Like the old baseball expression we’ll see if we can go “around the horn” and get back to home base.
It is 0nly when we hear about a nuclear plant problem that we all of a sudden become so worried about radiation. We seem to forget that we are exposed to radiation every day in so many ways. When you use your cell phone it is emitting radiation, likewise when you are standing next to your microwave oven you are exposed, every time you go outside you are really open to the radiation of the Sun and of course the good old Mother Earth is filled with naturally occurring radioactive elements and materials. You may recall the hysteria a couple of decades ago when the papers decided to make an issue of the radon gases escaping from the earth around the US. Yes, it is radioactive and happens all the time. Oh, don’t forget those scanners operated by the TSA at the airports, they radiate you every time. It is only the amount and length of time of radiation exposure that creates a dangerous situation. Back in the ’50’s and ’60’s when both the Commies and the West conducted regular above ground nuclear bomb tests we were continually warned of the strontium 90 in the atmosphere and that it would settle in the grasses and pollute all our food products. We were all going to be at risk and the children were going to all be born with birth defects. Well, that was decades ago and I think things are pretty much the same; we’re still here plodding along.
After the Chernobyl accident 25 years ago we were told that a large area around the plant would be a wasteland for decades if not centuries. Yet, recently the research teams from Texas Tech conducted wide studies of mammal life within a few miles of the plant. They found no abnormalities. Some of the test subjects did record radioactive output but no physical damage or five legs and three eyes anywhere. Interesting to look at the facts as opposed to headlines of editors who have nothing but ideology to guide their comments.
The UN imposes a no-fly zone over Libya and a cease-fire is offered by Khaddafi. The cease-fire talk preceded the no-fly zone resolution. The resolution however also makes clear that there will be no troops inserted into the conflict by outside parties. Of course Khaddafi might have his planes fly very, very low to evade the injunction or at least thwart it substantially. There is also the huge problem that if Khaddafi forces get in really close to the rebels then there would be substantial collateral damage to the very people the UN allegedly is seeking to protect. Of all the civil wars in the last 40 years why is the world interested in this one? Just curious. How does the world know that the rebels are the good guys? History is filled with examples of one tyrant being overthrown only to be replaced by another i.e., the Congo, Haiti, Venezuela, Egypt, etc. How will the French respond if Khaddafi mounts a terrorist attack on Marseille? Be interesting to see how all this shakes out.
Oxford University is renowned for its academic excellence and mostly deservedly so. However, it has not always been a pillar of academic inquiry. During the early 18th century it was filled with many students who merely idled away their time. The Nobles were just that and attended but normally did little work. It was a place to play and carouse for a few years. Then there were the gentlemen commoners who came from non-noble families but had family wealth. They likewise had a very mixed record of achievement. Then the ordinary commoners were there who gained admission from a hodge-podge of reasons and usually some influence of alumni. Lastly, there were the Servitors who were the poorest of the poor but had academic accomplishments. They literally were the servants in the school and served and cleaned for the scholarships offered by churches or other organizations. The school didn’t offer classes the way we think of them today. There wasn’t a standard curriculum. You were assigned a tutor and “read” various topics. If you pleased your tutor after a couple of years you would be awarded a bachelor’s degree. Many students attended but never got a degree during this period. At the same time some very incredible minds went through the university and became leaders in science, politics and literature. Individual merit and work mattered even then and in that class conscious society.
We humans have desired and needed energy from the beginning. Those first folks huddled around a fire were using energy. All energy requires the production of heat in one form or another. Heat can be dangerous. How many men have died over the eras from fire? Hydro-electric, oil coal, even solar or wind power all have inherent dangers and accidents will happen. Those accidents are worth the price. Energy is what makes for progress. You can’t have Apple or a Prius or a moon shot without power–lots of power. Not to mention the convenience of light during the night hours. Be prudent, have safety rules and plan to protect but don’t be deluded into thinking we will ever have an accident free world. We all, collectively, clearly think the risk is worth the reward of our Ipads, TV’s and Game Boys.
“‘There is nothing new under the Sun….and all is vanity” Ecclesiastes. www.olcranky.wordpress.com