Yes, it’s an argument for nuclear power

While I actively campaigned to get rid of a nuclear power plant in the PNW that had been offered an extended license, and while nuclear power advocates can sometimes annoy me (much like militant vegans can annoy me despite my vegan diet) when they repeat fossil-fuel industries’ talking points bashing renewable power, there is sure as hell an argument for nuclear power being incorporated into our modern energy mixture, and it’s this:

While much of the criticism surrounding the burning of fossil fuels focuses on the long term impacts to the health of the planet, it can also have devastating short-term effects on the health of the human population. A new study led by Harvard scientists has shed new light on the extent of this problem, finding air pollution arising from fossil fuels to be responsible for more than eight million deaths around the world in 2018.

While I’m all for passive energy projects such as tidal, wave, solar, and wind, and while it’s quite obvious we could do more than we’re doing, quicker than we’re doing it, nuclear power, for all its risks, isn’t nearly as damaging as the fossil fuel industry. There have been deaths in uranium mining and during disasters such as Chernobyl, and, yes, Chernobyl even contaminated many square kilometers, forcing the evacuation of humans and creating demographically certain suffering for many animals, the harms simply do not compare to the scale of harms created by fossil fuel extraction and transportation. And, of course, the use of fossil fuels is another matter entirely: the burning of fossil fuels threatens global climate systems with massive change, which in turn leaves living things in changed environments, environments to which they are not adapted and because of which they might go extinct.

If we can save lives and reduce damage to the environment by building new nuclear power plants we should. Eight million deaths so that we can fill our cars in minutes instead of hours is cruelest indifference.


Minnesota: Number of days without a mass shooting … 0

Well, looks like a 67 year old man who lives not far off the route between UM-Morris and UM-Minneapolis (though closer to the latter) has decided to kill a few people because he was unsatisfied with his health care.

No one is dead yet, at least according to reports datelined 30 minutes ago, but he shot bullets into the bodies of a minimum of 5 people, more than one of whom (the number is as yet unclear) had to be evacuated from their location in a health care facility to a “level 1 trauma centers”. I have no idea what that means (my job here is to translate legal & feminist jargon, not the medical whodiddle), but it sounds kinda bad.

Meanwhile, in addition to attempting to deal with a “horrible looking scene” (quoted words spoken by the local sheriff), our evil mastermind decided to build a whole bunch of bombs and scatter them around. The Minneapolis’ police bomb squad had to be called in to deal with the terrorist’s devices. I expect that will take a while, both because the scene is fairly far from Minneapolis (36-41 miles, depending on the route) but also because there were “suspicious devices” (read: improvised explosive devices) at his hotel, as well. If he’s using a car, they’ll have to check that for bombs, too.

The name of the suspect is “Gregory Ulrich” and CNN is reporting that he has a long history of harassing the health care clinic that he shot up (though they use nicer language than “harassing”) and is “familiar” to law enforcement.

Can we have red flag laws everywhere, please? Or is trying to save lives too politicizing of tragedies even when Republicans are out of power?

While you’re thinking about that question, don’t distract yourself with questions of the shooter/bomber’s race and whether the face of US terrorism is at all racialized, because they’re not even reporting on the shooter’s race, so there, and you’re not allowed to guess! If his race was relevant, they would definitely have reported that he was Black.