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Thanks for the valuable information, grtflmark, "The Oil Drum" has a technical analysis up, "How Black is the Japanese Nuclear Swan?" Negative view of the industry, FWIW.
Toggle Commented Mar 14, 2011 on Japanese Reactor(s) Update(d) Yet Again at BlackFive
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Subsunk & grtflmark, Reports indicate that Saturday's Reactor #1 explosion was caused by hydrogen, and that the hydrogen accumulated in the concrete building surrounding the containment vessel as the operators were venting steam. The zirconium cladding of the fuel rods has been brought into it, as the factor that led to hydrogen generation. But I haven't seen a sensible technical explanation of this. At very high temperatures, is zirconium acting as a catalyst for the electrolysis of water into hydrogen and oxygen? Or is the zirconium itself being tuned into zirconium oxide, freeing hydrogen from the H2O? Is the generation of hydrogen something that happens when the water surrounding the fuel is super-hot, or is it only possible when the rods have been uncovered, and thus exposed to steam or air? Without understanding something of what hydrogen says about the condition of the core, it's hard to know what to make of this. Except that explosions are very bad (obviously).a
Toggle Commented Mar 13, 2011 on Japanese Reactor(s) Update(d) Yet Again at BlackFive
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Rich Puchalsky 4:47 PM --the people like Amac who always step in and mouth platitudes about dialogue are just their support squad.Rich Puchalsky, once again you show that you know me better than I know myself. We must've met in a previous life. I hope you consider sharing your mentalist skills at the local county fair, $5 a reading. Given how perceptive you are online, I can only imagine how enthusiastically you'd be received in a face-to-face setting.
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Ahistoricality, at 1:26 PM you first raised the issue of civil discourse, quoting yourself: "As I said a long time ago, 'We must speak honestly as well as decently, which means that we may sometimes need to say unpleasant things about each other. And about ourselves.'" Rather then soliciting your thoughts about the speech in this thread, I should have stayed with the peculiar context of your plug for honesty and decency. It was part of your objection to SEK's 11:38 AM caution about using the charge of racist! to win an argument. The word itself is, at this point, so loaded that the only possible result is what happened here: a rhetorical meltdown on all sides. As it stands, there's already almost no way to tell someone that their rhetoric or argument is racially hinky without them thinking you're calling them a racist. The epithet's too volatile. At 5:04 PM, you scolded me for my shorthand, saying "The 'we' in my earlier quotation wasn't one group's tactical position: it was an ethical imperative for the community of humanity and the discourses we all participate in, and could do better at." Clarified by your 6:34 PM remark to Patterico: "you'll see that 'civil' does not necessarily mean 'polite' or 'comfortable' or even 'reasonable.' It means engaged, public, energetic, multi-vocal." Now that you've supplied it (404 Not Found at your own blog), I've followed the link to the source of your notion of civil discourse, Steven Schroeder's "A Laboratory for Civil Discourse." It's a dreary essay (e.g., an academic ought to be embarrassed to write about concluding from his daughter's science fair that "an experiment works. If it doesn’t work, it isn’t an experiment; if it does, it is." However wrong, those sentences are at least meaningful.). What's clear is that radical pedagogist Schroeder doesn't freight his concept of "civil discourse" with notions like mutual respect or learning to recognize merit in others' points of view. He speaks turgidly of The City. His goal is to transform his students so that they reject the "enforced homogeneity near the center of power." Oh. Another neo-Marxist academic focused on Power. The connection to your dislike of SEK's original remarks becomes clearer. But I could do without your references to honesty, decency, ethical imperatives, and the community of humanity. Invoking those concepts to praise the worst of the miserable discourse on display in this thread is unplusgood at best.
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