March 11th, 2016

#5116: For a "mild" cold this thing sure is kicking my ass.

I take it back; this is not a mild cold by any reasonable measure. I was led into thinking it was by the mild onset, but it's pretty bad.

On Tuesday, I said:
I have heard of 24-hour flu. I have never heard of a 24-hour cold.

Because of that, I'm skeptical of my sudden recovery, and am waiting for the other shoe to drop;...
It dropped, all right. *sigh*

* * *

Yes, it's more anti-nuclear scaremongering. They found, near a nuclear power plant in Florida, that tritium levels in the water were 215x times higher than normal. Sounds scary, doesn't it? 215 times the natural amount?

It does, unless you know one of two things.

Tritium (the third isotope of hydrogen) has a half-life of about 7 years. It's continually being produced in the upper atmosphere by cosmic ray bombardment and when it combines with oxygen it forms water, which rains on you and me and everything else.

First, then: the amount of radioactivity you'd absorb from this kind of source--water with 215x the amount of naturally-occuring tritium--is about ten percent as much as you'd get if you took a cross-country airplane flight. It's far below the natural radioactivity of your body, from potassium and carbon and other radioactive isotopes.

Second (and this was the point which I twigged to first): the media is reporting it without specifics and without mentioning what the potential impacts could be. They're harping on the "215x" figure without--as usual--providing any perspective on what it means.

Should such a leak be attented to? Absolutely. Is it a disaster? Absolutely not.

* * *

Yeah, we've heard all this before. Three laws, we are told, could (not "would") cut gun deaths in the United States by 90%. Yeah: "requiring universal background checks for firearms, background checks for ammunition, and firearm identification".

Let's look each of those over.

"Background checks for firearms"--in most cases, a background check must be performed by a retailer before a gun may be sold. There are a few circumstances where this is not mandated (the so-called "gun show loophole" which only applies to private sales, not retail) but in nearly every case, there is a requirement that a background check be performed. This is a federal law.

Criminals (which is to say, people who are most likely to commit murder) usually do not get their guns legally, and do not submit to a background check. FAIL.

"Background checks for ammunition"--ammunition is useless without a firearm. Some states will not allow the purchase of ammunition unless one is already permitted to own a firearm. Illinois is an excellent example; in Illinois you may not buy either a gun or ammunition unless you can present a valid FOID card.

Criminals usually do not get their ammunition legally, and would not submit to a background check. FAIL.

"Firearm identification"--again, Illinois' FOID card is a great example of this. Most jurisdictions require some kind of identification or another for purchase (see above, "background checks") and ownership of firearms (FOID et alii).

Chicago--in the land of the FOID card, and the last state to legalize concealed carry--is having a record-setting year for gang violence. FAIL.

Point being, we already have laws such as these on the books, and it's been demonstrated time and again that all they do is make the problem worse, rather than better.

Chicago in particular has a gang problem, not a gun problem.

* * *

As for me, although I've said it before, I can now say with some confidence that I do believe I'm on the tail end of this thing. For the first time since Tuesday I woke up this afternoon (well after calling off work) with a reasonably clear head. My sinuses are finally draining.

After calling in, I went back to sleep; that was no later than 11:30--slept until 3 and woke up with a splitting headache but everything else feeling tons better than before. Now that I've had a bowl of leftover goulash and some ibuprofen, I almost feel human again.

That'll do.