The Power of Power

This essay is not about political power, although inevitably it dovetails into such. This is about another meaning of power.

From Webster's New 20th Century Dictionary Unabridged, Second Edition:

power, n. [old French pooir, from an old infinitive podia, from LL. n potter, to be able, used for posse, to able, from potis, able and esse, to be]
...5. physical force or energy; as in electric power.

It is this meaning to which I refer. Essentially all life exists because of power, from the sun's thermonuclear daily reactions to each animate creature's body. The largest amount of power on earth, including solar radiation is actually untapped deep in the core, fortunately for those beings living in and above the crust. Considering supracrustal, non-solar radiation, only a minuscule amount is putatively under sentient control. Sentient in the sense of sensate (capable of perception), rather than "knowing".

What humans think they "control" is a ridiculously tiny part of this minuscule supracrustal energy. Our so-called control is no more than the control one has of the Genie after letting it out of the bottle.

Yet, for the minute part of the minuscule available power, humans have fought each other and died for millennia. Being only technologically "wiser", underneath the skin, lives the prehistoric beast which cannot, and does not, resist killing its neighbors, in ever yet more ingenious ways.

For those with the economic fantasy that military hardware is the by-product of peaceful progress, should be aware that precisely the opposite is true. But I digress.

Current power sources include: solar, wind, geothermal, wave (tidal), fossil fuel, and nuclear. This list may not be comprehensive. Of all power sources listed, fossil fuel is the most abundantly utilized: coal, oil, natural gas. This essay is not to breathlessly alert the readers to the inherent dangers of fossil fuels, all of which are abundantly clear to this community.

But we must heed the geopolitical disturbances caused by such power sourcing (excluding climate change, which is inherent in fossil fuel usage). Why, for example, do the US and large European nations care so much about the Middle East (ME)? It is not for altruistic concern of the Arabs and other indigenous inhabitants. We know this. Why did Obama want to exterminate polar bears with oil derricks? The answer is in the question.

Could there be any way to eliminate the poverty and suffering of the world in a practical fashion, unencumbered by social justice trappings? There is indeed. And in fact, this mode of power production has been known since the Manhattan Project, discovered, no less, than by Americans. This power source is non-thermonuclear and plentiful, easy to find and, better still, easier (relatively) to utilize than Fukushima-Chernobyl time bombs. And safer, too.

A learned colleague (a communitarian) has been educating me into this "destroyer of the elites" as I like to think about it. He has graciously offered to educate those of our community willing to learn. What he has to teach is not a simple theme, like "Love Trumps Hate". But for those willing to take the time to study what information he has, the effort will be well-rewarded.

This technology is not some late night infomercial of gadgets that only work in TV studios but can be easily ordered for $19.99 plus shipping and handling. By nature, I am skeptical. I do not believe anything just because they say so. Give me corroboration, facts, evidence.

To understand this power source takes effort. Once understood, many of us will see much broader implications than I have briefly outlined.

Remember the scene in The Graduate when someone tells the protagonist that the future is "plastics"?

The future is THORIUM.

Share
up
0 users have voted.

Comments

I am the guy Alligator Ed is referring to, though probably not nearly as learned as he implies. I have lurked here for a long time, but am not a frequent poster or commenter.

I had begged him on another website to watch a video, which I have included at the bottom of this post, and to my amazement, he did. It is about a different kind of nuclear power we actually developed at one of our national labs in the 1960's and 70's, but never commercialized. Being the bright guy he is, he immediately got the implications of what this kind of nuclear power meant for us all. So he asked me to post the video here with a bit of an introduction to it since I have been trying to learn all I could about it for the last six years or so.

I used to hate the idea of nuclear power, but I despaired at the notion that renewables would be adequate to satisfy the world energy demand once fossil fuels run out or the world decides to quit using them, whichever comes first.

My outright rejection of nuclear power had existed for a long time until the day I heard of this radically different form of nuclear power. We secretly developed this technology at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, in the 60s and 70's in the middle of the cold war. It unfortunately remained hidden from the world because of a political and military decision not to commercialize it. For all practical purposes, it's technology was essentially "lost." It remained "lost" until its recent rediscovery about fifteen years ago by a NASA engineer, who began to make this technology public on the internet.

As it turns out, the nuclear reactor we developed at Oak Ridge is the nuclear power we were promised and never got. It never made it to commercial production because we went with the reactors we could make bombs with, in the mistaken belief that these plants would also work well for power generation. As we have all known now for thirty or forty years, the nuclear plants we developed had major issues that turned the world against nuclear power. And most of those issues still exist with the few nuclear plants we are making today. The stigma of nuclear power certainly will not go away simply by upgrading existing reactor designs.

Sadly, by the time we figured out that the nuclear power we chose did not live up to expectations, the project at Oak Ridge had been cancelled for many years and most of the people who had worked on it had died, retired or had been reassigned. And it was a very small group of people. Almost nobody knew it even existed even though some of the giants in the field of nuclear energy worked on it and championed it. The major difference between these reactor designs is based on the coolant the reactors use: the ones in use today use water as a coolant, and the one designed at Oak Ridge used molten salt as a coolant. The Oak Ridge reactor design was/is so vastly different from the reactors we use now, it is likely that there are no interchangeable parts between one design and the other.

My contention is that now that this vastly different technology has been rediscovered, we need to re-examine our attitudes about nuclear power. Here is why.

First, the issue of safety. Molten salt as a coolant eliminates the primary problem in every nuclear accident there has been -- the failure of water to adequately cool the reactor when there is trouble. In a molten salt reactor, the fuel and the salt are already in a molten state. They can't melt down when things go wrong; they can only freeze up. When things go bad, the molten salt and the nuclear fuel drain into a drain tank where the molten salt and fuel freeze up and where any further nuclear reaction is immediately stopped. It is walk away safe. And all the radioactive contents stay frozen in the salt in the drain tank. It is totally impossible to have anything like the meltdowns of Three Mile Island, Chernobyl or Fukushima.

Second, cost. Molten salt as a coolant, which stays liquid for 1,000C, means the reactor does not need to be pressurized -- the one thing that makes water cooled reactors ridiculously expensive and very large. Without the need for pressurization, these molten salt cooled reactors can actually be made on an assembly line, because they have far fewer parts than an airplane and can even be smaller. They are much smaller that an average sized oil tanker. Here is a schematic of one compared with a Suez canal sized tanker, showing the size of a reactor that puts out 1 gigawatt of electricity:

A gigawatt put out by this reactor is equivalent to about what 666 average windmills (1.5 megawatts) put out if the wind blows all the time. Given that most windmills are lucky if they can run 40% of the time, this one Oak Ridge reactor is more comparable to 1500 windmills since the wind doesn't cooperate 60% of the time. Some critics of wind power contend that they really only run about 15% of the time, not forty. And of course, solar has the same problem with only being able to run when the sun is shinning. So in terms of cost, this reactor actually beats wind and solar on a vast scale due to its full time power production, far fewer parts and materials, far less land cost, and far less transmission line cost.

That reactor, which is installed underground, looks like this and looks nothing like the reactors we see today which are all above ground:

This particular reactor design is from a company called Thorcon, and it is a scale up of the Oak Ridge reactor. Thorcon's parent company is a shipbuilder. Thorcon believes that it is quite possible to build these in a naval yard at the rate of 100 per year (easy to do with ships of greater complexity and much more material). Thorcon is convinced it's assembly line production of molten salt reactors can produce electricity cheaper than coal, the gold standard of cheap energy. (Solar and wind are nowhere nearly as cheap as coal). http://thorconpower.com/

Third, nuclear proliferation. Molten salt reactors usually use a different element for nuclear fuel than uranium. They are designed to use the element thorium. Thorium actually works much better than uranium does in molten salt reactors. So the incentive will be to use thorium and not uranium. Thorium is lousy for making bombs and that was the primary reason thorium based reactors were never developed. Funding went to the uranium reactors since uranium is much better for nuclear weapons.

Fourth, thorium is extremely plentiful. Thorium is far more common than uranium and thorium will always be a much cheaper fuel than uranium. Using thorium in a molten salt reactor, there is enough thorium to power all of the world's energy needs as well as use it to explore the entire solar system for thousands of years. The moon has lots of thorium and it is likely that other moons and asteroids have it in abundance as well. We might run out of uranium as a nuclear fuel, but it is highly unlikely we would ever run out of thorium.

Fifth, almost zero long term nuclear waste. It is extremely rare to make any long term waste out of thorium, but easy with uranium. In fact thorium molten salt reactors can actually burn up nuclear waste and use them as fuel. A company called Copenhagen Atomics intends to do just that with it's wasteburners. http://www.copenhagenatomics.com/

Sixth, molten salt thorium reactors are highly efficient, while water cooled uranium reactors are highly inefficient.

People have a hard time comprehending how much more powerful nuclear power is than fossil fuels. Nuclear power is a million times as energy dense as fossil fuels are. But what does that really mean in a practical sense? It means this. All the power you will ever use in your lifetime exists in a ball of thorium that fits like this in the palm of your hand.

Think what this means for the planet. Think of how little destruction will we cause the planet if this is all we consume for a lifetime supply of energy. Moreover, thorium makes the CO2 issue moot (no nuclear power plants ever produce CO2). If we ramp up the production of these reactors it will put carbon based fossil fuels out of business, easily before 2040. Thorium is so ubiquitous, it means no more wars for energy.

These reactors are what my generation should have grown up with. They are what I want for my grandkids. Nothing else will do.

Please watch this video featuring Kirk Sorensen, the NASA engineer who "rediscovered" the lost technology we developed at Oak Ridge. Give this video five minutes of your time. If you watch the whole thing, you will learn a lot about the history of nuclear power, a bit of nuclear physics, and about the nuclear power we should have had and never got. If you don't care to watch it for yourself, watch it for your grandkids.

up
0 users have voted.
SnappleBC's picture

@davidgmillsatty

I've come to understand that centralized power equals centralized control. There's a reason we go to war for oil more than anything else. In my utopian energy future generation would be much more distributed. Ideally it'd be at the household level but I could live with town by town. Such a system would not have the distribution issues our system has nor the loss. But most importantly, there would not be a tiny handful of companies (ie: plutocrats) controlling all of the energy for everyone.

up
0 users have voted.

A lot of wanderers in the U.S. political desert recognize that all the duopoly has to offer is a choice of mirages. Come, let us trudge towards empty expanse of sand #1, littered with the bleached bones of Deaniacs and Hope and Changers.
-- lotlizard

@SnappleBC I think that is one of the great advantages of it. It is like the ability to have a Cessina if you want it or a 747. Originally, molten salt reactors were funded to see if it was possible to power aircraft with them. They were never miniaturized to that extent because of shielding problems, but they can be really small. The Molten Salt reactor at Oak Ridge only put out about 8 or 9 megawatts which is the equivalent of about 5 windmills. They probably could have made it smaller.

up
0 users have voted.
SnappleBC's picture

@davidgmillsatty

A community of... say... 5000 (let's call it 3000 homes) could afford an appropriate size unit and it would produce power at a lesser cost than grid power today? If so, you can count me as a sold convert.

I'm pretty much into ANY technology that can do that... dirty or clean although of course I have a strong weighting on "clean".

up
0 users have voted.

A lot of wanderers in the U.S. political desert recognize that all the duopoly has to offer is a choice of mirages. Come, let us trudge towards empty expanse of sand #1, littered with the bleached bones of Deaniacs and Hope and Changers.
-- lotlizard

@SnappleBC screwed up. A post I meant to go here went down to the bottom of the page addressed to me. Sorry.

It begins with I think it is quite possible.

up
0 users have voted.
GreyWolf's picture

@davidgmillsatty You should re-post this "comment" as an independent essay/diary.
Thanks to you and ed for this info.

up
0 users have voted.

@GreyWolf Actually that was the original request of Al Ed. But since I am not known here, I asked him to do an intro for me and this is what we devised. When I saw Al Ed's intro, I thought to myself, "Oh shit, how do I follow this?"

up
0 users have voted.
Pluto's Republic's picture

@davidgmillsatty

...and a great way to get to know you faster.

On the other hand, we like to think we are welcoming toward new visitors. We can afford to be generous with our time and understanding and inclusiveness. You readers out there, feel free to dock with our space station, and drop in to say "hello" — or weigh in on any discussion.

up
0 users have voted.

@Pluto's Republic Following Al Ed is like following Elvis Presley.

up
0 users have voted.
Pluto's Republic's picture

@davidgmillsatty

up
0 users have voted.

Thanks! Like most of the rest, I'd prefer to avoid anything that produces eternally (by our standards) hazardous waste, but that's a yuuuuuuuuuuuuge improvement over nuclear, waste-wise as well as otherwise.

And I hope that people aren't going to get bumped off for pushing anything that reduces the ability/excuse to continue fracking, mountain-top coal mining, fossil fuel air/soil/water polluting, invading of other people's oil-rich countries, drain the public purse for fossil fuel industry subsidies, make more freaking nuke bombs...

And that's only some of the problems that, it seems, could be reduced...

up
0 users have voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

Pluto's Republic's picture

To: @Ellen North

...that I thought might interest you. It is actually a Reader's comment attached to Caitlin Johnstone's recent brainwashing essay. It was on my clipboard and there you were, hence this post.

https://medium.com/@gbossa_25/as-a-retired-therapist-i-can-say-without-reservation-that-it-is-very-difficult-for-the-vast-6d1208bf2fa6

up
0 users have voted.

@Pluto's Republic

Thank you! That describes it precisely!

If you recall the various articles describing the differences between the 'liberal' and 'conservative' brain, you also recall that the 'liberal' will tend to try to 'put him/herself in the other person's shoes' or otherwise try to consider and make sense of the other's position - and also tend to view it from their own natural tendencies and give the benefit of the doubt to the other person.

This works great when not dealing with psychopaths or or those indoctrinated with a pathological worldview - but we cannot understand their perspectives, although I've found it helps if you consider the mechanistic view of life inherent in behaviourism and realize that they simply lack human(e) capacities and are simply incapable.

Any real attempt to 'think in' pathology will pointlessly cause a brain explosion, which is still better than being able to limit oneself to your own ego and whatever suits your purposes, while not caring about - and perhaps even enjoying - whatever deprivation or misery occurs to others as a result.

What's now being being commonly termed 'conservatism' is generally nothing of the sort; it's a non-conserving gathering of the psychopathic and those socially engineered/pathologized into accepting their inhuman agenda and the 'othering' of fellow-humans to facilitate callousness to support their own abuse by these. And the Two-Party Trap, shifting over into deeper and more destructive insanity while closing other options through the corruption and similar agenda of the other corporate 'Dem' wing, is designed to incrementally funnel humanity over the cliff... so far, we've been rather too cooperative, but while there's life, there's always hope.

And to complicate matters, when talking to the brainwashed, 'trigger-phrases/words' implanted via corporate media and other propaganda need to be avoided, if we hope to get them thinking, rather than blindly reacting and shutting down all thought.

I have always thought that messing with people's brains - with their individuality and ability to reason - in order to use and control them, ranks among the worst of all crimes.

Back when Bush-2 was in, I recall reading someone making the point that the worst leaders of the time were all from the period in which ambient lead (fuel) levels were highest - and I've often wondered whether the neurotoxins with which we're inundated are merely co-incidental, but I certainly do believe that these, and the lack of nutrition in the more affordable and available foods, play a role in this exerted population control. This is now set to drastically worsen, with already-inadequate protections being stripped from everyone but those infiltrating/controlling government, these claiming immunity from law and inflicting their lawlessness by fascistic 'law' upon more vulnerable others, as they go.

All psychopaths - being by disposition preferentially takers and breakers of makers - will ultimately produce is poison and destruction in whatever areas and whatever people they gain control over; they can't help it, this being their nature, but once we recognize this, we no longer feel that we have to nurture them, on any excuse.

TPTB want to cross an avoidable river to the extinction, by multiple self-created means, of planetary life and cannot do it without us carrying them - what on Earth are we going to do about it?

up
0 users have voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

Pluto's Republic's picture

@Ellen North

...your description, and the fact that it repeats again and again and rises up independently in individuals... that suggests it is part of evolutionary design. Perhaps these mutations have played key roles in human survival. I've long noticed that presidents and CEOs seem to have high psychopathic abilities — usually subtle, but not always. The people select for that trait in these roles. Naturally, they can be manufactured, but I think we cooperate with their existence.

In any event, I ran across the textbook for artificially creating this state in a population. It's a very uncomfortable read, I didn't get far; even the table of contents is disturbing. It was translated into English from Russian or some Slavic language in the 1930s. I understand from whoever archived it, that it is still the knowledge core of remote mind manipulation and large scale social engineering. I found a digital copy of the book languishing in a forgotten vault on the dark web. I did bookmark it but I'll have to track it down. I mention it because I have been reminded of it more than once when I read what you have to say about this mental state. I will post a link when I find it. It might answer some questions.

up
0 users have voted.

@Pluto's Republic

Thanks! Please do post a link, if and when - it sounds fascinating and may suggest counter-measures, albeit unintentionally.

Actually, though, since 'inborn' psychopathy (can also be caused by injury/toxins/psychological trauma, etc.,) is due to the deficiency of an area of the brain essential to the successful raising of young and the survival of groups where cooperation, sharing and trust are essential - and one also representing direct hazard to the members within the tribe/society - speaking as One Who Knows Nothing - I'd group it more among those born or becoming mentally challenged, as also occurs among all populations, and which, in primitive conditions, may also make group survival more difficult, if certainly not to the degree - or nature - of any psychopathic individual.

Psychopathy is certainly not an evolutionary advance, but a limitation destructive to those around the victim, the psychopath being mentally incapable of seeing those around him/her as anything but disposable mechanical objects either of use to him/her or not, even if s/he learns to fake human expressions and words beautifully enough to fool everyone around him/her. That's at best; there's always the hazard of a sadistic bent striking the psychopath's fancy, with no empathy, ethics or the conscience these produce to touch that metaphorical heart they may have been born without.

As I vaguely recall Heinlein writing in one of his novels, and I misquote, a cat willing to die to defend her kittens demonstrates survival capabilities; a cat that eats her kittens rather than caring for them does not.

In example, the survival of a pioneer community which steps in to help one another survive hard times is far more likely achieved than would be in one where the strongest let the unfortunate families suffering illness or injury, crop failure or the loss of their stock, (possibly due to theft by the pathologically greedy,) simply starve or stepped in to rob each other as each weak moment arrives for them, killing, driving off or enslaving the other members, until they run out of remaining vulnerable and have to wait for new victims to move into the area. Apart from anything else, there is no one to save them when a bad year, illness/injury or other catastrophe strikes them as well.

Some degree of socialism, of community, of humanity, of concern for the common good, is essential to human species survival - but alien to the psychopathic, incapable of seeing others as real.

Humanity has two meanings, and a normal, well-balanced human is humane. A humane society takes care of its own and assures the survival of that society by individual cooperation with the responsibility of ensuring that the needs of the whole and the individuals within it are met, so far as is possible, within the capacities of the community. This strengthens the group, which strengthens the individuals within, increasing the likelihood of group survival.

A larger and more secure population can overall survive despite having psychopaths in their midst, but if they're permitted to take power over others or the entire group, the society and individuals within will be damaged in proportion to their reach, and the damage done nowadays by psychopaths in power is engulfing and destroying the world.

The last thing the fascists currently in the process of taking over the world are doing is demonstrating an evolutionary survival trait. They are demonstrating the opposite, racing toward the destruction of humanity and the natural life support system in multiple ways temporarily profitable to them, due to a profound mental and emotional incapacity incompletely understood by too many of us and therefore not recognized and contained, or even with the victims of this brain malfunction kept out of positions which they will abuse due to this destructive incapacity.

We need to identify them and keep them out of any such position where they can harm others, never mind eliminate planetary life. A brain scan would do that, were the psychopaths not in power now.

up
0 users have voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

May not be the waste we think it is. Each and every element of nuclear waste is only waste because it is polluted with other waste. That is what happens with today's nuclear reactors. Separated out, each element can be useful.

He likens it to a kitchen pantry. When all these different ingredients are in their proper, boxes, bags, jars and cans, they are quite useful. Dump them in a pile on the kitchen floor and they are totally worthless.

Molten salt reactors have the ability to either burn up nuclear waste or to separate it out into useful products. In fact some of these products may be of more value than the energy produced by the reactor.

up
0 users have voted.
Pluto's Republic's picture

I first heard about Thorium during the Fukushima accident. I recall now a couple of things I was curious about at that time. First, I assume the science behind the technology is fundamental, so I would also assume the underlying science is part of every school curriculum. The technology would then be a natural part of applied science. Thus, it should be a familiar concept can easily evolve into a common understanding, socially and culturally — much the way space travel is a familiar concept shared by people, from childhood. The science of Thorium is as compelling as, say, cold fusion or perpetual motion — for the same reasons.

But I don't think that it is as familiar and ubiquitous as those two concepts — and that seems odd.

That made me wonder about something else: Is thorium, the science and technology, freely available to all countries and all humans to develop as they see fit? If so, I would imagine that China would be deep into this, since they have a "planned" civilization that operates like a well endowed foundation, especially on beneficial projects that cannot be immediately capitalized. Such civilizations tend to be proactively involved in the build-out of reality. The exploitation of an energy technology would be irresistible to them. It is China's core competency to completely dominate an energy sector, like they have with solar power. Capitalism is not a barrier for them; it's a luxury. Is there some other barrier holding this this more promising science back from development? Thorium dovetails perfectly with China's clean energy goals for the planet, now the the US is no longer in the picture.

Above all, there is a proof of concept. So why hasn't Thorium sold itself?

Thanks again, David, for your fascinating introduction to Thorium. It's great to have someone so knowledgeable to learn from.

up
0 users have voted.
Alligator Ed's picture

@Pluto's Republic @Pluto's Republic Indeed they are looking into this technology. Translation: they are trying to industrialize thorium reactors. When they do, kiss the US empire goodbye. Petrodollars will become as worthless as Confederate States' money. Even the military would love this. Lighter weight military vessels of practically infinite range, much lighter, cheaper and safer to build. Which means that the MIC can increase profit margins for making vessels of the same utility as current ones for less price.

Don't doubt that the Russians, despite their holdings of US uranium, will work on this technology, if not already experimenting with it. If Russia and China want to crush the US as a superpower, this is the way to do it, economically--not militarily.

up
0 users have voted.
Pluto's Republic's picture

@Alligator Ed

[China is] trying to industrialize thorium reactors. When they do, kiss the US empire goodbye. Petrodollars will become as worthless as Confederate States' money.

I've kissed it goodbye, repeatedly. The US ended its own Empire when they toppled Ukraine's government to expand NATO to Russia's border. That act put everything in motion and resulted in our new geopolitical reality. Speaking of geography, ever notice how North Korea borders both China and Russia?

Russia already owns all the gas and oil it could ever want. Thanks to the US shenanigans in Kiev, China and Russia were unexpectedly pushed together where they managed to sign the largest oil trade in history. It will commence over the next two decades, as China builds out its "One Belt One Road" system. This transportation infrastructure, designed to facilitate trade, will provide access to every land-locked country in the Eastern Hemisphere.

If Russia and China want to crush the US as a superpower, this is the way to do it, economically--not militarily.

That's the point. Those countries have no interest in crushing the US as a superpower. That is pure projection out of the minds of the US genociders. They are always delusional like that. The US is the author of its own doom. China and Russia — as they say over and over again — very much look forward to being great friends and partners with the United States, as together they help create a 21st century world that benefits everyone. China and Russia, however, do not plan to raise a Sieg Heil to the US as their global Overlord. These are very old civilizations. They've been there and done that.

I didn't watch the video, yet, I confess. It is very hopeful to learn that China is pursuing Thorium. Nuclear power is a big part of the AIIB's development funding for Africa and Asia, which cannot happen in a clean way without that. So, this is good news for everyone.

up
0 users have voted.
Alligator Ed's picture

@Pluto's Republic The "crushing" of US power need not be intentional. For instance, if China builds thorium reactors in Africa, then an open door will necessarily exist between the involved powers. Currently the US attaches lots of "strings" (conditions) to all its trade deals. China need not do so. Although on a national scale, whom would one rather deal with: a bully who delights in killing people or a thoughtful (yet not democratic) government which seemingly has abandoned dreams of empire centuries ago? On a personal scale, this is a rhetorical question.

up
0 users have voted.
Pluto's Republic's picture

@Alligator Ed

...defining power. I think it's valid to view everything as a process in the chain of power. Take China in Africa. They are there to buy the oil reserves in the ground. They don't have to bring in a foreign military or hire mercenaries to kill and bring chaos. China simply brings money; they even bring their own workers for extraction. They take the energy back to China and put it to work. In just 10 years, it has lifted a billion people out of poverty and into the Middle Class.

China figured out they could balance the equation by return the power to Africa. They would build a a modern infrastructure with fast rail transportation and maritime ports to open a window on global trade for African nations. They will build the necessary damns and power plants that Africa needs to support an emergent society and marketplace. Africa will get to skip the whole corporate exploitation and destabilization that the World Bank and IMF impose on emerging nations.

...if China builds thorium reactors in Africa, then an open door will necessarily exist between the involved powers.

A technology transfer and good relations is what is hoped for. I hope they are developing Thorium-based energy. If Africa left all its fossil fuels in the ground, that would be an enormous help in the climate outlook.

On a national scale, whom would one rather deal with: a bully who delights in killing people or a thoughtful (yet not democratic) government which seemingly has abandoned dreams of empire centuries ago?

I'm hearing the projection of a criminal conspiracy on China, as if China had malicious motives. China didn't "abandon dreams of empire centuries ago." Over five thousand years of continuous civilization, China didn't have such dreams. China had a large navy and canon much earlier than Europe did, but they were not interested in setting sail on foreign adventures and conquests. In fact, few civilizations in the world aspire to roam the globe, invading foreign nations, taking their wealth, and killing the resisters. Iran, for example, is an evolutionary pool that has had no interest in Empire building. In my opinion, it's the island nations like England and Japan, and the isolated nations like the US that are prone to twisted and distorted warring behaviors.

I'm not sure how being "democratic" plays into this. But I do notice that the number of democracies in the world is falling each year. Perhaps capitalism is ruining its reputation.

up
0 users have voted.
Alligator Ed's picture

@Pluto's Republic Sorry if I didn't make that clear.

up
0 users have voted.

@Pluto's Republic Regarding money. One of my other obsessions which I have written about is money, specifically a type of money called a bill of credit in the Constitution. That is what Lincoln's greenbacks were. It is a topic for a different day. We no longer have them and we have Federal Reserve notes, bank notes, as our fiat money. Or as Al Ed likes to call them, petro dollars.

I mentioned in a pm to him, that I have for many years now considered energy, in the form of barrels of oil, KWH's or cubic feet of natural gas as the only real money. I have Exxon stock, not because I like Exxon but because I think barrels of oil are the real money. If these molten salt reactors take off, I will dump my Exxon stock in a NY minute, unless Exxon decides to get on the LFTR bandwagon and begins to make synthetic fossil fuels from the CO2 in the air and the carbonic acid in the ocean. Otherwise, I think Exxon is toast.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that one of the major opponents of nuclear power has been the fossil fuel industry.

up
0 users have voted.

@davidgmillsatty Off topic but if you want to know more about bills of credit I wrote about it here:

https://caucus99percent.com/comment/318976#comment-318976

up
0 users have voted.
Pluto's Republic's picture

@davidgmillsatty

...whenever you feel moved to do so.

One of my other obsessions which I have written about is money, specifically a type of money called a bill of credit in the Constitution. That is what Lincoln's greenbacks were. It is a topic for a different day.

Since the antiquated US constitution is the agent that directly permitted us to fall into the position we face today, I am always very interested in any future discussion that touches on it. Some say that all debt is oil-based debt since it's true cost was never factored into what it produced.

You also mention another topic that would be of keen interest to a number of folks: sane, realistic, or more predictable alternative valuations:

I now considered energy, in the form of barrels of oil, KWH's or cubic feet of natural gas as the only real money.

Energy in oil/gas forms yields to so many outside pressures, but who is to say that is artificial rather than the true reflection of value in a complex system? Anyway, it deals with tangible assets valuation, which offers a much more fun (and threatening) economic discussion than one based on fiat currencies. In the case of oil/gas, though, it's an asset that only has value if it is depleted — not that it matters since our species would not survive the side-effects of its continued depletion.

I once read that one-quarter of all private investment in the world was in the extraction of fossil fuels. Those investors are very interested in the continuous burning of fossil fuels, as are all oil-exporting nations. I'm guessing that this must be the "barrier" to Thorium and the reason it is a relatively obscure science.

(Luckily, China is not an oil-exporting nation and the oil it does have is not privatized, which is one of the true economic evils that can happen to a society or a democracy. Take the US, for example. Its oil is privatized and it consumes most of what produces. Think about it. The US is an economy with a flesh eating virus that cannibalizes the people's earnings for profits, forcing them into debt in order to survive in a reasonable fashion. Privatized oil thus imposes debt on future generations in the process.

I look forward to more.

up
0 users have voted.

@Pluto's Republic Actually China is very much into this. There is a man by the name of Hargraves, who wrote a book called Energy Cheaper than Coal about thorium and he was invited to China's Academy of Sciences to talk about it. And here is a video of that.

up
0 users have voted.

@davidgmillsatty And Jiang Mianheng (ex-premier of China's son) came to the Thorium Alliance conference and gave a talk about that:

up
0 users have voted.

@davidgmillsatty If you go to youtube and do a search for Thorium China and Thorium Alliance you will pick up videos of several more Chinese scientists who are working on China's thorium project.

up
0 users have voted.
Mark from Queens's picture

about the great Nikola Tesla.

Hadn't he been working on and/or discovered some kind of global wireless energy, generated from the earth's core or something?

Very interesting piece. Thanks AE and David.

up
0 users have voted.

"If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:

THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
WAS MUSIC"

- Kurt Vonnegut

thanatokephaloides's picture

@Mark from Queens

I'm not versed in science, but reminds me of things I've read about the great Nikola Tesla.

Hadn't he been working on and/or discovered some kind of global wireless energy, generated from the earth's core or something?

He was working on a system of global wireless power transmission. Power would be generated in conventional ways, converted to high-voltage radio-frequency currents (RF) via very large examples of the resonant circuit that bears his name today (Tesla coil), injected into the Earth at the coil sites, and thence available anywhere on Earth by simply tuning a smaller Tesla coil to the same frequency as the coil at the injection site. The Tesla laboratory at Wardenclyffe, New York was a prototype of such an injection station. The concept fails principally because Earth's iron core and iron-heavy mantle aren't particularly friendly to transmission of radio-frequency electric currents, and RF power transmission via electromagnetic radio waves through the atmosphere suffers from the familiar inverse-square law (delivered power decreases as the square of the distance from the source), which harms power delivery far worse than it harms use of RF for delivery of information -- what we use RF for today.

Folks like me -- techies from Colorado Springs, Colorado -- are rather fond of Nikola Tesla. We think of him as the first of our kind! Smile

up
0 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

for bringing up the subject of Thorium. My husband and I, both Americans, public education based college graduates, Californians, and pacifists in our seventies, had never heard of Thorium as a potential power source until fairly recently, in my case as a result of watching the Norwegian suspense series, Okkupert. In this television series, Norway decides to get off fossil fuels and to develop thorium nuclear power, whereupon Norway is invaded by Russia.

In any case, I want to say I hope you will continue to promote consideration of this subject, but I want to also say that I think the reason plutonium-based bomb-making has happened instead of peaceful energy is that war is the conduit to a black hole of funding, unaccountable, uncounted, corrupt beyond the hilt, and that war is key to the oppression of labor and the destruction of democracy. Russia and China have, and have always had in the modern era, capitalists who crush labor and democracy, and if there are now pro-labor, pro-democracy factions in Russia and China I am very happy and hopeful about such a possibility. But I think our U.S. leadership is drunk on war funding, as it underwrites all wealth and political power worldwide. The idea that cutting costs for defense contractors would be seen as a plus by these jerks goes against everything I know about them.

I agree with Pluto's Republic that our regime change in Ukraine, and I would add our atrocity in Syria, both exemplify the reaction our government has to either doing business with Putin's Russia or nationalizing oil resources for the benefit of working people. The reaction is to go on a rampage of killing. So I don't think our powers that be appear to want common sense or peaceful fuels to threaten their life-support, wealth-support systems. Still, I am hopeful about change.

At the same time, I tend to think Jim Kunstler is right, that finding ways to support our Walmartization lifestyle, air conditioning the South, driving to every possible commercial point, mass-producing everything we need, is a kind of magical thinking. I hate to think that the people who live in igloos in the far north of Siberia have the only sustainable lifestyle for humans on this planet, because I wouldn't last 2 seconds in that place, but he has a point. Humanity lasted half a million years as hunter gatherers, and when we started fucking around with nature in order to create comfort, we started building our own demise. Maybe, maybe not. Thank you for this discussion.

up
0 users have voted.

@Linda Wood What I find promising (and saddening at the same time) is that due to governmental regulations in the US, we will likely not develop these reactors here. We would have to have an entirely different set of regulations because regulations for water cooled reactors have no application. Making these for the rest of the world like we do Boeings or Cessinas would probably provide for many high tech jobs.

But it is a catch 22. We won't get regulations until one is built, and we can't build one here until we have regulations. It seems very likely that something will happen like what Thorcon is doing. Make them on an assembly line and prove the concept in a place like Indonesia. But then the American worker gets screwed once again.

up
0 users have voted.
QMS's picture

@davidgmillsatty I could see both Mexico and Canada developing this technology for sale to the tired old US oil economy before the technology is allowed to be developed here.

up
0 users have voted.

@QMS Actually there is a company in Canada called Terrestial Energy that is working on this too headed by Dr. Leblanc who is featured in many of the videos.

http://www.terrestrialenergy.com/

up
0 users have voted.
QMS's picture

@davidgmillsatty this is good news. 2020 is not far away. I like this can do attitude!

up
0 users have voted.
thanatokephaloides's picture

Before I mention my critique of this Essay and its subject, I would like to thank Alligator Ed and davidgmillsatty for their well researched and well thought-out demonstration of how Thorium power works generally and how it can work for us.

However:

This veteran anti-nuker, age 59, remembers with some distaste the exact same promises made by the "Atoms For Peace" people in the 1960s and 1970s. Uranium/Plutonium reactors would provide safe, clean power that would be "too cheap to meter"; these reactors would "burn" the "wastes" from the bomb programs (the lesser enriched fissiles not yet weapons grade); the reactors' own wastes would either be completely manageable or be usable as fuels themselves; and so on. We've heard this song before. And Chernobyl, Fukushima, Detroit Fermi 1, Three Mile Island, and such ilk are what we as a species have to show for it. Detroit Fermi Reactor 1, in particular, has a frightening kinship with the Thorium reactors as it wasn't a pressurized water reactor but rather was cooled with liquid sodium metal. Problems maintaining primary coolant flow caused a partial fuel meltdown at approximately 370 degrees C on October 5, 1966.

Typical molten salt Thorium reactors operate at around 600 to 1000 degrees C. Salt is corrosive and becomes more so the hotter it gets. After Detroit Fermi 1, I'm skeptical of the reliability of specialized metal alloys to keep high-temperature violently reactive substances where they belong.

I'm not saying there shouldn't be more research and development on Thorium, nor that this R&D shouldn't be American. But I'm far from convinced that it's some sort of answer to the very real and very valid objections made to any kind of fission power. Thorium is still a mineral in finite and unevenly distributed supply on this Planet, which reopens the issue we now face with oil, to wit: running out, another thing we were repeatedly told in the 1960s and 1970s would never happen. Even if Thorium meets its purported promise on the waste angle -- a matter in which the jury is still out -- we still have the supply difficulties to face.

I'm still in the "100% renewables" camp therefore. If we can't meet the needs of humanity at full comfort with renewable energies only, as far as I am concerned that's proof positive that we need to shrink the human race. But I'm also not convinced that we can't meet the needs of humanity at full comfort with renewable energies only. And most of the human race is shrinking now anyway.

A very reasonable discussion of the pros and cons of Thorium power -- and written by a source far friendlier to the whole fission power thing than I am -- can be found here.

EDIT: changed "one criticism" to "critique" for better description.

up
0 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

@thanatokephaloides I am very familiar with the promises made about nuclear, in particular the promise of breeder reactors from uranium 238. Sorensen explains this very well. It has to do with the speed of neutrons, whether they are moving fast or slow. Thorium breeds very well in the slow spectrum and uranium 238 breeds very well in the fast spectrum. It was believed that we could breed uranium 238 in the fast spectrum but it turned out to be much harder than breeding thorium in the slow spectrum. It has to do with the size of the target. In the slow spectrum the target is 25 times as large as in the fast spectrum. And that is why uranium 238 breeding never worked as promised. Neutrons could not hit the target often enough to sustain a nuclear reaction. But hitting the target in the slow spectrum was 25 times easier and breeding thorium was proven to be very successful at Shippingport.

And we have vast amounts of thorium, enough for thousands of years. There are two types of uranium isotopes. U 238 and U 235. We could never breed U238 successfully and 99% of uranium was U 238. All our reactors today use very rare U 235 which is as rare as platinum. But there is 4 times as much thorium as there is U 238 (which we were never able to develop) and 400 times as much thorium as U235 which we use. Moreover, molten salt reactors are 200 times as efficient as water cooled reactors. So we will not run out of thorium. And the moon is full of it as is Mars and lots of other moons and asteroids. We probably have enough to last us till the sun becomes a red giant.

All of this was explained by Sorensen in the video I linked to.

Molten salt thorium reactors' biggest problem is to convince people who dismiss it because they think they are similar to uranium reactors. They are absolutely nothing alike other than they are nuclear power. I was not kidding when I said that these reactors probably have zero interchangeable parts. If that is the case, is it fair to think they would behave similarly? I don't think that is a fair criticism.

As for renewables and human overpopulation. We have added 1 billion people to the planet every 11/12 years since 1979. People don't seem to care about that nearly as much as they do global warming. I have always thought that it was a more pressing problem.

We humans don't seem interested in stopping it. So if we are going to have ten billion people on the planet by 2050, renewables just will not satisfy the energy need. That to me is a recipe for disaster and nuclear war. The less power we have, the more likely we will have a nuclear war to destroy ourselves. I want enough power that people don't fight over it.

up
0 users have voted.

I think it is quite possible. Terrestrial Energy (see my post above) has, as its business model, small reactors. The work at Oak Ridge was rediscovered by a NASA engineer who convinced NASA to spend $10,000 to copy all of the Molten Salt reactor documents, looking to use them in space. If they use them in space it will transform space exploration. There is no need in space to make a power plant to serve 5,000 people. They need to be small and lightweight. Here's a video on that.

up
0 users have voted.
thanatokephaloides's picture

@davidgmillsatty

Molten salt thorium reactors' biggest problem is to convince people who dismiss it because they think they are similar to uranium reactors. They are absolutely nothing alike other than they are nuclear power.

I remind you that my main specific criticism of the molten salt reactor has one thing in common with reactor designs such as Fermi 1: the use of corrosive materials (sodium in the case of Fermi 1, its chloride in the case of the molten salt reactor) to do the primary cooling. I respectfully submit that our track record of keeping corrosive materials where they belong at extreme temperatures is not particularly inspiring. One of the things which constantly plagued Fermi 1 before its failure was leak contact between the molten sodium metal and the pressurized water it was supposed to be heating.

I was not kidding when I said that these reactors probably have zero interchangeable parts. If that is the case, is it fair to think they would behave similarly? I don't think that is a fair criticism.

That's why my criticism was a focused one rather than a general one. I focused on the one thing that all fission power does share in common: the need for perfect performance of structural materials in extreme-rich environments (extremes of temperature, chemical reactivity/corrosivity, and radiation). Again, our track record isn't stellar here, and the technology is a very unforgiving one in these exact areas. My suggestion here is that we know damn well what the F we're doing before just forging ahead. And that's just common sense with as unforgiving a technology as any nuclear power is. Again, even intelligent proponents of nuclear power (such as the writers of the Thorium discussion site I linked to) agree with me on that point.

As for renewables and human overpopulation. We have added 1 billion people to the planet every 11/12 years since 1979. People don't seem to care about that nearly as much as they do global warming. I have always thought that it was a more pressing problem.

Since the principal source of the global warming problem (and all other environmental problems on Earth) is human overpopulation, I totally agree with you here!

We humans don't seem interested in stopping it. So if we are going to have ten billion people on the planet by 2050, renewables just will not satisfy the energy need. That to me is a recipe for disaster and nuclear war. The less power we have, the more likely we will have a nuclear war to destroy ourselves. I want enough power that people don't fight over it.

Unless we humans succeed in stopping the overpopulation problem, no technology will deliver the resources we need. We will have the disasters and nuclear wars. If not over energy, they'll be over food, shelter, or fresh water.

I'm Grateful that it's almost certain I'll be Dead in 2050, and that I have no children.

Sad

But also please understand: If we can get Thorium power to meet its promises as you and Alligator Ed have depicted them, and we can get the human population to stop expanding and get back down to a reasonable number (5 billion or so), there may be hope for us yet. And as I pointed out in my original critique, we're headed in that direction. Most nations' populations are shrinking, with China in particular looking at an actually shrinking population beginning in 2035 or so. source

up
0 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

@thanatokephaloides That is a fair critique. Although I would argue that sodium under pressure is far worse than molten salt under no pressure. The molten salt reactor ran for five years without any problem that I have ever heard regarding corrosion. It was deemed to be a potential problem but they didn't have any issues with it.

But the fact that molten salt is not under any kind of pressure, and the fact that if there is a break, all that will happen is that the salt freezes at the pipe break containing the nuclear fuel with it. It will not be released much beyond any pipe break. As it freezes, it will self seal. And there are several layers of containment to contain a pipe break, and without pressure it is extremely unlikely the layers of containment would break. And moreover, it is underground.

Let me dis on sodium a bit more. It is both highly reactive to air and water whereas salts are neither.

So Fermi 1 is not a comparable situation. Not by a mile, in my mind.

As for human overpopulation, there is very little we in the US can do to stop the rest of the world from increasing population if it does not want it. China may be slowing its population but so far India has no control of theirs, nor does southeast Asia, nor does Africa, nor does most of South and Central America.

I don't know how many people the globe can sustain. But I do know this, it can sustain a whole lot more with an ample energy supply and far fewer on a thin gruel of energy.

I believe that human ingenuity can address the problems of overpopulation, provided we don't have WW3. I am concerned that we have wiped out so many of the animals. But I also think that we may well be able to bring back extinct species in the not to distant future. Maybe with enough energy we can bring the planet back to some semblance of animal normality and maybe elevate our own consciousness.

up
0 users have voted.
thanatokephaloides's picture

@davidgmillsatty

Let me dis on sodium a bit more. It is both highly reactive to air and water whereas salts are neither.

Indeed! I remember with some nostalgic fondness the discussions among us high school geeks after we witnessed the "dancing sodium bead on water" experiment in chemistry. I note with some current-day delight and relief that no one who wasn't old enough to vote for President of the United States was ever allowed to so much as handle the sodium!

"DO NOT try this at home!"

-- Mythbusters

Our discussions here have certainly given me some things to think about, too. I salute you and Alligator Ed for a well-thought-out Essay; and I applaud all three of us for discussing my criticisms in a loving, respectful, and considerate way. The c99 way.

Smile Give rose

up
0 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

Alligator Ed's picture

@thanatokephaloides I was unaware of Fermi 1 as well as thorium before a few days ago and thus claim no expertise in these matters, other than what dgm has imparted. However I do know that in developed countries with a somewhat equitable quality of life, population growth shrinks and in some cases becomes a negative. China reversed its one child policy within the last decade because of negatively-trending population growth, even though their society can support most of the people now.

On the issue of over-population relative to energy sufficiency, there must be less income inequality in order for the slowing of population growth and hopefully achieving a state of dynamic stability. Dynamic stability means that roughly one human is born for every one that dies. Strangely, even mankind's continuous warfare has not slowed the ever-increasing population growth. Temporarily, Europe and near east were depopulated quickly and drastically by the black plague. The influenza pandemic of 1918 killed more soldiers than military action in WW1. But even that wasn't enough to cause a significant population reduction.

This discussion of energy to population ratio needs more consideration. I do not pretend to know the answers.

An inescapable derivative of this topic, overpopulation, or rather too many people for global ecologic stability, must entail discussion of how choices are to be made: privately (human breeding pairs) versus governmental (e.g., China until lately). If the government is to be involved, we must talk about eugenics--who decides who gets to breed, who gets to abort, etc.

Had the Third Reich persisted longer, there would have been a eugenics campaign dwarfing any "ethnic cleansing", even the Holocaust, yet seen.

up
0 users have voted.
thanatokephaloides's picture

@Alligator Ed

I was unaware of Fermi 1 as well as thorium before a few days ago and thus claim no expertise in these matters, other than what dgm has imparted. However I do know that in developed countries with a somewhat equitable quality of life, population growth shrinks and in some cases becomes a negative. China reversed its one child policy within the last decade because of negatively-trending population growth, even though their society can support most of the people now.

In very deed. When doing fact-checking on my own statements, I was surprised to discover two predictions:

(1) By 2035, China won't be the most populous nation on Earth; India will be;

and

(2) We in the USA won't even be #3 any more -- Nigeria will be!

On the issue of over-population relative to energy sufficiency, there must be less income inequality in order for the slowing of population growth and hopefully achieving a state of dynamic stability. Dynamic stability means that roughly one human is born for every one that dies.

The reason for this is that as more people enter the middle classes, their educational level increases; and as people become better educated, they become more aware of the consequences of their decisions.

An inescapable derivative of this topic, overpopulation, or rather too many people for global ecologic stability, must entail discussion of how choices are to be made: privately (human breeding pairs) versus governmental (e.g., China until lately). If the government is to be involved, we must talk about eugenics--who decides who gets to breed, who gets to abort, etc.

Had the Third Reich persisted longer, there would have been a eugenics campaign dwarfing any "ethnic cleansing", even the Holocaust, yet seen.

Which is why it's best if we can get humans to do it privately and voluntarily. And we're beginning to have successes here. As you point out -- correctly -- trying to do it by governmental compulsion has never worked. From the ancient Greeks who fled Sparta rather than risk their children dying of exposure because they weren't perfect enough, to the horrors of the Third Reich, to the misadventures of unmarried males among today's Han Chinese, governmentally imposed population control just plain sucks. Education, on the other hand, harnesses the same human desires -- the desire for one's children to have a better life than oneself had -- to the result of smaller populations.

=====================================

This Essay has given me much to think about with respect to the future of electrical power in our world. I must reiterate to you the same complements I paid to davidgmillsatty:

"Our discussions here have certainly given me some things to think about, too. I salute you and davidgmillsatty for a well-thought-out Essay; and I applaud all three of us for discussing my criticisms in a loving, respectful, and considerate way. The c99 way.

And I thank both of you for the effort you put into it!

Smile Give rose

up
0 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

Alligator Ed's picture

@thanatokephaloides

"Our discussions here have certainly given me some things to think about, too. I salute you and davidgmillsatty for a well-thought-out Essay; and I applaud all three of us for discussing my criticisms in a loving, respectful, and considerate way. The c99 way.

That's why I love this place.

up
0 users have voted.

Thanks for giving this matter serious thought.

up
0 users have voted.

Here is a video of the head of an American Company that has a variation on the theme of molten salt reactors. It basically acts like a waste burner and can use thorium, uranium or plutonium as a fuel. And it is novel that with this combination it can operate in the fast neutron spectrum rather than the slow (thermal) spectrum. It also does not need a graphite moderator (graphite is needed to slow down neutrons) which would need regular replacement and it can use chloride salts rather the fluoride salts.

Lots of innovations going on with this. And a real interesting comment the speaker makes is that pure salts are not as corrosive as boiling water. So that really helps to address the salt corrosion concern.

Plus these guys all come from the Navy and all have lots of actual experience operating and designing reactors. And they know what passes US regulations. So maybe these guys give the US a chance here.

up
0 users have voted.
Pluto's Republic's picture

@davidgmillsatty

The editing of the film is outstanding, too. It illustrates the narrative of the science and conveys the energy and passion for the idea, as if it were being shot through a catalytic converter to capture every last atom of information. We should give the US a chance and it should direct its considerable genius to creating better plowshares and saving humankind. But I also sense a separate narrative in the film, that demonstrates how this nuclear breakthrough had to be sold — and sold hard. The leaders of the project are looking for funding and they are following the capitalism track. A government like ours is not going to fast track anything like this, and private capital that is not already competing for weapons contracts and medical devices is chasing consumer products like fast electric cars and consumer-activated spyware. The US is letting the free markets determine our future because our national vision and mandate is to chase profits. It's fascism done right.

The enlightened are on a different timeline with a different mandate. There's not a minute to waste.

up
0 users have voted.

@Pluto's Republic Money has always been the issue for these reactors. You either need a government to fund the R and D, or you need a really strong private entity. I really think the company with the most money behind it is Thorcon, since the parent company is a shipbuilding company. All the guys who are the Thorcon team are American except for one Indonesian. But the ship building company is in South Korea. And they really have no way to go around American regulations that are designed for water cooled reactors.

But more and more people and companies are getting on the molten salt and thorium train. We will have to see what happens in the next few years. I am hoping one gets operational somewhere in the early 2020's.

But you are definitely right about the fascism aspect.

up
0 users have voted.
Pluto's Republic's picture

@davidgmillsatty

Their economic system allows the government to invest in vast undertakings. That how they ended up with quantum speed super computers — and that, alone, can put them ahead in any science or technology that requires number crunching. That is the reason China is predicted to take a great leap ahead in many technologies over the next few years. Until another country can match their computing speed.

It's a funny story how they ended up with such advanced technology. US trade protectionism and sanctions always come with unintended consequence. A few years ago, the US blocked China from purchasing the newest Intel chips. China needed fast computing for their university research centers, and they were left with no choice. They had to start from scratch and design a chip of their own, from the sand up. They came up with a new kind of chip that could matched their aspirations. Now, they are using quantum encryption and are successfully teleporting particles from their labs to space. When they finish building the world's largest supercollider, they expect to attract physicists from all over the world.

I hope this company finds immediate funding for an idea whose time has obviously arrived. They are passionate about their vision for good reason, and that's a big plus. But even Christopher Columbus had to seek funding from another country, one that believed in creating their own future.

::

PS: You can remove all but one of the extra names the software adds when you edit your comment.

up
0 users have voted.

You might be interested on my take on why China is beating us so badly. I wrote an article arguing that China was more socialist than we like to think and that was the reason it is kicking our ass. Probably a bit of a different twist. It has to do with the Chinese government owning both land, the banks and most of the corporations.

https://jackpineradicals.com/boards/topic/is-china-marxistsocialistcommu...

They are doing really good science and engineering that we no longer do.

up
0 users have voted.
Pluto's Republic's picture

@davidgmillsatty

We have a lot to learn by seeing communism done right.

But really, the Chinese are natural synthesizers, they constantly adapt in very practical ways, which gives them an evolutionary edge. So we are really seeing all the "ism" systems done well: communism, capitalism, and socialism. I must say, there are so many unusual things happening that I never thought I would see in my lifetime. I didn't even know the US was an Empire until I discovered it was dying. It's hard to hold a perspective.

Is Jack Pine Radicals where you blog? Impressive place. Many good people.

I also recommend the Reddit WayoftheBern. Very observant and high-minded place. They are aligned to c99.

up
0 users have voted.

@Pluto's Republic I used to blog there from its inception. But I was banned about a couple of weeks ago. I was a trouble maker from the get go. Don't know how I lasted as long as I did. But I have been banned everywhere. Starting about 2005 at DKos.

up
0 users have voted.
Alligator Ed's picture

@davidgmillsatty Your JPR essay is an excellent informant of Chinese MSC--the M being Marxist. My knowledge of Marxism as practiced in the real world, not from Karl himself, mainly comes from the Leninist-Stalinist realization of the doctrine, in which forced collectivization, ethnic translocations, etc. were inflicted on a population which essentially had no rights. It could be argued, in fact I am, that such a system replace our corrupt crony capitalist criminal cabal.

Your contribution to this discussion in another essay would be most helpful since evidently you have carefully considered this well.

up
0 users have voted.

@Alligator Ed Lawyers tend to look at things from a property rights perspective. First you look at who or what owns the property in question and then you try to figure out where that takes you.

But since the government of China owns nearly all of the real property in China, and owns the banking system, that takes you in much different direction than where we are here. And that is why I have been a strong advocate of bills of credit. Only a government can issue bills of credit, (they are essentially circulating tax credits and banks can't issue tax credits). When a government can issue its own currency, as China is doing, it can fund all kinds of things that are in the public interest. Bills of credit can pay my social security or pay to put a man on Mars on anything in between without borrowing or taxing. You simply issue tax credits to pay for what the government needs. I think beating the banking system is more important than what kind of government you are running. Because banks will always corrupt the political system.

I always keep in mind a quote attributed to Mayer Amschel Rothschild (really dosn't matter who said it because it is that point that matters). "Let me (being the bankers) issue the money and I care not who makes it's laws." Banks can corrupt socialist systems just as easy as they can corrupt capitalist ones. And the way to beat the banks is with bills of credit. Because they can't issue tax credits.

up
0 users have voted.
hecate's picture

@davidgmillsatty
never said it. The quote is a fabrication of T. C. Daniel, who seems to have suffered from a Hebrew psychosis. Which naturally earned him heavy rotation in Henry Ford's The International Jew: The World's Foremost Problem.

It is amazing the number of quotes that never were that spread these days like herpes throughout the tubes. For instance, the words now most commonly attributed to George Orwell—"in a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act"—were never uttered or written by Orwell at all.

What Orwell actually said was: "in a time of universal tubes, shit just made up is considered a revolutionary act."

up
0 users have voted.

@hecate I am not sure this answer is correct. I was challenged on this once before and I found that this quote was attributed to Rothschild sometime as early as about 1820-25. The problem with assigning the quote to Rothschild is that quite often the response is that the quote is anti-Semitic, which derails the whole point. It is not about Rothschild, it is about how the private issuance of money allows bankers to corrupt a government.

And the real irony is that if you say something critical about Marx, a charge of anti-Semitism is never attached to it.

up
0 users have voted.
hecate's picture

@davidgmillsatty @davidgmillsatty
to where "this quote was attributed to Rothschild sometime as early as about 1820-25"?

Daniel was a strange little man who sat in the corner and talked very fast about money. Which of course doesn't exist. It was just shit made up by the Lydians in the 7th Century BCE. For reasons that passeth understanding, many of the humans still delude in a mass group agreement that it is Real. However, like other relatively recent wrong turnings of the humans—cities, guns, nations, jobs, etc.—it will soon be swept into the dustbin of history.

There are entire interstate highways of tubes in which Marx is slagged for Hebrewtude. One of the more common brain damages asserts that all that is good and godly went to Hell in the 20th Century due to the Hebraic machinations of the unholy trinity of Marx, Darwin, and Freud. Sometimes Einstein is tossed in, to make it a foursome. That, for example, there exists no evidence outside a Rorschach blot that Darwin was Jewish, matters not to such people: they also Know that LBJ was Jewish, and that is why he gave JFK a Kennedy-head. They cite to Lenin's famous maxim:

he are jew as you are jew as she are jew
as you all jew together

Marx has some fun quotes. Here's one, complete with an endless earnest dissertation seeking to explain it away:

It is now completely clear to me that he, as proved by his cranial formation and hair—descends from the Negroes who had joined Moses' exodus from Egypt (assuming that his mother or grandmother on the paternal side had not interbred with a nigger). Now this union of Judaism and Germanism with a basic Negro substance must produce a peculiar product. The obtrusiveness of the fellow is also Nigger-like. ¶ Lafargue has the usual stigma of the Negro tribe: no sense of shame, I mean thereby no modesty about making himself ridiculous.

up
0 users have voted.

@hecate I think the quote "Let me issue the money and I care not who makes its laws" is one of the most important statements ever made involving government and banking. Who should I attribute it to? Alexander Hamilton? Arron Burr? Give me a name.

up
0 users have voted.
hecate's picture

@davidgmillsatty
you said that you "found that this quote was attributed to Rothschild sometime as early as about 1820-25." So, let's see the link(s).

Or, and since you regard it as really important, why not just attribute it to yourself? ; ) It is perfectly acceptable to make assertions without appealing to authority.

up
0 users have voted.

Links. Here is the conclusion I came to last time I looked this up. There are probably millions of old books that have never made it to the internet that could have information regarding this. Until they are all put on line and searchable we will probably not have a better idea than we do now. Links will not definitively answer the question.

But you seem to be really bothered by the name Rothschild. It has been said that the Rothschild family is worth over a trillion dollars today. Do you think it is more or less? Let me explain how their success matters in this case.

To say using the Rothchild name is an appeal to authority is nonsense in this case. Here is why. If I quote Einstein on physics is that an appeal to authority? If scientists in their research, list references of other scientists, is that an appeal to authority? Sometimes it is quite acceptable, and even required, and makes good logical sense, to site the work of others have more expertise than you do.

It is my impression that the Rothschilds are the most famous and most successful bankers in the world. What they say or do not say about banking, may have more merit than what I say.

All your posts are even more ironic in that the people who advocated and promoted thorium and molten salt reactors have names like Seaborg, Vigner, Weinstein, and Teller. And the featured person is a guy named Sorensen. These are all people who are featured in the video I asked you to view. There are probably a dozen more names who came up in this video. Personally, I have not checked their religious backgrounds or their family histories to see if any of them or all of them are Jewish, because I don't care about that. I care about whether their ideas and their research is sound and whether they have some expertise or knowledge that they can impart to me.

Going back to the Rothschilds. Same thing. Are the Rothshields likely to be experts in banking? I would think so. Can they inform me of something about banking that I don't know or that others don't know, even other bankers? I think so. If I wanted to own and operate a bank, would it be smarter to listen to a Rothschild than someone who has never had any experience running one? Again, I think I would want to hear what a Rothschild had to say. And that is how this statement from one of them, or attributed to one of them, should be viewed in my mind.

In this case, I don't think your argument of appeal to authority is persuasive, nor does your attack on my argument on religious ground have merit.

And for what it's worth, I'm an atheist. Probably really shouldn't matter should it?

up
0 users have voted.
hecate's picture

@davidgmillsatty
first it was: “I was challenged on this once before and I found that this quote was attributed to Rothschild sometime as early as about 1820-25.” Now it is: “Here is the conclusion I came to last time I looked this up. There are probably millions of old books that have never made it to the internet that could have information regarding this. Until they are all put on line and searchable we will probably not have a better idea than we do now. Links will not definitively answer the question.”

So you have no proof at all. You’ve simply decided that the shit just made up Rothschild quote is Real, because you want it to be.

I think that in some of these old books that have never made it to the internet there is a quote from Thomas Jefferson that says: “Whenever I look at Sally Hemings, my penis grows big as a house. I slather it with macaroni and cheese, and then I listen to the mockingbird, who is also a Dick.”

I think I will be putting this quote in the tubes. And if people doubt that it is Real, I will say: “There are probably millions of old books that have never made it to the internet that could have information regarding this. Until they are all put on line and searchable we will probably not have a better idea than we do now. Links will not definitively answer the question.”

I don’t care about the Rothschilds. They are an obsession of people who sit in the corner and talk very fast about money. Who frequent the interstate highways of tubes in which Karl Marx is slagged for Hebrewtude.

As I don’t care about money. Except in times like is now, when I need to write a Paper for a Lawyer so she will give me a Money I can go give to the feed-store people so they will hand me some peanuts to put out on the front-porch railing for these jays who are screaming.

I do get annoyed by false quotes poisoning the intertubes. The Orwell false quote, which I also mentioned, actually irks me more.

With respect, you are indeed using the shit just made up Rothschild quote as an appeal to authority. You are putting words in his mouth that never came out of them, to buttress your own beliefs, saying your beliefs must be Real, because they were uttered by a Rothschild. It is like if I went to the physics, and said, “my mind is flying at Warp 9, just like Einstein’s was the day he smoked the doob, which he describes in the millions of old books that have never made it to the internet that could have information regarding this.”

I am not interested in nuclear power. It is stupid and boring and it makes people glow in the dark. Buckminster Fuller said—and I know this is not shit just made up, because I was there when he said it—that nature has demonstrated the safe distance between a human and a nuclear power plant: 91 million miles. Fuller is smarter than you or I or anyone else in this or any other tube. So I will go with him as my jefe on this one.

I am a pagan rabbi priest of People Want To Be Good And Life Wants To Be Happy. This is true of you, as of all of the humans, so I hope you go well. But you can go well without attributing words to people who never said them.

up
0 users have voted.

@hecate You have no more proof than I do about whether Rothschild said what he said than I do. It has been attributed to him for a long fucking time by a lot of people. It is a fucking wash. And if you read what I initially wrote, I said it does not really matter if the attribution to him is true or not. It is the point made. And it would make no difference if the point was made by Alexander Hamilton or any other prestigious or well known banker.

I will still continue to look for the source I found the last time on this. Last time it took me hours. It is not easy to find. It is not as easy as picking up something on Quora, which I would not site as authority to anyone, frankly. If I find it, I will add the link. Of course, if I find it, I would not expect it to change your mind.

But you think it is a major offense to attribute something to someone who is long since dead and gone where the attribution could well be true, but can not be absolutely proven. It is bizarre. And something tells me, that if Alexander Hamilton had this quote attributed to him rather than Rothschild, where the proof was the same, you would not be so fussy about it, or find it so shocking to your conscience.

And as for Orwell, he was a writer. It makes a huge difference in whether a quote comes from a written statement or a verbal one. It is easy to check a written quote.

And once again you have proven that you do not understand what an appeal to authority is. An appeal to authority occurs when you substitute your argument with that of an authority, not when you buttress your argument with the arguments or statements of an authority. As you pointed out, I used his statement to buttress my argument that private issuance of money is highly dangerous to a government.

Obviously you are not one that cares about distinctions.

As for you writing off nuclear power that is fine as well. And I wish you well, as well.

up
0 users have voted.
Pluto's Republic's picture

@Alligator Ed

In fact, it was never done at all. Not the way it was proposed and not the way it was intended. But no matter. It's time has passed.

The greatest achievements mankind has ever made have been built on foundations of failure. When we create a system, that system must constantly evolve because we are constantly evolving. That's why the US Constitution has betrayed us and locked us in a corporate police-state box with no way out. My entire time online has been spent waiting for people to finally accept that there is no way out. Until a majority figure that out — and stop wasting their time concocting new ways of voting, electing better people, scrambling to keep education intact, fighting income inequality, and various other attempts to "reform" systematic failure — will a door open to let us out. Only then can we start over and do it right.

up
0 users have voted.

@Pluto's Republic It was the two party system, something the founders never envisioned. The 12th Amendment allows for us to have numerous parties if the public has the balls to give EC's to third and fourth parties, enough to throw the election to the house and senate. In fact we could have a permanent parliamentary system if we did that.

A parliamentary system would change things. Would it stop corporate control of the government? Probably not.

I don't see that happening unless we have a French Revolution. But the Constitution does not prevent that either.

I tend to blame us more than I blame the Constitution. The Constitution gives us the right to dismantle the Constitution if we really want.

up
0 users have voted.
Pluto's Republic's picture

@davidgmillsatty

You need to step further away. Let's save this for another time.

I look forward to that.

up
0 users have voted.

That is always an issue in any field, isn't it. If you are on the inside, you tend to view things differently than those on the outside.

And secondly, once you learn something, you can't pretend that you don't know it.

up
0 users have voted.
hecate's picture

@davidgmillsatty

was written by men who had never seen a light bulb, believed that bathing would kill you, and were convinced black people were not humans, but plows.

I am pretty sure you would not want someone operating on your brain from a medical manual inscribed in 1787. So why run your country from a document ageing from that date?

When you have the French Revolution, you have the head-chopping, which goes round and round, until the head-choppers are themselves having their heads chopped, and then comes the military dictator, who rampages across whole continents, until he is defeated, and then all the other countries come in and pick your bones, and when they leave they restore your aristocracy, and pretty soon the defeated military dictator's descendant is the new military dictator, and he starts a stupid war with the Germans, who soon are camped outside your capital city, laughing and eating schnitzel, while inside you kill and eat each like cannibals.

Good times.

up
0 users have voted.

@hecate That doesn't mean they were stupid. Human nature hasn't changed that much. And it pisses me off to judge people of the past by today's standards. It is a totally cheap shot. A couple hundred years from now, if we don't annihilate ourselves, I am sure they will think we were pretty stupid too.

And I happen to think that Jefferson was right about needing revolutions periodically. People who have power don't give it up unless forced to.

up
0 users have voted.
hecate's picture

@davidgmillsatty
of today are pretty stupid. I mean, the Americans just elected The Hairball to be the president. Is there even a debate, on the stupidity?

up
0 users have voted.
Alligator Ed's picture

@hecate The miserable state of electoral affairs and the brazen flaunting of illegitimacy, fraud, lying, etc. are just a few indicia of our miserably failing society.

up
0 users have voted.
hecate's picture

@Alligator Ed
being a human. Robert Stone put it this way:

My understanding of the human condition is something like this: there was this mud, this substance. It somehow came into existence. Over a period of millennia, it became conscious of itself. It stood up on legs and annualmuddaycelebrationletskidsgetdirty5qy0ozlx5odx.jpgstarted walking around, and talking and thinking and having aspirations of one kind or another. Now this is a miracle, that the very mud of the earth could somehow come to consciousness. There is some kind of positive significance there. In what I write, I try to be aware of that, and that’s why I think I’m not pushing a message of despair, because I try to have everything happen in these books against the background of that miracle. That’s an unspoken positive dimension. We are just mud, finally, that has become conscious of itself. That’s a tough condition.

up
0 users have voted.

@Pluto's Republic Thanks for the removal tip. I cleaned up all my posts as the multiple names were annoying.

up
0 users have voted.