Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Depleted Uranium is safe, according to the U.S. DoD

Here's a pointer to several studies and claims around depleted uranium. The most interesting is a U.S. Defense Department study concluding there's little harm from using DU weapons. Of course, what else do you expect from the people who are most liable for damage caused by the weapons.

Depleted Uranium All That Deadly? ( November 21, 2005)

Their claim is that DU weapons show little increase in cancer among military personell.

Okay, that may be true. However it's clear the issue doesn't stop with the military folk. Once the battle is over, what happens to the battleground? People will move back to their homes, but now their homesites are littered with the dust made when DU weapons hit their targets. Hence, the people are moving back to a place infested with radioactive dust.

Let's be clear - the radiation emitted by depleted uranium isn't very harmful. It is primarily alpha particles, which have little penetrating power, and therefore are not harmful unless you "eat" the depleted uranium. If DU dust enters the bloodstream the alpha particles can cause a lot of damage, but the damage occurs only if it enters the body.

And that's the point. When a DU weapon hits a target, it tends to turn into dust. The military might "clean up" the battlefield after the battle is over, but how can they clean up the dust? Hence there will be a residue left afterwards, and that residue will mix with the environment, and enter peoples bodies as, for example, they eat food grown on the ground of the former battlefield.

Clearly DU weapons are excellent at what they're designed to do - namely to penetrate armor and other kinds of fortified positions. That's why the military uses them.

Here's some alternate viewpoints:

Campaign Against Depleted Uranium:

Poisinous Legacy:

Uranium Medical Research Center

Depleted Uranium: How the Pentagon Radiates Soldiers & Civilians with DU Weapons


Thursday, November 3, 2005

Floating offshore wind platform

Floating offshore wind energy and hydrogen fuel-generating company tipping to Europe or Asia

Inventor Tom L. Lee, Ph.D. has developed a floating wind turbine platform concept for accessing the higher winds out at sea, and convert wind energy efficiently to hydrogen and electricity. Would prefer to see its manufacture and distribution licensed to a U.S. party.


Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Low tech diesel engines - off the grid biofuels anyone?

Saw this on Cool Tools

Seems there's an old design for diesel engines, made by the Lister company. The Lister design has since been sold off and knockoffs are made around the world. The important thing is they're low tech, repairable by anybody, and are rugged.

Hmm, in June I took a trip to a remote part of Baja Mexico, and remember seeing an engine just like that on the boats there. - sells these engines. But their web site is extremely disorganized, so it's hard to say just what they do.

One observation is that with such a simple engine, it would be real simple to run it off a biodiesel fuel.