Daily Archives: 07/11/2005

Thorium Nuclear Reactors

I guess I should post about this Wired article concerning the use of thorium as a nuclear fuel before it becomes completely stale. It is an interesting idea. The amount of thorium in the earth’s crust is much higher than uranium and thorium makes for a safer form of nuclear fission. Thorium reactions produce far less plutonium than uranium reactors; indeed, since it is considerably more difficult to induce fission in thorium large amounts of nuclear waste plutonium are needed to serve as primer to fuel a chain reaction in thorium. This could reduce the amount of nuclear waste considerably.

It’s an interesting idea, and one that India is apparently running with. Indian scientists are testing a reactor design utilizing thorium. India contains the world’s second largest supply of thorium so I guess it makes some sense. However, after reading this article about the incredible supply of untapped wind power available (40 times what is needed – globally) I wonder why more isn’t being done to develop wind farms around the planet. Wind power represents a virtually untapped resource. Certainly other forms of power will continue to be needed – winds do not blow constantly – and this could be the niche filled nuclear power and hydroelectric dams. Hmm, wouldn’t that be nice?

Weight Watchers recipe cards, circa 1974

Well and truly odd. Weight Watchers recipe cards, circa 1974.

The piece de resistance goes to Fluffy Mackerel Pudding. That just sounds so wrong. I love the caption with that frightening picture:

Once upon a time the world was young and the words “mackerel” and “pudding” existed far, far away from one another.

One day, that all changed. And then, whoever was responsible somehow thought the word fluffy would help.

Deep Impact

A week’s gone by, and NASA has some conclusions about comet Tempel 1 and the crater dug up by Deep Impacts impactor. Apparently the comet is composed of a loose conglomeration of extremely fine powder, sort of like a city sized ball of talcum powder and snow. That’s why the resulting cloud and crater were much larger than expected.