Here Thar Be Monsters!

From the other side of the argument to the other side of the planet, read in over 149 countries and 17 languages. We bring you news and opinion with an IndoTex® flavor. Be sure to check out Radio Far Side. Send thoughts and comments to luap.jkt at gmail, and tell all your friends. Sampai jumpa, y'all.

31.3.11

Nuking Our Nest

On July 16, 1945, in the deserts of New Mexico, USA, the first (admitted) nuclear explosion occurred.  Compared to today's yields, it was a small pop, but it prompted one of the lead researchers, an unassuming, pipe-smoking fellow by the name of J. Robert Oppenheimer, to declare, "I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds."  He was quoting the Hindu scriptures as he watched the mushroom cloud, laden with radioactive particles, rise into the dawn sky.

What followed was decades of underground, above-ground, atmospheric, and space explosions.  Likely hundreds of warheads were detonated.  Entire Pacific Island chains were destroyed.  Native peoples were dislocated.  Parts of New Mexico and Nevada are nuclear wastelands.  Radioactive clouds swept the Earth many times over.

Japan had two cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, leveled by single atomic bombs.  They only had kiloton yields.  Now we measure yields in the megatons, at least officially.

And that's just the USA.  Then there's the former USSR, England, France, Germany, Israel, India, Pakistan, China, and likely others.  They all popped off a few in tests, some with probably a lot less "controls" than the USA reportedly used, which was virtually none.

Now, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, and who knows how many other "non-wars" have seen the use of "depleted uranium" shell casings.  Spent nuclear fuel is wrapped around various ammunition to harden them for penetrating armor.

When the round is fired, the uranium becomes molten in flight and when it hits a target, all kinds of strange and exotic isotopes and other particles are released in a shower of nastiness.  Depending on what the armor and the shell are made of, the by-products cover the map of deadly radioactive particles.  Until 1991, US soldiers were warned not to sit on DU ammo boxes, as the radiation would sterilize them, at best.  Of course, since that time, it is perfectly safe, according to Pentagon manuals.

Meantime, there have been a number of publicly admitted nuclear reactor disasters.  Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and a few others made the headlines, but there have been dozens that were never admitted officially.  In ever case, the respective governments lied and obfuscated, trying to cover up the true nature of the disasters.

Now we have Japan's answer to Hiroshima...Fuk-u-shima.  Again, we see lying and obfuscating by government agencies, not just in Japan, by other countries and even global.  It's always 'not that bad,' until it becomes unavoidable, then it's 'not as bad as it could be.'  Until it is, of course.

In the old days, we called this the 'China Syndrome.'  Presumablly, the nuclear core would heat up to such extremes that it would cause an uncontrollable melt-down, which would burn through the entire Earth and come out in China (assuming it started in the US).  I've noticed no one has mentioned the America Syndrome, which would be the same scenario, but going the opposite direction.  For a breathless, liberal point of view, watch the less-than-memorable Jack Lemmon/Jane Fonda movie from the 70s.  'Silkwood' was better and based on real events.

So, now we have a molten core, which has burned through its concrete and steel casing and is dripping on the ground at Fukushima reactor 2.  That's the admitted story.  Who knows what the truth is?  We may never really know, unless it gets completely out of hand, and by that I mean the information containment, not the fuel.

People are wringing their hands and watching click-counts, trying to figure out when the cloud will hit them.  Well, I've got news for you.  If you're under 60, you've been nuked all your life.  You've been showered with radioactivity from sources we may never even know about, at least until the US falls and the archives are finally opened, like the USSR.

All those bomb tests, unreported accidents, DU munitions, and even the cesium and americium in your smoke detectors bathe you in loving clouds of radiation all day every day.  Every time you go to the airport, or visit the doctor for an X-ray or three, you are lovingly washed with radiation.  Every breath of air, every bite of food, every drink of water washes you in warm, fuzzy radiation.  Heck, your kids are out in the backyard playing in plutonium from the 60s right now!

Why do you think cancer rates, altzheimer's, parkinson's, and all these other diseases have shot up over the past few decades.  They were almost unheard of at the beginning of the 20th century.  What's going on behind the scenes is far worse than anyone can imagine, and certainly worse than any entity is willing to admit.  To admit is to take liability, and liability equals lawsuits.  Can't have that in the Land of the Broke and Home of the Homeless.  It would cause massive unrest, huge class-action lawsuits and bring the Empire to its knees, if the truth were known.

Here's some breaking news: the time to have started worrying about radiation was over a century ago, with the work of Curry and Roentgen.  In fact, Fukushima is just the latest in a long line of nuclear disasters that began with the Dawn of Man.

You see, you are bombarded with radiation daily from a source you can never control.  It's called the Universe.  Ask the Apollo astronauts who have died of exotic cancers due to radiation bombardment while passing through the Van Allen Belts.

If you are worried about fall-out, why now and not when clouds of radioactive dust from New Mexico and Nevada.  if you are worried about nuked fish, why now and not when the US was popping off hydrogen bombs subsea or on island chains in the Pacific during the 50s?  If you are worried about glowing food, why not when the FDA approved nuking your groceries to make them last longer on the store shelf?

Why all the sudden gray hairs over a couple of leaking reactors in Japan?

The time to have started worrying was a long time ago, before nuke plants and bombs and X-rays and gamma ray knives were invented.  As far as problems go, Fukushima is a minor mishap in the history of nuking large populations.  Even if the plant were to blow up, it would represent a small fraction of what one government in one country has done to the world (US).  And there are others on the list.

If you're really worried about it, then you should have been eating KI from the day you were born until now.  And even then, it only protrects your thyroid from filling up with radioactive iodine.  There's still a lot of body left, such as skin, brain, lungs, etc.  And that doesn't count such lovelies as asbestos and voluntary nukings in order to 'cure' cancer, which is kind of like drinking arsenic to cure mercury poisoning.

On top of all that, you take more risk getting in your car to go to work every day.  That is statistically more dangerous than just about any other environmental factor, yet no one seems too upset about it, because we WANT that risk.  It does, however, illustrate the sheer madness of all this worry, though.

Why isn't anyone worrying about the Gulf Oil Spill, which is an on-going threat to all life on the US Gulf coast?  Why isn't anyone worrying about the effects of the Large Hadron Collider (after all, look what science has done to us already)?  Why isn't anyone up in arms over the use of DU against several nations (and counting)?  Why isn't anyone worrying about the dangers of electro-magnetic radiation from high-tension lines bringing nice, warm power to your house?  Of things to worry about, Fukushima is down the list a bit.

Everyone wants to wail and gnash teeth when there's an on-going and visible disaster, but as soon as it vanishes from the headlines, everyone forgets about it.  Later, they wonder why folks are dropping like flies from strange diseases.

Admit it, we all want to stumble through life and not think of the real risks we take every day.  If we worried about the true threats to our lives, no one would leave their house, and even then, most accidents occur in an around the home.  And when the risks bring us some perceived benefit (mobility, lights, communications), we conveniently forget about what those things are doing to our bodies, our lives and our environment.

So, if you're sweating about Fukushima, don't.  The way I figure it, you don't really give a rat's patoot about radiation.  Why?  I'll bet you have a microwave oven and a cell phone and smoke detectors.  Maybe you have a wrist watch that glows in the dark.  I'll bet you use Wi-Fi and have electricity in your home.

Sorry, but I can't take your worry seriously.  You voluntarily surround yourself and your family with radiation, so how can I get all worked up over a couple of reactors?

Want someone to take your concerns seriously?  Then show a little follow-through.  Think things out.  How much radiation are you WILLINGLY bringing into your life every minute of every day?  Then balance that against Fukushima, even in a worst-case scenario.  Unless you are living in or around the reactors, you probably do more damage every time you put a cell phone to your head than anything you'll get from Japan.

And while you're at it, honey, would you nuke me a Swanson's Hungry Man Dinner?  I want to watch the game on our radioactive plasma display.

Give me a break.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to leave your own view of The Far Side.