Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Turning points: in the radioactive evacuation zone near Fukushima, a weed called Common Mullein reclaims Japanese highways. Image Source: Kotaku via ENE News.
The Classical Greeks had two concepts of time, one quantitative, one qualitative. The latter was something they called kairos:
Kairos was, for Aristotle, the contextual meaning of a time; in the New Testament, it is "the appointed time in the purpose of God," the turning point when the divine apparently intersects with human affairs. That is likely a concept with long, pre-Christian roots. Paul Tillich interpreted Kairoi as moments of crisis when the word of god becomes literal reality. For the non-religious, this is merely a metaphor, but the idea - of the fictional, the fanciful, the imaginative themes of private emotional worlds of faith and introspection suddenly becoming reality - remains sadly familiar. The terrible and shocking transition when the virtual becomes real is a Millennial concern, and applies even more in non-religious terms.Kairos (καιρός) is an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment (the supreme moment). The ancient Greeks had two words for time, chronos and kairos. While the former refers to chronological or sequential time, the latter signifies a time in between, a moment of indeterminate time in which something special happens. What the special something is depends on who is using the word. While chronos is quantitative, kairos has a qualitative nature. Kairos (καιρός) also means weather in both ancient and modern Greek. The plural, καιροι (kairoi or keri) means the times.
Monday, July 23, 2012
One of the many nasty things which haunt the nuclear industry is the disposal of waste deep underground, in facilities which have to last tens of thousands of years. At the Agence nationale pour la gestion des déchets radioactifs (ANDRA), nuclear waste management officials have decided that they actually need to preserve information on these radioactive waste respositories in records which will last for one million years. One million years of toxic waste management: this is what today's green, eco-friendly, affordable nuclear power option offers. Officials do not know what language to write the records in to make them comprehensible across such enormous spans of time, but whatever language they use, it will be written in platinum on hard disks made of sapphire.