Please be patient with me on this post – it might take a while before I clearly demonstrate why it belongs on Atomic Insights. First I want to share a couple of entertaining, but informative videos that you’ll probably never see in the commercial media.
This is another version of the same song, performed with a band in front of an audience in a theater.
The star of those videos is David Ippolito, who is known as That Guitar Man from Central Park. I first heard about him and his minstrel-like song writing skills while listening to Adam Curry’s Daily Source Code, which can legitimately stake a claim as being the first podcast. I started listening to that show and to other podcasts in early 2005.
Podcasts might have actually saved my life – it was so much easier to stay alert during my long commute from Annapolis to Washington, DC while listening to intelligent conversation and independently produced music than while listening to ad interrupted, inane talk or “top 40” radio that is produced by conglomerates like Clear Channel.
Curry’s show demonstrated how someone with broadcasting experience as a creative DJ who had run afoul of corporate control could declare his independence and keep on doing the DJ work he loved to do. Curry spoke frequently of his desire to share the sound track of his life without being “encouraged” to follow a homogenizing playlist. As some of you know, I joined the podcasting movement in March of 2006 and have produced more than 180 episodes of The Atomic Show since that time.
For me, podcasting and blogging have never about finding a way to monetize the effort and quit my day job. They have been my way to find and share knowledge with people who might share some of my passion. When your favorite topic is nuclear energy, it is a real challenge to find a local group of people – even if you live and work in a big metropolitan area – who are willing to listen and exchange ideas without their eyes glazing over.
There is a strong thread that ties podcasters, bloggers, and independent song writers together – we share a desire to express creative thoughts to others, even if those others are strangers who we may never meet face to face. Of course, that desire to express oneself to others is nothing new, but the technology available today makes it possible for nearly everyone to have the privilege of finding a potentially world wide audience.
Aside: Fortunately, I occasionally get a chance to meet someone in person with whom I developed a friendship through my Atomic efforts. Most recently, I had a chance to meet Brian Mays and his dad at a local American Nuclear Society dinner. We had a great conversation about interesting topics like nuclear rocket motors. End Aside.
The reason that I have chosen to share a little of my personal political philosophy of independent thinking and communicating – I’m a libertarian leaning person who does not like being controlled by either corporations or government – is that I believe many of the people who joined the Occupy movement are potential nuclear energy advocates. Unfortunately, many of them have been influenced by the establishment to have an almost programmed negative reaction to the words “nuclear”, “atomic”, and “radiation”.
In some small way, I want to let them know that most of the bad things that they have heard about nuclear energy have been told to them by people who really like the established way of the world. “They” like having control of power and fuel, knowing that the false perception of scarcity gives them access to far more resources than they would otherwise have based simply on their skills and ability.
“They” also like encouraging people to be afraid of low probability hazards like “terrorists” and “radiation” because it encourages some people to demand that the government step in to provide protection. That is exactly what “they” want – a timid population of people who will accept incredibly onerous laws like the “Patriot Act” and intrusive agencies like the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Homeland Security.
My guess is that about 1% of the world’s population really likes the fact that people think we are doomed to either be dependent on fossil fuels or to be limited to “natural”, but completely unreliable energy sources.
My message of hope this morning is to shout from the highest soapbox that I control – Atomic Insights – that atomic energy provides mankind with almost unlimited, clean, affordable power.
From an engineering perspective, power is simply defined as “the rate at something can do work”. We all have a lot of work to do to make the world a better place and there is not too much time to waste. In order to work rapidly, we need all of the power that we can get. It is time to demand that politicians remove the ties that bind down our access to atomic energy. It is time to ask them – “Where’dat power go?”
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