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What If There Isn't Enough Energy Going Forward?

We'll be forced to live with less. Maybe a LOT less.
Friday, August 24, 2018, 7:09 PM

Currently the media is breathlessly cheering the record amounts of US oil production.

Technology advances in the fracking process have enabled the "shale miracle", resulting in the US producing over 10 million barrels per day for the first time since the 1970s. Think of all the incremental GDP growth that excess oil will power! » Read more

Insider

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How To Prepare For War

Sounds steps today will actually make a big difference
Thursday, March 12, 2015, 3:35 PM

Executive Summary

  • There's much you can do to reduce your risk in advance of the arrival of a:
    • Trade war
    • Energy war
    • Financial war
    • Cyber war
    • Grid-down sabotage
    • Shooting war
    • Nuclear war
  • The steps you should prioritze the most right now

If you have not yet read Part 1: Is It Time To Prepare For War? available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

As a preamble, I need to note that I do not enjoy or derive any satisfaction from writing about or spending time on figuring out how to dodge the worst impacts of human behavior.  War sits right at the top of my ‘This is stupid’  list, as war represents the idea that all other attempts at being smart or diplomatic have already failed.  I'm sorry that I have to spend time writing this report, and I am sorry that you have to spend time considering it.  With that said, I feel I have no choice, and somebody has to take on this task.  With a heavy heart…

If the West (meaning the US and Europe) decides to further goad Russia, war may be inevitable. Sooner or later, Russia will have to switch from 'response' mode to 'reaction' mode.  I’ve previous detailed the reasons for this in previous reports here, here and here.

As (sadly) expected, things have only escalated over the past year, not de-escalated. The West has a serious bone to pick with Russia, yet nobody can really explain what it is or why the conflict exists. (As an aside, I think it’s just bruised neo-con egos over Syria, but it really doesn’t matter what the explanation is at this point.) So, here we are in la-la land.

The consequences of an escalated conflict between Russia and the US/West could range from a very minor skirmish fought over some relatively meaningless items of trade, to an attack on financial markets, all the way to an all-out nuclear exchange.

The question becomes: What, if anything, can we do to prepare?

Lots, as it turns out.

No matter where... » Read more

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Kirk Sorensen: A Detailed Exploration of Thorium's Potential as an Energy Source

A form of nuclear energy worth considering
Sunday, May 11, 2014, 3:26 PM

Kirk Sorensen, NASA-trained engineer, is a man on a mission to open minds to the tremendous promise that thorium, a near-valueless element in today's marketplace, may offer in meeting future world energy demand.

 
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Fukushima's Legacy: Understanding the Difference Between Nuclear Radiation & Contamination

It's very important
Tuesday, February 11, 2014, 10:55 AM

Are fish from the Pacific safe to eat?  What about the elevated background radiation readings detected in Japan, and recently, in California? Are these harmful levels?

Should we be worried? And if so, what should be done about these potential health threats? What steps should we take to protect ourselves?

As many of you know, I'm a scientist by training. In this report, I'll lay out the facts and data that explain the actual risks. I'll start by pointing out that Fukushima-related fears have been overblown as well as heavily downplayed by parties on each side of the discussion » Read more

Insider

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The Contamination Threat

What you need to know
Tuesday, February 11, 2014, 10:54 AM

Executive Summary

  • The "usual suspects" of dangerous radioactive contamination
  • Recently reported incidents of contamination
  • How bioaccumulation and biomagnification exacerbate the impact of contamination
  • Prudent advice post-Fukushima

If you have not yet read Part I: Fukushima's Legacy: Understanding the Difference Between Radiation & Contamination, available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

Sources of Radioactive Contamination

As mentioned in Part I, polonium provides an excellent and dramatic example of something that is perfectly safe on the outside of the body and perfectly deadly on the inside. That's the difference between radiation and contamination.

"Radiation, just like with any toxic chemical, is related to dose," said Cham Dallas, a professor and toxicologist at the University of Georgia's Institute for Health Management and Mass Destruction Defense. "If you get a big dose, then you'll die sooner."

And with polonium-210, a dangerous dose can be a matter of micrograms: smaller than a single speck of pepper, he said.

If you ingest polonium-210, about 50% to 90% of the substance will exit the body through feces, according to a fact sheet from Argonne National Laboratory. What is left will enter the bloodstream. About 45% of polonium ingested gets into the spleen, kidneys and liver, and 10% is deposited in the bone marrow.

Radiation poisoning from polonium-210 looks like the end stage of cancer, Dallas said.

Liver and kidney damage ensue, along with extreme nausea and severe headaches. Victims often experience vomiting, diarrhea and hair loss. The alpha particles emitted from the decaying substance get absorbed in the body, which is what causes harm. Death may come in a matter of days, sometimes weeks.

(Source)

Yes, polonium-210 is highly radioactive a half gram of it in a vial will heat itself up to 500 degrees Celsius all on its own just because of radioactive decay but it is not at all lethal until and unless it is ingested.  Once it gets inside, then a fleck the size of a grain of pepper is lethal.

The much-feared plutonium-238 is also an alpha emitter.  On the outside of your body it is not much of a problem.  Inside it is extraordinarily harmful.

Iodine-131 (I-131) is another "fairly harmless on the outside, but deadly on the inside" sort of substance.  Even a vastly sub-lethal dose of I-131 in terms of your whole body load will be damaging if not deadly, because iodine is viewed by your body as a delicious and rare treat, with your thyroid gobbling it up, radioactive or not, and storing it for future use.

As the thyroid does this, the I-131 gets concentrated into a very small body mass where the radioactive load experienced by the thyroid is far higher than any surrounding tissues.  At a high enough dose, the thyroid will be destroyed which is a survivable experience, as anybody who's had their thyroid removed can attest.

The real difficulty actually comes with...  » Read more

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What Happened to the Future?

Hopes dim as global net energy per capita declines
Tuesday, November 19, 2013, 2:15 PM

Improbably, the global economy has returned to growth over the past four years despite the ravages of a deflationary debt collapse, a punishing oil shock, ongoing constraint from debt and deleveraging, and stagnant global wages. The proof of this growth comes from the best indicator of all: the growth of global energy consumption. » Read more

Featured Discussion

First Nuclear Rods Removed from Fukushima

First Nuclear Rods Removed from Fukushima

A positive step. Let's hope no one drops anything...

Daily Digest

Image by CECAR - Climate and Ecosystems Change Adaptation Research University New York, Flickr Creative Commons

Daily Digest 7/11 - Greece's Life-Saving Austerity Medics, Urban Flooding Likely To Worsen

Thursday, July 11, 2013, 11:11 AM
  • Greece's life-saving austerity medics 
  • World’s Biggest Challenge: ‘Ignorance in the Face of Change’ – Paul Hawken
  • Who is affected by big currency movements?
  • “Why did you shoot me? I was reading a book”: The new warrior cop is out of control
  • Fail And Fail Well
  • Dear Leader Dreams Of Sushi
  • Battle lines harden over Detroit pension cuts
  • NAVY LENR Patent Granted – Transmutes Radioactive Waste
  • The Lac-Mégantic Rail Disaster is a Corporate Crime
  • Lac-Mégantic's Disaster is the Poster Child for Fossil Fuel Folly
  • Politics of Climate Change: A Well-Oiled Machine
  • Urban flooding likely to worsen, say experts
  • Scientists Invented New Way of Seawater Desalination
Daily Digest

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Daily Digest 4/11 - Robot Truck Platoons Move Forward, Good Banker vs. Bad Banker

Thursday, April 11, 2013, 10:31 AM
  • “Giant Bet” Could Trigger “the Mother of All Debt Crises” in Japan: Neil Irwin
  • KPMG resigns as Herbalife auditor after insider trading
  • Good Banker, Bad Banker
  • Portuguese finding pain hard to endure as prime minister says more austerity is around corner
  • Bailed-Out Banks Used Billions Meant For Small Business Aid To Repay TARP Funds: Watchdog
  • Rise In Foreign Temp Workers Questioned By Labour Groups
  • Cyprus And Gold – Noise vs. Facts
  • Pharmaceutical sales reps regularly misinform doctors about drug side effects: study
  • Robot truck platoons roll forward
  • Slow to arrive, but will Australian high speed rail be worth the wait?
  • Study: The coal industry is in far more trouble than anyone realizes
  • ‘Irreparable’ safety issues: All US nuclear reactors should be replaced, ‘Band-Aids’ won’t help
  • NOAA: Area of land larger than Manhattan disappearing of Louisiana coast each year