Hansen and Nuclear Power

I expect you have heard of Jim Hansen. Until recently he was head of the NASA Goddard Research Institute. It is fair to say he is the leading proponent of of the concept of AGW (Anthropological Global Warming).

Here is a blindingly brief resume of Jim Hansen the scientist (abbreviated from HERE)

BA with highest distinction (Physics and Mathematics), University of Iowa, 1963
MS (Astronomy), University of Iowa, 1965
Visiting student, Inst. of Astrophysics, University of Kyoto & Dept. of Astronomy, Tokyo University, Japan, 1965-1966
Ph.D. (Physics), University of Iowa, 1967

Primary leading roles
Director: NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
Adjunct Professor: Earth and Environmental Sciences, Columbia University
Manager: GISS Planetary and Climate Programs

Then there are over thirty awards (yes - over thirty!). The particular award which emphasises the track of this post is a 2008 award - Rachel Carson Award for Integrity in Science.

Whether you agree with AGW or not you have to admit Hansen is a highly gifted scientist. I hope you agree that whether you like his scientific stance or not he is undoubtedly someone whose opinions and scientific theories should be thoroughly listened to.

The likes of Green Peace and FOE love Hansen's pro AGW stance because it unintentionally plays perfectly to their luddite anti-technological bigotry.

But things get very tricky when it comes to Hansens forceful support for Nuclear Power. We then see the bizarre and laughable descent into the usual spiteful character assassination and pseudo science that so infects the likes of Green Peace and FOE.

Here's a few quotes from recent Hansen interview (fully in context)
it is very unfortunate that a number of nations have indicated that they’re going to phase out nuclear power… The truth is, what we should do is use the more advanced nuclear power. Even the old nuclear power is much safer than the alternatives.

The bottom line seems to be that it is not feasible in the foreseeable future to phase out coal unless nuclear power is included in the energy mix.

"I think that next-generation, safe nuclear power is an option which we need to develop. 

But for our nuclear denier's there is worse to come.

Hansen being a bright bloke, thought he would calculate just how many people have been SAVED by nuclear power. Read about it (Scientific American - HERE) and (Daily Kos - HERE).

Here's a graph from the paper:

Here's a small section from the paper's abstract:

Using historical production data, we calculate that global nuclear power has prevented about 1.84 million air pollution-related deaths and 64 gigatonnes (Gt) CO2-equivalent greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that would have resulted from fossil fuel burning.

Oh BOY - Did that cause the Green luddites to throw their toys out of the pram. See this pathetic diatribe (GreenLeft - HERE)

To the Green luddites Hansen is now a bit of a Janus. On one hand he is a champion of the planet, a hero and an environmental leader. But on the other hand he is a charlatan and incompetent who falsely promotes the demon of nuclear Power. He has even been called a shill (really!)

You have to laugh. Not one of these buffoons shooting at Hansen can hold a candle to his scientific rigour. I would really REALLY be interested (and probably amused) to see them try and disprove his findings using science rather than innuendo and character assasination.

But I won't be holding my breath while I wait.

An Emerging Supermarket Cartel?

Today, the major supermarkets are all "price matching".

They are all deeply concerned about getting a good deal for us. They apparently want to ensure that down trodden grubby little Englanders like you and me can stretch their pennies as far as possible.

Yea right.

Look at this from a different angle.

Company X states that it will price match anything from Companies W,Y and Z. For the consumer this propaganda reads as "Shop with us, we are the nice guys at company X - if our prices are higher than elsewhere we'll take a hit and match prices.

Hmmmm... nice guys eh?

Now look at the hidden corporate Company to Company sub-text

"If you undercut us we will reduce our price to match yours.  It does not matter how you have reduced your price, we will match it. Even if it means we sell at a loss. Remember we are a huge company. Cause us too much pain and we will cause you an enormous amount of damage. But only if you try to out-compete us. Follow our pricing and keep within an acceptable limit then we can maintain an air of competition. We can all clean up.

But, if you want a price war we will will give you a war.

Who wants a war? Especially when it could cut profits.

Instead in practice we get this.

Company X tweaks a product price upwards slightly. So initially, they are more expensive than their peer group. When challenged, they price match. Consumers are conned into thinking this is because company X is being "competitive". Then the other companies, one by one, follow suite and up their price. We end up with a transparent price hike for no reason other than company X wants to increase it's profit margin.

Then it can all start again.

This scenario is an open cartel. Normally cartels are closed conspiracies. (i.e. companies secretly conspire to fix prices). In the above context the conspiracy is all done by innuendo and propaganda. But it is still a cartel.

Happy shopping - and watch out for those "good deals".

(apologies for the long absense - I have been otherwise engaged.)

Love & Kisses