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We Just Don’t Pay Attention

December 31, 2011

It’s a very sobering feeling to be up in space and realize that one’s safety factor was determined by the lowest bidder on a government contract.  Alan Shepard  

Astronaut Shepard was too damned accurate with that statement. The lowest bidder concept holds true for just about everything.  Just ask an engineer.  Seldom do engineers or contractors hear “Money is no object”.   Sure, Nuclear energy is a wonderful, clean, sustainable source of energy, that happens to be processed and engineered by humans with two agendas. 1. Corner the resources for oil, gas or nuclear energy, and 2. Make sure the world remains dependent on their product, even as it runs out.

Sure, corporations promote natural gas as the fossil fuel of tomorrow.  Except fossil fuel is a diminishing energy asset, regardless if it is mud, oil or gas.

There is no such thing as CHEAP ENERGY! But, we expect:

1. Cheap energy at cheap cost and cheap maintenance as the agenda, but, we are missing ‘cheap consequences’.  Cause and effect are lost in the shuffle. Cheap energy is all very nice … until Mother Nature throws one of her many monkey wrenches into the picture. The entire United States Budget System is designed to “save taxpayer money” where it can be bragged about, and classify as secret, the money spent that it does not want you to know about.  Reluctantly, the government will assign funds to clean up the mess it makes by saving your visible money. (But, that will be a different post.)

2. No accountability for anyone, the manufacturer or the consumer.  Taxpayers have no idea what they are buying, whether it is a loaf of bread or a nuclear submarine. All taxpayers want is to stay oblivious to the details.  Taxpayers want the perks but complain about paying for them.  That’s where the corporations can and have taken over the advertising of those perks, even when they are destructive.  Accountability is a double edged sword.  Everyone must be accountable, not just voters and those they elect, but the corporations who control the message.

It is OK for voters to be oblivious, because they expect the people they elect to represent their best interest.  If voters paid attention long enough, they would recognize their best interests are replaced by corporate money.

When the people voters elect tend to vote certain ways that may puzzle their home district, that is always OK because, “they represent my conservative Christian values”.  Just ask what exactly those “Christian values” are.  Trust me, you will hear the script they have been taught (by corporations using religion) to convince them that they are the exclusive voice of America,  and must protect their own kind.  That’s what Jeezus would want them to do!

Ask these very special ‘Christian’ voters what they know about nuclear energy.  Ask them about the consequences of ruining water sources to extract the last drop of fossil fuel in the form of ‘natural gas’.  Just remove the word ‘Natural’ and you have the most Un-natural’ source of energy mankind can steal from the diminishing energy cupboard. …

Mother Jones has an eye opening article: The Radioactive Ocean  Radioactivity is increasing in the waters near Japan’s Fukushima plant. But nuclear pollution in the oceans is nothing new. Just like plastic and trash islands, waste water pollution and oil spills.

Quotes from US Presidents and Bill Gates fall short of the consequences of nuclear energy accidents.  The “everything will work out just fine” placation is the most dangerous attitude a leader can take. Here are some of our leaders words about nuclear energy.      
– All the waste in a year from a nuclear power plant can be stored under a desk. Ronald Reagan
– I call upon the scientific community in our country, those who gave us nuclear weapons, to turn their great talents now to the cause of mankind and world peace: to give us the means of rendering these nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete. Ronald Reagan
– When we think of the major threats to our national security, the first to come to mind are nuclear proliferation, rogue states and global terrorism. But another kind of threat lurks beyond our shores, one from nature, not humans – an avian flu pandemic.  Barack Obama
– As a nuclear power – as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon – the United States has a moral responsibility to act. Barack Obama
– Almost every way we make electricity today, except for the emerging renewables and nuclear, puts out CO2. And so, what we’re going to have to do at a global scale, is create a new system. And so, we need energy miracles. Bill Gates
– Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war that we know about peace, more about killing that we know about living.  Omar N. Bradley
NeoConservatives think concern over the long term safety of nuclear energy is not a problem.  I would agree if,  engineers were a little more responsible with their decisions.  After all, engineers answer to the money men who fund their projects.  Money men are always trying to cut costs.  This is the normal cycle of progress.  To expand on Astronaut Alan Shepard’s statement, engineers have to fit their creations into the purse that buys it.
This quote from by Dr. Phil Taverna,  Nuclear Energy Still a Better Alternative than Green Technologies, really bothers me.
“So Japan made a few mistakes. Engineers make mistakes all the time. But when you look back at Japan, their nuclear problems are very small compared to all the physical damage that has occurred caused by Mother Nature. And the death toll of the tsunami overshadows the death toll caused by the immediate nuclear upset. But since these folks are calm and respectful, they will get through it and they will make their nuclear program better than ever. They will repair the damage caused by the Tsunami and get on with their prosperous lives.” We have been told lies and vague facts to promote a source of energy that. The fact is our entire world is in danger of severe contamination and ruination from nuclear power and nuclear weapons. Nuclear power and weapons are a scourge upon the Earth.”   Is there one near you? Find out here.  
Don’t forget the sales job we have been served about how wonderful the natural gas energy boom is.  It is a sales job that does not want to hear that your water will be made unusable and your faucet might explode. 

The NY Times has done a 9 month series that exposes both sides of the quest for cheap energy.  Drilling DownArticles in the Drilling Down series from The New York Times examine the risks of natural-gas drilling and efforts to regulate this rapidly growing industry

Hunt for Gas Hits Fragile Soil, and South Africans Fear Risks

Texas Sharon. Bluedaze: Drilling, is totally devoted to exposing the risks she has encountered, first hand.   Pipeline blast getting a new look

I am not advocating “Technophobia” as it is defined in WIKI.  I am imploring a more responsible use of the powerful technology the modern world has become totally dependent  upon.  The modern, technically advanced countries have lost touch with the planet we all occupy.  Technology has made us addicts, dependent on cheap abundant energy and infinite resources.  The immovable wall of reality is approaching very fast, and too few advanced countries are willing to deal with it.  Multinational corporations want to squeeze every drip of currency out of the remaining resources that they can, before we hit the wall.  If I was a conspiracy buff, I would unfold corporate logic to the next step and prepare a sustainable bunker for my favorite, wealthy people.  While the unprepared perish, the prepared will be left to figure out how to maintain their survival.  Personally, if I chose who to survive with, it would not be the most arrogant wasteful, user population, rich or not.

The bottom line is that the few resources this planet has to offer the human, plant and animal population, is being soiled at an alarming rate.  Air, water and tillable earth is being ruined, wasted or built upon at a rate that will starve out or poison earth’s life forms.
“Individuals Tending To Savagery” Anti-Technology Group Sent Bomb To Monterrey Technological Institute Professsors
I am not a Luddite  (a social movement of 19th-century English textile artisans who protested – often by destroying mechanised looms – against the changes produced by the Industrial Revolution, which they felt were leaving them without work and changing their way of life. The movement was named after General Ned Ludd or King Ludd, a mythical figure who, like Robin Hood, was reputed to live in Sherwood Forest.[1])

I also do not totally advocate The Luddite fallacy is an opinion in development economics related to the belief that labour-saving technologies increase unemployment by reducing demand for labour. Besides job destruction, Luddites claimed that automation made the rich richer and the poor poorer. Economists have found that between 1980 and 2005, American jobs vulnerable to automation were lost, forcing workers into either low paying manual work or high paying technical work that is inherently difficult to automate. One study by MIT economists David Autor and David Dorn drew on evidence from the United States Department of Labor to show that automation caused sharp losses of middle class jobs, forcing a polarization of wages and greater income inequality. The phenomenon of polarization due to automation is not confined to the US, also occurring in 15 of 16 European countries for which data is available.[4]

We can see the Luddites assertions in play today, mainly because of corporate misbehavior, even more than in the early 1900s. But, the Luddites may have been on to something.  Today in America, we have placed faith in the future of technology.  The selling points are tremendous; sanitation, clean water, fresh food, modern medicine and transportation.  All these treasures are taken for granted right now, because we have had generations to forget the basics.

I would not even know how to function without my computer right now.  But, when I go outside and look at my yard, I see the neglect caused by my distraction with electronic, indoor activities.  Most of my indoor work is necessary, like laundry and cooking.  But if you unplug my life, and all my batteries run down, I am like almost everyone else … lost!  Because I blog, I do much of my research online.  Without online resources, my research is confined to learning the names of my next door neighbors. Without flipping a switch, I will not have hot water or use a hairdryer.  I will have to hunt for charcoal to boil water on the porch, for my coffee.  I will fret about using the gas in my tank to run to the store … will the store have fresh food?  Not if there is no electricity.

Everything I have learned has a foundation of electricity.  When there is power interruption, it has always been quaint to camp out in the house and porch.  When I really think about it, my thinking and ability to solve basic mechanical problems has been handed over to electronic devices.  If I can’t call someone for help on my cell phone, I can look it up on the computer.  So, without electricity for an extended period of time, I am left to my own devices.  My gardening ability is a joke and would never feed me adequately.  I would have to totally rethink everything, all by myself.  Scary thought.  I have concluded that modern civilization has handed its collective brains over to electronic machines.  Enter the ROBOT conspiracy buffs.  Robots?  Artificial Intelligence?

Don’t forget, it all really began with the light bulb …

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