Thought for the day

"I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness. The dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance." -- Carl Sagan, 1995, apparently having invented a time machine

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A huge nuclear power plant occupied by Russia during its invasion of Ukraine is "completely out of control", The head of the UN's nuclear agency says.

Rafael Grossi was quoted by the Associated Press news agency as saying the Zaporizhzhia plant needed an inspection and repairs.

"You have a catalogue of things that should never be happening in any nuclear facility," he said.

Europe's biggest nuclear plant is dangerously close to the fighting.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused Russia earlier this week of using the plant, which it overran in March, as a military base to launch attacks on Ukrainian forces.

Ukrainian officials have said Russians station troops and store military hardware on the grounds of the power station on the Dnipro river in the south of Ukraine.

But a Russian-installed official in the region told Reuters news agency that Ukrainian forces were using Western-supplied weapons to attack the plant.