How Many Nuclear Energy Cheerleaders to Change a Light Bulb?
    By Sascha Vongehr | March 22nd 2011 03:29 AM | 6 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Sascha

    Dr. Sascha Vongehr [风洒沙] studied phil/math/chem/phys in Germany, obtained a BSc in theoretical physics (electro-mag) & MSc (stringtheory)...

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    As we are already talking about light bulb jokes, the many useless comments to my rather more serious articles lately got me to compile the answer to the following question, although it is certainly not a joke:

    Question: How many in favor of nuclear energy does it need to change a light bulb?

    Answer: Only fear mongers misinterpret the bits of glass and filament on the floor in those totally abstruse ways. Whenever experts have shone their torches onto the bulb, it has appeared quite bright. This proves that the glass on the floor cannot be possibly from the bulb, because if it were, the bulb could not work, but it clearly does.

    Experts agree, and those that do not agree, they only write in journals I don’t even look at. The levels of glass on the floor are totally harmless; thousand times less than when those fire breather clowns walk over broken wine bottles, and even then nothing happens at all.

    The media are hyping this totally out of proportion. How dare they in the face of tragedy? Right now, as heroes pull glass splinters out of the bleeding feet of poor children and people wander about with bumps on their heads and stubbing their toes on table legs because they can’t see a damn thing, some callously exploit the suffering for their political agenda. Why not focus on how it is science that helps the poor victims?

    Do you want to light coal fires inside the house? Opening the window blinds to let in the sunlight is totally unfeasible and would not make the slightest bit of impact, moreover, we cannot afford it.

    You have no say anyway, as you have a PhD only in physics and worked in electricity, optics, and thermodynamics, and on the materials science of glass and tungsten. I do not find professor of light bulbs in your CV.

    Leave it to the experts who have been trained in the industry and are working in the field for a long time, having accumulated much experience with broken bulbs. These bulbs were designed for 30 years but have a flawless 40 year safety record and they have been recently approved for another ten years, which proves that they cannot brake – they just can’t. This afternoon, the minister of economy said again that there is some progress on number four of the six broken bulbs, so it is fully under control now, as it has always been. There are no problems with any bulbs!


    Great picture of shattering light bulb!
    The crux of the problem is in the limitations of human nature and nurture, and not so much in overcoming engineering and medical challenges. For example, if the original backup diesel generators were raised 10 meters higher, along with critical electrical components and plumbing connections ….. if control rooms were raised higher … if only a more modern design were implemented that could be phased down without so many complicated and active components … there would be “no problema.” There are engineering challenges for sure .… however …. fundamental physics dictates that no one can turn radioactivity on or off with a switch. If it were possible to do so, one could influence the randomness at the heart of fundamental physics and a hidden variables theory would be viable.

    We are back to 1944-45 when it was seen that mankind was not ready … and cannot be readied to handle nuclear power. And yet, no one can realistically expect the genie to be put back into its bottle.

    We live in interesting times.

    (This message brought to you by your feline friend blue-green, unable to sign-in)

    Gerhard Adam
    Most of this is not actually a science or even an engineering problem.
    According to documents from Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), the company repeatedly missed safety checks over a 10-year period up to two weeks before the 11 March disaster, and allowed uranium fuel rods to pile up inside the 40-year-old facility.

    The revelations will add to pressure on Tepco to explain why, under its cost-cutting chief executive Masataka Shimizu, it opted to save money by storing the spent fuel on site rather than invest in safer storage options.
    As long as these kinds of decisions can be made with virtually no accountability, then discussing the science or engineering becomes an exercise in futility.
    Mundus vult decipi
    > "And yet, no one can realistically expect the genie to be put back into its bottle."

    Maybe the problem is one of perspective. Smallpox is one genie that been essentially stuffed back in it's bottle.

    If we regarded the need for nuclear power as an illness - a mental illness, then maybe a meaningful and effective treatment could be devised.

    Here’s a version of the light bulb joke that the new Chinese can appreciate:

    How many [bloggers, cheerleaders, bureaucrats …] does it take to change a light bulb?

    None. You can do it yourself!

    ~ blue-green ~

    The nuclear crisis can be a teaching moment on 1) quantum physics, 2) thermodynamics and 3) delusion.

    #3 is the trickster: the power of belief and the all too common ability of humans to be suicidal and irrational.

    #2 is the genie that has irreversibly escaped his containment vessel and can’t be corked even if the trickster whispers otherwise

    #1 is the impossibility of there being hidden variables that we can harness to slow down or speed up the half-life of radioactive processes … even if the trickster hints otherwise

    ~ blue-green here waiting for Sascha to let her rip with his unique phrasing ~