Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ace Hoffmann, Thomas Friedman & Nuclear Power

September 24th, 2009

When I first read Thomas Friedman's most recent use of denigrating terminology ("wimps") to describe those who disagreed with him, I thought he was just a bit emotional.

Then I went back through the record, and this Pulitzer-Prize winning New York Times author actually is rather habitual about it. Those who opposed his gas tax idea in 2006 were also "wimps," and in 2008 they had no "guts." Now, any environmentalist who opposes nuclear power has earned the moniker.

Friedman hasn't changed.

And nor has the New York Times. They are the classic newspaper of America, they provide the indelible historic record, and even in this electronic era, they still hold sway over public opinion, political discourse, and thus, over public policy, as only a few other media outlets can even aspire to, let alone, come close to.

And so they are the perfect place for a nincompoop to poop nincomshit. Hence, Friedman has found a home.

Friedman is playing dirty, rotten pool with the facts, but how could such shoddy material slip past the editors at the New York Times? Not by accident. Unflagging support for government policies on nuclear power and nuclear weapons, and for various wars, despots, agendas and so forth, have been a part of The New York Times' editorial process for decades.

The government loves a public that is asleep about the dangers of nukes. Friedman wants to help with that. Romancing France's nuclear policies is especially useful right now for the pro-nuclear agenda, because the two large French nuclear "corporations" (arms of the government, really, especially in the case of AREVA) are both buying American nuclear power companies, enrichment companies, mining companies, etc.. Once invested, they will use local employees to sway public policy based on French government interests, not those of the majority of Americans, who want to preserve our land and protect our children's DNA. Radiation destroys our DNA, and the way the French handle their nuclear problems is to lie about them, to sink protestor's boats (and even kill protesters), and to bribe foreign workers. Yet Friedman calls us "wimps" for not embracing their murderous nuclear habit. The French also smoke a lot more cigarettes than, say, Californians. Just thought I'd mention it.

Friedman would love to whip the public into a fierce frenzy. He uses the word "wimps" to describe those who oppose his point of view. Wimps are made to be broken, of course. By bigger wimps.

The opposite of building more nukes isn't just "not building more nukes." It's also shutting down the ones that are currently operating. But that view never makes it into the venerable (by some vestige of their former reputation) New York Times. Only "build a lot more nukes" versus "build a few more nukes" or maybe, once in a while, "don't build any more right now." But NEVER will the New York Times give space to "shut 'em all down immediately" which is, actually, the scientifically, economically, and medically sound thing to do. Thus, the patriotic thing to do. Not doing so allows about 10 tons of hazardous high-level radioactive waste to be produced each day in America, for which no valid (safe, economical) solution exists because plain old physics gets in the way. Friedman calls Yucca Mountain "totally safe." He's totally wrong. And getting the waste to Yucca Mountain isn't safe, either. And leaving it where it is? That's the worst choice of all. Ten tons worse every day in America, and about 50 tons worse around the world.

Global warming? Radiation is "hotter than hell." Each radioactive burst is a little fire, its "heat" stirs and shakes up everything around it: It spins molecules around, making poisonous mirrors of themselves. It destroys DNA. It breaks large signal proteins. It puts holes in cell walls. It creates thousands of "free radicals" at once.

And there are so many radioactive atoms released in a nuclear accident! It is so great a number, that nobody expresses radiation in raw numbers. It is often filtered down into Curies, for instance. A Curie is 37 billion atomic disintegrations per second.

Chernobyl released about 15 billion Curies of radiation, in mixed isotopes. Chernobyl has probably killed 300,000 people, yet pro-nukers claim it only killed 60 or 100 or some other unrealistic number, because they swear that a little radiation is good for you, because, they say, it stimulates the immune system. This flawed and simplistic hypothesis is known as "Hormesis." Randomly poisoning our children with excess radiation should not be allowed at all, but it is.

Your immune system will be plenty stimulated throughout your life. This is an unnecessary and unwarranted additional burden.

Being allowed to release what lax regulators call "small" amounts of radiation into the environment is a fundamental principle of business -- of economic survival -- for virtually ALL commercial nuclear facilities. They MUST leak or they will, themselves, become overwhelmed with radiation.

Supposedly "only" 15 million Curies of radiation were released at Three Mile Island, although the exact amount is unknown and it could be ten times that, or worse. Yet Friedman naively believes that there were "no deaths or injuries" from TMI. Not one? It doesn't even fit the official government description of Linear, No Threshold (LNT) effects from radiation, which is the theory that radiation effects occur at any dose, and in a ratio according to dose size.

The LNT theory, widely accepted in the scientific community, and in direct contradiction to Hormesis, does NOT mean that a low dose only causes a mild illness. Instead, it suggests that the rate of cancers will be approximately proportional to dose. But cancer's no fun, even if only a few people get it. I've had it. More than a few people are getting it. And radiation is a primary cause of cancer, leukemia, heart disease, and a thousand other ailments.

Friedman calls those who do not endorse the random killing of humans and other living things "wimps." What are we to do when the New York Times allows him to do this, and lets him call anyone who opposes his views "wimps" year after year? Challenge him to a duel? How uncivilized! Ask them to print our responses? How hopeless!

Scorn them on the Internet? Sure, it's a start.

** Ace Hoffman, Owner & Chief Programmer, The Animated Software Co.
** POB 1936, Carlsbad CA 92018
** U.S. & Canada (800) 551-2726; elsewhere: (760) 720-7261
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