Thursday, March 13, 2014

3/11 Three Years On Part 3: In Which I Write about Radiation

            I said in “3/11 Three Years On Part 1” that I would not write about radiation because enough people had written about it, and I would rather write about other effects of the earthquake that I happen to feel personally about.  Well, that was before I read anyone else’s thoughts on the anniversary of the Triple Disasters and changed my mind.  I know that the nuclear disaster has overshadows the others, and I have understood this since March 2011.  Hell, that is the reason I initially decided not to write about Fukushima.  But ye gods.  From some of the chatter, and you all know if this applies to you or not, one would think the nuclear disaster was the only significant consequence of the earthquake.  I believe the nuclear disaster is the most significant consequence, so I do understand all the attention it gets.  Or rather, I would be able to if it were not for the sheer ignorance that permeates so much of what has been written about Fukushima.

            I wish I were being hyperbolic, but when I read the chatter about Fukushima I can only conclude some people are being willfully ignorant.  A lot of information is available about Fukushima and its consequences.  It is true that TEPCO and the Kan government were not forthcoming in March 2011 and had to have their arms twisted before they explained anything, but they have no more secrets left.  The bad handling of the disaster response is the reason Kan’s party is out of power.  Perhaps this pervasive ignorance is driven by the distrust of nuclear power, but people really seem to want to believe the situation is worse than it is.  Unless you enter the exclusion zone, radiation from Fukushima Daiichi is unlikely to harm you.  Really, I think you would have to enter the power plant and start huffing the spent fuel rods.  The North American West Coast is not being “fried,” Pacific fish are by and large safe to eat (Deep Sea News can express the nuance of that problem better than me), even Fukushima Prefecture is safe to visit (and next time I am in Japan in July, I intend to go to the Soma Nomaoi festival in Minamisoma).  As I said before, a lot of people have already written about the reasons we should all chill out and relax over Fukushima radiation (but not get complacent!) so rather than reinvent the wheel, I would like to introduce you to these thoughtful gentlepeople. 

This is primarily the home of Brian Dunning, a businessman who runs a podcast on skepticism and how to analyze and debunk claims of the paranormal, as well as earthly claims of an extraordinary and duplicitous nature.  Dunning also hosts a group blog in which other individuals write about similar topics.  Mike Rothschild has been covering Fukushima claims since last September here.
It's Time to Play Know! Your! Sources of Crap! This is not specifically about Fukushima but many of the “sources” Mike goes over here have been disseminating misinformation about Fukushima, and in all likelihood will continue.  So it makes this list.
Deep Sea News:
Where Skeptoid is about how to ask the right questions and seek the answers, Deep Sea News is about promoting science, and introducing readers the reality behind the wonders of the sea.  So much of the misinformation concerns the effects on the ocean and its delicious fish, Deep Sea News has taken up the issue.  You may have noticed that Mike Rothschild linked to DSN quite a bit.  DSN has even more sources for you to follow.

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