Thursday, December 25, 2008

It Is Christmas Once Again

I would just like to take the time to wish my readers a nice Christmas and hope that they got all that they asked for on their lists. I also hope that they get plenty of good food to eat and that their guests do not become too much of a burden. Finally, while you are making sure that everybody is having a wonderful time, do not forget to enjoy yourselves as well.

Although I am an atheist, I celebrate Christmas because the true meaning of Christmas which is happiness and celebration during the dreariness of winter is something that we could all appreciate. All of the religious trappings such as the legend of the birth of Jesus and Solstice celebrations are merely window dressing obscuring what is important, which is to have a good time. Christmas was never originally a Christian holiday because the idea had been stolen lock stock and barrel from the Roman holiday of Saturnalia as well as borrowing extensively from the Yule celebrations of the Germanic tribes. The legend surrounding the birth of Jesus Christ was added much later by early Christians as part of an adaptation of the pagan holiday.

This could be said to be similar how the tradition of Halloween was adapted and eventually secularized from the Celtic tradition of Samhain. Few people who go out trick or treating know the cultural origins of Halloween and how it originally became established. I know that some people have started branding Halloween as a pagan holiday as of late and are therefore refusing to celebrate it, but if that is the case, than Christmas is guilty of that offense as well.

In fact, during the Cromwell rebellion of Great Britain during the 1600's; the celebration of Christmas was banned by Cromwell because he correctly thought that it was pagan by nature and wanted to set a good example for the Puritans to follow. Needless to say, Christmas was immediately reinstated with the reestablishment of the British monarchy during the reign of Charles II.

So keep in mind that the tradition of Christmas is as pagan as holidays come. To all of those people who are saying that non-Christians are ruining the holiday, step back and consider who's holiday it was to begin with. Very few things including religious ideas are truly original, as they are merely adaptations of the things that came before them in history. Merry Christmas, everybody!

Merry Christmas From Old King Coal

It looks like the citizens of Harrington, Tennessee have been naughty this year. A coal slurry retaining wall has broken, contaminating four hundred acres worth of property with coal ash and demolishing fifteen homes in the process. That is more than enough coal for anybody's stocking, no matter how bad they have been.

The aging Tennessee Valley Authority site has been damaged as a result of the heavy rains that have been hitting the area in recent weather patterns. This has caused the retaining wall of the coal slurry reservoir to break and overflow. Clean up is going to be an extensive process lasting several years, possibly enough to warrant classifying the area as a Superfund site.

The reason why this is such a disaster is that coal slurry is vile stuff. Coal slurry is coal ash that has been mixed with water to make the particulate matter less apt to blow away and contaminate the quality of the air. Coal slurry contains numerous heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic to name just a few hazardous substances. The irony is that problems like this go largely unnoticed by media sources while the same agencies go into hysterics about the isolated issues of some nuclear power plants.

Let this be a lesson to the people who are against nuclear power of what reliance on coal power actually means. Disasters like this are by no means uncommon in the coal industry because by nature coal power is a dirty business. The sooner we switch to nuclear power the sooner that events like this will become a thing of the past. King Coal rules his kingdom with a sooty fist and all of us are suffering from his oppression.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Rick Warren? Give Me A Break!

I guess Obama decided to once again curry favor with the Religious Right by picking a staunch fundamentalist to give his Inauguration Day speech. Rick Warren is openly against atheists, homosexuals, and is a Young Earth Creationist to boot. Why do slimeballs like this always get into power?

I hope that we will not have to put up with leftwing theocrats during the Obama presidency like we have had to stomach rightwing theocrats during Republican rule. America was NOT founded on religious principles, but a clearly stated separation of church and state. By choosing people like Warren to represent our political leadership, we are dragging ourselves to the bad old days of that 'ol time religion of intolerance and bigotry. Is this what we really want?

Shearon Harris Plant Renews Operating License

Okay, first of all, I apologize to my readers for not updating in awhile but I have been swamped since mid-November with Thanksgiving and finals. It has been a busy three weeks. Thankfully, that is all over for now so I can continue to post about things that we all know and love.

Anyway, the Shearon Harris nuclear power plant has been green-lit to have its operating license renewed. The Shearon Harris nuclear plant is located in New Hill, North Carolina where it generates around nine hundred megawatts of power. As the 40-year operating license limit for nuclear power plants was arbitrarily chosen by the NRC this will allow 12% of North Carolina's total energy supply to remain online. The future for nuclear power is looking bright, indeed.