May 31, 2011
“Killing the Darlings of Minamisoma” (trailer)
This trailer is part 4 of 4 of “In the Radiation Zone: the Children of Minamisoma”, a behind-the-scenes look at what happened during the filming of the feature documentary “Killing the Darlings of Minamisoma”.
STORY: The children of Minamisoma City, Japan are living amid high levels of radiation and toxic rain after the meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Will the children be evacuated as some experts advise, or will they stay where they are inside the 30 km zone and head back to school as the government has ordered?
Two guys with a camera – moving around, asking questions, talking to the local people. Stark, simple, surreal, and moving.
See the other parts of the film below the jump:
FREEDOM OF information laws are critical tools that allow Americans to see what their leaders do on their behalf. But some global warming skeptics in Virginia are showing that even the best tools can be misused.
It’s more evidence of the twisted and perverse nature of America’s right wing know-nothing brigade, that legislation dedicated to greater openness in politics could be used as an instrument of repression. Lately we’ve seen a number of instances where far right wing organizations and individuals are attempting to use the Freedom of Information Act as a tool to intimidate, silence, and punish their perceived adversaries. In Michigan, educators have been put on notice that their emails may be subject to seizure if they contain key words such as “Madison”, “Scott Walker”, “Wisconsin”, or even “Maddow”. The obvious take-away for would-be thinkers in academia is that if you are discussing current events with students or colleagues, you are a person of interest.
In Virginia, the State’s Climate denialist Attorney General, Ken Cuchinelli, along with the American Tradition Institute (ATI), a right wing think tank, have been demanding to see emails from climate researcher Michael Mann, formerly of the University of Virginia, now at Penn State.
Kuchinelli’s primary claim to fame has been his crusade to change the Virginia State Seal so as to cover an all-too-arousing nipple on the figure of the Roman goddess Virtus.
A judge recently denied Kuchinelli’s request, but is granting ATI’s.
Ever feel like the government is just not listening to you? You’ll appreciate this.
Arnie Gunderson was given 5 minutes to speak by phone bridge to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards.
Notice the difficulty Arnie has getting thru, and the amount of cross talk and extraneous noise from the other end.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) held a special ACRS meeting Thursday May 26, 2011 on the current status of Fukushima.
Arnie Gundersen was invited to speak for 5 minutes concerning the lessons learned from the Fukushima accident as it pertains to the 23 Mark 1 Boiling Water Reactors (BWR’s) in the US and containment integrity.
Mr. Gundersen was the first engineer to brief the NRC on the implication of Main Steam Isolation Valve (MSIV) Leakage in 1974, and he has been studying containment integrity since 1972.
The NRC has constantly maintained in all of its calculations and reviews that there is zero probability of a containment leaking. For more than six years, in testimony and in correspondence with the NRC, Mr. Gundersen has disputed the NRC’s stand that containment systems simply do not and cannot leak.
The events at Fukushima have proven that Gundersen was correct. The explosions at Fukushima show that Mark 1 containments will lose their integrity and release huge amounts of radiation, as Mr. Gundersen has been telling the NRC for many years.
GOP Gov. Chris Christie: “We have an obligation to reduce our Greenhouse Gas emissions.” Translation: I am running for President in 2016.
May 27, 2011
If you had any question whether GOP darling Chris Christie was going to enter the 2012 race, those are now answered.
Surveying the reality-free Tea Party freak show that is the current republican presidential field, Christie has opted out. And he has fired the first shot of his 2016 campaign by committing himself to a program of free-market incentives for combatting climate change, reducing greenhouse emissions, and accelerating New Jersey’s development of renewable energy and conservation.
The video above is a shortened version of the 14 minute statement released on May 26, titled “The Future is Green”. Click here to see the long version.
Christie starts out with some red meat for his right flank, by withdrawing from RGGI, the 10 state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which conservatives hate due to the price on carbon that is the heart of that program. That much is standard GOP politics in the age of Sara Palin science.
From there, however, he quickly veers into frontiers of rational thought unknown to GOP candidates for some years -
John Abraham contacted me shortly after I completed my videos lambasting “His Lordship” Christopher Monckton. He said he was a professor at a college in St Paul, and had been doing some research to find out how much of Monckton’s YouTube hit St Paul Lecture, which Abraham had attended, was actually true.
Well, of course, turns out almost none of it. And when I finally got to listen to Abraham’s complete presentation, I knew he had done something special. By spending the hundreds of hours necessary to piece together the supposed sources of Monckton’s “science”, Abraham had gone much further than I had in completely deconstructing one of the vaunted heroes of climate denial.
Monckton has never recovered. Not long ago he was the republican party’s sole witness in hearings before congress on the subject. Now he is such an embarrassment, that his name is no longer mentioned by anyone who wishes to preserve even a thread of credibility.
John has gone on to become a co-founder of the Climate Science Rapid Response Team – one of the most effective and widely accessed resources for journalists needing clarification on climate issues and climate disinformation.
In the audio interview above, Abraham shows how to get the job done when faced with a hostile right wing interviewer – telling the truth, powering thru the harassment and making them like it.
Arnie Gundersen explains how containment vents were added to the GE Mark 1 BWR as a “band aid” 20 years after the plants built in order to prevent an explosion of the notoriously weak Mark 1 containment system. Obviously the containment vent band aid fix did not work since all three units have lost containment integrity and are leaking radioactivity. Gundersen also discusses seismic design flaws, inadequate evacuation planning, and the taxpayer supported nuclear industry liability fund.
If you haven’t watched this video yet, do so now.
I generally eschew covering the “inside baseball” controversies of deniers versus the reality based community, but this one’s pretty good, and if it goes to court, the above Climate Crocks video might be a prominent exhibit.
Here’s the latest. Scientific American has now published an interview with Richard Muller, in which Muller repeats the most popular climate denial talking points related to Mike Mann’s famous and endlessly replicated hockey stick temperature graph, and throws in unsupportable slurs against Al Gore, the IPCC, and climate science in general. The magazine’s editors did not see fit to fact check any of the statements.
All of which generally ticked off the redoubtable and pugnacious Joe Romm – who has now launched a withering blog-osphere assault on the august icon of American science writing, with the above Climate Crock video as a leading exhibit. Mike Mann is quoted in the piece:
“..Anyone who thinks that Richard Muller has any credibility at all should see this recent video report by Peter Sinclair, which shows him clearly lying about the science and the scientists. There is no room for such dishonesty when it comes to discussions of science.”
Which means, I guess, that if Muller hasn’t seen the video in which he plays a starring role, yet, he will with breakfast this morning.
Read the rest of this entry »
The ongoing disaster at the Fukushima nuclear facility has pushed the massive Japanese economy on a path towards efficiency and renewable energy that could change the global power production equation. Time Magazine reports:
7-Eleven may seem like just another overly lit, electricity-burning chain store wasting this island nation’s precious energy resources. But in fact, it is among a host of forward-looking companies seeking to help set the pace for change in Japan’s energy policy. With more than 13,000 locations nationwide, the chain plans to spend over $123 million to switch to energy-efficient LED lighting at about 6,000 outlets in Tokyo, and will install solar panels on the roofs of 1,000 stores across the country over the next few months. The plan will not only save 125 kW a day per store, but also benefit manufacturers of LED lighting and solar-cell panels — a win-win for all.
Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi power plant accident, the world’s second worst nuclear disaster after Chernobyl, has left a gaping hole in — and perhaps a new opportunity for — Japan’s energy policy. At a press conference last week, Prime Minister Naoto Kan effectively scrapped Japan’s plan for increasing domestic electricity supply. “Under the current energy policy, by the year 2030, more than 50% of Japan’s electricity will come from nuclear power generation and 20% from renewable energy sources,” he said. “However, we now have to go back to the drawing board and conduct a fundamental review of the nation’s basic energy policy.” Renewable-energy experts agree that the ongoing nuclear crisis, while tragic, could be a remarkable opportunity to move away from the country’s focus on nuclear power development and imported fossil fuels toward solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and other natural domestic sources.
May 21, 2011
“Bill Gross, chairman of eSolar and founder of Idealab, discusses how Moore’s Law provides a new weapon in the fight to make solar energy technologies more productive and cost-competitive. After examining current solar energy harnessing techniques, Gross focused his attention on applying Moore’s Law to high-efficiency solar conversion systems. eSolar was founded to work on the development of these ideas. In this clip, Gross describes the technology behind eSolar’s current solutions.”
Soaring gas prices in 2008 helped cripple Detroit’s automakers, but there’s a different vibe in the industry today, even though gas prices are volatile and hovering around $4 a gallon.
Motorists aren’t pushing the panic button, and neither are automakers. Owners of gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs, who rushed to unload them three years ago, are taking a wait-and-see attitude. Shoppers in the market for a new car or truck aren’t delaying purchases, but shifting to smaller or more fuel-efficient vehicles — many of them from domestic brands…
As a result, demand is holding up — 20 percent stronger this year, compared to last — as the industry’s fragile recovery continues. U.S. car and truck sales are expected to reach 13 million vehicles this year, comparable to 2008 but well above 2009′s 10.4 million tally.
When gas hit a national high of $4.06 per gallon in 2008, consumers’ love affair with big vehicles ended abruptly. Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC felt the sting worse than foreign rivals because they were more dependent on large fuel-thirsty but highly profitable vehicles.
The story quotes car dealers saying that smaller, fuel efficient cars are selling “..right off the convoy trucks.” One dealer in Ann Arbor said he “can’t get enough” Fiestas and Focuses. “I wish we had twice as many.”
GM announced in the face of 4 dollar plus gas, it is boosting production of Chevrolet Volts – in the face of “tremendous consumer demand..”
General Motors Co. plans to boost production for its range-extending electric car, the Chevrolet Volt, to 16,000 vehicles this year, and 60,000 in 2012, the company said today.
The Detroit carmaker had originally planned to build 15,000 Volts this year, and 45,000 in 2012, but strong demand for the battery-powered car has prompted the company to churn out more.