Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fukushima a Ticking Nuclear Timebomb


Japan's Ticking 

And just when you thought it was all over - the truth starts to leak out!

100 feet up in the air inside a badly damaged building sits a pool of water. This pool contains some 10 times the deadly poisonous material of Chernobyl in the form of a very large quantity of spent nuclear fuel.

All that is preventing a massive disaster that would make Chernobyl look like a Sunday picnic is the water in the pool, if it should leak out Japan would be history.

The Nightmare Scenario:

1. The pool structure was damaged by the hydrogen explosion that shattered the reactor building..
2. The structure of the building itself, which is holding up the pool, is compromised.
3. The pool is open to the elements - covered only by a plastic sheet.
4. The Company has consistently lied about the actual dangers involved, and have no clear strategy for removing the deadly material.
5. The Fukushima plant is in a highly active earthquake zone.
6. Tornadoes have touched down not too far away.

I would not be sleeping easily if I lived in, or even near, Japan. The Fukushima directors should be tried for treason and the reckless endangerment of the planet.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Cool Roofs - Gas and Electricity Price Increases


Painting a Roof White 
in Warm Countries 
Saves Substantial Energy

In the US several states are signing into law a statute which decrees that the roofs of all new buildings must have a coat of reflective paint.

Many existing homes and business premises are also having a whitewash job done on the roof. Just look at the photo above and you will see a whole neighbourhood is whitewashing.

Mayor Michael Nutter Philadelphia signs cool roof bill into law. 

The Mayor of Philadelphia is a "nutter" only in name - Mayor Michael Nutter seen signing the whitewash rule into law.

Incentive to Save Energy

When power prices go up, people get more inventive in ways to save energy. A simple coating of reflective paint on a roof in hot climates, can save hundreds of dollars in electricity used in air conditioners. By reflecting away a high percentage of the suns rays, the roof structure can stay substantially cooler, and consequently the rest of the building.

Simple ideas to save energy are usually the best. Talking about saving energy, Irish consumers will have added incentive to save energy, as both gas and electricity prices are set to increase. This is in the face of the fact that oil prices have reached a two year low. The old Rip-Off factor is cutting-in again I fear.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Irish Politics and Government


A suggested new type of
Parliamentary System for Ireland

Rant Warning Issued

1.  There would be 30 maximum number of MPs elected. There is never much more than that in the chamber anyway.

2. Election would be on a countrywide basis – no electoral areas involved –  no constituencies or constituents to answer to, and therefore no cronyism or favour repaying or regional power broking.

3. There would be NO candidature for the election. Every citizen in good standing over 21 years, would be eligible for election.

4. All individuals with any history of shady banking, tax, or business dealings would automatically be eliminated. All those with criminal records would be discounted.

5. All sitting and previous TDs and Senators etc. would be excluded in the initial 7 years of the new system.

6. Electioneering, advertising, jockeying for position, or any other form of trumpet blowing would immediately invalidate individuals from the election. Citizens so doing on behalf of others would both eliminate themselves and those they canvassed for.

7. Every citizen of the electorate would be asked to write the names and addresses of 5 people irrespective of age, sex, or position, who they felt would best serve the country.

8. The criteria for the named individuals would be; honesty, truthfulness, maturity, lack of ego, freedom from party political divisive thinking, and a desire to serve the nation.

9. Five only names on the paper, more or less would invalidate, the names would need some identifying information such as address etc.

10. The counting would be simple; the 30 individuals with the highest number of ballots would be elected.

11. No challenges allowed to the count – results are final.

12. The 30 elected would undergo an intensive training of at least 3 months to assist them in undertaking the task ahead. The training would include, moral and ethical training, emotional intelligence, consultation skills, rapport creating skills, consensus thinking, lateral thinking, etc.

13. During training, any who felt they could not serve would be replaced automatically by the next on the list from the count.

14. By-elections would not be necessary due to deaths or retirement, the list would simply be moved up the required number.

15. Any MPs who are found to curry favours, do deals, get involved in property or other business dealings, could be voted out of the house by the other deputies.

16. They would automatically be replaced by the next available name on the count list.

17. Consensus would be the methodology employed by the new house but in a vote 2 over half of those present would carry.  If there were 20 in the house – 12 would carry a vote.

18. MPs would NOT be answerable to their constituents – they would not have a constituency.

19. Any form of lobbying would be forbidden by law, and would carry penalties.

20.  Annual salary would be €60,000.

21.  Salary would only be paid on the days actually attended at the Dail, with the exception of sick leave, where two doctors signed off.

22.  Expenses would be capped at €10,000 maximum per year, and all payments be conditional on valid receipts being produced.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Why No Wood Pellet Posts?


Say NO 
to Wood Pellets

I have been asked why, on a Blog with an address titled wood-pellet-ireland, have I not written any posts on the subject for many months.

The answers are:

(1)  I believe wood pellet heaters are way over priced.
(2)  Wood pellets are notoriously difficult to store, as any dampness destroys them.
(3)  Maintenance of wood pellet stoves and boilers is a VERY costly business compared to solid fuel and oil boilers. There is a rip-off in parts prices and parts are unique to individual makes and they can charge what they want..
(4)  Wood pellet technology has not been refined as yet, boiler design is still very primitive.
(5)  The quality of the fuel is very variable and cannot be fully trusted.
(6)  Despite fairly generous grants, wood pellet systems do not, in the long term, offer any real saving to the user. Any savings in fuel costs are outweighed by the crazy price of the units and later by maintenance costs.

There are more reasons which mitigate against wood pellet heating but I will not labour the point. I would not touch wood pellet heating myself.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Futurum Historia Thorium, Uranium et Plutonium


Will Thorium Feature
in the Future History
of World Energy?

I have been reading up a little bit about a nuclear fuel which is purported to be:

1.  Intrinsically safe in terms of meltdown.
2.  Fractionally the cost of Uranium or Plutonium.
3.  Widely available.
3. Much safer in terms of toxic waste.
4. The short term answer to an imminent energy crisis.

The fuel is Thorium, an element widely present in the soil, and in its natural form, it is not considered highly dangerous, and certainly not in the same league as Uranium.

I am currently reading a book called "Super Fuel" by Richard Martin just published by Macmillan, which has some interesting insights into the fuel.

I have also come upon information on a new type of "mini" Thorium reactor that purportedly can be used in any backyard, so to speak.

I will be writing about Thorium in the coming weeks.


Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Fergus Finlay on Austerity and Society


I highly recommend the following article by Fergus Finlay. It voices a sentiment badly in need of being articulated, and it outlines an imminent danger to the stability of our society. It closely echoes the fears I have been voicing on this blog about the widening gap between the haves and the have-nots, a financially insulated Parliament and Government, and attitudes among the leaders of our society which shout out: "If we don't mention it, it might go away", and "Let them eat cake", "What recession - we're OK"

Just some of my rants on the subject:


What follows is a series of extracts from the full piece as published by the Examiner.

Extracts from a
Cutting and Clear Article on
Austerity and Society
by Fergus Finlay

Published in The Irish Examiner, Tuesday, June 05, 2012. Full article can be read in The Irish Examiner on-line and in the printed editions. (see link below)

Forgotten Words like Equal, Fair or even Just

(The Fiscal Treaty Referendum) - - - it’s over. We’ve taken the plunge. We’ve all learned a lot. So would you mind if I tried to I re-introduce a couple of other words into the discussion?

Words like: Equal? Or Fair? Or even Just? They’re the forgotten words. - - - And the word that slipped into complete oblivion in the course of this entire debate was the word Society.

We are living in a FRAGILE SOCIETY

And that matters — a lot — because it’s not only our economy that’s fragile. We’re going to have to wake up pretty soon to the fact that we are living in an increasingly fragile society. In all the referendum excitement (if excitement isn’t too strong a term) we have forgotten completely that this is a country made up of people. People who live in fear, and hope, and despair. I don’t know if all those people are one day going to take to the streets, as they have in other countries. It will happen if the anger becomes stronger than the despair.

It used to be the case that you could characterise the people who were struggling, that you could put them into groups. You knew where they lived — in communities where disadvantage was endemic and multi-generational. But now, - - - Side by side with this "new" poverty, what you might call the "old" poverty has got deeper.  We are a country with hungry children and with high rates of absenteeism from primary school.

We are a country where the provision of decent services for elderly people is governed by a financial cap each year. We are a country where people who spend their whole lives coping with disability in their families are now being charged for a week or two of respite care for their loved ones.

This isn’t new, of course, although it has got worse for some. What is new is that we’ve stopped talking about it. Every week I get invitations to events designed to highlight one injustice or another, or to address some pressing social issue. I would love to be able to attend far more of them than I can, and I have a feeling that if more people did, anger would really begin to boil over.

We can fix the banks, but we seem unable to address increasing suicide rates.

We can put the euro on a sounder footing, but we’re lost in the face of a growing literacy problem.

We can concentrate on stability in the public finances till we’re blue in the face, but we can do nothing for people condemned to live in estates where the promise of regeneration disappeared with the last swish of the tail of the Celtic Tiger.

The Vested Interests - The Entitled - The Professions
Need to share the Austerity

I remember reading somewhere that there could be nobility in austerity. If austerity meant a real sense of shared sacrifice, with those more vulnerable being protected, it would surely have more meaning, wouldn’t it?

If it meant that really powerful vested interests — the professions, the upper echelons of the public service, the politically comfortable and "entitled" — were told that they had to yield to the interests of the whole people, wouldn’t there be a sense in which we were using austerity to build something fairer and more modest?

Instead, the way we apply austerity is by cutting services to those whose protests won’t amount to more than a whimper, and by applying bureaucratic techniques to the delivery of what’s left. We say no to those without a voice, and we whisper yes to those with power and influence. Despite everything, we’ve managed to preserve entitlement for some.

Before it’s too late.

So if we can’t end austerity, let’s put it to work instead, in ending entitlement and in ensuring fairer and more equal shares of a humbler cake. We’ve done what we can for the fragile economy. We must start concentrating, before it’s too late, on our fragile society. At least let’s start talking about it.