Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Bush was shining

In the State of the Union Address, Bush has shown that there are very good reasons why he is the leader of the civilized world and why his speechwriters are the speechwriters of the leader of the civilized world.

Yes, much like 75% of the Americans, I am going to give Bush a positive rating.

The speech was impressive, meaningful, optimistic, mostly non-ideological & practical - and what I am completely amazed by is the method how he reads the text. Why? It certainly looks like he has memorized the whole speech. Do you understand how he does it? Is the text projected on all the walls?

Thanks to Robert for having shown me a good photograph that clarifies everything.

Some topics:
  • Spreading freedom & successes in Iraq
  • For people in Iran: we love you & are looking forward to freedom and democracy in your country
  • For Hamas: you must accept Israel and disarm
  • Patriot Act & tax cuts should be renewed
  • Social security overhaul was defeated (the democratic wing applauded)
  • A bipartisan committee will be dedicated to this issue
  • Affordable healthcare is important
  • Health insurance will become easy to switch when you change your job
  • Electronic gadgets will verify the medical operations to prevent errors
  • In 6 years, the alternative energy sources & fuels will become practical
  • By 2025, oil addiction and dependence on Middle East will decrease by 75%
  • Education of math and sciences is gonna improve
  • Competitiveness Act is in construction
  • The funding of the most intelligent researchers, namely those in physical sciences, is going to grow (or double?)
  • Comments about Martin Luther King's wife & thanks to Sandra O'Connor
  • Improving security & decrease of drug addicts in the last 12 years
  • Immigration is useful for the economy but borders must become safe
  • The economy is strong, recently created 4+ million jobs
  • No one else can compete with the U.S. but America can't be satisfied
  • No one has the right to humiliate the production of our Creator, e.g. clone people or sell human embryos (controversial anti-stem-cell-research comments)

The Republicans were applauding very often; but the Democrats such as Hillary were doing so, too. While talking about the Social Security, Bush made a joke about two baby boomers that his father likes - namely about himself and Bill Clinton - which was amusing for Hillary, too.

Tim Kaine (D-VA) offered his democratic response, claiming that the Bush administration's management is poor. He argued that the Virginia's management is great and proposes various bipartisan programs at higher level, too. Kaine has criticized tax cuts and the public debt. He argued that Bush does not pay the promised money to the No Child Left Behind act. He complained about the flawed intelligence leading to the war in Iraq, and about bad tools of the U.S. troops in Iraq. He describes the economy in terms of lost jobs, too high energy consumption. Although Kaine is smiling in a pleasant way and his tone is constructive and optimistic, his comments were rather negativistic, and based on some arguably irrelevant local episodes (good for him, of course).

I think that the people who say that Bush is stupid have no idea what they're talking about.


  1. i think bush is a good leader
    he has a bad rep from the anti war propaganda people who miss the facts and dont realize if you want to make a omlet you have to brake some eggs

  2. Lubos:

    I may or may not agree with the notion that Bush is stupid. But, Lubos, by calling hi a "Genius", you are REALLY setting your standard LOW. Where do you have slots to put some of the really smart people, if Bush already occupies the "Genius".

    Using a semitransparent colored glass for text prompting is nothing new and it's not even Bush's idea. When Bush turned his head left and right he was just trying to follow the projected text, But Lubos thought he was making eye contacts with the audience and was smart in memorizing the whole lecture.

    The immediate response, from both some of the Republicans, and some of the Democrats, is that there is no specifics in Bush's speech. In another word, much ado about nothing.

    The one specific number I hear, is that fundings for alternative energy source research will be increased by 20% next year. That's too little, too late! In the words of Republican Senator Christopher Shay of CT: "We need a massive Apollo-scale initiative to pull it off!" 20% is just not going to do it.

    I think Shay is a member of the newly formed Congressional Peak Oil Caucus, and member of the Apollo Alliance. There are quite a number of lawmakers who gets it. But Bush still doesn't get it. He meantioned not a single word of saving energy or improving energy efficiency.


  3. It really shocked me when Bush meantioned "zero-emission, coal-fired plants". That is really genius! Doesn't any of his aids tell him that coal firing could not be "zero-emission": When coal is burned it generates carbon dioxide. But then if even a string theorist does not know about that fact, how should Bush know?


  4. Clean coal power:

    President Bush is referring to a process by which the energy generated from burning coal is used to reduce the CO2 produced:

    CO2 + energy -> carbon + oxygen

    unfortunately, this reaction requires the same energy as was released by burning coal in the first place.

    Taking account of waste heat, a zero emission power station would require more energy than it produces.

    They could power it, however, using a nuclear power station.

    Obviously, it would be more sensible to start with a nuclear powerstation and not have any zero emission coal power stations.

    However, politics dictates otherwise. Coal is politically cleaner than nuclear power.

    After all, radioactive waste has really been stored safely for 2 billion years without killing everyone:

    "Fifteen natural fission reactors have been found in three different ore deposits at the Oklo mine in Gabon, West Africa. These are collectively known as the Oklo Fossil Reactors. And when these deep underground natural nuclear chain reactions were over, nature showed that it could effectively contain the radioactive wastes created by the reactions."

    This last point is simply ignored as per Orwell's "Crimestop" politics:

    ‘Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity.’- G. Orwell, 1984, Chancellor Press, London, 1984, p225.

  5. Lubos,

    As for Bush being genious etc., may I recommend the book by Jerzy Kosinski "Being There". I just cant think of closer analogy with Bush.

  6. Nigel:

    Do you realize that the Oklo "natural reactor" story is a crackpot idea. It is not a natural reactor. The hopothesis is not true.

    This tell-tale line, from the source you quoted, tells the true story: "Plutonium has moved less than 10 feet from where it was formed almost two billion years ago." (Look under the title "What happened to the nuclear waste left at Oklo?")

    Why is that a tell-tale line? Remember that Plutonium 238 is a man made element that does not exist naturally! It does not exist naturally not because the nature does not have a way to generate it, but because its decay half life is just too short, at mere 87.74 year. If the element is reduced by half every 87.74 years, it does not take long for the concentration to reduce to effectively zero. 2 billion years has a lot of 87.74 years. Had the Plutonium been generated naturally 2 billion years ago, it's quantity today would be (1/2)^(2x10^9/87.74) = 3x10^-6861864, effectively zero for all purposes.

    Now you see why most scientists are incredibly STUPID? They detected Plutonium and then claim the Plutinium was generated by a natural reactor 2 billion years ago, and they don't realize that Plutonium decays rapidly and simply will not exist for long time.

    A simpler explanation of the unusually low U235 adundance relative to U238, is that South African or other African nation is secretly developing nuclear weapons, and they dispose the mostly useless depleted Uranium, mostly U238 by diluting it and dump in the environment secretly so no one knows. The naturally discovered Plutinium of any quantity can only have a man made source in recent history.


  7. hehe, apparently, I am not the only one:

  8. Quantoken,

    I can't believe you claimed that plutonium is not natural, just because you know the half life of one isotope, 238, is short...

    Think about all the others! The most stable is plutonium-244 which has been found in meterors and used to date the origin of the solar system, and which has an 82 million years half life!!! Even commonplace plutonium-239 has a half-life about 24000 years.

    First, at 2 billion years ago, the ratio of U235 to U238 would be high enough (due to the much shorter halflife of U235) to sustain fission in large water-percolated uranium ore seams like pitchblend.

    Such a nuclear reactor is going to send out neutrons, some of which will be captured in U-238 to produce U-239 which decays by beta and gamma emission with a half life of 23 minutes to form Np-239, which has a half life of 56 hours and again emits beta and some gamma energy, forming plutonium-239.

    The U.S. Atomic Energy Commission in 1950 succeeded in extracting a small amount of natural plutonium from pitchblend.

    More on the natural reactor:

    "What made such a thing possible was that in the distant past uranium was naturally enriched in U-235, that is, less of it had decayed away by nuclear fission. About 1.7 billion years ago, to be more precise, a natural deposit of uranium ore was radioactive enough to generate about 100 kilowatts of heat, off and on, for more than a million years.

    "Geologic forces gathered the uranium together. First a layer of sandstone was infiltrated by uranium-bearing groundwater, leaving a relatively thin sheet of uranium-oxide ore. Then the rocks were tilted, and as they eroded downward the groundwater concentrated the uranium minerals, sweeping them downward within the sandstone until a thick stripe of ore was built up. That's when things heated up....

    "Only a supernova can manufacture elements heavier than iron, including uranium. With a half-life of 700 million years, U-235 started out making up nearly half of all uranium when the solar system began some 4560 million years ago. Many shorter-lived radioisotopes that existed in the beginning, like aluminum-26, have become extinct. We know of their former existence by the presence of their decay products in ancient meteorites—nuclear fossils."

    See photograph of the reactor here:

    This also gives respected sources like:

    ""A Natural Fission Reactor" by George A. Cowan in Scientific American, July 1976. (Pages 36 - 47).

    "It contains photos, diagrams, and a description of the research into the Oklo reactors. This is probably the best-known article about Oklo; it contains readable scientific information for non-specialists."

    This page is by the American Nuclear Society, which would hardly want to tarnish its respected image by getting a bad reputation with the public for honesty, would it?

    Another page says:

    "These natural chain reactions, started spontaneously by the presence of water acting as a moderator, continued for about 2 million years before finally dying away.

    "During this long reaction period about 5.4 tonnes of fission products as well as 1.5 tonnes of plutonium together with other transuranic elements were generated in the orebody. The initial radioactive products have long since decayed into stable elements but close study of the amount and location of these has shown that there was little movement of radioactive wastes during and after the nuclear reactions. Plutonium and the other transuranics remained immobile."

  9. I mean plutonium-244 was found in meteorites, not meterors, at least I think so ... I recall an article on this by P. Kuroda in "Radionuclides in the Environment", a book edited by Edward C. Freiling and published in 1970 by the American Chemical Society. I haven't got any means of seeing that book at present.

    I think they must detect some of the multiple neutron capture actinides like plutonium-244 even after very long times.

    Some of the references I quoted above are obviously a bit wrong. The webpage by a geologist seems to be OK for geology, but talks of fission as being radioactivity. This is a bad way of describing it, although when it is alpha radioactivity there are some analogies to fission, and one type of "radioactivity" (for fissile materials) is often listed as "spontaneous fission", so the details are complex.

    Anyway Bush should be setting a good example to Iran, etc., by investing more in nuclear power.