It’s my first time in Sweden and it’s not so scary as I’d imagined. Being on my own when done with work and not knowing a smidgen of Swedish had me worried, but the folks here in Gothenburg are friendly and helpful even if they don’t know much English. Thing is, most of them get English in school and do a great job. What is it with the adoration of fresh sliced cucumbers? Goodness they can eat them by the stack. Better for you than orange dusted corn triangles, though.

Oh, the coffee! Wonder in a cup with a little milk. Lingonberries, yes! I had a cloudberry almond parfait tonight – yum. Dinner was a Mariestadt beer with grilled wild boar and a dozen sides to choose from. The Falcon Ale with the steak and fries at the Irish pub last night was tasty as well.

April is still cool and the sun is making a reasonable appearance except for a couple days of rain. The rain doesn’t phaze the populous, they walk a great deal and lots of stuff is convenient to walk to. The public tram and bus service is great too. Gothenburg is very south but they still have mooses. Yes, real mooses.

The oddest thing was the habit of a few of the citizen I’ve met to speak with an element of surprise. What I mean is, he or she will say something like, “I told her (sharp intake of breath) she shouldn’t, but…”. It’s like Hah! except it’s breathed inward; I hadn’t heard such before.

Great place, another week to go! Some of this will have to go into my next book. Maybe pictures next time. Later!

Yeah, I Like Nuclear Power!

Illustration of how nuclear power is created.   The bad accidents everybody thinks of when nuclear power is mentioned are USSR’s legacy to the Ukraine Chernobyl and the recent Japanese Fukushima units. I do not include Three Mile Island because it hurt nobody and only puffed some short-lived gases into the air that affected no one; the containment worked and the reactor for TMI-2 melted into a lower, reinforced area that never has escaped.

Chernobyl was not built like any US reactor, it was graphite blocks with control rods going through it. What maniac designed that I don’t know, but it was like having a high heat source integrated in coal and controlled with mechanical rods. Some techs were there on the weekend to do some testing and screwed up the system causing an uncontrolled transient. The result was reactors with no containment buildings burning, the highly radioactive soot dusting the Ukraine grassland while horrendous radiation levels killed emergency workers at the site. Cows hundreds of miles away ate the contaminated grass and gave radio-iodine milk. The site for miles is still hideously contaminated. Where I worked at San Onofre, we monitored the plume the world’s air currents brought to the US as it went over. A reporter came to the plants, said she’d been to Ukraine and was concerned. She alarmed all of our monitors and radiation counters. I put her shirt in out spectrometer and saw transuranics (reactor isotopes) like crazy. We took her clothes for disposal and let her bathe in a controlled area.

You have read and heard about Japan. They sited those reactors near some of the most active seismic zones in the planet and apparently became complacent. I believe the Nuclear Regulatory Commission here is more attentive here, but also would like to see more Fukushima lessons learned incorporated here, especially the passive cooling. See the Westinghouse Reactors site for info on the new nukes Vogtle in Georgia have ordered; they incorporate new passive cooling tech.

Part of the billion dollar cost of a nuclear plant is the extensive geological investigation, research on all credible threats plus a margin. At Fukushima, they looked at historical tsunamis and thought a 30 foot seawall would more than suffice. They got a hundred foot wave. Same with the quakes. They knew of the quake and wave risk but greatly underestimated the magnitude. Yes, we need to review our assumptions and update them! Nuclear has no room for complacency.

I love solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, wave power but nothing we know can provide us with the intensive source of power we need for heavy industry like nuclear. We have an excellent track record in this country. I saw an NRDC report that several reactors in the US had automatic shutdowns for issues  in the last decade like it was a bad thing. Automatic scrams are an important safety feature, we WANT the reactor to shut down when there is an earthquake, a hurricane or other problem – the safety systems worked. I’m a general fan of the NRDC, but wish they would look at facts and not paint the entire technology so monstrously no matter what.

The US has the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission), EPRI (Electric Plant Research Institute) and the ANS (American Nuclear Society) to name some entities that help keep our facilities updated and share lessons learned from around the world. Of course in my opinion, a main reason US nukes excel is because most ex-Navy nukes segue into commercial reactors after running submarine and aircraft carrier reactor systems. Uncle Sam beats reactor safety into each and every nuke with a large hammer, rigorous education and exercises. Navy experience and expertise no doubt does make a big positive difference, a resource other countries don’t have. Add that to homegrown nuke physicists and I think we’re doing better than those others.

Obviously I’m passionate about this, sorry for being so long-winded. On Tenembras, the exile planet in my books (BUY THEM), nuclear is the only way to power the critically necessary Breaker that makes terraforming oxygen. Sure they have lots of solar and wind, and fusion is high on their wish list, but the colony planet has to use nuclear for the same reason the US does right now: to meet the huge electrical demands of heavy industry. Go Solar! Go Wind! Go Nuke!


http://www.petfinder.com Some folks think cats are too aloof, too independent. I like that independent streak most of them have and don’t mind them staying out of my face most of the time. My big things are that they allow petting and they don’t climb the curtains. Take this poor little thing here, Tima. She was booted out of her home for some reason, away from all she knew. Then she got left at the dog pound AKA the Animal Shelter and placed in a crowded room with all manner of strangers. There she languished for four solid months and was slated for death. Animal Shelter people are wonderful and I appreciate them immensely, but I also know they get far too many animals and can’t care for them like a home can. What did it hurt me to take her in? She’s definitely one of the aloof ones, but golly she’s no problem to have around and anything that snuggles up with a teddy bear is okay in my book.

My SweetheartMy original cat is Krink Pestercat. I was coming home to the cabin at twilight  a dozen years ago and saw little squirming things in the middle of the gravel road so I stopped. There were two tiny kittens so young their eyes weren’t open yet, dumped by some &*#$# in the road and they were so covered with ticks I had a hard time seeing what color they were. Of course I scooped the wormy things up in a box and took them up to the cabin. I picked the ticks off and bathed them and had to risk worm treatment. I kept them warm and held them, petting them gently like a mama cat cleaning, as often as I could. After a couple weeks their eyes opened and they seemed like they would make it, but the little boy died. Krink, with one ear folded backwards, has been my closest sweetie since.

Rescue a cat, it’s good for your karma.

Home Sweet Home

A friend of mind urged me to share why I don’t heat or cool my house. The cabin here looks rough on the outside, but it is nice inside with four pairs of skylights, lots of room, a huge library, a two car garage, two stories and a full basement. It also has a nice heat pump. I leave the heat on ‘frost watch’ (about 40 F) and don’t use the cooling at all.

You may think Kentucky isn’t that far north or south and it doesn’t matter, but 40 F in the house all winter needs to be experienced. Toothpaste doesn’t want to come out. Bread won’t rise. No brewing until late spring. The microwave fogs up when I heat something. The refrigerator won’t come on because it is set at 40F and when it doesn’t run, the freezer compartment doesn’t stay cold. The cats get VERY friendly, wanting to snuggle all the time. I have to leave the radio on all the time (standby) because if I turn it off, the circuits get condensation and I can’t turn it back on for a day or two. I have a wood stove in case the electric goes out.

Why? Because I think people, certainly Americans, are crazy about constantly either heating or cooling to get a perfect temperature. Is all of that energy consumption really worth you personal comfort? Do you wonder how much pollution and CO2 is associated with your demand for being able to wear a t-shirt inside all of the time? How much coal do you need ripped from the Kentucky countryside in order never have to wear a sweater?

I go home from work and , if it’s cold enough, change into my long  johns and add a sweater or sweat shirt and sweat pants. If it’s colder than that, I add a hip-length super-fleece jacket and pants. By layering as needed, I can stay cozy all the time, especially since I have a thermal blanket at the ready by my easy chair. In the summer I unlayer, usually ending up in a tank top and loose skirt. I have one window fan and lots of screened windows. The full basement helps moderate temperatures.

“I can’t do that, I have kids.” Right. You are teaching your kids that a constant, narrow range of comfort is normal and good. I was raised in a house heated by a Warm Morning coal store that sat in the kitchen. My job in the winter was to go outside to the coal pile and chip some from the ice and snow so Ma could start the stove up. My sisters, brother and I have few colds or other sicknesses and we know for a fact that winter is cold and summer is hot.

“I have a medical condition.” Do what your doctor says, I’m only trying to make you think. Thinking includes making an informed decision whether messing with the thermostat is proper for you or your family.

“I have a right to slurp up as much energy as I can pay for and don’t care about how much of the poisonous residue ends up in the air for little children to breathe.” I have nothing polite to say to folks like that.

Today’s Patriots vs the Patriots of 100 Years From Now

A reader asked me what the heck I had against the Patriots, the conservative Republican-ish party since I lambast them in my books. I have nothing against those folks! I wrote the stories before the Patriot Movement got into the news so much, the name is serendipidous. I chose to name the bad guys Patriots because patriot is a cherished concept in America; to be a patriot shows a deep and abiding love for what makes America great. In my story, the economy went to pot when the climate-changed weather and rising sea started tearing up the coastal cities. Here’s an excerpt:

“We had a neighbor at our first house that had a Fiat Mobius that he swore ran on olive oil. He’d say, ‘Essstrrra virrrgin olive oil’, rolling those r’s. It was a real showpiece, grass green, low to the ground, convertible.”

“They made an electric version of that, didn’t they?”

“Yeah, but it didn’t rev, and man oh man he liked to gun that engine. Ended up stuck on some tracks and got smithereened by a freight train.”

After a few minutes of reflection, Doc said, “I wish I could forget the first panicked coastal evacuations, with all the pollyannas out in full force while everybody kept saying their town was ‘another New Orleans’. I got so sick of hearing someplace was ‘another New Orleans’.

When people got fed up with political dithering while the storms got worse and displaced coastal folks looked for shelter, they allowed a coup. The ringleaders used the Chinese-Capitallist model and to make the overthrow palatable, and they named themselves the Patriots. They eliminated the Congressional posturing and the reign of lobbyists, but also savaged Freedom of Speech as well as other Bill of Rights freedoms. The Freedom of Speech movement (News Front or Freaks) was spread far and near as a grassroots means of taking the government back and that’s a main element of the books – the struggle of the news Front organizartion – the true patriots – against the usurping Pats. Here’s another excerpt:

Marta worked at digesting this information, linking what sounded like facts to other things she’d heard. “And you? You were sentenced for asking the wrong questions? About Holland?”

“Sweetie, how do you think I know this stuff? And about those other blacked out colonies? I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck and ask a few questions to the schmo on the street corner; I was a member of News Front. Heard of them?”

“You were News Front?” Marta sat up ramrod straight, a jolt through her spine and a flood of pictures racing across her vision. Suddenly the ambient lighting was painful; she closed her eyes. In a scared little voice she said, “I saw News Front people, I have nightmares about them.”


“I saw them at the refugee camp in Nijmegen.”

Naomi, shocked speechless for a good minute, whispered, “You saw them? Nijmegen is in Holland. You’re talking about the South Netherlands Mega-Camp. Why were you in Nijmegen?”

It was the tyrant Patriots that turned interplanetary exploration and colonization into punishment for the Freaks and gave the elites somewhere to dump the millions of people displaced by the sea or by the elites.

Honest, there’s no connection to current political parties and as a former US sailor, I respect the Americans who fight for our constitutional rights in words and in deeds, whatever their affiliation.

To read it for yourself, go to 


TaDa! My New Book IS HERE!

Y’all I am giddy with excitement to have my wunderbook The Distant Trees out amongst the heathen! I’ve come to think of these sci-fi, interstellar travelling characters, even the weird aliens, as real folks and have kept writing down more of what they’re getting up to, they never seem to quit. That’s unless I kill them off, traumatic, that. The good guys get mangled up sometimes, but the bad guys … well sometimes they get off scot-free. C’est la vie!

Buy it at


At least until I can figure out how to work these durned widgets. Thanks!

The Distant Trees, Aw-right!

How about a sci-fi tale set in the next century featuring tyrannts, underdogs, illegal aliens, outerspace aliens and great gobs of erudite adventure? Maybe The Distant Trees is for you!  This blog will talk about my science fiction books, world travel, nature and the joys of drinking homebrewed ale and wine. Welcome and keep in touch!


Judge for yourself, buy a copy, and Thanks!