many Trillions of Dollars of Environmental Damage Will IGCC Coal Cost?

by NNadir Mon Jan 8th, 2007 at 08:37:34 PM EST

(At the kind invitation of Jerome a Paris, I will be crossposting some of my recent diary entries from Daily Kos here.   Nearly all of my diary entries there are on the subject of nuclear energy and climate change.  The Original Entry at DKos can be found here.  Polls connected with this entry can be found in the original. )

In 1981, the Hungarian Director Istvan Szabo released a film, Mephisto, starring Klaus Maria Brandauer, based on the novel of the same name written by Thomas Mann's son Klaus.    For those who do not know the novel, it was tightly based on the real life German actor, Gustav Grundgens, whose most famous role, ironically enough, was none other than Mephisto himself in Goethe's Faust.   Grundgens it turns out, worked closely with the Nazi pseudo aesthete, Herman Goering, and was rewarded in the Nazi era with control of German theater.

In both the film and the book, everything was rather obvious but this is to be excused on the grounds that the real life of Grundgens was also obvious.  He sold his art out, and not just to anyone, but to the Nazis, and not just the Nazis in general, but to Herman Goering in particular.   With the caveat of being obvious, it's a good film, well worth watching, especially in the original German language.

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On Symmetry: Platonic Solids and Ugly Wastes, Lampblack, Coal and Carbon

by NNadir Sun Jan 7th, 2007 at 01:10:37 PM EST

(At the kind invitation of Jerome a Paris, I will be crossposting some of my recent diary entries from Daily Kos here.   Nearly all of my diary entries there are on the subject of nuclear energy and climate change.  The Original Entry at DKos can be found here.  Polls connected with this entry can be found in the original. )

The human eye is drawn to symmetry and has been so since the dawn of recorded time.   Indeed we know that symmetry was important to humanity before recorded time.   According to the Wikipedia entry on this subject, preliterate people in Scotland made models of the five platonic solids, the icosohedron, dodecahedron, the octahedron, the tetrahedron, and the cube.   That couldn't have been very easy to do with the tools of the time.  

Like the ancients, we find symmetry beautiful mostly, and associate it with positive things, both in two dimensions and in three dimensions.   We still speak of "mystical circles," "circles of friends," "the town square," even "the food pyramid."

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