atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#4946: Saturday falls on a Tuesday.

Third interview this morning for that job I've been excited about all month. Video interview, again, and fortunately the computer room only needed light tidying. "Third interview", I hope, means that I'm in the final final running for the job, because that would be awfully nice.

Well, it shall be as the Lord decrees. Further, deponent sayeth not.

* * *

Or else the guy got cancer for an entirely different reason. One of the things I really don't like about Zero Hedge is their anti-nuclear stance.

The radiation exposure limits emplaced by governments for people in the nuclear industry are based on the "no safe dose" theory: the idea that any exposure to radiation is potentially harmful. This is a theory that dates back to the very beginnings of nuclear power, to a time when we didn't know anything about the effects of radiation on the human body. This errs on the side of caution, which is smarter than letting the chips fall where they may.

As time goes on we're learning more and more about it, though, and the signs are pointing to radiation hormesis as being correct: the idea that the dose makes the poison and that our bodies are capable of resisting a certain level of radiation without suffering any ill effects.

The latter is, by the way, much more consistent with what we know about biology when it comes to other potentially harmful things. Inhaling zinc oxide vapor will make you extremely sick, but the body requires a few milligrams of it every day in the food we eat. There are all sorts of trace elements in food, arsenic and lead and mercury and other poisonous things. People love almonds, and almonds contain cyanide.

I could list a thousand foods which contain trace levels of poisons. But for those poisons to reach a harmful dose you'd have to consume truly impossible amounts of those foods. (Bitter almonds, though, are best avoided in quantity. People have died from eating lots of them.)

So when the Japanese government says that the annual dose of radiation for nuclear workers is 50 mSv, I am confident that's a safe determination, well below the actual dose which a person could take before suffering ill effects.

Cancer is a complex disease. It's very complex. We don't know what causes it; we've identified risk factors for it, but we don't know what makes ordinary cells go haywire and start multiplying out of control. Because those cells use exactly the same metabolic processes as healthy cells, killing them--and only them--is difficult. Prevention amounts to identifying risk factors and eliminating them.

Radiation exposure is not a cause of cancer, the same way smoking is not. Exposure to carcinogens increases your chance of contracting cancer but does not guarantee it.

This unfortunate man could just as easily have contracted cancer from smoking, or asbestos exposure, or a viral infection that mutated as from radiation exposure.

If you have one case of cancer after five years, when the published radiation figures never exceeded safe limits, it's probable that case of cancer has nothing to do with the radiation release.

* * *

What the fuck is up with this headline? "Attacked by pranksters" is a bit much. A prankster doesn't "attack". Calling a prank an attack is exaggeration.

...I have long since forgotten the dialing sequence for getting to the PA system at Target, but it's not even remotely secure. The notion that the PA is an extension hooked to the phone system had not occurred to me, but then I never gave a rat's ass about it and only used it when I had to.

Well, it's not really my problem.

* * *

You don't need a Harley. Harleys are expensive and they're luxury goods. And this one hits closer to home for me, considering what company my employer supports.

Sure, the economy is doing great, isn't it?

* * *

I don't know if I have the ability to do this. I've always sucked at designing printed circuit boards. But the larger picture--

It used to be that knowing how to do things was much more important than having the piece of paper. Because of how things went after WW2, credentialism became the rule and many places won't even talk to you if you don't have the piece of paper, even though the piece of paper doesn't indicate anything other than the ability to attend classes and pass tests. But the pendulum always swings, and our society is beginning to move back to relying more on experience and capability.

This trend will continue, particularly because the pieces of paper are becoming ever more expensive while simultaneously losing all significance as indicators of capability.

* * *

Well, the interview went well, and I've been up for three hours. I'd better go catch some winks before Mrs. Fungus wakes up.
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