Still need an argument against nuclear fuel? As a father, this truly pisses me off…

We’re responsible for our children. So when suddenly, for someone happens to note a “smoking gun” like here, for severe birth defects, and the official position is to advise people to “take your folic acid” – while there is a very much smoking gun in the vicinity, in this case of Yakima, WA, this makes up for an unbelievable story.

Read more…

By mnott on 2014/02/19 | Politics | A comment?

Peak Helium

In an article from the New Scientist, Nobel Price Winner Robert Richardson discusses the reasons for a shortage of Helium which may run out within 25 years from now for purely politial reasons. In summary, Helium is used in technical applications like MRI scanners where it cools superconducting magnets. This works since there’s no substance with lower boiling point (4.22 K). While it is, after Hydrogen, the most abundantly available substance in the universe, accounting for about 24% of the elemental mass of our galaxy, it is relatively rare on our planet – about 0.00052 % by volume in the atmosphere. Extracting it from the air would make its price rise by 10,000 times. Nevertheless, Helium is “sold out” by the U.S. government who holds about 50 % of the Earth’s helium stocks in a national Helium reserve – about a billion cubic metres in a facility near Amarillo, Texas:

In 1996 Congress passed an act requiring that this strategic reserve […] be sold off by 2015. As a result, helium is far too cheap and is not treated as a precious resource.

By mnott on 2010/08/21 | Politics | A comment?

Globalization works…

According to the German newsletter “Der Spiegel“, quoting the “Financial Times“, the salaries in the U.S. have declined to such a degree that Indian Call Center operators displace jobs from India to the U.S. where wages have gone down so dramatically that they can actually compete with those in India.

Pramod Bhasin, the chief executive of Genpact, said his company expected to treble its workforce in the US over the next two years, from about 1,500 employees now. Suresh Vaswani, joint chief executive of Wipro Technologies, forecasts that half of his company’s overseas workforce will be non-Indians in two years, from the current 39 per cent.

By mnott on 2010/08/20 | Politics | A comment?

U.S. Military afraid of their own personnel knowing the truth

According to The Huffington Post, the U.S. Military has banned their own personnel from accessing WikiLeaks even from their private computers. Money quote:

USMC Personnel (Marines/Civilians/Contractors) are hereby cautioned and directed to NOT access the WIKILEAKS website from a personally owned, publically owned or US Government computer system.
By willingly accessing the WIKILEAKS website for the purpose of viewing the posted classified material – these actions constitute the unauthorized processing, disclosure, viewing, and downloading of classified information onto an UNAUTHORIZED computer system not approved to store classified information. Meaning they have WILLINGLY committed a SECURITY VIOLATION.

Now how shaming is that? Not only that they try to do whatever they can to remove things from the public domain, they also try to keep their own people away from knowing the truth. We’ve had this before. Many times. Last time I remember, this was Eastern Germany.

Here’s a suggestion. Let’s print out the whole lot of documents and publish it as a book. Send loads of them to the average american household. Did I hear someone say Fahrenheit 451?

By mnott on 2010/08/07 | Politics | A comment?

Craig Venter: ‘We Have Learned Nothing from the Genome’

The german magazine “Der Spiegel” has an interesting Interview with Craig Venter.

Money quote:

SPIEGEL: So the Human Genome Project has had very little medical benefits so far?

Venter: Close to zero to put it precisely.

By mnott on 2010/07/30 | Politics | A comment?

Who counts – Some thoughts that could apply to a consultant…

“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

By mnott on 2009/07/06 | Politics | A comment?