Radiation

Rerouting airplanes isn’t a big deal, but could there be dangers from the radiation? Doug Cameron reports for the Wall Street Journal:

Delta Air Lines Inc. said Tuesday that it was rerouting some transpolar flights between Asia and the U.S. to avoid the impact of the largest solar storm in almost a decade.

The Atlanta-based carrier said some flights to Detroit from Hong Kong, Shanghai and Seoul took a more southerly routing on overnight flights, though a spokesman said planes flew faster to keep schedules intact. Tuesday departures from the U.S. were expected to follow similar routes.

A rare solar flare erupted late Sunday night resulting in a solar radiation storm today, according to NASA. It’s the strongest such storm since September 2005, according to NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center.

Airlines occasionally reroute transpolar flights as a precautionary measure during big solar storms, with radiation levels heightened…



Destroy SpermReports Reuters via Yahoo News:

The digital age has left men’s nether parts in a squeeze, if you believe the latest science on semen, laptops and wireless connections. In a report in the venerable medical journal Fertility and Sterility, Argentinian scientists describe how they got semen samples from 29 healthy men, placed a few drops under a laptop connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi and then hit download.

Four hours later, the semen was, eh, well-done. A quarter of the sperm were no longer swimming around, for instance, compared to just 14 percent from semen samples stored at the same temperature away from the computer.

And nine percent of the sperm showed DNA damage, three-fold more than the comparison samples. The culprit? Electromagnetic radiation generated during wireless communication, say Conrado Avendano of Nascentis Medicina Reproductiva in Cordoba and colleagues.





Apparently, highly radioactive beef from cows that lived near the Fukushima accident site is unknowingly being served up as burgers at Tokyo eateries, AFP reports: Radiation fears mounted in Japan on Wednesday…


The Raw Story reports:

As roughly 450 workers remain at the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, the world watches with increasing anxiety at what will become of them.

Unable to take the suspense and the guilt at being among those who promoted the reactors to begin with, a group of Japanese seniors have stepped up to offer their services to their country one last time.

Called the “suicide corps” by one official, they say all they want to do is be of service if the jobs might risk the lives of younger people. While the government hasn’t yet said whether they would be used for any such purpose, talks were reportedly underway.


Last week I was at the BookExpo trade show and a couple of dubious characters manning an outlying booth tried to sell me an ugly looking sticky thing to place on my iPhone and supposedly cut down harmful radiation. They measured the radiation coming from the iPhone on some sort of scanner and of course the needle jumped off the scale. But their device, whatever it was, made my iPhone ugly so I didn’t buy it.

I might have to track them down in the wake of what seems like a convincing study that the radiation from cell phones really is hazardous for humans. Labeling them as “possibly carcinogenic,’’ a panel of 31 WHO scientists deems them to be in the same category of harm as certain dry cleaning chemicals and pesticides.


“In the early 1900s, radium was more valuable than gold and platinum. As such, the term “Radium” was incorporated into the brand names of any number of products even when these products…




F-ing Bananas! Esther Inglis-Arkell clarifies on io9.com: The chart of relative doses of radioactivity that appeared on io9 yesterday set many minds at ease, but also raised questions. Questions like, “Why do…


From Democracy Now!

The Japanese government is trying to calm fears about radiation levels and food safety in the region around the heavily damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility, even as it has raised the severity rating of the crisis to the highest possible level. “Radiation is continuing to leak out of the reactors. The situation is not stable at all,” says Dr. Michio Kaku, professor of theoretical physics at the City University of New York and the City College of New York. “The slightest disturbance could set off a full-scale meltdown at three nuclear power stations, far beyond what we saw at Chernobyl.”




Fukushima, Japan – The Japanese government issued an evacuation order on March 12 for residents living within the 20 kilometer radius of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Since then, residents have left their homes, and the “no man land” has been out of touch with the rest of the world. A Japanese journalist, Tetsuo Jimbo, ventured through the evacuation zone last Sunday, and filed the following video report.

He says that inside the evacuation zone, homes, buildings, roads and bridges, which were torn down by the tsunami, are left completely untouched, and the herd of cattle and pet dogs, left behind by the owners, wanders around the town while the radiation level remains far beyond legal limits.


RadiationFlashes of extremely intense radioactivity have become a serious problem, he said. Tokyo Electric’s difficulties in providing accurate information on radiation are not a result of software problems, as some Japanese officials have suggested, but stem from damage to measurement instruments caused by radiation, the executive said. It’s at the end of this NY Times article:

Still, concerns about the plant remain high. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission speculated Wednesday that some of the core of the No. 2 reactor had flowed from its steel pressure vessel into the bottom of the containment structure. The theory implies more damage at the unit than previously believed.

While a spokeswoman for Tokyo Electric dismissed the analysis, a spokesman for the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency of Japan agreed that it was possible that the core had leaked into the larger containment vessel.

The possibility raised new questions. The Nuclear Regulator Commission said that its speculation about the flow of core material out of the reactor vessel would explain high radiation readings in an area underneath, called the drywell.

But some of the radiation readings at Reactors Nos. 1 and 3 over the last week were nearly as high as or higher than the 3,300 rems per hour that the commission said it was trying to explain, so it would appear that the speculation would apply to them as well. At No. 2, extremely radioactive material continues to ooze out of the reactor pressure vessel, and the leak is likely to widen with time, a western nuclear executive asserted.




How do you feel about drinking milk with trace radiation from Fukushima’s nuclear disaster, even if our government assures us there’s no health hazard? From US News: In an update to its…




Randall Munroe of the blog xkcd took the aftermath of the Japanese earthquake tragedy (with its resultant fears of nuclear contamination) as an opportunity to construct a chart putting into perspective the…


While manufactured “arguments” continue to wage about topics such as climate change and evolution, Anne Coulter has stepped up the game, adding the benefits of radiation to the pot: As The New…