2014 — 4 June: Wednesday

I can tell it's June.1

Mind you...

... the silly season is in full swing. An elderly nuclear reactor at Dungeness has just been given a four year stay of execution on the grounds (according to its current operator, EDF) that it is "absolutely safe".2 So that's alright, then. Recall the fallout containment decision made up at Dounreay back in the 1950s?

From a lecture at Strathclyde University
To our dismay, this showed that the site did not comply with the safety distances specified by the health physicists. That was easily put right; with the assumption of a 99% containment the site was unsatisfactory, so we assumed, more realistically, a 99.9% containment, and by doing this we established the fact that the site was perfect...

Christopher Hinton

Mr. Hinton (who had a very distinguished career being one smart cookie) went on to become a noble Lord... But isn't it comforting to know how these safety decisions are made? Recall, too, that in Britain, our guvmint had a policy of trying to site nuclear reactors away (I wonder why?!) from population centres, defining a suitably "remote location" at one point as one with fewer than 600,000 people living within ten miles. Our good neighbours across the Channel do the same, of course, putting all their nuclear eggs in the baskets on the coast nearer to us. (Isn't EDF French, by the way?)

Remaining semi-energetic...

... for just a little longer, here's an item quoting an editorial that appeared in The Economist (not my most trusted source of information over the years) back in 1974:

With their uncorrupted faith in the sublime dynamics of perfect competition, the editorialists of the Economist in London have been proclaiming a coming age of energy abundance in which oil producers will come hat in hand to sell their stuff at declining prices... the present expectations of ever-higher oil and energy prices caused by increasing scarcity are based on the "third-rate political economy of linear projections," which take no account of the inevitable reactions to high prices and their long-run effect on the market.

Edward N. Luttwak in Commentary

Whenever I read...

... one of Roger Scruton's beautifully-crafted essays I invariably find much to disagree with. It's an interesting experience. (Link.)

This is why...

... I avoid drugs. The idea of seeing my mind's executing code gives me the heebie-jeebies :-)

On some occasions 2C-B has given me visibility into what I will call the "assembly" or "machine" language of the mind. As an example, if you see the number 3, the typical response is to identify the symbol as the number 3, and think about its meaning within the context you are seeing it. On a finer scale, many thousands of neurons are connected in the brain's interpretation and identification of the symbol and linkage to the stored memory of 3. While on 2C-B, I've seen that only 80-90% of this mental "signal" comes back as 3, the remaining 10-20% having connected elsewhere in the mind or run into closed synapses, etc. I have found this awareness of the mind's "assembly" language to be simultaneously insightful, discombobulating, and humorous.

Anon in Erowid

(Alexander Shulgin has just died.) There's an interesting YouTube film about him.

Night Time Vegetation Maintenance Work...

... coming soon to a railway line near me. This is NetworkRail's way of saying they will be keeping me awake three days from now.



1  By the rain.
2  While I admit that they are generally over-engineered to an almost insane degree, many problems have been caused by human operating error. Not to mention inadequate inspections, corrosion, cracks, and the occasional earthquake and/or tsunami here and there around our happy little globe.