Author Topic: Loose Time in Fat City, part 8  (Read 853 times)

Doktor Howl

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Loose Time in Fat City, part 8
« on: March 14, 2011, 05:16:13 pm »
Well, it’s the 1970s again.  The nuclear plant in Japan - built in 1971 - is having a 3 Mile Island moment (1972), and once again, piss-poor engineering is to blame.  I mean, who puts the generators on the ground, when those generators are designed to handle the only thing that could make them necessary (A tsunami)?

I see this sort of shit every day...Not as extreme, of course, but just as stupid.  Putting a generator in a small unventilated room with no AC (Hello!  Ever heard of “high-temp shutdown, you bastards?), for example, or dismissing the actual structural components of a high-vibration piece of machinery, just because it’s 2 feet thick and made of steel (I’d like to introduce you to my friend, Mister Stress Fracture). 

Engineers are a prime example of why you shouldn’t confuse clever monkeys with smart monkeys.  Generally speaking, the first idea they think of is the only idea they will consider, because everyone around them - in their eyes - is incapable of thinking, period.  Most people never see this, until one day 1972 shoves it’s head through your TV screen and yells “HI, HOW YA DOING?  HAVE SOME CESIUM IN YOUR RAIN!”.

The Truth is that if you wait long enough, all of our mistakes will eventually show up on the doorstep at 3AM, glowing in the dark, and wondering if you have a cup of boric acid you can spare.

This doesn’t mean we should stop doing things, of course.  What it means, though, is that we should think things through, and hire a couple of full-time pessimists to take a gander at the plans, to see if there’s anything they can issue awful predictions on.  Then you take the worst case scenario, and you bloody well adjust your  plans to accommodate that scenario.

When I actually say that out loud at work, I am told that I am a “pessimist”, which many people seem to confuse with “defeatist”.  Look, I know that things CAN succeed, but I also know that you have to plan for failure.

And in the case of Japan (and many of our reactors), you have to put a bit of money into it, to update your technology.  Since most of these reactors are private, you have to mandate this via regulation.  Anyone who thinks that corporations will self-regulate is living in a Goddamn dream world, because of the very nature of corporations.  They exist to maximize profits, and retrofitting reactors is expensive.

The argument goes that the corporations that don’t plan ahead will fail, to be replaced with competitors that will.  This can easily be refuted by pointing at British Petroleum or Enron...When the failure happens, you now have a big fucking mess on your hands, and the survival of the corporation that did it isn’t terribly relevant anymore, is it?

I don’t expect to convert any free market tards with this, of course.  It’s a religion with them, and no amount of oil on their beaches or radiation in their air will convince them.  No, this is just a quick glance at another situation in which monkeys will only see what they WANT to see, rather than looking at the world the way it IS.

If the monkeys ever DID start looking around them and dealing with reality, of course, we Doktors would be out of a job.  So I guess it isn’t ALL bad.

Okay for now,
Dok
"Greetings, my friend. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future. You are interested in the unknown... the mysterious. The unexplainable. That is why you are here. And now, for the first time, we are bringing to you, the full story of what happened on that fateful day. We are bringing you all the evidence, based only on the secret testimony, of the miserable souls, who survived this terrifying ordeal. The incidents, the places. My friend, we cannot keep this a secret any longer. Let us punish the guilty. Let us reward the innocent. My friend, can your heart stand the shocking facts of grave robbers from outer space?"

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Re: Loose Time in Fat City, part 8
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2011, 05:22:05 pm »
:mittens:

You don't need to be awesome and scaring me shitless in the same piece Dok!!!

LMNO, PhD (life continues)

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Re: Loose Time in Fat City, part 8
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2011, 05:46:25 pm »
The bit about Clever vs Smart is nicely put, Dok.
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The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: Loose Time in Fat City, part 8
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2011, 05:48:54 pm »
The bit about Clever vs Smart is nicely put, Dok.

Thanks.  It's something I've noticed since I was a kid.

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Re: Loose Time in Fat City, part 8
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2011, 05:51:08 pm »
 :mittens:

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Re: Loose Time in Fat City, part 8
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2011, 06:07:08 pm »
While I am completely against the laughable free market makes best theory, there IS scope for this in the case of the energy market.
The reason there is no competition to inspire the energy markets to improve is because they won't let someone else do it better, that monopoly would come crashing down.

Faust,
~Butthurt that he can't legally run his own fission reactor at home Yet.
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Re: Loose Time in Fat City, part 8
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2011, 06:09:05 pm »
While I am completely against the laughable free market makes best theory, there IS scope for this in the case of the energy market.
The reason there is no competition to inspire the energy markets to improve is because they won't let someone else do it better, that monopoly would come crashing down.

Faust,
~Butthurt that he can't legally run his own fission reactor at home Yet.

Here, any bastard with the money and a congressman sucking their dick can set up a power plant.  Not so much with the nukes (Big Oil wants no competititon), but a burn-anything boiler plant?  Fire that puppy up!
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Juana Go?

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Re: Loose Time in Fat City, part 8
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2011, 01:52:29 am »
Cripes. :mittens:
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