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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘finland

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • Andart’s Anders Sandberg links to a paper of his examining the ethics of brain emulations. How ethical is it do make very life-like simulations of minds?
  • blogTO notes a public art movement tracing the former path of the Don River.
  • The Burgh Diaspora’s Jim Russell notes that population change in the US is a consequence of migration and natural change.
  • Centauri Dreams considers intergalactic travel. Given the huge travel times involved, travelling on a hypervelocity star ejected from a solar system may be more secure.
  • The Cranky Sociologists’ SocProf notes that not caring about a particular social issue until it affects you actually isn’t good for society as a whole.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to one paper suggesting between 5.3 and 10% of Sun-like star ssupport Earth-sized planets in their circumstellar habitable zones, and another identifying HIP 114328 as a solar twin.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the latest developments in marriage equality in Finland.
  • Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen notes that Scottish devolution hasn’t changed much policy, perhaps passing over the possibility that perhaps devolution has prevented change.
  • Patrick Cain maps the 2014 Ontario election.
  • Torontoist notes that the Toronto Star has given the Toronto Public Library more than a million of its vintage photographs.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes that, according to a recent court ruling, smartphones in the US are safe from arbitrary search.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine is steadily losing its position there.

[LINK] “For Atom-Friendly Asia, a Nuclear Power Boom—in the West, Stagnation”

Katherine Tweed’s Scientific American article contrasting the ongoing boom in nuclear reactors in Asia with stagnation in the West makes a convincing contrast. (South Korea isn’t mentioned in the article–it should be.) I do wonder if China’s state-directed push will continue without consequences, and whether or not the current West lull might yet be temporary. Non-oil energy may be useful.

More than a decade ago a contract was signed to build the world’s first third-generation European pressurized reactor (EPR) in Finland. The cutting-edge, 1,600-megawatt nuclear power plant, Olkiluoto 3, which its French maker Areva boasted as the most advanced safety design of the time, is still under construction today. There have been various setbacks as well as endless finger-pointing between Areva and the Finnish utility TVO, which are locked in court battle over expanding costs. Now the reactor might not be completed until at least 2017, if at all, with a price tag of $11 billion, more than double its original estimate.

The Olkiluoto 3 situation is not unique. Another Areva EPR in Flamanville, France, is also behind schedule and over budget. A recent government deal for two new EPRs in the U.K. has also come under fire.

The prospects for a nuclear power revival are no better in the U.S. Although the technology has never been cheap, cost overruns and delays are plaguing the handful of next-generation pressurized water reactors currently being built, the first since Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011. Even before that event, a study from Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that the cost of new nuclear plants, globally, doubled from 2002 to 2009. The third-generation reactors have safety features that should prevent a meltdown similar to Fukushima’s but political controversy, along with the high price tag means that new nuclear complexes in the U.S. and Europe could be in the single digits instead of dozens originally planned less than a decade ago.

Ironically, the experience has been markedly different in Asia. Two of Areva’s EPRs are expected to come online in China next year. China and South Korea are building the third-generation reactors with fewer construction delays and cost overruns than their Western counterparts. “They’ve been single minded about it,” says Tony Roulstone, course director for nuclear energy at the University of Cambridge. “And that single-mindedness has its advantages.” China and other Asian countries have been building nonstop for the last 30 years whereas the multiyear gap in the U.S. has resulted in a loss of construction knowledge. China also seems to have the advantage of endless manpower, and the state owns the country’s largest nuclear firm.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 21, 2014 at 8:11 pm

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • io9 shares photos of Kazakhstan’s capital of Astana.
  • Anders Sandberg links to a recent discussion of a paper he co-authored on the ethics of augmentation.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper analyzing the density of different Kepler-discovered exoplanets that determines that worlds more than 2.5 times the diameter of Earth are likely to be mini-Neptunes.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes evidence for global cooling following the Chixculub impact that ended the Cretaceous, tracks the spread of farming from the Neolithic Fertile Crescent, and observes Russia’s withdrawal of a particular rocket engine from use by the United States.
  • Discover‘s Imageo blog shares maps of what the world will look like when the West Antarctic sheet melts.
  • inuit panda scarlet carwash notes the happy reunion of a cat separated from his owners three years ago by the Japanese earthquake with said.
  • Language Log links to a paper suggesting that the location of letters on a standard QWERTY keyboard influences the way we see the words these letters make up.
  • Registan warns that it looks as if Kazakhstan won’t be able to balance Russia off with China and the United States now.
  • Torontoist shares pictures of the Game of Thrones expedition in town.
  • Towleroad notes that disgraced NBA team owner Donald Sterling’s interview with Anderson Cooper went terribly for him.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy links to a Michael Totten essay making the point that Cuba is actually a very repressive society.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that some Karelians want greater autonomy for their Russian republic.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • At The Dragon’s Tales, Will Baird reports that Sweden and Finland, spooked by Crimea, are now contemplating NATO membership.
  • On a very different note, The Dragon’s Tales also notes that Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus, with a Europa-like ocean underneath, is perfectly suited for a space mission.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that workers are dying on World Cup construction sites in Brazil as well as in Qatar.
  • At the Planetary Society Blog, Emily Lakdawalla notes the very recent discovery of Kuiper belt object 2013 FY27, big enough to be a dwarf planet.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy links to a profile of the blog and its blogger in Tablet magazine.
  • Window on Eurasia has a series of links. One argues that Russia’s weakness not its strength motivated the move into Crimea, another argues that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would be a catastrophe and that the Russian government knows it, another observes Belarus’ alienation from federation with Russia.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Centauri Dreams looks at reddish brown dwarfs, objects that may lie just on the cusp of being planets.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper analyzing the stellar cycles of Alpha Centauri A and B.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to a Singaporean academic’s argument that Sino-American misunderstandings (lack of understanding, more precisely) could lead to catastrophe.
  • Joe. My. God. shares a Seattle editor’s argument that Musab Masmari, charged with trying to burn down a crowded gay bar, should be charged with multiple counts of attempted murder.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money shares more depressing rape rhetoric for right-wingers.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that Switzerland’s immigration controls are directed against those who are quite like the Swiss–Germans, Italians, French, and so on–rather than outsiders.
  • Strange Maps notes the town of Agloe in upstate New York, placed by mapmakers eager to trap thieves of their work.
  • Understanding Society shares Theda Skocpol’s analysis of the 1979 revolution in Iran, one that differs substantially from her theory.
  • Now at the Washington Post, the Volokh Conspiracy’s Ilya Somin takes issue with people who would like to abolish early voting. (Among other things, these people are generally more informed about their political choices.)
  • Window on Eurasia notes Karelian activists in Russia who want to keep their republic in existence and open to Finland.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • Crooked Timber’s Jon Mandle reflects on his experiences of a visit to Auschwitz.
  • The Dragon’s Tales’ Will Baird notes the development of a robot that can walk like a cat.
  • Eastern Approaches suggests that Croatia, set to enter the European Union, should pick up economic tips from Finland’s experience in the 1990s.
  • Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen argues convincingly that the lack of payment for sperm donors in Canada means that domestic sperm–from paid domestic sperm donors, at least–is short.
  • Savage Minds considers language revival among tribal peoples in Taiwan by looking to the mixed experience of Southern Maori revivalists in New Zealand.
  • The Search offers guidelines as to the digital archiving of images. (Keep them in TIFF but don’t worry if they’re JPEG.)
  • Torontoist’s Desmond Cole notes a recent protest in Toronto to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the federal government’s limiting of access to healthcare to refugees.
  • Towleroad reports on the GLBT components of the anti-government protests in Turkey.

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

  • Acts of Minor Treason’s Andrew Barton shares a photograph of a San Francisco streetcar
  • Eastern Approaches describes how the Serbian ambassador to Turkey was cut off by the protests.
  • Geocurrents’ Asya Pereltsvaig traces the etymology of book in different world languages.
  • GNXP’s Razib Khan notes that imagined far futures where humans are recognizably the same despite huge changes otherwise, or where the only changes are superficial or ridiculous, are lacking.
  • Marginal Revolution discusses the question of whether the city of Detroit should sell off the works in its collection, leaning towards the sale.
  • Progressive Download’s John Farrell notes that scientists may have found pluripotent adult stem cells.
  • Steve Munro finds it ludicrous the extent to which Metrolinx has exaggerated the job benefits of mass transit system construction.
  • Torontoist examines the birth of the Toronto neighbourhood (once municipality) of Leaside as a planned suburb.
  • Van Waffle takes his readers on a garden tour of Toronto, with photographs.
  • Window on Eurasia notes how Karelians, facing assimilation in their Russian republic, are looking towards Finland for help.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Acts of Minor Treason’s Andrew Barton photographs the Gibraltar Point lighthouse and wonders about the Toronto Islands.
  • Bag News Notes visits Iraqi Kurdistan and the survivors of Saddam Hussein’s gassing of the Kurdish city of Halabja.
  • At Behind the Numbers, Mark Mather notes that the projected size of the American population in decades hence has decreased owing to the recession-related fall in the birth rate.
  • Eastern Approaches notes the church-sponsored attack on a gay pride protestin Georgia, its implications for law and order in Georgia, and the impact on Georgia’s reputation abroad.
  • Geocurrents’ Asya Perelstvaig goes over the fluctuating Russo-Finnish border regions.
  • GNXP’s Razib Khan argues that devoting ten thousand hours to practising a particular skill, as described by Gladwell, won’t do anything if one doesn’t have the requisite talent.
  • Language Hat notes an article on the life of Alice Kober, one of the linguists who helped decrypy the Minoan script Linear B.
  • Open the Future’s Jamais Cascio wonders how astronomers would recognize artifacts of a supercivilization–Dyson spheres, FTL warp bubbles, et cetera–as artifacts.
  • Window on Eurasia’s Paul Goble notes that many Russian nationalists are opposed to integrating with post-Soviet countries, particularly in Central Asia, that are currently de-Russifying.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • Burgh Diaspora notes the migration of Spanish professionals to Morocco. (It’s close and the cost of living is low.)
  • Daniel Drezner, in contrast to other writers, has become somewhat more dovish since the Iraq War, but not that much more.
  • At the Everyday Sociology Blog, Jonathan Wynn examines the sociological settings of the coverage of the Steubenville rape trials. Among other things, he suggests that the search for novelty, more than an insensitivity to the victim, played a role in CNN’s infamous coverage.
  • At A Fistful of Euros, Alex Harrowell argues that the British government’s diagnosis of the problems with the British economy is fundamentally flawed, with obvious implications for the recovery of the British economy.
  • Geocurrents’ Asya Pereltsvaig examines the fascinating birch bark documents from the medieval Russian state of Novgorod.
  • GNXP’s Razib Khan notes the evidence of substantial non-European ancestry among South Africa’s Afrikaners.
  • Language Hat notes the influence of the Polish language and Roman Catholicism in early modern Ukraine.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money’s Erik Loomis starts an interesting discussion of ethnonational identity, history, and social class in culture from a book on Mexican food.
  • Supernova Condensate considers the possibility of life evolving on worlds orbiting bright, massive stars. Planets, at least, seem able to form even around the brightest …
  • Technosociology’s Zeynap Tufekci discusses the right of children to privacy.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • Centauri Dreams features a guest post by anthropologist Cameron M. Smith speculating on the kinds of evolutionary change that could occur among humans via long-distance, long-duration interstellar flights and later pplanetary colonizations.
  • Geocurrents notes that politics in Kenya, as evidenced by the recent election, are still strongly marked by the polarization of different ethnic groups behind different candidates.
  • John Moyer is bored by the over-the-top superhero genre.
  • Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen seems appalled by the weekend decision to impose a haircut on depositors in Cypriot banks.
  • Noel Maurer, writing at The Power and the Money, notes the division of Japan on east-west lines by incompatible national electricity grids. Eastern Japan including Tokyo, hit hard by the aftermath of the tsunami and nuclear plant closures, stayed afloat thanks to rolling blackouts.
  • Strange Maps charts the frontiers, exclaves, and territorial disputes of the Vatican City.
  • Torontoist notes the growing popularity of Gaelic footballs in Toronto. It’s useful for networking for new immigrants from Ireland, too.
  • Towleroad reports on a Turkish campaign, led by the prime minister, against the two lesbian foster mothers of a Turkish child taken into custody at six months of age. (He’s now 9.)
  • The Volokh Conspiracy’s Eugene Volokh notes that the Catholic cardinal of Durban in South Africa, Wilfrid Fox Napier, has said that pedophile priests who in turn raped children shouldn’t be considered criminally responsible.
  • At Window on Eurasia, Paul Goble reports that Vladimir Putin defended the Winter Wage waged against Finland.
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