Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Gilmore Girls meet the House of Wax: Nuclear power vs. alternative energy

I was listening to KPFA the other day and they said something like this: "The government has given the nuclear power industry BILLIONS of dollars to invent and develop nuclear energy." My friend Russell Hoffman said that the amount was probably closer to trillions of dollars. That's a lot of money.

How much money are we talking about here? Enough money to put a solar panel on the roof of every house in America and still have enough panels left over to do Mexico and Canada.

Speaking of Mexico, there is a totally sweet little town outside Puerto Vallarta that is only reachable by a two-hour boat ride or 30 miles by mule-back. This town used to have no cars and NO ELECTRICITY. For years everyone there just used lanterns and flashlights. While it still has no cars, every home now has a solar panel on its roof to power its electric lights.

If some backwater town in the middle of nowhere can be this technologically advanced, how come America isn't?

America is being outdistanced in the energy race by a Mexican hamlet for only one reason: Because billions -- or trillions -- of dollars are NOT being spent to develop solar energy. Instead, they are being spent to develop and propagate the House of Wax.

You know how clean and cute Rory Gilmore is (except of course for the time she got drunk and talked Logan into stealing a yacht)?

You know that scene in the House of Wax where the stairway melts as the heroes are trying to climb up it to escape from the deranged bad guy?

Which represents solar power and which represents nuclear power? Make an offhand guess.

The decayed old Three-Mile-Island-class nuclear generators that dot America's landscape are ticking time bombs, just waiting to become melted stairs. And the nuclear waste they emit is -- eeuuww -- trapped in the basement of this House of Wax with its fingers sticking through the grating, begging for help. And those of us who saw the movie know how badly that ends.

But according to Helen Caldicott, the nuclear waste is no longer even trapped in the basement. "Every male in the northern hemisphere has a small load of plutonium in his gonads." And according to radiation expert Leuren Moret, "Anywhere from within a 100 miles of a nuclear power plant is where two-thirds of all breast cancer deaths occurred in the U.S. between 1985 and 1989." That's a pretty big ball of wax!

Solar energy and other alternative energy sources, on the other hand, are more like the Gilmore Girls' home town, Stars Hollow -- a product of Yankee ingenuity and history and grit, in the Thomas Edison mode.

Which would you like your future to be like? And if you are weird enough to answer "House of Wax," no problem. There is a nuclear power plant near you that is ready, willing and able to melt down at any minute!

PS: I want a solar panel on MY roof! No more outrageous electricity bills? What's not to like about that.