atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#3507: I want to sleep more, and probably will, after this post.

Woke up about 7:30 this morning, still tired but wide awake. I decided to go with it...for now.

Pretty much have decided not to take any more of the etodolac (pain pill/NSAID) because besides making me tired, it's making me into a whiny pussy. ("How can you tell?" Fuck you.) "Mood changes" are listed as a severe side effect of this drug, so I'll just take ibuprofen instead.

On the plus side, I took half a muscle relaxant before bed last night, and that has helped immeasurably...and I'm not a zombie eight hours later! It's a miracle!

The muscle relaxant pills aren't scored for easy breakage, but I use a pill chopper for my Paxil, and the pill chopper doesn't care if the pill in question is scored or not. Win.

I'm also considering making the run out to Wal Mart for the synthroid. I'm going to call them, first, to see if the RX has been filled (why wouldn't it be?).

* * *

If you read Larry Niven's novel Destiny's Road you learn (without realizing it) how "water empires" work.

A "water empire" arises when some political body can control the flow of water (or another vital resource) to everyone downstream of it. In Niven's novel, the vital resource is a spice called "speckles", which are essentially potassium nodules. (The planet Destiny is very poor in potassium, and humans living there need to add speckles to their food in order to stay alive.) His story follows the journey of one man who follows the planet's one road from one end to the other, and in the process sees the entire economic machine built around the speckles supply and distribution network.

Generally this means that the politicians in control of the vital resource have control over a lot of things--and when that control is threatened, the political body fights back with everything it has.

This man was given permits to have reservoirs on his property to collect rainwater...and they were summarily retracted by a court order shortly after issue. The local government controls all the water in the area, and is jealously guarding its power.

* * *

This page triggered an "attack page" warning. I'm wondering, because looking at the nitty gritty:
Of the 1308 pages we tested on the site over the past 90 days, 0 page(s) resulted in malicious software being downloaded and installed without user consent. The last time Google visited this site was on 2012-07-30, and suspicious content was never found on this site within the past 90 days.
Why is it an "attack page" if there is no suspicious content?

Daily Caller is a conservative site and I'd wager this "reported attack site" stuff is pure nonsense. We'll see, I suppose, but since this computer gets a trojan if I merely glance at it wrong--

Anyway:

The story (once you can get at it) is about how the one campaign promise Obama has kept has been his promise to shut down coal-burning power plants, thus making the cost of power "necessarily skyrocket".

But the econazis can't pop the champagne corks, because the world economy isn't giving up on fossil fuels just yet.
The shale boom hasn’t turned green success into green failure. It’s prevented green failure from turning into something much worse.... The US and China have oodles of coal, and rather than walk to work from our cold and dark houses all winter, we’d use it. Furthermore, when and if the oil runs out, the technology exists to get liquid fuel out of coal. It isn’t cheap and it isn’t clean, but it works.

The newly bright oil and gas future means that we aren’t entering a new Age of Coal. For this, every green on the planet should give thanks.

The second reason why greens should give thanks for shale is that environmentalism is a luxury good. People must survive and they will survive by any means necessary. But they would much rather thrive than merely survive, and if they can arrange matters better, they will. A poor society near the edge of survival will dump the industrial waste in the river without a second thought. It will burn coal and choke in the resulting smog if it has nothing else to burn.
Emphasis in original, and it's such a good point I'm gonna throw in my nickel.

...or I was going to, until I read this:
Politics in an age of survival is ugly and practical. It has to be. The best leader is the one who can cut out all the fluff and the folderol and keep you alive through the winter. During the Battle of Leningrad, people burned priceless antiques to stay alive for just one more night.

An age of energy shortages and high prices translates into an age of radical food and economic insecurity for billions of people. Those billions of hungry, frightened, angry people won’t fold their hands and meditate on the ineffable wonders of Gaia and her mystic web of life as they pass peacefully away. Nor will they vote George Monbiot and Bill McKibben into power. They will butcher every panda in the zoo before they see their children starve, they will torch every forest on earth before they freeze to death, and the cheaper and the meaner their lives are, the less energy or thought they will spare to the perishing world around them.
If you're an environmentalist and you think we won't do that kind of thing, YOU ARE DELUSIONAL.

The only thing is, this article fails to take into account the fact that we now have access to an energy source which is better than fossil fuels: nuclear power. This is the problem with articles like this one: it doesn't even consider nuclear power. It goes right from "when the oil and coal actually run out, we'll have better mastery of solar and wind power!"

It could be argued, I suppose, that we'd use up all the coal in the ground before we resorted to making scads of nuclear power plants, but if we want clean and safe energy there simply is nothing better available to us. NOTHING. Not wind, not solar, not "biomass"; these are all diffuse sources at best and their supply in unpredictable. But a nuclear reactor is a dense and controllable source of energy--and it doesn't require that you constantly shove fuel into it, either. Twenty tons of fuel are good for months of operation, and once that twenty ton load is reprocessed you can stick it back into the reactor, again and again and again.

A thoroughgoing switch to nuclear power would drastically reduce our carbon emissions, if that's what you're worried about. Imagine what the United States' carbon footprint would be if we were to generate 100% of our electricity with nuclear power, rather than 20%.

If you want your utopia of electric cars and low use of fossil fuels, the first thing you need to do is to make electricity too cheap to meter. You cannot do that with coal or oil, or solar or wind; you can only do it with nuclear power.

"Fusion"? Fusion has been coming RSN ("real soon now") for sixty years. We're no closer to an over unity fusion reactor than we were in 1978; waiting for the eggheads to work out the bugs is a fool's game because the laws of physics are a cruel master. Yes we will eventually learn how to build an over unity fusion reactor, and yes that is the ultimate answer to our energy problems, but we need energy in the meantime, fission is the best source we've got, and we're not allowed to use it because the same econazis who don't want us to burn fossil fuels are standing in the way.

"Over unity": in order for a fusion reactor to be useful for generating electricity, it first has to make more power than is required to get the fusion reaction going. Right now we can't do that; we pump an enormous amount of energy into a very small space to fuse various hydrogen isotopes into various helium isotopes. This process releases some energy, but not as much as we pump into it.

Thermodynamically speaking, the process of fusing hydrogen into helium involves converting some of the hydrogen into energy, because when you cram a deuteron (a proton and neutron) into a triton (a proton and two neutrons) you end up with a helium 5 atom. It's got an excess neutron, and it's got to go somewhere, and when it does that releases some energy. There are other combinations which also release energy, some as gamma rays, or light, or-or-or. The sun is a shining example (pun intended) of how much energy you can get from fusing hydrogen--but making it work in miniature is a finicky process, not nearly as easy as getting U-235 to sustain a chain reaction in a controllable fashion.

In terms of energy, fission is all downhill; the hard part was done by the supernovae that made the uranium lo these billions of years ago and the atoms want to come apart in order to seek the lowest possible energy state. But fusion is partially uphill because the atoms don't want to fuse and you have to expend energy on forcing them together; pressing a couple of hydrogen nuclei (protons) together requires an energy input the same way you have to force the north poles of two magnets together: they repel each other.

Once you get past that mutual repulsion, there's a release of energy: the energy you put in, and--if you do everything just right--a little extra. You can't really make it work with plain hydrogen 1 (with a nucleus consisting of one proton); even in the sun's core the fusion of two plain hydrogen atoms is relatively rare. (Just--there's so much of it there....) But you start throwing around deuterium and tritium and He-3, and fusion becomes a lot easier.

But we can't even get unity out of fusion yet. We're slowly getting closer; the various research facilities get fancier and fancier every year and the machines get more and more complex, and in the past 20 years they've learned a lot about how to make materials behave in magnetic fields and under high pressure and temperature...and my hair has begun to turn grey and I am still waiting for my "Mr. Fusion" appliance that Hollywood thought would be commonplace by 2015.

No, waiting for fusion is a sucker's game.

* * *

I was going to write something in here about Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and it's Leonard Nimoy-inserted anti-nuclear bullshit, but I think I've bloviated on the topic enough for one day.

* * *

Does socialized medicine mean that the government can keep you alive until your organs can be harvested if your brain stops working?

* * *

Vox Day says Obama is fail.

Apparently Dick Cheney says he's worse than Carter. I've only been calling him "Carter 2.0" since before the election in 2008....

* * *

I'd like to see a "before" picture. File this one under "first world worries"--people upset that a cell tower looks too much like a penis.

*rolleyes*
Abdi Fugfugosh, owner of the 76 station [next to the tower], also thinks the tower looks like a tree, and that the people of Castro Valley have dirty minds.

"It doesn't bother me at all. I never thought it looked liked anything until people started talking about it," he said. "I'm more worried about the radiation."
I bet Mr. Fugfugosh isn't worried about the radiation from the microwave ovens in his business establishment (assuming he's got them, as most gas stations these days have attached convenience stores), and his risk of health trouble from those is higher than what he faces from a cell tower.

Well, you can't stampede the sheeple if they know something about science, I guess.

* * *

The party cannot continue. Look: most of the "economic recovery" that we've experienced since 2007 has been due entirely to government spending. Remember, GDP includes government spending as one of its variables; you can raise GDP by raising government spending.

If nothing else is going up but you increase government spending--borrowing to do so--you can make the economy seem to grow for a little while. If you're thinking of "pump priming", to borrow the words of one liberal politician, this is what you typically must do, because the economy isn't generating enough tax revenue to give you the money you need to prime the pump.

The problem comes from the fact that it's unsustainable. It's kind of like spraying ether into the carburator of a car with a bad fuel pump: you can hold down the button on the spray can and keep the engine running, but once you stop--or the can runs out--the car stalls.

This is actually an apt metaphor, if you think about it. In the old days cars had mechanical fuel pumps which ran off the engine's camshaft. If the engine wasn't running, the pump wasn't pumping. If the car had sat a long time, you needed to prime the pump--and the best way was to open up the carb and fill the float bowls with fresh gas, then start the engine. Usually, by the time the float bowls were emptied, the pump was supplying fuel from the gas tank and the engine would stay running. (I've done this myself plenty of times.)

The less-mechanically inclined would crank the engine and crank and crank and crank it, and then go get the starting fluid and spray it down the carb. It does the same thing: gets the engine running, and thus works the fuel pump.

But pump priming can only take you so far. All of this assumes that your fuel pump works and that there's good fuel in the gas tank, that there's not a hole in your fuel line or a plugged filter or-or-or. If there are mechanical problems with the fuel supply system, the engine will sputter to a halt again because it's not getting the fuel it needs. You can spray in more ether or pour in more gas, but this is a stopgap measure and you can't drive the car that way.

The Obama administration and the Democrats (and to a lesser extent the GOP too) have been concentrating on getting the old beater started, arguing over whether they should use more ether or fill the float bowls again, and how long do we have to charge the battery before we can give 'er another crank--and haven't given a lick of thought to why doesn't the damn thing stay running?

The simple fact is, the blue model--socialism, in other words--doesn't work. There is simply not enough money in the world for even a plurality of people to be given a free ride, not in perpetuity. The entitlements have to be curtailed, because--like it or not--we are out of money. It's all downhill from here; our standard of living has reached its peak and from now on, if nothing changes, we're going to find ourselves getting more and more poor. And the Beltway types don't have any incentive to change it, because while we get poorer, they get richer.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that's how it is.

* * *

Another data point for "the media has a severe liberal bias". As if we needed one.

Came across this bit over at Friend of the Fungus' MTS' place last night.

Right in the middle of this excellent piece on things like religious freedom and personal responsibility is embedded a YouTube clip demonstrating how liberals prefer to debate an issue.

...shouting down their opponents by yelling the same thing, over and over and over again.

There are a few good points to be made in the pro-abortion position; the problem is they are dwarfed by the pile of good points which can be made against it.

And everyone--everyone, including the pro-aborts--knows it. That's why abortion was illegal in the United States until the Supreme Court legalized it via judicial fiat; there was simply no other way for the pro-abortion gang to get their way because the liabilities of abortion-on-demand outweigh the benefits, and every time the case was argued via the constitutional system, abortion-on-demand lost, and lost big.

In fact, the only thing--the only thing--legalized by Roe v Wade was abortion as contraception, the idea that a woman can demand an abortion at any time for any reason...and the pro-abortion crowd includes the moment of birth. (See also "partial birth abortion", AKA "legalized infanticide".) Roe v Wade was argued from the standpoint of abortion as contraception, not "to save the life of the mother" (which was already legal most places) but merely "I don't want this baby".

We could have this debate--we should have this debate--but liberals don't want to, because they know they will lose if the question is put to a vote.

That's why the (mostly white) people in that video are shouting down a black woman who wants to hear both sides of the debate...and ironically, they do it by yelling, "Georgia State trusts black women!" Because "Georgia State" really doesn't trust black women. (Incidentally, notice how the small band of protestors arrogate to themselves the status of representing the views of the entire university?)

These people don't trust black women to make the choice they want them to make. That's the last thing they want--for people to be able to make up their own minds about something--because that implies the danger that people won't choose the alternative these liberals want them to choose.

And arguing, as they are, from the philosophically weaker position, they have to make up for it somehow--and they do by yelling slogans over and over again, loudly enough that no one else can speak.

But that's not debate and it's not discussion; it's mob rule, and it's totalitarian.

Not that they care about that. As long as they get their way, they're happy.

* * *

It was cool enough last night that I opened up the bunker and ventilated with outside air; but it warmed up in a hurry and is approaching 90 now.

I want to go get my pills from Walmart and I want to do it on the bike. Guess this means I'm gonna be sweating a bit. *sigh*

But first, another home-brewed Garfield Minus Garfield in honor of the hot summer:

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