Geek stuff

Both on this site and in academic work, I have done a lot of research and writing on nuclear energy: specifically, it’s desirability as a low-carbon energy option and climate change solution, and perspectives on nuclear energy within the environmental and climate change activist movements. The European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) was designed by Framatome (now […]

{ 1 comment }

When making decisions about technology, both false positive and false negative errors are possible. By that, I mean it’s possible for us to miss or ignore how a technology has unacceptable consequences for people and the rest of nature. DDT or the drug thalidomide were such false negatives: wrongly considered to be acceptable for use […]

{ 4 comments }

For a few months, I have been listening to The Energy Gang podcast. They cover a range of issues, but I think they are distinguished by being wonkier than usual, very U.S.-focused, and more focused on economics and business than most climate change commentators. Their most recent episode discusses a recent New York Times article […]

{ 1 comment }

I recently saw the documentary Zero Days about state-sponsored cyber warfare in general and the Stuxnet attack against Iran’s enrichment facility at Natanz in particular. The documentary doesn’t really contain any new information for people who follow the news in this field, but it’s well put together and has some compelling interviews. A couple of […]

{ 1 comment }

NASA’s Juno Spacecraft, designed to study Jupiter’s magnetic field to help us better understand the planet and solar system, will be burning its main engine to circularize its orbit around the gas giant later today: At about 12:15 pm PDT today (3:15 p.m. EDT), mission controllers will transmit command product “ji4040” into deep space, to […]

{ 1 comment }

From a number of perspectives, I find YouTube videos which include demonstrations of Trident D5 missile launches from American Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines highly interesting: I find the first of the three clips (USS Nebraska) especially intriguing because of the highly stylized, almost theatrical language of the exchange between the bridge officers authenticating the emergency […]

{ 10 comments }

In the Massey College room where I lived for three years (V:4, best room in the college), there was a sumptuous abundance of shelf space: two shelves extending the entire long axis of the room (probably 20′ of shelving each), plus this shelving unit between the office and bedroom areas. Now, my generally excellent new […]

{ 2 comments }

I find that my Prism Quantum two-line kite is too frustrating to fly in winds of less than 16 knots (kn). The ideal range is 16-25 kn, with the wind consistent in power and coming from a consistent direction. That’s a rare situation indeed in Toronto, where winds are almost never so strong and tend […]

{ 2 comments }

This remarkable interview with Robert Hill, Former Chief Naval Engineer Officer of the Royal Navy, discusses the peculiarities of Hyman Rickover, including some very revealing stories, as well as Rickover’s role in developing the civilian reactor at Shippingport. The description of Rickover’s interaction with the chairman of Rolls Royce is quite amusing, though it also […]

{ 1 comment }

Spring brought an increasing flow of decrypts about Wehrmacht operations in the Eastern Mediterranean. Senior officers strove to streamline the transfer of information from Bletchley to battlefields, so that material reached commanders in real time. One of the most significant intercepts, detailing German plans for the May 1941 invasion of Crete, reported ‘probable date of […]

{ 0 comments }