The day you realize that you can see your skelton through the skin of your hands is the most horrifying day of your life. You can either embrace it, or you can start looking for employment as the cyborg overlord of your own biomechanical machine. It's either that, or a dustbin. Make no mistake. The dustbin is what awaits obsolescence. Not enslavement.
Slavery didn't work for surprisingly logical reasons (I say 'surprisingly' because it evidently didn't occur to a great number of slave owners throughout history). It doesn't work because when efficiency is the only currency, the master has the same value-added as a flowchart.
The wise man embraces his flesh-machine and seeks to have a good time. The more difficult the entertainment, the greater the entertainment. Catapults should be involved, and who's to say that you're wrong for wanting that which was to remain that which is *as a base line*.
That's the real indignity. That the baseline degrades. Improvement objectively obtains, what could possibly stand in that way? Put any geriatric into the League of Legends, he'll fill you in shortly on the short comings of muscle memory.
The failure of Lance Armstrong is a failure of society; namely, that it misinterprets raw physical fitness to be worthwhile beyond mental fitness. And frankly, those who obsess over mental fitness are missing the *Armstrong point*. No manner of fitness is valuable without the capacity for rapidly translating both action into reason and reason into action.
All that remains is productivity. Weird, huh?
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Loving (12:46 PM)
and I like this one by KC Tunstall
This was brought on by Wretchard's dissertation on love.
Dante believed that loneliness was the memory of happy times lost. And for perhaps that reason, the demand for love will always be greatest among those who have only heard rumor of it and glimpsed it, fleetingly, but once.
The comment section is especially good. This comment:
She could have had whatever she wanted from me, and destroyed me.
Caused this reply:
Love is very dangerous. It requires more trust than most are willing to give. To bare your secrets. To bare your soul. To admit your price.
You see the results all too often - "(s)he treated me like dirt and I was happy to accept it."
The net? Most folks are looking for advantage. Which puts the folks in love at a serious disadvantage. Gibran had the answer - love anyway - pay the price.
Or Alfred Lord Tennyson: 'tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all'.
I'm pretty lucky. The love between me and the first mate just keeps getting better (with the usual hitches - we are dealing with humans here) over time (37 years so far). As usual I'm a little late to the show.
The Minister is not too happy about Koriyama City removing the radioactive surface soil from the school yards to reduce radiation for the kids.
The public officials in Koriyama City in Fukushima are doing something to proactively protect children by removing the big source of radiation (soil in the school yards) that could harm them gravely. A very rational and compassionate thing to do, though it's just too bad that Fukushima I Nuke Plant continues to spew out radioactive plume far and wide and Koriyama's effort may be in vain in short order.
But it still seems infinitely better than letting the children play outdoors based on an arbitrary number (3.8 micro-sieverts/hr) picked by the national government for this emergency.
That is about 33.3 milliSieverts a year if exposed 24/7/365. About 3.33 REM for those of you who are old school. That is a LOT for some one not working in the field. Especially if they are children. Of course the exposure is limited. Not counting what they drag in from the playground.
Some of the parents from the area have deposited some playground material with government officials.
Furious parents in Fukushima have delivered a bag of radioactive playground earth to education officials in protest at moves to weaken nuclear safety standards in schools.
Children can now be exposed to 20 times more radiation than was previously permissible. The new regulations have prompted outcry. A senior adviser resigned and the prime minister, Naoto Kan, was criticised by politicians from his own party.
If they didn't just bring the dirt in bags but also spread it around the area will have to be declared a rad hazard area until it is cleaned up.
This may be a case of no choice but it does seem unwise. Some women working at the Fukushima plan exceeded their allowable dose. There is some question about how this should relate to monitoring children.
This incident raises a very interesting point: Since school children outside of the exclusion zone are allowed a recent and upwardly revised 20 mSv/yr maximum allowable dose (essentially the same amount allowed for female Tepco nuclear employees), will these kids have their doses individually monitored also? Will they be pulled from school if they exceed 5mSv over a 3 month period, as is the practice with female nuclear employees when they exceed their doses?
I would expect the Japanese authorities to exhibit a greater sense of caution with the children. Their upper level limit is generous, to say the least. Parents should be informed of the statistical and potential risks associated with these exposures, and should be presented with other educational alternatives should they choose to opt out.
LIKE MOST Japanese parents, two months ago Takayuki Sasaki barely knew what radiation was. Today, he thinks about little else. "I've sent my kids to my wife's family in Tokyo," says the baker and father of two. "I told her to stay there until it's safe, but who knows when that will be? We've all been left in the dark."
Seven weeks since the start of Japan's worst nuclear crisis, political tremors are intensifying in the prefecture that hosts the ruined Fukushima Daiichi power plant. Sasaki is among thousands of parents in the prefecture, about 250km northeast of Tokyo, demanding that the government of Prime Minister Naoto Kan reverse a decision to raise radiation limits for schools in the area by 20 times.
The decision has come in for withering criticism by government adviser Toshiso Kosako, who announced his resignation on Friday after denouncing what he called the prime minister's "whack-a-mole" policies on the crisis.
"The government has belittled laws and taken decisions only for the present moment," said a tearful Kosako.
He added that new guidelines upping the acceptable annual radiation exposure in Fukushima prefecture's elementary schools from one to 20 millisieverts "are inconsistent with internationally commonsensical figures.
"They were determined by the administration to serve its interests.
From what I have seen so far most of the decisions made have taken only the most immediate concerns into consideration. Like the decision to silence Toshiso Kosako after he resigned in protest.
Ministry of Education and Science has set the annual radiation exposure limit of 20 milli-sieverts for children to use school yards. According to Mr. Soramoto, "Professor Kosako thinks the radiation level that children could be exposed to is 5 milli-sieverts per year at most. It is regrettable that Professor Kosako's point of view cannot be aired."
Considering that 5 milli-sieverts per year is roughly equivalent to the US average dose per year (including diagnostic radiation) a doubling of that for a year's exposure seems reasonable. And since the exposure will not be 24/7/365 then there is also a safety factor built in. Which is a good thing. It means the exposure effect from the tail of the statistical curve will be minimal.
In the mean time the radiation is being distributed in sewage sludge. And the sludge is being turned into cement. Just swell fellers.
Highly #Radioactive Sewage Sludge in Koriyama City, 3,500 Tons Already Burned, 500 Tons Already Sold to Cement Company
Price to pay, I suppose, for slowly forming a "consensus" on how to deal with the reactors at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. While the political heads gather to discuss what's safe to tell the general public, the radioactive materials have been doing what they are supposed to do under the circumstance: to spread.
Highlighting the ongoing problems that continue to make life hazardous in surrounding areas of the plant, wastewater end-products from Koriyama that are trucked out and used for construction are clocking high dose rates originating from Cesium 137 in the sludge.
This has to make you wonder why the sludge shipped out from various Fukushima prefectures wasn't checked for high radiation content before this particular incident. Apparently it was caught a bit late in the process - the article mentions "The solidified slag made from it contained 334,000 becquerels per kilogram" - indicating finished construction. I wonder how many structures have been built with the sludge, because they will have to be torn down.
Any wall made from this stuff would be humming with radioactivity - 334,000 Becquerel/kg throws off 45 microSieverts per hour at a 10cm distance, and that's just the gamma component of the calculation. From just 1 kg of this material, Beta exposure at a 1cm distance is a whopping 67 milliSieverts/hr, ensuring that anyone leaning against the wall is getting his/her butt massively irradiated.
He ends with this note:
This wastewater plant may be emitting radiation numbers as high as parts of the Fukushima Daichi nuclear plant. Now they have to go in there and calculate doses for the sewage treatment staff, plus everyone else who was in close contact with the material.
I dunno. Radiation contaminating the water and the water run off in the area? How totally unexpected.
928 tons of the sewage sludge [from Koriyama facility?] have been used since the Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident, and the cement has been shipped to Tochigi, Gunma, and Ibaraki Prefectures and other locations. [The article doesn't say where.]
Radioactive cesium of 26,400 becquerels per 1 kilogram has been detected from the sewage sludge.
And that is not all the bad news.
There are 22 other treatment centers in Fukushima that sell sewage sludge. No news on them yet.
The Environment Ministry has ordered municipalities near the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to wait before removing radiation-tainted debris from the March 11th quake and tsunami.
The ministry will start monitoring radiation levels in debris next week to determine proper disposal methods for contaminated materials.
Vice Minister Hideki Minamikawa told reporters that his ministry wants to quickly carry out the checks to allow local authorities who clear radiation screenings to remove the debris as soon as possible.
Municipalities subject to the order are those in the no-entry zone within 20 kilometers of the plant and some designated areas beyond the 20-kilometer radius.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company, which operates the damaged nuclear power plant in Fukushima, says it has increased the cooling water flowing into the Number 3 reactor after an increase in temperature occurred over the past week.
On Wednesday, TEPCO increased the flow of cooling water from 7 tons to 9 tons per hour for the Number 3 reactor. The temperature at the bottom of the reactor was 143.5 degrees Celsius at 11 AM on Thursday, about 33 degrees higher than Wednesday last week.
TEPCO has been using temporary pumps to inject cooling water into reactors Number 1, 2 and 3. Their fuel rods are believed to have partially melted down after the tsunami disrupted normal cooling functions.
The operator says the temperature rise was apparently caused by a temporary decline in the amount of cooling water flowing into the Number 3 reactor.
I'd love to see some of the more technical reports rather than just the news summaries. Or even better: be a fly on the wall that could understand Japanese. I wonder if they have any way of finding out the condition of the junk piles? And of course you have to ask yourself. Is it just lack of cooling? Or something else? Like occasional recriticality?
NHK has learned that shareholders of five electric power companies in Japan are calling for the utilities to decommission their nuclear power plants in the wake of the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
About 400 stockholders of the Tokyo Electric Power Company, which operates the Fukushima plant, submitted official documents in support of the proposal.
Shareholders of at least four other power companies --- Kansai Electric, Chugoku Electric, Kyushu Electric and Tohoku Electric -- have made similar proposals.
On Monday, a group of 232 stockholders of Tohoku Electric submitted documents calling for the company to abolish its nuclear power plants.
The group says the potential risks of nuclear power generation are too great for any single company to afford.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Monday there should be no upper limit set on the amount of compensation to be paid by Tokyo Electric Power Co. over the accident at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant triggered by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
No wonder stockholders want to bail on nuclear power.
I may be slow on the uptake, but I am genuinely having trouble processing all of the anger that the killing of Osama bin Laden seems to have generated on the right. And I do mean anger; in certain teeth-gnashing right wing circles, people seem actually angrier over the death of bin Laden than they did over the passage of Obamacare. In a comment to a post about this anger, I asked,
Would they be happier if the raid had failed?
I think some of them would, and I noted that it is not rational.
...the disdain for American joy about bin Laden's death goes deeper than mere snobbery or concerns about local Muslims. It's not just that Western European intellectuals don't like the United States--they never have--but their unwillingness to countenance aggressive Western self-defense against Islamist terror is a function of their loss of belief in Western civilization itself. Many on the continent seem to have lost any sense that their countries and way of life as well as their faith is something worth defending. When it comes down to it that, and not the faux sophistication of Euro elites, is the difference between America and Europe these days.
For all of our problems and divisions, most Americans still believe in their country. All too many of our friends across the pond have lost faith in theirs. And that crisis in confidence, not good taste, is why Americans and not Europeans are celebrating the death of bin Laden.
Well, not all Americans are celebrating; many on the right are doing just the opposite. The difference between them and the Europeans is that it is not the killing of bin Laden that upsets the red meat conservatives, so much as the fact that Obama is seen as getting credit for it.
OK, then, so why not just credit Bush and move on to other issues? Either Obama adopted Bush's policies or he did not. If he did, then at least some of the credit goes to Bush, and it should be pointed out. But even there, I see a problem which lends itself to a cognitive disconnect. If Obama has adopted Bush's foreign policy, that would mean that he is doing something right, wouldn't it? And because we can't have that, then he can't be credited as adopting Bush's foreign policy. But we can't have that either, because that would credit him with having his own foreign policy -- and one which succeeded at killing Osama bin Laden.
I think this conflict might explain the torrent of irrational anger.
As to my own anger, I have been and still am angry at Obama for his socialist policies and wholesale disregard for the Constitution. So angry for so long that I long ago reached the saturation point. The killing of bin Laden is for me little more than an item in the plus column that will not change my disdain for the man's overall policies. I repeatedly predicted that he would engage in triangulation, and in this instance he has. Killing bin Laden was a smart move for Obama politically, and it was the right thing to do for this country.
I can't tell people what to do, but I think it might be a good time for angry conservatives to consider dumping the anger over the killing of bin Laden and returning to their traditional anti-Obama anger. After all, isn't he the same socialistic, Constitution-violating, postmodernist that he always was?
Because if they're not careful, pretty soon this irrational anger at Obama for doing the right thing is going to start looking silly.
(And how silly is that?)
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Red meat traitor (01:18 PM)
Since 1994, I have been resolutely, unalterably, vehemently, opposed to the left. No matter what the right wing does, I will always vote for them over the left, even if I have to hold my nose. Even if I have to throw up.
I really wish you would rethink your vote for Obama.
It is one thing that I have never forgiven you for.
Bear in mind that I never liked red meat conservatives. I just hate the left more, so despite the effect on my mental health I tend to appease their enemies. Unlike Ann Althouse, I didn't vote for Obama and never will.
But people like commenter "Titus" are being assholes, plain and simple. If they keep this shit up, they will kill the GOP's chances of winning in 2012.
Maybe that's what they want.
If so, they are hypocrites for calling Ann Althouse a traitor.
Yeah, yeah, I could have made a rational argument and explained exactly how treason is specifically defined in the Constitution and that Ann Althouse did not commit treason by voting for the wrong candidate, but these assholes have about as much respect for the Constitution as the left.
Hating the left more than the right is no guarantee of happiness.
If the right thing is done for the wrong reasons, does it somehow become the wrong thing?
This is somewhat related to Sarah's piece about the immense desire on the left to see the killing of bin Laden as an excuse for ending the war -- as if for all these years we were at war with one man, Osama bin Laden.
How naive to imagine that ideology would ever work that way! True, there are instances in history in which one man can be so all-important, and Adolf Hitler comes close. But even if an attempt on Hitler's life had been successful, would that have meant the end of World War II, much less an end to the war with Nazi Germany? Of course not. Sure, it might very well have accelerated the end. And if the bin Laden killing accelerates the end, that would be great.
Tell you what. When I see Ayman al Zawahiri, Mullah Omar, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the rest of that scurvy crew of murderous thugs climb the steps to one of our aircraft carriers to sign the surrender documents, I might be willing to call it a victory.
But what these lefties and some of the Ron Paul types seem to forget is that we are dealing with people who have pledged to kill us.
When you're dealing with people who have pledged to kill you and have not backed down one inch, anything less than their surrender ultimately means your surrender.
Evolution is providing the inspiration for University of Adelaide computer science research to find the best placement of turbines to increase wind farm productivity.
Senior Lecturer Dr Frank Neumann, from the School of Computer Science, is using a "selection of the fittest" step-by-step approach called "evolutionary algorithms" to optimise wind turbine placement. This takes into account wake effects, the minimum amount of land needed, wind factors and the complex aerodynamics of wind turbines.
What a Nice Bit Of Work. Collecting energy which is mostly useless more efficiently is a big advance. Evidently storage - which is the real missing ingredient is more difficult.
Today in Scotland, as the Great Recession rolls on, and as newly reprimitivized "wind farms" replace more tried and true -- and apparently predictable - methods of electricity generation, history rhymes rather nicely. The BBC reports, "Six Scottish windfarms were paid up to £300,000 to stop producing energy, it has emerged:"
I guess wind is different. With normal power plants you pay for the energy used. With wind plants unusable energy now has value. Well not to civilization of course. But the wind farmers do quite nicely.
Rarely have I seen the blogosphere so alive with commentary as it is right now about the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Just to make my position clear, I don't care what anyone thinks of President Obama's overall performance, but it is undeniable that this is a decided plus. M. Simon and I both said so.
Considering all of the trouble the country has undergone lately, people really want a reason to feel proud of their country, and by any standard this is a good reason. Even though the war is by no means over (as Sarah explains eloquently), the killing of Bin Laden is a major milestone, a victory people should be celebrating, and I am not going to detract from the celebrating in any way.
As to weighing in, I congratulate the president on a job well done. Can't remember the last time I did that. Was there ever a time? I don't know; if there was it might have been by way of sarcasm, as I make no secret of my disdain for the actions of this president and his administration, which I will of course continue to criticize. But I have to give credit where credit is due. He made the country proud, and as I don't want to say anything to detract from that, I really don't feel like wading through and weighing in on the predictable snark, the impugning of motives, the second-guessing, and conspiracy theories right now.
I would feel less than patriotic if I did.
However, I will say that he has gotten closer to having now earned his unearned Nobel Peace Prize (which, I would note, there had already been some international movement to take away).
Works a lot better than peace through surrender, and I am glad to see President Obama was willing to use it in defense of this country.
Blood sucking is as blood sucking does (11:20 AM)
There's a blog for greedy lawyers, which is nice to see, because I believe that deviants and other misfits need to stick together.
Hey, maybe I misspoke. I mean, is it really fair of me to describe greedy lawyers as "deviants" and "misfits"? To most people, "greedy lawyers" is a redundancy. Still, even if they are the legal norm, I think they're entitled to worship together at their own blog.
Anyway, from the "Greedy Associates" blog I learned about the next area of hot practice.
As people are no longer responsible for their actions, I can see plenty of litigation by vampire victims -- who can basically work in collusion with the forseeable claim by vampires that the TV made them do it. Naturally, if the TV made them do it, then the TV industry becomes liable!
At this point, you might ask "who are the real vampires?"
Well, let's assume they are. In light of the old saying that "it takes a thief to catch a thief," isn't that a plus?
When Jack Hagerty closed on his new condo three weeks ago, he thought it had everything he wanted: a quiet, safe Glen Park location, easy access to BART and a backyard for his 10-year-old son. Turns out it came with an extra feature - a self-described "leather sex" enthusiast living downstairs.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.
"He's entitled to his life," Hagerty said. "I just wish he'd told me sooner."
Hagerty said all was well until he announced that he intended to remove the carpet and padding in his unit to help with allergies. The downstairs condo owner explained in an April 24 e-mail that he opposed the idea.
"I am a sexual enthusiast and enjoy leather sex," the man wrote. "At times, it is possible and even likely that the sounds of leather sex will be coming from my bedrooms to your bedrooms without an effective sound barrier. While it is not my issue, you may find you need to explain things to your son as it could be confusing to him since it frequently doesn't sound as pleasurable as it is."
"I just don't think it is appropriate for my son to bear witness to that," Hagerty said.
But the neighbor says if Hagerty just left the carpet and pad on the floor everything would be fine.
Normally, we think of sex noises as involving moaning and groaning, and possibly screaming. But I'm assuming the noises here involve not only screaming, but the sounds of whips cracking.
There's some additional discussion of whether real estate agents have the duty to disclose such goings-on to potential buyers.
Rob Rogers of Zephyr Real Estate, who helped to handle the sale, said, "You certainly don't have to disclose someone's sexual preferences or what they are doing."
There is a duty to disclose facts which would be relevant to a buyer's decision, but there's also a duty not to assist a buyer in illegal discrimination. If regular and annoying noises were known to the seller and and not readily perceivable on ordinary inspection, failure to disclose them might bring rise to liability. The problem is, what might annoy one person might not matter to someone else. An opera singer who practiced at home might sound lovely to one person while driving another crazy. Some people might rather hear the occasional screams associated with leather sex than the sounds of a teenager learning to play an electric guitar. It also depends on the hour; loud music or a barking dog during the day might not bother me during the day, but I wouldn't tolerate it at night.
I'm not sure the noise is the issue with the leather guy, though. It's what the noise will mean to a kid who hasn't yet learned that for some people, pain is pleasure.
So I understand the dad's concern, but he might keep in mind that the sounds of pleasure can drive criminals away.
Like this car alarm.
I Wake Up Screaming (09:51 AM)
As you know I'm not one to see the glass as half empty. At least I hope I'm not. But the day after Osama's death, I woke up screaming. Before I even checked my facebook, I knew the vast majority of my friends would be going "We won, let's go home now."