Thursday, November 13, 2008

Chaotic Stream of Consciousness

Cthulhu enjoys randomness and in no particular order -

Urgh, I don't have a lot of time to do this tonight; I'm way way behind on writing a 10-15 minute speech for tomorrow's Navy-Marine Birthday Ball at my alma-mater NROTC unit. Great - local boy made good tell all the midshipmen about history, leadership, ethics. How about - study it, do it by example, and make sure yours are spotless, respectively. Seriously, I don't mind speaking, but in 9 months, I'm back to just a regular old mid-grade officer.

So a new study from Europe shows that excessive abdominal fat is more dangerous than subcutaneous fat, because it is: a. between organs, and b. "active" in that it produces hormones and chemicals that can affect those organs. The study recommends men maintain waists below 40 inches. Now I'm not in bad shape, I actually outran a few young'uns this year on my PT test, but I am right on the border. I really need to get back on the wagon - a few years back I was in incredible shape, but rapidly expanding families and commitments did their thing. Time to do my thing again.

Some of you remember that I enjoy burffets. That's good, because Now I own one. Hah. But there isn't "what there is is there's burners". Can't wait to fire it up during this holiday season.

Wind? Solar? Fuzzyfoggy "New, alternative green energy sources?". How about developed, mature and stable technology that emits ZERO carbon dioxide? Ummm...nope. We're too needlessly scared of non-weapons grade uranium and thermal neutrons. We'll let the company sell it to everyone else though. Romania, Panama, Cayman Islands, Bahamas, coming in 2013.

Okay...done...wanted to find a criminal so amazingly stupid that it made my eyes pop out, but couldn't find one.

Time to write my talking notes.


Dawn on MDI said...

good luck tomorrow with the speech.

Military use of nuclear reactors is far more advanced and safe that the standard commercial operations. I worked with guys who built the Seabrook, NH plant and the Wiscasset, Maine plants and the stories of shortcuts and bullshit were enough to terrify you. And when the Seabrook plant was under construction in the 1980s, there was a liquor store directly across Route 1 from the north gate to the plant. At lunchtime, there was a cop posted there to allow fifteen vehicles at a time across to the packy and then back again into the gates with their purchases. THe store did not sell food beyond beef jerky and gum. So sue me if my trust is not what it could be in the whole operation.

These are the same guys who built the Big Dig. I worked with some of them at a big project in South Portland, Maine, where we were working with clean room technology and everything was supposed to be super high-tech, first-quality, perfect stuff. Nope. 3/8 rod hangers instead of the 1/2 inch ones the plans called for, galvanized strap hangers to hold up stainless steel duct (we put duct tape on the hanger to prevent oxidization). And those are just two baby things. You don't want to know what the heavy-duty chemical exhaust processing systems looked like. You just don't want to know.

I'll believe that the Navy has figured out how to run nukes safely in its subs, but not in the commercial realm, where profit, not safety and performance is the top priority.

Dr. Momentum said...

Burfets are the real alternative energy source. Ask any expanding waistline.

But seriously, your slow-cooker is going to be able to kick the ass of any other slow-cooker on the block.

Stickthulhu said...

Dawn, you will not find an argument from me about the quality of large-scale commercial nuke plants in the states. Incidentally, your tales of workmanship remind me of one of my experiences in Maine, when I was pre-commissioning XO on a destroyer being built in Bath. Across from BIW is a small pizza joint, and every Friday the Captain and I would host any of the other officers there who wanted to some pizza. I was shocked when I went in the first time and saw "Iron Workers" ordering their lunch - one guy orders a sandwich and a pitcher of beer. When asked how many glasses, he says he only needs one. Wow. And this guy's building the warships that will take our sons and daughters into harm's way. Turns out without a name, there isn't much anyone can do.

K, back to the topic - I took a nukyilar engineering course in college, and did a research paper on radioisotope thermal generators in grad school, so I know just enough to be dangerous and possibly inaccurate ;-)

These water-pool reactors being built are pretty much apples/oranges to the plants built decades ago. Unlike a power plant that needs extensive controls, miles of piping, pumps, control rods, electronics, etc etc, these are basically a "nuclear battery" for blocks of homes. By using a low-grade material in a water-cooled, sealed power generator with no moving parts, you take away the need to have that big, complex power plant whose quality and safety depends upon the mood or sobriety of the pipefitter who came to work that day. Not that these could not have quality control issues, but their impact would not even register on a Chernyobl scale, so much so that I hesitate to even mention that disaster.

Hence, I think it much more viable.

Stickthulhu said...

James - alternative energy yes, but greenhouse gas production would be significant if they were loaded with chili and cheese & broccoli soup!