Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tech dispatches from the Department of "D'oh"

As Japan slowly recovers from last year's natural disaster ("It's the tsunami, stupid"), that country -- by popular demand -- is about to inflict more hardship on itself.

Nothing but a bit of steam ...
How so? Via the shutdown of all nuclear power in the country. That's fifty reactors, which not long ago provided almost thirty percent of the nation's electrical power. IMO, that's quite the overreaction to the (unprecedented) earthquake-plus-tsunami damage to a cluster of four reactors.

Oddly enough, it happens that choices have consequences. And so "Nuclear-free Japan braces for severe power shortages" (a Reuters report) and "As Japan shuts down nuclear power, emissions rise" (from Yahoo News).

Speaking of Yahoo ...

The company's new CEO is under attack from a major shareholder for resume inflation. (See, "Yahoo says CEO Scott Thompson does not have computer science degree.") Thompson  claimed a double major in computer science (the other degree being in accounting) -- having graduated before his alma mater offered a CS degree program. Oops.

Can you blame Thompson? Why would the would-be head of a major web search firm imagine anyone could look up such stuff?

A Saturn V. Requiem in pacem.
In another tale of technology and unfathomable psychology, "Gunshots Damage Historic Saturn V Moon Rocket." Why would anyone shoot at an icon of one of humanity's greatest achievements? There hasn't been an arrest, so we may never know -- but my guess is a totally weird attitude toward technology.

And speaking of our-best-days-are-behind-us attitudes toward tech and of any human role in space ... the Onion recently ran a viciously funny (and sadly dead-on) take on the U.S. space program. See "NASA Announces Plans To Put Man On Bus To Cleveland."

To conclude on an up note, hop (heh) on over to io9 for suggestions on how to "Take a science fiction road trip for a weird and wonderful summer."

Why? Because as any SF author will tell you, science fiction is the antidote for the anti-science meme so rampant in modern society.

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