Andy's insights

Opinions, thoughts, archivements

Sun, 30 May 2010

Ultimate Atomic Waste Storage is the Wrong Way

Why do we still talk about final disposal of atomic waste? Don’t we learn from the past that this is the wrong way?

It’s confortable to think that once it’s burried we don’t have to care about it anymore. But we have to worry! There are plenty examples.

First take a landfill in an old clay pit used around 1980 to keep chemical waste. It was considered save as final disposal of chemical waste at this time. But then it was discovered that the landfill was not save: It stinks and fishes around the landfill died.

Then one of the most complicated and expensive1 reclamation of contaminated sites in Switzerland began. Due the target to final dispose the waste is not labeled and not packed to be simply removed. Each barrel content has to be identified and carefully recovered.

An now consider an ultimate atomic waste storage deep down in a salt stock sucking up with groundwater. Do we really trust in officials declaring it as save?

For instance take Gorleben in Germany. There was no sufficient scientific review of the spot. Simply the place with the least resistance was taken. It seem like Gorleben is still the favorit final disposal .

I’ll don’t talk about phasing out nuclear energy, this is another story. If we keep the power plants running we have to deal with the atomic waste the right way. We cant bury and forgot it, but we have to store it in atomic waste stores. This is a big difference to a final atomic waste store. The difference is that you can take the waste out of it whenever you like. The store may be deep in the mountain, but with a door. If water is intruding the store, you simply move the waste to another store.

The problem with this approach is that it costs more money right now. The costs add up to the total costs of the atomic energy. If you just can bury an forget the waste, the costs is hidden. Will be payed by the commonality in 10, 100, or 10000 years later. Share holder value don’t last so long.

1 A huge hall was build with the biggest self-supporting roof in Switzerland

posted at: 17:45 | path: /politics/energy | permanent link to this entry

Sat, 29 May 2010

Gulf of Mexico Oil Contamination

The oil leak is still spilling oil in our precious environment. For five weeks now.

I don’t wonder that the risk was initially rated low as a realistic rating would not have allowed to drill for oil in the first place.

I don’t wonder that the problem was initially belittled by BP . This is just how corporate marketing and politics works. If you say enough often and loud that there isn’t a problem, people start beliving it. The massive use of Corexit oil dispersant helped to reduce the visible amount of oil on surface and help to keep those claims alive.

I don’t wonder that equipment and preventing counter-measures where not installed when they where too costly in the view of the oil industries. So there was only a weak blowout preventer valve as the only backup. Provit has priority .

I don’t wonder that it is very complicated to shut the hole. There is a massive pressure at the well an the whole equipment seem to be messed up. After the last attempt to stop the oil failed there is little hope.

I wonder that all the experts are not able to reduce the mass of oil spilled. You can’t stop them, but it should be possible to pump the oil from the well . Clearly this costs much money, but there are little short time alternatives.

This catastrophe did also show how much the politics depends on the oil industries – even Obama.

I fear this catastrophics will come out much worser than we think it already is.

The only consequences is not to boycott BP, but to boycott the whole oil industries by developing and supporting renewable energy sources. There is enough energy on planet. And no, atomic enery is not the solution.

Update 2010-05-30

History repeats itself . The only thing human learned from history is that human didn’t learned from history.

posted at: 23:58 | path: /politics/energy | permanent link to this entry

Sat, 08 May 2010

The Day The Routers Died - IPv6

As the IPv4 addresses are a scarce good that runs out in 2011 we should really start switching to IPv6.

Probably this song helps to motivate this move!

posted at: 21:39 | path: /net | permanent link to this entry

Sat, 01 May 2010

Parkour and Freerunning

I really like the idea of Parkour for it’s simplicity and Freerunning for its elegance. I found the crazy jump videos by that is outrageous good. As a former artistic gymnastic I’ll like to see the elements from bar and floor in a much more lax environment using the simple elements of our urban civilisation.

A few more videos impressed me too: Parkour in Latvia , Ninja man! , this one , and the Berlin guys

posted at: 20:12 | path: /sports | permanent link to this entry

Wed, 21 Apr 2010

Javascript scanner for xgettext

I’ve spend quite a few hours to build Gettext support into our huge Javascript application at work. One missing part was a Javascript scanner for the xgettext command.

After looking into the source I decided to extend the Gettext utility by myself. (After all I read the Dragon Book ).

It was quite simple to build a Javascript scanner module based on the existing Python scanner. All scanners don’t try to fully parse the source code but to only parse as much as needed to divide comments from code and identify the gettext function calls (_("...")) and extract it’s argument(s).

The first version already ran through our code base of about 40k lines without any errors. But running it on another project revealed that I need also to identify regular expression statements like /a"b'c/. If the RegExp statement contains unbalanced string quotation marks (’ or “) then the scanner barks and misses following translateable strings. So I spend more time fixing those special cases. The scanner is now ready to test in production environments.

My next step is to port back the current code to 0.17 and fix the symbol error in this backport that prevents to compile it on ELF based systems.

If you are interrested, the module can be obtained from my public GIT repository at github:

I’m still trying to get it upstream into the gettext distribution. So far I got no reaction, but I’m patient. At least other possible users asked my about this new feature.

posted at: 23:41 | path: /development | permanent link to this entry

Sun, 18 Apr 2010

New Webserver

This page is now running on a new webserver.

As all my services this runs now within a virtual machine within my home server I’m describing in my Knowledge Base

It’s a Apache based webserver, running Pyblosxom and a MoinMoin wiki using mod_wsgi The whole Webserver has no PHP and no database. This simplify setup and mainenance.

For both the blog and the wiki I added a uniform theme. For both, the theming was very easy but a assiduity work. And if you wonder: I just write HTML and CSS as standardized by W3C . I’ve no idea how this looks in IE(Internet Explorer), I don’t bother.

posted at: 23:13 | path: /news | permanent link to this entry