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The week’s news

It is almost redundant to comment on the news this week, but we can’t stop ourselves….

First, we have an explosion and blow-out of oil in the Gulf of Mexico.  The oil is coming ashore, doing its usual damage.  The actual cause will be determined a long time from now, and the law suits will drag on for years.  But we have to admit that our reliance on oil is a dirty business.

In the meantime we can all have fun looking for the usual villains – Dick Cheney and Haliburton for a start.

Gulf Mex 1

gulf mex 2

Of course we will not remember this incident for long.  In a similar vein the overwhelming view of nuclear power is that it is safe and clean.  We’ve forgotten Chernobyl and the like.  The ex-director is saying “we” (or “they”) did not want to learn from that accident.  Maybe he is justifying his own mistakes – but then again maybe he has a point.

Chernoby-bridge

On the positive side of things the Massachusetts” Cape Wind” project has been given the go-ahead.  But after 9 years this decision still faces many legal challenges.

To the realist this is a classic “banana nimby*” problem.  The local property owners, native tribes, fishermen, sailors, light aircraft fliers, ferry operators, bed and breakfasts etc. etc. are all united in their stand; they all love alternative energy, just not here, but at a much better spot a bit further down the coast.  It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out what the people just down the coast think.  The real question is: who finances all this legal activity?

No turbines in Nantucket Sound yet - this is Denmark

No turbines in Nantucket Sound yet - this is Denmark

The realist has the solution!  We need to all share in the pain and the benefits.  So there should be mandatory wind turbines all the way from Maine to Florida.  That’s fairness.

(*banana nimby = Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything – Not In My BackYard)

On a more serious note, there does seem to be some problem with radar interference from wind turbines.  The issue seems to be mostly of military interest.  The blades create a dead spot behind which a low flying aircraft (or cruise missile?) could escape detection.  This has been known for several years (see this 2004 article from the UK) and there do seem to be technology solutions: “stealth blades” and updated radar software.

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