Tag Archives | Radiation

Proud Patriot Beats TSA Using iPhone and the Constitution

Backscatter_x-ray_image_womanMany of you will be traveling in the United States this week for the annual Thanksgiving celebrations. At this point no one can be unaware of the new government policy regarding Backscatter X-Ray machines and the option to suffer a humiliating full body pat down (or groping) by TSA agents. Thanks to Matt Kernan, it seems that those of you with sufficient patience and knowledge of the your constitutional rights may have a third option. It’s well worth reading his entire blog post — this is just a taste:

I said, “I am aware that it is policy, but I disagree with the policy, and I think that it is unconstitutional. As a U.S. citizen, I have the right to move freely within my country as long as I can demonstrate proof of citizenship and have demonstrated no reasonable cause to be detained.”

Policy restatement. “You have two options – the Backscatter or the pat down.

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Wi-Fi Makes Trees Sick

Weeping Willow

A weeping willow. Photo: Jdforrester (CC)

René Schoemaker reports on PC World:

Radiation from Wi-Fi networks is harmful to trees, causing significant variations in growth, as well as bleeding and fissures in the bark, according to a recent study in the Netherlands.

All deciduous trees in the Western world are affected, according to the study by Wageningen University. The city of Alphen aan den Rijn ordered the study five years ago after officials found unexplained abnormalities on trees that couldn’t be ascribed to a virus or bacterial infection.

Additional testing found the disease to occur throughout the Western world. In the Netherlands, about 70 percent of all trees in urban areas show the same symptoms, compared with only 10 percent five years ago. Trees in densely forested areas are hardly affected.

Besides the electromagnetic fields created by mobile-phone networks and wireless LANs, ultrafine particles emitted by cars and trucks may also be to blame.

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Radioactive Wild Boars in German Forests

Radioactive BoarThis is creepy news from Cyriaque Lamar on io9.com on a Der Spiegel report:

It’s been 25 years since Chernobyl fallout contaminated flora and fauna in Europe, but German hunting officials are still dealing with rising numbers of radioactive wild boars. But why?

This burgeoning boar population munches on radiation-absorbing truffles and mushrooms, and because of an overall increase in wild boars, the number of radioactive boars has gone up as well. The German Atomic Energy Law requires Berlin to reimburse hunters who bag radioactive boars. In 2009, the government paid out approximately €425,000 — or $555,000 — for polluted piggies. According to Der Spiegel, the contaminated boar population has been the most problematic in southern Germany:

Many of the boar that are killed land on the plates of diners across Germany, but it is forbidden to sell meat containing high levels of radioactive caesium-137 — any animals showing contamination levels higher than 600 becquerel per kilogram must be disposed of.

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Cancer Rate in Fallujah Worse than Hiroshima

The 105mm M900 APFSDS-T (Depleted Uranium Armor Piercing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot - Tracer)You can’t drop massive amounts of depleted uranium on a nation without causing severe radiation poisoning. It’s one of the worst legacies of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and criminally under-reported by the embedded media. The fallout is starting to be noticed now, however, as reported by the Centre for Global Research:

The Iraqi city of Fallujah continues to suffer the ghastly consequences of a US military onslaught in late 2004.

According to the authors of a new study, “Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005–2009,” the people of Fallujah are experiencing higher rates of cancer, leukemia, infant mortality, and sexual mutations than those recorded among survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the years after those Japanese cities were incinerated by US atomic bomb strikes in 1945.

The epidemiological study, published in the International Journal of Environmental Studies and Public Health (IJERPH), also finds the prevalence of these conditions in Fallujah to be many times greater than in nearby nations.

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FDA Scientist Loses His Job For Saying Cancer Screenings Can Give You Cancer

Food & Drug AdminstrationMATTHEW PERRONE reports on the AP via Google News:

WASHINGTON — A former Food and Drug Administration scientist said [last] Tuesday his job was eliminated after he raised concerns about the risks of radiation exposure from high-grade medical scanning.

Dr. Julian Nicholas told an audience of imaging specialists that he and other FDA staffers “were pressured to change their scientific opinion,” by managers in the agency’s medical device division.

Nicholas, now a physician at the Scripps Clinic in San Diego, said he and eight other staffers raised their concerns with the division’s top director Dr. Jeffrey Shuren last September.

“Scientific and regulatory review process for medical devices was being distorted by managers who were not following the laws,” Nicholas said. A month later Nicholas’ position was “terminated,” he said.

The allegations about suppression of scientific dissent within FDA are not the first, and come at an inopportune time for the agency.

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Cigarettes Contain Radioactive Polonium

This is an article from 2006 that I found while trying to research the actual ingredients in cigarettes. Robert N. Proctor writes in the New York Times:
Nuclear Pack

When the former KGB agent Alexander V. Litvinenko was found to have been poisoned by radioactive polonium 210, there was one group that must have been particularly horrified: the tobacco industry.

The industry has been aware at least since the 1960s that cigarettes contain significant levels of polonium. Exactly how it gets into tobacco is not entirely understood, but uranium “daughter products” naturally present in soils seem to be selectively absorbed by the tobacco plant, where they decay into radioactive polonium.

High-phosphate fertilizers may worsen the problem, since uranium tends to associate with phosphates. In 1975, Philip Morris scientists wondered whether the secret to tobacco growers’ longevity in the Caucasus might be that farmers there avoided phosphate fertilizers.

How much polonium is in tobacco? In 1968, the American Tobacco Company began a secret research effort to find out. Using precision analytic techniques, the researchers found that smokers inhale an average of about .04 picocuries of polonium 210 per cigarette. The company also found, no doubt to its dismay, that the filters being considered to help trap the isotope were not terribly effective. (Disclosure: I’ve served as a witness in litigation against the tobacco industry.)

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Iraq To Sue U.S., Britain Over Depleted Uranium Bombs

The 105mm M900 APFSDS-T (Depleted Uranium Armor Piercing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot - Tracer)

Via the Tehran Times:

Iraq’s Ministry for Human Rights will file a lawsuit against Britain and the U.S. over their use of depleted uranium bombs in Iraq, an Iraqi minister says.

Iraq’s Minister of Human Rights, Wijdan Mikhail Salim, told Assabah newspaper that the lawsuit will be launched based on reports from the Iraqi ministries of science and the environment.

According to the reports, during the first year of the U.S. and British invasion of Iraq, both countries had repeatedly used bombs containing depleted uranium.

According to Iraqi military experts, the U.S. and Britain bombed the country with nearly 2,000 tons of depleted uranium bombs during the early years of the Iraq war.

Atomic radiation has increased the number of babies born with defects in the southern provinces of Iraq.

Iraqi doctors say they’ have been struggling to cope with the rise in the number of cancer cases — especially in cities subjected to heavy U.S.

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Oops: Backscatter X-Ray Machines “Tear Apart DNA”

At Yahoo Tech:

The latest airport security trend is the backscatter x-ray machine, touted as a powerful way to virtually frisk a traveler for contraband without the embarassment of a strip search.

Though touted as completely safe because the level of radiation is so low, travelers have been nervous about the devices — and not just because it shows off a nice outline of their privates to the people manning the machines — but because they remain scared of the health problems they might propose.

Looks like a little healthy paranoia might have been a good thing. While the conventional wisdom has held that so-called “terahertz radiation,” upon which backscatter x-ray machines are based, is harmless because it doesn’t carry enough energy to do cellular or genetic damage, new research suggests that may be completely wrong.

Specifically, researchers have found that terahertz radiation may interfere directly with DNA. Although the force generated is small, the waves have been found to “unzip double-stranded DNA, creating bubbles in the double strand that could significantly interfere with processes such as gene expression and DNA replication.”

I’m not a doctor, but that just doesn’t sound good…

[continues at Yahoo Tech]… Read the rest

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University Says “NO” To WiFi And Cellular Antennas

From the blog of Dr Magda Havas, PhD:

December 2009. If you are a student who is sensitive to electromagnetic energy or who does not want to be unnecessarily exposed to microwave radiation then this is definitely one university you should consider attending.

Lakehead University has opted for a fibre-optic network rather than a wireless network to provide access to the internet for students attending the campus in both Thunder Bay and Orillia, Ontario, Canada.

This is the first university in North America that has opted for the precautionary principle and that places the health and safety of students and staff above the convenience of wireless technology. Despite this policy students have access to the world wide web and have adequate cell phone access as well. What they don’t have is unnecessary exposure to microwave radiation.

We look to universities to provide leadership in society and this is one university that does just that.

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