Tuesday, April 25, 2006

20 years on...

Geez, has it been twenty years already?

Tomorrow marks the twentieth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. The single event that turned the world against nuclear energy. Only now when the cost of oil is skyrocketing are people again considering the construction of new nuclear power facilities (Iran and North Korea notwithstanding). I still remember seeing the tragic images on TV of the people suffering radiation sickness and the desolation of the nearby towns after the mass evacuations. Over the years, if I saw a documentary or magazine article (usually National Geographic) on Chernobyl I would make sure I watched/read the stories with great interest.

The cause of the accident at Chernobyl has never really been pinned down and continues to be a point of contention in Russia and Ukraine, one side puts blame on the plant operators and the other places blame on the reactor design. That said, two senior staff were gaoled for a number of years for ordering a safety drill on the night of the accident with an inexperienced crew without any senior staff or scientists present. Regardless of where the blame lies for the accident, many lessons were learned from the accident 20 years ago and todays nuclear industry is better because of Chernobyl.

My personal feeling is that nuclear power is where we should be going until fusion research starts to bear fruit (all estimates still point to at least 10-15 years). Sure we may upset some greenies and worry-warts in the process of going nuclear, but when a coal fired power stations releases more radioactive content into our atmosphere per year than a nuclear power plant produces in the generation of power, nuclear is the way to go.

If people are worried about having a nuclear power plant close to major populated areas, with the vast expanses of nothingness in Australia, I'm sure a suitable site could be found that would keep everyone happy. Why not put a reactor near the worlds biggest uranium mine at Olympic Dam in South Australia? If they are already dealing with radioactive content, why not keep it localised? Solves the problem of transporting the dangerous goods too. And with Olympic Dam being right in the middle of a geologically stable area, you could even store the spent fuel in some really deep holes not far from the mine and reactor. Even more localisation of resources.

All we need now is the West Australian Government to pull their heads out of their arses, tell the coal mining unions to fuck off and allow uranium mining in WA. For example, the Yeeleerie deposit in WA:
The Yeelirrie deposit is between Wiluna and Leinster, WA, about 500 kilometres north of Kalgoorlie and close to the Goldfields gas pipeline. It is also close to the existing infrastructure serving WMC nickel mines at Mount Keith and Leinster.

Western Mining Corporation (WMC) discovered the shallow and extensive deposit in 1972. It is reputedly the world's largest sedimentary deposit of its kind. In August 1978 Urangesellschaft Australia Pty Ltd bought for A $3 million a 10% interest in the deposit, but this was reacquired by WMC in October 1993. At the same time Esso was brought into the project and given 15% equity in return for a commitment to fund 80% of the Stage I feasibility study and pilot plant, then costed at A $21 million. Esso withdrew in May 1982 for commercial reasons and the share reverted to WMC.

The deposit extends over 9 kilometres, is up to 1.5 kilometres wide, up to 7 metres thick and lies mostly at a depth of 5.5 metres below the surface. It comprises a mineral resource of 35 million tonnes with an average grade of 0.15%, containing 52 000 tonnes of uranium oxide, which could readily support a low-cost mining operation producing a proposed 2500 tonnes per year of uranium concentrate with 1000 tonnes per year of vanadium oxide by-product.

An Environmental Impact Statement was produced in 1978 and resulted in environmental approval from both state and Commonwealth governments. In the twelve years to 1983 WMC and its partners (then including Esso) spent a total of $35 million preparing to develop Yeelirrie as an open cut mine, including building and operating the pilot metallurgical plant at Kalgoorlie. A $320 million project was envisaged and sales contracts were being planned. However, the 1983 federal election and implementation of the ALP "three mines policy" meant that permission to negotiate sales contracts was withdrawn in March 1983. Plans were then abandoned, and WMC's attention focussed on developing Olympic Dam.

A new state Labor government was elected in 2002 with an ideological anti-uranium stance. Pursuant to this, the 1978 state mining agreement for Yeelirrie was revoked in March 2004. However, WMC Resources retains the mining tenements and will await future opportunities after undertaking rehabilitation of the site by the end of 2004.

Nuclear power is a fairly emotive subject and I'm sure to get some sort of comment on this. Please keep it nice...

Friday, April 21, 2006

Whingy boy

C'mon Ponting. Aren't you paid enough to just shut up?

You are a professional sportsperson and if you can't cut it, then retire and let someone (possibly younger) step up and play. You play cricket, not Aussie Rules or Rugby, and the physical demands on your body aren't all that high. Standing in the field for usually 2 days at a time, then sitting in the pavillion or batting for a day or two isn't hard work.

Shut up, go get pissed and enjoy your 5 months off.

Ponting fumes at timetable - Fox Sports

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Scratching photos...

This video tickles all sorts of interest points in my world.

Firstly cos it is the Star Wars tune and secondly the video is made up of individual camera shots joined together to make a video like effect. It helps that the scratch remix sounds cool too. Go take a look.

What's good for the goose...

When are these women going to pull their heads in and keep their mouths shut?

Men ban women in the kitchen

BLOKES-ONLY cooking classes have won an exemption from the equal opportunity laws in Victoria, after men complained women should be banned because males were intimidated by their better culinary skills.

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal heard evidence that men were reluctant to attend mixed cooking classes when they had little or no cooking experience, lacked confidence or believed women were better cooks.
The tribunal granted an application by Melbourne man Brian Laker to conduct men-only cooking classes in Rowville.

Ben Dalton, who runs men-only cooking classes in Sydney and Melbourne, said yesterday men were often intimidated by women in the kitchen.

What stupid person took this thing to court?

Has anyone contested all the women-only gyms and fitness clubs that have sprung up everywhere of late? Does anyone else find it a bit amusing that a fair few years ago women were fighting to get into men-only clubs and sports groups in the aim of equality, only to now withdraw themselves into women-only establishments? Do they want equality or not? Or do they now realise that not everything has to be equal?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Reducing Easter to a sideshow...

I can remember when people went to church because they believed in a deity or ideal and wanted enlightenment through a sermon...

Well a nondenominational church in Florida has struck upon an idea to convert some people from another church. The people they are trying to convince to come to church belong to the NASCAR religion. Article here.

Church hopes race car will drive attendance

EAST MANATEE -- To some, the late Dale Earnhardt Sr. was like a god.

On Easter Sunday, an East Manatee church is hoping the NASCAR legend's larger-than-life status will have folks racing to their services.

Bayside Community Church plans to have Earnhardt's black No. 3 Chevrolet Monte Carlo available for viewing and photos.

But there's a catch: People have to sit through a service to get a ticket, which allows them to be photographed with the race car. Then, they have to return the next weekend and sit through another service to pick up the free 4-by-6-inch picture.

The nondenominational church expects to more than double its normal attendance of about 1,100. It has mailed out 40,000 fliers, sent out press releases and advertised on a country radio station and at the DeSoto Speedway.

Sure, Dale Earnhardt may be viewed as a god in southern USA, but doesn't this constitute the use of a false idol?

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Oh well, this will cause all sorts of hilarity.
Jesus may have walked on ice

THE New Testament says that Jesus walked on water, but a Florida university professor believes there could be a less miraculous explanation - he walked on a floating piece of ice.

Professor Doron Nof also theorised in the early 1990s that Moses's parting of the Red Sea had solid science behind it.
Mr Nof, a professor of oceanography at Florida State University, said today his study found an unusual combination of water and atmospheric conditions in what is now northern Israel could have led to ice formation on the Sea of Galilee.

It makes sense that there could be a non-trivial answer to some of the so called 'miracles' in the bible, and going by data collected by this professor, this theory seems to fit quite well.

My take on the 'miracles' in the bible is that someone did something a little extraordinary, and through story telling and chinese whispers, the 'miracles' eventually got written down as an amazing act.

My explanations of a couple of miracles:
  • Parting of the Red Sea - Probably started out that Moses found a shallow sandbar across the Red Sea that hardly anyone knew about. Through years of the stories circulating by word of mouth, he ended up parting the Red Sea.
  • Resurrection - Probably attributed to thieves who stole the body thinking it might give them some special power or some great treasure. Story has morphed into a miraculous disappearance and supposed resuurection. You never know, someone may have been a bit of a forward thinker and put the body away for sale on eBay...

When he (Prof. Nof) offered his theory 14 years ago that wind and sea conditions could explain the parting of the Red Sea, Mr Nof said he received some hate mail, even though he noted that the idea could support the biblical description of the event.

And as his theory of Jesus' walk on ice began to circulate, he had more hate mail in his email inbox.

"They asked me if I'm going to try next to explain the resurrection," he said.

Nevermind asking the professor, just ask me :)

Monday, April 03, 2006

Mission Status: Success

Damn, that was a big weekend. No I wasn't out partying like it was 1999, I spent the weekend painting the new house.

I think we have found the one big drawback to having a house with over 300 m2 of floor area. It requires shitloads of paint to cover the walls. But thanks to the efforts of the volunteers, we got it all done after 2 days of painting. We ended up using about 26 litres of undercoat/sealer. So with a rough estimation based on 2 coats of top coat, another 52 litres of paint will be needed to finish up. It can wait a little bit now.

Oh, and the tiling should be finished today. All the tiler has left to do is to cut in a few tiles in the linen cupboard and do the grouting. When we got out there this afternon it should be all done. Another job down.

The move is going to be happening next weekend and permanent residency should be attained for saturday night.