Tag Archives: radioactivity

Takes a licking and keeps on ticking

geiger counter

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Tom, the retired USAF colonel who occupied the office next to me in the bomb shelter of the old National Guard HQ in Santa Fe, NM, should have known a lot about radioactivity.   He spent the entire Cuban Missile Crisis camped under the wing of his B-47 bomber.  Had all kinds of tales about the flight maneuvers a pilot had to perform to drop a hydrogen bomb and come away in one piece.

The New Mexico Emergency Planning and Management Bureau [EMPAC] was all housed in that bomb shelter.  Most of the section chiefs were retired colonels, except my humble self, and Louis, head of Radiation Control.  When nothing was going on there’d always be a few of us gathered in one office or another telling and listening to interesting experiences in our varied pasts.

So when Tom found his travel schedule was going to coincide with the one-day-per-year the Trinity Site where the first atomic bomb was detonated allowed visitors, we all envied him.  He was gone a week travelling all over the State, and a few days after he returned several of us gathered in his office to hear all about it.

Naturally there’d been a nice dog and pony show at an old ranch house from the time a mile or so away, now converted to oversight center.  Then, off to ground zero.

Tom described how it was all bare sand and soil, how they’d scraped away all the green glass that used to cover the spot.  How visitors were warned not to pick up any of that green glass if they should find a piece. 

So when his glance downward showed him a piece of that green glass peeking out of the sand near his foot, of course he had to tie his shoe.  Slipped it into his pocket.  Gave us all a sly smile when he pulled it out and held it in his palm.

Wow!  A piece of green glass from the first nuclear detonation on earth!  We all wanted to hold it.  Passed it around, all except Louis.  Our Rad Control section head.  He stepped back a pace when his turn came to hold it.

I’d like to put an instrument on that.”  Louis had access to plenty of instruments, had more than a thousand of them spotted all over New Mexico.  Part of the mission of his section was going around changing the batteries on those Geiger Counters regularly.

He was out the door and back while the rest of us waited in mild curiosity.  The glass was back on Tom’s desk and Louis clicked the power switch.  Didn’t actually have to get too near with the probe to peg the needle.  Didn’t have to put on the headset to hear the buzz.  We all heard it.

Louis had a straight shot at the doorway and he was first out.  Followed closely by everyone but Tom.  He just sat staring at that piece of green glass.  Probably wondering what the hell to do with it.

I’ve always wanted to visit the Trinity Site, but I never got around to it.  Even when I was living several years just up the road from it.

Old Jules

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If you can’t trust the Japanese, then who?

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Most of you will probably agree the Japanese are the most intelligent, advanced, scientifically advanced, politically and economically savvy people on the planet. It’s the reason most of you are driving Japanese automobiles.

Think about it: Japan invaded and raped East Asia for a decade, was bludgeoned to death by a costly sea war followed by two atomic bombs before they’d surrender. And within half-decade the US was at war defending Japan. “Korea,” Doug MacArthur declared, “is a dagger pointed at the heart of Japan!”

Obviously the Japanese were one hell of a lot smarter than those governing the US. The bombed-out Japanese industries were rebuilt by US taxpayers, providing them with decades newer steel mills and manufacturing capabilities than those on US soil. Ultimately the result was decline in US production and the slippery slope decline of US economic stability.

Think about it: Today the Japanese have a better space program than NASA:

http://www.dogpile.com/info.dogpl.t10.6/search/web?fcoid=417&fcop=topnav&fpid=27&q=japanese+space+program&ql=

Japanese Space Program
JAXA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (former Nasda) is Japan’s version of Nasa.

  • Hayabusa was launched 9 May 2003. The probe sent to gather samples from asteroid 25143 Itokawa. After numerous glitches, the probe returned to Earth. Scientists have not yet opened the sample container.
  • In 2006, JAXA launched Akari, an infrared astronomy satellite. Its mission is to survey the entire sky in infrared. On 6 August 2007 it has surveyed 94 percent.
  • Selene was launched September 14, 2007. Selene was the largest lunar mission since NASA’s Apollo, Selene orbited the moon for 20 months. It provided data used to improve topological and gravity maps.
  • Oicets – This experimental satellite was designed to demonstrate optical communications between distant satellites. Launched in 2005, it was retired in 2009.
  • H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV) first flew to the International Space Station on 10 September 2009.
  • In 2010 IKAROS probe was the world’s first spacecraft to use solar sailing as the main propulsion

The best engineers in the world are Japanese. Agreed? The most competent scientists in the world are Japanese. Agreed? The most savvy politicians and economists in the world are Japanese. Agreed?

If any scientists and engineers anywhere can be trusted to be right about important matters involving human science, engineering and environmental issues, the place to look for affirmation should be Japan. Agreed?

Japanese science and engineers designed and produced the three nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima power plants.

Are the most competent, advanced scientists and engineers in the world concerned about manmade climate change? Are they concerned about contaminating the North Pacific with radioactive cooling water? Obviously they are not.

After the disaster, then until now, have the most advanced, competent scientists in the world bothered to do anything to contain the cascade of environmental problems supposedly associated with nuclear fuel rods exposed to the atmosphere and sea water? They have not.

Japanese scientists and engineers knew everything they could know about the tectonic environment of Japan. They designed those plants and built them with all that in mind, took the worst possible scenarios into account. Obviously.

So how is it the populations of nations with less competent scientists and engineers, the people who drive Japanese automobiles, come to believe anything their own scientists postulate concerning other matters involving advanced science?

The most advanced, most intelligent, the most savvy scientists and engineers on the planet proved themselves capable of ignoring the obvious, of assuring Japan their nuclear power plants were safely constructed.

How can anyone bring himself to believe what any scientist, any engineer, any politician says about manmade climate changes? Particularly any scientist or engineer who isn’t Japanese.

Old Jules

Let Big Daddy Fix It

Good morning readers.  I appreciate your visit and read.  I hope you won’t consider this frivolous.

It’s Daddy Day, and there’s a growing body of shrill opinion being expressed on the Web concerning those out-of-control nuclear reactors in Japan and how Big Daddy United States needs to step up to the plate to fix it.  Even though Big Daddy has no more clue than anyone else how to go about doing it.

First off, those reactors haven’t reached their full potential yet, so it’s probably too soon to have the Lincoln Memorial try to jump a motorcycle across them. 

Even though PT Barnham’s loose in Washington and trying to perfect that method of solving historical difficulties, jumping a motorcycle across the problem is still considered extreme, untested, uncertain, at best.

Probably it would be better to try time-tested methods first.  Some of the ways Big Daddy US has solved other pesky difficulties.  Homeland Security and attempts to deal with illegal immigration might provide a model.

Or failing that, there’s always the old airbag fix:

Anyone strangled to death by an airbag isn’t going to be worrying about mutants, teeth falling out, that sort of thing.

Sending some crews of jailbirds out to pick the fallout up before it can do any damage offers some hope.  Got lots of jailbirds and not-all-that-much radiation yet.  If the radiation increases, hell it won’t do it faster than our number of prisons.

People who never learned to program a VCR, [including me] might find radiation detection instruments confusing, so sniffer dogs trained to detect it could answer the question of where it is and where it ain’t.

Naturally they’d have to be provided facilities.

And protection from reckless drivers.

Failing that, a little magic might help.

Or just an acknowledgement there’s a problem.

If everything else fails, this worked for grandaddy and there’s no reason to think it won’t work again.

The Japanese have never been all that receptive to allowing imports from the US, but I’ll bet they’d welcome a few shiploads of those signs.  And there’s potential for a new manufacturing industry here to replace what went to Asia.

It ain’t as though there’s nothing to do in a fallout shelter.

Big Daddy’s tour d’force is entertainment.  Still is.  Never been better.

You can’t argue with a history of success.  I say, “Let’s go for it!”  What are we waiting for?

Old Jules

So How About Them Radioactive Tuna?

Me:  Soooo.  How you cat-folks feeling about some canned cat food this morning?  Can I hear some ‘Amens’ on that?

Invader cat:  Amen!  Amen!  Amen!

Naiad:  Hold that thought a minute.  Any idea what they put in those big bags of Purina food?  Where they get it?  That sort of thing?

Me:  No idea at all.  I just thought you guys would want a dose of something out of a can.

Invader cat:  Amen!  Amen!  Amen!

Naiad:    I’m not so sure.  Got any liver and bacon flavor?

Me:  Probably some of that in here somewhere.  But the cans on top are salmon, tuna and chicken and tuna.  Below, is seafood supper.  I’d rather not dig down in the package if it’s okay.

Naiad:  I’m not all that hungry  Might go out and catch a mouse and just settle for that.  I heard you grumbling and muttering about that radioactive bunch of tuna they caught out of San Diego the other day. 

Me:  Yeah, they did.  But it was just ceisum 134 and 137.  Not dangerous levels yet.

Naiad:  So you figure they just threw them away?  Or ground them up into fish meal to feed to pigs?  Maybe put them into cans of food of one sort or another?

Me:  I don’t know.  I don’t think there’s any routine testing anyway.  The article said, “The real test of how radioactivity affects tuna populations comes this summer when researchers planned to repeat the study with a larger number of samples. Bluefin tuna that journeyed last year were exposed to radiation for about a month. The upcoming travelers have been swimming in radioactive waters for a longer period. How this will affect concentrations of contamination remains to be seen.

“Now that scientists know that bluefin tuna can transport radiation, they also want to track the movements of other migratory species including sea turtles, sharks and seabirds.”

I reckons they’ll be checking it out, directly.

Naiad:  You go ahead and feed the rest of these guys whatever you want to.  I’m going hunting.

Invader cat:  Amen!  Amen!  Amen!

Old Jules