Click image to go to Fermi 3 for the source of this and other nuclear cartoons.
“We’ve got 3 reactors, the cores have left the vessel. They’ve burned through the bottom of the vessel. We don’t really know where they are, because the radioactive environment even fries robots that TEPCO’s been trying to send in there. They have been sending very innovative robotic machinery and sensors in there to get a picture, to get a reading, and these things don’t return. We have opened a door to hell that cannot be easily closed – if ever….” — William Boardman, on Reader Supported News.
Although it’s not covered much in the mainstream news, public interest in the problem of continued and possibly increasing radioactive leakage from TEPCO’s Fukushima nuclear disaster has brought a lot of searchers to the Bovine to read past stories we’ve posted on the subject. And of course it’s depressing to just post news of terrible disasters like Fukushima. One has to wonder whether there isn’t something that could be done to improve the situation, rather than just waiting for the released radiation to kill all life in the Pacific ocean, and rain down over North America. Continue reading
From Tom Philpott, in Mother Jones:
“In 1968, India’s farmers cranked out a record-setting wheat crop at a time when many observers feared the nation would plunge into famine. That triumphant harvest represented the culmination of decades of work by a group of foundation-funded US technocrats. Their effort, which became known as the “green revolution,” still casts an imposing shadow more than four decades later.
Its technological architect, the Nobel laureate Norman Borlaug, was all but beatified upon his death in 2009. In its obituary, Reason Magazine proclaimed him “the man who saved more human lives than anyone else in history,” while The New York Times wrote that he “did more than anyone else in the 20th century to teach the world to feed itself.” Continue reading
From Chris Turner, in The Walrus:
ILLUSTRATION BY SCOTT MCKOWEN, from The Walrus
FOR MY DAUGHTER’S fifth birthday, her friend Jake Ferguson arrived with a picture he had drawn himself. They’ve known each other since they were in daycare together at the age of two; they interact easily, like siblings, and she accepted the drawing with casual thanks and little fanfare. My wife and I were much more taken with it.
The picture was an assemblage of large rectangular shapes on outsize wheels, a big hunk of machinery coloured in a vaguely familiar scheme of bright green and yellow. We already knew Jake was an obsessive fan of big trucks and industrial equipment — his mother, Zoe, once told us he awaited the launch of a new season of Mighty Machines the way our daughter, Sloane, anticipates the latest Pixar release, and Zoe sometimes entertained her son by reading to him from farm equipment catalogues. Still, there was something uncommonly touching about his gift of a picture of the machine he loved the most: a John Deere combine harvester. Continue reading
Here’s an excerpt from a recent story on the Zawya website reporting on a United Arab Emirates dairy that uses the latest technology to monitor bacteria in milk. The BactoScan technology they use is so sophisticated that it can count individual bacteria. Their report is titled “Al Ain Dairy installs revolutionary bacteria testing equipment”. We follow this story up with a report on the technology behind it, from our west coast correspondent Gordon Watson.
“18 May 2009 — ‘Bactoscan’ to increase quality control of milk produced at UAE’s leading dairy farm
Photo from BactoScan website.
Al Ain Dairy, the first established dairy farm in the UAE and a leading producer of dairy products, has become the first dairy farm in the GCC to install the BactoScan machine. Officials at Al Ain have revealed that the AED 600,000 machine is aimed at elevating the bacteria testing processes to the highest worldwide standards and will increase the quality control which Al Ain stresses as a key factor in its production phases.
By electronically testing the hygienic quality of milk and bacteria count in less than nine minutes, compared to the 24-48 hours with traditional methods, the machine offers an uncompromising approach to milk testing that is efficient yet accurate. Bactoscan works by separating the bacterial cells in a centrifuge and then staining them and then counting the bacteria in the raw milk electronically.
“In terms of performance and operational efficiency, the Bactoscan machine has already revolutionized how we do business. As the Bactoscan machine works by counting bacteria as single cells, we are now able to obtain results faster as well as being able to guarantee that the milk we produce in the UAE is of the highest quality and meets worldwide health and quality standards,” said Eng. Abdullah Saif Said Al Darmaki, CEO, Al Ain Dairy.