Archive for the ‘environment’ Category

There’s been a horrible earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and the areas where I lived, and where my friends and their families still (hopefully :( :( :( ) live were terribly affected. Many people are completely forgetting the tragedy and instead engaging in pathetic scaremongering and thoughtlessly spreading nuclear panic: those numbers you hear on the TV, they sound rather scary, but if you remember what they actually mean for you (if you’re in the US or EU or China or Russia: they mean nothing will happen to you, so kindly shut up), and what happens to many radioactive isotopes after a relatively short time

(do I really need to say this? This is primary school-lever physics, and I say it as someone who was never really interested in hard science, apart from the brief period when I was 12 and wanted to be nuclear physicist: nuclear: because it’s the coolest thing ever, and physicist: because my mum is too — but I digress)

you will realize that only people who are really in danger right now are those working at the Fukushima 1 power plant, for whose work and dedication everybody should be grateful, although concepts such as being grateful are hardly ever mentioned by Western media.

I wonder why.

Anyway, I’ll just quote from the banana equivalent dose article for those who are too lazy to read the links:

Many foods are naturally radioactive, and bananas are particularly so, due to the radioactive potassium-40, or 40K they contain. Bananas are radioactive enough to regularly cause false alarms on radiation sensors used to detect possible illegal smuggling of nuclear material at U.S. ports. A medium-sized banana contains about 450 mg of potassium. 40K makes up 0.0117% of this, or about 53 μg, which produces 14 radioactive decays per second (dps), or 0.37 nCi of radiation. If the banana is eaten, the dose equivalent is about 0.01 mrem, which is equivalent to 0.1 μSv (emphasis mine).

See? You’ve been eating radioactive stuff for ages and didn’t even know about it.

Anyway, have you seen this video? It’s a bit too late, because the situation in the power plant seems to be under control, I’ve just seen the NHK news, and they managed to get the wanter into reactor 3, and it seems they’re pretty optimistic, but anyway, this explanation is the easiest to understand there is:

Some people have said that it’s for Japanese children and USian adults, but this is not true: the video must have been made for the German government. If they watch it, perhaps they stop scaremongering.


But I wouldn’t get our hopes up.


Anyway: back to People and Their Priorities.

Imagine you’re in a town terribly affected by the tsunami. You see only ruins, ruins, and ruins; and you know that under the ruins there are dead people who didn’t manage to escape. The people who did manage to evacuate are now in a shelter, most likely they don’t have enough blankets and food, because the railways might have been destroyed, and there’s very little gasoline, and the help from the government hasn’t arrived yet. There are many old people, because younger people have mostly moved to bigger cities, leaving their parents and grandparents behind, in little villages on the seashore , old people  many of whom are quite ill, there is however very little medicine left, and the doctors haven’t arrived so far. It’s very cold and it’s snowing, but there’s very little oil for the stoves — and in any case, there’s only one stove — so the people in the shelter are only turning the stove on during the cold night*.

What do you do? You take some photos. Sensible:  people will be sorry and might donate some money for the victims:

Maybe one more:

So what do you do? I know!


I wish I was kidding:

Sorry, but if there are people who have no food and no warm clothes, and it’s snowing, and it’s cold, and three old ladies have to share one blanket, and there’s only one stove, I will so fucking judge if you go around saving ~*fish*~

So! Let’s do more than Tarah and Carisa, let’s  do more than just save a fish. Your money, which can be used for medicine and blankets and food, is needed:

International Red Cross

Medecins Sans Frontieres

A FB page with links to regional organizations in Japan that are operating in areas affected by the disaster right now, WITH ENGLISH INFO. It’s perhaps the quickest and most effective way to help: the organizations linked on that page are already there.

Every penny is needed!


This girl is looking for her mum in the ruins of Kesennuma, a town that was destroyed by tsunami and a series of terrible fires. We can’t get her mum back, but we can make sure she’s got something to eat and a blanket.

Let’s do more than save a fish!

(Oh, and Tarah and Carisa? I’m normally vegetarian, but next time I’m eating out? I’ll happily munch a fish, thinking of you <3)

(Thanks to Palacsinta, who commented on my other blog, for the link <3)

* It really has been like that: I’ve been watching NHK all the time :(((

Where by ” John Ringo” I mean Levitt and Dubner, of the Freakonomics fame*.

It would seem that in their new book, Superfreakonomics, the engage in a lot of global warming denialism.

1. Tim Lambert is not amused and provides a looooong correction of the most egregious mistakes. I must say, wow, I thought Levitt& Dubner wouldn’t stoop so low as to actually cherry-pick researchers who don’t agree with them. An example:

1) “Yet [Ken Caldeira]’s research tells him that carbon dioxide is not the right villain in this fight.”

Caldeira has exactly one quote on his home page:

“Carbon dioxide is the right villain,” says Caldeira, “insofar as inanimate objects can be villains.”

Joe Romm asked Caldeira about the misrepresentation of his views and he told Romm:

If you talk all day, and somebody picks a half dozen quotes without providing context because they want to make a provocative and controversial chapter, there is not much you can do.

2. William Connolley has a list od their ten most obvious mistakes.

3. UCS has a detailed recap of old, tired memes Levitt& Dubner use in their new book.

4. I personally have to add that their title sucks.

This should come as a warning to us all. When you make money on being sceptical about the “common sense” stuff, you can take it too far and straight into the conspiracy theory territory, especially when you’re writing about stuff that is clearly not you area of expertise.