Knee-jerk ethics

For reasons too subtle (read: ‘dull’) to go into, I’m reading last week’s Observer magazine. Page 81, if you must know, featuring Lucy Siegle‘s ‘Ethical Living’ column. Which is rather interesting about eggs: when I’m finally back in the UK, I really must get more serious about recognising all the various food labeling schemes. The same author’s feature on fish (ibid, page 24) makes much of the Marine Stewardship Coucil’s branding, of which I’ll confess to never having heard.

Back to page 81, however, where I find the ‘Green Gauge’ (ho ho) column, listing things going up vs. things going down. Hey, it’s a Sunday colour sup, they’re still allowed such clichés.

Listed as ‘going down’:

The term ‘experimental’ when applied to ‘reactor’ – as in the new $12.8bn international thermonuclear experimental reactor to be built in southern France – is always disconcerting.

Oh, for heaven’s sake! It’s not a fission reactor taking big n’ heavy Uranium and firing neutrons at it to make other shit that’s horribly hot, it’s a deuterium-tritium fusion device. And ITER (Wikipedia) is no longer an acronym, precisely to avoid this sort of knee-jerk stupidity… though one could say that as PR people, the physicists should stick to physics.

Sure, there are problems with fusion in general, and with ITER in particular, but saying ‘it’s nuclear therefore I’m against it’ – aren’t we past that sort of naïvely-simplistic nonsense?

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