Now, being the rad-savvy fellow that I do fancy myself, I have cast my vote for the ‘click-bait’s most pointless panic conspiracy of the year award, the Fukushima Reactor pollution of the entire Pacific Ocean, or as The Odyssean might describe: “Radioactive Refuse Wreaks Ruin on Recreational Reefs!” That guy has got the roaring twenties reporter blood racing through his veins; am I right?
But first, allow me to introduce myself: I was known in my 16 years after the military as “Geo of the Desert”, the radioactive desert that is. Yes, I worked for those years on the Nevada (Nuclear) Test Site, or whatever is the latest name they changed it to, to rob the taxpayers of a Cresses wealth, bolstering site productivity by absolute zero in the process.
Allow me just this one tangent, because this has been a (captive) pet peeve of mine for an eon now. Government organizations that are floundering, generally because of urine-impoverished management, or no management, all tend to flail after that one Hail Mary (saving) Grace, the panacean name change!
Here’s how it works:
The manager assembles a Root Cause Analysis (RCA) committee of hard, pipe-hittin’ professionals to get to the bottom of the constant ruddy budget they are sitting on. The team passes around a list of email addresses for the first one to two weeks, to check that their email address is correct, in the event another member of the team wants to transmit blame to them electronically rather than in person.
The team convenes for several months, to the tune of about $1,000,000.00 per month, at which point they announce that the committee is hung, and would rather opt for an Abridged Gap Analysis (AGA) venture instead. More months and millions go by and the committee announces their finding: the title of the manager’s office does not effectively represent the scope of expertise of said office. Therefore the title must be changed!
But to what?
Now a new committee is formed to craft a new title for the Office of the Director of Jack Q. Shit. Again the months and millions, and the RCA followed by the AGA. Problem: nobody on the ‘committee’ is really ‘committed’ to a quality final product; they are only concerned that they demonstrate they are the smartest one in the room, and only their ideas are worthy of selection.
Finally, after down-sizing the entire work force by 35% due to the prodigal spending of the committees, an outcome is announced: (snares roll, and wait for it…) Office of the Director of Jack R. Shit!” Millions remain to be spent on name changes on doors, records, damage control due to the confusion of the name change, advertisement… all while customers are turning and leaving because they were looking for Jack Q. Shit; not Jack R.
And so I am what I yam; I’m a rad-savvy man. In order to set foot on the test site unescorted, we had to have an entry-level company-provided radiation training qualification. Yeah, so I had that. I eventually took that up a notch to a higher qualification, to allow me into more and more dangerous areas, with the intent of being allowed to handle more work–takes risks; will travel!
I was able to go into radioactive areas of fixed contamination, and the more coveted radioactive areas of loose contamination. This is the sort of activity that requires a full-on decontamination regimen to rid all of your disposable outerwear, and a thorough cleaning of non-expendable equipment.
I actually performed platform instruction for about a year on the Fundamentals of Radiation to First Responder students. Be impressed if you want to, but the subject was not a grand departure from what all of us had back in high school science class, but don’t remember it.
Two atoms are walking down the street. Suddenly one atom stops and, patting himself down states: “Oh no, I’ve lost my electron!” The other asks: “Are you sure?” to which the first responds: “Yes, I’m positive.” Bah-dommp CRAAASSSHHH!
A Proton and a Neutron walk into a bar and each order a beer. “What do I owe?” asks the Proton. $3.00 responds. “How about me?” asks the Neutron. The barkeep replies: “For you, no charge.” Bah-doomp CRAAASSSHHH!
In support of the title of the story, before I wonder too far off in left field, so far off that I am actually back in right field, let me offer some rad basics for those of us with the widest gaps between now and high school:
Many of the radionuclides (isotopes) that present some of the highest activity (danger) are man-man isotopes which have atomic numbers higher than naturally occurring Uranium, atomic number 92, known as the transuranic isotopes. These are heavier than water and sink as soon as they are introduced to it, therefore not candidates for (1)strap-hanging on transoceanic currents.
But, we’re allll gonna diiie!
No, no we’re not. The lighter than water nuclides that are capable of the maiden voyage are of such low-level activity as to be negligible to health. Frankly, the only way you might be in danger is if you started drinking that seawater for the rest of your life, and only then might you start seeing some signs of sickness. I would recommend that it may be a great field trip for school kids to visit the Oregon beach to try a couple of simple real-world field experiments.
But we’re allll gonna diiie!
No, no we’re not; and would you please just stop saying that? Dying from nuc fallout from across the world’s largest ocean is… well it sounds like something that liberal peaceniks would embrace to try and draw attention away from the fact that they’re… just… STUPID. Here’s a few un-well-known facts about rad isotopes:
Bananas contain Potassium 40, a radioactive isotope of Potassium; bananas can set off a detector, such as the old-school Geiger Counter, which measures and counts the number of nuclear disintegrations per second in a substance. Every time a radioactive atom breaks apart (disintegrates), it emits an sub-atomic particle that is rad-active as well.
Bananas??? We’re allll gonna diiie! Oy ve, again with the negative waves, Moriarity! Always with the negative waves!
X-Rays… now those ARE negative waves, Moriarity. Those are waves from the far right flank of the invisible light Electromagnetic Spectrum (EMS); they are of sufficient energy to cause molecular breakdown in the human body. When molecules split apart, they release a former constituent in the form of a free radical, something that is not at all savory in humans. Free radicals are never up to anything good; they seek to attach themselves where they are not wanted, and can have no positive outcome. This my friends is the incipient state of a cancerous growth.
Free-Radicals??? We’re allll—-SHOOOSH!!
Ok, ok… we ARE allll gonna diiie; I give up. We’ll all figure how to meet the creator somehow, the ‘radioactive Pacific Ocean’ not withstanding.
How do we even know if the radiation that arrives on the west coast of ‘Murica is even from Fukushima? Ah, well all man-made transuranics, be them for power or for weapons, have a fingerprint that can identify them to the very facility in the world where they were produced. So much for anonymity in the nuclear realm:
“Murica here; what would you say if I told you we just got hit with a nuclear missile in Kansas?”
“Vee vood say, that is vedy vedy terrible, but it was not us!”
“Really, Pakistan… and what would you say if I told you it had a ‘made in Pakistan’ stamp of the side of it?”
“Vee vood saaaaay… you’ve got a very good point there…”
There is a saying in the biz, for dealing with a crapped-up (contaminated) zone: “Dilution, is the solution, to pollution” meaning that if you can apply enough water to a contaminated substance, you can reduce its capacity for danger to nil. So wouldn’t it stand to reason, that the application of one Pacific Ocean to a rad spill might be conducive mitigation? If you don’t, you might be a red-necked nay-sayer.
It seems like I am including more and more often to my essays my once ever quotable quote: In the end there is the real world, and there is the game, and the winners are the ones who can distinguish effectively between the two.
The dooms-dayers we shall always have among us. Nevermind wasting your time on them; go have a Schweppes instead. My understudy of five years at the test site, a person who I thought was as switched on as anyone I had ever met, approached me one day with the aerial chemical contrail conspiracy. My thundering laughter came to an awkward chuckle and throat clearing at the realization that she was serious. I handed her the (illegal) binoculars from the dash of the truck:
“What are these for?”
“They are to help you look for another job; (Trump voice) Yoh faay-ahed!”
I almost don’t knock liberal conspiracy dolts any more. I mean it’s not like we could have a Democratic party without them. They assure the GOP that the state of the union could not exist without them. I for one think that is as blatant a conspiracy as I’ve ever heard, and am chomping at the bit to give that notion a go.
From the arm of Sophia Wilanski, to the shores of the Oregon coast, there will always be conspiracies, and those cretins who embrace them. I for one know as well as the next profligate that there is that tenth of an ounce of truth in all the conspiracies. Sure, there is doom in them thar hills, if you are dead to rights to find it. I know that even a ham sandwich can be deadly in the wrong hands; if you don’t believe me, just ask Mama Cass. Too soon?
(1) Strap-hangging means essentially ‘to hitch a ride’ or in more derogatory terms, to jump into an operation that someone else has done all the work to create, because you were too lazy to plan and do it yourself. Strap-hangers are paratroops that just show up to some other unit’s jump operation, then leave when they have jumped, avoiding all preparatory and post-jump work activities.
Feature photo courtesy of NOAA
Center photo courtesy of Geo Perspectives