November 22, 2009
Three Mile Island
Three Mile Island has had another radiation leak:
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is sending investigators to the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant after a small amount of radiation was detected there.
About 150 employees were sent home Saturday afternoon after the radiation was detected at the central Pennsylvania plant.
Officials say there is no public health risk.
Cue alarmist Greenies screaming that we're all gonna die in 3...2...1....
Because of course there is no health risk. There's not one single identifiable person who has been killed by Western style nuclear power plants ever. Not a single one. They actually produce a great deal less radiation than coal fired power stations do (yes, really).
And the last time there was a problem at Three Mile Island? The one we all remember? No one even identifiably injured, let alone killed. Yes, cancer rates rose: by they rose in areas that were not subjected to any extra radiation as well as in those that were: proving that it was worry about radiation not radiation itself which caused the problems.
The Vikings are coming, the Vikings are coming!
Well, the Vikings are indeed coming to my garden sometime soon. At least I hope so, for I'm vacuuming around the corners of old bank accounts to try and make sure they do. Of course, I'm not referring to bearded blondes alighting from longships, rather to something like that Viking Grill you see pictured there. We're, as regular readers will know, in the process of finishing of this hourse here and of course part of that finishing off is to make sure that we've got the equipment to live properly here: not just the walls and the roof.
And yes, part of that proper equipping is indeed going to be something like that Viking gas grill. For we're in a climate where a lot of cooking and eating, entertaining as well, can and should be done outside. Which means that we need to be properly equipped for that cooking outside: there's no point in trying to work with a $50 charcoal barbecue if you're going to be using it continually. Much better to get a properly made, to commercial standards, set of cooking equipment. And make sure that it is indeed properly made for outdoor use as well.
The thing about the Viking Grills though: there's such a large amount of choice I'm rather stumped as to which I should actually, erm, choose. That one pictured is a middle of the range model: a couple of side burners and the grill itself. All made of stainless steel of course and containing 29,000 BTU burners: pretty much the top end outside purely commercial equipment. But the range goes from a simple grill on its own all the way up to a monster freestanding model with an oven, warming drawers and so on, as well as the grill and side burners.
So that's my problem: not whether to get one, but which one to get?
Burka Barbie: not coming to a store near you soon.
There's been a bit of a fuss made over Burka Barbie: which is as it should be of course for this is an artistic adventure, not the next design for a toy. Burka Barbie is in fact one of 500 Barbie dolls that have been dressed up in a series of those all encompassing outfits popular amongst conservatively minded men in the Middle East and beyond. The burka, hijab, jilbab and so on.
You know, the sort of thing that every father thinks his 15 year old daughter should wear and every liberal and free society shuns and disdains?
The point of Burka Barbie is of course to show how women are oppressed in those places where not wearing such costumes leads to one being killed. And of course they are.
Tim Blair has made the best crack about Burka Barbie so far: she can only leave her box if accompanied by Mullah Ken.
The Burka Barbies are to be sold in aid of Save the Children.
November 18, 2009
Do you need addiction treatment?
We can look around the world and at our fellow human beings and wonder whether everyone out there needs treatment for something or another: I think we all have days like that, yes? But putting such mild jokes aside, there is a rising need for drug treatment in our society. Part of this is simply the greater availability of drugs: the War on Drugs doesn't seem to be working all that well if a reduction in availability is how we're going to measure it.
It's also true that drugs are cheaper than they ever used to be: the destruction of lives now comes not so much from what is paid for them but from what is given up to get them: broken homes, broken careers and broken lives, to say nothing of families and friendships. And as we have ever more to lose these days the need for effective and efficient drug treatment becomes ever more obvious.
Fortunately, as with other areas of medicine, we are in fact finding out more and more about drugs, their effects and how drug treatment might best be organised. For example, there are often underlying causes for drug use, not just the transient joy of getting blitzed. So those underlying causes need to be treated as well as the addiction itself: so called "dual-diagnosis". We've also found that while withdrawal from drugs like heroin is not as immediately life threatening as from, say, alcohol, there are still drugs that can alleviate much of that pain, methadone say.
It's these advances in treatment that have made facilities like those of the Pat Moore Foundation work as well as they do: because we know more than we did we can work out how to organise treatments so that they are that much more effective. If you'd like to know more about what can be done to treat addictions why not click through the links provided to see what can now be done?
Fidel Castro is dead
Fidel Castro is dead: at least that's the rumour floating around the blogs at the moment.
A few years ago we would have celebrated the death of Fidelismo along with it's progenitor: sadly, that seems unlikely to happen as we once thought. For power has been passed to his brother Raul Castro and the fall of the man seems unlikely to lead to the fall of the system he created.
Something of a pity really, for the system that Fidel Castro did create is a vile dictatorship, one that denies freedom and liberty in almost every manner possible. And no, the fact that there is free health care really doesn't make up for it.
It is of course appalling to wish for another's death so I'll not: but for the end of Fidelismo I hope we can all hope for together.
November 15, 2009
Do I want a weathervane?
One of those little existential questions: would my life be improved by the possession of a weathervane? Or would this simply be the addition of a piece of copper to the roof for no particular reason? Oddly, given my usual desire to avoid frippery, I think it would indeed be a useful addition and am thus looking through the various designs. This one has caught my eye so far: mostly I think because I've really always wonted to live in a lighthouse. Weird ambition but everyone has to have one, right?
OK, so that explains the design, but why would one or other of the available desgins of weathervanes add to my utility, provide me with more than simply the pleasure of bing able to look up and say "Oooh, Lovely!"? Well, there's two reasons there, both really quite practical. If the wind is from the south where we are it's coming from a desert a couple of hundred miles away. A great big desert too, so it's hot. If from the east, from high land, so it's quite cold: a north wind everyone knows and from the west here itis coming over a couple of thousand miles of ocean. So we really do get very different weather dependent upon which way the wind is blowing. Knowing what to expect has its uses.
The other is something I'm not sure about: would a weathervane also act as a lightning conductor? Or could it be made to do so? I have to assume yes: it's a lump of metal on the roof after all and a conducting strip could be run down the side of the building easily enough. For I've twice had the house struck by lightning (we're on the brow of a hill) and both times the strike blew out the phone lines and the internet.
So it's not just the idea of having a pretty lump of metal on the roof, it's having any lump of metal on the roof that sounds like a good idea.