[Marxism] Glow in the dark sushi

Rod Holt rholt at planeteria.net
Thu May 31 18:51:45 MDT 2012

Dear Comrades
My reply to DCQ of Wednesday, May 30,2012 was based on my reading of the first sentence of his last paragraph: "My opposition to nuclear power doesn't come from Luddism or ignorance, but from a knowledge of our own ignorance." 

But not that alone. DCQ also states when speaking of the article Proyect forwarded:  "I took the point of linking the article to be that the speed with which the radiation from Fukushima spread both into the food chain and around the world surprised everyone, even the supposed experts who thought they could predict things like this. This is a chink in the armor of the defenders of nuclear power who claim they know all of the consequences and are very careful, at least now, even if they weren't in the past, and it's very safe, or at least safer than anything else, yada yada yada. The truth is, we don't really know much about nuclear physics, in the big scheme of things. And, as much as we know about it in pristine lab conditions, we know even less about how these isotopes and elements interact with our ecosystems and bodies."

As I read this, I took DCQ's point of difference to be, The problem today is not only our immense ignorance, but further, our ignorance of what we don't know. It was this argument I objected to in my reply of May 30. I believe that if what I wrote were taken in this context, there would have been no further discussion. The point DCQ makes is that the scientists were "surprised" by the appearance of cesium-137 in young tuna that had migrated from the seas around Japan. Please consider that 5 Bq of Cs-137 is 1.6 x 10^-15g or 1.6 billionth of a microgram of Cs-137. The only way a scientist could find such a quantity of a substance is to LOOK FOR IT. They were—as a fact—looking for it. I guess they knew what they didn't know, after all. Or maybe it was an experiment.

I realize that numbers of such magnitude are strange to us, perhaps unfathomable to the casual layman. But there are people who deal in things like this (with or without the profit motive). I mentioned Avogadro's number in one previous reply, as some may remember. Using that number, we find that (at 5 Bq) there are about 7 million atoms of Cs-137 in a kilogram of meat of the sampled young tuna, or roughly 10 cesium atoms in 3 trillion trillion trillion atoms of everything else. (That's a real needle in a hay stack, for sure.) Now, if anybody wants more mind-blowing numbers, just write and I'll talk of the probability of a tuna cell's DNA being damaged by one or more of the 3 1/2 million gamma rays given off by the Cs-137 over the first 30-year period. Then, what is the likelihood of damaged DNA being passed on to following cells; then what is the likelihood that the result is a cancerous cell; then what is the likelihood of … (ad nausium).

I'd like a reference from someone about the impact of nuclear testing fallout on children born ca. atom bomb testing; Hans put it "There are timeseries showing a correlation between nuclear testing in the USA and lowered IQ levels of babies born at that time." I'd love to see this statistical legerdemain. 

And for those who want to speculate, what would the life expectancy be for people here and elsewhere were it not for atom bomb testing? Another "and" … Ever since the atom bomb tests and nuclear power plants, people in the US have been living longer and longer. That's a really clear correlation that any fool can plainly see. (life expectancy at birth in 1945 was 65.9 years and in 2010, 78.3 years.)  (And the automobile really helped out too. Before Ford, the life expectancy was 60.4.)


On May 30, 2012, at 8:26 AM, DCQ wrote:

> My opposition to nuclear power doesn't come from Luddism or ignorance, but from a knowledge of our own ignorance.

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