Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Seen something interesting in the news or on the intertubes? Discuss it here.

Moderators: Zamfir, Hawknc, Moderators General, Prelates

morriswalters
Posts: 7073
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:21 am UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby morriswalters » Mon Oct 20, 2014 9:42 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:You are being obtuse. "Too many" is when lifespans go down with addition of more people. People have natural lifespans, but if there is more people than food (and other supplies), someone starves to death. Sure we are better at this 'food' thing than we were centuries ago, but we simply couldn't survive if everyone had 10 kids.
Perhaps. But if the process is stretched out over a long enough period, even something that appears to be sustainable, may not be. I can live a good life until my credit card flatlines, but that doesn't make that life sustainable. It is possible that the population that we have have now is unsustainable, even if we abort every other child born. It takes a highly developed civilization to keep these mouths fed, on a diet of fossil fuels. If those run out before some other energy source as dense and cheap as they are, you could abort every other baby born everywhere and it wouldn't keep people from starving. Abortion is something we do because we want to, not because we have to.

User avatar
CorruptUser
Posts: 10485
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Oct 20, 2014 9:58 pm UTC

And often 'I want to' is really 'I can't afford to raise it'. And what does 'I can't afford it' mean?

User avatar
Sizik
Posts: 1243
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 3:48 am UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby Sizik » Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:31 pm UTC

Abortion is the termination of an unwanted pregnancy. The only way to eliminate abortion is to eliminate unwanted pregnancy: sex education, contraceptives, rape prevention, etc.
gmalivuk wrote:
King Author wrote:If space (rather, distance) is an illusion, it'd be possible for one meta-me to experience both body's sensory inputs.
Yes. And if wishes were horses, wishing wells would fill up very quickly with drowned horses.

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11443
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Oct 21, 2014 2:48 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:You are being obtuse. "Too many" is when lifespans go down with addition of more people. People have natural lifespans, but if there is more people than food (and other supplies), someone starves to death. Sure we are better at this 'food' thing than we were centuries ago, but we simply couldn't survive if everyone had 10 kids.
Perhaps. But if the process is stretched out over a long enough period, even something that appears to be sustainable, may not be. I can live a good life until my credit card flatlines, but that doesn't make that life sustainable. It is possible that the population that we have have now is unsustainable, even if we abort every other child born. It takes a highly developed civilization to keep these mouths fed, on a diet of fossil fuels. If those run out before some other energy source as dense and cheap as they are, you could abort every other baby born everywhere and it wouldn't keep people from starving. Abortion is something we do because we want to, not because we have to.


In the first world, not enough food is...not a real problem. Don't get me wrong, people do sometimes go hungry or what not, but it's not because we can't produce enough food. We're sufficiently far removed from a hunter/gatherer lifestyle that us outbreeding our food supply isn't a real concern.

User avatar
sardia
Posts: 6782
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:39 am UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby sardia » Tue Oct 21, 2014 3:12 pm UTC

By food is not aconcern for us, you mean the rich nations right? What about the instability caused when prices rise to match the lack of supply? Poor people can't even handle the effect ethanol production had on grain. The combo of less water, more people and rising prices are going to cause conflict. The very conflict that libertarians are so shy in engaging. Endless unsolvable widespread war with no clear good guys.

User avatar
CorruptUser
Posts: 10485
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Oct 21, 2014 3:40 pm UTC

It's not only food, Tyn. It's also pollution, water, energy, etc. You yourself have had things to say about coal; if the US had twice as many people would we have twice as much renewables or would we really just have more coal? Could the environment really handle triple or quadruple as much pollution being pumped into it? How long until we run out of natural gas and Bosch-Haber breaks down?

Sure, more people generally means more science and technology to solve problems, but that requires that those extra people become scientists and engineers. People have value based on their contribution to the rest of society, and that value can be negative; put bluntly, society is better off without some people. A woman can make the judgement call as to whether or not the expected fetus is going to be a net gain or loss for herself and her family. While it isn't perfect, I generally don't trust government enough to make the call for her, in either direction.

morriswalters
Posts: 7073
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:21 am UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby morriswalters » Tue Oct 21, 2014 9:19 pm UTC

Food as a resource is available because we burn resources to make it available. Population is overpopulation when you don't have those resources to grow food like we do. It isn't that we are starving today as individuals or as a nation but if any of the requirements for producing food are altered the present population could become overpopulation. We don't predict the future very well. The default mindset seems to be that things will always get better, that we will create whatever technology we need to carry the next billion or three. I doubt that that can be demonstrated.

User avatar
CorruptUser
Posts: 10485
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Oct 21, 2014 9:41 pm UTC

Are you arguing against or with me? I can't tell.

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11443
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Oct 21, 2014 11:33 pm UTC

Morris's arguments are in support of your own.

Energy production is scaling upward, and consumption continually rises as well, population levels be damned. The US is consuming energy at a far higher rate than most, and there appears to be little sign of anything changing, abortion or not. Sure, our use of non-renewable fuels will eventually result in depletion of those resources, but it's not as if we've abandoned using them because abortion is legal. The ties you rely on appear to be essentially non-existent.

CorruptUser wrote:Sure, more people generally means more science and technology to solve problems, but that requires that those extra people become scientists and engineers. People have value based on their contribution to the rest of society, and that value can be negative; put bluntly, society is better off without some people. A woman can make the judgement call as to whether or not the expected fetus is going to be a net gain or loss for herself and her family. While it isn't perfect, I generally don't trust government enough to make the call for her, in either direction.


Nobody is arguing that government should decide who dies. Literally nobody. Certainly not I.

morriswalters
Posts: 7073
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:21 am UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby morriswalters » Wed Oct 22, 2014 12:28 am UTC

Basically I'm saying that without evidence otherwise, abortion is meaningless as a mechanism to match the population to the resources. Civilization arose in a period of high fossil fuel use. Energy was cheap, and by extension so was everything else. Let energy not be cheap and let fossil fuel production drop, and war would be needed on a massive scale to control what we can't, our population. We argue about abortion because we are wealthy.

User avatar
CorruptUser
Posts: 10485
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Oct 22, 2014 1:20 am UTC

What are you talking about? Let everyone only have as many kids as they themselves can afford to raise, some bare bones safety nets, extensive education, etc, and people will do the rest. It's not the desire for children that keeps propagating the species, it's the desire for sex. Decouple procreation from sex, and the population will stabilize, if not decrease over time until costs for raising children down. Fossil fuels will dwindle, not disappear; it's not like one day the oil is gushing from the ground and the next day, POOF the oil is gone, the wells slowly lose pressure and it becomes more and more expensive to get each additional barrel of oil. So costs will rise slow over time.

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11443
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Oct 22, 2014 1:51 am UTC

Consumption is not driven only by need. It's simply...we consume what is available. If more becomes available, we'll consume that too.

That's WHY we consume so much more than so many other countries. Not because we must to reproduce, but because we can.

Derek
Posts: 2180
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:15 am UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby Derek » Wed Oct 22, 2014 6:31 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Decouple procreation from sex, and the population will stabilize

Sure, but abortion isn't the only way to do that. In fact, I suspect it's not even the predominant driving force there. But that would be an interesting study, comparing how different behavioral changes (contraception, abortion, amount of sex, etc.) have contributed to declining fertility.

morriswalters
Posts: 7073
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:21 am UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby morriswalters » Wed Oct 22, 2014 10:36 am UTC

You can't decouple sex from procreation. That is a feature, not a fault to be corrected. Intelligence serves that feature and it has yet to be shown that intelligence can override it. Which is not to say that it can't, just that the condition has never occurred, globally, yet. Birth control may eventually lead to that, but abortion won't.

@Tyndmyr

It doesn't really matter why we consume. Beyond 3 hots and a cot, everything else is an extra. But inevitably as our numbers increase so does our consumption. People need something to do to fill the empty moments that civilization gives us a a reward for monkey curiosity. There was a study somewhere I read that suggested that, rather than sit quietly with our thoughts, we would rather apply shocks to ourselves. We don't like not having something to do. But my point was that fossil fuels could have disguised the point in human advancement where we became too many. CorruptUser is correct in that fossil fuels won't just suddenly stop. But human nature will take over when a resource becomes scarce. And I suggest that the curve as a resource is depleted falls faster than it rises in the first place.The point between recognition of the fact and acceptance that something needs to be done, buggered by a debate over who should be able to breed could and probably would lead to war over resources. Population control.

leady
Posts: 1592
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:28 pm UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby leady » Wed Oct 22, 2014 11:22 am UTC

The problem with your narrative is that by the time resource scarcity is such that it causes war, it won't be worth warring for them.

Distribution of emerging resources causes war historically - not exhaustion (coal, rubber, oil, iron, gold ...)

User avatar
CorruptUser
Posts: 10485
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Oct 22, 2014 1:11 pm UTC

Morris, I don't think you understand why people have sex.

User avatar
sardia
Posts: 6782
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:39 am UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby sardia » Wed Oct 22, 2014 1:46 pm UTC

leady wrote:The problem with your narrative is that by the time resource scarcity is such that it causes war, it won't be worth warring for them.

Distribution of emerging resources causes war historically - not exhaustion (coal, rubber, oil, iron, gold ...)

Woah a lot of good topics but I'll stick with one for now. Can you elaborate on this leady? I think you're playing semantics but I'm not sure. Isn't localized exhausted resources causing war the same as unequal distribution of resources? Someone is going to run out and get mad at their neighbors.

User avatar
CorruptUser
Posts: 10485
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Oct 22, 2014 2:12 pm UTC

Yeah, I agree. Quite sure that if one group of people is starving, they aren't going to care that their neighbors are starving too when they kill them for farmland.

leady
Posts: 1592
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:28 pm UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby leady » Wed Oct 22, 2014 2:39 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Woah a lot of good topics but I'll stick with one for now. Can you elaborate on this leady? I think you're playing semantics but I'm not sure. Isn't localized exhausted resources causing war the same as unequal distribution of resources? Someone is going to run out and get mad at their neighbors.


I am very strongly differentiating between the concept of global exhaustion referred to this thread and local inability to cope with dramatic increased demand.

The latter isn't "exhaustion" in my mind, its restricted supply - this scenario absolutely drives war (in my opinion) once the imbalance becomes obvious. This is afterall why Japan hit Pearl, why Britain grabbed India, even as a factor in WW1 (rubber and nitrates, both colonial resources).

Ultimately war is a risk reward decision and normally start because the aggressor is in a position of real or perceived strength and the rewards will offset the costs (to those in power). Japan for example would not have gone to war 2 years earlier (lots of US oil), nor 2 years later (economically and militarily crippled) - they choose 1941 as the point that they still thought they could "win" and the results of winning were large. But the problem wasn't that Japan ran out of oil, but rather it never had a secure supply. Things you have that run out, you can replace with other solutions even if less efficient. Technological and resource use jumps make people in power highly shooty

I can't say I've really analysed this, but it does look like a fair pattern, whereas I can't think of an exhaustion one.

morriswalters
Posts: 7073
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:21 am UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby morriswalters » Wed Oct 22, 2014 3:22 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Morris, I don't think you understand why people have sex.
Without wanting to turn this in to a long and drawn out affair, I know exactly why people have sex. The drive exists explicitly so they will reproduce. It may be fun, it is for me, but at the end of the day we do it for the same reasons that rabbits do. It may be that intellect can trump that, but I have reservations, but your mileage may vary.
leady wrote:The problem with your narrative is that by the time resource scarcity is such that it causes war, it won't be worth warring for them.

Distribution of emerging resources causes war historically - not exhaustion (coal, rubber, oil, iron, gold ...)
Prior history as such was driven by moving on to a new resource whenever an old one was depleted. All fuels to date in general widespread use are based on fossil sources. From wood to coal to oil and natural gas. What is the new fuel that is available now or near term that can replace fossil fuels? Not to mention things derived therefrom. Extrapolate the current usage of petrochemical's as fuel and fertilizer to a population of 10 billion at the industrialized countries rate of consumption.

leady
Posts: 1592
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:28 pm UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby leady » Wed Oct 22, 2014 3:31 pm UTC

Nuclear power can carry the fossil burden at a 3x cost (give or take at current costs) which gives the world a couple more centuries to solve the problem without a price explosion causing a social collapse.

By then I fully expect to have wormholes syphoning of hydrocarbons from Triton or something.

User avatar
sardia
Posts: 6782
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:39 am UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby sardia » Wed Oct 22, 2014 3:50 pm UTC

leady wrote:Nuclear power can carry the fossil burden at a 3x cost (give or take at current costs) which gives the world a couple more centuries to solve the problem without a price explosion causing a social collapse.

By then I fully expect to have wormholes syphoning of hydrocarbons from Triton or something.

Good explanation on supply shortages and conflict.

Your nuclear fuel math is wrong. The fuel last centuries at current consumption rates. Reactors are a small percentage of the power supply mix. If you double fuel use and the supply in years halves. If nukes were 10 percent of supply, it's actually much lower, gettting to 40 percent means the fuel lasts from 300 years to 75.

Edit. http://www.nei.org/Knowledge-Center/Nuc ... Statistics
Reactors supply 12 percent of electricity.

Morris. You're wrong. Rising income and empowerment lowers birth rates. Abortion and birth control help that trend.

wumpus
Posts: 546
Joined: Thu Feb 21, 2008 12:16 am UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby wumpus » Wed Oct 22, 2014 4:14 pm UTC

sardia wrote:
leady wrote:The problem with your narrative is that by the time resource scarcity is such that it causes war, it won't be worth warring for them.

Distribution of emerging resources causes war historically - not exhaustion (coal, rubber, oil, iron, gold ...)

Woah a lot of good topics but I'll stick with one for now. Can you elaborate on this leady? I think you're playing semantics but I'm not sure. Isn't localized exhausted resources causing war the same as unequal distribution of resources? Someone is going to run out and get mad at their neighbors.


While it certainly sounds good, I can't think of many cases where wars started over exhaustion of resources. The first that comes to mind are mass waves of refugees, and then only the barbarian waves against the Romans comes to mind. For small values of "war", there is the phrase "whiskey is for drinkin', water is for fightin' over" (note that there is often little warning between scarcity and exhaustion wrt water wells). I'm certain that plenty of US-Indian wars involved the deliberate elimination of the bison, but it would be hardly fair to claim that the war was over the exhaustion of a resource deliberately destroyed to eliminate the american indian in the first place.

In general, to have a war you must first be able to afford a war. It turns out that wars aren't so much to get *any* of the pie, but to keep your own and grab the other guy's slice as well.

morriswalters
Posts: 7073
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:21 am UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby morriswalters » Wed Oct 22, 2014 6:54 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Morris. You're wrong. Rising income and empowerment lowers birth rates. Abortion and birth control help that trend.
Actually I agree, not disagree with that statement. And greater wealth and sanitation have increased life expectancy and infant survival. So the population has increased from about 1 billion in 1900, to approximately 7 billion today, and is expected to reach 10 billion in the latter half of this century. My point, lost though it is in the mist, is that it is possible that by the time population levels off,(assuming that UN projections are reliable) there may be too many of us for the resources that will be available at that point.

User avatar
CorruptUser
Posts: 10485
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Oct 22, 2014 7:50 pm UTC

Low fertility is really caused by education, not wealth. And education requires few raw materials; it's possible to have a highly educated but poor country such as Cuba, which currently has well below a replacement fertility rate.

User avatar
sardia
Posts: 6782
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:39 am UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby sardia » Wed Oct 22, 2014 8:40 pm UTC

Morris is probably talking about the political will, not physical possible

morriswalters
Posts: 7073
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:21 am UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby morriswalters » Thu Oct 23, 2014 1:34 am UTC

Cuba is a special case. Normally highly educated countries are also wealthy. 43,000,000 abortions, worldwide in 2008. Equivalent to the population of Argentina. How many would you need to do to stop the increase in the population? In response to Leady I offer this, whatever you want to call it. I don't agree with this and it is dated, but consider the reasoning that leads to it.

User avatar
CorruptUser
Posts: 10485
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Oct 23, 2014 3:09 am UTC

I notice that number doesn't remove the abortions done out of medical necessity (e.g., ectopic pregnancies which will kill the mother), or other complications. And even if that number is true, so what? None of the tissue is sapient; your average deer has more sentience.

elasto
Posts: 3749
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 1:53 am UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby elasto » Thu Oct 23, 2014 6:34 am UTC

sardia wrote:Your nuclear fuel math is wrong. The fuel last centuries at current consumption rates. Reactors are a small percentage of the power supply mix. If you double fuel use and the supply in years halves. If nukes were 10 percent of supply, it's actually much lower, gettting to 40 percent means the fuel lasts from 300 years to 75.

Depends on the fuel.

"Thorium is considered the "most abundant, most readily available, cleanest, and safest energy source on Earth," adds science writer Richard Martin.

Thorium is four times as abundant as uranium, which is as common as lead. It is ~ 570 times as common as uranium-235, the fissile isotope of uranium used for nuclear energy. The Thorium Energy Alliance (TEA) estimates "there is enough thorium in the United States alone to power the country at its current energy level for over 1,000 years."

"America has buried tons as a by-product of rare earth metals mining," notes Evans-Pritchard. "Norway has so much that Oslo is planning a post-oil era where thorium might drive the country’s next great phase of wealth. Even Britain has seams in Wales and in the granite cliffs of Cornwall. Almost all thorium is fertile Th-232, compared to uranium that is composed of 99.3% fertile U-238 and 0.7% more valuable fissile U-235. There is enough to power civilization for thousands of years.


Comparing the amount of thorium needed with coal, Nobel laureate Carlo Rubbia of CERN, (European Organization for Nuclear Research), estimates that one ton of thorium can produce as much energy as 200 tons of uranium, or 3,500,000 tons of coal.


In 2003, it was estimated that the world produced 16.5 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity. If this had all been produced by liquid-fluoride thorium reactors, this would have required 1500 metric tonnes of thorium. Future energy projections foresee electrical production reaching 21.4 trillion kilowatt-hours by 2015. To bring the entire world’s population up to the level of the average American’s electrical consumption would require 80 trillion kilowatt-hours.

Is 1500 metric tonnes a lot? Well, consider that until recently, the United States had 3216 metric tonnes of thorium nitrate in storage. Recently, this thorium was deemed worthless by the government and buried at the Nevada Test Site. Thorium is a very dense material, and 1500 metric tonnes of thorium metal would only occupy 130 cubic meters of volume, or about the volume of a room 23 ft on a side and 9 feet high.


The US is dumping their thorium but China is investing in theirs:

Princeling Jiang Mianheng, son of former leader Jiang Zemin, is spearheading a project for China's National Academy of Sciences with a start-up budget of $350m. He has already recruited 140 PhD scientists, working full-time on thorium power at the Shanghai Institute of Nuclear and Applied Physics. He will have 750 staff by 2015.

The aim is to break free of the archaic pressurized-water reactors fueled by uranium -- originally designed for US submarines in the 1950s -- opting instead for new generation of thorium reactors that produce far less toxic waste and cannot blow their top like Fukushima.

"China is the country to watch," said Baroness Bryony Worthington, head of the All-Parliamentary Group on Thorium Energy, who visited the Shanghai operations recently with a team from Britain's National Nuclear Laboratory.
"They are really going for it, and have talented researchers. This could lead to a massive break-through."


Technology for the molten salt process already exists. The Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee built such a reactor in the 1960s. It was shelved by the Nixon Administration. The Pentagon needed plutonium residue from uranium to build nuclear bombs. The imperatives of the Cold War prevailed.

The thorium blueprints gathered dust in the archives until retrieved and published by former Nasa engineer Kirk Sorensen. The US largely ignored him: China did not.

Mr Jiang visited the Oak Ridge labs and obtained the designs after reading an article in the American Scientist two years ago extolling thorium. His team concluded that a molten salt reactor -- if done the right way -- may answer China's prayers. Mr Jiang says China's energy shortage is becoming "scary" and will soon pose a threat to national security.

His mission is to do something about China's Achilles Heel very fast. The Shanghai team plans to build a tiny 2 MW plant using liquid fluoride fuel by the end of the decade, before scaling up to commercially viable size over the 2020s. It is also working on a pebble-back reactor.

He estimates that China has enough thorium to power its electricity needs for "20,000 years". So does the world. The radioactive mineral is scattered across Britain. The Americans have buried tonnes of it, a hazardous by-product of rare earth metal mining.

China is already building 26 conventional reactors by 2015, with a further 51 planned, and 120 in the pipeline, but these have all the known drawbacks, and rely on imported uranium.

The beauty of thorium is that you cannot have a Fukushima disaster. Professor Robert Cywinksi from Huddersfield University, who anchor's the UK's thorium research network ThorEA, said the metal must be bombarded with neutrons to drive the process. "There is no chain reaction. Fission dies the moment you switch off the photon beam," he said.

His team is working on an accelerator driven subcritical reactor. "Peope are beginning to realize that uranium isn't sustainable. We're going to have to breed new nuclear fuel. If we are going to the trouble of breeding, we could start to use thorium instead, without introducing plutonium into the cycle," he said.

Thorium has its flaws. The metallurgy is complex. It is "fertile" but not fissile, and has to be converted in Uranium 233. Claims by the International Atomic Energy Institute in 2005 that it has "intrinsic resistance" to proliferation but have since been qualified. It could be used as feedstock for bombs, though not easily.

Yet it leaves far less toxic residue. Most of the mineral is used up in the fission process, while uranium reactors use up just 0.7pc. It can even burn up existing stockpiles of plutonium and hazardous waste.

Cambridge scientists published a tantalising study in the Annals of Nuclear Energy in February showing that it is possible to "achieve near complete transuranic waste incineration" by throwing the old residue into the reactor with thorium.
In other words, it can help clean up the mess left by a half a century of nuclear weapons and uranium reactors, instead of transporting it at great cost to be encased in concrete and buried for milennia. It is why some `greens' such as Baroness Worthington -- a former Friends of the Earth activist -- are embracing thorium. Though there are other reasons.

The thorium molten salt process takes place at atmospheric pressures. It does not require the vast domes of conventional reactors, so costly, and such an eyesore.

You could build pint-size plants largely below ground, less obtrusive than a shopping mall, powering a small town the size of Tunbridge Wells or Colchester. There would be shorter transmission lines, less leakage, and less risk of black-outs. The elegance is irresistible.

Mr Sorensen says his group Flibe Energy is exploring 250 MW reactors that could be tailor-made to power a single steel plant. Imagine the benefits for China, which drives is colossal steel industry -- 40pc of the world's total -- with high-polluting coking coal, much of it shipped from distant mines in lorries.

Mr Sorensen said his molten salt design could not cause a meltdown because it never reaches a high enough temperature to melt the nickel-alloy vessel.

If there is an emergency, a plug melts and the salts drain into a pan. "The reactor saves itself," he said.

Major players in the nuclear industry have had a vested interest in blocking thorium. They have huge sunk costs in the old technology, and they have bent the ear of cash-strapped ministers.

The hesitance of governments is understandable, but the costs are going to hit whatever they do. The overrun fiasco of Areva's Olkilouto reactor in Finland is not pretty either, and the UK's new reactor plans for Hinkley tempt fate as well.

China's dash for thorium is now changing the game. Britain has begun to hedge its bets. Chief scientific adviser Sir John Beddington said in September that the benefits of thorium are "often overstated" but conceded "theoretical advantages regarding sustainability, reducing radiotoxicity and reducing proliferation risk".

He noted rising global interest. "It may therefore be judicious for the UK to maintain a low level of engagement in thorium fuel cycle research." A bit lame for a country that once pioneered nuclear physics, but better than nothing.

Xu Hongjie, the director of the Shanghai project, says the US Energy Department has begun to take a close interest in China's plans and is now seeking "collaboration". He is also talking to the Russians. The Indians are kicking their thorium programme into higher gear.

leady
Posts: 1592
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:28 pm UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby leady » Thu Oct 23, 2014 8:56 am UTC

morriswalters wrote: In response to Leady I offer this, whatever you want to call it. I don't agree with this and it is dated, but consider the reasoning that leads to it.


Sure, but I file that in the same folder as "technological unemployment", i.e. a superficially good sounding narrative, but with no evidence its true and lots that its not.

morriswalters
Posts: 7073
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:21 am UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby morriswalters » Thu Oct 23, 2014 9:15 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:I notice that number doesn't remove the abortions done out of medical necessity (e.g., ectopic pregnancies which will kill the mother), or other complications. And even if that number is true, so what? None of the tissue is sapient; your average deer has more sentience.
It doesn't matter if they are sapient or not. As a method of population control they are ineffective and expensive compared to birth control.

User avatar
CorruptUser
Posts: 10485
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Oct 23, 2014 12:45 pm UTC

That's a straw man; no one claims that abortions should take the place of birth control.

morriswalters
Posts: 7073
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:21 am UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby morriswalters » Thu Oct 23, 2014 4:31 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Maybe. How many more people would the US have right now without abortions? How many more 50 years from now?
I was originally responding to this. I seemed to have skewed slightly sideways. My apologies.

User avatar
zmic
Posts: 427
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:38 pm UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby zmic » Thu Oct 23, 2014 4:53 pm UTC

Mambrino wrote:
zmic wrote:I hate to break the news to you, but abortion is really on its way out, as humanity is slowly but surely progressing towards more mature attitudes on sexuality, especially the insight the pleasing your private parts cannot take precedence over the termination of human life. You can rage and rant all that you want, but that is simply how it is going to be. I estimate it will take two more generations.


Have you got, like, anything to back that argument?


For one thing, you may have noticed a wave of anti-abortion bills advancing in the States? That happens for a reason.

leady
Posts: 1592
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:28 pm UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby leady » Thu Oct 23, 2014 5:15 pm UTC

I'm not sure you can use the fact that people are using medical outcomes etc as an attack on its accessbility as evidence of a new groundswell of support. Its largely the same people on a different attack vector.

User avatar
PeteP
What the peck?
Posts: 1451
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2011 4:51 pm UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby PeteP » Thu Oct 23, 2014 5:29 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:Morris, I don't think you understand why people have sex.
Without wanting to turn this in to a long and drawn out affair, I know exactly why people have sex. The drive exists explicitly so they will reproduce. It may be fun, it is for me, but at the end of the day we do it for the same reasons that rabbits do. It may be that intellect can trump that, but I have reservations, but your mileage may vary.

There is a difference between a trait which influences behaviour having evolutionary advantages and us doing something because of the advantages. Sex is fun, sex being fun makes it more likely that we produce offspring. So the reason sex is fun is probably because those with the trait were more likely to successfully propagate their genes. However, that doesn't mean we have sex because of the offspring instead of the fun. (Though of course, some people explicitly try to get pregnant.)
If you didn't make the mistake of confusing the reason why a trait was most likely selected for with the reason we do things I apologize. But it sounded like you did. And I consider the distinction important since quite a few people make silly arguments based on not making.

User avatar
CorruptUser
Posts: 10485
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Oct 23, 2014 5:54 pm UTC

zmic wrote:
Mambrino wrote:
zmic wrote:I hate to break the news to you, but abortion is really on its way out, as humanity is slowly but surely progressing towards more mature attitudes on sexuality, especially the insight the pleasing your private parts cannot take precedence over the termination of human life. You can rage and rant all that you want, but that is simply how it is going to be. I estimate it will take two more generations.


Have you got, like, anything to back that argument?


For one thing, you may have noticed a wave of anti-abortion bills advancing in the States? That happens for a reason.


Because the republicans have absolutely nothing else that appeals to anyone other than fundamentalists, so might as well focus on the only base they have left. Notice that none of the bills actually passed.

morriswalters
Posts: 7073
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:21 am UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby morriswalters » Thu Oct 23, 2014 7:45 pm UTC

PeteP wrote: So the reason sex is fun is probably because those with the trait were more likely to successfully propagate their genes. However, that doesn't mean we have sex because of the offspring instead of the fun. (Though of course, some people explicitly try to get pregnant.)
If you didn't make the mistake of confusing the reason why a trait was most likely selected for with the reason we do things I apologize. But it sounded like you did. And I consider the distinction important since quite a few people make silly arguments based on not making.
Remove that basic drive and ask yourself if sex would be important, would you still desire it? I'm not saying that your intellect desires to have children, I'm saying that biology doesn't care what your intellect wants. You can hold your breath until you pass out, but the minute you do the biology takes over. People make fun of the right for suggesting abstinence as a method of birth control. The idea is stupid because the drive overrides the intellect, people can't reliably abstain in most cases. They want sex more than they fear having children.

Trebla
Posts: 387
Joined: Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:51 pm UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby Trebla » Fri Oct 24, 2014 1:56 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Remove that basic drive and ask yourself if sex would be important, would you still desire it? I'm not saying that your intellect desires to have children, I'm saying that biology doesn't care what your intellect wants. You can hold your breath until you pass out, but the minute you do the biology takes over. People make fun of the right for suggesting abstinence as a method of birth control. The idea is stupid because the drive overrides the intellect, people can't reliably abstain in most cases. They want sex more than they fear having children.


But when you do decouple the act from its reproductive consequences (e.g., vasectomy) the desire doesn't fade (much). So... yes, if you remove that basic drive, it's still just as important and people still desire it. People who are sterile from birth still desire it (though I don't know offhand if there are significant differences in their levels).

I may have misunderstood you here, since it sounds like you say this same thing with your last sentence... they're not doing it because of biological imperative (they want it...) but in spite of it (...more than they fear the results).

User avatar
CorruptUser
Posts: 10485
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

Re: Wave of anti-abortion bills advance in the states

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Oct 24, 2014 2:03 pm UTC

And if you remove the reproductive component, they have more if it, according to every religious anti-sex group ever. So obviously, the reproductive portion is generally a disincentive for sex.


Return to “News & Articles”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 26 guests