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Kid Car Smoking Ban, New Nukes, Little Italy Crosses Fingers

2008_06_17_smoking.jpg
All three parties in the Ontario legislature are backing a bill that will ban smoking in cars carrying anyone under the age of 16. You know, when Torontoist was young, we’d roll around seatbeltless in the back of flimsy subcompacts doing 150 on the highway while our parents drank beer and spewed out lungfuls of carcinogens, and we turned out okay.
The provincial government has announced that two planned nuclear reactors will be built at Darlington, already home to four reactors. E-e-e-xcellent.
Still no motive or suspects in the deaths of two Toronto men murdered as they sat in their car on Richmond Street West last Friday night. Police are shying away from saying it was a random shooting, but right now that’s what it looks like, which is pretty damn scary.
Lightening the mood, did you know that Toronto has a pack of five border collies who’ve been trained to herd geese off beaches, thereby reducing unsightly goose crap? And that it was Bette Midler’s idea? Now you do.
In the US, Al Gore has officially endorsed Barack Obama, making the Democratic contender the official candidate of sexy and green.
In Euro 2008, Italy plays France today in a game that both need to win if they want to stay in the tournament. Unless Romania beats the Netherlands, in which case France and Italy are playing for the love of the sport.
Photo by phocrastinating from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

Comments

  • Vincent Clement

    And the Nanny State of Ontario continues to grow.

  • torontothegreat

    I can’t believe they actually have to make a law for smoking in cars with your kids

  • David Toronto

    There’s a US Coast Guard station in the Pacific North West that has a border collie to help keep the runways clear of birds. He’s got full run of the base and birds aren’t a problem anymore.

  • Moonmoth

    Why aren’t people as outraged as I am over the 26 billion dollars the provincial gov’t has dedicated to building more NUCLEAR plants!!!????? This should not be happening. Producing power by 2018?? That’s ridiculous! 26 billion dollars to build wind farms, solar farms or building community geothermal systems would be much better spent!
    This can’t be happening. There should be demonstrations.

  • mickih

    *sure* you did (turn out okay)
    :P

  • pman

    I hope OPG doesn’t choose the AECL design.

  • Apricot

    I agree, pman. AECL is sadly inefficient compared to Bruce Power.

  • Gloria

    Comment #2, meet #1. D’oh.

  • PickleToes

    Comrade McGuinty is such a nice guy. He makes thinking redundant!

  • Marc Lostracco

    I’ve never smoked, so someone enlighten me: is the addiction really that strong that you can’t wait until you’re out of the car to have a cigarette?

  • andrew

    Marc, I haven’t had one since last night, and that kind of question makes me want to lock you and pickle toes in a car with screaming children and set you all on fire. Does that help answer your question?
    People who post “Comrade McGuinty” or “Chairman Mow Miller” [some winner over at cbc.ca] display the kind of wit and rhetoric that make me embarassed to speak the same language. You’re basically the equivalent of the patchouli-soaked dreadlocked pot smoking hippy who writes about the Prime Minister as “Stevie” and refers to “Faux news”. If you are so naive as to believe that the OLP are socialists in either theory or practice, then you don’t deserve the privilege of voting. Same thing for people who call ‘em fascists. You’ve proven a lack of competency in public, fer crissakes. All of you need to shut up and sit back and think a little before writing your smug little treatises on “nanny states”.
    Grrr, I’m full of rage. I think I’ll find a car full of children to smoke cigarettes in.

  • Marc Lostracco

    No, seriously, I want to know why someone would smoke in an enclosed car with their kids in it. I see it on the highway all the time. It just seems selfish and reckless if you can just wait and have one when you get to your destination.

  • andrew

    People are stupid, and greedy, Marc. And ignorant, too – some parents don’t get help for various addictions that may not have the same long-term repercussions as cigarette smoking, but may immediately pose more risk, i.e. crystal meth, crack cocaine, alcohol, etc.
    How often is all the time – like every single time you are on a highway? I gotta admit, I haven’t noticed it. But I don’t drive. I’m rarely on a highway.

  • rek

    This is a slippery slope. I value my right to slowly poison children over years, so it’s only a matter of time before they try to make it illegal for me to spray kids in the face with arsenic.

  • Ben

    Today it’s the mad scientist, tomorrow the mad grad student! Where will it end?

  • bbpsi

    “Why aren’t people as outraged as I am over the 26 billion dollars the provincial gov’t has dedicated to building more NUCLEAR plants!!!????? This should not be happening. Producing power by 2018?? That’s ridiculous! 26 billion dollars to build wind farms, solar farms or building community geothermal systems would be much better spent!”
    And how much do you suppose it would cost to build enough wind or solar farms to produce the same amount of electricity? And how much would that electricity be costing us after its built?
    If you think its even remotely economical, you’re deluded.

  • spacejack

    Andrew, take it from someone with experience – quitting gets easier every time you do it.

  • The Explosively Talented Christopher Bird

    bbpsi, solar and wind technology isn’t a mature technology yet; people are regularly finding ways to improve it to make it more efficient and cheaper, now to the point where it’s almost competitive already.
    Nuclear power, in comparison, is a mature technology; it’s not gonna get any cheaper, it’s always only ever been competitive with massive government subsidies, and contrary to what people think, there isn’t that much pure U-235 left to mine, so in addition to everything else you have to refine raw uranium to get your fuel.
    Nuclear’s okay as a part of the plan. It’s lousy as a complete solution.

  • Moonmoth

    Hey bbsi, fuck economical. I’m thinking about what’s important for the future. The first phase of Darlington is a case in point about how long it took to complete (20 years) and how much the budget ballooned compared to the original predicted cost.
    But more importantly no one seems to talk about the REAL problem with nuclear which is the disposal of the expended uranium , which, despite being the mere size of a pellet per person per year, ADDS UP TO A HELL OF A LOT OF RADIOACTIVE WASTE! Which no entity has a satisfactory way of disposing. Digging a hole in rock and forgetting about it is not the answer – radioactivity and toxins leech out and affect the surroundings deleteriously. That toxic shit does not even begin to degrade for about 10,000 years.
    Oh and The Explosively. Fuck “mature” technology. How are the other, inevitable sources of energy production supposed to gain a foothold unless the government invests in them, and I’m talking more than in a token way. It would be so much more relevant to dedicate 26 billion dollars into renewable energy production means and it is guaranteed to pay off. Nope, they want nuclear. As if the liberals will remain in government until 2018 to see the project through, that is laughable .

  • GRLCowan

    I want nuclear too, and expect any government that replaces the present one to be aware of this. The NDP does itself much harm by its pro-big-money, anti-life position on nuclear energy.
    Nuclear power plants are a younger technology than concentrating solar (Frank Shuman, ca. 1910) and, of course, much younger than wind turbines. Their product will become much cheaper.
    The natural gas interests were successful only in delaying Darlington A, and by this means they did indeed raise its price by about ten billion dollars, but this overrun, and indeed the whole cost, have already been made up in avoided natural gas costs.
    (Uranium is 40-50 times cheaper. This means the royalties on natgas are, all by themselves, much larger than the whole cost of uranium mining. The nukes-are-subsidized lie thus has a grain of truth in it: although governments don’t pay money to nuclear plant operators, they do lose money when those plants operate. They lose gas income. It stays in the citizens’ pockets That is why governments are so dilatory in issuing permits for nuclear expansion.)
    — G.R.L. Cowan, H2 energy fan ’til ~1996
    http://www.eagle.ca/~gcowan/boron_blast.html

  • Solex

    Why aren’t people as outraged as I am over the 26 billion dollars the provincial gov’t has dedicated to building more NUCLEAR plants!!!????? This should not be happening. Producing power by 2018?? That’s ridiculous! 26 billion dollars to build wind farms, solar farms or building community geothermal systems would be much better spent!
    This can’t be happening. There should be demonstrations.

    Maybe they aren’t producing any wind factories,Moonmoth, because they are a silly idea to begin with! Look at France; completely covered in nuclear power plants, and not one accident, plus it has low carbon emissions, the lowest in the EU. This was talked about last year on 60 Minutes, but apparently, nobody paid much attention, CBS being a part of the MSM and all that. Also, the idea of wind farms was made the object of derision and scorn on an episode of The Rick Mercer Report, if I remember correctly. So maybe the McGuinty government and the people of Ontario aren’t giving in to fear-based propaganda like your after all.

  • Moonmoth

    Yo Solex, I’m not that worried about accidents, I am worried about the satisfactory disposal of radioactive nuclear waste! Guess what – none exist.
    What sickens me is the massive campaign to ‘sell’ nuclear as somehow being green or clean. The marketing campaign embarked on by the provincial gov’t & OPG is disgusting and constitute outright lies. There is no entity on earth which safely can dispose of nuclear waste, and we just want to keep making more & more of it without a single though of what we are doing for the environment or the future inhabitants of earth. Fuck it. No one here can give me a satisfactory answer to how we dispose of the toxic nuclear WASTE produced.

  • andrew

    Shoot it into the sun with nuclear-powered rail guns. Or, alternatively, probably bury it in the ground in poor places that will sell burial rights.
    French company, I think, is looking to potentially set up a wind turbine manufacturing plant in Ontario. Plans are afoot for a wind turbine farm offshore near Prince Edward County.

  • GRLCowan

    The marketing campaign embarked on by the provincial gov’t & OPG is disgusting and constitute outright lies.

    I’d be interested to see a link to one or more of those “outright lies”.

    There is no entity on earth which safely can dispose of nuclear waste, and we just want to keep making more & more of it without a single though of what we are doing for the environment or the future inhabitants of earth. Fuck it. No one here can give me a satisfactory answer to how we dispose of the toxic nuclear WASTE produced.

    That no-one can satisfy him is likely enough to be true. A future counterpart of Harvard’s Professor Joseph Lovering may someday say, “There are two theories on how to compare radioactivity from nature and from nuclear engineering. One says rays are rays. The other that says man-made radioactivity is exceptional. Today, everyone believes rays are rays; the reason is that all those who believed man-made radioactivity to be uniquely harmful are dead”.
    I have given a thought or two to how nuclear waste might be buried, and how future inhabitants of the Earth might think of it. How, for instance, shall Ontarians of the year 2100 sleep well at night if they know that only a few hundred metres below their beds, accumulated waste from today’s Darlington plant, by then shut down 50 years, is still four megawatts radioactive?
    It turns out they’ll have the example of our ancestors in 1930, who slept over hundreds of megawatts of radioactivity buried at equal or lesser depths, including zero feet.
    If anyone really believes that nuclear waste is an intergenerational legacy, he is a victim of the fallacy of the genuine but insignificant cause. Another example would be “the sea is salt because there were saltshakers in the Titanic, and in the years since its sinking, they have leaked”.
    — G.R.L. Cowan, H2 energy fan ’til ~1996
    http://www.eagle.ca/~gcowan/boron_blast.html

  • Moonmoth

    Here it is:
    http://tinyurl.com/6ff9fg
    photo by wmcphail on flickr
    http://tinyurl.com/62l6nz
    photo by no demographic on flickr
    Well, these are ironic but you get the idea.

  • EricSmith

    If you reprocess the waste, you can extract more fuel from it, and breeder reactors, as a matter of design, produce fuel. And then there are those stale-dated nuclear warheads to be burned, too. The fuel availability and waste storage problems are both mitigated if you’re willing to reprocess stuff, including your “spent” fuel.

    The major risk of reprocessing, as far as I can see, is that radioactive particulate matter will probably escape the reprocessing facility in small amounts. This already happens to some extent during the production of new fuel rods, or so an episode of The Nature of Things on Port Hope has led me to believe.

    Coal-fired power plants, on the other hand, definitely spew dangerous poison into the air on a daily basis, and bear no small responsibility for the deaths attributed to poor air quality that we’re always reading about (of which there are hundreds or even thousands per year). Going nuclear whole-hog would probably be a win in the death-rate department, though it’d be quite the undertaking to build enough capacity to put the coal plants south of the border out of business, too.

  • EricSmith

    Now, if you like your megaprojects to be less scary, there’s always hot dry rock geothermal, in which you drill kilometres down into the ground, pump down water to fracture the rock, and then set up shop extracting steam from the Earth.

    It may or may not cause earthquakes, but probably not in regions that are geologically stable.

  • Moonmoth

    EricSmith, reprocessed nuclear waste is still nuclear waste, there’s still stuff left over even after you reprocess it, it doesn’t just disappear into nothingness. Its toxicity doesn’t diminish – ever (well in 10,000 years it becomes slightly less radioactive) . It is the least degenerative substance in existance.
    The major risk of nuclear power is there’s NO WAY to dispose of the stuff, even if you reprocess the fucking shit. Mining uranium = bad as well. All of it STINKS. We’re talking dark age ahead people.
    I’m into geothermal though. We should be using the billions to make community geothermal systems. That would be something.

  • EricSmith

    reprocessed nuclear waste is still nuclear waste

    Are you trying to say that it has bad karma? It’s fuel. As you say, there’s stuff left over that’s waste twice over, but you do get usable fuel out of the reprocessing. As for the hot leftovers:

    Its toxicity doesn’t diminish – ever (well in 10,000 years it becomes slightly less radioactive) . It is the least degenerative substance in existance.

    Where do you think the radiation comes from? It’s the unstable atoms popping, roughly. Some isotopes of plutonium have half lives of less than a day, after which it’s not even plutonium any more; potassium, on the other hand, decays so slowly that it’s good for geological dating. Nuclear waste that we’re worried about will fall between those extremes — hot enough to notice, but cool enough to stick around. The exact nature of the waste depends on the fuel used and probably the type of reactor, but the rule of thumb is that if it’s the glowing insta-death kind it can’t last long, and if it lasts long it’s less of a worry to have around.

    I’m into geothermal though.

    Is anyone not? It’s all the carefree fun that we were promised with nukes, and you can do it at different scales with different technologies, from household heat pumps on up. The mega-project versions should be well within our reach, since we’re already good at drilling deep holes for oil.

  • GRLCowan

    I asked for links to lies, and I got links to lies; I guess I should be happy.
    If you can stand some engineer-style bad spelling, try this quiz.
    — G.R.L. Cowan, H2 energy fan ’til ~1996
    http://www.eagle.ca/~gcowan/boron_blast.html

  • Moonmoth

    US video which describes the futility of reprocessing plutonium.
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=VpbJ1DSUg2Y
    Description: Dr. Frank von Hippel discusses the pros and cons of the proposed U.S. Department of Energy plan to process nuclear waste to separate and reuse plutonium. He explains that reprocessing, in addition to costing two to ten times more than on-site storage, also creates a security risk.

  • Moonmoth

    Everyone’s cool with nuclear reactors being built, just like everyone was cool with Brian Mulroney and Mike Harris (ON premier) and now Stephen Harper. I’m simply in the wrong country.
    Moves to Iceland.