Tuesday, November 6, 2012

While we wait ...

A very consequential election. The ongoing Superstorm Sandy mess/clean-up in the Northeast (with a nor'easter en route). Though today is my weekly day to post, my mind isn't on blogging -- and I believe that's understandable.

Sharing thought-provoking (or offbeat) science, technology, and SF items from my grab bag won't demand much concentration on my part (kinda essential today) and they may divert you.

Remember last year's tsunami in Japan? It caused shutdowns at, and radiation releases (but, to date, no radiation-related deaths) from, the four Fukushima nuclear power plants. It led several countries to move toward the complete elimination of nuclear power from their national grids. Remember the hyperventilating concern about US nukes in the event of natural disaster?

Almost lost in the coverage of Sandy's impacts is this: "Problems at Five Nuke Plants." What sort of problems? Amid countless storm-related grid disturbances, these nuclear plants responded as designed. One of the five "problems" was a plant dialing down its output to 91 percent of capacity. That seems (IMO) pretty tame compared to "ConEd Explosion During Hurricane Sandy Rocks Manhattan's Lower East Side" and "Outages, floods hit two New Jersey refineries; others restart." Nukes are a robust part of the national energy system. I'd like to see more of them.

A less dramatic -- but possibly further reaching -- impact is that "Sandy Wiped Out NYU Lab Mice, Dealing Blow to Medical Research."
New York University Hospital has reportedly lost thousands of laboratory mice to Hurricane Sandy, a research setback that could take years to correct, according to scientists.

Meanwhile (and citing no less an authority than the Secretary of Homeland Security), here's an ongoing peril to the national well-being that's neither weather- nor election-related: "Largest banks under constant cyberattack, feds say."

Still looking for distraction?

In the ongoing privacy wars, consider that "Online Advertisers Turning Up the Heat Against Making “Do Not Track” Browsers' Default Setting."

Or ponder Live Science's list of "History's Most Overlooked Mysteries."

Or the Forbes compendium of "Top 10 Best Sci-Fi Horror Movies Of All Time."

Or this Fox News list of "5 of the silliest automotive features ever."

I may not have gotten your mind of the election or Superstorm Sandy (have I?) -- but at least, for a few minutes, I've diverted myself. So, thanks.

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