Not Sick, Physically

25 March 2001

I just finished the Jewish Americans project. Polishing, glossary, sidebars, and all. I can now focus on the Chinese Americans book for the rest of the week, or as long as it takes. Woohoo. I've got a general idea of what I'm going to do, but it's very strange: nobody seems to want to talk about Chinese immigration since the Cultural Revolution. Anything since the rise of Chinese Communism is hard to find, but it's like after the Cultural Revolution, no Chinese people ever came to the U.S. Which is just laughable. I'm wondering why it's like that.

So far I've only heard from Timprov about my "stuff to know" -- Mark says he has some bones to pick on them, but he's been busy trying to get ready for the USITS conference. Timprov thinks I have too much science on there. I knew somebody would think that, possibly many somebodies. But my observation is that people who know very little science are easier to put something over on. Easier to swindle, easier to get in on a totally unreasonable argument. And this sort of thing affects people's worlds pretty directly.

For example. I am rabidly pro-nuclear. I think that a well-designed nuclear plant is probably the safest and cleanest form of energy there is right now. (Solar energy is limited by manufacture of solar panels, among other things; the trade-off energy is not good. Its efficiency is lousy, comparatively speaking.) I can show you numbers that support this. For example, a shielded nuclear plant gives off fewer radioactive particles than your average coal plant, which emits C13 into the atmosphere at crazy rates. But "radioactivity" has been separated off in most people's heads, as if it is something that doesn't occur except in "nuclear waste" and so on. Rather than being in pretty much literally everything, including your own body. This is basic science, folks.

Usually when people find out I'm pro-nuke, they put their hands on their hips (if only metaphorically speaking) and ask me if I'm willing to have nuclear waste buried in my backyard. And the answer is yes. I have not yet had my children, so I'm at a point in my life where excessive radiation could make a really unfortunate large difference. But I've crunched the numbers. We know how to engineer shielded containment for nuclear waste. We really do. I've gone through the math on all of the big questions, and I'm pretty confident in my answers. Unfortunately, most of the people arguing with me haven't done any of the math and don't care to.

Why does this upset me so much? Well, gosh, let me see. Because knee-jerk anti-technological sentiments have resulted in power options that are damaging the world I get to live in and raise my kids in. Because other people are not willing to learn enough of the science to be able to examine the alternatives in terms of actual impact. It is once again considered good enough to Mean Well. Guess what? The biosphere does not care whether you meant well. So just consider me a step nicer than the biosphere.

I'm not really that crabby. I just needed to get The Nuke Thing out of my system. I've been hearing people yammer about power so constantly that it's been getting to me. I'm really happy to be done with the first of these two projects, and I now feel confident that I can turn in the second one on time and well-done without a major lifestyle change (like going on four hours of sleep a night...not something I handle well).

Ooh! In Happy News, I'm not sick any more! I'm still coughing lightly every once in awhile. But I slept through last night without having to take NyQuil and without waking myself up coughing. That counts. I don't know why I have to get rid of every cold by going through the same symptoms backwards. Tim thinks it's because I'm a cyborg. I think cyborgs would be better designed than that. How come everybody thinks I'm a cyborg or an alien or something? It's not even like I look Romulan. Unlike some people I know and love and invited to be in my wedding. As a general category, of course. Not that I have any Michelles in mind.

Damn Karen. Now we're playing Twenty Questions To Rule Them All. Only Mark keeps coming up with things that weren't in Tolkien. The Balrog's VW microbus and Pippin's ice pick and Pippin's onion breath have been popular (Pippin is getting picked on because Mark forgot him last night when I was playing in my sleep). Gwaihir's butt was my favorite of the real answers so far. Endlessly funny. Should it be? Heck, no. It's a dumb joke. But "I'm thinking of an object" should not result in "Gwaihir's butt." Ever. And so I laugh and laugh.

"Eowyn's spear's butt" may be still better, sort of as a metajoke. That was the last one Timprov came up with. I think this is the sort of game you shouldn't pick up from other people. This should just have been Karen and Pär's game. But now we're stuck with it.

I also finished the course outline for the class I'm trying to teach. So I'm going to throw together the flier for it and get that in the mail. Along with the church constitutional commentary I promised to write. And the revisions on "Irena's Roses," crossing my fingers. And the copies of the finished Jewish Americans project. And everything else. I'm not quite as stressy as I was before I finished this, but there's still a lot coming up. It's all cool. There's just a lot of it. But I'll try not to whine. Just yell at me if I do. You know how.

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