John Furie Zacharias
having a bad day in a strange place
Thunderstorms Anywhere

Thunderstorms in the Imajica



 The different ways I don't like you 
 in a list that may never become organized
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Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Nukes: Introduction and Link List


mutating the genone
Recently, I have been trying to do some research and gain a better big picture understanding of the many facets involved in the nuclear energy fuel cycle.  On the one hand, moving away from energy dependence on foreign oil sources sounds like a good plan.  On the other hand, nuclear reactors produce waste that remains toxic and harmful for the next few billion years, or basically forever in practical terms of modern society.  Trying to cut through the disinformation and connecting the dots about this topic is not easy, but it is necessary.

I'm just a dumb-ass bricklayer from Detroit, so the labyrinth of federal bureaucracy applied to this mostly classified subject over the last 50 years is a challenge for truth.  I hope you may become interested in it and add to the public understanding of what is going on in the many windowless, sub-terranean exective board rooms of government agencies and corporations, both of whom only consider the public good -- the health and well-being of you or your family -- if it involves an embarassing or profit-killing civil lawsuit.

There are civilian and military uses for nuclear materials.  When problems arise in either sector, however, history shows us that the response is often to cover-up the truth.  It usually takes years to cut through official lies, propaganda, and the cloak of classified information.

I won't be able to comprehensively cover this topic in a single blog entry.  There is simply too much information out there -- and I want to explore various issues that fall under this general topic in 2007.

  • civilian use of nuclear materials
  • use of nuclear waste
  • disposal of nuclear waste
  • military use of uranium munitions
  • nuclear weapons 
  • gulf war syndrome
  • pentagon cover-ups
  • defense contractors
  • citizen activists and whistleblowers

As you can see, there is a lot to cover.  While there is a difference between civilian and military use of nuclear materials, the issue converges on the global stage.  If you wish to contribute to this amateur research, feel free to contact me with information you might have and I'll link to it, as I continue writing about this topic and updating this initial page.

Nuclear Link List
(open in a new window)

U.S. Government

News - Press Releases page
Nuclear Energy Office
DOE Office of Science
Ames Laboratory
Argonne National Laboratory
Brookhaven National Laboratory
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
Idaho National Laboratory
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
Sandia National Laboratories
Energy Information Administration Nuclear Stats
Civilian Radioactive Waste Management
Environmental Management
EM Consoildated Business Centers

Strategic Command (STRATCOM)
Northern Command (NORTHCOM)
North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD)
Missile Defense Agency (MDA)
Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC)
Army Strategic Command (ARSTRAT)
Air Force Space Command (AFSPC)
Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA)
Defense Threat Reduction Information Analysis Center (DTRIAC)
Joint National Integration Center (JNIC)
Advanced Missile Signature Center (AMSC)
Naval Surface Warfare Center - Corona (NSWC-Corona)

Nuclear Accident Preparedness Info (FEMA)
FEMA Regional Offices
Directorate for Science and Technology (S&T)
Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO)
Ready Campaign
Citizen Corps

 

 

Congressional Oversight Committees

Armed Services Committee
Energy and Natural Resources (ENR)
Environment and Public Works (EPW)
Foreign Relations
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (HSGAC)
Intelligence
Veterans Affairs (VA)

Armed Services (HASC)
Energy and Commerce
Homeland Security
Intelligence (HPSCI)
International Relations
Resources
Science
Transportation and Infrastructure
Veterans Affairs
Ways and Means

 

Environmental Advocacy and Peace Activist groups

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
Mordechai Vanunu

 

Nuclear Industry Trade Associations

AALA - American Association for Laboratory Accreditation
Academy of Radiology Research
ACI - American Concrete Institute
ACIL - American Council of Independent Laboratories
AEIC - Association of Edison Illuminating Companies
APPA - American Public Power Association
ARMR - The Association of Radioactive Metal Recyclers
ASFE - Association of Professional Firms Practicing in the Geosciences
ATA - American Trucking Association
ATAA - Air Transport Association of America
BWOG - B&W Owners Group
BWR Owners Group
CASEnergy Coalition
CMBG - Configuration Management Benchmarking Group
CNSS/ANSS - Council of the National Seismic System
CPS - Coalition for Plasma Science
CROET - Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee
ECA - Energy Communities Alliance
EEI - Edison Electric Institute
EFCOG - Energy Facilities Contractors Group
EII - Environmental Industry Interactive
EMA - Emissions Marketing Association
EPSA - Electric Power Supply Association
ETEBA - East Tennessee Environmental Business Association
MANTG - Mid-Atlantic Nuclear Training Group
MNTA - Midwest Nuclear Training Association
MPIF - Metal Powder Industries Federation
NEI - Nuclear Energy Institute
Nevada Alliance for Defense, Energy & Business
NNOG - Nuclear Nonoperating Owners' Group
NSA - Nuclear Suppliers Association
NSWMA - National Solid Wastes Management Association
NUCA - National Utility Contractors Association
NUPIC - Nuclear Procurement Issues Committee
RBMA - Radiology Business Management Association
SWANA - Solid Waste Association of North America
SwitchOnAmerica
STAPPA/ALAPCO - State/Local Air Pollution Control Agencies
TRTR - National Organization of Test, Research, & Training Reactors
UIG - Utility Industry Group
USA - Utilities Services Alliance
USEA - US Energy Association
USUG - Utility Simulator Users Group
VOHMA - Vessel Operators Hazardous Materials Association
WASTEC - Waste Equipment Technology Association
WesTrain

 

Selected Defense Contractors

ATK - leading provider of advanced weapon and space systems with $3.4 billion in annual sales, approximately 15,000 employees, and operations in 21 states. The company is the world's leading supplier of solid rocket motors and the nation's largest manufacturer of ammunition. (ATK self-description)

NAC International - USEC's wholly owned subsidiary, is a leading provider of transportation and storage systems for spent nuclear fuel and offers a wide range of nuclear and energy consulting services. NAC also provides a variety of services for the U.S. government related to the tracking of nuclear materials. Established in 1968, NAC is headquartered in Norcross, Georgia. (NAC self-description)

USEC - (NYSE: USU), a global energy company, is a leading supplier of enriched uranium fuel for commercial nuclear power plants. Revenues in 2005 were $1.56 billion. USEC headquarters are in Bethesda, Maryland. (USEC self-description)

 

International Organizations

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP)
Institute of Nuclear Materials Management (INMM)
U.N. Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR)
World Nuclear Association (WNA)

 

 

 



I'm hoarding drugs for:
The Day After
Staring Jason Robards


Timeless Neocon Video Bible:
Dr. Strangelove (40th Anniversary Two-Disc Special Edition)
Staring Peter Sellers



Monday, December 25, 2006
Merry Christmas


The inspiration for the name, Thunderstorms in the Imajica, partially came from the weather in central Florida, but also because central Florida is the land of theme parks, like Disney.  Clive Barker described his Imajica as consisting of five different worlds, or physical realms of existence, in which Earth was the only unreconciled place. Travel among the reconciled dominions was possible and commonplace because they still believed in and practiced the ancient arts of myth and magic, whereas that knowledge of what we call magic had been banned as being too dangerous for us.

It was replaced by organized religion; and their secret societies, like the Tabula Rasa, were set up in perpetuity to protect mankind from the dangers of this greater knowledge because of the disasters that followed the last time reconciliation was attempted here -- when god (Hapexamendios) sent his son to Earth to perform magic (miracles) and reconcile Earth with the other dominions.

Like many good fiction books, Imajica is about 900 pages long and is an epic tale.  While it can be as violent as the Bible, the sex scenes are better because they haven't been censored by organized religion. 

Here's an entertaining video I found this morning concerning Christmas:

 

 



Currently listening to:
Lost
By Museum



Friday, December 22, 2006
Monkey See, Monkey Do


A) Surprise
B) Fear
C) Anger

A) Disgust
B) Fear
C) Surprise
A) Disgust
B) Contempt
C) Anger
A) Contempt
B) Slight happiness
C) Controlled anger
A) Fear
B) Disgust
C) Sadness

Take this quiz.

Can you properly identify the emotions associated with these five facial expressions?  The correct answers will be in the comments.  See how well you did with this quiz.

This fairly simple quiz is just a small part of the larger body of work done by Paul Ekman, PhD.  Retired in 2004, Dr. Ekman was professor of psychology at University of California for many years.  His main focus of research was in non-verbal communication and interpersonal deception.

As one can imagine, reading faces and detecting lies would be useful skills to possess in law enforcement activities.  Dr. Ekman has created training programs and consulted with the FBI, CIA and other federal agencies over the years.  For details of this training, see his web site.  For a more difficult challenge of your own abilities than the five faces above, try this realistic interactive test.

Akira made this for me
This area of psychology suggests that there are universal emotions displayed by all the people who inhabit Our Little Spinning Ball of Mud.  Researchers, like Ekman, first categorize human emotions down into a basic set of seven: sad, angry, surprise, fear, disgust, contempt, and happy.  Not only do those seven emotions exist universally, but also the way we express them with our face has been apparently hard-wired into the genetics of our species over the span of many thousands of generations in our family of poo-flinging, grumpy monkeys.

When I took a minute to ponder this concept, I had two initial thoughts.  The first one had to do with the constititutional travesty that happened about two months ago, when the Democrusader happily signed the "Millitary Commissions Act of 2006" into law.  Among other things, this heinous law codified the Bush administration's strategy of torture for intelligence purposes and exempted them from certain criminal prosecution.

If CIA interrogation of suspected terrorists involves torture, wouldn't that simply overload the suspect with displaying fear, anger or contempt?  You could never pick up on honest emotions displayed by the suspect, and therefore, you could not really tell if that person was lying or telling the truth.  That's probably why experienced interrogators have constantly reported that torture is a useless tactic for gathering information because the person will simply make up wholesale lies in the hope that you will hear what you wanted to hear and stop torturing them.  Some people think the Bush administration is evil.  I think they are also misguided and incompetent, as well.

On a lighter note

I took the interactive facial test.  At first, I had some real difficulty getting the right answers.  It took me several times before I realized I had to carefully look into the eyes of the image displayed in order to see the quick flash of the emotional face and interpret it correctly.  I did really well after that.

The second thought I had about this subject had to do with the fabled "Women's Intuition."  It's quite clear to me now.  Women can read non-verbal communications, interpret and discover interpersonal deceptions far better than men because of the obvious reason.  When in conversation, women look at men's eyes while men look at women's breasts.

Feel free to visit my Amazon Wish List.  If you're feeling generous, please buy me a copy of Malcolm Gladwell's book, "Blink," where he explores this topic much further and in a more useful way for everyday life.

 



Currently watching:
12 Monkeys (Special Edition)
Staring Joseph Melito



Thursday, December 21, 2006
What was asked of us


While most of the people in the United States are busy shopping, meeting with family, and preparing holiday meals, there is a tiny minority of Americans who will not be so uplifted by the holiday spirit this year.  These people are the men and women serving in the military all over the world, and especially in the dangerous theaters of conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq.  While president Bush once again urged the Amercian people to go shopping more today, he will also be contemplating the decision to send more troops to Iraq, the meat grinder of Baghdad and Al-Anbar province, during his vacation time down in Crawford, Texas.

In addition to more shopping, we Americans must realize we have another calling:

This war on terror is the calling of a new generation; it is the calling of our generation. Success is essential to securing a future of peace for our children and grandchildren. And securing this peace for the future is going to require a sustained commitment from the American people and our military.

We have an obligation to ensure our military is capable of sustaining this war over the long haul, and in performing the many tasks that we ask of them. I'm inclined to believe that we need to increase in the permanent size of both the United States Army and the United States Marines. I've asked Secretary Gates to determine how such an increase could take place and report back to me as quickly as possible.  

Apparently, it is not just those radical extremist leaders with hateful ideologies that invoke the holy to motivate their faithful to support the plan to go kill their enemies.  Bushworld wants us to spend trillions of American tax dollars over a generation and waste an even greater American treasure -- a generation of youth doing what the Bush/Cheney administration has asked of them.

Investigative journalist Trish Wood just recently published a book entitled, "What Was Asked of Us: An Oral History of the Iraq War by the Soldiers Who Fought It."  The introduction is written by Bobby Muller, the founder of the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, now called Veterans For America.

"Veterans for American (VFA), formerly the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, is uniting the new generation of veterans with those from past wars to address the needs of veterans, service members and their families and their larger concerns about the impact of war.  An advocacy and humanitarian organization, VFA is committed to advancing policy and elevating public discourse on the causes, conduct and consequences of war."

As a military veteran myself, I joined the VFA some time ago and I occasionally blog there.  Mostly though, I simply read and learn about issues.  I support the good work they are committed to do everyday for the benefit of the combat veterans coming back from Bush's War on Terror.

In order to understand the passion with which Bobby Muller speaks and to get an idea about the book, "What Was Asked of Us," I urge you to watch the BookTV (real video) presentation with Trish Wood, Bobby Muller, and Iraq War veteran Garrett Reppenhagen.  With over one million service members having served in these war zones since 2001, it should be required viewing for all Americans.

In addition, you can hear an interview with Trish Wood and some of the actual oral histories told by Iraq war vets featured in the book on C-Span Radio's American Political Archive (real audio).  Hearing these stories from the Iraq veterans themselves will give you a personal understanding about the conditions in Iraq and not soon leave your memory.

Perhaps a patriotic act would be to go shopping.  Buy two copies of this book.  Keep one for yourself and donate the second one to your local public high school library, so the kids that volunteer to fight Bush's long war can go into it with their eyes wide open to what will be asked of them.  The government doesn't speak the truth.  The media doesn't speak the truth.  The veterans are speaking the unvarnished truth.  Make it your calling to pass on their stories and help educate the youth.

 



Currently listening to:
Master of Reality
By Black Sabbath



Wednesday, December 20, 2006
It's the thought that counts


If anyone complains that they didn't get a Christmas present, explain to them it's because Santa was tragically killed this year.  Suck it up and stop whining.

And hey, don't blame me for this image -- I didn't make it. Someone did, but I don't know who it is.  It was emailed to me from a friend who knows that I don't do Christmas.  I haven't done Christmas for many years, except when forced by the occasional girlfriend.

Fellow Blogdriver, Gloria, made an astute comment about gift giving last week.  It did make me wonder about something.  What does this gift I have received say about how that person thinks of me?

So, even though I don't do Christmas, I sometimes receive gifts.  A very good friend of mine stopped over the other night and was bearing gifts.  Shock and awe.  I'm very grateful that he thought to be so generous and kind to me.  He can't help it.  That's his nature.

Not that I'm a Christmas Grinch -- I've been officially classified by most of my friends as "grumpy" -- but a few days after my friend's surprise visit, I started to analyze the gifts he gave me:

  • 2 large bottles of Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey
  • a CD of comedy "Redneck 12 Days of Christmas"

So, it's official now.  I've become poor white trash.

It's okay.  I'm letting that epiphany settle into my consciousness with as much dignity as I can muster to delude myself.  One of the reasons I came to the poor white trash (pwt) conclusion happened when I examined the liquor bottle.

The first clue was that it is a large plastic bottle, instead of glass.  It says "Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey" on it.  Walking over to the kitchen sink to view the label more clearly under the light, I was heartened to see "genuine Kentucky," a nice graphic of a jockey holding the reins of a horse, and "distilled in Kentucky" under that.

Okay. I get it already. It's from Kentucky. Then, in small print under the shiny golden label, I see "WINN DIXIE LIQUORS" and my self-esteem wafted away like a puff of smoke.  I was unaware the grocery store sold generic booze.

Here's my plan

I am happy and grateful that I have friends.  I am happy and grateful that one thought enough of me to give me a gift during a holiday season in which I don't even participate.

To prove these things, I will drink the bourbon for the next week or so and simply put "Repair self image" on my list of New Year's resolutions.  Besides, after listening to Jeff Foxworthy, I now realize that being poor white trash is a step up from being a redneck.

By the way, my birthday is in February.  Plan ahead.

 



Currently listening to:
Redneck 12 Days of Christmas / Here's Your Sign Christmas
By Jeff Foxworthy



 
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