Just saw The Book Thief . I give it five stars.
Don’t expect car chases or GCI graphics. Expect a simple story well told.
Ten-year-old Liesel tries to make sense of the world in Nazi Germany. She sees her young brother die and her mother, a communist, surrenders Liesel to the state. Her new foster father Hans charms the reclusive Liesel and teaches the illiterate girl to read. The midnight arrival of a young Jewish man then changes her world forever. The brave humanity of Liesel’s family stands starkly against the Nazi’s inhumanity. I wept for the last ten minutes, although it doesn’t take much in a movie or book to get me crying. Death narrates and proves himself more human than many of those whose souls he takes.
Sophie Nélisse plays Liesel to perfection. I nominate her for an Oscar. Geoffrey Rush does a great job as Hans.
I saw a preview of The Book Thief over a month ago, but decided to first read the book. I found the first third of the book rather slow going, but ultimately I think the book better captures the essence of Liesel’s bewilderment and pain. Also, it better addressed the insidiousness of the Nazi disease. So, see the movie and read the book.
Glofs, glacial lake outburst floods, play a prominent role in my book Truth-Teller Rebellion. Glofs occur each year and are every bit as horrific as in Truth-Teller Rebellion. Over five thousand people died last June when Chaurabari Lake, a lake spawned from the Chaurabari glacier in the Indian Himalayas, burst its banks after unusually hot weather. Global warming means there will be more glofs in the future, at least while there still are glaciers.
Fortunately, most glaciers are in the Arctic and Antarctica where they pose no threat, but many of the over forty Himalayan glaciers are potential man killers. Monitoring of glacial lakes can give an early warning of any threats. In fact, Chaurabari Lake was a known problem, although somehow this was not communicated to those in danger.
Present glofs are small beans compared to the Missoula Floods that carved the coulees of eastern Washington fifteen thousand years ago at the end of the last Ice Age. Three thousand square mile Lake Missoula in Montana went through a fifty-odd year cycle of filling and bursting. When the ice dam blocking it gave way, Lake Missoula would hurl towards the Pacific Ocean hundreds of miles away at speeds up to eighty miles per hour and with a volume many times all the present rivers of the world. Dry Falls in eastern Washington’s Grand Coulee was formed by the Missoula Floods. At three and a half miles wide it’s believed to have been the largest waterfall ever seen on Earth. Today it’s still impressive even without water going over it. I’ve caught trout in the lake below the falls while watching deer feed along the precipice’s face.
Fusion power could take us to the science fiction nirvana of unlimited power, if we’re smart enough to figure it out. Once fossil fuels are gone fission power could provide the energy bridge until fusion power plants are in place. We need to build more nuke plants soon, but can we do that without poisoning the Earth? Our track record on fission plants isn’t very good. Think Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima.
Fusion and fission are the ying and yang of the atomic world. The Earth’s core is a huge fission reactor. Fission breaks large atoms, like uranium, into smaller atoms. Downside? Fission reactors can run amok and they produce nasty radioactive byproducts that last for thousands of years. Fusion is the way the sun works. Fusion combines two light atoms, like hydrogen, into a heavier atom. A fusion reactor can’t do a Chernobyl. It something goes wrong it just stops working. And fusion doesn’t produce anything that will kill you.
When I was a kid they predicted we’d have fusion power by 2000. Didn’t happen. So why don’t we have a fusion reactor? We’ve spent over fifty years and tens of billions of dollars trying. Scientists are using lasers to replicate the sun. They have been able to fuse atoms, but it’s taken more energy to power the lasers than what has been produced by the fusion. Once they get fusion working it will take more billions of dollars, maybe hundreds of billions dollars, to build the first commercial fusion reactor. Expensive but affordable in the context the seven hundred billion dollars the U.S. spends each year on defense.
It took the best and brightest from across the globe to build the first fission nuclear reactor in 1942. These same people went on to build the first atom bomb in three years. Why can’t we do the same with fusion? For the sake of our great-grandchildren we must fund an innovative organization of our best and brightest to realize the promise of fusion power. Otherwise the energy deficient world of Truth-Teller Rebellion will be mankind’s dead-end.