Had the New York World's Fair of 1964-65 left lasting educational, diplomatic or even entertainment memories, the disastrous financial report issued by the City Controller might have been chalked off as a Robert Moses Happening.The management of the 1964 Fair was all too futurist, foreshadowing not only the city's financial debacle of the 1970s but more recent outrages against investors and taxpayers.
The CNN article coincides with a Times report on the problems of a once-promising new reactor design a French company is trying to implement in Finland, and the technological and financial snafus that are giving US utilities and authorities second thoughts about nuclear power from highly standardized, safe new designs as a partial solution to oil shortages and carbon emissions.
What's the lesson? That we persisted too long with an inherently unsafe technology? Or that we drew the wrong lessons from Three Mile Island and Chernobyl and now are trying to make up for neglect of research on a partial but significant answer to climate change and energy security? I have to say I'm not sure. But the problems of nuclear power are only part of a broader challenge. Despite (and partly because of) all the marvels of information technology, the rest of the future does indeed appear to be behind schedule. We actually may need more hype rather than less.
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