8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby Роберт » Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:42 pm UTC

Rueters:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/ ... JT20110615
In the city of Date, for example, some 50 km (30 miles) to the northwest of Fukushima, ground radiation was near 24 millisieverts per year as of early June. That is above the international standard for annual exposure by nuclear workers.


WSJ: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... lenews_wsj
WASHINGTON—The U.S. nuclear industry said Thursday it doesn't expect any health problems among Japanese people as a result of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.
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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby Dauric » Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:47 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/15/us-japan-nuclear-hotspots-idUSTRE75D1JT20110615

Nobody's arguing that the situation is bad for Japan. That's a no-frigging Duh, and Zafmir's shown a lot of credible data to that effect.

Assertions that Hawaii is about to become a radioactive wasteland, or that the games Fallout 1 and 2 (which take place on the western seaboard of the U.S.) are imminent predictions of reality however have been.. less conclusive than the claims try to make them out to be.

Edit: I don't particularly believe the Nuclear Industry either. Strange as it sounds it's possible to think both sides of the argument aren't being entirely honest with their information.
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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby ++$_ » Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:48 pm UTC

endolith wrote:
4 weeks ending March 19, 2011 - 37 deaths (avg. 9.25 per week)
10 weeks ending May 28, 2011 - 125 deaths (avg.12.50 per week)


Is this statistically valid? It seems backwards bin data before and after an event, and then see if the data shows an increase. Better would be to examine the weekly data, see if there's a statistical increase, and then see if that correlates with an event. Especially as I would expect some delay between cause and effect.

Is an increase of 3.25 per week statistically significant? Is it unusual compared to the data for the last few years? http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/

This data is combined from several cities. Are the cities they included chosen objectively, or are they cherry-picking only cities with increases?
Here you go:

Every city on the west coast (Pacific and Mountain regions) is included -- no cherrypicking. The weeks start at the beginning of the year and go up to last week. And in case you're interested, the standard deviation of the total number of deaths is 8.
fukushima.png


EDIT 1: I just realized that they set their cutoff a week later than I did, but it makes essentially no difference to the before-and-after averages.

EDIT 2: Data for Tacoma.

4 weeks ending March 19: 4 deaths
10 weeks ending May 28: 4 deaths

Folding this into the rest of the data changes their numbers to 10.25 deaths per week "before" and 12.9 deaths per week "after".

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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby Telchar » Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:13 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:So, in other words, you're not willing to point out anything factually incorrect in the article, or any specific reason to doubt the article's author or his sources.

Is there anything you're trying to say? Anything to add to the discussion?


One of the really obvious bad claims is when it says this is the worst man made disaster in the history of the planet.

All factual data points to this being not nearly as bad as Chernobyl. They also list 3 Mile Island in the same category of disaster at the end of the article which is a terrible skewing of facts.
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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby Роберт » Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:24 pm UTC

Telchar wrote:
Роберт wrote:So, in other words, you're not willing to point out anything factually incorrect in the article, or any specific reason to doubt the article's author or his sources.

Is there anything you're trying to say? Anything to add to the discussion?


One of the really obvious bad claims is when it says this is the worst man made disaster in the history of the planet.

All factual data points to this being not nearly as bad as Chernobyl. They also list 3 Mile Island in the same category of disaster at the end of the article which is a terrible skewing of facts.

From wikipedia:
Junichi Matsumoto, acting head of TEPCO's Nuclear Power & Plant Siting Division, acknowledged the seriousness of the Fukushima accident at a [12 April] press conference stating, "although the details of the [Chernobyl and Fukushima] accidents are different, from the standpoint of how much radiation has been released, [Fukushima] is equal to or more serious than Chernobyl."[292]
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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby Telchar » Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:30 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:The other three pictures are Cesium contamination Bq/m^2, from "less than 300,000 Bq/m" to "more than 3,000,000". For comparison: the closed zone around Chernobyl is for areas with more than 1,480,000 Bq/m^2 of Cs-137 (that's 40 Curie/km^2). Areas above 185,000 Bq/m^2 are regularly checked for changes.


The area of the Zone of Alienation around Chernobyl is a 30km circle. The area indicated in the graph in red is a much smaller area. Either they're using another metric they don't specify or they're contradicted by the data.
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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby endolith » Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:56 pm UTC

++$_ wrote:Every city on the west coast (Pacific and Mountain regions) is included -- no cherrypicking. The weeks start at the beginning of the year and go up to last week.


So the number of infant deaths decreases after Fukushima? We need to write a blog article!


Did Fukushima explosion send radiation back in time?
New study shows possible link between nuclear disaster and earlier infant deaths. Scientific expert says tachyons "could be responsible".


Can you post the spreadsheet? Google Docs? Did you sum the same conditions as them and get the same result?

(Oh, I see what you did. Sum of "Mountain" and "Pacific" categories for each week:

Code: Select all

Week   Week ending   Mountain   Pacific   Total   
23     06/11/11   10   24   34   http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6023md.htm?s_cid=mm6023md_w#Tab3
22     06/04/11   11   18   29   http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6020md.htm?s_cid=mm6020md_w#Tab3
21     05/28/11   15   30   45   http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6020md.htm?s_cid=mm6020md_w#Tab3
20     05/21/11   19   23   42   http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6020md.htm?s_cid=mm6020md_w#Tab3



Here's a map of the locations listed in the data vs the locations they included in their count:

http://batchgeo.com/map/47afa51f11d7528 ... 6c34893dc5

Including Boise while excluding Tacoma, Spokane, and Hawaii seems... suspect.

Telchar wrote:One of the really obvious bad claims is when it says this is the worst man made disaster in the history of the planet.


They forgetting Banqiao Dam? Bhopal? The Great Smog?

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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby ++$_ » Fri Jun 17, 2011 12:47 am UTC

endolith wrote:Oh, I see what you did. Sum of "Mountain" and "Pacific" categories for each week:
Yeah, that's what I did. I didn't bother checking their work -- I see no reason to doubt their numbers, although drawing any conclusion from them is really dubious. My main intention was to see what kind of variation would be typical over those time periods.

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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby Diadem » Fri Jun 17, 2011 1:34 am UTC

Chen wrote:
endolith wrote:Here's the origin for the claim that Fukushima is killing American babies:

http://www.counterpunch.org/sherman06102011.html

4 weeks ending March 19, 2011 - 37 deaths (avg. 9.25 per week)
10 weeks ending May 28, 2011 - 125 deaths (avg.12.50 per week)



These numbers are pretty useless without more information. How many total births were there during those time frame? Basically what % of births resulted in these deaths. It would seem extremely unlikely to me that the number of births/week during these 14 weeks was identical, which means the "35% increase" is certainly false. Now its either deliberately misleading or just plain lazy reporting. If its the latter its in fact possible that the increase is effectively MORE than 35% if there were less births/week in the second 10 weeks. The cynic in me says its the former though...

Well we can do statistical analysis on this. The rule with data like this is that the error is the square root of the total number of events. So the before is 37 deaths plus or minus 6. The after is 125 plus or minus 11. That gives weekly rates of 9.3 +- 1.5 and 12.5 +- 1.1. The proper way to compare those is to look at the difference, take the square root of the sum of squares of the errors as the new error, and look if it's statistically significantly different from zero. So the difference is 3.25 +- 1.89. So we're about 1.7 standard deviations away from zero. That is not statistically significant.

So on statistics alone we can already reject this claim. But of course as others have already mentioned the methodological problems with this data are much worse. Why 10 weeks after but only 4 before? There's no good excuse to only take 4 weeks. More data is always better, and longer time periods are certainly available. So that looks suspiciously like cherrypicking. Some cities have been included, others have not, that's also cherrypicking. Even worse is that they look at total deaths, not infant mortality rates. That's only the same if birth rates are constant. But they aren't, we know birthrates typically fluctuate during the year, some months more children are born than others. So that's another glaring error in the data. And perhaps the most important rule of statistics is: Garbage in, garbage out. No amount of statistics is going to turn wrong data into right conclusions.

If you do that much cherrypicking and manipulation of your data, and you still can't statistically back up the claims you are making based on it, you fail. Hugely.
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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby Jorpho » Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:07 am UTC

Man, I stopped trying to keep track of all this after people started complaining about that one guy's blog post that said everything was under control.

Does anyone really know what's going on? Or should I keep waiting for the inevitable book to come out three years from now?

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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby Vash » Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:27 am UTC

endolith wrote:So the number of infant deaths ... and Hawaii seems... suspect.

Telchar wrote:One of the really obvious bad claims is when it says this is the worst man made disaster in the history of the planet.


They forgetting Banqiao Dam? Bhopal? The Great Smog?


The city selection definitely is fishy. Also, why is it limited to cities? Are the statistics that unavailable for other areas?

More than that, why would the Fukushima accident, through a proxy, be a better way to look for tachyons than simply detection? I suppose the idea is that there are not normally enough, and we don't know when and where they will happen in the future. Still, would there not be at least some, especially from the Sun? If not on Earth, in orbit or elsewhere in the solar system perhaps? To make it even simpler than that, would not any nuclear reaction do? (if a nuclear reaction would do at all) This seems like a bad way to look for them.

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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby Gelsamel » Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:44 am UTC

Even if this data did show a correlation between the accident and deaths of any subset of people, you'd still have to posit a valid physical mechanism by which that harm might occur. With the doses we're talking about in the time frames we're talking about, even considering that they're infants, there does not exist a physical process by which they may be harmed. Radiation is not a magical harm ray that ruins everything it touches.
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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby Adacore » Fri Jun 17, 2011 6:04 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:Does anyone really know what's going on? Or should I keep waiting for the inevitable book to come out three years from now?

You think they'll have a better idea in three years? Hell - Chernobyl was 25 years ago, and people still argue about its effects.

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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby Zamfir » Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:29 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:Does anyone really know what's going on? Or should I keep waiting for the inevitable book to come out three years from now?

This is the most comprehensive official document available. Long and dry, Malcolm Gladwell was not involved in the writing, but it tells you what the Japanese know:
Report of Japanese Government to IAEA Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety - Accident at TEPCO's Fukushima Nuclear Power StationsTransmitted by Permanent Mission of Japan to IAEA, 7 June 2011

Good powerpoint on what happened during the accidents and the things we still do not know, made by a German engineering firm. Works better for me if I save and open it, instead of opening in a browser:
Presentation by VGB

Report on dose effects in Japan in the coming years. Bit technical, but very readable even to outsiders, I think. By IRSN, the French nuclear research institute.
http://www.irsn.fr/EN/news/Documents/IRSN-Fukushima-Report-DRPH-23052011.pdf

For daily details the Japanese JAIF and NISA make reports. The JAIF has a nice sheet showing what they are working on right now and how far things are progressed. For less technical sotries, the NHK (Japanese state TV) is good, they have an english page, most of it devoted to Fukushima stories.

Keep in mind that the Japanese focus their information on Japan first, so what's available to us is only what someone decided to translate.

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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby Роберт » Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:47 pm UTC

Yes, having looked into the coastal death claims more, I agree that it seems idiotic. You guys are right about their being no credible sources about harmful radiation hitting the U.S.

The Hawaii guy who wrote the article was the president of some company that sells Geiger counters or something. He may well have found a legitimate spike in Hawaii, and probably did, but it seems to be a fairly isolated incident. The coastal deaths thing seems useless. Here's an easy counter source to claims of increased radiation in the coastal cities: http://www.doh.wa.gov/Topics/japan/monitor.htm
All monitoring stations have continually shown normal background levels of radiation since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The annual average measurement at our Tumwater air monitor for 2010 was 25 counts per minute. The levels would have to be at least hundreds of thousands of times higher than these readings before state health officials would recommend protective actions.

Unfortunately, their latest data is from May...
On the same site: http://www.doh.wa.gov/Topics/japan/iodine.htm
The level of iodine is far below any public health concern. Iodine levels in the samples have dropped sharply since March 20. They might fluctuate slightly with changes in the air movement coming in from the Pacific, but iodine levels are expected to remain very low and are likely to drop below our detection level very soon. The state health department will continue to analyze air samples until it is no longer possible to detect iodine 131.

So it did hit the U.S.

Anyone disagree?
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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby Zamfir » Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:49 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:So it did hit the U.S.

Anyone disagree?

Sure, it hit the US for the right values of "it" and "hit". That peak measurement was 1.8 picoCurie per cubic meter of air, or about 0.1 Bq/m^3. (A Bq is one radioactive decay per second). Iodine decay emits beta radiation that doesn't penetrate very far, it really needs to get into your body to harm. Usually by falling on food which then gets eaten.

Your body has normally about 5000 Bq worth of rather comparable K-40 decays. So at 0.1 Bq/m^3 you would need to absorb the iodine from a lot of air before it would have an appreciable change, let alone harm.

The same website mentions milk testing, because milk is the quickest way to get iodine from the air on grass through cows and into human bodies. Measurements were 0.8 pCi/liter of milk, compared to 4600 pCi/liter as legal limit. And legal limit is usually set by something like "if you drink only this milk for a year we cannot guarantee there will be no negative effects"

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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby Heisenberg » Fri Jun 17, 2011 4:50 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:So it did hit the U.S.

Anyone disagree?

Not at all. A filipino banana boat also hit the west coast recently. Arguably, I should be more concerned with the radioactivity of those bananas than the miniscule change in air quality, but in reality, I don't really give a shit about either of them.

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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby Роберт » Fri Jun 17, 2011 5:40 pm UTC

Good, so where in agreement, it's bad, and it hit the U.S.
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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Jun 17, 2011 6:04 pm UTC

So did Cosmic Radiation. And the Cosmic Radiation did a lot more harm.
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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby Роберт » Fri Jun 17, 2011 6:06 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:So did Cosmic Radiation. And the Cosmic Radiation did a lot more harm.

Ummm... yes. I don't no why everybody needs to reiterate.
I wrote:[There are] no credible sources about harmful radiation hitting the U.S.
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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby Dauric » Fri Jun 17, 2011 6:19 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:Good, so where in agreement, it's bad, and it hit the U.S.


It's bad in Japan, sure. At least for a corridor extending not quite 40km northwest from the reactor. It's also going to affect their food prices since that stretch of land is apparently rural/farmland. It's going to be bad for people in the Fukushima prefecture, but they're pretty much ground-zero of the incident, so that's a no-brainer.

In that it hit the U.S. is less than the day-to-day variance of the radiation we get from the sun. As an American, and especially as an American that lives over a mile closer to the sun than anyone on the west coast, I'm rather less than concerned about it and any lowlanders panicking about it can man up and quit whining.

Why it gets reiterated:

"It's bad and it hit the U.S." is context-less sensationalism. It's a statement that, while factual, is clearly spun to invoke more panic than is justified by the data. Panic does not help even if there's a reason for it, the less reason there is for concern the more damage it does.
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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby Heisenberg » Fri Jun 17, 2011 6:57 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:Good, so where in agreement, it's bad, and it hit the U.S.

No, it's not bad at all. But we could measure it in the US, so that part is correct.

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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby Роберт » Fri Jun 17, 2011 7:01 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
Роберт wrote:Good, so where in agreement, it's bad

No, it's not bad at all.

Can I have what you're smoking?
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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby Hawknc » Fri Jun 17, 2011 7:10 pm UTC

How about you add something slightly more constructive? How is it bad? What is the measured impact on humans in the US? The conclusion of the discussion so far seems to be pretty much no impact.
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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby Роберт » Fri Jun 17, 2011 7:18 pm UTC

Hawknc wrote:How is it bad?

It's bad because it's displaced countless people from their homes and ruined large amounts of crops, etc., etc. I'm not linking to sources for this, that's ridiculous.
Hawknc wrote:What is the measured impact on humans in the US?
None that I know of, except indirectly for those with family and friends in Japan.
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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby Zamfir » Fri Jun 17, 2011 7:24 pm UTC

Big in Japan.
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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby Hawknc » Fri Jun 17, 2011 7:25 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:It's bad because it's displaced countless people from their homes and ruined large amounts of crops, etc., etc. I'm not linking to sources for this, that's ridiculous.

That's not the context of the discussion here, and you know that - nobody is disagreeing that it was terrible for the people of Japan. Don't be obtuse.
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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:48 pm UTC

Dauric wrote:The important omission: Cause of Death. None of those tables tally deaths by cause. There could have been a gang war and the entire difference was gunshot wounds, or Baby Volleyball. There's no way to isolate that any of those deaths were actually caused by increased radiation.
Unfortunately, similar problems plague some of the exaggerated claims about the lethality of Chernobyl, as well. In addition, when cause of death was considered, it wasn't restricted to conditions known to have been caused by radiation, or even conditions with *any* known link to radiation levels.
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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby Роберт » Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:52 pm UTC

Hawknc wrote:
Роберт wrote:It's bad because it's displaced countless people from their homes and ruined large amounts of crops, etc., etc. I'm not linking to sources for this, that's ridiculous.

That's not the context of the discussion here, and you know that - nobody is disagreeing that it was terrible for the people of Japan. Don't be obtuse.

Nobody is currently claiming significant effects have been seen in the U.S., other than measurable amounts of radiation. Since nobody is claiming it's been bad in the U.S., a claim that says "It's not bad" directly following when someone said the disaster is pretty bad, in context, is referring to... what exactly?
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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby ++$_ » Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:57 pm UTC

You were the one who posted this quote with added emphasis:
Роберт wrote:
TEPCO announced that the accident probably released more radioactive material into the environment than Chernobyl, making it the worst nuclear accident on record.

Meanwhile, a nuclear waste advisor to the Japanese government reported that about 966 square kilometres near the power station - an area roughly 17 times the size of Manhattan - is now likely uninhabitable.

In the US, physician Janette Sherman MD and epidemiologist Joseph Mangano published an essay shedding light on a 35 per cent spike in infant mortality in northwest cities that occurred after the Fukushima meltdown, and may well be the result of fallout from the stricken nuclear plant.

The eight cities included in the report are San Jose, Berkeley, San Francisco, Sacramento, Santa Cruz, Portland, Seattle, and Boise, and the time frame of the report included the ten weeks immediately following the disaster.
So perhaps it's understandable that people thought you might be claiming significant effects have been seen in the US, especially when your post also included the statement that "it hit the US," where "hit" usually implies something non-negligible. (The earthquake that caused the disaster was measurable in California, but the earthquake did not "hit" California.)

But I guess it's cleared up now.

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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:06 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:
SexyTalon wrote:So did Cosmic Radiation. And the Cosmic Radiation did a lot more harm.

Ummm... yes. I don't no why everybody needs to reiterate.
I wrote:[There are] no credible sources about harmful radiation hitting the U.S.
Because you are communicating incredibly poorly.
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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby Роберт » Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:38 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:Because you are communicating incredibly poorly.

...meh, the communication clearly went badly. I think it's a stretch to place the blame for that solely on yours truly.
At the start of the post where I mentioned radiation hit the U.S.:
I wrote:Yes, having looked into the coastal death claims more, I agree that it seems idiotic.

I wrote:[There are] no credible sources about harmful radiation hitting the U.S.
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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby Dauric » Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:48 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:
SexyTalon wrote:Because you are communicating incredibly poorly.

...meh, the communication clearly went badly. I think it's a stretch to place the blame for that solely on yours truly.
At the start of the post where I mentioned radiation hit the U.S.:
I wrote:Yes, having looked into the coastal death claims more, I agree that it seems idiotic.

I wrote:[There are] no credible sources about harmful radiation hitting the U.S.


But you concluded with
Роберт wrote:Good, so where in agreement, it's bad, and it hit the U.S.

The use of "And" in a single sentence suggest a logical connection between "Bad" and "hit the U.S." which there is not a connection there. It's the kind of linguistic construction used to "spin" information, that the speaker is being factual and maintaining "plausible deniability" that they're not saying what the sentence construct is clearly suggesting. I'm sure our esteemed English instructor XKCDians could provide more specifics, but in general it's a bad idea to conflate two ideas in to the same sentence unless they are -very- closely related.

(Not that I'm all that good with the English language myself...)
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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby Роберт » Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:55 pm UTC

Sorry for my mistake. Anyway, why did TEPCO say it was as bad or worse than Chernobyl?
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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby Telchar » Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:58 pm UTC

Probably because it has the potential to effect more people than Chernobyl. The city of Pripyat was much less populous than most of Japan and Japan also has much more limited land on which to grow crops.

I think it's location rather than actual magnitude of the accident itself that makes this worse.
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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby Роберт » Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:07 pm UTC

Telchar wrote:Probably because it has the potential to effect more people than Chernobyl. The city of Pripyat was much less populous than most of Japan and Japan also has much more limited land on which to grow crops.

I think it's location rather than actual magnitude of the accident itself that makes this worse.

It's certainly true in that sense, but the actual quote was "in terms of radiation released".
There are several conflicting claims. Here is a article saying that it was much less than Cherobyl:
http://pajamasmedia.com/tatler/2011/03/ ... -of-zeros/
I presume, however, that “Fukushima release approaching 0.0005 times as much radioactivity as Chernobyl” wouldn’t make near as good a headline.
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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby Dauric » Sat Jun 18, 2011 4:07 am UTC

I'm sure Zamfir could illuminate the differences between the two disasters, but here's my ever-so-slightly-educated guess:

The two disasters happened in different ways. If you look at Chernobyl only one of four active reactors was damaged, but that damage left the reactor cored and the explosion completely destroyed the reactor. If you look at aerial photography of the Chernobyl reactor before they installed the Sarcophagus it's like a crater in the building. The contents of that crater went up and out, the debris being vaporized like the 1980 explosion of Mount St. Helens. The radioactive debris went everywhere, it went quickly, and enough debris was reduced to a fine ash that it could be carried by the winds a very long distance. (I recall TV news after the Chernobyl explosion had regular segments reporting on the spread of the radioactive ash cloud.)

The Fukushima reactor disaster, containment on more than one reactor failed (I'm not all that clear on how many, or how much fuel each reactor had compared to Chernobyl), however they didn't explode with the force that Chernobyl did, they did explode but it didn't send large chunks of reactor fuel all over the countryside, nor did it reduce the majority of that fuel to a fine dust. However because the coolant lines had broken forcing TEPCO engineers to pump external water over the fuel to keep it cool, the irradiated waste-water from that process is leaking out of the system. To strain the volcano analogy Fukushima is more like the volcanoes of the Hawaii islands, where the waste is traveling slower than the vaporizing explosion from Chernobyl. It's actually possible to set up an emergency water treatment facility which I believe is in progress to mitigate the TEPCO Fukushima disaster even though the quantity of waste is potentially larger, where it's not possible to do that in the case of an instant vaporizing explosion.

The grand upshot is that Chernobyl may (or may not, the jury is still out) have released less radiation, it released enough to be fatal too fast to be contained/mitigated and over a much broader area. Fukushima has lost containment over potentially more material, but the material is remaining relatively localized, and it may be possible to prevent the spread of most of the radiation.

I could be completely wrong, like I said I'm sure Zamfir would have better information than I, but I'm pretty sure that the physical mechanism of the respective reactor failures will have a lot to do with how bad these disasters will actually be in the final analysis.
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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby Geekoid » Sat Jun 18, 2011 5:11 am UTC

A) Both of them have a long history of being anti-nuclear, make money from FUD about Nuclear - red Flag

B) The data is too short of a time period. Red Flag

C) Infant mortality has decreased in the last decade, this COULD be returning to the mean.

D) She doesn't seem to understand the Inverse sqr law - Red Flag

E) We don't have a break down of a cause - Red Flag.

F) She uses scare words - Red Flag.

This is bad data, and useless. It looks like they found an anomaly, and the ignored all other date. I wonder why Hawaii wasn't mentioned? Or any other city.

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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby addams » Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:52 am UTC

Dauric wrote:I'm sure Zamfir could illuminate the differences between the two disasters, but here's my ever-so-slightly-educated guess:

The two disasters happened in different ways. If you look at Chernobyl only one of four active reactors was damaged, but that damage left the reactor cored and the explosion completely destroyed the reactor. If you look at aerial photography of the Chernobyl reactor before they installed the Sarcophagus it's like a crater in the building. The contents of that crater went up and out, the debris being vaporized like the 1980 explosion of Mount St. Helens. The radioactive debris went everywhere, it went quickly, and enough debris was reduced to a fine ash that it could be carried by the winds a very long distance. (I recall TV news after the Chernobyl explosion had regular segments reporting on the spread of the radioactive ash cloud.)

The Fukushima reactor disaster, containment on more than one reactor failed (I'm not all that clear on how many, or how much fuel each reactor had compared to Chernobyl), however they didn't explode with the force that Chernobyl did, they did explode but it didn't send large chunks of reactor fuel all over the countryside, nor did it reduce the majority of that fuel to a fine dust. However because the coolant lines had broken forcing TEPCO engineers to pump external water over the fuel to keep it cool, the irradiated waste-water from that process is leaking out of the system. To strain the volcano analogy Fukushima is more like the volcanoes of the Hawaii islands, where the waste is traveling slower than the vaporizing explosion from Chernobyl. It's actually possible to set up an emergency water treatment facility which I believe is in progress to mitigate the TEPCO Fukushima disaster even though the quantity of waste is potentially larger, where it's not possible to do that in the case of an instant vaporizing explosion.

The grand upshot is that Chernobyl may (or may not, the jury is still out) have released less radiation, it released enough to be fatal too fast to be contained/mitigated and over a much broader area. Fukushima has lost containment over potentially more material, but the material is remaining relatively localized, and it may be possible to prevent the spread of most of the radiation.

I could be completely wrong, like I said I'm sure Zamfir would have better information than I, but I'm pretty sure that the physical mechanism of the respective reactor failures will have a lot to do with how bad these disasters will actually be in the final analysis.


That was a good explanation The Chernobyl part was very good.
The volcano analogy was good, too. Very good.

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Re: 8.8 Earthquake hits 250 miles from Tokyo

Postby Роберт » Tue Jun 28, 2011 6:28 pm UTC

Apparentlyradioactivity causes chunks of concrete and metal girders to float; or maybe some journalists aren't very smart.

Spoiler:
California scientists are warning that still-radioactive wreckage from the destroyed nuclear plant at Fukushima, Japan, could wash up on their state's shores. There are four things to understand here.

First, the physical debris from the nuclear disaster at Fukushima was radiated with iodine 131, which has a half-life of eight days and will be gone within about three months; and with cesium 137, which has a half-life of 30 years and is thought to increase rates of cancer.

Second, much of the radiated debris from Fukushima washed into the Pacific Ocean.

Third, there is an entire field of scientific research that focuses entirely on how debris moves, over months and years and centuries, within ocean currents. It's an esoteric field, but also a complicated one, taking into account all sorts of meteorological and geological systems we still don't quite understand.

And, fourth, ocean currents have slowly gathered decades of small and large trash from across the Pacific rim -- which includes many of the world's most populous nations -- into something called the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch," which also collects many of the thousands of shipping containers that fall into the ocean every year. Despite years of research, we still have an imperfect understanding of how the garbage patch works, how things get there, and what makes them leave.

So it's not guaranteed that radioactive Fukushima waste will show up at, say, Port Angeles. But when Seattle-based oceanographer Curt Ebbesmeyer told the northern California Times-Standard that debris was likely to hit the coast within two the three years -- when it will still be radioactive -- he wasn't just guessing. After half a century of studying the paths of Pacific flotsam, and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, he knows what he's talking about. But, he added, weather is unpredictable, and "We know very little about the ocean."

The chance that Oregon beachcombers could one day stumble upon a radioactive girder or piece of concrete, however remote, underscores the risks inherent in nuclear energy. At this point, however, there's not much to do except buy stronger sunscreen.

The chance that Oregon beachcombers could one day stumble upon a radioactive girder or piece of concrete, however remote, underscores the risks inherent in nuclear energy.


Meanwhile, efforts to contain the radiation leaks continue with moderate success. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/ ... RA20110628
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