March 17th, 2011

#2605: Let's look at the facts re: Fukushima

Rod Adams has it.

It shows two things: radiation levels are unsafe in the vicinity of the reactors: if you were standing outside Fukushima #3 right now, you'd be exposed to as much as 300 millisieverts (mSv) per hour, which would elevate your risk of cancer to a statistically significant degree depending on how long you stood there.

It also shows that if you then ran to the main gate of the reactor complex, and stood there instead, you'd be exposed to 1.53 mSv per hour.

This is the kind of dosage information which the news reports are lacking.

The normal annual dose of radiation, from natural sources, is around 2.4 mSv per year. That's for a person who doesn't live underground and who lives at sea level, and who doesn't fly much or get x-rayed.

Just taking an international airplane trip exposes you to 0.19 mSv of radiation, because the main thing shielding Earth's surface from the radiation of space is its atmosphere, and commercial aircraft fly above most of it.

If you work in Grand Central Station--an enomous pile of granite--your annual radiation dose is higher than average.

An upper GI exposes you to 0.6 mSv. A chest x-ray gets you 0.05 mSv. A CAT scan, 6.9 mSv.

...let's look at the chest x-ray for a second. It's a total exposure of 0.05 mSv; the x-ray beam is essentally operating in "flashbulb" mode and it's only on for, what, a tenth of a second? Long enough to hear the thing run, anyway, and for it to register; so let's say it's a full second.

There's 3,600 seconds in an hour. 0.05 mSv per second, times 3,600 seconds per hour, makes it...180 mSv per hour.

About what we're seeing outside the reactor buildings at Fukushima.

* * *

Another fact-based explanation of what happened at Fukushima. None of this "worst nuclear disaster in history" nonsense.

* * *

The image at this post is emblematic of the entire Obama administration. I want to put it on a t-shirt.

* * *

No surprises here: the Tata Nano will run about $9,000 delivered. After taxes, title, license, doc, etc.

Still, $9,000 for a new car ain't so bad. It's certainly better than the $18,000 "Smart" car. Shit.

* * *

"Your ridiculously cool vintage Chevy V8 wallpaper is here", reads the title of this Jalopnik post.'s not cool and it certainly isn't "ridiculously cool". "Ridiculous", yes.

It's a freakin' picture of an exhaust pipe.

The "chevy V8" is a vague blur in the background and the only thing in focus is the end of the exhaust pipe.

Further proof that the guys at Gawker Media are morons.

* * *

Another preview of the Spring 2011 anime season and it contains no further cause for hope than the other one; there's nothing that really grabs my attention. Well, there are some things that might be good, and it's not like Kimi ni Todoke can go on forever.

The promo pic for Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi neatly encapsulates everything that is wrong about shounen ai. Look, there's a reason they call it "yaoi". Have you ever had a rectal exam? Well, the first time the doc shoves his finger into your anus, you yell, "YAOI!" And shounen ai stories are about fudgepackers. You do the math. At least the guy in front has the right facial expression for once.

...also because the Japanese like to come up with single-word expressions for complex phrases, like "OOWWWWW MY ASS!!!"

(Non-nude, totally safe for work picture, by the way.)

Now on to the series which look good to me on second glance:

The World Only God Knows--I skipped that series this past season primarily because of laziness; perhaps I'll grab it and the second series which is coming out this spring.

Nichijou sounds good, too.

A Channel looks okay.

Hen Zemi--maybe. This preview includes a pic of a naked woman on an inflatable dolphin, and...I can't explain it, but it looks hilarious.

* * *

According to Real Life Comics Pepsi Throwback has been made into a permanent product.

Now all I need is for them to put it in 24 oz bottles in 6-packs, and I can say goodbye to high fructose corn syrup!

* * *

So after I'd eaten my Big Mac meal, did some blogging and e-mail, I kind of petered out. I lay down in bed around 4-ish expecting to sleep for a few hours.

I slept until 2 AM, with a short period of consciousness around 8 or so when I fed the cats, switched the house to night mode, and ate a peanut butter sandwich.

I woke up feeling fine, but with a bit of a headache. Two grilled ham-and-cheese took care of most of that. Whatever ailment I am suffering, it seems to be slowly getting better.

* * *

It was warm enough today that I was able to open some windows and air out the house a bit. This was lucky for me, because one of the cats carpet-bombed the litter box. I didn't see which one; otherwise I'd ask the cat, "What the hell--were you saving that one up all winter?" I'm used to cat box odors, but this was a pervasive miasma that spread through the house and didn't dissipate. I had to open more windows and turn on the bathroom fan.

I clean the cat boxes every other day (more or less) so it's not because the cat couldn't bury it. I haven't changed their food lately, either. Jeeze louise.

* * *

Well, the maple trees are dripping sap and flowering. I saw a robin the other day and was reminded how Mom always looked forward to their return.

There's greenery popping up all over the place and pretty soon I'll have to get the wire fence out to protect the tulips.

...and the grass will need cutting.

Sometimes I wonder about the druid/pagan rituals. That crap's old enough that it just might have come from the end of the last ice age, because there must have been some point at which, one year, spring suddenly returned to the northern hemisphere. It must have seemed miraculous (or apocalyptic) to the people who lived at that time, since they lacked things like history and written language (and since the ice age been around longer than human sentience, anyway).

This occurs to me because I was thinking, "Spring always comes"--and then realized that no, no it doesn't--not during an ice age. There are simply periods of "less cold winter". Sure, the Earth's axial tilt doesn't change, and there are still equinoxes and solstices, but the actual climate is neverending cold. It's not really "summer" when it's snowing, you know?

So there must've been a time when it got significantly warmer--suddenly--and I'm sure people were panicking over it. Then, after a few years, they realized that Hey, this isn't so bad, after all! And before long they were starting to worry about things going back to the way they were, ie neverending they began trying to find ways to keep the gods from turning the thermostat back down.

* * *

Maybe what I need right now is cinnamon rolls. I ought to go find out.

#2606: My head hurts

Dry cough, fatigue, post-nasal drip, headache: I've got sinusitis!



Pretty sure this case has been on the build since about this time last week, though, so it's not terribly surprising. It's more annoying than anything else, and it means making a pathetic plea to my brother for an RX for amoxicillin.

Antibiotics are the only thing he'll prescribe for family members. Nothing else. No Xanax, no Paxil, no pain relievers, nothing--just antibiotics. He's not stupid. There are too many legal pitfalls in a doctor prescribing psychoactive drugs for family members, and it's not worth the risk. If I need something serious, I pay the freight and go to my regular doctor.

He also knows I'm not stupid, either. I know it when I've got sinusitis; I get it all the time due to a deviated septum. I think I've had it five times in the last four years, which is about average; I get a case every 6-8 months. In my current economic situation, it makes no sense whatsoever for me to go to my GP, pay him $90 to look at my throat and order a blood test (and nag me over getting a physical I also can't afford right now) and then have him give me an RX for $90 worth of the latest-and-greatest whizbang stuff. Sure, Zithromax will knock out the crud in five doses, but I can't afford it. Particularly not when I'm unemployed, damn it. Anyway, $30 worth of Amoxicillin 500 capsules will do the trick, albeit more slowly. (One capsule every eight hours for three weeks. What's the problem?)

My doctor in Iowa was the same way: I'd call her nurse, say, "I've got sinusitis again," and she'd phone in an RX for amox. It worked and no one's time was wasted. WTF.

* * *

Ann Coulter points out that the effects of ionizing radiation on the human body are poorly understood.

We take a highly careful approach to it: we assume any dose is bad for you and comport ourselves accordingly. Nuclear reactors in the US have to emit less radiation than is naturally present (!) and we carefully track the dosage received by anyone who works with radioactivity on a regular basis.

The reality, however, is that the dose makes the poison. This isn't just true of radiation; it's true of everything.

Your body needs a certain amount of zinc, but if you get too much of it, you die of metal poisoning. And in fact you can put a space in that sentence where "zinc" and "metal" are, and change them to just about goddamned anything, and it'll still be true. Water, oxygen, fiber, steak, anything.

We evolved in a radioactive environment. We are constantly exposed to radiation from all kinds of sources; there's radioactive carbon (Carbon 14) in the air we breathe and the food we eat. There's uranium and thorium in the soil all over the planet. Radon is a problem for some houses because it's a decay product of uranium. The ground is radioactive, the air is radioactive, sunlight is radioactive, the entire freakin' universe is radioactive and you cannot possibly get away from it.

Because our entire biology came into being in a radioactive environment, we have defense mechanisms for dealing with the effects that ionizing radiation has on us. When you get a sun tan, that's your body protecting itself against ultraviolet light from the sun. Ultraviolet light is ionizing radiation and we've evolved a defense mechanism that protects us from it. Our skins--tough as they are--are also proof against alpha radiation.

...and now we're finding out that low chronic doses of radiation are, in fact, proof against cancer.

It makes sense: cancer cells are weaker than healthy ones, and the weaker a cell is the more likely it is to be killed by any toxin, whether it be chemical, radiological, or what. This is why we have chemotherapy and radiotherapy for cancer in the first place. Exposure to higher-than-natural levels of radiation may kill these cancer cells before they can do much of anything, thus stopping the cancer before it's even well started.

You really do have to be careful with ionizing radiation; but perhaps we're being too careful.

* * *

"How close is Japan to a serious crisis?" Asks the lede for this Jerusalem Post article.

...uh...earthquake and tsunami? They've already got a "serious crisis". 10,000 people dead or missing, food and water shortages, rolling blackouts, etc, etc, etc--aren't you jerks paying attention?

It goes on to give facts about radiation exposure and its health implications, but it doesn't convey much information about the problems in Japan.

Atomic Fungus #2279: Interesting statistic on radiation exposure.

Rod Adams reminds us what are the real problems Japan faces and explains why the fuel pool problem isn't much to worry about.

* * *

Japan, budget some rebuilding money to erect statues of these guys.

Apparently the death toll at the plant stands at five, giving us the first light-water commercial reactor event which has killed people. (I bet the anti-nukers are ecstatic: See?? Nuclear power kills!)

Death toll:

Three Mile Island, 1979: 0
Chernobyl, 1986: 57
Fukushima: 5


...but they're not radiation deaths. They're due to explosions and fires, not because of radioactivity. Most of the Chernobyl deaths came from radiation poisoning, though a few resulted from thyroid cancer and a handful were due to the initial core explosion.

* * *

Do you suppose the URL of "" was a clue? It never fails to astound me how few people understand that everything you do on the internet can be tracked and there is no real anonymity. Using an URL like that, you might as well put up a sign on your house to make it easy for the police to find, and set out snacks. Cripes.

It all comes down to how much effort the government wishes to expend on finding you. Whether you have one proxy or eighteen, at some point the packets have to be delivered to your computer, and to do that the Internet hardware has to know where your computer is. Layering proxies only makes finding you more difficult; it does not make it impossible.

In the case of a small-time perv, probably they won't bother. Some guy with a spare computer in his basement who occasionally looks at the stuff is probably safe from prosecution as long as no one sees what he's got on his hard drive. But if you're part of a big ring, producing and distributing the stuff (and maybe even selling, not just trading) that'll probably be enough to motivate the government to find your ass.

Yet out of 70,000 users, they identified 670 suspects...and globally, 184 were arrested. The way online forums work, that's not terribly surprising. My experiences with online automotive forums have shown me that usually there's a small cadre of hardcore forum wonks and then a nebulous cloud of people who post once in a while, if at all. (I'm assuming this is typical of all online forums, not just car-related ones.) I'd wager the pervs which were deemed worth arresting and prosecuting were the ones providing most of the trash these guys consumed.

* * *

Okay, let's lighten up a bit.

...I had intended to do a quick surf and maybe post before getting breakfast. Now it's nearly 11 and I'm thinking I might just go get a bacon mofo instead. What a pain.

Especially since I've still got the headache. No I haven't taken anything for it.

Today it's supposed to be 65° outside. I left the back door open after feeding the outdoor cat because it was already a decent temperature outside.

Considering that I've got the headache--and it's one of those headaches that won't really go away even after I eat and take ibuprofen for it--I'll probably shave and shower before going to McDonald's. WTF, it's not going to get any worse than this, anyway, right?

It might also be a lack of caffiene. Yesterday, I got a Big Mac combo, and the Coke I had with it represented the sum total of all caffiene I ingested while the sun was up. I went to bed around 4 and slept until 2; when I had my ham-and-cheese sandwiches I had a Pepsi with them. Otherwise I drank water almost all day.

Yesterday I was feeling all cruddy and out-of-sorts, and then last night after I had my meal the gut sounded the alarm, so I hit the can--and felt inordinately better afterwards. The old IBS and diverticulosis are still hanging around, after all! In fact right now I still feel that good--below my neck, anyway--which is one reason I'm putting off eating, but I can't put it off indefinitely.

Well, if that's my plan, I suppose I ought to get to it. I need food, and I want to look like I care about my appearance when I get it; so off I go.

#2607: Erza really is the best.


When she's not wearing the plate cuirass, you can see how totally made of hot Erza is. Damn.

* * *

Okay, so I watched anime today:
Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge
Tokyo Womens' Baseball
Motto To-Love-Ru
Fight! Ippatsu Juuden-chan
Kaichou wa Maid-sama
Fairy Tail
Some neat things:

Taishou Yakyuu Musume (which I've translated as Tokyo Womens' Baseball) is pretty interesting. First off, since it's set in 1925, the language is different. I can't really hear individual words so much as I can get a feel for the language, and it's different from modern Japanese. (The same way I detect Saori's pseudo-samurai cant in OreImo.)

The first ep contains a basic history lesson, showing the major landmarks of Tokyo in 1925. Obviously they're all gone now, as Tokyo was routinely pounded by B-25s during the closing months of WW2, which is why even Japanese viewers needed the mini-travelogue. Otherwise, many of them would have been saying, "WTF, what town is that supposed to be?"

The girls are cute and it looks like the story will be worth watching.

I must have missed some of the To-Love-Ru story--probably OVAs, in fact--because ep 1 of the new TV series has characters I don't remember in it, including this weird Potemayo-like thing.

Fight! Ippatsu Juuden-chan is, as promised, a fan service vehicle, with a "bonus" for guys who like seeing girls wet their pants. Argh etc. But the first ep had me laughing out loud, and the story seems worthwhile, and the pants-wetting stuff amounts to a total of a few seconds per episode, so WTF.

The last two on the list I discussed previously. BTW, the image above came from ep 20, the one I watched today, and that wasn't the only Erza goodness in that episode. There's others--her in a towel after a bath, in two different forms of armor, and...*drool*

I really need a girlfriend, damn it.

* * *

Because it was so nice today, I walked around the yard a bit and picked up a bunch of fallen sticks from the trees, and gathered a bit of loose trash that had blown into the yard from somewhere. Anyway, it was a little bit of badly-needed exercise, and it was warm enough for me to walk around in shorts.

I had the windows open again for most of the afternoon, too, which was nice. Fresh air is always good. And I finally got around to disassembling, lubing, and reassembling the front door lock, so it's no longer a pain in the butt to lock or unlock the dang door. That's a 10-minute job I've been putting off for six months; it was finally warm enough to justify having the door open.

...and as I went to the Chinese place to pick up dinner, I found myself thinking, "Okay, what the hell is wrong with me? I feel strange!"

I felt good.

I've been miserable for three months, if not longer, and today was the first time I didn't feel crummy or depressed or sick or totally exhausted since mid-December. No idea how long it'll last (if at all).

Probably it's actually me feeling "not bad" rather than "good", to be honest, but it's like when you're in pain and you take some good pain reliever like Darvocet, and the pain disappears: the endorphins make you giggly. This is probably about the same kind of deal, here.

What a difference from this morning, though: when I woke up around 9-ish or so, it was from a dream that I'd gone to Tokyo to meet a woman who I'd been having an Internet romance with. Only while I was having a look around the place I was staying, I found that it was immense--it would be an immense place in the US, so it'd be gargantuan in Japan--and then I found the woman in the kitchen with some friends, and it turned out in fact that the place I was staying was her boyfriend's condominium.


He was out of town at her behest, which bothered me considerably, so I told her we'd have to have a talk about things; then I tried to find my way back to the room I'd be sleeping in and got lost. There was something in there about me taking a bath before dinner, and asking some woman if she'd ever had a Japanese bath (she had, obviously) and then I woke up.

So I woke up depressed. I don't really know why, except that the woman I'd gone to meet was obviously dishonest (and worse than merely dishonest). It took me a couple of hours to shake the feeling.

* * *

Here it is 10 hours later, though, and I'm starting to fall asleep, and I can't think of a single good reason I shouldn't just brush my teeth and go to bed.

Well, except that I really ought to take out the trash, first, as tomorrow is garbage day. Other than that--F it.

* * *


Oh, thank God for that! I was starting to WORRY!



...actually I'm pretty sure God had nothing to do with it. This was more infernal than anything else: a perversion of something--that had once been good--into a putrefied mess, thick with the corruption of evil.

I speak of the pot roast I made lo these three weeks past. (Actually, Feb 20th.) It sat, entombed within its stainless steel sarcophagus, awaiting the day it might escape its frigid tomb and inflict its misama of dread upon the waking world!

As it was garbage night, I ventured to the refrigerator to clean out old food, and had already disposed of the rotten Ghost of General Tao; turning my attention to the circular sarcophagus I bravely wrenched off the aluminum lid and exposed to the world that which had remained hidden for so long. Woe! The stuff within the ancient coffin had turned, as I had expected, into something not of this Earth!

Arming myself with the same faithful serving spoon which had already dispatched the ruined remains of General Tao, I sallied forth to do battle with the monstrosity. My first blow dislodged a potatop from the unholy mass; though strings of slime tried to reclaim this vital organ, it was deposited atop the fetid corpse of General Tao. My next blow--and it was a mighty one!--excised another potato, and the slime clung with greed to it as it had with the other; but it, too, joined General Tao.

The meat! Ah, sad reminder of mortality, this once-proud piece of rump roast was now completely inedible; and when I made to remove it from the body of the thing, oh, how the tendrils did entwine it! Though I feared for my sanity, I continued to elevate this vital corpuscle above the remainder of the stuff, watching as the tentacles lost their grasp, one by one, and slumped back into the morasse.

Judging that the beast was now sorely weakened, I completed the vivisection by excising one more carrot and some onion; then I bore the sarcophagus to the toilet and emptied it there, to send whatever was left of the creature back to the bowels of the earth.

I debated cleansing the sarcophagus with a solution of the hypochlorite of sodium, but decided that a strong detergent with hot water would suffice.

This day, I have vanquished one of the greatest horrors of my career.

* * *

Yeah: pot roast in broth doesn't keep all that well. The broth had mold floating in it, and it had turned into some kind of slime mold to boot. It was pretty disgusting, though it didn't actually smell bad or anything. Hell, it didn't need to smell bad, because the gooey sticky slimy muckiness of the stuff was more than enough to turn my stomach.

I really have to do a better job of getting rid of old leftovers before they mutate like this. Damn.