A Few Things Ill Considered

Another Week of GW News, October 28, 2012

Logging the Onset of The Bottleneck Years

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Another Week in the Ecological Crisis

Information is not Knowledge…Knowledge is not Wisdom

October 28, 2012

 


 

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Here’s a wee chuckle for ye:

 


Low Key Plug

 

My first novel Water was published in Canada May, 2007. The American release was in October. An Introductionto the novel is available, along with the Unpublished Forewordand the Launch Talk(which includes some quotations), An overview of my writing is available here.

<regards>

-het

P.S. Recent postings can be found in the week archive and the ancient postings can be accessed here, which should open to this.

I notice moyhu has set up a monster index to old AWoGWN on AFTIC.


“If kindness and comfort are, as I suspect, the results of an energy surplus, then, as the supply contracts, we could be expected to start fighting once again like cats in a sack.” -George Monbiot

Comments

  1. #1 Eamon
    Tohoku
    October 31, 2012

    There is a lot left out of many of the Fukushima stories linked above. The piece on Greenpeace reporting on radiation monitoring does not mention how extensive the areas of ‘higher radiation’ are – presumably with good reason: it is well known that radioisotopes deposited by rain are concentrated by falling on foliage, and by being swept into drains. People in Fukushima do not live in parks or drains. The last thing they need is the deliberately vague Greenpeace ‘science’ increasing the already high stress levels they have to live with.

    As for the Fukushima fish, most links provided mention that the large contamination percentage is due to Japan drastically decreasing it’s allowable contamination level – so risk levels remain low.

  2. #2 mandas
    October 31, 2012

    I think you mean that the Japanese Government increased the allowable contamination levels to ensure that the risk levels remain at a low level – not decreased them.

  3. #3 Wow
    October 31, 2012

    So are you saying that parks and drains are natural features of Japan?

    Or are you saying that radioactive dust is drawn magnet-like to such places, dragging them away from the humans who live in places that need drains and have parks?

  4. #4 Eamon
    Tohoku
    October 31, 2012

    You’re right mandas – the allowable limits were raised, so fish that would not be considered contaminated in the past are now considered contaminated.

    Wow – I’m saying that features that collect and concentrate rain also concentrate radioisotopes carried in aforesaid rain. That’s what we found in Tohoku.

    As for your “natural features” comment – what are you referring to?

  5. #5 Wow
    October 31, 2012

    But that rain still contains radioisotopes and that rain falls on homes of the rich and poor alike.

    And water isn’t known for hanging around drains. Ponds and puddles? Yes.

    It’s also taken up by plants. People in Japan have a fairly high level of home produce.

  6. #6 Eamon
    Tohoku
    November 1, 2012

    The thing is – the water that falls on an area (homes too) flows into nearby drains, which connect to bigger drains, which connect to bigger drains. You can have the rainwater of a sizable area eventually flowing down into a small area – so vastly increasing the chance that that area will concentrate radioisotopes.

    Concentration is the key. The rain that fell on me after March 11th 2011 fell on a very small area. I was not capable of concentrating it.

    Also, water not hanging around in drains ignores the point that drains not only have irregularities that allow water to pool, or that water backs up, or that mud and vegetation build up on the bottom. In Japan drains were a key point of local hot spots – and were regularly reported in my area (about 100km northwest of Fukushima Dai-ichi)

    As for plants – they get checked, and customers can, and did, choose to avoid plants grown from prefectures popularly seen as being contaminated. It’s also unlikely that contaminated vegetables would be much of a health hazard: many people forget that the food limits are for cumulative exposure – not one-off or irregular consumption. For that reason I have no problem with eating pizzas produced in Kurihara City, despite it being subject to a higher general contamination than its surrounding area.

  7. #7 Eamon
    Tohoku
    November 1, 2012

    One point on your post of October 31st mandas: the government reduced the acceptable contamination level as a public reassurance exercise – it’s unsure if the new limits will have any measurable reduction in risk. If the Japanese Government were truly focused on risk they’d reduce the Japanese People’s over-exposure to medical radiation – we’ve private clinics here which offer full-body CT Scans, and hospital responses to most reported ailments that are not colds or flus are to take an X-Ray or CT Scan either at the start of the appointment or at the end – the latter ‘just to confirm’!

  8. #8 mandas
    November 1, 2012

    Sounds like the Japanese medical establishment is very risk averse. They would rather over service than run the possibility of being sued for missing an ailment (do people sue in Japan?).

    I always find it interesting how something which is considered to be a valid measure of assessing risk can be ‘adjusted’ in response to something happening. The time to do that is not during the crisis, but afterwards when all the data is in and you can determine whether or not the measure was appropriate.

    If you do it during the crisis, it appears to be nothing more than a cynical exercise in avoiding cost and responsibility.

  9. #9 Wow
    November 1, 2012

    “Do no harm”.

    I believe all doctors swear the Hippocratic oath.

    And remember what can happen when you don’t predict a disaster nowadays:

    http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2012/10/26/the-science-of-predicting-the-future/

  10. #10 Wow
    November 1, 2012

    ” so vastly increasing the chance that that area will concentrate radioisotopes.”

    You mean the area away from the drains which, according to their name and your assertion, put that water into rivers and out to sea.

    There are other ways to accumulate dose.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bioaccumulation

    You don’t like either greenpeace, that way of measuring (or both). But you haven’t actually got a test to see whether your dislike is warranted in a safety concern.

  11. #11 Eamon
    November 2, 2012

    Wow,

    if the drainage systems finally get the radioisotopes out to sea they will undergo dilution, not concentration. As for Bioaccumulation, sure it happens – but with fish catches being checked they pose no hazard.

    You don’t like either greenpeace, that way of measuring (or both). But you haven’t actually got a test to see whether your dislike is warranted in a safety concern.

    Sorry, can you rephrase that?

  12. #12 Eamon
    Tohoku
    November 2, 2012

    It’s less about being Risk-Averse and more about the Doctor, who is the Sensei (Leader, Teacher) proving that their diagnosis is 100% correct – which is what it should be in a Confucian-influenced society.

    That also influences the overall focus of the health system over here – up until a decade ago there was no organization promoting medical best practices, presuamably because that would upset doctors used to being obeyed and always being 100% right.

    For example, as of 2007, 62% of hospitals who took in children with minor head injuries gave head CT Scans, despite the fact that it is a significant cancer risk for children (less so in adults). The paper “Pediatric CT scan usage in Japan: results of a hospital survey” gives more details, as do associated papers from the same authors.

  13. #13 Eamon
    Tohoku
    November 2, 2012

    Mandas,

    I always find it interesting how something which is considered to be a valid measure of assessing risk can be ‘adjusted’ in response to something happening. The time to do that is not during the crisis, but afterwards when all the data is in and you can determine whether or not the measure was appropriate.

    If you do it during the crisis, it appears to be nothing more than a cynical exercise in avoiding cost and responsibility.

    I totally agree with those statements, though the social and governmental set-up in Japan often mitigates against good practice of any kind. I could write about it at length – but as it’s after hours in Japan I’ll try and post something tomorrow.

  14. #14 Wow
    November 2, 2012

    “if the drainage systems finally get the radioisotopes out to sea they will undergo dilution”

    But in the process will be TAKEN AWAY from the drains. As in “Won’t be there any more”. As in “Not accumulating”.

  15. #15 Eamon
    November 4, 2012

    Wow,

    you would be correct if drainage systems were 100% effective in dealing with both water and solid and particulates.

    They are not.

    Also, I live in Tohoku – we have seen hot spots in drains and parks.

    So from a theoretical and practical viewpoint – concentration happens in drainage systems, under foliage, and in other areas depending on the vagaries of the wind and rain.

  16. #16 Wow
    November 4, 2012

    And how does that water get to accumulate and congregate in drains, Eamon?

    Drainage from the rest of the landscape.

    Which, as you say, is not 100% effective in dealing with both water and solid particulates.

    Especially since they are not designed AS DRAINS.

  17. #17 Eamon
    Tohoku
    November 6, 2012

    Wow,

    This is getting pretty circular. As I said – in Tohoku we found radioisotopes concentrating in drains and under foliage. That’s a fact.

    Especially since they are not designed AS DRAINS.

    What are not designed as drains? The landscapes? The drainage systems?

    We get a lot of rain in Japan. The landscape is criss-crossed with drains. Virtually every road has drains at least 30 cm wide and 50 cm deep at each side. In towns and cities they can be bigger, because of the impermeable surfaces – near my flat they are half a meter wide and at least a few meters deep. Sometimes with heavy rain it spouts out of the drains into the air.

    Water drains from the surroundings into these drains, which connect to other drains and then to central points. Particulates will precipitate out on the way, but certain features and events will cause more precipitation: vegetation, soil and sand in drains will act as sieves, rough surfaces will trap particulates, areas of slow flow will allow more particulates to drop out.

    Add to this that central areas of the drainage systems will be collecting in the water from peripheral areas, so in effect covering those areas too, and you can see that the radioisotopes going through the central areas will be concentrated. If they are concentrated then even if only a percentage of that falls out of solution in the central area then it is going to be larger than the surroundings.

    Look at it this way, if a million bequerels fall in rain on a square kilometre of city that’s only one bequerel per metre squared. Not a lot.

    But if that rain gets drained into a central area, bringing along a percentage of those bequerels with them, then you can see that depending on circumstances (vegetation, much, sand etc.) the radioisotopes could be concentrated.

  18. #18 Eamon
    Tohoku
    November 6, 2012

    Hi mandas,

    further to my post of November 2nd, there is one big factor driving such knee-jerk response in Japan – the feudal set-up in society.

    There is a saying in the U.S. – “The Buck Stops Here”, i.e. the top is responsible for decisions and the consequences of them. However, no-one would expect a U.S. President to resign for the failings of an underling, or unexpected problems or those precipitated by a previous administration. This is not the case in Japan.

    In Japan, if you are at the top of an organisation, you are expected to ‘take responsibility’ for all that happens under you – regardless of whether it was possible to foresee it. Taking responsibility can be a pay-cut in some cases, but in cases with big consequences or big publicity it can mean resigning (and it’s one reason Japan changes leaders so often – almost 30 PMs since the war!). Given that, Japanese leaders are eager to be seen to be doing something now, rather than addressing root causes and such like, as if they pursue the latter they might be out of a job before being able to deal with the problem.

  19. #19 Wow
    November 6, 2012

    Wow, talk about circular reasoning you haven’t had any reasoning at all. Just assertion.

    Tell me, why do you hate greenpeace so much that you’re willing to talk bollocks just to pretend that you’ve “proven” that their methods are unsafe?

    Or is it that you love nuclear power so much?

    Or just hate anything that gets in the way of “progress” and corporate greed?

  20. #20 coby
    November 6, 2012

    I don’t see anything unreasonable in what Eamon is saying. He says he has direct experience with the measuring of hotspots in certain areas (drains and parks with foliage) and presents a logical mechanism for how that happens. What’s the real problem?

    I don’t hate Greenpeace, in fact I greatly admire what they do. But I have certainly seen cases where they have made some sensationalized claims. I’ve always been pretty sure the were sincere, if over zealous, so it does not trouble me too much.

    Eamon’s criticism was pretty mild. Is it really off the mark?

  21. #21 Wow
    November 6, 2012

    He maintains they are hotspots.

    I have a few friends in Aldermaston. They know that they don’t use collection spots to measure fallout or contamination because they accumulate.

    DRAINS DO NOT ACCUMULATE.

    Indeed drainage areas are a good method of finding the areal average since they select from the entire drainage area, with selection accuracy falling off with range.

    But Eamon doesn’t like nuclear accidents being reported as bad, so he makes up his problem with pseudo-science bollocks.

    His criticism was “They’re measuring drains”.

    He hasn’t shown why this is bad. He’s just insisted “Oh, it accumulates” when that is bollocks and he knows it: IT DRAINS. And that water rushing out to sea will carry the contamination with it.

    But he ignores it because it doesn’t follow “the message”.

  22. #22 Eamon
    Tohoku
    November 7, 2012

    First,

    thanks for the kind comments Coby, it’s nice to know my line of reasoning can be followed – I often take logical short-cuts over things I think are obvious and so can write in a confused fashion to the outside eye.

    Wow. I’ll address your last two posts individually in what I hope is a level-headed way, and may respond to further comments if you respond likewise (that is, if you wish to continue. We may be getting to end of the natural life of this thread).

    So, regarding your first post of November 6th:

    Greenpeace, some things they do I think are good – interfering with whale hunts, for example.

    Some things are a mixed bag – GMOs for example: raising concern about contamination of natural foodstocks – good. Destroying a very well designed scientific study on GMOs in Australia – very bad.

    Looking to stop an established low-carbon energy-production method using what I think is hype and headline-science – extremely bad. It has been shown in studies of the survivors of the atomic bombings that stress is the predominant source of mortality, something that I think Greenpeace is stoking in the people of Fukushima for their own gains.

    As to Nuclear Power, yes, I am a fan. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than pumping gigatonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere each year.

    As for “Progress”, how do you define that? I’m for progress if it means my son will live in a far better and equitable world than now.

    Regarding “corporate greed”. No sir, I don’t like it.

  23. #23 Eamon
    Tohoku
    November 7, 2012

    OK, on to your second post of November 6th Wow.

    First, I’m going to assume that your friends at Aldermaston are measuring fallout or contamination that has been dispersed from far afield and well-mixed in the atmosphere. In Tohoku we had contamination from close by that was not well-mixed, with some spotty deposition – for example in addition to the affected zone around the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant we also have other areas that are higher than their surroundings, like around Kurihara City in Miyagi Prefecture and Hirashimizu City in Iwate Prefecture.

    Second, are the drains in the UK the same as those in Japan? Being a UK Citizen living in Japan I can say I don’t think so. UK drainage usually consists of buried pipes with grates allowing the water down into them. Most Japanese drains are either open, or topped with concrete slabs or grill work.

    As for not liking nuclear accidents being reported as bad, that is not what I object to – I object to them not being reported on scientifically.

    As for “pseudo-science bollox”, it fits what I observed – In a survey of Yamagata City’s schools 1.27 μSv/hour was found in the western side ditch of Kanai junior high school’s gymnasium, and in the drains around the Prefectural Building.

    And as for Greenpeace’s survey work – you can find it by searching for “GP Radiation Monitoring Iitate” and “GP Radiation Monitoring Fukushima” (Not sure links work here Coby). If you look at the files you can see not only that the team appears to be searching for high readings, rather than general environmental ones but that the highest readings in Fukushima City are associated with drainage ditches and plants:

    Highest: 2.60 μSv/hour – Ditch opposite entrance of building
    Second-most: 2.40 μSv/hour – beside car park
    Third-most: 2.07 μSv/hour – small bush SW of MS in backgarden
    Fourth-most: 2.00 μSv/hour – Drainage grill

    So, in descending order the top 4 are: drainage-car park-foliage-drainage.

  24. #24 Wow
    November 7, 2012

    ” it’s nice to know my line of reasoning can be followed ”

    Not actually what coby said.

    Just that he didn’t see any contradiction.

    “If you look at the files you can see not only that the team appears to be searching for high readings”

    Yup, you hate greenpeace, therefore everything it does is wrong.

    No, you have to infer that and, like all inferences, it indicates YOUR thoughts, not theirs.

    You’re talking shite. Because you hate GP, you think that they MUST be doing wrong. So you look for anything that makes it look like that.

  25. #25 Eamon
    Tohoku
    November 11, 2012

    That’s a pretty sad and hateful reply Wow. You seem to be a person who pre-judges people based on stereotypes you cling to, and then use the stereotypes to beat people down with, rather than engaging in discussion.

    Did you even look at the data? I’m not inferring – if you look at the data you will see the top 4 hot-spots are as I said.

    As for what Coby said, you may think that him saying “I don’t see anything unreasonable” cannot be said to mean “I can follow your line of reasoning”. I think you are wrong.

  26. #26 Wow
    November 12, 2012

    Yes it was, so why did you do it Eamon?

    Just get over your hate of Greenpeace and stop claiming that it is wrong merely because it was Greenpeace wot done it.

    Did you even look at the data yourself? I mean without looking for “Oh, the bushes were lower, therefore the drains must be overcooking it”?

    You know you’re still banging on about how the drains are having stuff flushed into them.

    And COMPLETELY ignoring that the overriding design concept of a drain is to DRAIN IT AWAY.

  27. #27 Wow
    November 12, 2012

    You also appear blind to what you type, eamon:

    “Highest: 2.60 μSv/hour – Ditch opposite entrance of building”

    “So, in descending order the top 4 are: drainage…”

    Ditch != Drainage.

    As I said earlier, but you were too busy “proving” Greenpeace were wrong to notice:

    “I have a few friends in Aldermaston. They know that they don’t use collection spots to measure fallout or contamination because they accumulate.”

    Collection spots like… ditches.

  28. #28 Eamon
    Tohoku
    November 13, 2012

    First of all Wow, in Japan ditches are part of the drainage system. That was made clear from my post of November the 6th. So it would seem that we are in agreement.

    Secondly, if you do agree that ditches are collection points – then what do you think of Greenpeace using them in their survey?

    Thirdly, my views are similar to James Hansen, but you seem to have no vitriol for him, going from your replies in Coby’s recent blog post.

    Fourth I mean without looking for “Oh, the bushes were lower, therefore the drains must be overcooking it”?

    That on earth does that mean? I looked at the dataset and sorted it in descending order. That’s what I did. There is not enough information to discern bushes and their spatial relationship to drains.

  29. #29 Wow
    November 13, 2012

    Firstly, Eamon, drains are not accumulations of drainage water.

    Secondly, just beause you’re a nuke fluffer and greenpeace won’t let your pet projects get a green light because THEY ARE FRIGGING LETHAL, doesn’t make their methods wrong.

    AWE Altermaston uses the same techniques.

    And for a reason.

    You hate anything that downs nuclear, but the people working in the industry disagree with you on this.

    Because you’re a dogmatic fool.

  30. #30 kai
    November 13, 2012

    wow, if you are a nuclear then you are my boy. but beware of jan, as a german green-leftist he hates nuclear to death

  31. #31 Wow
    November 13, 2012

    reading isn’t something you do, is it kid.

  32. #32 Jan
    November 14, 2012

    @Wow,

    I’m afraid Kai’s poor knowldge of English gave him the idea that you might be pro-nuclear. He probably totally misunderstood this sentence:

    “You hate anything that downs nuclear, but the people working in the industry disagree with you on this.”

    Strange idea that Kai would try to cosy up to you, but you rightly gave him a rebuff.

  33. #33 Eamon
    Tohoku
    November 14, 2012

    Wow,

    I do believe that even if I agreed with you on every point you ever put forth you would find someway, either sematically or by twisting logic, to disagree with me.

    You do not seek to engage in discussion, as your repeated evasion of discussion points and failure to examine data demonstrates. Instead you engage in personal attacks, as you have ably demonstrated with the use of all caps responses and needling phrases like “talking shite”.

    And now I’ll respond to your last points:

    Firstly, Eamon, drains are not accumulations of drainage water.

    Use of English varies, and besides, as I described, our “drains” run the length and breadth of virtually every road in Japan, so yes – they are ditches too. In fact, you’ll find drain, ditch, sewer, drainage are all synonyms.

    Secondly, just beause you’re a nuke fluffer and greenpeace won’t let your pet projects get a green light because THEY ARE FRIGGING LETHAL, doesn’t make their methods wrong.

    You’re right, in that opposition does not make methods wrong. Analysis is required. You refuse to look at the data – make you seem dogmatic to me.

    AWE Altermaston uses the same techniques. And for a reason.

    And, to paraphrase Galileo, “Yet still we get hot spots in parks and drains (ditches, drainage – pick your synonym)”

    You hate anything that downs nuclear, but the people working in the industry disagree with you on this.

    You seem to be the one with a hate problem Wow. As for the people working in the industry – reference please!

    >Because you’re a dogmatic fool.

    You need to set-up straw-men (my apparent hatred of Greenpeace & the anti-nuclear movement), engage in nit-picking, confrontation and avoid discussion so as to not back-track on your previous statements – and you call me a dogmatic fool?

    Pot-Kettle-Black.

  34. #34 Eamon
    Tohoku
    November 14, 2012

    kai

    I am pro-nuclear, but as with James Hansen, I am also convinced of the dreadful reality of Global Warming, so we are bound to disagree on many things (going from your posts in the James Hansen piece).

  35. #35 Wow
    November 14, 2012

    kai is also trying to bother Eli over at the Rabett Run.

  36. #36 Wow
    November 14, 2012

    Eamon, I’m not against nuclear.

    However, running it as a private concern isn’t working at all unless we can somehow make the ones at the top live AT the nuclear power station they run…

    But nuclear isn’t anywhere near being any form of aid in reducing the risk of AGW.

    Too expensive.
    Too long.
    Still a fossil fuel. And we can’t make our own fission materials until we learn how to make a star go nova…
    Current designs far too dangerous
    Future designs
    a) untested
    b) only “promised” to be safe
    c) uneconomic
    d) beset by different problems (which is why the current designs didn’t live up to their hype of safe clean energy)

    Putting billions into research at getting an inherently safe and much longer sourced nuclear power I’m absolutely fine with.

    Putting billions into building short-lived and ineffective nuclear power “to combat AGW” is bollocks. Spending the billions on renewable roll out will pay off far more reliably and far sooner.

    If 40 years on we get an inherently safe nuclear power (e.g. a thorium design that really IS inherently safe) then maybe we can remove some of that renewable resource and replace with the nuclear power.

    That happened before: the industrial revolution.

  37. #37 Vince Whirlwind
    November 15, 2012

    Well said Wow. Nuclear is not a viable industry in terms of either economics, risk, or fuel supply. It is peddled by bullshit artists.