Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Friendly Nuclear Bloggers, Carl Sagan, and More

Lifestyles of the Galaxies Next Door
Compendium of Galaxies from the Spitzer Space Telescope
(My tribute to Carl Sagan)
On Sunday night, I took part in an Atomic Show podcast with Rod Adams, Margaret Harding, Andrea Jennetta, and Cal Abel.   The title of the podcast is Atomic Optimists,  and you can hear it or download at the link.

The group was very optimistic about the future of nuclear energy. We are a group of friends, at least the on-line variety, and we had a great time talking about our favorite subject: nuclear energy.

We were optimistic, as reflected in the title of the podcast: Atomic Optimists.  However, we weren't optimistic about everything. As Rod Adams wrote: We worried together about the fact that some leaders in our nation seem to be happy to be directing a post industrial economy despite the fact that people still want things, not just services like those provided by lawyers and accountants.

Carl Sagan

Shortly after the podcast, my friend Bob Hargraves, author of Thorium, Energy Cheaper than Coal, sent me a quote from Carl Sagan that seems very relevant to Rod's comment.  Here's the quote from Sagan:

“I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time -- when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness...

The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance”
Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

Carnival 144

Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers number 144 is now up, hosted at ANS Nuclear Cafe and compiled by Will Davis.  This Carnival takes on the big picture (is biomass green? do radiophobia and chemophobia have similar roots?), the small picture (Vermont Yankee, sigh), and the really big picture (fusion, economics). And more, much more!  Visit the Carnival and have a good time!

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