Relevant to how we rebuild Christchurch

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More from the Royal Society of New Zealand on The Canterbury Earthquakes: Answers to critical questions about buildings.

Like being savaged by a damp tissue

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One of NZ’s few remaining climate change deniers has commented on my paper on sea level rise: this is the Royal Society of NZ. Listen carefully as they try to pull the wool over your eyes. Its… oh wow. I make it five errors in the first paragraph. Can you spot them all?

Soviet whaling and New Zealand – further random topics from my brain

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Over at the Envirohistory blog is my article on The Soviet whaling industry and the end of whaling in New Zealand. In short, post-World War II, New Zealand whalers were taking about 100 humpback whales per year, the huge Soviet fleets cruised past in 1960 & 1961, took 25,000, and that was the end of …

Thoughts on the eternal headache that is nuclear power – Part 6 of 6: The US & the UK

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Despite my previous bitching, the nuclear industry does have a track record of delivering low-carbon electricity, at a scale so far unmatched by renewables. Given that climate change is going to hurt, given the absolute imperatives for rich nations to cut their carbon emissions by 80%, then any source of low-carbon electricity is needed. So …

Thoughts on the eternal headache that is nuclear power – part 5 of 6: Nukes in the real world

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How radioactivity damages your health, or maybe doesn’t: Why can’t we agree on how many people were killed by the accident at the Chernobyl reactor? We’re not arguing over a narrow range here, we’re arguing about widely disparate numbers. The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation states the number of deaths …

You like music. This is music. Therefore, you will like to come to this event to hear music.

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But seriously, Boofa’s playing some of his tunes on Saturday. It’s ambient, electronic, eclectic, detailed, sparse. If you like Four Tet but are not currently skipping through a field of daisies, then you will like this more than you like Four Tet. Event details, but in short: this Saturday, The Service Depot, 2 Lombard Street, …

Thoughts on the eternal headache that is nuclear power – part 4 of 6: Thorium, not as easy as you’ve

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Ah, thorium. Thorium will power the future, resulting in endless electricity for all… oh wait, or was that fusion power? Anyway, every man and his dog seems to be pushing to use thorium, instead of uranium or plutonium, with a seemingly endless stream of articles about how great it’s going to be. Apparently, it’s safer, …

Thoughts on the eternal headache that is nuclear power – part 3 of 6: innovation cycles, cost, bombs

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Every technology starts by being too expensive. The production costs of solar cells started at US$250 per Watt, back in the 1950s, then $65 per Watt in 1976, and now they’re pushing $1.4 per Watt. Why?

Thoughts on the eternal headache that is nuclear power – Part 2 of 6: Safety and Surprises

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Thoughts on the eternal headache that is nuclear power – part 1 of 6

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People keep asking me about nuclear power. This might be down to living in NZ, where people who know anything about it are few and far between. Or it might be because they pay me to think about energy systems. I put together the Royal Society of New Zealand’s energy report in 2006 (although I’m …