July 24th, 2017

#5752: Well, doc says I'm okay

First checkup in a while. Doc looked me over and found nothing wrong, other than the exact same pre-hypertensive state I've been in for more than a decade. A fiver says that as I continue to work on getting more exercise, that will go away.

Meanwhile, I get home from the doctor's office and Maki is nowhere to be found; when he does turn up, he's not very active, and when I try to pet him he's complaining and hissing, something he hasn't done before.

Come to find that there's something wrong with his left hind foot and he's limping. Called the vet and made an appointment for later this afternoon.


* * *

This is the problem I have with net neutrality. It makes ISPs pay the freight for bandwidth-intensive services like Netflix.

Simple fact: Internet bandwidth is very cheap, but it's not free. An ISP must pay a certain amount of money, one way or another, to provide the service to you. The service is provided with the expectation that you'll use a certain amount each month, at an agreed-upon speed.

Then a company like Netflix comes along and uses the network connection that you're already paying for, but streams HD movies to you--that uses a lot of bandwidth, and if your ISP isn't set up for that, it costs them more money. Certainly what it costs them to deliver Netflix streams to you will be outside of what they were expecting to handle.

Under "net neutrality" the ISP must eat that cost. It ends up raising prices on everyone (even those customers who never stream a damned thing) to pay the freight. Without "net neutrality", though, the ISP can charge only the heavy users for their excess usage, or they can de-prioritize those users during periods of network congestion. Or it gets Netflix to pay part of the cost of supporting the service.

* * *

MOre scaremongering about Fukushima. So, TEPCO sacrificed another drone to the mess in Unit 3. They failed to find the remains of the melted core outside the containment vessel, and idiots are screaming bloody murder over it. WHERE IS THE CORE????

...it's probably still inside the bleeding containment vessel, you stupid crudbuckets. That's why it's CALLED A CONTAINMENT VESSEL and why they are required in nuclear reactors built in western countries. In the absolute worst-case scenario, if the core melts, it doesn't go anywhere but stays put inside the containment vessel.

As far as I'm concerned, Fukushima is a success story for the safety of nuclear power. Let's blockquote Karl Denninger, emphasis removed:
So yeah, the mess is still there. Yes, there's a lot of water in storage that has to be discharged. Yes, it contains tritium. Yes, that's radioactive, but not strongly so, and frankly, the realistic risk of actual harm to persons, flora or fauna from same is zero -- you could stand right next to a plastic tank full of highly-tritiated water and measure exactly zero radiation from it, because the energy level of the released betas is insufficient to pass through a plastic water tank's walls.

There still remains zero evidence that any core material, other than radioisotopes in the steam when the plants vented, got out of the containment -- and that release was more-or-less intentional (the alternative was a steam explosion that would have leveled the entire plant and violated the containment on a mass scale, so of the two that certainly appears to have been the better choice -- no?) The maintenance hatches to the containment have been able to be cleaned sufficiently to allow people to place the robots inside without exceeding dosage limits and those people are not all dead, so we know that has been successful.

Is this reason for complacency? No. Nor is it a reason to be "happy" about what happened at Fukushima, or to downplay the engineering (and cost!) challenges that remain in cleaning up this mess, a process which is going to take decades. Nor is it any excuse for building a plant that requires electrical power to remain safe and placing the switchgear in a location where it can be flooded by seawater in a tsunami -- an event that is known to be a risk at that location. The people responsible for that should have been jailed long before the earthquake ever happened. But the fact remains that the repeated claims that fuel went through the containment and are now in the ground under the plant, thus contaminating the land in an irreversible fashion, have not been born out by either the presence of said radionucleides in the groundwater and now the fuel has apparently been located -- in the containment where it was expected to wind up.
That last paragraph contains the key for why I say Fukushima is a nuclear power safety success story. Let's count the fails:
1) Plant requires outside electrical power to remain safe. Absent that power, bad things happen.
2) Power switch gear placed where it could be flooded by seawater if there were a tsunami.
3) Reactors not built to withstand earthquakes as strong as the one which occurred there.
4) Reactors not built to withstand tsunami of that magnitude.
5) Emergency backup generators vulnerable to tsunami as well.
And even with all that happening, with all the things that went wrong, no significant release of radioactive material has occurred.

How many deaths are attributed to Fukushima? How many people were poisoned by radiation? If the answer to the former question is less than 56--and I expect it approximates zero, in fact--it means that Chernobyl still rules the roost for commercial nuclear power accidents in world history.

A once-a-centry earthquake, an unprecedented tsunami, everything happening that far exceeded the design specification of the reactors and their supporting systems, and the result is that there's this big mess confined solely to the site itself, with no measurable risk of danger outside it. As Denninger says it's a big mess that will take a long time to clean up, but it's no worse for the people around it than a chemical spill or forest fire. In fact it's less dangerous than those other things!

Nuclear power is safe, clean, and convenient...and it'd be cheap if we could get the scaredy cats the hell out of the way.

* * *

I've got about an hour before I have to get the kitten to the vet. *sigh*

#5753: Broken femur???

I have raised kittens, and never even heard of one getting a broken leg.

There are three possibilities for how:

1) He got too rambunctious by the stairs and fell. Again, I've raised kittens before, and in this house, and that's never happened. Even when Luna was a kitten, two weeks younger than Maki, she never did anything like that. Kittens have a fairly well-honed fear of heights, and it's a good ten feet from the bottom of the stairs to floor level. The railing is meant to guard against people falling down there, not cats. But again, years and years of cat ownership in this house and that's never happened before; I've never seen any cat, young or old, fall down there. (Doesn't mean it can't happen, of course.)

2) I noticed that a box in the bedroom had shifted. It's possible that he tried climbing on it, and somehow hit it just right so that it tipped over on him and got his leg. Narrow box, has books in it--maybe.

3) Maki has been jumping off our bed and onto the floor. He's done that several times a day since we got home Thursday. The bedroom has padded carpet; it's a soft landing. If Maki were to have somehow gotten onto the kitchen counter, and then jumped down from there--that's a hard floor. Ditto for the bathroom. Everywhere else is carpet. Hitting a hard floor the way he hit the bedroom floor coming off that bed would do it, too.

To make matters worse, the break is very close to the knee. They can't just splint it because of where it is; if it had been in the middle of the bone they could splint it and let him do whatever he wants. Animals are pretty resilient that way. But because of where the break is, the vet isn't sure what needs to be done, so they gave him some knockout gas and took a couple detailed x-rays, and e-mailed them to a veterinary orthopedist, who's going to look it over and come up with a recommendation.

Meanwhile, he's coming off the gas, and has been given a little pain reliever, so he's a little loopy. They advised me to keep him in a confined area, so he's in the big cat carrier with a small makeshift litter box. I gave him some food and water; he ate, purring loudly, then drank. After that I tossed in a sparkle ball; he played with it a bit, and now he's resting.

Regardless of how it happened, I'm really upset and sad about it. I feel guilty, too, of course, though I don't really know what I could have done to prevent this. Lock him in the bathroom? What if it was the bathroom counter he jumped from? The boxes? A seventeen pound adult Maine Coon routinely jumped on those very same boxes without them budging an inch--there's no reason for me to think they'd move when a half-pound kitten does! The stairs? As I said, in decades of cat ownership, never a problem.

I know it's just a stupid accident, but I can't help feeling like it's my fault. If it were possible I'd take the broken leg for him.