ASFO 2023–12–02

When you’re in a hole, stop digging ; when you’re facing an environmental crisis, don’t further burden the land! Is Germany following that rule? Does a “global transition to renewable energy” respect it? Can we look for anything from the 28th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, held in Dubai under the presidency of the head of the United Arab Emirates state oil company, that respects it? Also, a report on my disappointing experience in Los Angeles.

Dignitaries assembled with their flags, in front of a background which reads “Tripling Nuclear Energy by 2050, United Arab Emirates, December 2023”
One hopeful sign, perhaps ― it is possible to make out the flag of the Republic of Korea, which supplied the Barakah nuclear power plant, but has a domestic “nuclear phaseout” policy

ASFO 2023–11–18

Loscon 49, here I come! Sample copies of blast will be available, as will convention ribbons ― and Patreon supporters will receive mail from LA according to my usual custom. (I guess I forgot to do that from Winnipeg.) Also, the controversy between Nuklearia and the Umweltbundesamt, and a mention of bad reasoning on the part of opponents of atomic power. (Shocking, I know.) Not the most hard hitting or incisive episode of the year, mostly updates on what is going on with me, and the usual appeal for money so I can keep doing the weird things I do.

Two commemorative philatelic covers, for the set of stamps released 21 May 1981. Each is mounted on a card published by Readers' Digest. One refers to solar astronomy and carries the title "The Great Nuclear Furnace", while the other refers to planetary astronomy and carries the title "Visions of the Universe".

ASFO 2023–11–11

Armistice Day, Remembrance Day, the feast of Saint Martin of Tours ― whatever you call it, this is a day to demand of the members of the United Nations, and especially the Permanent Members of the Security Council, that they honour their solemn obligation, freely entered into, to seek and keep peace in this world. Unfortunately, I spent my time slot driving back from the stamp show (where I bought a bunch of postage), instead of doing a broadcast, so I had to do it later. For your delectation, I have a new film transfer.

Title card from a film, badly faded to pink. Text is "The Magic of the Atom".
Title card for the Handel Films “Magic of the Atom” series

ASFO 2023–11–04

My bold new proposal to solve the American housing crisis! Also, treating the deficiencies of medical practice with Ozempic? a consideration of the true meaning of “Atoms for Peace”, cheering news from Sweden, talk about decarbonization versus the reality of on–going oil rushes and the sublime certainties of climate campaigners, demolished wind installations and the tertium quid, words of wisdom from 1955 Britain, and Loscon.

ASFO 2023–10–28

I live! And I am once again contemplating the distribution of printed matter, in the form of a “zine” which I am calling blast. So most of this episode is a description of past activities in this field and what I hope to achieve this time, a solicitation for contributions of material to print and financial support, and an excerpt of something I am writing and will hopefully finish.

ASFO 2023–10–21

Pythagorean central–fire astronomy? Truly, this show brings you things you won’t get anywhere else! Also, Mail Call ― the storytelling mode of eldritch horror and how it influences perceptions of atomic power ― a consideration of practical morality, that the onus of action falls most heavily on him who has the most power to act ― falling short of the glory of God ― and Pure Science, in the story of the world’s only depleted–uranium mine.

“Nuclear Power Status 2020” poster from the International Atomic Energy Agency. Blue background with five gear-wheel-like graphs of different sizes.
The presentation of information here is intriguing, but we wonder just how effective it is.
“Nuclear Power Status 2021” poster from IAEA Power Reactor Information System. Light blue background with various tables and graphs. In the center, an artist’s impression of a generic nuclear power station.
It’s hard to know what Tufte would think of these posters.

ASFO 2023–10–14

Intractable problems are often the result of clashes between value systems, or of different rankings of values in the same system. Often, the first necessity for addressing them is acknowledging the nature of the problem ― which those who are certain they are in the right are often especially reluctant to do. Insoluble problems, on the other hand, may not be intractable, in the sense that it may be possible to ameliorate or work around them. In the human world, however, nothing can be done without goodwill, which is very much subject to being eroded by the effects of insoluble and intractable problems.

ASFO 2023–10–07

Nuclear energy and space news, mostly. I may spend some more time talking about the implications of nuclear power in Bangladesh and countries like it, and the way the Western countries have effectively left the field to Russia. Also, the implications of the launch of the first satellites for the Amazon LEO comsat constellation, and the implications of launch orders placed with ULA ; an alternative suggestion for the Eagle’s Nest mine project discussed last week ; and a brief consideration of the problems of constitutional government.

Supplementary Show

2023–10–10 A little pamphlet about the Douglas Point nuclear power station, for which the term CANDU was coined, and more of the 1975―76 AECL Annual Report. Perhaps I should have found something topical about the Chinese national holiday.

ASFO 2023–09–30

Mail Call! Much of the rest of the show, alas is political incompentence and stupidity ― thin soup, you may say. There seems little reason, though, that they should be so ubiquitous if, somewhere along the line, we the common people had not decided to accept them. As I have said time and again, policies which cannot be implemented will not be. Also, the resources required by the environmentally–benign renewable–energy–and–battery future, and their relation to cocaine and alcohol.

A letter, three Bhutanese postage stamps with a lenticular effect showing art of the Apollo landings, a Soviet 4-kopeck postage stamp celebrating cosmonautics with an attached caption, an axolotl sticker shaped like a human brain, and a Soviet electronic pocket calculator in a sheat.
Contents of a parcel from SDFer lcd

Supplementary Show

2023–10–03 From ATOM 142 (1968 August), How DFR Was Repaired, a very interesting description of work on the primary circuit of a sodium–cooled fast–neutron breeder reactor, which had not initially been thought feasible. And then some material from the 1975–76 Annual Report of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited. Truncated early by a telephone call from a medical office.