Speaking as someone who, back in the late 80's, out of my own fear due to ignorance and a lack of foresight, voted to shut down Rancho Seco, [...]
If it's any consolation, you were probably right at the time. We can only talk about how good nuclear power is now because of the moratorium on new plants which let us skip a generation of reactor design. If the US had been building nuclear plants in the 80s, your electricity bill today would still mostly be paying off the capital costs.
Direct solar may sound nice and work fine in small scale, but collectors would have to cover great areas to be effective
The total world energy consumption is somewhere around 100PWh/year. That's around 274TWh/day. The sunlight hitting the Earth is around 1kW/m^2, so 8kWh/m^2 assuming 8 hours of sunlight. If you assume 100% efficiency in conversion (totally impossible, but we'll start there and refine later), then that means that you need about 3.45E10 m^2 of land devoted to solar power. That's a square about 185km on each side. If you assume 10% efficiency (mass produced photovoltaics are 12-25% these days), then you need an area about 342000km^2, or about the area of Germany, to power the entire world. Now, given the efficiency of power distribution, you probably wouldn't want to put it all in one place, but you could easily fit solar panels enough that, even with transmission losses, you could power all of North America in Utah or Texas without anyone noticing. The difficulty is not the generation, it's the storage.
I don't want to get into an argument about biblical exegesis (reading ancient texts with our post-Enlightenment mindset is fraught with difficulty at the best of times). My point is that what Ussher did wasn't at all stupid. Actually it was remarkably smart and scientific by the standards of his day, and given what little he had to work with.
So... do you have to be a Roman Catholic virgin to apply?
The boy and his family might not deserve the $15 million, but the school certainly deserves having it taken from them.
If I could give you all the mod points, I would.
Some bishop interpreting the old testament came to that conclusion, [...]
James Ussher gets a lot of crap for this, and I think it's quite unfair. He didn't just use the Hebrew sacred texts, he actually used all ancient texts at his disposal, such as Greek mythological texts, and found that they all stopped at around the same point. When you consider the constraints that he was working with, this is actually quite a scientific approach. Moreover, 4000 BCE is probably close to the limit of human cultural memory, given that writing wasn't developed until about 3000 BCE.
Ussher was neither the first nor the last person to try this and come up with a similar figure. We probably wouldn't remember Ussher's chronology today if it weren't for some idiot adding it to annotations in the King James Bible.
[...] the Catholics are no offshoot!
There are some Eastern Orthodox would would disagree with that assessment.
The Protestants made a big deal out of a lie. The same Protestants who today have so much trouble understanding science isn't an attack on thier religion.
No, they are not "the same Protestants". The post-1970s US-style evangelical fundamentalists weren't around in the days of Galileo.
You might find some chaff in that list, but you'll see there's still plenty of scientists in multiple fields that are tied to the Church.
If the alternative is the tenure track, grant-chasing, publish-or-perish career path, I can kind of see the appeal.
Probably, everyone admitted that those fascists European dictators of the mid 20th century got their trains to run on time.
Mussolini made it illegal to point out that the trains weren't running on time.
It would be more correct to say that some specifics are up for debate, in the sense that the work of science is never done.
We're living in a golden age. All you need is gold. -- D.W. Robertson.