Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Vermont Yankee Explained by Robert Hargraves

My friend Dr. Robert Hargraves has a Ph.D. in physics, teaches Rethinking Nuclear Power at ILEAD, and co-founded the Coalition for Energy Solutions (I am a member). Many people who read this blog may also remember his post: Vernon New Hampshire? He also presented the history of Vermont Yankee at the first Ethan Allen Energy Education Project meeting. I also gave him a Blue Ribbon on this blog for all the work he does for nuclear power, including thorium reactors.

Yesterday he posted this six-minute video, Vermont Yankee Explained. I love it.




Send it to your friends, too! Here's the link, as well as the video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QR_tg8338_c&feature=youtube_gdata_player

5 comments:

Jeff Schmidt said...

I like the concept, but the synthesized voices talking about nuclear power just creeps me out a little bit. *grin*

Not sure what others' reaction to it may be. It'll be interesting to see what happens if the NRC vs. State of Vermont ends up in federal court as the video suggests could happen.

My take on it is that it doesn't strike me that it makes much sense to do Nuclear Regulation on both a Federal and State level. I can see a reasonable States' Rights argument that states should be able to refuse to have nuclear plants, but if they want to refuse them, they should have to completely refuse them (that is, no nuclear plants at all in the State, as opposed to State regulated plants). If they accept nuclear plants, then they should accept federal regulation for the plants. If the NRC says the plant is safe, and licenses it to operate, that should be the end of the story.

Otherwise, nuclear plant regulation becomes too hostage to campaign cycles and the shifting tides of political fortune. That's no way to run an industry that requires very long-term commitments.

Travelogue for the Universe said...

This is well done. Hope it gets around.

Jeff Schmidt said...

Sorry to post again on this topic, but I think I've figured out in more concrete terms what I don't like about the video.

Obviously, people have been making videos with 'scripted' dialog for a long time, but at least with human readers/actors reading the dialog, you craft a nice 'illusion' of this being a conversation between people.

With the synthesized voices, it's a computer talking to *itself*. It completely dispels the idea that this is a conversation between people who really care about the issues.

I think this should really be re-done with some human readers for the dialog, if you want this to effectively reach a general audience.

Meredith Angwin said...

Hi Jeff and hi Travelogue. Thanks for the comments!

Jeff, I understand what you are saying, but I like the cartoon characters. First of all, these particular cartoon characters are all over the place now, so people are used to them. Second, they are somewhat blank, you can read whatever you want into them. Say you had actors instead. Where should they be (a diner, a coffee bar with lattes, a swanky cocktail party, a football game?) How should they be dressed? Accents like Bernie Sanders or Teddy Kennedy? Etc.

I think these two characters are more inclusive.

I read this great book once, Understanding Comics, by Scott McCloud.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Understanding_Comics

McCloud said that we know how our FRIENDS look, but have less clarity on how we ourselves look, So we identify more easily with less-well-defined comic characters. Often the comic hero is drawn far more simply than the backgrounds or the villain.

Well, I HAVE run on about this, haven't I! Still, I needed to explain why I like the comic characters.

Best,
Meredith

Jeff Schmidt said...

Oh, I should clarify, I like the comic characters, and the animated presentation - I simply don't like the 'mechanical' voices. I suppose it's part and parcel of the animation system (It probably automatically animates the cartoons to the synthesized voice rendering of the text 'script' provided, I'd guess).

Anyhow, I'm just saying it'd be cool to keep the animation, but have human voiceovers, see what I'm saying?