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  1.  (5626.1)
  2.  (5626.2)
    Re: Suicide
    - only if we're lucky.


    So speaketh the person who has probably never had to deal with a hanging where the father *made sure* that it would be his pre-teen kids coming home who found him hanging outside the patio windows.

    Try being first on scene with a crying seven and nine year old, and their dad hung in front of them...

    Interesting that some people seem not to mind that Indians are dying - it's not like they are really 'people' are they? Just a number on the other side of the planet.

    If anything, it's being able to mobilise the mass of people that we have that might just get us out of the shit we seem to have wandered into. Unless you think that intelligence is racial/genetic then the more people we have the more doctors and scientists we'll get. And if we have more of them we may then have a few more major breakthroughs in science.
    • CommentAuthorvian
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2009
     (5626.3)
    So, Oxfam is saying climate change will deliver a sharp kick in the taint to humanitarian organizations over the next seven years. As everybody probably already knows, just trying to phase in electric cars ain't gonna do shit. At this point, is there anything we can really do?

    I started James Lovelock's Revenge of Gaia today, and he makes some staggering observations in the first thirty pages. According to him, we need to switch to nuclear power as quickly as possible to reduce emissions, simultaneously developing truly cheap and renewable energy. The idea would be to deal with the waste later but try to save our greenhouse gas-emitting asses right now. Of course, this isn't something likely to happen as governments and corporations squabble over their preferred ways of deal with/admitting the existence of global warming. Lovelock offers some other ideas I hadn't heard about, including the proposed Severn Estuary tidal barrage.

    This is what I've been thinking about since considering going back to school. I've vacillated between urban studies and environmental concerns, because those seemed to be the biggest issues for the future. But the more I look into this stuff, it looks like we all new new areas of study which combine disparate specialties - how often do scientists and researchers in different disciplines share with one another?

    Lovelock also mentions offhand that oxygen is carcinogenic, but I can't find a better source on that.
    •  
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2009
     (5626.4)
    Well, sure, oxygen is what triggers free radical cells, isn't it?
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2009
     (5626.5)
    "This is what I've been thinking about since considering going back to school. I've vacillated between urban studies and environmental concerns, because those seemed to be the biggest issues for the future. But the more I look into this stuff, it looks like we all new new areas of study which combine disparate specialties - how often do scientists and researchers in different disciplines share with one another?:

    Honestly if you've got the marks for it, go into material science because that's where the disruptive technologies are going to come from.
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      CommentAuthortim12s
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2009
     (5626.6)
    @vian

    I remember kid's science mags in the late 70's talking about stringing Salter's Ducks across the Severn.

    As does Interwubjesustalin.
    • CommentAuthorE0157H7
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2009
     (5626.7)
    Pepsi introduces "throwback" promotional versions of Pepsi Cola and Mountain Dew made with older formulas that use cane sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup. Masses of US citizens suddenly wonder why they've been pumping HFC down their throats for the last two decades.
  3.  (5626.8)
    made with older formulas that use cane sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup

    BUT ONLY temporarily, which is silly bullshit. Aside from the fact that cheap soda probably enables more health problems in the US than all the drug use that's ever happened since 1965, Coke and Pepsi should already always have a more expensive, real sugar line; it would make them a little money (Coke tastes hell of better anyway, and is tastier than Jones soda as well).

    You can get Mexican-bottled cane-sugar Coke in Mexican groceries, but once I've committed to paying for real sugar, then hell with soda altogether I get myself a bottle of Honest Tea which is the best god damn beverage in the world. (Mango Acai? OH MY GOD...) But fuck corn syrup. I don't touch the stuff.
    • CommentAuthorVerissimus
    • CommentTimeApr 21st 2009
     (5626.9)
    Nuclear power isn't made from magical pixie dust, it's extracted from uranium which is actually in short supply.

    If we start using it to supply, say, 90 % of all our energy needs, it would be gone in decades. So I really don't understand why Lovelock is suddenly opting for going nuclear.
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeApr 21st 2009
     (5626.10)
    Decades should be plenty of time to sort out renewables, with a serious level of commitment.
    •  
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeApr 21st 2009
     (5626.11)
    It might also give us time to figure out and thus switch over to fusion plants.
    •  
      CommentAuthorOsmosis
    • CommentTimeApr 21st 2009
     (5626.12)
    @ Arjan

    1) reprocessing
    2) MOX
    3) breeder reactors
    • CommentAuthorE0157H7
    • CommentTimeApr 21st 2009
     (5626.13)
    @ BrianMowrey - It's a combination of sugar tariffs and corn subsidies. We don't use HFCS because it's inherently cheaper or easier than using cane sugar, it's because we've manufactured an economic environment where using corn products is more desirable than alternatives.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeApr 21st 2009 edited
     (5626.14)
    Osmosis:

    As far as breeder reactors go, every single one built to date has either exploded, caught fire or melted. Except for the one in Russia that exploded, caught fire AND melted.

    Also, even if breeders work as designed they would only produce 105-110% of the fuel they consume, meaning 80-90% of all reactors would need to be breeders - which are inherently more expensive than pressurised water reactors because of the need for two separate coolant cycles.

    There's also the point that if we wanted to make a significant dent in total world energy demand we'd need to increase the rate of reactor construction about 10-fold, especially seeing as many older reactors will need to be repacled in the next couple of decades.

    Expanding the pool of engineers capable of designing, constructing and running nuclear reactors 10-fold woudl take decades.

    We're going to continue to run nuclear reactors, we'll probably end up running more than we do now - but they're no panacea for the world's energy problems.

    And I haven't even mentioned the environmental and human cost of Uranium mining - the bit of the supposedly clean and safe industry people don't like to talk about.
    • CommentAuthorvian
    • CommentTimeApr 21st 2009
     (5626.15)
    See, and now uranium mining is something I need to look into. But as everyone reading this is probably already aware, Lovelock's idea is akin to being on a plane running low on fuel - start throwing shit out the window in the hope that it'll keep you in the air long enough to reach land.

    Daniel Goleman's Ecological Intelligence came out today. It describes what little we know about how our everyday lives affect the environment. I've only flipped through it so far, and it's interesting, but I'm not sure if he acknowledges that the idea of 'sustainable development' isn't something like to help us out by this point.
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      CommentAuthorJon Wake
    • CommentTimeApr 21st 2009
     (5626.16)
    Lets not forget that James Lovelock is batshit insane and actually proposed the exact same global warming reversal tool that made its debut in Highlander 2: The Quickening. He's also been pretty notoriously wrong about overpopulation rates. I love t he guy like a kitten loves nipples, but he lost his shit years ago.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeApr 21st 2009
     (5626.17)
    What Jon said.
    • CommentAuthorRictus
    • CommentTimeApr 21st 2009
     (5626.18)
    Name it not!

    The name must never be spoke.
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeApr 21st 2009
     (5626.19)
    Kosher Coke, available just before Passover in cities with observant Jewish neighborhoods, is made with cane sugar.
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      CommentAuthorBZedan
    • CommentTimeApr 22nd 2009
     (5626.20)
    I suppose it isn't terribly grim (a little ice age is relatively whatevs), but it is pretty creepy, visually—our sun has gone quite quiet. Shit is cyclic, &c., but it is very still and makes me wonder what trouble it is planning. I wonder what the noise it puts out sounds like now?