Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Two Types of Reality

This week has really brought home the two types of reality, and how they clash.

Political Reality

This is really worth the big bucks. Masters of the art can be in finance or politics. In finance, you are either betting against the crowd, or packaging something to sell (Let's bundle these crummy mortgages!). Debaters, such as Obama, and lawyers are also masters.

Masters of this art also rise in the military during peacetime, and in giant Canadian institutions when they aren't doing anything. Examples include the totally political Space Shuttle (make it reusable!), solar cells in the gloom, and wind turbines in the doldrums.

Physical Reality

This actually bites quite rarely, but with spectacular results. It is summarized by the saying: "What goes up, must come down." A perfect example is Feynman dipping a piece of shuttle o-ring in ice water and snapping it. Of course, the bigger demonstration of this was rather messy!

Clash of the Titans

This week saw a good example of the right Reality winning. The Chaiten volcano was following a perfect pattern of Pompeii, right down to a large number of people wanting to stay in the ash. The gov't forced an evacuation, almost at gunpoint, knowing that they might have to mount a rescue in a pyroclastic flow! This was a far cry from Katrina, where political reality won out.

The point is, physical reality will always have the last laugh, and this is where I get most of my laughs in this blogs. In the geology and nuclear biz, it is fun to watch the ball coming down: especially at Pickering right now. Am I cruel for laughing? I'm sure all the political masters hate me.

Physical reality bites hard when Mother Nature is angry. You can totally suppress a country for a while with bullets, but then comes a cyclone and millions might be dead eventually. I've gone on an on about earthquakes, but they do happen, even though political reality denies their existence.

Now with the CNSC totally in charge of kangaroo panels, I don't expect much happening in the next few years with the new nuclear plants and nuclear waste disposal. I expect them to totally follow political reality. Physical reality will hit when you have to build the suckers!