Saturday, March 26, 2011
Chemists usually know what molecule they are going to make and make it. Great, but nature has the habit of biting back. Sometimes the molecules go wrong, in something as simple as the order in which atoms join to a carbon. When this affects the handed-ness of the molecules (yes, molecules can be left or right-handed), this is called 'enantiomerism'. Sometimes the molecules are right but the way they stick together is wrong. This phenomenon is known as 'polymorphism'.
These examples of molecules behaving badly can have dramatic effects, and we might want to ask questions like:
Ever wondered why chocolate goes white with age?This is ROY. It is all one chemical with a long name I have no intention of remembering. This name comes from Red Orange & Yellow the various colours the 7 atomically identical varieties come in.
Have you heard of the thalidomide tragedy?
Did you realise that a major US pharmaceutical firm recently lost over $250M because the molecules of an anti-HIV drug started sticking together badly?
The best known multiple morphings of a material is in organic chemistry (ie involving carbon) where soot, graphite, diamond and buckeytubes are all different arrangements of carbon atoms. Another is water ice of which there are currently 15 types known created by an incredible range of temperatures & pressures over differing times with different catalysts. Fortunately none of them have the fictional properties of Vonnegut's Ice 9 written about in 1963
Professor Wilson had a number of remarkable stories.That there are 2 morphs of thalidomide, though unfortunately the safe type morphs into the dangerous one inside the human body so neither is ultimately safe.
In many cases one morphic state will, over time metamorphosises into another, normally the one with the highest melting point being most stable, which is why chocolate ages.
The $250 million blown example (actually they spent a lot more finding why) is of an anti-AIDS drug called Ritonavir whose manufacturers had 2 factories producing it - one in the US & the smaller one in Italy. One day the former started producing a different & useless state of the same drug and not all the huffing and puffing by the manufacturer could make it start producing the desired morph. But the Italian factory was still working normally. So they got all the chief scientists and sent them off, in their white coats, to find out what the Italians were doing right. And as soon as they got there the Italian plant started producing the wrong morph too. What happened is that the molecule sized pieces of the undesired morph had infected the Italian plant, ad it had previously done in the American.
This is an example of the "universal seeding hypothesis" that there must be some such states of crystallisation whose atoms are so endemic across the planet that they already prevent different morphs appearing.
Thus it is impossible to predict what morphs may be possible, let alone what their states might be though, as with ritonavir some currently useless materials may be incredibly valuable.
Which brought us to the Q&A session and my question.
"One of my hobbyhorses is space industrialisation and it strikes me that it is likely that zero gravity will allow the manufacture of many materials either not possible here or incredibly expensively. Do you think this is likely"
He enthusiastically agreed that there were bound to be many such. He didn't know of any yet but experience shows it is easier to grow large crystals in zero gravity so it is virtually certain that this will be a common property of such chemicals. He also mentioned a colleague who is trying to get an experiment to Mars where gravity is 0.38 of ours to see how it affects such growth.
Afterwards I asked him a little more. Does he know of any such experiments to deliberately create new morphs in orbit - No he didn't. Did he know of any attempts to do so in a "vomit comet" - No and it probably wouldn't work because in such a plane, with engine vibrations etc, it would be impossible to control the other factors thoroughly enough.
However I have elsewhere suggested that the greatest ultimate profits to be made in space will not be from solar power satellites or even asteroid mining, both of which provide a potential step reduction in costs of something we already do, but in manufacturing materials, such as large crystals or foamed metal beams which we simply cannot do in a gravity field. Polymorphism seems to radically increase the number of materials we can make in orbit which are either impossible or horrendously expensive here. Hank Stine's book, the 3rd Industrial Revolution detailed many possibilities of such materials that could be made but studies of polymorphic materials has gone a long way since then. I may well be going over ground that others have but it is certainly not a well trodden path. Until they have been made nobody can say what properties will be found or what value they will have but if we are talking about varieties on the order of a large fraction of all the materials we can make on Earth there are bound to be enormous opportunities waiting.
There may also be materials that not only can only be created in orbit but would only retain stability there. Not something which would be any use today but would have consequences for the long term development of orbital living.
Another advantage in orbital industries would be the ease with which stations could be sterilised and remain isolated - which affects the panspermia option. Also it is easier for orbital industries to vary such things as temperature and pressure than on Earth.
Regarding the "vomit comet" option I do not know if, in all cases, the restriction of operating in an enclosed space would prevent the manufacture of morphic materials. In particular I am thinking of the SR 53 option of a suborbital craft, which would fly outside the atmosphere, thus beyond the vibrations caused by atmosphere or engines, though not into orbit. It was advertised to Parliament by Dr Collins as being able to carry a larger than man sized automated production package for about £3,000. It seems likely that this wold provide a number of real commercial opportunities
John Connor (Letters, 25 March) suggests that people living near nuclear power plants be trained in taking iodine tablets as part of being "educated in the potential dangers".
I am all in favour of education in the facts about nuclear power. For example, the amount of radiation released by nuclear reactors is, per kwh produced, 4,025 times less than that released by coal burning ones.
Even the release of radioactivity at Three Mile Island, very similar to that in Japan, has recently been acknowledged by no less than George Monbiot, the high priest of eco-scaremongering, as insufficient to harm an asthmatic ant with some heavy shopping, albeit it took him 32 years to say it.
By any objective test nuclear is certainly hundreds and arguably thousands of times safer than any practical alternative and the dishonest scaremongering of Luddites has cost the human race four decades of inexpensive power.
Also the Dundee Courier has published my response to Tom Minogue, previously published by the Herald, and there is an intelligent response to it in the Herald today which Tom intends to respond to.
Friday, March 25, 2011
"You have questioned the line in our finding in which I said that it was "reasonable to draw on the conclusions of the world's leading scientific bodies which work outside the framework of government, such as the US National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society". I have understood you to say that these organisations cannot be considered independent because they are publicly funded and therefore cannot be relied on in concluding that there is a "scientific consensus"that global warming is taking place and is predominantly man-made.
I should point out that I described the organisation as "outside the framework of government" and I chose those words deliberately . I did not mean to suggest that they were necessarily independent in terms of their funding, but I was suggesting that they were necessarily independent of direct government influence".My reply
I thank you for your response confirming that the BBC, while continuing to propagandise that there is a "consensus" of "independent" scientists on catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW) cannot now maintain that there is now not any independent scientist, defined in the conventional usage of the word as being "not dependent" in the entire world who is part of this "consensus". Since you accept there are now over 31,000 who say there is no problem this must be a new BBC use of the word "consensus" to go with your new use of the word "independent". I previously pointed out how Orwell's concept of Newspeak arose from his experiences at the BBC.
I note you assert that I was wrong to believe you had described these government funded bodies as independent because you had merely described them as "outside the framework of government".and indeed provide quotations to prove it. Regrettably this is another instance of the very highest standard of honesty to which the BBC aspire, otherwise known as a total and deliberate lie. In this case you have, as the BBC often do, edited the remark to appear to be completely different from what it was (similar examples being in deleting mention of the offer of amnesty in Gaddafi's speech offering amnesty or the deletion of 5 hours, 59 1/2 minutes from the 6 hour interview with James Delingpole to suggest he was in error over CAGW). Going back to the original letter you said "But it seems to me to be reasonable to draw on the conclusions of the world's leading independent scientific bodies which work outside the frame of government, such as the US National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society" so chiding me that you did not claim they were independent is wholly dishonest.
So you did claim that the reason the BBC are pushing CAGW is because you claimed to have a "consensus" of "independent" scientists saying so. In fact, not only is there no "consensus" you are unable to find a single one of these boasted scientists anywhere in the world and have been seen to be caught lying about it.
Now firstly do you accept that though, out of millions of scientists worldwide you have been unable to find a single one of them who is "independent" of government funding (in the normal English language use of the term) this is a statistical impossibility unless CAGW is being heavily and corruptly promoted by government?
Secondly that the BBC claim to "due balance" in spending 10s of thousands of hours and censoring even as much as half an hour for the alternate position is not consistent with "due balance" as normally understood by speakers of the English language?
Thirdly that since the basis of your claim to a "consensus" among "independent" scientists has proven not dubious but wholly, completely and totally without any trace of foundatio,n the BBC, if remotely honest, would have to withdraw it?
Fourthly that the BBC has no slightest intention of withdrawing the lie that "The level, of consensus is greater than in any other area of science" even though, among independent scientists, there is not only no consensus for alarmism but that all the evidence there is points to a consensus that it is bogus That, in fact, this fraudulent scare story, promoted by government to enhance their power, nonetheless represents the very highest standard of honesty to which anybody at the BBC ever aspires?
Elizabeth Marshall's criticism of my previous one. I then sent off a shortened version of it which they have published today. Fair enough. This also answers a very silly article there by Iain MacWhirter yesterday in which, while semi-acknowledging Moonbat's announcement that it is safe, claimed that nuclear is far more expensive than renewables!! Where do they get these idiots?
Among a number of things that just ain’t so in Elizabeth Marshall’s letter (March 21) criticising my support of nuclear power is that nuclear costs “at least 20 times the cost of gas fired power”.
Nothing in the way of evidence is given for this. Figures from the Royal Academy of Engineering show nuclear significantly cheaper and the fact that French electricity costs one-quarter of ours suggests it is not more expensive.
I have publicly said that I believe a nuclear economy can be run at one-tenth of the present price of electricity and have had no fact -based dispute.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Chancellor cuts fuel duty by 1p
Tax threshold increases to £8,105, saving 25million workers £326 a year
Corporation tax cut by 2p as part of pro-business measures
Margaret Thatcher's low-tax 'enterprise zones' revived
Air passenger duty rise delayed until 2012
Labour's 50p rate of income tax to be reviewed
Tax on a pint of beer up 4pIn a dramatic final flourish to his 56-minute speech, the Chancellor announced a surprise £2billion-a-year windfall raid on oil giants.
From the Daily Mail which gives a better non-technical round up than anybody else and has thuis very good graphic which shows how deep in debt we are in that though the borrowing is still out of control at £120 million it is barely triple what we annually repay from previous borrowing.
And there will be £2 billion put into subsidising a "Green bank" but not for several years.
Comparing with my proposed 23 points needed for Cameron's proposed "relentless" pursuit of growth I get the impression of almost all the movement being in the right direction, but not very far, which is a massive improvement on previous experience. The "almost" being the Green bank which is a sop to the LudFims and won''t cost anything for years.
I would like to have seen more cuts in spending funding a bigger cut in corporation tax - 23p may be lower than most of Europe and the US but is still high compared to Ireland's 12%. I would like to have seen far more cuts in regulation evetywhere not just in Enterprise Zones. I would like to have seen a major action to stop the state preventing house building rather than a fairly minor pressure on councils.I would have liked to see active support, through X-Prizes, for space development rather than just the decision that it will now cease to be illegal. I would have liked to see something about actively allowing us to have cheap, nuclear, power but Osborne has no control of that - it is in the hands of the Pseudoliberal Luddite Chris Huhne.
I suspect George Osborne would too. This is close to as good as one can expect in the circumstances.
S The Scottish government will get another £70 million annually out of this. They are not required to put through a number of these cahnges but would be well advised to. Looking at Newsnight Scotland yesterday where the complaint was made several times that this won't help Scotland, particularly if we don't actually do the same as Westminster, it is more likely the Scottish politicians will continue messing up and complaining that it must be the English's fault that somebody has made a mess.
I have previously blogged on how well Scotland could do by adopting Enterprise Zones in a big way. With Osborne adopting them it would clearly be possible to do so. Because Scotland has far more land per person we could do my "Enterprise Zone on steroids" plan without stepping on people's toes.
Tom Minogue compares the alleged £6.6 billion cost of a dual-carriageway tunnel under the Forth as being half as much as the rebuilding of the entire Panama Canal (“A lesson from Panama Canal”, Letters, March 23).I have previously had a guest post from Tom here in which he pointed out that the entire project is a useless boondoggle and that the bridge can easily be recabled and a 5th tidal lane added which would increase its capacity by 50% for around £20 million. This is his letter which I am answering.
Readers may also be interested to compare it with the Norwegian proposal to cut a slightly shorter tunnel under a mountainous peninsula, expected to cost £210 million.
This is the Stad Skipstunnel, which is Norwegian for ship tunnel since it is designed to transport liners.
An example closer to home is that the previous Forth Bridge cost £19.5 m, equal to £320m today.
Nobody in Hollyrood seems willing to say why this new crossing has to cost £2,300m. Nobody seems even willing to try to explain it.
Travelling the world as a merchant seaman I saw many wonders but none impressed me more than the Panama Canal, the world’s greatest civil engineering project.======================
The existing canal has two lanes with sets of locks 1050ft long by 100ft wide at the Pacific and Atlantic sides. A new expansion contract is adding a third lane with locks 1400ft long by 180ft wide. These locks will connect to the existing channel system through miles of new navigation lanes almost doubling the size of vessels and volume of shipping using use the canal.
Excavation of the new channels for larger ships is a massive task and will necessitate raising the level of the vast Gatun Lake to supply the additional 137 million gallons of water a day the new system requires to raise and lower the ships. The cost of this project, due for completion in 2015, is between £9.3 and £15.5 billion. This price for a 48-mile, nine-hour transit between the Atlantic and the Pacific is not a great deal more than the £6.6bn quoted by John Swinney for tunnelling under the mile-wide Forth, which would take 10-minutes to navigate.
Transport Scotland’s estimates for tunnelling, given by Mr Swinney at Holyrood, would not be out of place in a Hollywood fantasy movie. How can we have confidence in the similarly extortionate new bridge estimates he has given to the Scottish Parliament?
It is now clear the Herald is not going to publish my reply to Elizabeth Marshall's counter-factual attack on my previous letter. Oh well, this is how British journalism works. Here it is.
The figure of 56 dead at Chernobyl is, as Elizabeth Marshall suggested (letter today), from the UN Chernobyl Forum report. Her dispute of that figure does not involve her producing any alternate but merely muddying the waters and saying she can't see. The figure is robust and it took some courage for UN engineers to stick to it since they were obviously under significant political pressure to muddy the waters themselves. Indeed the report concluded that the major cause of ill health and death was the despair brought to millions by such fear stories, as well as 50,000 unnecessary European abortions, but no cancers. It can thus be stated with certainty that in the world's worst ever nuclear accident over 1,000 times more deaths occurred because of false hysteria induced by the antinuclear movement than by the accident itself.Refs - UN reports 56 dead http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2005/09/05/UN_Chernobyl20050905.html
Compare also with the Ufa train disaster, also in the dying days of the USSR and equally the fault of that country's abysmal lack of concern for safety. That killed over 500 people but received virtually no media coverage here because trains, unlike nuclear engineering are not treated by the Luddites (so many of them dominating the media) as black magic.
Her assertion that nuclear costs "at least 20 times the cost of gas fired power" seems eccentric and would have benefited from something in the way of evidence. The Royal Academy of Engineering figures show nuclear significantly cheaper and the fact that French electricity costs 1/4 of ours suggests it is not more expensive. I have publicly said that I believe a nuclear economy can be run at 10th the present electricity price and had no fact based dispute. That would be a debate for another letter if any Green realistically disputed it.
Ms Marshall does not dispute the antinuclear prediction of a million extra cancers and half a million deaths, nor that there has, in fact, been zero actual measurable increase. This came from John Gofman, the man who invented the theory that low level radiation is harmful no matter how low and did so without any scientific evidence whatsoever. That his prediction, based on his theory, proved to be 100% wrong is part of the massive body of evidence for the opposite theory, known as radiation hormesis, that low level radiation is actually beneficial to health. As Stalin proved with Lysenkoism and our current politicians are proving with their continued claim that we are experiencing catastrophic global warming, politically approved theories can long survive the inconvenience of the evidence showing them wrong.
Once again such hysteria means the death of 10,000 in the Japanese tsunami is receiving much less western news coverage than an accident in which not one person has been killed or even measurably injured.
John Gofman invents LNT theory http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Gofman
50,000 European abortions http://www.fas.org/rlg/ljan99.html
Hormesis evidence http://www.fas.org/rlg/ljan99.html
UPDATE - The Dundee Courier has published my reply to Tim Minogue as well
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
BBC ACCEPT THEIR CLAIM "Warming consensus is greater than in any other area of science" A TOTAL AND COMPLETE LIE AND THE HIGHEST STANDARD OF HONESTY THE BBC EVER ASPIRE TO.
I made a formal complaint, they replied and we batted it about a bit finally both agreeing that both of these claims represent the very highest standard of honesty to which anybody in the BBC ever aspires. Also although they are legally required to show "due balance" they have no remotest intention of doing so and indeed acknowledged having produced 10s of thousands of hours of alarmist propaganda and preventing even half an hour of scepticism - this represents the very closest to "balance" to which they aspire.
I finally repeated the complaint limiting it solely to the claim that no part of science is more widely accepted than warming alarmism and have now got their reply which unfortunately is not formatted to appear here. This is my reply they requested.
Thank you for the response which was as expected. Since this has been through the full complaint's process nobody can now dispute that your claim that on catastrophic anthropogenic global warming "The level of consensus is greater than in any other area of science" represents the very highest standard of honesty to which the BBC ever aspires. On the other hand, as you admit, it is literally totally and completely untrue.
This is no surprise. We clearly both know that the BBC is wholly and completely dishonest on a wide range of topics from the deliberate censorship of mass murder to promote racial genocide; deliberately falsely describing Nazis engaged in genocide as "democratic multi-culturalists"; the most blatant party political bias in the fascist cause not just in the manner of "questioning" interviewees but in open censorship of both interviewees and basic news; in deliberate censorship of debate solely to prevent the operation of democracy; in the deliberate promotion of child sex slavery and organlegging; the deliberate editing and fabrication of false quotes attributing them to people the government want to bomb; deliberately falsely claiming a substantial rise in sea level; deliberate and dishonest promotion of a compliant candidate to party leadership; deliberately maintaining known lies to promote false scare stories and a number of other offences to horrible to mention.
With all of these deliberate acts representing the very highest standard of honesty to which the BBC aspires one can see why George Orwell, who had worked there, used the BBC as his template for the Ministry of Truth. Clearly nothing has changed, at least for the better.
However there is one new point you raised in your letter which requires some evidential support. You claimed "but it seems to me to be reasonable to draw on the conclusions of the world's leading scientific bodies which work outside of the framework of government, such as the US National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society" which, though to a sharply reducing degree in the RS case, support alarmism. However neither are actually "outside the framework". Specifically the Royal Society gets £45 million from the government, and while that is not comparable to the £3,494 million the government bungs you for services rendered it clearly means they can not be called independent.
Thus I would be interested to know who exactly fulfils your requirement of independence and supports your alleged consensus. I have previously asked alarmists worldwide, including the BBC, Sir Paul Nurse, chair of the Royal Society, Michael Mann and literally 100s of thousands of alarmist journalists, spokesmen and readers to name 2 prominent scientists who are not paid by the state and are members of this "consensus". So far I have received one name from the environment editor of the Independent who named James Lovelock and one from a website in South Africa who named James Lovelock. As you may know he largely changed his opinion, following the revelations of the climategate fraud stating that only the sceptics had remained "sane".
By comparison the Oregon Foundation, which certainly fits your required description of independent (despite which mention of it remains censored at the BBC) has listed 31,000 scientists who deny your alleged "consensus". While acknowledging the claim of consensus as, yet another, example of the highest standard of honesty to which anybody at the BBC ever aspires it seems to me that it is dishonest, even by normal BBC standards, to apply the word "consensus" to a group that has nobody in it.
I therefore look forward within 48 hours to seeing the BBC list of persons "outside of the framework of government" on whose support you have relied. After all if you do not already have such a list it would be, further, irrefutable proof of the total dishonesty of the BBC and if you cannot compile one it would be further overwhelming evidence that the entire scare story and attendant frauds have been quite deliberately promoted by the state, particularly the one you serve.
I await your response. I would also be interested in any defence you might wish to make of the various lies mentioned above, particularly those which have promoted fascism, nazism, genocide and the dissection of living people to steal their body organs.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
The media coverage of the Japanese nuclear "catastrophe" in which not one person has been killed ot injured, far outpaced the coverage of the real catastrophe in which around 10,000 people have died. While nobody is dead of radiation people are dying of hypothermia, but that is infinitely less newsworthy, as relatives of the 25,000 pensioners who die, unnecessarily, of fuel poverty in Britain annually, know well.
Nuclear remains far and away the safest method of generating power, as well as being the least polluting and least expensive. This is known by all those who have looked seriously at the issues and acknowledged by all of them who are honest. has been both inaccurate and hysterical. Or perhaps they will simply move on to the next scare story expecting their readers not to notice
Steuart told me I also have a letter in the Sunday Times. It is behind a paywall but I have been sent it and it was this one. The bits in bold were edited out.
We see the "environmentalists" are eager to talk about the Japanese catastrophe. Not the earthquake and Tsunami which has killed more than 2,000 people, probably far more, but the consequent failure of 2 reactors which have caused neither death not injury to anybody. This disproportionate coverage of anything with the magic word "nuclear" is normal across our media.While we are at it here is a letter Spiked published online. It was a response to an article giving 5 reasons the Japanese accident isn't that bad.
For example compare the coverage of Chernobyl, where a total of 56 people died with that of the Ufa train disaster also in the dying days of the USSR, where over 500 people died. Both were equally the result of incompetent management, but the latter, though 10 times worse, was never newsworthy because no nuclear "black magic" was involved.
The fact is that nuclear power is orders of magnitude safer than any other comparable industrial process. For example in the last 20 years 2 people have died in one nuclear accident, a figure not today altered, in an industry that produces 20% of the world's electricity, whereas over 50 have died falling from wind turbines, in a subsidy driven "industry" that produces under 0.1%. I don't know if the earthquake has caused any Japanese windmills to fail - because I do know that if it has happened it would not be "newsworthy."
A sixth point I would like to raise in addition to Lyons’ five is that the assumption of any deaths from even intermediate levels of radiation, such as those at Chernobyl, depend entirely on the ‘Linear No Threshold’ hypothesis, that radiation damage falls in a direct line for any amount of radiation. This is a ‘precautionary principle’ hypothesis for which there is not and never has been any evidence.I have sent out a number of other letters to all and sundry, partly cannibalised from each other. I think now is an important time to be doing this since in the next few days either nuclear power will have been successfully demonised by media hysteria, as happened over Three Mile Island, or the MSM coverage will be discredited by the hysteria becoming apparent. My opinion, looking at the balance of online comments, such as this for Channel 4, suggests sense is winning.
It goes against all experience in other fields: for example, the linear no threshold theory of mass would say that since the chances that an elephant falling on you will kill you are roughly 100 per cent, the chance that putting on a hat will kill you must be must be about 0.1 per cent and multiplying that by the hat-wearing population of London would mean hundreds of deaths daily. On this basis the LNT theory was used to predict 500,000 deaths from Chernobyl, none of which have happened. Predictions that it will ultimately kill 9,000 or 4,000 assume that after 20 years of not happening these deaths will start shortly.
As I say there is no actual evidence for LNT. However there is a mass of statistical evidence for the opposite theory, known as hormesis, that such radiation actually stimulates health. This comes from statistical measures of background radiation; of radon in homes; of experience of nuclear workers; of accidents; of naturally occuring background radiation; of experiments with plants: and animals: and of the subsequent histories of Chernobyl: and of Hiroshima & Nagasaki. Here is a collection of links to the evidence.
I sent the Herald a letter in reply to a reply to mine. They are entitled to the first chance to publish it. It contained this link to the UN reports 56 dead at Chernobyl http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2005/09/05/UN_Chernobyl20050905.html
To the Scotsman (I initially thought this first one was the one Salter was replying to but no.
Once again we have Stephen Salter claiming nuclear is not cheaper than "renewables" - so long as you invent some imaginary cost for waste disposal, something which any engineer knows has long been, technologically a non-problem; and so long as he is allowed to invent posit massive reduction in "renewable" costs at some unknown future date. We have previously been here when in this letter page it was proven that his figures were wrong and that nuclear is 1/10th the cost of onshore windmills. Offshore are about 50% more.A short and fun reply to the Scotsman
Of course I could always posit that if the political regulatory regime were less onerous the cost could be more than halved. This is justified by the fact that nuclear, even after the Japanese debacle, has a safety record undeniably hundreds and arguably many thousands of times better than any comparable industry. It could be halved again if true mass production of reactors for a world market were permitted. On the other hand if we were to demand clean up standards for windmills matching those of nuclear (removal of the thousand tons of poured concrete in the bases & a full environmental investigation to ensure the replacement soil were exactly the same, containing no new organisms, that was there originally) the cost of windmills could be pushed up at least 10 fold.
On that basis we could calculate a price differential of 600 times. However the real and proven differential of windmills costing 10 times what nuclear can, while being conservative, adequately shows that the former can only be supported on ideological Luddite grounds rather than engineering ones. It is to be regretted that the ratio of engineers to Luddites in politics and the subsidy dependent "industries" runs at far less than 1:10.
John Addison's invocation of the shades of Dan Dare and Flash Gordon to solve our problems is unnecessary (letter today). There are no such problems that need solving. Humanity is doing better than at any time in history. Neither Gaddafi, catastrophic warming, a reactor that exposes locals to less radioactivity than eating a banana, nor passive smoking threaten us. Can we not get rid of, or at least stop giving tax money, to all these people battening on such false scares?To newspapersw eveywhere.
We see the "environmentalists" are eager to talk about the Japanese catastrophe. Not the earthquake and Tsunami which has killed more than 2,000 people, probably far more, but the consequent failure of 2 reactors which have caused neither death not injury to anybody. This disproportionate coverage of anything with the magic word "nuclear" is normal across our media.
For example compare the coverage of Chernobyl, where a total of 56 people died with that of the Ufa train disaster also in the dying days of the USSR, where over 500 people died. Both were equally the result of incompetent management, but the latter, though 10 times worse, was never "newsworthy" because no nuclear "black magic" was involved.
Ref - radiation hormesis overwhelming evidence http://a-place-to-stand.blogspot.com/2010/03/low-level-radiation-evidence-that-it-is.html
The fact is that nuclear power is orders of magnitude safer than any other comparable industrial process. For example in the last 20 years 2 people have died in one nuclear accident, a fighure not today altered, in an industry that produces 20% of the world's electricity, whereas over 50 have died falling from wind turbines, in a subsidy driven "industry" that produces under 0.1%. I don't know if the earthquake has caused any Japanese windmills to fail - because I do know that if it has happened it would not be "newsworthy."
Perhaps some will say that the radiation hazard justifies coverage unrelated to real casualties. A
fter all did they not predict half a million deaths from Chernobyl, based on the No Lower Threshold (LNT) theory of radiation damage? Indeed they did. However statistical examination since then has shown not one of those 500,000 deaths they predicted happened. The LNT hypothesis has never been anything but an evidence free scare story. Despite it's"official" acceptance by government apparatchiks in both the Soviet and "democratic" worlds it has never had any scientific evidence whatsoever behind it. Ask any government authority what evidence they have that low level radiation is harmful and they will say "trust us" and change the subject. In fact there is massive evidence, from many unrelated sources, that low level radiation is not only not harmful but beneficial, as anybody who has taken spa waters, or indeed the current inhabitants of the Chernobly region testify.
What the anti-technology crowd won't say is that, when disasters strike, far and away the most important factor in saving lives is having an advanced technology. Compare the 2,000 dead in Japan with the Chinese earthquake of 1976. It was a magnitude 7.8, less that 1/10 the 8.9 of this one (the Richter scale goes up 10 fold for each level). The difference is that then China was dirt poor whereas modern Japan isn't. If the "greens" really cared about human wellbeing they would enthusiastically support every instance of human progress, including more (CO2 free) nuclear power.
Locals at Chernobyl enjoying hormesis http://alfin2100.blogspot.com/2011/03/in-chernobyl-60-year-old-men-appear-not.html
Ufa Soviet train crash 500 killed http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ufa_train_disaster
Chernobyl 56 killed http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article563041.ece
And finally, and nothing to do with me, is compelling evidence that the media hysteria story is collapsing. The Guardian's George Moonbat has thrown in the towel and accepted that nuclear is a good thing and all the media lies have been destructive. Of course he still has the bad grace to denounce the nuclear industry "liars" who told him this years ago and has no word of condemnation of the real liars from Greenpeaces, FoE, the LudDims, Professor Salter, the SNP etc. etc. not least himself, who have battened on this scare lie and attendent subsidies for decades.
You will be surprised to hear how they have changed it. As a result of the disaster at Fukushima, I am no longer nuclear-neutral. I now support the technology.As if the corrupt bastard had only just found out what the true TMI radiation level was.
A crappy old plant with inadequate safety features was hit by a monster earthquake and a vast tsunami. The electricity supply failed, knocking out the cooling system. The reactors began to explode and melt down. The disaster exposed a familiar legacy of poor design and corner-cutting. Yet, as far as we know, no one has yet received a lethal dose of radiation.
Some greens have wildly exaggerated the dangers of radioactive pollution. For a clearer view, look at the graphic published by xkcd.com. It shows that the average total dose from the Three Mile Island disaster for someone living within 10 miles of the plant was one 625th of the maximum yearly amount permitted for US radiation workers....
UPDATE I find the Independent yesterday also published the first letter in the Scotsman though omitting "While nobody is dead of radiation people are dying of hypothermia, but that is infinitely less newsworthy, as relatives of the 25,000 pensioners who die, unnecessarily, of fuel poverty in Britain annually, know well."
Monday, March 21, 2011
I joined the Conservatives long before Cameron was born. I won't be pushed out
It was all but 120 years ago, in a speech at Hastings on 17 March 1891, that Gladstone – a real Liberal – spoke about these matters. His words are ever more relevant today:
“The finance of this country is intimately associated with the liberties of this country. It is a powerful leverage by which English liberty has been gradually aquired … It lies at the root of English liberty. If these powers of the House of Commons come to be encroached upon, it will be by tacit and insidious measures and therefore, I say public attention should be called to this.”
I believe I had a reply to this which I cannot find in terms of - what counts is the policies and principles not the party name and saying I think he is right to remain in the party because he can personally fight most usefully there. Political movement is achieved most effectively by the combination of pressure from inside and outside the ruling group. And then mentioning my expulsion from the Pseudoliberals
It is in our interest that there should be a stable government in Libya. That can only be achieved if the change of government is undertaken by the Libyan people. The more outsiders intervene, the more likely it is that whatever regime succeeds Gaddafi will be seen as one imposed by the West.
So, for the moment I would be cautious about a no-fly zone. It is bound to lead to attacks on radar and anti-aircraft facilities on the ground, and if Colonel Gaddafi has any sense he will make sure that this would cause civilian casualties, which would not be in the best interests of the Libyan people. The Government has made a virtue of reaching decisions quickly. This is a decision which needs to be thought through thoroughly, rather than undertaken in a spasm.
I had not thought of your good point about intervention tending to produce instability.
I would also suggest that, other things being even close to equal, it is in Britain's interest (& everybody else's) that the rules of international law be respected. We live in an ever shrinking world society and law is the instrument whereby members of society rub along. Without it everybody goes armed.
International law does not allow us to invade each other's neighbours and that is a good thing. Even the UN Charter goes to some length to say it does not overturn the sovereign rights of its signatories, with the sole exception of when clear genocide is proven. We broke that in attacking Yugoslavia & may have done so with Iraq and earned much distrust thereby.
One slightly worrying effect of the Libya situation is that for the first time China joined in voting for some sanctions against Libya. This means either the Chinese are persuaded of the necessity to support the western powers as a matter of principle or it may mean that they see themselves as a rising power on the cusp of exercising the same power of interference that we engaged in in "cleansing" Kosovo. It is very much in our national interest that we not tempt them to follow such example.
I was grateful for the understanding of a lot of former Conservative voters who are now UKIP supporters and activists, Simxn and henrietta amongst them, and indeed neilcraig who was expelled from the LibDems for nationalism, that I have chosen to stay in my Party to put it back on track and not just on Europe I would add. As flyinthesky said, there is a risk that the change may come too late, but that is no reason not to try. I do not see why ravenscar thinks there should be another new nationalist party, but not the BNP. After all, isn’t that what UKIP is? It may be that if I and my friends cannot rescue the Conservative Party from large scale infiltration of SDP people to which pixie_jade referred, that UKIP will become the new home for Conservative philosophy which upik is seeking.
My expulsion from the LudDims was for economic liberalism not nationalism - specifically for having had letters published in Scotland's papers calling for cuts in corporation tax and reducing government restrictions on house building to help the economy grow as Ireland's did and allowing the construction of new nuclear plants to stop the lights going out. The Scots party Executive voted unanimously that this was "illiberal" and "incompatible with party membership." Should anybody still be interested it is all here http://a-place-to-stand.blogspot.com/2006_02_01_archive.html (feb 16-19th)
In retrospect the party were quite right to expel me for being a liberal but are entirely dishonest in still claiming the name. ----------------------------------------
Lastly, sorry neilcraig for getting wrong the crime for which you were ejected from the Lib Dems, but you are welcome here as a liberal!
In turn Lord Tebbit I will apologise that, when you were in power I was on an opposing side. As an opponent, in my very small way, I always thought you a fearsomely competent psephologist and while I supported electoral reform (& still do) your analysis was spot on. Had history gone otherwise I think it highly probable you would have won & Blair never been heard of.
Finally, I am glad that after all these years neilcraig and I have found a lot of common ground. I am indebted to him for his kind remarks. That is one of the interesting things about blogging.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
On This Week on Thursday a fashion designer Katherine Hamnett was given nearly quarter of an hour to propagandize against nuclear power, a subject on which she admitted ignorance in the introduction, pointing out that she was a fashion designer not an engineer.
In her puff piece I do not think there was a single thing which she said which was unambiguously true and most of it was the precise opposite of truthful. Or perhaps you can point to such a statement?
Clearly anybody who claims nuclear is expensive and windmills inexpensive can never, ever, under any circumstances be automatically assumed to remotely honest on any subject whatsoever
From her own site, where she must have had more time to consider her statements and which, I assume, the BBC "researcher" checked out before she was invited we find an almost equally ridiculous farrago of lies:
"A major study conducted by the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) into the dangers of low-energy, low-dose ionizing radiation concluded that there appears to be no safe radiation exposure level. LIE There has not been any actual study of that LNT theory. There has only been an agreement to treat it as if it were true in line with the precautionary principle.
Meanwhile, Sellafield nuclear power station is discharging 2 million gallons of radioactive waste water into the Irish sea every day. LIE it isn't radioactive by comparison with water, or many other materials elsewhere in the world.
Downs Syndrome births amongst ex-pupils from a school in Dundalk, on the Irish sea, were found to be 89 times higher than the national average. IMPLICIT LIE because there is no reason to believe there is a connection. One might equally blame this on Ms Hamnett invoking the powers of her satanic master to achieve this. Nor is the alleged ratio important. There are roughly 10 deaths from peanut butter allergy annually. In all these cases such deaths occurred roughly 600 times above the national average for their council wards. If the BBC have denounced clothes designers for causing this through black magic I would like you to provide a link.
Incidences of leukaemia are higher than normal near nuclear power stations and atomic research establishments. LIE This has not happened in all cases and is an example pf the peanut butter comparison given above.
No safe solution has been found for dealing with the problem of nuclear waste LIE it can be buried, glassified or even subducted in areas where the Earth's mantle is being covered. None of these have proven impossible, or even particularly difficult, in engineering terms and I challenge anybody to show otherwise.
Radioactive waste from nuclear power stations remains dangerous for thousands of years. LIE Reactor waste is highly radioactive precisely because it has a short half life and is safe within 50 to 100 years and less radioactrive than the ore it was mined from in hundreds. Britain has 2.3 million cubic metres of nuclear waste stored around the country IMPLICIT LIE since much of the "radioactive waste" is less radioactive than mnay natural rocks and sands. (click here to see the sites http://www.corwm.org.uk/content-659). It will cost £85 billion to clear up. THORP, BNFL´s re-processing plant at Sellafield has been unable to vitrify (safely dispose of) the amount of nuclear waste it was designed to deal with LIE It has not been permitted to which is not the same as unable in engineering terms, and is due to close in 2010. BNFL posted losses of £1 billion for the year ending 2003.
Nuclear energy does not make economic sense LIE France produces 80% of its electricity and not only sells it at 1/4 our electricity prices but profitably sells it to much of the rest of Europe. The opposite is true since if our indusrty had energy costs 1/4 of what they are (or less) it would be very much more competitive and we could achieve the sort of growth rates seen in China.
It cannot exist without huge public subsidy. LIE It can and does almost everywhere it is allowed to
The £56 billion of taxpayers' money being used to fund the clean up of the UK´s current nuclear sites (run by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority), could instead buy 50 GW of installed wind capacity, equivalent to 20% of the UK´s electricity needs. (Greenpeace) IMPLICIT LIE since that money is not being spent taccording to engineering need but is a subsidy to the Luddite scare industry
British Energy, the UK´s only private nuclear operator, avoided bankruptcy in 2003 via a multimillion pound Government loan and a public bailout package worth £4bn.LIE BY IMPLICATION The "bankruptcy" was achieved not by conventional financial failure but by regulatory fiat imposing an articu=icially low sale price - as soon as it was achieved the government upped the prices, grabbed billions in profits and sold it off for more billions to Japan.
In March 2006, the Sustainable Development Commission, the government´s advisory body on sustainable energy development, published a new report that concluded that investing in nuclear power was not the answer to climate change or energy supply. Read the report: http://www.sd-commission.org.uk/pages/060306.html LIE BY IMPLICATION The implication being that the SDC is an impartial body rather then a government funded quango existing to oppose nuclear and support "sustainable" development...
Nuclear power is not sustainable LIE It can be sustained from proven resources (uranium in sea water) for at least 5 billion years which makes it far more "sustainable" than windmills because the hills they deface will have worn down & been covered by the sea several times by then
There are only 50 years´ worth left of high-grade uranium ores. If the whole world were to run on nuclear, there is only enough uranium left to power it for 12 years. LIE See above.
Nuclear power is accident-prone LIE Over the last 20 years before the current earthquake nuclear power acidents had killed a total of 2 people in Japan. This is in an industry that has generated around 20% of world electricity. Since the Tsunami the total remains the same since no deaths have occurred because of the reactor accident. By comparison coal kills 150,000 annually (ie 3 million over 20 years). Even windmills, which produce a miniscule amount of world power, has killed 50 people. Artihmetic proves that nuclear is unarguably hundreds and arguably many thousands of times safer than any other comparable world industry.
Nuclear power is prone to accidents due to human error and carelessness, and there have been several major accidents. In the last 2 years alone there have been two major radioactive leaks in the UK. One major leak at THORP, Sellafield remained undiscovered for 8 months and has been classified as a level 3 nuclear incident (the 1986 Chernobyl disaster listed as a level 7 incident, and the 1979 Three Mile island incident as a level 5) (INES) LIE None of these have killed or inhured anybody. By comparison clothing (Ms Hammett's own industry) kills 120 people annually in the US alone (which implies at least 60,000 worldwide over the same period). If she were not personally wholly corrupt she would be willing to appear on This Week, next week, to admit that her own industtry is 30,000 times more accident prone than nuclear power. If This Week is equally uncorrupt, they will braodcast it with or without her.
nuclear power is unsafe, uneconomic and unnecessary. LIE safety an economy have already been dealt with. During the December freeze when Britain reached its maximum power use ever and any serious failure of supply would have meant millions of people exposed to temperatures of down to miinus 20C nuclear power supplied 13% of capacity directly and most of another 2.7% in pumped storage. By comparison windmills provided 0.2%. For anybody not committeed to massive deaths nuclear was "necessary" then.
The BBC is legally committed to "due balance". To maintain such a blance between ignorance and knowledge; lies and truth; attacks on one indusrty and another; and indeed supporters of mass killings of British people and opponents the BBC simply must give equal coverage to the other sides.
The This Week must give equal time to somebody who is not ignorant of the nuclear industry and is willing to tell the truth.
The BBC must also give equal time to somebody who wants to make equally ignorant and unfounded attacks on the clothing fashion industry. I am willing to offer myslef in that role. My knowledge of fashion is as lacking as Ms Hannett's of nuclear engineering (as my friends can testify). I would be willing to appear on TV to say that fashion designers are witches, in league with the devil and through their practice of the satanic arts are responsible for everything from peanut butter allergies to tsunamis. This is clearly no less truthful than your previous broadcast andcan be better supported by evidence (in that substantial numbers of deaths from these causes do actually happen). It is unarguable that "due balance" requires it.
For an expert on nuclear power I suggest you apply to SONE. Just as Greenpeace is committed to ignorance, lies & mass killings in opposition to the nuclear industry SONE is committed to knowledge, honesty and human betterment. Should the BBC ever wish to achieve "due balance" between these positions it would certanly wish to bring the number of TV appearances of SONE representatives up to tha those of Greenpeace. My impression is that the current ration is 10s of thousnads to zero fot ignorcnce (simoilar to the ration boasted by the BBC of their promotion of catastrophic warming alarmism to their allowance of the scientific sceptic view). It is perhaps over-optimistic to hope for the BBC ever standing for the truth but legally this overwhelming imbalance in favour of lies, Luddism and ignorance is in clear breach of your charter.
PPS In light of a comment here I extend that invitation to ANY anti-nuclearist anywhere in the world to point to anything that I have said that is a lie and provide factual evidence for the accusation. ANYBODY.