atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#2601: Well, that didn't take very long

...I'm starting to feel sick already. Headache, nausea, general malaise. *sigh*

* * *

"Broken windows":

"Japan will be poorer, for this disaster.... Rebuilding will run down Japan's financial wealth."

"tocks plunged Tuesday, and bond prices rose, as the nuclear crisis in Japan intensified following a deadly earthquake and tsunami. The Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 200 points."

* * *

The Japanese aren't looting.

Why aren't they looting? Because their culture frowns on misbehavior, that's why--unlike ours.

* * *

Will someone please clue the Obama White House in on the whole theory of "separation of powers"? The executive branch can't tell the judicial branch what cases to examine, the same way the judicial branch can't tell the executive branch what laws to sign.

* * *

"Radiation levels soar" but the article that headline comes from is woefully short on specifics. It'd be nice if the reporter actually mentioned, y'know, radiation measurements from the stricken plants rather than just say, "Whoo! Radiation levels sure are high! They're dangerous! There's UP TO 100 times normal levels! (I ain't gonna say what 'normal' is though!)"

Medical science and the regulations covering nuclear power plants all operate from the theory that any exposure to radiation is cumulative and therefore bad for you--the "one cigarette will kill you" thinking--which is why the reporters can get away with talking about how "dangerous" it is to be exposed to a couple chest x-rays' worth of radiation.

The real danger with these plants is that some of the stuff coming out of them is particulate matter. The uranium fuel pellets are clad in various metals, and--of course--because there are neutrons passing through it, the cladding becomes radioactive. Now, because the reactor is in an unusual regime, some of that metal is ending up in the air, as dust. It's got all kinds of weird isotopes in it.

Here's what you do when you get some on you: wash it off. But if you don't know it's there, or if you don't have enough water for bathing for some reason--such as, I don't know, you're in the middle of the worst disaster your country's seen since 1945--yes, it could be dangerous.

That's why, by the way, you see pictures of bunny-suited technicians scanning people with geiger counters. They're trying to see if those people have any radioactive particulate matter on them. It's why the plant workers are wearing those bunny suits, too; they want to keep whatever might be present off their skins.

If you don't have a bunny suit, you stay indoors, seal the doors and windows with duct tape, and don't run the furnace. Your biggest worry from this kind of contamination is alpha and beta radiation, and the walls of a typical house will stop both. (There isn't enough of that junk in the air to make neutron, x-ray, or gamma radiation a serious threat to health.)

(Incidentally: rice paper is enough to stop alpha radiation.)

Rod Adams has more of the same and he knows what he's talking about, being in the nuclear industry.

* * *

Vox Day gets it wrong.
How did that M.I.T. PhD-backed prediction hold up? "Dangerous levels of radiation leaking from a crippled nuclear plant forced Japan to order 140,000 people to seal themselves indoors Tuesday after an explosion and a fire dramatically escalated the crisis spawned by a deadly tsunami. In a nationally televised statement, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said radiation had spread from the four stricken reactors of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant along Japan's northeastern coast."

And now we know what an assurance from an M.I.T. PhD is worth.
As noted above, the people are sealing themselves inside as a precaution. And there's that phrase, "dangerous levels" again, without specifying what those levels are.

If you listen to the NRC and the anti-nuke crowd, any exposure is dangerous--including all those medical images ordered by your doctor and dentist. "We have to weigh the benefits of having the images against the radiation exposure," they say, "and besides, it really isn't that much."

Well, if an angiogram is "not dangerous" why is a nuclear accident exposing you to 10% of the angiogram's radiation "dangerous"?

How disappointing: Vox Day normally has his head screwed on straighter than this.

* * *

I had this awesome dream that I'd just taken delivery of two new pistols.

One was the standard S&W revolver. .38 I think. The other was a compact S&W semiauto, chambered in .40, and it fit in my hand rather nicely. I was sitting here at my desk and admiring it; but then I had to put it down and go get in line to ride the roller coaster. Priorities, you know.

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