The Stars Above, Or the Merde Below??

[Content Warning: the second half of this article may disgust sensitive readers-no sex, no violence, just maximum grossness!]

On June 17, 2011, two very different articles appeared on Foxnews.com in the Scitech section. Both announced technological advancements, but the mindsets behind each of the two could not have been more different.

First, the good news: British researchers have built a compact particle accelerator that will make thorium fission practical for power generation.

This is Very Good News. First, thorium is plentiful, more so than uranium or plutonium. Second, the decay products of thorium fission are not as hazardous as those of plutonium or of uranium. Third, thorium fission is not self-starting nor self-sustaining(although power production exceeds input by an economically viable margin), so a Chernobyl incident is not possible with this technology. Fourth, thorium has no known weapons applications, taking terrorism out of the equation.  Fifth, the compactness of the British design allows for easier placement of thorium-fission power plants, perhaps as many as one per county or large city. Sixth, for those of you who still believe in carbon caps, anthropogenic climate change, and suchlike, thorium fission does not produce carbon dioxide. Seventh, thorium fission, unlike coal and oil-fired generators, does not produce airborne soot or ash.

Realistically, thorium fission won’t make electricity ‘too cheap to meter’ as promised in the Fifties for more conventional nuclear power generation. What it can do is drop power prices back to a nickel per kilowat hour, without the fuel charges which, at least on my power bill, total more than the price of the electricity itself.

Think of it: power cheap enough to let you crank down that thermostat in summer(and crank it up in winter!) make electric commuter cars practical(assuming battery technology catches up), render solar technology unnecessary unless you use so much hot water you just can’t stand paying for it, and spare those golden eagles that, in California, are being sliced, diced, and julienned by ‘eco-friendly’ wind turbines. Think of the stability decentralization could bring to our vulnerable national electric grid, and all the copper and alumium that might be salvaged from suddenly redundant cross-country power lines. Think of electricity cheap enough that you could still use inexpensive, reliable old-style filament light bulbs and not have to resort to curlique hazmat bulbs full of mercury or even pricier diodes. Think of power bills measured not in three figures, but in a low two or, if you’re a true miser, one. Think of much easier breathing and less haze in the air. Think of enough power to run colossal reverse osmosis desalinators to replenish depleted groundwater aquifers or to run massive irrigation projects. Think of batteries of antiaircraft and antimissile lasers to protect our nation. Think of laser-powered rockets causing the price of lifting a pound of cargo to space to plummet… but you can imagine even more than this if you dare!

All these things require cheap power to happen, and this British breakthrough has put cheap power back within our grasp.

Now, the bad news and, if you have a weak stomach, you may want to skip this: a Japanese scientist has developed a technology to convert human feces into putatively edible protein. In hell, Marie Antoinette must be taking some little satisfaction that even she would never have told the breadless peasants to eat s@#t! Ironically, this coprophagous tech, in its current level of development, is more expensive than conventional means of food production: why is that almost always the case with ‘Earth-friendly’ substances, processes, or devices? I shall spare my readers any further details of this weird science abomination that never should have left the febrile brain of its inventor.

Two technologies, same day: what a difference lies between them!  The first is positive, practical, and emminently hopeful; the second is disgusting, impractical, and depressing.  I have to suppose that most people who have read this far would embrace the first and reject the second. However, I suspect that a significant fraction of our politicians would demagogue the first and tout the second. This is because, absent the critical minority of true leaders who want to restore our nation to the freedoms of her past, most politicians realize, even if subconsciously, that without their power they are merely obnoxious, creepy, and insignificant nonentities, cursed with the Satanic desire to micromanage the lives of others.

We humans, the Bible tells us, were created ‘a little lower than the angels.’ It also tells us that God has placed Heaven in our hearts. As a species we want to soar with the eagles(hopefully without running afoul of wind turbines!) and even to sail among the planets and stars, not to scratch with the chickens: have you ever seen how much chicken manure the poor critters put down where they scratch? By and large, the vision of too many politicians for us is one of chickens scratching in our own droppings just to live while they feather their nests with what they pluck from us.

So, to misquote H.G. Wells: “The stars above, or the merde below: which shall it be?” That is the question that each of us, every day of our lives, must answer. Anyone who tells you-and always for your own good, naturally-that you have to scratch in the unmentionable detritus of the chicken-house floor is your enemy, no matter how he or she presents the scenario. Our Creator did not make us to be coprophages, but to be His children, whether on earth, in outer space or, ultimately, dwelling in the highest Heaven with Him. It is the devil who wants to drag you down into the septic tank, not God, and those who serve the devil will speak as does their master.

But I’ve stopped editorializing and commenced preaching. I’ll close with the hope and prayer that you will pressure our leaders to adopt, or at least allow the adoption of, thorium-fission power technology as a solution to the high cost of electricity and to a number of other problems as well. And finally, wouldn’t it be appropriate, in a “My Object All Sublime” sort of way, if all people convicted of political corruption had to consume Dr. Mitsuyuki Ikeda’s coprotech product for the entire term of their incarceration or parole? Kind of an apropos form of sowing and reaping, no?

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About depwavid

Contradictory facts: 1). I have Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism characterized by a total lack of social sense and the unique ability to beat a dead horse into individual component atoms; 2). I'm an NRA Life Member who thinks the NRA doesn't go far enough in protecting the Second Amendment.; 3). I'm a MENSA-qualified genius who let his membership lapse; 4). I'm a committed Christian; 5). I'm an equally committed libertarian. 6). I admire the writings of Robert Heinlein and L.Neil Smith, but not those of Dietrich Bonhoffer, Hannah Hurnard, or Oswald Chambers; 7). I enjoyed reading Hilaire Belloc's book on the Reformation, although I disagreed with 70-80% of his premises, and... 8). There's a lot more; I'm really impossible to categorize. Maybe I'll tell you later...
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