The SDFP Science Corner, because science is now a liberal conspiracy
By Anna Daniels
It has been an amazing week in science. The bones of the world’s largest dinosaur were discovered in Argentina, scientists appear poised to turn light into matter and the 12,000 year old skeleton of a young girl found in an under water cave in Mexico offers new information about the evolution of Native Americans.
This week in chemistry: The recent botched execution by lethal injection of an Oklahoman inmate has spurred discussion by citizens and members of the medical and legal professions, as well it should. The use of lethal injection for executions has been grotesque in its results.
The three drug protocol begins with the injection into a drip line of sodium thiopental, an anesthetic which is supposed to put the patients asleep. The second drug- pavalon or pancuronium bromide– is supposed to paralyze the muscle system and stop breathing. The third drug–potassium chloride–is supposed to stop the heart.
It doesn’t require a chemist to understand that an insufficient administration of the anesthetic will result in pain. Insufficient dosages of the paralyzing and heart stopping drugs will prolong the suffering. The drugs themselves may cause pain and suffering.
The use of lethal injections has turned into a macabre ad hoc chemistry experiment administered by inexperienced technicians or orderlies because medical ethics preclude doctors from participating in executions. The procurement of the drugs is secretive and clandestine. Lethal injection is a practice that has clearly parted legal and ethical ways from the Constitution’s Eight Amendment which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.
Two things to keep in mind– the paralyzing drug pancuronium bromide isn’t even used by veterinarians to euthanize animals because it can cause severe pain and suffering. Here’s the other thing to keep in mind:
Oklahoma state Rep. Mike Christian (R), however, apparently sees no problem with Lockett’s slow and painful death. According to a local news report, Christian said that he doesn’t care if inmates are killed by lethal injection, electrocution, a firing squad, a hanging, the guillotine or “being fed to the lions.”
The psychology of Turd Blossom: Turd Blossom is not a form of flora. Karl Rove, whom George Bush called “Boy Genius” and “Turd Blossom” does provide instructive psychological insight into the methodology of the smear and innuendo. His deceit and conjecture about the lingering effects of Hillary Clinton’s hospitalization last year for a blood clot is straight out of the Rove playbook. Just the same old stuff.
Living better with nuclear energy? Florida Governor Rick Scott approved the expansion of the Turkey Point nuclear plant on the outskirts of Miami. The expansion includes an additional 88 miles of power lines and two new nuclear generators. In the Rolling Stone article Why the City of Miami is Doomed, the impact of climate change in the form of rising sea levels combined with the possibility of a hurricane reveals a grim scenario.
But the biggest problem of all is that inundation maps show that with three feet of sea-level rise, Turkey Point is cut off from the mainland and accessible only by boat or aircraft. And the higher the seas go, the deeper it’s submerged.
According to Dave Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer and the director of the Nuclear Safety Project for the Union of Concerned Scientists, the situation at Turkey Point underscores the backwardness of how we calculate the risks of nuclear power. The Nuclear Regulatory Committee, which oversees the safety of nukes in America, demands that operators take into account past natural hazards such as storms and earthquakes, “but they are silent about future hazards like sea-level rise and increasing storm surges,” Lochbaum says. The task force that examined nuclear-safety regulations after the Fukushima tsunami recommended that the NRC begin taking future events into account, but so far, they have not acted on the recommendation.
It’s cherry blossom time in Fukushima. It’s been three years since a powerful earthquake released tsunami waves that reached 133 feet and traveled up to six miles inland. It resulted in over 15,000 deaths and caused the meltdown of three nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. An additional 15,000 people have not been able to return to their homes in the area because of the unsafe radiation level. Cleanup workers cannot perform work on the ground for the same reason.
So here’s the “loveliest of trees, the cherry blossom now…” filmed by a drone in the post apocalyptic landscape of the abandoned city of Tomioka.
Back to Florida Power and Light and the Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant:
“The decision Tuesday was just one in a string of victories for FPL since 2006, when it first indicated it wanted to take advantage of the emerging interest in nuclear power as climate change became a politically volatile issue.”
File this one under “irony.”