Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Happy Socialist Children's Day, Happy June 1

Welcome to the month of Juno, a.k.a Hera, the younger one. Today is the Children's day in most former socialist countries, which are the following according to Wikipedia(!):

"...In Russia, as well as other former Soviet Union states, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, other former or current communist states, Albania, Angola, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic and Slovakia, Ethiopia and Eritrea, Germany, Laos, Republic of Macedonia, Mongolia, Montenegro, Mozambique, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Tanzania, Yemen, Children's Day is celebrated on June 1."

Well to be exact, unified Bundesrepublik does not have an official Children's day in June, however most people in what is former DDR carries the tradition on. The list also missed out China: curiously both claimants officially celebrate Children's Day today. Just to prove how prevailing the views of Moscow had been.

Yup, once upon a time in Soviet Russia it was five kopeks a pop.


The latest development of the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, well, suffice to say BP failed to seal the leak. Some report suggest it will continue to send oil to the US shores till October.

Oh no.

Extraction of petroleum is nasty business, once you breach the non-porous layer of rock, pressure keeps the well flowing, until it gets so depleted that you actually need to pump water into the well to displace the oil. Offshore drilling is even more risky; lacking reliable method to store the gas, platforms are typically equipped with a torch to burn effluent gas, so much to the waste of resources.

Recall the oil crisis, people forget about things so quickly that it is surreal to read old newsreel describing serious proposals to open up conservation land for firewood, or people might freeze to death. Then it came the oil glut of the 80s, which ultimately bought down the USSR as oil revenue diminished at a few dollars per barrel. More so, the cheap oil compounded with two decades of neoliberal policies shifted the world's infrastructure to an oil-hungry mammoth that we are still stuck with today.

Since the energy issue often gets unnecessarily politicised, blame not the corporations, but the hippies for making it happen. It is hard to believe that humans are still burning compacted corpses of archaic organisms to keep warm and move around. D. I. Mendeleev once said (I cannot find the source, but I am sure it is the right person I am quoting from) burning coal for heat is pretty much criminal, because more valuable chemical products can be obtained from coal than simply turning it to CO2 and possibly some other toxic fumes. The same statement cannot apply any better to petroleum: petroleum feedstock is one of the cornerstones of modern chemistry and engineering, with most synthetic products having origin in crude-oil products. In case oil runs out, there will be substitutes for energy, but nothing can yet replace the oil distillates.

If a developed country like France can produce over 70% of its electricity in nuclear power plants, there is no reason why rest of the world cannot follow suit. Nuclear power has been relegated so badly, that no uranium was mined in the last score or so; existing reactors are fed with a relatively bottomless supply of recycled pre-military uranium. There is some risk with too much physics, I know, however reactor design has advanced a lot since Chernobyl, and I'd rather have a minor rise in the background radiation than having various fowl emissions from the chimneys and car engines.

To make light of a dire situation, I present the Russian method to end this problem once and for all. thermonucleargeoengineering FTW.


Is this real? Or is it the portal to a different dimension?