We’re back, hoorah!

[Update: but then last night, we were down again. Clearly whatever problems are going on have not been fully resolved.]

Scienceblogs has been down for the past few days, at least for me and a number of readers; though a small trickle of comments coming in suggests some people have been getting through. I don’t know why; there were rumours of DDOS, then that it might be an error, so for all I know the site may go down again – I’ve heard nothing from the mgt for the past few days. Time for a backup, maybe?

Oh, and the title? I ran a half marathon on Sunday, I’m sure you can join the dots.

Meanwhile, there are some comments that I suspect are going to need cleanup. You may have to wait until this evening for that.

Oh, and in an effort to distract you: it looks like the “are noooks safe” argument is going to get a good going over following the Japan quake. Eli is you starter-for-10 on the “they are fine”, or you may prefer Timmy’s rather more robust interpretation (its not often that Eli is out-robusted :-). I’m not sure who is cheerleading for the ZOMG-we’re-all-going-to-die side (feel free to post any good refs in the comments) but the Grauniad is having a go; as does SB’s own, Greg Laden. I wonder if he is regretting that one now?

Comments

  1. #1 P. Lewis
    2011/03/14

    Had few problems logging on to you during the week. You were accessible (from UK), though slow at times, but Deltoid was unavailable to me at the same time for an hour or so on one day and then was slooow for a day.

    Anyway, it may be a bit like “after the runner has left the starting line” perhaps, but prevention is better than cure! But I’m sure you’re aware of most of that anyway. I hear, too, some swear by duct tape. I know I would, on removal!

    I got the symptom once after playing 5-a-side for an hour. Don’t know why. It had never bothered me before or since, even when exercising for longer.

  2. #2 Eli Rabett
    2011/03/14

    As Eli said at climate progress, this is going to be extremely messy [and costly, and stressful]but not a full blown disaster. Think more TMI than Chernobyl.

    And actually Barry Brook started it.

  3. #3 Gavin
    2011/03/14
  4. #4 _Arthur
    2011/03/14

    I’m in Quebec, and I had no trouble accessing ScienceBlogs, at any time.
    I didn’t notice anything unusual.

  5. #5 J Bowers
    2011/03/14

    Sir John Beddington, after convening a meeting of experts at the weekend, says the worst case scenario will be completely incomparable to Chernobyl. His word on climate is good enough for me, and his word on nukes is good enough, too.

    The Guardian had a live Q&A with experts today. Worth reading the comments from the experts (read the conspiracy theorists at your own peril).
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2011/mar/14/nuclearpower-natural-disasters

  6. #6 dhogaza
    2011/03/14

    As Eli said at climate progress, this is going to be extremely messy [and costly, and stressful]but not a full blown disaster. Think more TMI than Chernobyl.

    Possibly TMIx3 as there are three reactors involved. Very likely a single TMI + two lesser, as it seems that they’re losing their ability to cool one of the three, while it appears they may be stabilizing the other two. I think odds are good that the one’s a total loss (as was TMI), while perhaps the other two are salvageable (though maybe it won’t be economical to do so?)

    Anyway, certainly no Chernobyl, it’s hard to do Chernobyl when you actually *have* containment vessels.

  7. #7 Hank Roberts
    2011/03/14

    Barry Brooks, http://bravenewclimate.com/
    has about four threads worth following.
    I’ve tried the usual finding/checking sources.

  8. #8 Carl C
    2011/03/14

    I find it a bit funny & slightly hypocritical that the general consensus of climate bloggers regarding the Japan quake and attendant catastrophes is “hey, nothing to see here, move along!” It seems the view is we’re (still) supposed to be more fired up about hypothetical climate-related events in 50-200 years, than people actually getting killed in Indonesia, Haiti, Japan etc.

  9. #9 John Mashey
    2011/03/14

    1)The real world is not binary:

    0: nothing to be concerned about
    1: Chernobyl or worse!

    2) Hurricanes have ratings, so do nuclear incidents.

    3) This is certainly a terrible disaster, clearly more than 0, but very likely less than 1. Still, see before and after, a fine visualization.

    4) The old military maxim is worth remembering:
    “The first reports from the front are always wrong.”

    A lot of people somehow expect perfect reports about exactly what’s going on, but I guess the containment vessels don’t have working webcams in there.

  10. #10 Rattus Norvegicus
    2011/03/14

    INES rating scale. Looking at this it looks as though TMI was a 5, Chernobyl was a 7. This one looks to be a 5 or 6 depending on how it all shakes out.

  11. #11 cthulhu
    2011/03/14

    the longer term worst case scenario is perhaps that governments are now going to run scared of the nuclear option (as in the option to build nuke plants as a means of CO2 mitigation)

  12. #12 carrot eater
    2011/03/14

    dhogaza: It’s not possible for me to give an educated opinion from my kitchen on the other side of the world, but I would expect that once they had to pump in sea water, any thought of using any of the three reactors again was out of the question. That, before you even think about what condition the fuel is in.

    At this point, the only thought is containing the accident, and keeping the workers as safe as possible.

  13. #13 Rattus Norvegicus
    2011/03/14

    BTW, an interesting look at the aftermath of Chernobyl can be found here. 26 pages to read through, lots of interesting photos (esp. the ones featuring the Geiger counter.

  14. #14 Eli Rabett
    2011/03/14

    Zirconium nipples? Watch out for the hydrogen explosions when you are hot with sweat.

    I think carrot eater has the right of it. The reactors are trashed, which in a strange way makes thinking about what to do easier as there is nothing to save

  15. #15 dhogaza
    2011/03/15

    I find it a bit funny & slightly hypocritical that the general consensus of climate bloggers regarding the Japan quake and attendant catastrophes is “hey, nothing to see here, move along!” It seems the view is we’re (still) supposed to be more fired up about hypothetical climate-related events in 50-200 years, than people actually getting killed in Indonesia, Haiti, Japan etc.

    We don’t know how to stop earthquakes and tsunamis.

    We know how to reduce anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

    Where’s the hypocrisy?

    Oh, and if God decides to supernova the sun tomorrow, we don’t know how to stop that, either.

    Therefore, we should all smoke three packs a day, and drink a half gallon of tequila before driving home from work!!!!

  16. #16 dhogaza
    2011/03/15

    carrot eater:

    It’s not possible for me to give an educated opinion from my kitchen on the other side of the world, but I would expect that once they had to pump in sea water, any thought of using any of the three reactors again was out of the question. That, before you even think about what condition the fuel is in.

    I’m only thinking of the difference between salvage (a huge loss) vs. filling them with concrete and abandoning them (ala TMI) (a total loss).

    That’s what I meant by saying:

    while perhaps the other two are salvageable (though maybe it won’t be economical to do so?)

    I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if it *won’t* be economical to salvage any of the reactors, even it if turn out to be theoretically possible.

  17. #17 dhogaza
    2011/03/15

    I think carrot eater has the right of it. The reactors are trashed, which in a strange way makes thinking about what to do easier as there is nothing to save

    Which is a bit less optimistic than you were posting about earlier, touting Barry … :)

    But, really, don’t count out some level of salvage until they all go TMI (which is looking more likely as time goes on, my original comments are hours old, a lifetime in crisis management).

    So are you going after Brooks, now? :)

  18. #18 adelady
    2011/03/15

    Apart from watching events with jaw dropping ever closer to the keyboard, I’m thinking that a few of those thorium-is-the-best-option people will be blowing the dust off some of the funding proposals forlornly resting at the back of the filing cabinets.

  19. #19 carrot eater
    2011/03/15

    dhogaza: The seawater would have been a corrosive mess, in itself.

    But now it sounds like they’ve lost some containment at one of the reactors, if latest reports are credible. If the on-site doses are actually as bad as what I just read, the workers there are taking on quite some substantial risk for the benefit of their brethren.

  20. #20 Geoff Wexler
    2011/03/15

    This won’t settle the issue whether nuclear power is too dangerous to use, what it exemplifies is something known to good engineers i.e.

    Improbable things happen.

    They planned for a Tsunami but not an improbably one.

    They planned for the main power to fail, by building an emergency Diesel cooling system, which was itself backed up with a battery back up. But according to Roger Harrabin the battery was flat.

    An unlikely story to have three power failures? Yes, but unlikely stories had not been planned for.

    BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig was based upon assuming that deep sea oil drilling was extremely unlikely to lead to a blow-out.

    The same principle suggests:
    We should neither exaggerate the risks of climate change nor ignore the very bad but unlikely outcomes.

  21. #21 Robert Grumbine
    2011/03/16

    For the (half)marathoning — band aids over the nipples before you start.

  22. #22 Mike S
    2011/03/19

    If you want to learn how to make really spiffy google maps that include a colored overlay of a polyline or polyshape that automatically adjusts to the zoom level or map center position, check out this free online tool that you can use to get the points of the line, or perimeter of the shape:
    http://www.birdtheme.org/useful/googletool.html
    If you want examples of how to overlay the points feel free to email me, I have several maps online that use the javascript approach.

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