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 2023–09–30

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.

ASFO 2023–09–16

Mail call! Also a contemplation of nuclear safety, in the context of the horrific dam collapse catastrophe in Libya ; Indian country broadband, the question of “sticking to the old ways,” and the possibility that novelty–seeking is a fear response, with a diversion into alternative foodstuffs (the peanut is your friend!) ; and “teaching the controversy”.

Supplementary Shows

  • 2023–09–19 Again from Science News Yearbook 1970, sections on Apollo 12, Soyuz 4―8, and Mariner 6 and 7.
  • 2023–09–22 The rest of the space material from Science News Yearbook 1970, including Venera 5 and 6, the death of Bonnie the macaque, and a round–up of major space missions launched in 1969 up to 17 November. Also I start reading the section on atmospheric science, led there by a note in the space round–up. (Again this is a substitute archive.)

ASFO 2023–03–04

Theatre of the Atom! What is it? Even I am not sure yet. Also, Mail Call! And your periodic reminder that something is horribly wrong with the humanity of this planet, and I want off. (This is a short show, because I ran out of time to edit it ― I have a whole segment about the Oklo Phenomenon recorded for future use. And I didn’t even make a “March Forth” pun!)

ASFO 2023–02–18

Charles Proteus Steinmetz is a name you should know. For generations Edison was lionized, now Tesla is cast as the romantic hero, but Steinmetz is always ignored. Yet, where would we be without him? Also, what does it mean that India has ordered 470 new large jetliners? The very necessary distinction between “renewable” and sustainable energy, and a reminder of the importance of quantitative thinking. And Mail Call!

Supplementary Show

2023–02–24 “Why Nuclear Power Should be Defended”, address given 1980–03–15 in Los Angeles by Professor Petr Beckmann, author of The Health Hazards of NOT Going Nuclear ― transferred from audiocassette

ASFO 2023–02–04

Power outage? Power outrage! And just like that, I’m back to talking about the Regulated Utility Model for applying private enterprise to furnishing public goods, and trying to examine its potential uses in fields as disparate as pharmaceuticals and housing. With a bonus mention of Jimmy McMillan, the guy who says The Rent Is Too Damn’ High! Also Mail Call.

Supplementary Show

  • 2023–02–07 More from Interstellar Migration and the Human Experience (Finney and Jones, eds) : Introduction to Section II, Demography and Economics : Growth of the Human Tribe ; Comments on Hodges’ “The Division of Labor”, by the editors (with a very different view of “artificial intelligence” from that exhibited by, say, ChatGPT) ; Introduction to Section III, Migrating Societies ; Introduction to Section IV, Speciation ; and a part of the Introduction to Section V, Is Anybody Home? (stopping at the beginning of the section on the “Fermi paradox”).
  • 2023–02–10 Probably the last I’ll read out of Interstellar Migration and the Human Experience (but perhaps you’ll be interested enough to seek out the book for yourself). Fermi’s Question, the Epilogue, and the short biographies of authors.

ASFO 2022–08–13

Does electrification lead to moral laxity? Pinball machines are electric–powered, after all! I give my account of a California public hearing on the possible life extension of Diablo Canyon, and muse on what seems to me the similarity between the anti–nuclear movement and cults or thought–reform movements. Also, mail call! And an acknowledgement of gifts of support.

Supplementary Show