Sunday, May 20, 2012

Creationist Louisiana State Senators

Fools on Parade. Indeed.

Once upon a time, people actually had some shame. First off, there's THIS, which I'm not even sure how to process, then there's this video of Julie Quinn making a complete ass of herself.

"I am an attorney and I would like an answer!" - Julie Quinn, lawyer and moron. Speaking of lawyers, I wonder how Quinn, as a lawyer and a one of those entrusted to oversee taxpayer dollars, would comment on how Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District was a good use of taxpayer funds, because it's only a matter of time before Louisiana gets its ass sued off. More here.

"People with little letters behind their name" include doctors, engineers, and scientists. But, Julie Quinn is a lawyer, so it's all good. She can fix our levees, design deepwater oil platforms, heal the sick, discover cures to diseases, invent new things, ... Oh wait, no she can't actually do anything; she's a lawyer. If one useless man is called a disgrace, what are two useless men called? A law firm.

Kudos to Karen Carter Peterson (the new head of the burnt-out cinder of what used to be the Louisiana Democratic Party).

Unfortunately, KCP is outnumbered by the asshats. See the sad evidence below.

Here's Zack's take:

Note that the push to repeal LSEA failed.

Book Review: "In Mortal Hands"

In Mortal Hands: A Cautionary History of the Nuclear Age

In Mortal Hands: A Cautionary History of the Nuclear Age

I firmly believe that all practicing engineers should read at least one 'engineering disaster' book a year. It's been a little while for me.

The first ~100 pages are not worth reading. It's a poor synopsis of Richard Rhodes and I liked the original better. You need to skip to about the 1970's before the book gets worthwhile (although the Israeli bomb chapter is excellent).

The author was a journalist covering the nuke industry and once she gets closer to what she directly covered in her interviews with first-hand witnesses, the book improves dramatically. The best parts is her coverage of the regulation of the civilian nuclear industry. For example, Victor Stello over-protected the industry (to its detriment), while others at the NRC did their jobs.

Some of my other favorite stories:

* The (sad) story of a Chernobyl firefighter and his pregnant wife.

* The cataloging of the costs of failed experiments in reprocessing and breeder reactors.

* The story of Remy Carle at his graduation from Ecole Polytechnique.

* Western nations really only care about nuclear proliferation when it's convenient (and because of that, have, in the past, helped out 'rogue' states like North Korea and Iran much more than they'd like to admit). For instance, the United States KNEW Saddam was using a $500 million agricultural loan to fund his bomb program, but, despite please from those overseeing the program, continued funding it (not necessarily out of nefarious intentions, probably just bureaucratic laziness).

Overall, I got what I was looking for out of it. Even the book's biggest flaw (the beginning) is not much of a flaw, because I'm comparing it to a Pulitzer Prize winning book.

UPDATE- One of the stories from the book is MOSSAD's theft of uranium from Pennsylvania. Apparently, that story can now pretty definitively be but in the "True" column.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Darwin the Dinosaur impresses

Writeup from Gambit.

Note that the group is from New Orleans and based out of the CAC. Their website is here.

It takes some balls to be pro-Darwin in a state wheredangerous fools like this have power.

More dancing here:

Friday, May 11, 2012

Engineering Links of the Afternoon

* PHD: Graduate School Enrollment vs. Unemployment Rate (graduate enrollment in engineering).

* Some Important Things Most Students Never Ask About Graduate School [PDF]

* Going to grad school while working. Great quote: "No Matter How Much You Love Your Job, You Will Love Grad School More". Actually, this one is turning out pretty true. Also: #1 Drawback: Time

* A history of offshore drilling. Excellent white paper on the history of the offshore business.

* The cost of new oil supply. The chart for the cost/well is amazing.

* Liberating America's Secret Laws. Overly dramatic title, but interesting subject, because things like ASME's Boiler Code are a part of the law, but not actually accessible to common citizens.

* Ignition! The history of the development of rocket fuel.