Friday, March 11, 2016

Spring

Barely had I finished complaining about the endless winter in my previous blog post when the skies turned all blue and I found myself looking for my sunglasses, a copy of “Pretentiousness: Why It Matters” by Dan Fox and, of course, a bottle of balcony borgoletto. With William turning 15 months yesterday, one can truly feel his excitement as he sets off into the spring:

In the outside world, many things remain frustratingly dark. The Republican primaries have been one long echo from our savaged past with its hypermasculinities, bigotry and reactionary irrationalism. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders may rightfully have criticized the influence of money over politics and advocated many good things from criminal justice reform to universal healthcare, yet his narrow-minded isolationism, protectionism and broken climate policies (for more on that, Ted Nordhaus just published an excellent op-ed) are all worrying signs in a time when the world needs integration and solidarity more than ever.

In other news, today marks five years since the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. At the time, Anna and I were living in Hong Kong and I remember that we were just about to board a flight down to Vietnam for the weekend when the news broke of the 9.0 megathrust earthquake. Yet, despite that the earthquake and tsunami killed more than 15 000 people, the world’s attention soon shifted almost completely to the nuclear disaster unfolding at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Even if that accident still has not caused any direct deaths, many people took it as evidence that nuclear was inherently unsafe. Rereading my own posts here on Rawls & Me, I have to admit that I too was swept along by the anti-nuclear hysteria that followed. Yet, in retrospect, I think that, more than anything, it was precisely the Fukushima accident that made me so strongly pro-nuclear. After all, if a technology can withstand one of the most massive earthquakes in recorded history followed by a 13 meter tall tsunami and numerous aftershocks without causing any fatalities (despite a terrible safety culture), then that should clearly count to the merits of said technology. Especially when considering the hundreds of thousands who die from fossil energy annually or the fact that an exclusive focus on renewable energy would condemn much of the world’s population to chronic poverty.

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