Nuclear Industry Executive/Consultant Update on Developments at Fukushima

The astounding pace with which astonishing events are rolling out of this end of the timeline around the world and here at home have preoccupied my days and nights the last few months, it seems. I've been hoping to catch up on things but the phase 'humanly possible' rudely interrupts my everyday agenda.

The tripled-disaster of the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear power plant destruction in Japan are not the least important of events and with a science/technology background, I'd feel compelled to commentary, if possible.

Saturday Mid-Day Open Thread: Sage Advice, Motorcycling Edition

Crossposted to DailyKos.

Health and safety concerns permeate almost every aspect of our day-to-day life. Sometimes, these concerns manifest themselves in obvious ways. Other times, not so much. Sometimes, the role of health and safety is recalled to our conscious awareness through tragedy, violence or anger. Other times, it is through the gentle gestures of a stranger who catches us off guard with his or her concern.

Below is an excerpt from a post on DelphiForums by a friend, Becca. Becca likes motorcycles. An avid rider, she's into all aspects of biking and pretty well informed. The other day, she had an encounter that she thought was well worth sharing.

Check it out:


Today I was out riding my motorcycle. I was wearing full leathers, had a tank bag, I should have looked like I knew what I was doing. I made a right-hand turn at an intersection and travelled down the road to another intersection and stopped for the light. A man behind me blipped his horn once or twice to get my attention. I looked back, and he was waving me to stay put. He put on his hazards and got out of his truck. He walked to me - with a pronounced limp. He *very politely* dressed me down for A) not signaling my turn, and more importantly B) didn't look all around before making my move. He explained that he has ridden a motorcycle for 40 years, racing, riding, just about everything you could think to do on a motorcycle. He was absolutely right, too, about my inattention, and I told him so and thanked him for giving me a wake-up call.

Before we parted, I noticed he was wearing digital camouflage and a Marines T-shirt. I asked him if he was a Marine, and he said yes. I held out my hand and said, "Thank you for your service." He smiled and headed back to his truck.

Thinking about it, that was a fantastically nice thing for someone to do. It took guts and it took smarts. It probably also took a loss of someone who also rode, but I don't want to think about that. I'm just thankful that such people exist.


With all the griping, sniping, angry sign-carrying, name calling, conspiracy theorizing and incitement-inducing going on out in the world today, there are still those among us who take the time to look out for others and to speak their mind.

There's still hope for us -- as a nation, as a race and for life on earth.

We just have to get used to the thought of being more like the Marine who stopped to talk to my friend.

In the comments, please share any encounters or experiences you have had that helped to remind you about basic health and safety concerns, or illustrate how the good intentions others may have brightened your day (or week, month, year, life, etc.).

And, as always, remember: This is an Open Thread.

On another note, some sad news: Dupa T. Parrot -- a.k.a. George Brickner -- has passed away. George, through his online role as Dupa, served as the source of several posts that appeared on ePluribus Media over the years, and often shared such tidbits for discussion among his friends on Delphi. He will be sorely missed.

Drilling relief wells

The shutdown of the drilling operations is expected to have a substantial impact on the Louisiana economy, as the 33 rigs contemplated in last week's shutdown order probably employ 7,590 people, and each of those is believed to support four other jobs on land.

The Interior Department has released a list of 17 companies with deepwater drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico that are affected, but it has not disclosed the names of the prospects, rigs or locations, saying the information is proprietary

And of course today

Judge Blocks Drilling Moratorium
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- A federal judge in New Orleans has blocked a six-month moratorium on new deepwater drilling projects that was imposed in response to the massive Gulf oil spill.Source

A Loss of Innocence: In Memory of "The Mayor"

Today, my nephew "TJ" would have celebrated his seventh birthday, surrounded by his family, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. He would be seven -- a lucky number -- if he had lived.

He died on February 20, 2003, two days before his second birthday.

After several years of uncertainty about how to post a story I'd written in his memory, I finally posted it last June.1

Now, as the anniversary of TJ's death passed two days ago and the anniversary of his birth dawns today, I feel that it is only right and fitting to repost the piece here, on the newly redesigned ePluribus Media community page, to both honor my nephew and to further remind folks just how precious the young ones are in our lives. They are the hope for our future; we are their best, last hope that there will be a future for them to inherit. The legacy we have left so far, within the first decade of a new century, is not exactly promising.

The significance of this was driven home, ironically, by Melody Townsel's scary encounter which she originally posted on DailyKos on February 20th.2 Her 8 year old child, playing in front of their home, was asked by a stranger to help look for his lost dog. The person could have been innocent, might have really been looking for a dog, and the flyers he claimed to have put up -- which were never found by the police checking into the matter -- may have been pulled down. The person may have shown bad judgement. However, the "lost dog" ruse has become popular of late, and it is also quite possible that the man intended harm.

It wasn't up to Melody to decide that -- it was up to her to respond to the situation in a manner that she felt was appropriate. She did, and then posted about it in order to remind parents of a very important lesson that parents should pass along to their children. It wasn't a cry out for a legacy of fear and distrust but a call for parents to ensure that they've instilled an important lesson for their children's safety.

No matter the reason, the loss of a child is as tragic and terrible as the birth of a child is wonderful and miraculous. We have, through our children, the direct potential for imparting our wisdom (such as it is) and hope for the future through sharing of our experiences, informing them about our past and educating them to the best of our ability to provide them with the tools they'll need to navigate through life's challenges successfully.

The story of my nephew's passing is sad, but the hope, love and laughter he still inspires is wonderful.

Please keep that in mind as you read the piece that follows.


In Melody's Own Words: "Stranger Danger" Hits Close To Home

The following is reprinted with the permission of Melody Townsel and presented as a reminder for parents to talk to their children about how to react when approached by strangers.1

CRIMEWATCH! Today, Stranger Danger Hit Home!

by Melody Townsel. Originally posted on DailyKos on Wed Feb 20, 2008 at 02:59:39 PM EST.

Hello, all:

Today, my tiny family of two got an up-close-and-personal look at stranger danger -- and I can't help but think that our story is worth a reminder to all of you who are parents.

This morning, my daughter and I awoke in great moods, getting ourselves around and ready to cover the five miles between here and Reunion Arena to go and see Barack Obama. As we were preparing to leave, a friend called, and while I was on the phone, my eight-year-old, Sadie, went out to the sidewalk in front of our house to bounce her new yellow ball.

Five minutes. That's all the time that lapsed while I chatted briefly with a friend.

Five minutes.