atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#6711: That explains it, doesn't it

So, had to go get Mrs. Fungus' pills today; and when I left the bunker the Jeep barely started. Left it running in the parking lot, resolved that if I got out of there quickly enough I'd go get a battery. Jewel-Osco is a union shop, and it shows.

Anyway, no waiting, got the pills, hit the parts store. Went to Advanced because they install them while you wait, and that way I could get the exact same battery which I knew would fit perfectly. $160 later, new battery in the Jeep.

The old battery--as it sat on the ground I could see that one of the caps was loose, and when I took it off and looked in the cells, I saw why it was no longer holding a charge. One cell of the three had electrolyte over the tops of the plates. Second one in had eletrolyte below the tops. Third one in--couldn't see electrolyte.

I probably could have added some electrolyte (I have some leftover from motorcycle batteries) and been perfectly fine, but that battery was eight years old; and because I can remember when getting three years out of a battery was doing good I figure I'm ahead of the curve, here. Modern car batteries are made better and last longer than those made 30 years ago, but eight years is still not too shabby.

Anyway, that explains why the battery wouldn't hold a charge, and a new battery should take care of that problem. Here's hoping that's the last of the Jeep electrical issues for a while.

* * *

I have one question about this statistic. Is that with or without reprocessing the fuel?

It does not say. Of course.

I expect the answer is without reprocessing, though. It does not take a lot of fission byproducts to "spoil" nuclear fuel. Out of a 20-ton load you'd extract perhaps two hundred pounds of waste, the stuff that poisons the chain reaction. Stick that into high-level containment and put the reprocessed fuel back in the reactor and you're good for another, what? Six months? A year?

There are other answers, though, besides the uranium fuel cycle. Answer number one is the Integral Fast Reactor (IFR); it chews on fission poisons like peanuts and if anything goes wrong at all the thing just stops. It is a design which cannot melt down. As a bonus, any of the high-level waste produced by a conventional light water reactor (LWR) can go into one of these and get used as fuel.

Answer number two is, of course, moving to the thorium fuel cycle. There's many times the amount of thorium around as there is uranium, and as a bonus thorium can't be easily weaponized. And again, the thorium cycle reactors don't readily melt down, mainly for the same reasons that thorium isn't easily weaponized.

A move to a purely nuclear power grid would be beneficial for a huge number of reasons, but we don't have to rely solely on uranium to do it--and in a sensible world we'd build IFRs next to the LWRs and stick the guck pulled out of the LWR fuel right into the IFR.

But then again, in a sensible world we'd already be there. *sigh*

Incidentally, the headline says we have enough for 100 years. But there's this:
The report assessed that the U.S. has more uranium than we would need to fuel hundreds of years of nuclear power generation, even if nuclear power was being relied on as a much more significant source of energy in the U.S.
So which is it, guys?

* * *

These people did not get cancer from the fucking cell tower. Radio frequencies are not ionizing radiation. They don't cause cancer. Not even at microwave frequencies.

This is what is known as statistical clustering and if the cell tower hadn't been there they would have had to blame it on something else. A distribution transformer. A gas station. Something.

* * *

Someone's day is about to go very, very badly. Short form: guy was having a gun shipped to him, only UPS "lost" it after sending him an email saying it was ready for pickup.
What they don’t seem to get is that they lost a gun belonging to the employee of an FFL.

I have the ATF on speed dial.
So, yeah. Not going to go too well for whoever put that package in "mis-sort".

* * *

This autoplays an unrelated video so beware, but it's an important read.

Cobalt is an important metal for the manufacture of batteries--the batteries used in electric cars, for example. The biggest deposits of cobalt exist in the Congo, and it is mined under slave-like conditions. So, these kids are paid about $0.12 per day to check rocks for signs of cobalt. The article doesn't say what the miners underground are paid.

Still want electic cars?

* * *

"The people who are vigorously pushing this like to think of themselves as the party of science."

* * *

It's true; look up "Coolies". Funny how Chinese-americans don't complain about reparations.

* * *

Yesterday was a total loss.

Saturday was bad enough. That "get up at 6 to be at the office by 8 for a two-hour meeting" thing, well, I'm glad it only happens once every three months. I could have cut the grass after my nap if it hadn't rained, but I can't control the weather.

Sunday, though--it didn't rain until well after dark, but that didn't matter because I had an absolutely splitting headache almost all day.

Got up and it was manageable. Took Tylenol with food, but ended up going back to bed and sleeping a while longer. Got up again, had some more food, played a bit of WoW, but ended up back in bed again, and in fact I really can't remember much after the WoW session; but I do know that at 9 PM both Mrs. Fungus and I gave up and retired for the night. Sometime around 11 PM my headache finally went away.

It hurt if I sat up; it hurt if I layed down. It hurt no matter what I ate or what pills I took.

Mrs. Fungus herself had been miserable all day, because her foot has been hurting again. Seems like cool damp weather does that to her, and we've had nothing but since May. There has not been one good hot sunny day this year, and considering that we're within a week of the summer solstice, that's saying something.

Over the past couple of years I've noticed that it simply has not been as hot as I remember summers being. I remember a fourth of July when I went outside and it was like walking into a blast furnace, it was so hot. There were cool days in June but they were the exception, rather than the rule, and usually by June 21 it was continually hot and humid.

I remember summer days in junior high school when I would go sit in the basement wearing only my gym shorts because it was so freaking hot. I remember how high school classrooms were ovens in late May and early June. I remember sitting in my 1991 Ford Escort and feeling like its air conditioner was incapable of cooling the interior of the car, even running full blast.

In 2008 we had similar weather to this year's weather. Even to the "record rainfall".


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