Thursday, October 29, 2009

Human-sensitive street lights

In Toulouse a form of street light has been installed that dims when no one is around and brigtens up when a pedestrian comes in range. Lights like this could also go far to reduce the light pollution that hides the stars in even modestly-populated areas. One downside I can see is what happens when there are problems with the sensors. I've seen many current street lights with maladjusted photocells that turn off the light when a pair of headlights go by. Maintaining the infrared sensors could become a headache.

An Icon of Environmentalism, Talks About Nuclear Power

Stewart Brand, who founded the Whole Earth Catalog, makes the case for nuclear power being green. The only major counter argument is that current plant designs are a multi-billion dollar gamble for utilities. It's time for the technology folks to create smaller plants that don't require as much upfront investment.

The US may be the Saudi Arabia of coal but coal has very real problems when compared to nuclear:
The waste from coal means gigatons of carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere. There is also the fly ash, slurry, and all the rest of the stuff. The sheer quantities get to be overwhelming. Eighty rail cars a day of coal, each one weighing a hundred tons goes into a 1-gigawatt coal-fired plant, and that multiplies to 19,000 tons of carbon dioxide, every day. Compare that to one year of a 1-gigawatt nuclear plant, which puts out 20 tons of very dense nuclear waste that goes into dry cask storage. You know exactly where it is and you monitor it, and it's not doing anything bad. That's a pretty strong contrast

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Bluechel calls Bob Parks on his racism

Republican Bob Parks has embarrassed Kennewick in the past with his veiled racism as demonstrated by his preference for English only government and measures to make it illegal for undocumented aliens to live in Kennewick. His opposition,Cathy Bluechel, will stand for none of that. That makes it easy for me to endorse her for Kennewick City Council and easy for me to send her a check. I encourage you to do likewise. Such blatant racism should not be tolerated and is sufficient cause in my mind to boot Parks form office.