Picking Balls


A bag contains four balls – two red, one white and one blue. Someone takes two balls from the bag and tells you that at least one of them is red. What is the probability that the other is red? This is a simple logic problem which seemed to cause quite a few problems – […]

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‘Bigging Up’ Nuclear

The director of one of the companies I used to work for had a technique of getting contracts which is probably not that uncommon. He would get contracts with promises to deliver with ridiculous short time scales for delivery and also undercut the competitors on price. He then renegotiated the contract after a while once […]

Posted in Jobs and Economics | 1 Comment

The Problem of Complex Systems

This post is a bit abstract but I hope it will help people understand the problems involved with dealing with complex systems. The reason it is abstract is because I want to make the ‘complex systems’ as simple as possible. We are told that nuclear is ‘certainly’ safe, that there is ‘no possibility’ of an […]

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The Problems Of Fail-safes and Redundancy

When discussing nuclear safety we are often told by the nuclear industry that they have ‘fail-safes’ , ‘built in redundancy’ etc that make their reactors ‘safe’. In this post I shall explore some of these claims. It will, hopefully, not bring up any surprises for people involved in nuclear safety but will hopefully be useful […]

Posted in Accidents and Risks | 2 Comments

Nuclear Power – Converting Mass Into Energy?

One of the things that most people know about nuclear power is that it about turning mass into energy – E= mc2. Although this is not wrong it is extremely misleading. First of all I am going to digress a bit. One of the things that makes Einsteins theory of relativity important is that it […]

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The ‘unscientific’ approach to Radiation Risk

This post was going to be about the ICRP’s (International Committee on Radiological Protection) risk model. However, Dr Chris Busby has recently written1 an article for The Ecologist which covers some of what I was going to say. However, there are a few additional points I would like to make. It is important to note […]

Posted in Accidents and Risks | 1 Comment

A is for Atom

Here is a link to a 1992 programme by Adam Curtis called ‘A is for Atom’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/legacy/adamcurtis/2011/03/a_is_for_atom.html What I found interesting was the interviews with some of the people involved in the very early days of the nuclear power industry including: Alvin Weinberg, inventor of the PWR and BWR reactor Glenn Seaborg, Chairman of the […]

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Human Rights, Worker Rights and the EU

In my previous post I noted a few things about the Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights. In this post I am going to talk a bit about what was left out of the European Convention and also the reason for some of the anti-EU sentiment in some political parties. The […]

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David Cameron, Human Rights Act and Freedom Speech

In my last post I talked a bit about ‘humanitarian war’ . In this post I want to make a few points how this foreign policy often goes hand-in-hand with policy changes at home. One obvious example of this was the Reichstag Fire in Germany in 19331. Perceived, real threats or even, in the case […]

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Iraq / Syria – Humanitarian War?

“There never has been a war yet which, if the facts had been put calmly before the ordinary folk, could not have been prevented … The common man, I think, is the great protection against war.” Ernest Bevin The aggressors in most wars claim that they are doing so on ‘humanitarian grounds’ from Hitler invasions […]

Posted in War | 1 Comment