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Thread: Would nuclear fusion be a good thing for humanity?

  1. #1 Would nuclear fusion be a good thing for humanity? 
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    Hi all,A lot of people, including James Lovelock, have held up nuclear fusion as a green solution to our environmental problems. I am not so confident it'd be a solution at all.During the last couple of centuries, humanity's access to energy has increased dramatically thanks to the use of fossil fuels, but I don't think we have used that increased energy supply particularly wisely. By this I mean the losses in bio-diversity, soil degradation, and over-exploitation of freshwater resources. I think it's a fair bet that if nuclear fusion became viable, we'd use that energy to further damage our planet's life support systems.Any thoughts?


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    True, I agree! No one uses energy except for their own benefit. We will further change our land & ecosystem because we can.


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    I disagree with your assumptions.

    The modern Western nations have been reversing that tread to ecological damage for the past 40 years by passing environmental regulation, conservation and better efficiency in nearly everything.
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    Isn't it correct that Western nations have been able to improve local environmental conditions by outsourcing pollution problems to poorer countries? I was under the impresion that the ecological footprint of the average citizen in Western nations has increased over the past 40 years.
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    I think you are creating a link that does not exist.
    Simply using more energy does not, in itself, mean more environmental damage. Having a light on at night, to read by, burns more energy than a whale oil lamp, as used in the 19th century. I would suggest that burning whale oil is more environmentally damaging.

    One thing we can be sure of. Humanity's demand for energy will keep increasing. Simply raising the third world to the high standard of living that we in the west enjoy, will dramatically increase energy needs. Yet, even the the west, energy demand will almost certainly keep increasing.

    What we have to do is find ways of producing the energy without harming the environment, or harming it so little that nature can repair the damage. Nuclear fusion is still a little way off, so what can we use in the mean time?

    Nuclear fission is one such method. Currently nuclear power uses uranium 235 isotope for energy. Both China and India are working on using thorium instead. Thorium is a radioactive metal, about as common as lead, which can, in theory, be used in a nuclear reactor for energy. The problem is that, because it is less radioactive than uranium 235, it is more difficult to extract energy from. The good thing about this is that, because it is less radioactive, it is impossible to make it into a nuclear weapon, and it is impossible for a thorium reactor to melt down, as we saw at Chernobyl with uranium.

    Thorium is also far more abundant than uranium 235, far cheaper, and produces far less nuclear waste. It will take a little while to develop, since we need to learn to extract that energy. When thorium fission energy is fully developed, there will be enough to provide ten times the current nuclear energy for at least a thousand years.

    All the above is nuclear fission, of course. But it is the next step. nuclear fusion is always stated to be 20 years away. For all we know, in another 100 years, it may still be 20 years away. By using thorium power in the mean time, we bridge that time gap.

    Nuclear fusion shows promise of being a source of very abundant energy with very low environmental cost. If we can develop it to run on deuterium, there is enough in the ocean to provide humanity with enough energy at ten times current usage for 100 million years.
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    Discovery of fossil fuel has caused drastic increase in human population (based on the graph of 'human-population vs. year' from documentary "The 11th Hour" [1]). So we can assume increase in energy did cause an increase in human population. -There're many reason why energy (fossil fuel) can contribute to human survival since it is always used to create synthetic stuff like fertilizer, drug, and for transporting water/food.

    So if we have infinite energy then we would grow infinitely. The energy we got will be able to create alot of important things (eg: water, food, and transportation). This is not impossible since history shows it does.

    Increase in population will definitely displace natural ecosystem... A side-effect of human presence.

    [1] human presence on earth: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Population_curve.svg
    Last edited by msafwan; August 19th, 2012 at 02:29 AM.
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    To msafwan

    I fear your logic is lacking. For several reasons.

    1. The increase in human population began long before fossil fuels were used.
    2. The increase in fossil fuel use paralleled a number of other developments, which were unrelated, like the development of vaccines, hygiene and antibiotics. These were far more potent causes of population growth than energy.
    3. Today, population growth is slowing down, and dramatically. Fifty years ago, fertility (the average number of children per couple) globally was 5.5. Today it is 2.5, which is barely above replacement. The United Nations predict that, by 2050, it will be 2.0, which is less than replacement and will inevitably lead to population decrease. This is all happening while technology is growing faster than ever, and energy use continues to rise.

    So, to suggest energy use causes the population to increase does not make sense.
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    Not my logic. The idea that energy allows population to grow is not new. You will definitely need energy to do everything (eg: transport food, extract water), for example: the documentary "The 11th Hour" already relate fossil fuel to population growth and a quick search in Google also showed a direct link to such idea (not my invention at all).

    1. The increase in human population began long before fossil fuels were used.
    2. The increase in fossil fuel use paralleled a number of other developments, which were unrelated, like the development of vaccines, hygiene and antibiotics. These were far more potent causes of population growth than energy.
    3. Today, population growth is slowing down, and dramatically. Fifty years ago, fertility (the average number of children per couple) globally was 5.5. Today it is 2.5, which is barely above replacement. The United Nations predict that, by 2050, it will be 2.0, which is less than replacement and will inevitably lead to population decrease. This is all happening while technology is growing faster than ever, and energy use continues to rise.
    Reply for:
    1.: Animal is also source of energy (ie: transportation/labor-forces). A book/documentary called "Gun, Germ, and Steel" explain why civilization advanced in middle east (eg: Mesapotamia) and not everywhere else, because in other place there were no cow, no horse, no bull, no camel (all heavy lifting/transportation animal do not exist) for that particular moment of human history. This is a source of energy.
    2.: Energy (ie: transportation/manufacturing/synthetic-material) indirectly allow this stuff to happen.
    3.: I have no idea. Maybe cultural phenomenon? maybe rising cost of living? They seems to happen in developed nation.

    P/S: IMO there's no such thing as "to produce enough energy" (ie: to produce enough power to satisfy the world), instead the world grow with availability of energy and will infinitely cause a lack of energy.
    Last edited by msafwan; August 19th, 2012 at 05:50 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by russell_c_cook View Post
    Hi all,A lot of people, including James Lovelock, have held up nuclear fusion as a green solution to our environmental problems. I am not so confident it'd be a solution at all.During the last couple of centuries, humanity's access to energy has increased dramatically thanks to the use of fossil fuels, but I don't think we have used that increased energy supply particularly wisely. By this I mean the losses in bio-diversity, soil degradation, and over-exploitation of freshwater resources. I think it's a fair bet that if nuclear fusion became viable, we'd use that energy to further damage our planet's life support systems.Any thoughts?
    The topic is perhaps a variant of:
    "Should we really consume apples from the tree in the middle of the garden of Eden?"
    Assuming god aint awfully bright I suggest we leave him be, and enlarge the topic to include
    other perhaps life threatening scientific progresses: What is it we shouldnt know?!
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    The correlation between increase in population and increase in energy consumption is valid however the correlation between fossil fuel discovery and population increase is fundamentally flawed. Population increase is much more effected by advances in science, in particular medicine, then by the discovery that we can make energy by burning coal or oil or gas. The use of fossil fuels has contributed because it has made things easier. It is not an overriding cause however.

    As for nuclear fusion In the end the development of fusion can be a huge boon to the world. No more relying on fossil fuels. More efficient means of space exploration, Really the possibilities are amazing. Could it be used in a negative way? Of course it could, so can a simple stick or rock. Should we fear it so much that we ignore the potential benefits? No. If we did that then we should go back to living in caves eating raw meat and running through the forest naked.
    Not all who wander are lost... Some of us just misplaced our destination.

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    On the correlation between energy use and population increase.

    For a start, it is a lousy correlation. Populations increase and decrease even where energy availability does not change.

    Second. There are other reasons why we see correlations. In fact, there are four explanations for an observed correlation. If we imagine two things, A and B, are seen to be correlated, the explanation can be :
    1. A causes B.
    2. B causes A.
    3. A third factor, C, causes both A and B.
    4. We made a mistake, and the correlation is not real.

    Between energy use and population growth over the past few hundred years, there seems to be a correlation. But this is an example of explanation 3, where a third factor is involved. The third factor is medical advances. Because technological growth tends to proceed on many fronts at once, as energy based technologies grew, so did medical technologies. It is the advances in medicine that permitted people to live a long time, and cut child mortality. Since fertility was not cut at the same time, it resulted in population growth.

    Incidentally, the current slowing of population growth, and the predicted drop in future population, is also due to a technological advance in medicine. It is due to contraception.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Incidentally, the current slowing of population growth, and the predicted drop in future population, is also due to a technological advance in medicine. It is due to contraception.
    Equally important it is due to use of that technology. In other words, there has been a change in behavior and expectation made possible by and encouraged by technology advances. In the same way, as LF has pointed out, as consumers and nations we are changing our behaviours and using technology to support us in this change. Thus fusion, as a source of comparatively clean power, can greatly enhance not only human life, but the entire biosphere.
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    As an energy solution for the environment/climate/emission/energy problem I'm not convinced that fusion will be made to work cost effectively within the shrinking time frame needed; it's so difficult to do that achieving low cost and reliability are still well down the to-do list from getting any usable energy output at all. I wouldn't deprive R&D funding for it but there are other energy options that face fewer technological hurdles and are more suited to mass production and widescale deployment around the world. I'd expect developing working nantenna technology (as just one example) faces fewer obstactles, is within closer reach and has more potential for widespread use than fusion power.
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    Nuclear fusion shows promise of being a source of very abundant energy with very low environmental cost.
    This is only if not to count induced radiation in reactor construction materials.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    All the above is nuclear fission, of course. But it is the next step. nuclear fusion is always stated to be 20 years away. For all we know, in another 100 years, it may still be 20 years away. By using thorium power in the mean time, we bridge that time gap.

    Nuclear fusion shows promise of being a source of very abundant energy with very low environmental cost. If we can develop it to run on deuterium, there is enough in the ocean to provide humanity with enough energy at ten times current usage for 100 million years.
    Also, if we do develop fusion, we'll need a way to power the fusion process. The H-bomb uses a fission bomb to force Deuterium to fuse (with the latter fusion process being even more powerful than the fission bomb that caused it.)

    Even if all we can achieve is to find a way to use Fusion to extend our supply of fissionable material (by enhancing the reactions), it will have been an achievement that helps us out in the long run. So we might as well continue to develop both avenues.


    Quote Originally Posted by msafwan View Post
    Discovery of fossil fuel has caused drastic increase in human population (based on the graph of 'human-population vs. year' from documentary "The 11th Hour" [1]). So we can assume increase in energy did cause an increase in human population. -There're many reason why energy (fossil fuel) can contribute to human survival since it is always used to create synthetic stuff like fertilizer, drug, and for transporting water/food.

    So if we have infinite energy then we would grow infinitely. The energy we got will be able to create alot of important things (eg: water, food, and transportation). This is not impossible since history shows it does.

    Increase in population will definitely displace natural ecosystem... A side-effect of human presence.

    [1] human presence on earth: File:Population curve.svg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    You could use this as an argument for why we should avoid all attempts to improve the economy. No matter how we increase our carrying capacity, whether by developing better agriculture, improving water usage, or ... really anything, groups of short sighted, vain, people will emerge and decide they want to fill the extra space with their offspring. Most likely they'll be part of some religion or another, and convince themselves they're doing us all a favor by having excessive broods of children. (Islam, Catholicism, and Mormonism, for example.)
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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    The Soviet Union supported the opinion against nuclear power.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sigurdW View Post
    The Soviet Union supported the opinion against nuclear power.
    Is that because of Chernobly inccident??? Soviet Union had many nuclear reactor, weapons, ICBM and also had the most powerful fusion-bomb ever existed on planet Earth!
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    Quote Originally Posted by msafwan View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sigurdW View Post
    The Soviet Union supported the opinion against nuclear power.
    Is that because of Chernobly inccident??? Soviet Union had many nuclear reactor, weapons, ICBM and also had the most powerful fusion-bomb ever existed on planet Earth!
    Oh no! It started long ago, as an attempt to destabilise western economy.
    It was successful, but not a total success:
    Had we continued building nuclear reactors according to plan,
    we should now have been able to manage without fossil fuels.

    I dont know your situation, but here in Sweden
    six out of twelve planned reactors were not built.
    Is that the norm? ...
    How many nuclear reactors are there now in Germany?
    Last edited by sigurdW; August 27th, 2012 at 01:27 PM.
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    If Soviet Union suggested that then US would've built thousand of nuclear-reactor by now. Maybe there's something else that set that back. -US really don't like Soviet Union IMO because they are at war with them (they are at war in multiple front: eqypt-israel, vietnam, korea, afghanistan, ect).
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    Quote Originally Posted by msafwan View Post
    If Soviet Union suggested that then US would've built thousand of nuclear-reactor by now. Maybe there's something else that set that back. -US really don't like Soviet Union IMO because they are at war with them (they are at war in multiple front: eqypt-israel, vietnam, korea, afghanistan, ect).
    Heh! No! Soviet never admitted it! I doubt any Russian Government ever will.
    You have to trace the flow of money to prove what really happened.

    The Communist party reached almost everywhere.

    The Swedish communist party even openly admitted accepting money from Russia
    and party members were at the center of all resistance against nuclear power.

    It was close to impossible to get a job in swedish media unless you were against nuclear power.
    And the governing party was the Social Democrats, heavily infiltrated by the Communist Party.

    We got (did you?) a law forbidding the state to finance research into nuclear power.
    (But there was some money found to finance digging "graves" for nuclear waste.)

    There was no support for nuclear power anywhere in Swedish Media...
    Even the comics pages included anti nuclear statements!

    Perhaps there were some weak attempts recently to excuse the "propaganda war"...
    My formulation was of course not used.

    So how many Planned Nuclear Reactors was not built in YOUR country? Do you know?

    The "death"of the Soviet Union stopped the money flow it seems...
    But the early inputs were effective enough to perpetuate the war!
    Last edited by sigurdW; August 27th, 2012 at 02:16 PM.
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    SigurW - It's been the weakness of support for nuclear not the strength of opposition that has prevented nuclear as the first and mainstay choice for tackling the climate/emissions/energy problem. A small but persistent and vocal minority scorned by the Right has set the nuclear agenda and Right just backed down, overwhelmed? No, I don't think so. The reality is that even the Right don't like nuclear that much, have never fought for nuclear energy with real commitment and still don't.

    Currently the alleged strongest mainstream political supporters of nuclear are opposers of action on climate and emissions. As long as they maintain that position of denying the validity of science based understanding of our climate in order to maintain the pre-eminence of fossil fuels the truth about the urgent need for low emissions energy will not be enough to ignite genuine commitment to nuclear energy as their replacement.

    Blame the Left - internal or external - if that makes you feel better but as long as the Right is prepared to dismiss, ignore and undermine the strongest reason to look to nuclear energy they are in no position to criticise others for holding to irrational and irresponsible policy positions. If they drop the climate denial BS they may become genuine supporters of the nuclear energy option, but currently they've made their choice and it's fossil fuels all the way. A bit of nuclear on the side keeps it's supporters from turning on them for stabbing nuclear in the back at the moment in history that ought to be it's greatest opportunity. But the decision to oppose action on climate says loud and clear that nuclear is not their preferred choice.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fabos View Post
    SigurW
    - It's been the weakness of support for nuclear
    not the strength of opposition that has prevented nuclear
    as the first and mainstay choice for tackling the climate/emissions/energy problem.
    You are not trolling?
    You make a serious claim?

    (Ha! We will test his seriousness
    IF he accepts defeat when defeated
    WE will consider his hypothesis as a...
    eh...ahem..."hypothesis". There: I promise!)

    That said:
    Now answer as truthfully as you can,
    and without protests, TWO questions....
    Heres the first:

    What is your answer to my next question?
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    Sure I'm serious. Until they lose the dangerously irresponsible climate science denial position the conservative Right will not support the replacement of fossil fuels with nuclear. Some nuclear, sure. But not enough to be a threat to the long term viability and profitability of fossil fuels. Not enough to really fight for nuclear or for climate stability. It's a neat rhetorical argument - "If the left tinged environmental movement wants action on emission, they should support nuclear power" but that isn't a firm commitment to nuclear because "If the right want action on emissions they would support action on emissions." They don't. Not using renewables, nor nuclear.

    Opposition to action on climate is the conservative Right's position, arrived at by themselves, for their own reasons, not because of anything said or done by the radical Left or Soviet intervention. Whether or not past anti-nuclear campaigners had support from the Soviets hardly counts - they have never been more than a vocal minority; the decision to lie about the state of the climate for the good of the fossil fuel industry is US Republican standard position. They aren't a small minority. That's good for nuclear how?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fabos View Post
    Sure I'm serious.
    Ahem....this blind guy shows stamina... he is ...sort of...fighting a war against ignorance...
    Well I give up ...bright he aint... Ill answer in the Liar mode:

    Stalin once said to me
    that we needed only one of us in the US:

    Trust them US republicans to do the right thing!
    Is that so, I said! (I didnt even bother to go.)
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    sigurdW, I am reasonably confident your last post made sense to you and may even have seemed eloquent and compelling. From where I am sitting it sounded like overblown jargon with poor lipsynch.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    sigurdW, I am reasonably confident your last post made sense to you and may even have seemed eloquent and compelling. From where I am sitting it sounded like overblown jargon with poor lipsynch.
    Im not surprised; youre not sitting where I am sitting and vice versa. Was it the following sentence
    "Trust them US republicans to do the right thing!"
    that sounded like "overblown jargon with poor lipsynch." to you? Or was it its context?

    Perhaps what I say is poorly written?

    Im saying that the original work on "saving" the world
    by dismantling and forbidding nuclear devices
    was inspired by, and financed by Soviet Russia!

    Someone says: Here in the US of A it was not the lefties who did it! It was republicans!
    I try then to make him see that if the republicans did it all by them selves then the lefties
    laughed behind the republicans back!

    On the face of it, it seems his argument contradicts my statement but it does not!
    The lefties could have had zillions in their pockets, but why bribe anyone?
    Bribe the Republicans to do what they (according to Ken) already were doing?

    My advice is: If possible, then trace the money!

    My questions (so far ignored) are:

    How many planned Nuclear Reactors was NOT built in the USA?

    How successful was the attack on your economy?

    Is it possible to answer my questions only ,
    and leave personal matters out of postings?

    If theres "freedom" in your country and you cant answer
    then why dont you ask the people who should know?



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    sigurd, my post was not a personal attack, it was an observation that you made no frigging sense. There are three possibilities to account for that:

    1. I have poor powers of comprehension. The evidence is seriously against that.
    2. You were deliberately talking bollocks.
    3. You thought you were making sense, but you were not.

    I favour number three as the explanation. If you think pointing that out in order to help you communicate more clearly is "personal" then I predict you will have an unhappy life.



    Now, your expanded explanation makes somewhat more sense, but in the second half you again deteriorate into a serious of seemingly disconnected statements. Let me just focus on your two questions:

    How many planned Nuclear Reactors was NOT built in the USA?

    I'm assuming English is a second language and you meant 'were' not 'was'. If the answer to this question is central to your argument then it seems likely you must know the answer. In which case insisting someone else answer it is unproductive and rude. If you do not know the answer please explain in what way the answer to this question is relevant, roughly what you think the answer will be, and what you reaction will be if your surmise is badly wrong.


    How successful was the attack on your economy?


    What attack? A characteristic of many of your posts is to lay assumption upon assumption then expect the reader to understand where you are coming from. This is not helpful. And, while we are at it, whose economy?
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    Here is what made me "friendly"
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    sigurd, my post was not a personal attack, it was an observation that you made no frigging sense. There are three possibilities to account for that:

    1. I have poor powers of comprehension. The evidence is seriously against that.
    2. You were deliberately talking bollocks.
    3. You thought you were making sense, but you were not.

    I favour number three as the explanation. If you think pointing that out in order to help you communicate more clearly is "personal" then I predict you will have an unhappy life.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Now, your expanded explanation makes somewhat more sense, but in the second half you again deteriorate into a serious of seemingly disconnected statements. Let me just focus on your two questions:

    How many planned Nuclear Reactors was NOT built in the USA?

    I'm assuming English is a second language and you meant 'were' not 'was'. If the answer to this question is central to your argument then it seems likely you must know the answer.
    No! I dont!
    If I knew I would have told you how many with malice since them...eh...Maybe I could put it in a friendly way? "Misguided Americans?" ...Thatll do for the moment. Im reading you further:Next qoute I will next edit out
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post


    In which case insisting someone else answer it is unproductive and rude.
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post

    If you do not know the answer please explain in what way the answer to this question is relevant, roughly what you think the answer will be, and what you reaction will be if your surmise is badly wrong.


    How successful was the attack on your economy?


    What attack? A characteristic of many of your posts is to lay assumption upon assumption then expect the reader to understand where you are coming from. This is not helpful. And, while we are at it, whose economy?
    Thank you John.I decided to trust you. That is progress. I will now prepare my next post. I will be open about it. I will post this decicion for anyone to see. While life goes on i will edit,post. edit again, post ...Untill Im satisfied with my "poor" attempt of explanation and eventual defence (if necessary that is) Let discussion go on if it pleases you or should I say: if them "dumb" americans excuse the expression coming from a "dumb" sWede! Here we go:

    How many planned Nuclear Reactors was NOT built in Sweden?

    Tage Erlander planned to build twelve nuclear reactors, six were built.

    How successful was the attack on swedish economy?

    If the intention was to reduce nuclear reactors by half then it was successful.
    But the total damage done is impossible for a layman to calculate...
    The price of energy is now higher than it should have been,
    damaging in particular industries dependent of lots of cheap energy: the Exporting industry.

    Nobody in sweden is interested in finding a correct answer!
    Let sleeping dogs sleep seems to be the "official" view.

    But it is NOT officially denied that a media campaign against Nuclear Power
    is the reason why the desicion to stop building nuclear reactors was made.

    Why and how, the law against research in the areas of nuclear devices was created,
    is now a political embarrassment, I dont believe this has happened anywhere else.

    And: Getting a swedish politician to openly admit that the "Soviet Union"
    could "modify" or "attack" our policy, economy or governmental decisions? Forget it!

    Did I mention that my father was russian, a prisoner of war?
    That he was exported to Narvik?
    The Norwegian Harbour city where swedish iron ore
    was loaded by my father on ships destined to Germany?
    In school nobody believed me. Now, when im old, the truth is in print:

    Sweden was cooperating with Germany from the beginning of the war! Our king was a pro nazi!
    We were economical collaborators. Export or get occupied! When it was clear who would win the war.
    The cover up began. The whole truth of the second world war is not yet told,
    officially that is: Its still politically incorrect.
    But nobody has seen an old green without connections to the communist party.

    And: the former communist leader insisted that he was/is a communist so he was removed out of sight. Also its known the soviet union supported the swedish Communists with cash. How much,and to what use the money was put is not well known...eh...to stupid swedes that is.

    So: Youre telling me your country was unaffected? Ha! Ha! Ha! Forget it!

    If youre not prepared to look for evidence I can deny truth to be nice to friends?...eh..No!
    Last edited by sigurdW; August 29th, 2012 at 04:53 PM.
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    If you want nuclear as the primary response to the climate problem, turn your attention to opposing climate science denial.Not strength of opposition, but lack of committed support holds nuclear back.

    I see a present day lack of real commitment to nuclear from the Right in the face of the best of reasons to strongly support it; that best of reasons itself being under persistent and consistent political attack by those same mainstream political forces. Yet even after a couple of decades of denying the reality and seriousness of the best reason ever to promote massive growth of nuclear, pro-nuclear supporters, (don't know why) still see the conservative Right as nuclear's staunchest allies and the anti-nuclear movement as it's greatest obstacle. I think that a Conservative Right that chooses to face the climate problem eyes open and head on has the potential to be strong promoters of nuclear, but as long as they claim this urgent need doesn't exist the strength of their commitment will be lacking. It not only holds nuclear back, it flows through to lack of committed efforts to counter widespread (but mostly, because most voters are not that well informed, not all that strongly held) anti-nuclear sentiment.

    Further back the economic necessity for nuclear in an energy market that coal already dominated was lacking - there was never a time there was a real threat to US electricity supply or it's economy by failure to push ahead with more nuclear. That is until the climate consequences of reliance on fossil fuels was recognised.

    The focus on the political Left as the source of nuclear's unpopularity is understandable; anti-nuclear activists are very happy to claim all the credit. I'm not saying the Right opposes nuclear - clearly they don't - but they've had no particular reason to preferentially support nuclear until the climate problem emerged. Now there is good reason - yet what I see is preferential support being given to continuing the fossil fuel status quo through climate science denial, not a decision to face the problem head on using nuclear energy. Undo that politically expedient decision to deny the climate problem and you'll see more movement on nuclear than if the entire environmental movement dropped it's opposition.
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    Hmmmm

    I agree that dirty and irrational politics is the main reason nuclear is not fulfilling its promise. Perhaps as John says, right wing climate denial is part of it. But extreme and stupid green politics is also a big part.

    My hope is that the Chinese and Indians crack the problem of how to use thorium for power, and start exporting thorium reactors all over the world. Most of the rationalisations used to stop nuclear power development turn to vapour when applied to thorium energy.
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    Skeptic, I continue to think an extreme anti-nuclear minority has always been vulnerable to bipartisan snookering. Why that hasn't happened ought to be a serious question but I suspect too many people are comfortable with their existing assumptions. SigurW sees the outside interference of a malignant political force. I see an energy industry dominated by fossil fuels , that has long been aware of nuclear as a potential threat to a profitable status quo. It is presenting a unified and very persuasive political message against interference in the economics of energy. It just happens that without emissions regulation or recognition of externalised costs the economics favours fossil fuels over nuclear.

    The facade of having a noble commitment to free market economics without hostility to nuclear gets maintained by the lobby and advocacy organs of the fossil fuel interests, playing to those Conservative Right core values but if circumstances different and the anti-nuclear movement didn't exist they would probably need to invent it. But with others dogging nuclear's heels that's not been necessary. What this powerful lobby is not doing is vigorously countering anti-nuclear opinion; in that the nuclear subsection of the energy industry is - as it has been for a very long time - on it's own. Even if most of the staunchest backers of nuclear are within the conservative Right, they are outnumbered by staunch backers of the fossil fueled status quo. And I wouldn't discount the likelihood that there the political Right has significant anti-nuclear sentiment amongst Representatives within fossil fuel rich electorates.

    We have the unfortunate situation where the politics of concern for the environment and opposition to nuclear energy on one hand and opposition to environmental regulation and support for nuclear on the other have merged. Along comes the climate problem and the politics is distorted - nuclear finds itself in bed with people who are adamantly opposing the kinds of environmental regulation that would greatly advantage their technology whilst remaining alienated from those who are pushing for it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fabos View Post
    Skeptic, I continue to think an extreme anti-nuclear minority has always been vulnerable to bipartisan snookering. Why that hasn't happened ought to be a serious question but I suspect too many people are comfortable with their existing assumptions. SigurW sees the outside interference of a malignant political force. I see an energy industry dominated by fossil fuels , that has long been aware of nuclear as a potential threat to a profitable status quo. It is presenting a unified and very persuasive political message against interference in the economics of energy. It just happens that without emissions regulation or recognition of externalised costs the economics favours fossil fuels over nuclear.

    The facade of having a noble commitment to free market economics without hostility to nuclear gets maintained by the lobby and advocacy organs of the fossil fuel interests, playing to those Conservative Right core values but if circumstances different and the anti-nuclear movement didn't exist they would probably need to invent it. But with others dogging nuclear's heels that's not been necessary. What this powerful lobby is not doing is vigorously countering anti-nuclear opinion; in that the nuclear subsection of the energy industry is - as it has been for a very long time - on it's own. Even if most of the staunchest backers of nuclear are within the conservative Right, they are outnumbered by staunch backers of the fossil fueled status quo. And I wouldn't discount the likelihood that there the political Right has significant anti-nuclear sentiment amongst Representatives within fossil fuel rich electorates.

    We have the unfortunate situation where the politics of concern for the environment and opposition to nuclear energy on one hand and opposition to environmental regulation and support for nuclear on the other have merged. Along comes the climate problem and the politics is distorted - nuclear finds itself in bed with people who are adamantly opposing the kinds of environmental regulation that would greatly advantage their technology whilst remaining alienated from those who are pushing for it.
    I see... I mean for every x then 1/x is indistinguishable from x. In short Ken: You are correct.
    Assures yours asstonished:1/sW. (Mayby Ill edit this out later. Just in case its understood.)
    Last edited by sigurdW; August 31st, 2012 at 01:59 AM. Reason: Preventig rhymes
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    sigurd, in post #28 you seek to explain the nature of your question (?), statement (?), belief (?), argument (?). I don't know which it is because you ramble. Without editing your prior post please just post here, without side issues, what is your central point, because I'm buggered if I know what you are talking about.

    and I shall not be back to respond before Monday.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    sigurd, in post #28 you seek to explain the nature of your question (?), statement (?), belief (?), argument (?). I don't know which it is because you ramble. Without editing your prior post please just post here, without side issues, what is your central point, because I'm buggered if I know what you are talking about.

    and I shall not be back to respond before Monday.
    Im talking about facts (and conclusions):

    The swedish communist party received money from Soviet Russia a long period after the war,
    the total sum is not known and to what use the money was spent is not yet clear,
    but there was a build up in sweden of antinuclear propaganda resulting in changes in policy:

    Only half of the planned reactors was built,
    a law against Nuclear Research appeared
    and the"
    green" party became a strong political force.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sigurdW View Post
    Im talking about facts (and conclusions):

    The swedish communist party received money from Soviet Russia a long period after the war,
    the total sum is not known and to what use the money was spent is not yet clear,
    but there was a build up in sweden of antinuclear propaganda resulting in changes in policy:
    (emphasis added) Just kinda funny.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sigurdW View Post
    Im talking about facts (and conclusions):

    1The swedish communist party received money from Soviet Russia a long period after the war,
    2the total sum is not known and to what use the money was spent is not yet clear,
    3but there was a build up in sweden of antinuclear propaganda resulting in changes in policy:
    (emphasis added) Just kinda funny.
    The communist Party has admitted that money was recieved, so it is in principle possible to check numbers
    and retrace where it went, but theres rumours among us swedorussians that there was "black" money
    recieved as well. I know of no way to verify those rumours...Lets stick to the officially known amount.
    Where did that money go?
    What "work" was enabled?
    You lucky americans! No spies studying your secrets, no misuse of government capabilites. I envy you!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by sigurdW View Post
    You lucky americans! No spies studying your secrets, no misuse of government capabilites. I envy you!!
    Don't be naive.
    The USA is a much more corrupt nation than Sweden. Not the people, but the government. Most of the spies in America are American spies, but there are enough from other nations as well.

    Misuse of government capabilities? Right! The American administration misuses every damn thing. American people are mostly good people, but somehow the ones that get into power are not. It is not the cream that rises to the top, but the scum.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    The USA is a much more corrupt nation than Sweden.
    No you are wrong Sir!
    Sweden is a much more corrupt nation than the USA.
    (Im not sure I should prove this though...)
    Last edited by sigurdW; August 31st, 2012 at 04:45 PM.
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    In the list referenced below, my country is least corrupt. Sweden is fourth least corrupt, and the USA is in 18th place - well down compared to most western countries.
    World Audit Corruption

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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    In the list referenced below, my country is least corrupt. Sweden is fourth least corrupt, and the USA is in 18th place - well down compared to most western countries.
    World Audit Corruption

    Well it all depends what one tests for right? I guess I cant be as "thorough" as the undoubtly unbiased people producing the list. But...eh...ahem...mind you: If the measuring organisation is powerful then I return to suspicion mode...call me paranoiac if you want to ... But MONEY WALKS!

    Try testing for something "untestable": How "high" did Corruption reach in the concerned country?

    Remenber "Cesars Wife", to prove she was unfaithful meant death...
    not for her but for the accuser.
    So unless times have been a changing we will only be able to doubt...if even that.
    Lacking proof, is there evidence to be found?
    Last edited by sigurdW; August 31st, 2012 at 05:15 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sigurdW View Post
    Lacking proof, is there evidence to be found?
    Sigurd

    I just gave you evidence. We all know that there is no such thing as 'proof', for anything. I cannot prove you exist, and my own existence is, no doubt, something you can disbelieve if you wish.

    However, these international surveys do represent good evidence, though they are not perfect.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sigurdW View Post
    Lacking proof, is there evidence to be found?
    Sigurd

    I just gave you evidence. We all know that there is no such thing as 'proof', for anything. I cannot prove you exist, and my own existence is, no doubt, something you can disbelieve if you wish.

    However, these international surveys do represent good evidence, though they are not perfect.
    I can accept that evidence for a general concept of corruption,
    but Im not using that concept in this discussion...

    Starting from the highest to the lowest government official,
    how far down in the hierarchy must we go
    to find "suspicious undemocratic behaviour" exhibited?

    I think your country never was under serious attack... perhaps thats why its a winner?
    What "threat" was New Zeeland to the Soviet Union?

    (To be honest Id rather attack this:"We all know that there is no such thing as 'proof'")
    (Solipsists doesnt deny their own existence...nobody except the mental case would.)
    ( What you dont want to see proved...you wont see proved!)

    Edit: Perhaps this is a sidetrack im not particularly interested in discussing it unless questioned.
    Last edited by sigurdW; September 1st, 2012 at 07:29 PM.
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    I'm more interested in the fusion debate than defining what the meaning of the word 'is' is.
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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    I support the research into nuclear fusion, at least morally. Humanity needs to go down this path as far as possible. I am not optimistic that it will be available any time soon, which is why I want to see the thorium fission research and development done. However, the potential for fusion is close to unlimited. No other energy source offers this.

    The long term prospect for survival and prosperity for the human species may well rest upon nuclear fusion. This is especially true if we manage to leave the nursery of planet Earth, and expand into other star systems. I consider it unlikely that we will encounter too many Earth substitutes, and we are more likely to establish very artificial homes on places more like Mars and the asteroids, or totally man made space cities. To live in such places, we will need our own energy source. Since water, and hence deuterium, appears to be ubiquitous throughout the galaxy, nuclear fusion would be the ideal energy source.
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    Flick, there are a variety of potential technologies that would be of great benefit if brought to maturity. Fusion is just one but it does manage to capture the popular - and R&D grant committee - imagination in ways that others don't. Giant lasers, harmonic doubling crystals, superconductors and temperatures that go off the scale - lots of whizz bang wow factor. But I think some of those less whizz bang others are a lot closer to achievable and will be more amenable to being scaled up and be put to useas readily in remote villages as at the heart of advanced, continent wide energy grids.

    I suspect most innovators working on energy R&D projects would be envious of the funding that fusion gets, and has kept getting over multi-decades despite delivering no usable results. Paying the big bucks for the big payoff has some merit but I think some other technologies can deliver big payoffs with only a few years of being funded with a tenth or a hundredth of what fusion gets. What innovations with enormous potential have drifted into obscurity for lack of funding, poor management and lousy implementation? And patent owners unwilling or unreasonable when it comes to allowing others to carry on the process? I wouldn't want fusion R&D to go that way but it's a long, long way even now from delivering competitively priced low emissions electricity and our needs are urgent. Nantenna's would be amongst the potential technologies I'd like to see get a boost along; they have already been printed cheaply but the rectifying diode part hasn't been cracked. Promising lines of research to do so already exist. Achieved, it would mean the ability to harvest energy across a wide spectrum, including the IR part - PV that can run off the IR of a cloudy night sky or from the ground below, or that can turn low grade heat into electricity (low cost energy storage potential), as well as convert sunlight at higher than PV efficiencies. I fear that despite the enormous potential and unlike fusion, if there's no tangible and rapid progress it would lose it's funding within a short time and be destined for a dusty filing cabinet.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    I support the research into nuclear fusion, at least morally. Humanity needs to go down this path as far as possible. I am not optimistic that it will be available any time soon, which is why I want to see the thorium fission research and development done. However, the potential for fusion is close to unlimited. No other energy source offers this.

    The long term prospect for survival and prosperity for the human species may well rest upon nuclear fusion. This is especially true if we manage to leave the nursery of planet Earth, and expand into other star systems. I consider it unlikely that we will encounter too many Earth substitutes, and we are more likely to establish very artificial homes on places more like Mars and the asteroids, or totally man made space cities. To live in such places, we will need our own energy source. Since water, and hence deuterium, appears to be ubiquitous throughout the galaxy, nuclear fusion would be the ideal energy source.
    Theres no dubt in my mind ,we will get nuclear fusion!... But dont know when. The survival prospects of earth life is more dependent on our ability to defend against comets and asteroids...Statistically we should be extinct already...and with the unscientific attitude growing in the USA we might still become so.

    Also, if you will pardon me for saying so, I think your wiev of space exploration is somewhat out moded except for the concept of space cities. And theres "lots" of hydrogen in seemingly empty space. Good fusion material. Travelling interstellar, if you double the speed of the ship(or city), friction from hydrogen (unless you collect or reflect it) will be five times higher...Actually the biggest obstacle in fast efficient space travel (and economy)...
    Last edited by sigurdW; September 1st, 2012 at 08:06 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sigurdW View Post
    The survival prospects of earth life is more dependent on our ability to defend against comets and asteroids...Statistically we should be extinct already...and with the unscientific attitude growing in the USA we might still become so.




    ..Actually the biggest obstacle in fast efficient space travel (and economy)...
    I have to disagree on a couple of small points.

    Asteroids and comets are a hazard, but unlikely to render humanity extinct. The last one to hit Earth that had that potential was 65 million years ago. I think it unlikely that we will get hit by one of that magnitude in the next 10,000 years, and by then humanity will be exploring extra-solar space.

    The biggest obstacle to space travel will be the laws of physics themselves. They prevent faster than light travel, and the amount of thrust from a fixed quantity of reaction mass will limit speed within the light barrier. Inter-stellar travel is likely to be limited to a maximum of 0.2 C (figure from an article written by two NASA scientists).
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sigurdW View Post
    The survival prospects of earth life is more dependent on our ability to defend against comets and asteroids...Statistically we should be extinct already...and with the unscientific attitude growing in the USA we might still become so.




    ..Actually the biggest obstacle in fast efficient space travel (and economy)...
    I have to disagree on a couple of small points.

    Asteroids and comets are a hazard, but unlikely to render humanity extinct. The last one to hit Earth that had that potential was 65 million years ago. I think it unlikely that we will get hit by one of that magnitude in the next 10,000 years, and by then humanity will be exploring extra-solar space.

    The biggest obstacle to space travel will be the laws of physics themselves. They prevent faster than light travel, and the amount of thrust from a fixed quantity of reaction mass will limit speed within the light barrier. Inter-stellar travel is likely to be limited to a maximum of 0.2 C (figure from an article written by two NASA scientists).
    1 Statistics is the art of guessing... I made a "rough" calculation...how many mass extinctions occured before? What is the mean time in between them occurrencies... And when was the last one? Aha! An unlucky USA could die right now... Give or take some 10000 years....

    2 Yeah! We will never travel faster than light. But...
    Your "fixed quantity" problem can be solved by collecting matter/energy on the "way"! Why carry fuel if youre surrounded by it? Also there could be a river of hydrogen (and other necessary ions) accelerated from the Terran system to accompany (or even "push") the Space City.

    3 If the Space Cities could produce a ray in front of them, deflecting matter (Space curling) and if the accompanying/"pushing" matter/energy river is fast enough, then the speed of light is the limit.

    4 Our ancestors surely couldnt concieve of their progeny as "city dwellers"...
    My guess is that our future "Space Civilisation" only use solar systems as sources of energy.

    Hopefully no "Alien Space Armada"
    will strike our "primitive and undeveloped"
    corner of the Universe "in the near future"?
    Last edited by sigurdW; September 2nd, 2012 at 04:48 AM. Reason: "Emphasis..."
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  50. #49  
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    Quote Originally Posted by sigurdW View Post
    Your "fixed quantity" problem can be solved by collecting matter/energy on the "way"! Why carry fuel if youre surrounded by it?
    You are talking of the Bussard Ramjet concept. It sounded really good in principle. Sadly, some down to Earth physicist did some calculations, and found that the braking effect of the magnetic field in that sea of ions would exceed any acceleration effect. In other words, the ramjet don't work!

    Nor could your 'river of hydrogen'work. The distances involved are too great. Fire a 'river of hydrogen' over a distance of light years and it will dissipate to vacuum.

    Even such concepts as light sails, and light sails propelled by laser beams cannot work over the distances involved. Fine for a short interplanetary voyage, but not over light years. Even a laser beam attenuates to almost nothing (although, even such a thin beam is still OK for communications - just not propulsion).

    The best concept for interstellar travel based on present day technology is to use some version of a linear accelerator, and accelerate ions out the back of your craft at close to light speed. It is this idea, developed to almost technical perfection, that has the potential to accelerate a craft to between 0.1 and 0.2 C. Nothing else can do the task, unless there is some amazing break through some time in the future.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sigurdW View Post
    Your "fixed quantity" problem can be solved by collecting matter/energy on the "way"! Why carry fuel if youre surrounded by it?
    You are talking of the Bussard Ramjet concept. It sounded really good in principle. Sadly, some down to Earth physicist did some calculations, and found that the braking effect of the magnetic field in that sea of ions would exceed any acceleration effect. In other words, the ramjet don't work!

    Nor could your 'river of hydrogen'work. The distances involved are too great. Fire a 'river of hydrogen' over a distance of light years and it will dissipate to vacuum.

    Even such concepts as light sails, and light sails propelled by laser beams cannot work over the distances involved. Fine for a short interplanetary voyage, but not over light years. Even a laser beam attenuates to almost nothing (although, even such a thin beam is still OK for communications - just not propulsion).

    The best concept for interstellar travel based on present day technology is to use some version of a linear accelerator, and accelerate ions out the back of your craft at close to light speed. It is this idea, developed to almost technical perfection, that has the potential to accelerate a craft to between 0.1 and 0.2 C. Nothing else can do the task, unless there is some amazing break through some time in the future.
    I NEVER COPY!
    Im NOT talking about some one elses project!
    (though Ive read about the ram jet)
    Every thought I print has its origin in my own brain!
    By proving that somebody else is wrong
    youre not proving me wrong.
    Lets sit down by, and contemplate "the river"...Shall we?
    Here? or in a new thread?
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    Sigurd

    If you never copy, you are simply going to make thousands of mistakes. Even Isaac Newton claimed to make his discoveries by standing "on the shoulders of giants". Science and human progress as a whole does not occur in isolation. People make advances by first learning of what others have discovered, and then moving on.

    If you refuse to 'copy', it shows very poor judgment. Learning from others, and passing on what others have discovered, is a big part of what this forum is about.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Sigurd

    If you never copy, you are simply going to make thousands of mistakes. Even Isaac Newton claimed to make his discoveries by standing "on the shoulders of giants". Science and human progress as a whole does not occur in isolation. People make advances by first learning of what others have discovered, and then moving on.

    If you refuse to 'copy', it shows very poor judgment. Learning from others, and passing on what others have discovered, is a big part of what this forum is about.
    You show poor understanding and poor methodology.
    You invent premisses I wouldnt state and then prove them wrong.
    Im not claiming I have invented the alphabet I use.

    Of course I use standard knowledge,
    but my conclusions from standard knowledge are non standard.
    Otherwise I would have kept quiet.
    Next time you misunderstand me this way I will ignore you.
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