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Incoming BYTES
contains highly variable subject matter including commentary on the mundane, the extraordinary and even controversial issues. At Incoming BYTES
we want YOU to think...if you dare...


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Fukushima Disaster : Will Humanity Learn ?

The Light can be Blinding

At times I cannot believe my eyes. The light from the west   is blinding.  I thought I misread the numbers.  
To report to readers of Incoming Bytes  that the  latest news from Fukushima  in Japan  is  good  or getting better  would be deceit,  dishonest and a lie.   To shout "the news is bad"  could be inflammatory, but would probably be a substantial understatement and closer to the truth.  The escaped nuclear dragon in Japan has become even more problematic and dangerous. 
    Levels of radioactive iodine  have been recorded at 3,355 times the legal limit in the sea water close to the failed  Fukushima nuclear reactors.  You know the story, the Magnitude 9.0 earthquake, the tsunami, the reactor system failures. The hydrogen explosions.   Lack of cooling, partial meltdowns,  fuel ponds catching on fire. Radiation. Brave men trying to stop it, reminiscent of Chernobyl 25 years ago.  Dead men walking.  Plutonium was also found. Four of the reactors will have to be scrapped.  The long-term environmental, potentially mutating and death-dealing damage caused by this event may actually be incalculable.  The core of at least one of the six reactors has  partially melted through the containment vessel,  and the reactor  continues to leak highly radioactive water.  The radiation will spread;  the 'engineer's solution to pollution is dilution",  and yes, ultimately it may  be "diluted"  giving lower  readings,  but the fact is, it will still spread far and wide, causing untold damage with  "See no evil" applied.
    Meantime, authorities seem to pretend not to know where the radiation "might be" coming from.   Perfect.  See  no evil, speak no evil, and hear no evil.   Problem is, radiation from that source has already reached North American shores.  
  No gamesmanship  is offered here, let us not be gullible and foolish enough to pretend that masked, dignified and profuse  apologies from engineers, specialists,  nuclear facility owners, operators, global nuclear associations or the elected  will ever be enough to reverse the damage from  what is progressing to be one of the worst, if not THE worst  nuclear events in history.  The die is cast. The fat lady is singing horribly. 
    It goes without saying this unbelievable disaster could have been totally avoided by not building these reactors in the first place, let alone engineering and building them in one of the most unstable geological damage-prone areas on the globe. We'll undoubtedly hear about apologies for that, too.  --And about the engineers knowing that a Tsunami could overwhelm the plants.... and...and....ad nauseum.  
    Words are not enough to describe that  arrogant insanity,  but, "wink wink" will take care of it,  everyone politely agrees, it will be 'fine' , after all,   "What do average people know they're  just  people, the uninformed,  the 'workers',  the quintessential global citizen more interested in shopping than science and they and their opinions certainly don't belong up there in the elite nuclear echelon, --do they?     
 I imagine it is thought behind closed doors that ordinary folk  should clearly have no  say in what happens in their world, the reason being that the impoverished  homo sapiens,  the same  disenfranchised unfortunate once called a hunter-gatherer,  but now  "ordinary citizen "  -- is considered to  lack enough information, knowledge or any ability necessary to  question, interpret, validate,  condemn or criticize  ideas  fabricated and  revered  by nuclear "authorities" as they  brazenly  hold out  " PROOF of Nuclear Infallibility, PROOF of Knowledge", PROOF of Guaranteed Nuclear Safety,  --and thereby being not obligated,  dismiss  any genuine expressions of concern from the common masses. 
The nuclear "elite" further assign grandiose purpose to their treacherous, elitist  billion-dollar  projects as they present circular, incontrovertible justification for doing what they, the  " Elite-Deemed-Knowledgeable and Infallible " arbitrarily choose to do to the environment for profit,  without regard to the potential disasters they and their pet dragons inevitably create for all the world to see, --for all the world to fear--and for all the world to ultimately suffer from.  
That the elite themselves  and their progeny will eventually  become victims of their own greed seems to have been totally overlooked and irrelevant  in the pursuit of greed and technological misadventure.  "No matter". they say.  
    Let us resist the incredible desire to reduce ourselves to name-calling or the use of choppy, unacceptable four-letter invectives, although observing  the seemingly unstoppable,  arrogant stupidity always tempts one to revert to such phraseology, to  point fingers angrily, and to generally raise hell.
    Shall we instead, meekly look forward to the future, hope and pray,  and gently  observe  there is an
"unnecessary, inexplicable, inherent  tendency"  for us  "public know-nothings"  to  criticize  large corporations,  government authorities and their fine projects?   Is that our  Achille's heel, a weakness  in the model we must keep foremost in our minds?  Should we be ashamed of ourselves for condemning that which will destroy us?      

     Nuclear  shakers & movers suggest,  even  insist nothing can go wrong, nothing can go afoul, never a mistake shall be made with their "safe"  poison-bearing projects,  and  loquaciously offer their scientific  reassurance and reasoning, when all evidence glaringly proves  otherwise.  They similarly and simultaneously proffer indignity and wounded demeanor if criticized, however meekly, -even by one of their own, who may have fortuitously  "seen the Light" and realized one can indeed  become blinded by staring into the sun,--the largest nuclear reactor close at hand.  The parallel should not be overlooked.   Never fly too close  to the sun with waxed feathers either. 
     Are the meek and "uninformed"  ever  right? It doesn't matter. They are this time,a  fact clearly demonstrated loudly  yet AGAIN, that in the nuclear industry,if cold, bitter fact is faced, disasters can happen, another incredibly horrific nuclear disaster has happened, and more  nuclear accidents, leaks,  and incidents, both minor and those major "improbable events " will continue to happen.
   Who is listening?  Who shall learn? Will humanity learn? 
  Not to allow ourselves to raise the collective blood pressure of humanity too high,  but current events are bound to be "the PROOF of the Pudding"  when human arrogance becomes a dominant, persistent and uncontrollable factor.  It seems some segments of humanity  must learn everything  the hard way. Apparently Human beings   are not that clever ,  highly educated in nuclear physics and the "art of other nuclear stuff" or   not .   It becomes ever more obvious  that if there is  any way possible to engineer idiocy,  accident and mayhem, environmental catastrophe and hypocrisy,  those seeking profit at the expense of humanity and the environment -- inevitably will do a fine job of screwing things up-without fail. 
    That's enough of that.  The pointed question must  be: 
"Will North Americans  learn from this catastrophe?  Apparently not.
     It is already clear that  Ontario has not learned, and has no intention of halting the nuclear agenda,   for they are still actively holding  the foolish, yet oh-so-classic  'public  pseudo-hearings" on expansion of Darlington. 
  The agenda?   " We're so generously listening to all of you uninformed people  here today who know nothing ..oops,,,,well, it's time for lunch,  this  hearing  is closed now, that should keep all of you environmentalist  idiots quiet now,  --and for the record, we intend to build anything we want, no matter what you said anyway, and no accidents will happen, we guarantee it..."  
Having  met  their social obligation and "justified" their existence with such finesse,   they will then proceed to hatch more death-dealing nuclear reactors at Darlington merely  because they can get away with doing so.   
To wit: Demonstrators objecting to the hearings were  arrested.  Not surprising, and totally predictable.
The radiation contaminating Japan is unacceptable .  Taking ANY chance on contaminating North America  is unacceptable.  Risking the lives of our children, our grandchildren and THEIR grandchildren and all generations to follow is unacceptable, and always HAS been. 

The fact IS, Nuclear reactors are now unacceptable under any term of reference .  
Take that to your "hearings".  

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Elections and Political Games: Let's Play " Elections" - and Waste $400M on another Minority

Whaddya mean,  another ELECTION !  **

Not ANOTHER election ! The cat's out of the bag.  
Do tell.   Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his minority government were defeated on Friday so  we "get to go" to the polls on May 2nd.  "  Let's play "Election"
Why were the Conservatives  defeated?  A vote of non-confidence was brought forward by non-confident Liberals.  A nasty, but predetermined vote.
We're not surprised at all.  Dissolution of the House.  Failure of the Conservatives to maintain the confidence of the House,   get it?  Failure to get along with Jack and Mikey and Gilles  in the playground at Ottawa.   They  "lost the confidence of Canadians" ,  according to Michael Ignatieff, the temporary leader of the Liberals .  Temporary, because his rating as leader is somewhat low and if he doesn't win this election, he'll likely be heading for Harvard. No matter.

So we're having an election, and regardless of cause, effect, or process, there is little else in Canada  more blatantly annoying than being  forced to listen to elected politicians  as they pretend to blame  one another for precipitating an election they equally  swear they do not want. Are we to believe them?  No.
Guess what;   Stop Fibbing,  we all know how it works.   It's a tricky politician's plan to get more  vacation time.   After all, it's  March here in Canada,  it's still cold outside,  and all good politicians  need yet another 6 weeks of  "off-the-trough, fun-sabbatical  quality time,  a.k.a.   a vacation from real work.  The holidays suffered during the winter break from December through to the end of January  were clearly inadequate.
Those same  eager combatants also have expressed a wish to avoid,  at any cost, the  aggregate responsibility of attending to the difficult work of  good governance for our Canada,  the land of frozen beavers, sovereign polar bears and  melting ice packs. No matter.
 Canadians, unbelievably,  in these tough economic times,  are  about to spend  $400,000,000,  and it's  money we should not be throwing away. Break the piggy-banks anyway.
No, it's not going to be spent on anything sensibleon our behalf,  our political " mystery shoppers"  just bought an election complete with questionable trappings.          
No reason, but would we believe it anyway?  Little credibility seems to reside in Ottawa, perhaps with the exception of a half dozen very specific individuals, but they're too busy mopping the floors to talk to us.
We  will likely end up with yet another  minority government.    The third one, by the way.   Why do we have minority governments?  Non-confidenceVoter disinterest? Bad weather?   Perhaps another contributing factor is our "unique" party system.   The Bloc Quebecois is allowed to commandeer Federal parliamentary seats without universal representation,  making the achievement of a  majority by other parties much more difficult. That distinct  monopoly seems to be politely ignored as an invisible anchor dragging behind a ghost ship, but apparently has been deemed an acceptable  part of the cost of appeasing Quebec,-- a  political aberration that is unbelievable, inexplicable and  unacceptable to thinking Canadians.
Why complain about it?  Maybe we need another REAL party. Maybe we would vote for Gilles  if they did offer the R.O.C. (rest of Canada) representation, --but alas,  he has no interest in doing so.   Gilles whines for Billions,  and more gifts for Quebec at every opportunity,  --and inevitably, he gets the goodies, so what else is new? 
No matter. On to THIS election that is already hobbled. 
 We can only imagine what happened in the House of Commons:

"Mr. Speaker, it seems nobody likes my new budget at all, nobody wants to be nice and play with me,  so don't vote, see if I care,  I'm taking all my toys home,  and if you're nice, you can see it after we win another minority on May 2nd, Mr. Speaker."
 (raucous laughter)

"Mr. Speaker,  we are obligated to listen to a  finance minister from the Honorable member opposite, even if he didn't  buy new shoes,for this important occasion, Mr. Speaker?  But come now,  ..we on this side of the house think the Honorable member across the floor would much prefer to be tossed on a matter of disrespect for Parliament instead of something as boring as a mean-spirited budget, after all..."

"Mr. Speaker, yes, yes,,,,okay,  let's do that instead, --that was a good idea brought forward by the Honorable member across the floor, Mr. Speaker."
(raucous cheering) 
"  Mr. Speaker,   like 34 Million  other Honorable,  vote-weary Canadians,  I'm  a little less skeptical now,  I see there is hope after all,  seeing such perky cut-and-dried  collusion to create the latest reason for an election we all want--er, don't want,  -- and for  the fine posturing, the offended demeanor,  and offensive childish exchanges observed in this House of Commons, all members of the House are to be congratulated for such a fine performance, Mr. Speaker."

"Mr. Speaker, along the same lines, why should we not all just get along and be happy, Mr. Speaker?  After all, Canadians, cold or not, have much to be happy about,  do they not, Mr. Speaker?
This   Honorable member suggests that Canadians should  all be happy and allow their duly elected representatives to  spend $400 million dollars yet AGAIN, especially  for an election all of our  venerable leaders  equally  insist  they do not want, Mr. Speaker, even if  we all know better, --oops,,,...is that camera turned off, Mr. Speaker?" 

"Mr. Speaker,  our committee  recommends that  we turn the cameras back on, clap our hands in unison, sing  "kumbaya",  and pass out out kudos to our political children hauling back huge salaries,  while SENIORS live  in poverty and received  a microscopic raise of  $1.56 Cdn. -- after waiting years,  Mr. Speaker,  because that was, after all, quite a good raise.   In the meantime, Mr. Speaker, our Honorable members will  busy themselves in the last few minutes of Parliament doing important things, like  handing out more  major tax credits to our  huge Corporate interests, Mr. Speaker". 
( cheering )
" Mr. Speaker,  I wish to add that we should additionally  feel all  warm and fuzzy as we celebrate the integrity of our leaders and enjoy watching  official funding  departmental  documents change  magically with black-marker,  and pay particular attention to  enjoying that last moment protocol.  Canadians should be  especially proud of this accomplishment, and celebrate the fact that any departmental document might  be adequately changed by erstwhile Ministers who are not obligated to explain "how or why" documentation is changed,  Mr. Speaker."  

"  Mr. Speaker, one  further  issue of great importance, let us all cheer wildly as we spend UNKNOWN  BILLIONS of dollars on that fleet of nice shiny F-35 fighter jets at over $60M  per copy, a  fighter jet  that cannot fly anywhere near the speed of our own Canadian Avro Arrow,  an aerospace industry that our  Honorable Dief  the Chief  and  fellow  Conservatives  killed inexplicably 50 years ago, Mr. Speaker, at the cost of 14,000 jobs in the aerospace industry, --and  Mr. Speaker, let it be known  that we are still  working diligently  at replacing those jobs  with  wait-positions  and other highly skilled jobs in our job-creation strategy we are so  happily advertising as we speak."   

"The Honorable members should also vibrate with pride as we recall the "Billion dollar G20 security party complete with fake lakes,  Mr. Speaker.  Such clever environmental planning and  spending is required to ensure the integrity of the Canadian dollar is not limited to necessary projects like million-dollar fences or spent foolishly lifting Canadians out of poverty."  
 (raucous laughter)

"Mr. Speaker, we are all Canadians here , so let us truly  jump up and down for joy,  as all of our Honorable members  do their sworn duty to Canadians.  Let us now act like Grade IV students in  a 'do or die' food fight as we fling  stale  bologna sandwiches at each other across the floor of the House.  Mr. Speaker, all Honorable members are reminded to participate vigorously,  shouting  and pointing and jumping up and down with indignity --at least  whilst on camera, for the benefit of their  attentive constituents, Mr. Speaker". 

" Mr. Speaker, finally,  let us encourage all Canadians to express delirious  delight for the coming opportunity to listen to an  endless round of lies, attack ads, accusations,  counter-accusations,  promises, and instructions on how to clothespin their  noses  to the reek of the  endless pile of political manure that will be shoveled with very large, expensive shovels, Mr. Speaker."
-- By the way, do you have any Dijon and mayonnaise  handy up there for our new coalition sandwiches,  Mr. Speaker?"
(Cheering and whacking of  an old, but re-soled  shoe on the desk of the Finance Minister)
Let us now be serious.
How fitting, and how predictable the calling of this unnecessary election,  when the  Conservative minority,  a.k.a,  "the  Harper government", as they so aptly "branded" themselves, is momentarily ahead in the polls.   Do the Conservatives  believe  they actually have a shot at a majority simply because they are slightly ahead in meaningless polls?    It is little wonder they  so quickly  thereafter  offered a meaningless budget to ensure it would be rejected by all parties, a budget  specifically offered with no amendments desired, considered, or accepted.
The Honorable Minister of Finance did not put on the traditional "new shoes" so often displayed.  He doesn't seem to get it, does he?  Many seniors live in poverty and cannot afford to install new soles on their old worn-out shoes.

  The fact that the "Harper government"  just been voted "in contempt of parliament,  disrespectful of democracy and parliament",  unethical and dripping with scandal   is almost a moot point in spite of the indignity act played so beautifully by Michael the Harvard man,  Honorable Jack,  Gilles the whiner, and  Elizabeth the Green?  
Haven't the majority of politician incumbents been unethical, dripping with scandal, names besmirched with problems of some kind, at one time or the other,  most notably just before election time?

Watch out. Be forewarned.  On May 2nd, the world will come to a complete halt, the nuclear disaster in Japan won't matter, the war in Libya will halt,  and the earth itself shall stop rotating, while  Canadians drop everything to trundle through the slush and snow,  hold their  noses, and vote for the best of the worst collection of politicians Canada has seen for many years.
After all, isn't that the Canadian way?  As one of my smartest colleagues observes, "We shall see what we shall see." 

**Note:  With thanks,  photo credit courtesy of:     http://iruntheinternet.com/  

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

MUST WE Contaminate the World with RADIATION? Say NO!

Leading to the Light

      The drinking water supply  in TOKYO,  hundreds of kilometers from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, has now been found to be contaminated with radioactive iodine.   Food and milk produced in the disaster area is also  contaminated.  Shipments of all vegetables and farm produce from the agricultural  area have been halted.  The reactors are still spewing radioactive materials. 
      In spite of the   blatant, horrific evidence facing the rich "nuclear industry" in Japan, the North American industry  continues to insist upon building more nuclear reactors as if nothing has happened.
     We believe that any further development of nuclear generating stations  is  not only morally reprehensible but may well be a crime against humanity.   Clean, safe alternatives and technology  ARE available.  If the same billions of dollars were directed at alternative energy sources, much cleaner energy would be harvested without danger or economic loss.
     Must we contaminate the whole world with radiation ? The "industry representatives"  so  innocently  holding the current  "hearings"  to build yet more nuclear reactors at Darlington, Ontario  seem to think so.  Trouble is, they apparently have not been paying attention to the growing disaster in Japan. 
      Greenpeace protesters  holding a demonstration  at the pseudo "hearings" were arrested and will be charged.  
      Is Ontario a police state?  What is wrong with protesting against proliferation of  technology that has the potential to destroy humanity?
                                                   Think about it!  
     There are 11,000,000 human beings  in southern Ontario within range of the  Bruce/Darlington and Pickering reactors and their potential leaks, failures and inevitably, their catastrophes.   What will the "owners and operators " do when that happens?  "Apologize profusely?"   NOT good enough !
      At Incoming Bytes  we object strenuously to any expansion or building of new  nuclear reactors.  The current hearings,  apparently sanctioned by our "leaders"  will clearly be continued with deaf ears,  so let the pointed questions BE:
" Why are hearings for expansion plans in Darlington  being held NOW, at this period of utmost distraction globally, with major disasters world-wide?"  --So nobody NOTICES them?
" Who has GENUINE moral authority to even CONSIDER building  nuclear reactors? " 
" Given the recent accidents, why would ANYONE be  foolish enough to build more nuclear reactors?" 
" Which authority has authorized  GREEDY CORPORATE INTERESTS to  threaten the lives of every human being alive?"
      I really like this question the best :       " Is willful nuclear expansion  a sign of collective human insanity, insatiable  corporate greed, total lunacy,    irresponsible governance, -or proof positive of all of the above ?" 
and finally:  
     " WHICH REFERENDUM has EVER been held to allow such a foolish energy policy to be followed  --and proceed nonchalantly with it, as if "nothing will happen"
 Murphy's law says otherwise.  If it CAN happen, it will.
     Clearly  "something" can happen; let us now ask the people of  Tokyo,  a  " highly responsible,  highly technologically-advanced society that has "SAFE" nuclear reactors, --and  who can NOW, today,   no longer allow their infants to drink the water in TOKYO,  hundreds of kilometers from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, because it has been found to be contaminated with radioactive iodine.   It is unfit for infants.  In fact, it is more likely  unfit for human consumption.  Food and milk produced in the disaster area is contaminated with radiation and shipments from the area have been halted.   To make matters worse, the damaged reactors CONTINUE TO LEAK MORE RADIATION. 
       Shall greedy corporate interests and individuals  be allowed destroy our civilization?   MUST we contaminate the world with radiation? Where ARE our political "leaders"  today? Are they leading us, or are they sitting smugly in the pockets of the nuclear industry?
     At Incoming Bytes   we  shall continue to express our opinion and protest blatant foolishness  where discovered  at every possible opportunity.
     Given that the recent nuclear disasters in Japan have proven that nuclear reactors cannot be made fail safe,   we hereby politely and insistently request  that:

     The reader is encouraged to post this and similar protests to the nuclear industry's  persistent and reckless assault on civilization in every forum possible.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Time to Declare War: On Nuclear Energy?

A blinding flash of light....

With a background in chemistry, I have never believed that using radioactive, unstable dangerous materials for  production of electricity  was  a good idea.  Recent nuclear events in Japan, the worst nuclear development since Chernobyl,  once again confirm  that nuclear energy is one of the world's most dangerous applications of scientific knowledge,  and perhaps one of  the worst applications of modern technology.   In the extreme, in total failure, nuclear energy is  ultimately a one-way ticket to the termination of humanity.
It is bad enough that the globe can be destroyed many times over with existing stockpiles of nuclear weapons fitfully declared "necessary for defense and  M.A.D." ; the insanity and sublime reality of mutual assured destruction;   --- but are nuclear reactors  really necessary for the production of electricity? No.
Are there other viable options?  Yes.  Wind and solar energy already supply most of the electrical power used in Germany.  If Germany can do it, why can't we? 
Can any power utility "authority"  operating nuclear generating stations ever offer even the slightest guarantee that  a nuclear reactor will not eventually fail, spewing radiation  in to the environment for thousands of miles, contaminating food, water, and land?   NO.
Has the nuclear industry made sound decisions in the past?   No. 
The Pickering nuclear reactor in Pickering, Ontario is built close to, or upon a known geological fault line and has suffered "minor leaks".   Only a couple of days ago, an earthquake was recorded  between Montreal and Ottawa.  Should our readers be foolish enough to believe a serious earthquake cannot, at some point in the future, ravage the Pickering reactor? 
Hearings in Ontario are  scheduled and taking place decide to build more reactors at Darlington.   
Has Ontario learned nothing from the Japanese disaster? Food and water is already contaminated for 60 or 80 kilometers from the Fukushima disaster, and it is nowhere NEAR under control. Hundreds of miles of the Ukraine was contaminated by Chernobyl--and will be for centuries.
With wind technology, solar energy,  and natural gas generating stations possible,  the use of dangerous nuclear reactors is simply inexcusable, reckless,  and cannot be justified. Safety of nuclear reactors cannot be guaranteed by any "nuclear authority" regardless how "reassuring" they may be.  There is no safe way to dispose of radioactive waste, which remains  dangerous for many centuries.
Imagine a similar nuclear disaster in  Southern Ontario. Ten million people.  Out-of-control reactors.    Do not allow any person to tell you that a catastrophe can not happen, because  clearly, they can If it can happen in Japan, it can happen in Ontario.   Accidents are bound to occur. Equipment will fail,  leaks will occur,  and radioactive material WILL be released to the environment.  The nuclear industry has already proven that accidents and defects and "events" can happen.   Why take such foolish chances with the lives of millions of people ?  Why spend MORE  billions on defective, dangerous  technology?
It is not too late to stop North America's  nuclear madness.  Let us now do the RIGHT thing for the environment.   Say NO to Nuclear reactors,  say NO to expansion of Darlington, and say NO to the greedy politicians, the nuclear power authority, and the  nuclear industry that has only one thing in mind-- profit.
It is time to declare war on Nuclear energy. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

As the World Turns: Who Shall We Believe? The Greedy? The Media?

Let us see the Light

It never ceases to amaze  how stories and events  evolve  in unexpected ways, even 'nonchalantly'  with all  the conflicting, inaccurate, and missing  information that eventually comes to light.    At times,  it seems that lies,  partial truths, overcautious withholding of information, failure to  release important information entirely, or zealous control of information -- skews  and spins valuable information out of context and control,  both when given to the media,  and then again when passed on to the public by  media  that at times,  itself is even intentionally misled by venerable leaders, officials  and perhaps others with questionable motive.

After any huge disaster when desperate rescue efforts must be conducted to rescue the general population there is  understandably worry, confusion, fear, and hurried misunderstanding --caused by intent or not.  

By the very nature of such events,  the disruption or destruction of infrastructure and communications,  reports from different authorities and agencies  may not always coincide.  Decades ago, that used to be the case only  because it was problematic or impossible to communicate when transportation,   services and "land lines" were destroyed,  but modern society now has cell phones and portable satellite communications systems for news services. 
Why is more accurate information not available?
Is that glaring contradiction one of the main causes of  the  public  distrust of "officialdom" and the media? 

Within the media there  always remains  a responsibility to report responsibly and  avoid the creation  more fear and  panic, but it seems logical that with  a major nuclear story seemingly headed in the direction  of and even exceeding Three Mile Island  (even Chernobyl ? )a current  major event such as  Japan's ongoing  nuclear dilemma  should require information be directed  accurately to the public at all times.  
With ever more serious consequences developing,  the horrific catastrophe unfolding in Japan  quickly captured the attention of the whole world, and understandably so. The Japanese catastrophe has unfolded to be clearly an exceptional and dangerous historical event with very long-term implications. 
   Unbelievable damage caused by the quake and ensuing tsunami now has implications that remain virtually incalculable .
  Six operating nuclear power generating plants, one of them containing plutonium-enriched fuel,  suffered major damage,  including damage to critical  power systems that provided necessary cooling not only for the active reactors themselves, but for a huge water-pond storage system that stores thousands of  "spent" fuel rods  (or  did ?)--at least until recently.  For the uninformed, spent (used) fuel rods remain highly radioactive for years and must be stored carefully to avoid overheating and exposure to air, which can cause radioactive materials to be released into the air.
  At the nuclear plants, there have already been 3 major hydrogen explosions,  storage pond fires,  and failure to cool the melting reactor cores  in spite of last-ditch emergency flooding with sea water, water bombing using helicopters, fire trucks and water cannons.  Dangerously overheated reactor cores have been exposed,  dry,  partially melted.  A partial meltdown  or meltdown(s) have already occurred.
We already know there has been major releases of radioactive materials, but reports of the official "danger" and levels of radiation being  measured differ substantially.  With world Atomic Energy associations, why should there be any question?
Although already having evacuated more than 500,000 people and are advising staying more than 20km from the  nuclear hot-spot,  Japanese officials  have finally admitted it is far more serious than previously thought. 
 U.S. and  other nuclear experts were advising a range of more than 80 km and countries are advising their nationals to leave Japan. 

Why the big discrepancy? Why is it so difficult for officials everywhere to come clean, correlate data with one another, and admit the true nature of the problem immediately?  
Do owners and officials  of operating nuclear power plants not want to accept responsibility for bad design and failure?  Now that the disaster is unfolding, and they are    in charge of a dragon that escaping  their control, will  they now deny culpability, and  admit lack of capability to control the potential disaster in it's entirety?   
Who shall we believe?  The greedy, the frightened, or the media?  Perhaps we should take careful note that it is the greedy and powerful that build and operate these  potential disasters.
To be clear, we at Incoming Bytes shall  not point fingers at the Japanese as a nation.  Japan is far from alone in this phenomenon;  around the world,  nuclear plants have had leaks, accidents, and failures and will continue to do so because that is what they do.   They are mechanical systems;  it is not IF they will fail, but WHEN.  
The world must now face that reality and change course. 
When clean solar energy and wind energy is freely available, what has  compelled  humanity to ignore common sense and use  problematic, dangerous and dirty nuclear plants that produce dangerous, dirty waste products that must be stored forever?  The answer is simple. Greed.
 I offered a comment following the previous post: 

"Where big money is concerned, it seems there is little genuine concern for the results of their money-making schemes, no matter how much pollution or how many potential problems they may cause." 
 An immediate response from a very astute reader  summed it up perfectly:  
  "Selfish motives impact whole civilizations. And its time we wake up to defending our lives that are at the mercy of a handful"
   As the world turns,  it is becoming more apparent that civilization in it's entirety may now be forced to  forever pay the  gargantuan and endless  economic and human costs of these disasters,  --and  only now at the very last moment in civilization,   try to discourage and disengage  a  foolish  energy policy that was followed only to satiate the endless greed of "a handful".   
So be it. We CAN do it.  We HAVE to do it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Third Explosion: Japan Nuclear Crisis Worsens: Now What?

I  imagine everyone  following the crisis in Japan  is already quite aware that a third  hydrogen explosion occurred yesterday at one of several  nuclear reactors damaged by the magnitude 9.0 earthquake .  This tragedy is already in epic proportions; in strength of aftershocks,  in loss of buildings and infrastructure damage. IN terms of  human losses , the horrific death toll from the earthquake and the tsunami  has now been estimated to exceed 10,000, and there are potentially greater problems developing. 

Radiation levels are rapidly on the rise as seemingly futile attempts are made to cool the damaged reactors.  The reactor cores have been exposed with no cooling systems or backup power generation systems  in working order,  causing severe heating and potential meltdown. 
Sea water has been pumped into the reactors, in a desperate, last-ditch  attempt to cool the overheated cores to prevent the zirconium-encased uranium fuel rods from melting.  Pumping in sea-water creates  hydrogen, which when mixed with oxygen, causes powerful explosions.   
The inevitable has happened, the inability of the nuclear facility operators to vent the build-up of hydrogen and pressure resulted in the latest explosion.  Bottom line, radioactive particulate matter is being dispersed on the winds. 

 Ever heard of "Three Mile Island?"  Ever heard of "Chernobyl",  the worst nuclear accident in history? The Japanese crisis has already been likened to Three Mile Island and the worst is yet to come.   A storage pond is on fire, spewing radioactive  contaminated material into the air.  Even spent fuel rods are dangerous; containing plutonium, cesium, and strontium,  the fuel rods, although encased in zirconium, can ignite and burn, releasing radiation into the atmosphere.  Spent fuel rods are stored in deep water pools to keep them cooled down.  In Japan, the 4o' deep storage pools are located about ten stories up, on the rooftop of the reactors. 

Imagine that. Just how clever was that design?   That seems like it might be "a little problematic "  to put it lightly.  One such pool has lost cooling capacity and is already burning, spewing radioactive matter into the sky.

The World Meteorological Organization (W.M.O.), reports that for now, radiation is blowing away from Japan and eastward into the Pacific Ocean.   Should the winds turn westward, a very large area of Japan can be very adversely affected. Approximately  500,000 people have already been evacuated

How far does radioactive particulate matter  travel?  Being pumped high into the atmospheric winds, such materials can travel thousands of miles.   If winds are predominantly east,  clearly the west coast of North America will eventually be subjected to some degree of risk.  The question is only "how much" and "when".   If the winds turn westward, great areas of Japan may be contaminated.  Why is this so critical?
  For the uninformed, radioactive material does not simply "go away".   It is dangerous  particulate matter, and cannot be  diluted in the same manner a liquid spill can be.  Although radioactivity can be measured carefully, monitored, or  dispersed,  it should not be foolishly ignored.   It can be  blown away by dry winds or  washed back  into the soil, "out of sight, out of mind",   --- but it does not "go away".  Radiation can can enter the food chain, causing mutations,  cancers, and death.  
It will be with us for 200,000 years or longer.  
This disaster was inevitable.  How can we prevent such horrific tragedies from happening again that involve nuclear facilities?

It seems to me this tragedy is an extremely good reason for humanity to re-think the whole approach we take to the generation of energy.  The biggest nuclear generator around, the sun --is  a few million miles away--and the energy we get from it is free.  
Let's get with it, people,  we CAN do it;  solar energy IS the way to go.

At Incoming BYTES  we continue to offer our sincere and heartfelt condolences to the people of Japan for their lost family members and extreme difficulties in this tragedy.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Japan Disasters: Another Earthquake and Nuclear Plant Meltdowns?

Following  details of the historic and tragic results of the Japanese disaster has become far more complicated. 
 As if the first earthquake  and tsunami wasn't bad enough,  yet another earthquake has shaken Northwestern Japan.   
The total death toll from the March 11th/11  magnitude 8.9 earthquake, the fifth largest recorded in history , followed by a deadly tsunami,   remains unknown at this time.  Although over a thousand deaths are already known to have occurred, the potential loss of life is staggering, Over 10,000 people  are known to be missing from a single town alone.
To complicate things further, at 10:26 Sunday, Mar. 13,  --a new 6.2 magnitude earthquake has  occurred in Northeastern Japan , this time closer to Tokyo.  
In addition, and almost unbelievably,  damaged nuclear plants threaten to melt down   A partial meltdown of one reactor  may already be in progress, with more than serious consequences.  A vast area has been evacuated with almost 200,000 people moving out.  A total of three nuclear reactors were damaged when cooling systems and backup systems were disrupted by earthquake damage.  Is another Chernobyl disaster in the making, or has it already occurred?  It is unknown. 

Are more of these devastating earthquakes to come?  With more than 150 aftershocks recorded, it is likely, but this too,  is simply unknown. 
What is known is that the tragedy continues to unfold before the eyes of the rest of the world, with possibly the worst yet  to come.  Even  the earth  itself  was  moved on it's axis reportedly 10cm  (4") and the big island of Japan has been moved approximately 2 meters.   (~8 feet)   by the 8.9 magnitude quake.
What does such a major shift mean?  Is the whole Pacific "Ring of Fire" on the move?  Will the tectonic plates continue to move once they shift, or with pressure relieved, wait another 50 years? 
There are many questions without answers but one thing is for sure. 
Clearly  the astounding power of nature cannot and should not be underestimated.  
 Is the earth's crust  being affected by a super-moon effect that has not yet peaked?    Will the center of gravity of the earth itself change?  Will the magnetic fields on the earth be changed by this relative change?  Will the magnetic poles move, or even switch polarity?  
Only time will tell.   Meantime, hang onto your hats.  The earth is on the move. 

*At Incoming Bytes  we offer our most sincere condolences to the families of those lost in this horrific tragedy.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Breaking News: 8.9 Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan : The World is Shaking

We need to start thinking seriously about what is important in life. 
The world around us is complaining and the world  is shaking .   Japan was  hit today with a powerful  earthquake  that reached magnitude 8.9 on the Richter scale, and a major tsunami , a wall of water reaching heights of 30 ft.  raced inland, causing  unbelievable damage.   
To keep the severity of this earthquake in perspective, many of the dozens of  aftershocks were recorded at magnitude 6.0,  stronger than many individual earthquakes on record.
The earthquake, one of the largest ever recorded, caused the tsunami which affected over 2,000 km.  of coastline, washing away homes, trees, vehicles and people.  At this date, hundreds of people have been killed, with as many missing.

At Incoming Bytes  our hearts and prayers go out to the families of those lost in this terrible tragedy.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Will a Federal Election stop Re-branding, and Improve the Entertainment Value of Government?

As a mildly-entertained  observer of politics but a dedicated voter in Canada,  a few days ago I was a tad annoyed to hear that the "Government of Canada" was making noises about re-branding itself  as  "the Harper Government".  
My previous post expressed a certain dislike for such egotistical shenanigans by politicians, as older, honest generations might gently label them.  Such tricks are also known as "creative embellishments" as  the herd  of "politically-correct"  talking heads  in Ottawa might  so aptly name them.  Not so fast, let's clean out the  Rideau Canal,  we have new stinkers going down fast.
Let us politely call  the latest political tricks what they are;  self-serving, opportunistic and distasteful symptoms of a disregard for democracy, and an abuse of power.  "Quite natural, it is,  since power corrupts; it seems we have quite a lot of that going around, in the world. "  That's   always added  tongue-in-cheek by politicians  just in case the next government  that may be a different variety with cheek-to-cheek affiliations  gets caught with it's fingers in the cookie jar next round.
That does sound like the opposition talking, doesn't it.... but no matter.
Time is of the essence; a major Federal budget is due in the house shortly.  Would that be called a "Harper budget" now?  A  Harper election?  An  Ignatieff opportunity for a vote of non-confidence and a  bold  Layton Government agreement to prevent the precipitation of an immediate Harper election?  Opinions vary, depending on who is blackmailing who,  whether adequate political deals are made to please the "Duceppe  Bloc"  and other such "branded conditions" are met, shopping lists are filled,  etc. etc.   

Regardless, to make the question even more visible "in your portfolio", a.k.a. "in your face",      now the  non-partisan  "Speaker of the House" presiding in the House of Commons, always dedicated, suitably generic and non-partisan,  has politely ruled against the Conservative Government of Canada  (a.k.a.  the wannabe Harper Government) on two matters of protocol,  which everyone knows is "the standard, supposed-to-be-correct, and generally-accepted " method of doing official Government things by official government people in official public office 
To wit, interpretation of the Speaker's announcement might be:  "The dance is over,  there shall be no altering of documents or last minute changes of committee recommendations on typed documents even if done  by hand in black ballpoint pen or black marker,   no misleading the house,  and no diddling with electioneering funds via "In-Outs",  "up-downs-down-towns" or any other  transient transfer of funny-money.  
The reaction off-camera to his speech  may really  have been wink -wink , "where's the money you were diddling with last time, you  big tease, you did it too,"  wink- wink yadda, yadda ".
It really  no longer  matters what the details are.      The  real fact of the matter is that both rulings announced  by the Honourable Speaker  suggest that the  "ruling" party  may be no longer ruling by the rules of democracy, (to put it politely, as interpreted by the opposition )   but by personal preference, personal style, and personal edict.  The spirit of democracy has been offended and sullied.
Here is the question of the day to ponder:  Which government is doing those naughty things?  How do we even know we have a government since we cannot trust the news?  Choose one.     Do we have a minority special-interests- big business government?  An old -time "Government of Canada" like old Dief used to run?   A new-fangled minority "Harper government" ?  A minority dictatorship ?   --Or is it just an out-of-control  minority anarchy,  a  P.E.T. "fuddle duddle" moment  --where each elected Minister does exactly what he or she wishes,   once firmly ensconced  in an oaken seat of power?
 I couldn't resist asking that question.

Now I have to ask another pointed question;  Does that announcement and apparent confirmation of a breach of propriety on behalf of your elected representatives mean winter-weary Canadians all   are duty-bound to hold another Federal election at a cost of $350Million which is going to come out of the pocket of  financially-stressed taxpayers already fed up to the ears with elections first,  politics second, and politicians third, regardless of order or lack thereof?   
What is this "election" going to prove?   That  we can't allow crooked stuff  (a.k.a. creative finagling, )  to go on in Ottawa?   Really?  Let us roll on the floor in laughter.  

Will an election stop the re-branding of the Government of Canada entirely, and restore stiff-upper-lip dignity to Ottawa,  or will it merely provoke  a  convenient  "brand change" , sell tickets to a different circus,  which will do little but  waste  time, money and energy better spent elsewhere?
Will an election result in a majority government? Not likely, especially now with the latest revelations,  opposition accusations, and atmosphere of finger-pointing.  Clearly the opposition has forgotten previous gaffes  such as  Ad Scam et al,    but Canadians have long memories, and there are many  dry skulls  in many closets best left undisturbed by opposition types lest they come back to bite.
Maybe it's time to start thinking outside of the political ballot box instead.

With our "new improved " judicial system, how about a nice judicial  "slap on the wrist",  a resignation of the minister(s) responsible,  withdrawal of their fat pensions,  an apology by the Official Government of Canada,  replacement of all and any missing funds, real jail time in some of those new penitentiaries if criminal activities are involved, and how about  a Universal promise by all parties to never prorogue Parliament again, while we're at it, no matter who is  found to be  G.U. I. C.P.  (Governing under the influence of corruption and power)  -- and just get on with the business of good governance?

Will "good governance" happen just because we make Stephen sit on the other side of the House of Commons behind  between  Elizabeth and  Jack, one row in front of Gilles, who will continue to whisper sweet nothings in his ear ?    No. 
Is the election of another batch of new, inexperienced, and equally foolish politicians in power the answer?  Clearly notIs the status quo acceptable?  Clearly not.  Will an election solve anything?  NO.
Clearly, we need to rebuild our political system. It is broken.  There can be no productive governance with a constant struggle for television air time  to grandstand and a chance to show off, calling down political opponents in "polite language" to avoid offending the decorum of the House.    Someone is always in opposition, causing problems, wasting time, and  embarrassing whoever happens to be unfortunate enough to be  leading or making decisions.
Is it a profitable  and logical system of checks and balances?  No. The existing system is more like a grade IV  class studying earthworms.   Dump them on the floor.  "Worms, go east! " the leader yells.
The opposition points fingers and says  "The Honorable member is incompetent, Mr. Speaker, they're going every which way!"
In other observations, there can be no majority government  made up of  politicians that do not honestly represent the people of Canada. Canadians  have no desire for other forms of government such as a  well-coiffed  monarchy, fancy wedding-of-the-century coming up or not, and there is absolutely no desire for a  branded fascist state,  a branded dictatorship or a corrupt ideological American-style Republic,  no matter how many banana trees may be promised to bloom.
There is also clearly no room in Canada's Parliament for self-serving  political parties clearly bent on the destruction and fragmentation of Canada. The Bloc Quebecois offers NO representation to Canadians outside of the Province of Quebec, so what business do they have in the Federal House of Commons?  Run candidates all across Canada  like a real political party, or  stop whining, and do not show up in Parliament demanding a seat. You are fragmenting the vote, get it?  Surprise, surprise, you may even garner a few cross-Canada votes, considering the  nature of the existing choices being displayed to date. 

 What are our ELECTED representatives thinking with?  Perhaps the reader can  ponder that question.  If you come up  with the inevitable answer "Not much", you win three more weeks of winter. Welcome to Canada.

The sad fact of the matter is, it is time to dump "Party Politics" entirely  in favour of a system of elected representation from ALL Federal ridings,  devoted individuals that can be replaced every four years  by voters --or at any time if necessary,  and fired just as quickly should they decide to misbehave,  "alter documents",  involve themselves in questionable stupidity, or  try to remove parts of the Country known as Canada.
Gone immediately would be individuals   attempting  to blackmail OR commandeer The Government of Canada.  The controlling factor for a representative House could be a similarly elected, non-partisan experienced Senate.
Gone immediately would be loose cannons attempting to  gain fame and fortune by re-branding the Government of Canada  as  "the  Argyle Sweater Team", or   the "-I-  won't-run-a  closed Dictatorship " team.
Gone equally,  would be behind-the-scenes manipulators, as  "Jack's Improved Government,  "   and   "  Better Greenies "  which would become even less relevant, and  would certainly not be allowed to become  "brands" of government.  No government would be allowed to consume the meager pensions of the  growing senior population. 

We have a better idea, let's actually DO it.   Let's get back to work,  forget about childish,  ideological political partisan  gamesmanship,  and for once and for all,  be ADULT about the job at hand.  We all know governing  takes time, intelligence and dedication.  Governing  takes honesty. Government takes cooperation.  How about let's actually try and surprise Canadians with real governing for a change?  

If we MUST have an election,  Lord, please grant us the wisdom to  put MATURE people in Ottawa that actually care more about poverty and families and  hard-working seniors  than they do about Big Dirty Oil,  Big Business,  and the overly fat political  pensions paid for a couple years of  name-calling, disruptive childishness, and  pointing fingers across the House floor.  Let us not forget ravaging the free perk barrel  in Ottawa.
 "Only in Canada."   

"Good grief".

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Branded "Harper Government" : Big Ego and Bigger Mistake

Here at  Incoming Bytes   we could not believe  that Prime Minister Stephen Harper had initiated, encouraged, or allowed documentation from the Government of Canada to be "branded"  as being from the "Harper Government".   Really!  Are we being just a tad  egotistical?   Does that mean we have the "Obama Government"  next door?  Was there any discussion on the subject, public input, or warning in advance?  No.   Did we  hold a referendum to approve that re-branding?    No.   
Let us look at this logically. This will take a LOT of thinking:
 30 Million Canadians  support the Government of Canada.   End of story.  

 We  have no interest in supporting  a  "Harper Government",  an "Ignatieff Government,  a  "Layton Government",  and may God rescue us from   a  "Duceppe" government.   The Government of Canada is not private property, and NO government in Canada is privately owned  in any  forum, private OR public .  To name a government or brand it privately, to believe it is private and exclusive,  or to believe it should be,  seems more than totally arrogant and  is clearly  a  "let us lock our politicians  up quickly"  moment in Ottawa.  The fact is,  WE OBJECT.

Why?   At last observation,  30 million Canadians were fully cognizant of the fact  that the Government of Canada was under  minority control of the Conservative Party of Canada,  with the Opposition parties   being the Liberal Party of Canada,  the  New Democratic Party of Canada, and  the thorn-in-the-side Bloc Quebecois,  which , we will again  remind our Government of Canada,   has no business being in Canada's House of Commons simply because it does not run candidates or offer representation of any kind  to Canadians outside of the Province of Quebec.

Back to branding.  When big ego and "Naming a government after mebecomes more important than good governance,  it is  seriously time to  look at making changes in Ottawa.  
That decision was a  big mistake. Over the years, Government(S) of Canada have made OTHER  LARGE, EXPENSIVE mistakes, such as  ADscam and the useless Billion-Dollar Long gun registry, and "Fake Lakes",  and the Billion-dollar G-20  Summit Security Overkill  Fiasco. 

Have politicians forgotten what the  mandate of a REAL government IS ?   The ONLY genuine mandate of government is to do collectively for the people what we as individuals cannot do for ourselves, and to  provide one voice in leadership,  --at least until that leadership is corrupted and deteriorated with arrogance and foolishness.
All governments become arrogant, but when arrogance is combined with more  breaking of  the rules, such as  altering documentation at will,  using "In-Out" funds contrary to Election Canada rules, and using public office to offend  the"very ethnic" riding electorate-- " the Government of Canada "  becomes  a HUGE collective liability that may well drive  a well-earned  wooden stake through the heart of the Conservative Party of Canada, -- Ironically,  --a political party that MAY have more easily won a majority election without such blatantly foolish and  thereby seemingly intentional gaffes. 

(As an individual, I half-expected that kind of convoluted self-aggrandizement from the late P.E. Trudeau,  and  "today's  Iggy"  both  self-styled intellects,   or perhaps from Gilles the whiner,  but not from our distinguished, seemingly logical,  elected leader.
I am disappointed to see these developments,  because relatively speaking, our "economy" is doing well, globally. The Government of Canada has made some good decisions, and some mistakes.) 
We believe Re-branding the Government of Canada is one offensive mistake that Canadians will object to strenuously. 
Hm......I bet Jean Chretien is mad as hell he didn't think of it first.