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Author Topic: A bit off topic...Bernard Languillier  (Read 12992 times)
Craig Lamson
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« on: March 16, 2011, 09:33:47 PM »
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Anyone heard from Bernard since the earthquake?
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Richowens
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« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2011, 09:39:25 PM »
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http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=52136.0

Bernard reported in this thread.

Rich
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Craig Lamson
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« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2011, 10:18:46 PM »
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Thanks
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2011, 10:45:33 PM »
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Although Bernard and his wife got home OK with no injuries, I'm sure life is pretty miserable for them and all their acquaintances right now, what with rolling blackouts ans shortages of both food and water.

I'm sure we all hope that the recovery there can be as swift as possible. The situation makes Katrina look like a walk in the park

Eric
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eronald
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« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2011, 04:41:13 AM »
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Although Bernard and his wife got home OK with no injuries, I'm sure life is pretty miserable for them and all their acquaintances right now, what with rolling blackouts ans shortages of both food and water.

I'm sure we all hope that the recovery there can be as swift as possible. The situation makes Katrina look like a walk in the park

Eric

looks like now might just be the calm before the real (radioactive) storm

Edmund
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Rob C
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« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2011, 12:31:55 PM »
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Indeed, and the ramifications are huge. I suspect that it will make a lot of other countries rethink their energy supply solutions.

Rob C
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feppe
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« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2011, 06:08:45 PM »
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Indeed, and the ramifications are huge. I suspect that it will make a lot of other countries rethink their energy supply solutions.

Rob C

And I thought I could get away from the aggravatingly sensationalist, unnecessarily alarmist and entirely overblown reactions on LL.

100,000 coal miners died in the US alone in the 1900s, and hundreds of thousands die prematurely each year due to coal pollutants in the air; coal contributes to 4 out of 5 causes of death in the US. Chernobyl disaster killed an estimated 2,200.
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KevinA
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« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2011, 03:18:51 AM »
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If anything I'm feeling more reassured about Nuclear power now than I did before. Listening to some of the experts on TV who actually put into perspective what the numbers mean. I feel better about it, so far it's survived a massive earthquake followed by a tsunami. Danger to life from the power plants so far has been very small. Compare that to the stuff that comes out everyday from coal fired power plants and what it takes to get coal, Oil and gas out of the ground. As it is at the moment the accident in the Gulf is most likely more of a health hazard than the Japanese problem.

Kevin.
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Rob C
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« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2011, 04:20:35 AM »
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Yep, the figures are flawed because they omit the deaths from car crashes, hand-guns and cancer, not to neglect heart faiulure. Clearly, for some, more than two negatives obviously make a positive. Mathematics and statistics sure have a lot for which to answer.

Rob C
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feppe
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« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2011, 11:37:30 AM »
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Yep, the figures are flawed because they omit the deaths from car crashes, hand-guns and cancer, not to neglect heart faiulure. Clearly, for some, more than two negatives obviously make a positive. Mathematics and statistics sure have a lot for which to answer.

Rob C

The point I was making that the hysteria about the Japan nuclear plant is, well, hysteria. Bordering on collective insanity. Makes me weep for humanity for its lack of common sense and basic education level.
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LKaven
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« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2011, 12:58:48 PM »
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I'm a little confused.  What would a 'non-hysterical' response to a developing nuclear catastrophe look like?  On one view, you're saying that people should be a little more upset about the dirty things that are done to mine coal, shale, and oil.  Fine.  But then some seem to be saying that the nuclear disaster is nothing much to be concerned about.  Since this seems to be a question about how people should calibrate their responses, I'll throw it open for suggestions.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2011, 01:21:46 PM »
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To connect coal, energy, pollution, American Dream and... photography, check this out:

"US artist Mitch Epstein, who took photos of a tiny Ohio town where residents were placed under gagging orders by a utility company razing houses to the ground, has won the 65,000 Prix Pictet photography prize for environmental sustainability..."

The rest of the article and pictures here: http://www.culture24.org.uk/art/photography+%26+film/art350319

EDIT: Sorry, the part directly mentioning American Dream is in The Guardian article, at the end:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2011/mar/18/mitch-epstein-prix-pictet-photography
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2011, 02:31:30 AM »
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Hi,

There is a great loss of human life in Japan due to the earth quake and the Tsunami. One employee of TEPCO (Tokio Electric Power COmpany?) was killed during the earthquake, and several have been injured (perhaps badly) in the oxyhydrogen explosions.

So we discuss perhaps 15000 deaths and a nuclear disaster causing very few casualties (as of now). No question the situation at the nuclear power plants is terrible, but there needs to be some perspective. There is also a risk that those 400000 thousand tsunami refugees are forgotten with all focus on nuclear disaster. Yesterday it was reported that a dozen elderly tsunami refugees have frozen to death due to inadequate housing. The situation is terrible because of the excessive damage to infrastructure.

For those evacuated the situation is terrible, but those 400000 who survived the tsunami have no home any more and may be lost family, relatives or friends. Those who were evacuated due to radiation risks are in a much better situation.

Best regards
Erik


I'm a little confused.  What would a 'non-hysterical' response to a developing nuclear catastrophe look like?  On one view, you're saying that people should be a little more upset about the dirty things that are done to mine coal, shale, and oil.  Fine.  But then some seem to be saying that the nuclear disaster is nothing much to be concerned about.  Since this seems to be a question about how people should calibrate their responses, I'll throw it open for suggestions.

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LKaven
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« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2011, 04:30:47 AM »
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There is a great loss of human life in Japan due to the earth quake and the Tsunami. One employee of TEPCO (Tokio Electric Power COmpany?) was killed during the earthquake, and several have been injured (perhaps badly) in the oxyhydrogen explosions.

So we discuss perhaps 15000 deaths and a nuclear disaster causing very few casualties (as of now). No question the situation at the nuclear power plants is terrible, but there needs to be some perspective. There is also a risk that those 400000 thousand tsunami refugees are forgotten with all focus on nuclear disaster. Yesterday it was reported that a dozen elderly tsunami refugees have frozen to death due to inadequate housing. The situation is terrible because of the excessive damage to infrastructure.

For those evacuated the situation is terrible, but those 400000 who survived the tsunami have no home any more and may be lost family, relatives or friends. Those who were evacuated due to radiation risks are in a much better situation.

There are manifold dimensions that give a story weight or importance, in all the conceivable ways that can be measured -- screen time, talk time, word count, column inches, number of stories, number of hits.  I cannot disagree with the various ways in which you projected morbidity and mortality in situations relating to displaced persons.  I think I can only try to analyze the reasons why the nuclear scenario commands so much attention. 

The earthquake and tsunami are natural events with catastrophic consequences.  But they are by and large unavoidable, and there is little we can do to plan for them in practical terms right now.  Except for a few things.  Very high up on that list is to install further safeguards on nuclear reactors.  Because the disaster at Fukushima could have been prevented and should not have happened.  And we see the vulnerability of coastal reactors in the west and grasp implications for us.  And we see that we are not just how vulnerable we are to natural disaster, but just how vulnerable we are to terrorist attack as well.  [Oyster Creek is 75 miles from New York City.]

By contrast, those of us outside Japan find it difficult to understand the aftermath of the quake/tsunami in individual terms.  The scale of the disaster is difficult to grasp.  And we feel more or less powerless and ignorant about what needs to be done there, how, and by whom.

The contingencies at Fukushima are more difficult for the average person to grasp.  But the degree of difficulty in controlling the situation is not inspiring confidence.  And we see disagreements over what really is the worst-case scenario, and without confidence in the ability of those in charge to control the situation, or even to report faithfully about it, we have some reason to imagine the worst.  Among the worst things to imagine would be a full meltdown with the nuclear contamination of a part of Honshu, with wind-borne dispersion of radioactive contaminants, attendant contamination of the ground water, and perhaps corruption of the gene pool, along with long-term morbidity and mortality.  The half life of nuclear fuel is often measured in hundreds of thousands of years.

Here in the northeast US, hydro-fracking has been sold as a "safe" way to recover natural gas from shale.  One cornerstone of selling that proposition had to do with the claim that radioactive contaminants recovered from deep underground and flushed out with the fracking fluid could be treated in such a way that nuclear contaminants would be removed, using standard wastewater treatments.  This claim turned out to be false.  Existing treatment plants employed were not successful at removing radioactive contaminants, and contaminated water was being put back into the watershed.  An EPA report citing contamination was suppressed, and so the practice continued unabated.  One of the places where such water was dumped leads into Lake Cayuga, a mile from my house, which feeds in and out of the groundwater used for drinking.  Others will recognize the Delaware River.  So this constitutes a complete failure of another, but related kind.  Confidence is justifiably very low when it comes to energy and public health.
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Rob C
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« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2011, 05:20:38 AM »
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In general, I see the lack of faith in the 'experts' as stemming from this simple situation: the understandable political need to sow calm in the face of disaster, the need to present a confident aura where, possibly, no confidence exists. In other words, who trusts a salesman?

Rob C
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feppe
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« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2011, 07:05:08 AM »
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Among the worst things to imagine would be a full meltdown with the nuclear contamination of a part of Honshu, with wind-borne dispersion of radioactive contaminants, attendant contamination of the ground water, and perhaps corruption of the gene pool, along with long-term morbidity and mortality.  The half life of nuclear fuel is often measured in hundreds of thousands of years.

Yes, emphasis on imagine. The realistic worst-case scenario is nothing like that. The nuclear reaction at Fukushima reactors was successfully stopped within seconds of the earthquake, as designed. It means that the reactors are now cooling, and have been doing so since the event. The event to a 5 on the INES scale, same as Three Mile Island accident, and two steps below Chernobyl.

The hysteria started immediately, nevertheless. As Erik points out, there are countless column inches dedicated to an isolated, minor incident when compared to the deaths caused by coal or oil power, the death and destruction caused by the earthquake and tsunami elsewhere - not to mention the on-going recovery and reconstruction efforts in Haiti. The hysteria is Germany announcing an inspection of all nuclear plants - Germany is not exactly known for catastrophic earthquakes. Similar hysteria is everywhere in Europe, and I'm sure elsewhere.

Rob has it right: there's very little to do with reality and science in what politicians (and media) say, it's mostly about salesmanship of votes (and newspapers).

Your anecdote about hydro-fracking is entirely irrelevant: it's a new technology AFAIK, not related to nuclear power in any shape or form, in a country on the other side of the world.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #16 on: March 19, 2011, 08:21:20 AM »
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Hi,

Please don't misunderstand. This is a very serious accident with sever consequences. But it was caused by a very major disaster striking Japan with far more fatalities and suffering than the nuclear accident on it's own. I would also add that the nuclear incident is far from contained this far.

Hopefully they get electric power back in a day or two and can start cooling down the reactors, containments and spent fuel storage pools.

Best regards
Erik




Yes, emphasis on imagine. The realistic worst-case scenario is nothing like that. The nuclear reaction at Fukushima reactors was successfully stopped within seconds of the earthquake, as designed. It means that the reactors are now cooling, and have been doing so since the event. The event to a 5 on the INES scale, same as Three Mile Island accident, and two steps below Chernobyl.

The hysteria started immediately, nevertheless. As Erik points out, there are countless column inches dedicated to an isolated, minor incident when compared to the deaths caused by coal or oil power, the death and destruction caused by the earthquake and tsunami elsewhere - not to mention the on-going recovery and reconstruction efforts in Haiti. The hysteria is Germany announcing an inspection of all nuclear plants - Germany is not exactly known for catastrophic earthquakes. Similar hysteria is everywhere in Europe, and I'm sure elsewhere.

Rob has it right: there's very little to do with reality and science in what politicians (and media) say, it's mostly about salesmanship of votes (and newspapers).

Your anecdote about hydro-fracking is entirely irrelevant: it's a new technology AFAIK, not related to nuclear power in any shape or form, in a country on the other side of the world.
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feppe
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« Reply #17 on: March 19, 2011, 08:55:08 AM »
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Hi,

Please don't misunderstand. This is a very serious accident with sever consequences. But it was caused by a very major disaster striking Japan with far more fatalities and suffering than the nuclear accident on it's own. I would also add that the nuclear incident is far from contained this far.

Hopefully they get electric power back in a day or two and can start cooling down the reactors, containments and spent fuel storage pools.

Best regards
Erik

Fully agree. I think they got electric power back already.
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LKaven
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« Reply #18 on: March 19, 2011, 11:42:45 AM »
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[...]
Rob has it right: there's very little to do with reality and science in what politicians (and media) say, it's mostly about salesmanship of votes (and newspapers).

Your anecdote about hydro-fracking is entirely irrelevant: it's a new technology AFAIK, not related to nuclear power in any shape or form, in a country on the other side of the world.
But the anecdote is relevant.  It documents how scientific facts about a known, high danger level (radioactive in this case) are minimized or outright silenced by people with political and/or financial interest in preventing those facts from coming to light.  In this case, these conflicts of interest prevented vital public health data from being disclosed until it was too late to prevent contamination of the ground water.  It balances out the other side of your picture about "hysteria." 
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NikoJorj
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« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2011, 12:29:11 PM »
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I fully agree with feppe and KevinA : this nuclear accident has so far only further proven that nuclear energy is indeed, if not safe, at least one of the less harmful ones.
feppe did already provide some background about coal, and one may investigate some dam failures too (I live under several dams, and work on the consequences of some others' failure these days), and don't talk iraqis about oil! And alas, there are not many other ways to produce enough energy at will.
Even in the tsunami/seism, one may want to compare losses at the fujina dam and pollution due to the fire in refineries to the nuclear accident - apples to orange in a sense, but these comparison are necessary to avoid falling in the irrationnal fear of the unknown that seems to have seized many.
And of course, these can definitely not be compared to the catastrophic losses due to the tsunami itself.
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