Mankind currently uses three basic types of energy: fossil energy (coal, gas and oil), “sustainable” energy (wind-powered, solar, geothermal, hydraulic) and nuclear energy.
None of the above passes the test of being clean, abundant, cheap and secure all at the same time. Whatever solution that would comprise all of these elements would be considered our modern society’s philosopher’s stone!
As a matter of fact, in the 1960s, American physicist Alvin Martin Weinberg, managed to create a molten salt nuclear reactor capable of withholding temperatures of several hundred degrees Celsius under ambient pressure — a discovery that ruled out the risks of explosions.
Alvin Martin Weinberg in 1967 – Photo: ornl.gov
These fourth-generation reactors use thorium as fuel. This component is as common on our planet as lead. Just like Swiss physicist Jean-Christophe de Mestral observed in his recent opus “L’Atome vert” (“The Green Atom”), if used inside a molten salt reactor, the thorium waste will disintegrate 1000 times faster than uranium. Its efficiency is remarkable: one kilogram of thorium can produce the same energy as 200 kilos of uranium.
If this technology has been an option since the 1960s, why haven’t we exploited it yet? At that time, uranium-based nuclear energy was the fuel-of-choice for military reasons. Research on thorium-based reactors was no good for Cold War armies and therefore received no funding.
But today, thorium is back on the table. China and India have invested massively in it to develop their next-generation nuclear devices. NASA is also looking into it as a cheap option to create energy on the Moon or Mars. If researchers find encouraging results, they may turn the nuclear industry upside-down, for we could indeed end up with an energy that is clean, abundant, cheap and safe.
“Even though the pictures were taken whilst that side of the earth was in darkness, Japan is seen to be glowing bright green. It proves our worst fears are probably true about the extent of radiation emanating from the unfortunate country.”
The Japanese people are very resilient and have lived through incredible hardship over the centuries, and they will surely shrug off this rather radioactive episode as they have done many times before.
“The high levels of radiation that are leaking from Fukushima right now have their advantages. For example if I lose my sushi in a darkened room, I can see it clear as day, even in a closed fridge,” Satsumi Kendo, a physics student from Tokyo told Japanese state radio today.
A quick look at how we humans run our planet
It would appear we as a race are clueless when it comes to population control.
In relation to the distribution of resources and wealth we appear to be equally naive.
When it comes to the subject of Ecocide this is an area where humans appear to have developed considerable skills
Common indoor plants may provide a valuable weapon in the fight against rising levels of indoor air pollution. NASA scientists are finding them to be surprisingly useful in absorbing potentially harmful gases and cleaning the air inside homes, indoor public spaces and office buildings.
The indoor pollutants that affect health are formaldehyde, Volatile Organic Compounds (benzene and trichloroethylene or TCE), airborne biological pollutants, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides, pesticides and disinfectants (phenols), and radon. These pollutants contribute to ‘sick building syndrome’, which causes symptoms ranging from allergies, headaches and fatigue through to nervous-system disorders, cancer and death.
Through studies conducted by NASA, scientists have identified 50 houseplants that remove many of the pollutants and gases mentioned above. Dr. B. C. Wolverton rated these plants for removing chemical vapors, ease of growth, resistance to insect problems, and transpiration (the amount of water they expire into the air). NASA, with assistance from the Associated Landscape Contractors of America, conducted a two-year study directed by Dr. B.C. Wolverton, an environmental engineer from Picayune, Mr. Wolverton has worked as a research scientist for NASA for some 20 years. His study, in the late ’80s and early ’90s, of the interaction of plants and air found that houseplants, when placed in sealed chambers in the presence of specific chemicals, removed those chemicals from the chambers.
More information on this study as well as references and details on specific chemicals can be found on Dr. Wolverton’s website.
Dr. B.C. Wolverton, researcher and author of “How to Grow Fresh Air – 50 Houseplants that Purify Your Home or Office”, conducted plant studies for NASA that determined that plants can clean pollutants in homes, offices, factories and retail outlets. Later, Wolverton expanded the study and assigned plants a rating from one to 10, based on a plant’s ability to remove chemical vapors or indoor air toxins, ease of growth and maintenance, resistance to insect infestation and the rate at which water evaporates from the leaves.
Top ten plants for removing formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide from the air:
1. Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens)
Also called the “Butterfly Palm”. An upright houseplant that is somewhat vase shaped. Specimen plants can reach 10 to 12 foot in height. Prefers a humid area to avoid tip damage. Requires pruning. When selecting an Areca palm look for plants with larger caliber trunks at the base of the plant. Plants that have pencil thin stems tend to topple over and are quite difficult to maintain.
2. Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa)
Also called the “Lady Palm”, this durable palm species adapts well to most interiors. The Rhapis are some of the easiest palms to grow, but each species has its own particular environment and culture requirements. The “Lady Palm” grows slowly, but can grow to more than 14′ in height with broad clumps often having a diameter as wide as their height.
3. Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)
Also called the “reed palm”, this palm prefers bright indirect light. New plants will lose of some interior foliage as they acclimate to indoor settings. This plant likes to stay uniformly moist, but does not like to be over-watered or to sit in standing water. Indoor palms may attract spider mites which can be controlled by spraying with a soapy solution.
4. Rubber Plant (Ficus robusta)
Grows very well indoors, preferring semi-sun lighting. Avoid direct sunlight, especially in summer. Young plants may need to be supported by a stake. The Ficus grows to 8’ with a spread of 5’. Wear gloves when pruning, as the milky sap may irritate the skin. Water thoroughly when in active growth, then allow the soil to become fairly dry before watering again. In winter keep slightly moist.
5. Dracaena “Janet Craig” (Dracaena deremensis)
The Dracaena grows to 10’ with a spread of 3’. Easy to grow, these plants do best in bright indirect sunlight coming from the east/west. They can adapt to lower light levels if the watering is reduced. Keep the soil evenly moist and mist frequently with warm water. Remove any dead leaves. Leaf tips will go brown if the plant is under watered but this browning may be trimmed.
6. Philodendron (Philodendron sp.)
One of the most durable of all house plants. Philodendrons prefer medium intensity light but will tolerate low light. Direct sun will burn the leaves and stunt plant growth. This plant is available in climbing and non-climbing varieties. When grown indoors, they need to be misted regularly and the leaves kept free of dust. Soil should be evenly moist, but allowed to dry between watering.
7. Dwarf Date Palm (Phoenix roebelenii)
A hardy, drought-tolerant and long-lived plant, the Dwarf Date Palm needs a bright spot which is free of drafts. It grows slowly, reaching heights of 8-10’. The Dwarf Date Palm should not be placed near children’s play areas because it has sharp needle-like spines arranged near the base of the leaf stem. These can easily penetrate skin and even protective clothing.
8. Ficus Alii (Ficus macleilandii “Alii”)
The Ficus Alii grows easily indoors, and resists insects. It prefers a humid environment and low to medium light when grown indoors. The Ficus Aliii should not be placed near heating or air conditioning vents, or near drafts because this could cause leaf loss. Soil should be kept moist but allowed to dry between watering.
9. Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata “Bostoniensis”)
The Boston fern grows to 4’ in height with a spread up to 5’. It has feathery ferns which are best displayed as a hanging plant. It prefers bright indirect sunlight. Keep the soil barely moist and mist frequently with warm water. This plant is prone to spider mites and whitefly which can be controlled using a soapy water spray. Inspect new plants for bugs before bringing them home.
10. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum “Mauna Loa”)
The Peace Lily is a compact plant which grows to a height of 3’ with a 2’ spread. This hardy plant tolerates neglect. It prefers indirect sunlight and high humidity, but needs to be placed out of drafts. For best results, the Peace Lily should be thoroughly watered, then allowed to go moderately dry between waterings. The leaves should be misted frequently with warm water.
Dust drilled from a Martian rock confirms that conditions on the Red Planet once included all the ingredients for life. The chemical menu included everything a hungry microbe might have needed when water flowed across the planet’s surface.
The findings announced earlier today by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration arose after a detailed analysis of dust recovered from an ancient rock drilled into by the Curiosity rover, currently making the rounds on the Martian surface.
The rover drilled into the rock and dropped the resultant dust grains into its Sample Analysis at Mars and Chemistry and Mineralogy instruments. It returned signs of sulphur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and carbon, all key chemical ingredients for life.
Whether Mars could have supported an environment suited to life is a “fundamental” question for the Curiosity mission, said Nasa ’s Michael Meyer. “From what we know now, the answer is yes.”
Curiosity rover was touring an ancient stream bed below Gale Crater last month and used its drill to bore into a rock. The Yellowknife Bay region was either the end of a river system or a shallow lake bed and the rock was mudstone containing clay minerals and other chemicals, Nasa said.
They form in the presence of water with minerals in the river or lake sediments. The chemical analysis conducted by Curiosity showed this water course was neither acidic nor harshly salty.
The mix on earth provides a varied diet for microbes that can use these elements for energy production. If microbes were present when the water and chemicals were then life could have been supported.
The scientists also revealed a new “grey” Mars, one less oxidised than the red dust that typifies the Martian surface. It was “a very ancient, but strangely new grey Mars where conditions once were favourable for life”, said John Grotzinger, Mars science Laboratory project scientist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
Curiosity will remain in the Yellowknife Bay area for many more weeks before striking off to explore the central mound of Gale Crater.
A radical new solution to global warming has been suggested by scientists working at the University of Sevenoaks.
The idea is to pump thousands of gallons of factor fifty sun block into the upper atmosphere thus protecting the planet from sunburn.
Various governments are considering the idea and what it might cost to implement, but in theory they think it is a very clever idea.
Critics of the plan have argued that Planet Earth may develop a golden brown tan which may lead to racial unrest among the other planets, but this is difficult to prove.
It is estimated that if waterproof sunblock is used it should last about fifty years, by which time we’ll hopefully have lots of new gadgets to sort the problem out with.
The only side effect predicted by the Sevenoaks team is that the world’s atmosphere might take on a pleasant coconut odour which may upset sufferers of nut allergies.
Green campaigners who complain about the use of smashed baby orangutan baby brains in the manufacture of sunblock have promised to disrupt any attempts to implement the issue.
Following this week’s announcement that there could be as many as 17 billion exoplanets, many of them Earthlike, within our galaxy alone (that mean’s there’s a fuck sight more in the Universe) God has asked Pope Benedict XVI to read a short statement and ask questions on his behalf.
All answers given by the Pope will be the word of God (A conference phone will be in place on the desk if God himself, who cannot be present due to a scheduling conflict) has anything to add.
It is believed that the Creator, who relies heavily upon faith to avoid difficult questions, accepts that even his most devoted followers might require clarification on certain Biblical conflicts which have arisen due to Nasa’s recent discoveries.
One of the key points being that if it took six days to build the Earth, that means it would have taken 112 billion days to create the planets in the Milky Way alone.
Seeing as there are some 200 Billion galaxies that we know about…well, do the math!
Even the most scrupulous multi-tasker couldn’t squeeze that lot into a mere 14 Billion years, and we haven’t even mentioned stars.
‘And don’t get me started on dark matter!’ said one high ranking cardinal scratching his head at the pre-interview press conference!*
Oprah is said to be thrilled at the prospect of speaking to God on prime-time although the network are bracing themselves for the Papal rider which is said to be notoriously excessive.
The interview is to take place in two weeks time which gives the Vatican just enough time to think up a strategy should it all go horribly wrong.
*God is expected to point out that planets without life are built much faster!
After plans were announced for private investment to be the driving force for a return to the lunar surface, speculation has grown that advertisers could be on the verge of putting the first corporate logo on the moon.
Depending on how many customers sign up, the first mission could be ready to fly by 2020, and speculation about which corporations would be looking to get on-board has already begun.
With the possibility of popular album and song titles being changed to ‘Walking on the Coca Cola Lunar Globe’ and ‘Dark Side of the McDonald’s McMoon’, some critics have warned that the involvement of private investment could transform the moon into an orbiting billboard.
“Whilst I welcome investment in space exploration with open arms, I’m worried at the prospect of advertising becoming involved,” said astronomy enthusiast Trevor Morgan.
“I don’t want to look through my telescope and see a Nike swoosh in the night sky.”
Golden Spike president, Alan Stern, Nasa’s former associate administrator for science revealed that they would need to sell “a bunch” of missions to turn a profit.
“We would welcome investment from any number of sources and that would include corporations,” he admitted.
“If these missions prove successful then hopefully we can expand sponsorship deals beyond the moon.”
“It could be a small step for man, a giant leap for GlaxoSmithKline.”
The six-wheel rover has been parked for more than a week at a sand dune where it has been busy scooping up soil, putting it in a bucket with one of its mechanical spades, then overturning the bucket onto the martian surface and sprinkling a little water over the sand to keep the sand castle turrets together.
Mission scientist Joel Salmons expected Curiosity to build the “biggest frickin’ sand castle Mars has ever seen.”
“The martian soil is very fine but when we get Curiosity to sprinkle water over it, the sand castle turrets stay in place.”
The car-size rover will leave a sand castle legacy from earth on the Mars surface that some say may last thousands of years.
“We just hope there is no gust of wind or anything. I don’t even know if Mars has wind, jeez beats the heck out of me. I’m a scientist and I don’t know that,” one of the Mars rover operators revealed.