We Know How to Do This

With so much media coverage and political debate on the need to reduce our use of fossil fuels, you’d think there must be some very difficult decisions to make, or some very complex new technology required, because for all the talk there doesn’t seem to be much change. Would it surprise you to learn that there are already eight places in the world with major electricity systems which use almost no fossil fuels? They have shown us all that it isn’t difficult to power countries using other means. Some of these eight have been like that for decades. The one…

One Thing

If there was just one issue I wish could be more clearly articulated in the policy circles of governments world-wide, it is how a nation’s energy system works. The good news is that it is quite a simple topic, because governments do not have too many choices. That should make it relatively simple for good policy options to become clear, and yes I am a nuclear guy, but no the answer is not “build nuclear”. I wrote a two minute read on how any country can get energy to their citizens and beat climate change at the same time.

Learning From Failures

I had a great time last week talking with the local chapter of North American Young Generation in Nuclear. With their enthusiastic agreement my topic was ‘Dirty Laundry’. Too often we let emotion direct our response to failures, both personal and from the team. A rational approach is to examine failures for lessons that can be learned, and better still for others to learn too. As humans we are very experiential, ‘once bitten, twice shy’ is a truism for a reason. OPEX is the next most powerful way to learn, as long as it can be conveyed as a meaningful…

A Whale in the Forest

Treading dampened woodland path. Glanced. Blown, transported to a childhood nightmare familiar.   Smothering close, just past my nose, the edge of focus. Whispered my breath bounces back. Bulk fills my eyeball’s lines to every lid. The texture intimate. Crevices seen and without touch, their depth felt, fingered each flaked edge.   Nightmare familiar enough, fearful diluted playful. In dreams a dark visitor relished, embraced.   Glancing. This forced rent trunk fallen and fibrous. Bone pale, gentle weathered worn years after that storm. Snapped look locked to socket eye. Shocked by a whale in the forest.   Remind mind, just…

Mickle is the Powerful Grace that Lies

In the springtime’s sun and its youthful strength. Here’s a shaded spot in which to carry out – My private Rite of Spring. Cautiously I carry my precious pots. Out from their winter corner. Blue and red glaze to adorn my front steps. Reversing their Autumnal journey. (They retire in the days before All-Hallows. To save damage from visiting cowgirls and batmen). Back then, green stalks stripped bare of edible leaves. First grubs then drab October mouldered the rest. February’s cruel breath dried all to a crackle. Now, last year’s herbs are haunting still. Parsley transformed, a pale fluttering phantom….

A Sun A Flower

Last summer in the vertical heat of a noon sun. I walked – my doctor had told me to walk – the streets near our house. Under beating rays, sweat beads came easily, trickling my temples. Each corner familiar, same sights same pace, a ritual. I was never so happy as that summer (colon cancer notwithstanding). My gift: the days and weeks of time, alone, with friends, for me to fill with words and music. Withstanding colon cancer I walked the streets near our house. My slow pace delivered contemplation, new sights same place, a ritual. The vacant lot on…

Witness to a Moment in History

It is not often that someone gets an opportunity to be present at a moment that will be remembered later as a piece of history, but that was how it felt to be in the control room of the NRU reactor on the evening of 2018 March 31st. As planned, the nuclear research reactor was shut down for the last time that evening, ending a period of more than 60 years throughout which NRU made substantial contributions to the quality of life of people all around the world. When NRU was constructed and first operated in 1957, there were about…

TEDx Ottawa: The NRU Research Reactor

I was so happy that the TED organization released this video the day before our 60th anniversary celebrations for the NRU Research Reactor on 2017 November 3rd. It is easy to demonstrate that NRU is the most productive science facility in Canada. Half a billion patient treatments is a massive contribution to people around the world. I am proud to have worked there.

07 the magic woman

Stupid Cancer: New Episode

During the summer I wrote seven of the ten episodes of the story Stupid Cancer. Two of the remaining three still needed work, and the last, when I tried to write it, turned out to be a song. 🙂 In the end I made a cartoon as well and I have added that episode today (Episode 7), by choosing pieces from my rough working sheet. I will upload an mp3 to share the song with you soon.