In the May 7 issue of prairie dog I published an interview with University of Regina English prof Nicholas Ruddick about his new book on the subject of pre-historic fiction called Fire in the Stone. Here's another interview he did recently with the National Review. Was inspired to post this today because of the discovery that National Geographic announced.

(The Rest of) This Week at City Hall

Good thing yesterday's Public Works Committee meeting was canceled because I forgot to write this. So... here's a tardy rundown of what's happening on the municipal governance front this week.

Wednesday, May 20
Executive Committee (11:45 am... you'll have to run if you want to catch it): Seems to be just reports to consider and file this week. They'll be looking at a report about the Northeast Sector serviceability and roadway network, one about external financing for the Global Transportation Hub, and the annual report from the Urban Environment Advisory Committee.
Community and Protective Services Committee (4 pm)

Thursday May 21
Regina Arts Commission (7 pm): Will be considering recommendations for civic arts funding in 2009.

As always, you can download complete agendas and reports on the city's website.

Isotope Embarrassment

As LaRose pointed out in the post below this, the Chalk River nuclear facility has been shut down once again. This time because its aging reactor was leaking heavy water. (Again.)

This would be the same nuclear facility the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission wanted to keep closed for more maintenance back in 2007 out of concerns that the reactor might not be safe.

Former CNSC president, Linda Keen, told parliament that the odds that the reactor could fail were one in a thousand. That's one one-thousandth the international standard of one chance in a million. And that means you're 15 times more likely to see a reactor failure in Chalk River than you are to win the Regina Public Library home lottery.

Probabilities can be scary that way.

That Linda Keen, by the way, is the same CNSC president Stephen Harper had fired for being "a Liberal appointee" who wanted to keep the facility shut down for some inscrutable political purpose. Apparently, it didn't occur to him that Keen could simply be a cautious public servant trained in science who was employing science to scientifically assess the risk of a public facility going boom.

Or maybe it did. We all know what our PM thinks about science. Either way, he passed an emergency bill through parliament and had the reactor fired back up.

And here we are, two years later and it looks like maybe that Keen lady was on to something after all.

Of course, what's the big deal about a little spilt heavy water, right? The leak's been caught and is being fixed so clearly they're on top of things down there in Chalk River. Well, maybe, except it turns out the leak was only spotted after the reactor automatically shut down due to a power failure.

So when they speak of finding the heavy water leak, they might want to consider employing the adverb "inadvertently".

And, just to ladle a little local coincidence onto this, the Chalk River shutdown happened on the very same day the Leader Post launched their puffy, feel-good nuclear lovefest series. "Are nuclear reactors really safe?" wonders the headline of their first installment. It's a good question.

Rosie's top six this morning

1. Now that someone who's not a corporatist is lading the United States, the Globe and Mail's worst columnist now thinks the free trade agreement and ceding Canadian economic sovereignty to the United States isn't that good an idea. Your Council of Canadians membership is in the mail, Mr. Ibbitson (Globe and Mail)

2. The most credible American speaker on the issue of torture is a former World Wrestling Entertainment superstar. (Crooks and Liars, Huffington Post)

3. CKCK Regina is to have an open house this afternoon on its 'Save Local Television" campaign to have its owners, Toronto-based Globemedia, soak cable customers for an extra $15 a month for another revenue stream. Meanwhile, that 'local' television station is buying more shows ... in Los Angeles ... the same shows that will be seen on CBS, NBC, and ABC (Globe and Mail). Remember the success of Corner Gas? Anyone? Anyone? Bueler?

4. Remember how the last time Chalk River crapped out it was all the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's fault? Well, the same thing happened again. Whose fault is it now? (CBC via Scott's Diatribes)

5. Why the Saskatchewan NDP needs a brain transplant ... 1,100 forged signatures? Oh that's not fraud ... (CJME)

6. The single most disturbing thing you will ever see today ... Craig Ferguson does Britney Spears. (HuffPo)