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Monday Message Board

April 4th, 2011

It’s time again for the Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. As usual, civilised discussion and no coarse language. Lengthy side discussions to the sandpit, please.

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  1. may
    April 5th, 2011 at 12:39 | #1

    have been thinking lately of what would be a good newspaper.

    what is around at the moment can best be characterised as worn thin,threadbare and in tatters.

    great gaping holes where local council news should be.

    ” ” ” ” insider union news should be.

    ” ” ” ” local environmental damage and remedial action news should be.

    ” ” ” ” local and regional voluntary actions are taking place and progress reports of same and monetary value imputed should be

    great gaping holes where serial reports on progress and summing up of fed to state and state to councils grants should be.

    the list could be added to and i’m sure others have there pet “great gaping hole”

    just a thought.

  2. may
    April 5th, 2011 at 12:46 | #2

    and

    great gaping holes where the plethora of non-fossil-available-now and smart grid connect energy news should be.

    ggh.where news of agricultural land,products,and distribution should be.

  3. Chris Warren
    April 5th, 2011 at 21:29 | #3

    Has ” Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment (Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences)” been reviewed in English?

    The claim of 985,000 is at pg 210, but there is substantial preliminary data.

    http://books.google.com.au/books?id=g34tNlYOB3AC&lpg=PA192&ots=O15VbW_Y98&dq=chernobyl%20985%2C000&lr&pg=PA211#v=onepage&q=chernobyl%20985,000&f=false

    The book provides a table of different estimates of Chernobyl deaths including 14,000 for
    NRC [table 7.9, pg 208] but several go over 100,000.

    As not all pages are available, I assume such radical differences are based on methodology
    and assumptions.

    Anyway it is one way of ‘shining light on the monster’ somewhat different to Russell (BNC blog) and George Monbiot.

  4. Alice
    April 5th, 2011 at 22:05 | #4

    @may
    There is a great gaping hole May but its been filled up with either Shane Warne and Liz Hurley’s affair. …or the ever present warnings on impending inflation by the RBA (which somehow never arrives).

    Oz papers only aim to keep two groups happy – the lenders and the illiterate.

  5. April 5th, 2011 at 22:27 | #5

    Last night, Steve Austin (612ABC radio Brisbane/Qld) interviewed Stewart Franks [associate professor at Newcastle University - introduced as an expert in "climate hydrology"].

    Austin made a great show of saying that he would get all sort of calls about being a “denialist” etc…, and then let Franks have a free run.

    It was interesting that Mr Franks was essentially saying that we should cut back on emissions anyway, regardless of whatever. But then he seemed to go on about “natural variability”, “decadal cycles” and adaptation.

    As far as I could tell, his issue with ‘climate science’ was “sensitivity” of the atmosphere to additional concentrations of CO2. He was dismissive of the Cairns “Greenhouse 2011″ conference.

    Anyway,

    Am I the first to suggest that the term “climate denier” (etc..) would better be replaced with some concept along the lines of “Climate Change Nihilist”?

    I’m thinking of this definition:

    Nihilism: a total rejection of all existing principles, values and institutions.

    Isn’t this really what all the neoliberals/Murdoch media/globalists/fossil-fuel and eternal growth mob are about?:

    “Climate Change Nihilists”

    Discuss

  6. Chris Warren
    April 5th, 2011 at 23:17 | #6

    The Fukushima nuclear monster seems an appropriate metaphor.

    Here is breathes fire ?????

    http://www.irsn.fr/FR/popup/Pages/animation_dispersion_rejets_17mars.aspx

    The easterly winds is clearly a factor impacting on interpreting radiation readings to the west of Fukushima.

  7. Martin
    April 6th, 2011 at 03:09 | #7

    One question that I’ve been trying to understand. I occasionally see statements in political blogs and the like on the lines of “X says Y but this really is code for Z” and then the blogger goes off and attacks X for saying Z. But how do we justify such a claim?

    It seems that sometimes the claim is justified eg “states’ rights” as code for “keep the blacks in their place”, so we cannot rule out all such claims. We could of course claim that our politicians always say just what they mean neither more nor less while their politicians speak in code all the time.

    But other than partisanship, how do we justify any such claim?

  8. Ikonoclast
    April 6th, 2011 at 08:12 | #8

    @Chris Warren

    Barry Brook, Geoff Russell (BNC blog) and George Monbiot are creating, repeating and recycling internet falsehoods about the Chernobyl nuclear event.

    An investigation of more reputable sources reveals a vastly different reality.

    Dr Helen Caldicott, MD is a good gateway into these more reputable sources.

    http://www.helencaldicott.com/2011/03/caldicott-japan-may-spell-end-of-nuclear-industry-worldwide/

    In the video Caldicott: UN lies she mentions “The Liquidators” and what happened to them. Checks on other sources verify her statements.

    http://www.chernobyl-international.com/the-liquidators.html

    Check out wikipedia for liquidators and Chernobyl.

    Barry Brook, Geoff Russell (BNC blog) and George Monbiot are extraordinarily, wilfully ignorant of the facts on the international public record.

  9. Christopher Dobbie
    April 6th, 2011 at 09:03 | #9

    The head of the NBN, Patrick Flannigan has resigned.

    This comes after the tendering negotiations were indefinitely suspended.

    It’s been reported that of the 14 construction companies vying for the contract not one could provide a reasonable quote to construct the infrastructure.

    Another fine example that private enterprise doesn’t have a monopoly of doing things on the cheap.

  10. paul walter
    April 6th, 2011 at 10:01 | #10

    Just coming from Loewensteins blog, we fid out the individual responsible for the smear campaign against the NSW Greens is that article of perpetual mean spiritedness, Imre Salusinsky.
    Any surprises?

  11. Ernestine Gross
    April 6th, 2011 at 11:37 | #11

    Chris and Ikon,

    recalling the history of 1986 in colour:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/guides/456900/456957/html/nn3page1.stm

  12. Hermit
    April 6th, 2011 at 12:01 | #12

    @Chris Warren
    A cynic would say they were going for a million Chernobyl deaths but backed off a tad to retain an air of truthiness. So far 21 Fukushima workers have had over 100 millisieverts. It will be interesting to see how they are going in 25 years time.

  13. jakerman
    April 6th, 2011 at 14:47 | #13
  14. jakerman
    April 6th, 2011 at 14:56 | #14

    @Hermit

    I’d be interested in a serious critique of the findings, if you have one.

    It would be good to compare the methodology and assumptions between the Russian compliation of studies and the used that produce such different findings.

    Here is a interive of the English Editor of the report.

    http://richardbrenneman.wordpress.com/2011/03/25/the-chernobyl-death-toll-1000000-not-4000/

  15. jakerman
    April 6th, 2011 at 15:05 | #15

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2006/mar/25/energy.ukraine

    Hermit :@Chris Warren A cynic would say they were going for a million Chernobyl deaths but backed off a tad to retain an air of truthiness.

    Here is the IAEA claims:

    But the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and World Health Organisation say that only 50 deaths can be directly attributed to the disaster, and that, at most, 4,000 people may eventually die from the accident on April 26 1986.

    They say only nine children have died of thyroid cancers in 20 years and that the majority of illnesses among the estimated 5 million people contaminated in the former Soviet Union are attributable to growing poverty and unhealthy lifestyles.

    Which doesn’t wash with ,for one, what we know of infant and child high sensitivity to radiation.

    Here is some more of the on the ground expericne that the IAEA report does not gel with:

    “At least 500,000 people – perhaps more – have already died out of the 2 million people who were officially classed as victims of Chernobyl in Ukraine,” said Nikolai Omelyanets, deputy head of the National Commission for Radiation Protection in Ukraine. “[Studies show] that 34,499 people who took part in the clean-up of Chernobyl have died in the years since the catastrophe. The deaths of these people from cancers was nearly three times as high as in the rest of the population.

    “We have found that infant mortality increased 20% to 30% because of chronic exposure to radiation after the accident. All this information has been ignored by the IAEA and WHO. We sent it to them in March last year and again in June. They’ve not said why they haven’t accepted it.”

    Evgenia Stepanova, of the Ukrainian government’s Scientific Centre for Radiation Medicine, said: “We’re overwhelmed by thyroid cancers, leukaemias and genetic mutations that are not recorded in the WHO data and which were practically unknown 20 years ago.”

    In the Rivne region of Ukraine, 310 miles west of Chernobyl, doctors say they are coming across an unusual rate of cancers and mutations. “In the 30 hospitals of our region we find that up to 30% of people who were in highly radiated areas have physical disorders, including heart and blood diseases, cancers and respiratory diseases. Nearly one in three of all the newborn babies have deformities, mostly internal,” said Alexander Vewremchuk, of the Special Hospital for the Radiological Protection of the Population in Vilne.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2006/mar/25/energy.ukraine

  16. jakerman
    April 6th, 2011 at 15:26 | #16

    Just had a word with colleague who was in the Ukraine during the Chernobyl disaster. Apparently people in the Ukraine didn’t hear of the accident until May 1st, five days after it occurred.

    When asked about the validity of the IAEA-WHO estimate of deaths. She didn’t pause before stating that the IAEA-WHO figure did not match with her experience observed rise in cancer.

    She said the rise in cancer rates following the accident, especially young people was undeniable. I think orders of magnitude grater incidence than 4, 000 cancer deaths would be required not sure that common persons in the Ukraine would observe an undeniable rise in cancers – of especially young people.

  17. jakerman
    April 6th, 2011 at 15:43 | #17

    The WHO have already backaway from their inital work with the IAEA. In their highly spruked 2005 report, the WHO went along with the IAEA’s cliam of total evental deaths of 4,000:

    The international experts have estimated that radiation could cause up to about 4 000 eventual deaths among the higher-exposed Chernobyl populations, i.e. emergency workers from 1986-1987, evacuees and residents of the most contaminated areas. This number contains both the known radiation-induced cancer and leukaemia deaths and a statistical prediction, based on estimates of the radiation doses received by these populations.

    Then the WHO backed away from this in 2006 when they quietly increased the figure (by more than double) to 9,000 in a report that recieved far less coverage: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2006/pr20/en/index.html

  18. Chris Warren
    April 6th, 2011 at 18:50 | #18

    Amazing, my post on BNC with the display of radioactive emissions (posted here, above at #6) was simply deleted.

    Other stuff is deleted on Brook’s whim and/or any manufactured pretext.

  19. Donald Oats
    April 6th, 2011 at 21:41 | #19

    Was watching the seven o’clock news and they mentioned radioactive iodine levels in the seawater of 7.5 million times the maximum safe levels. Now, sure, there is always the beautiful mathematical fact that the half-life of radioactive iodine is 8 days – so what! At high enough levels it takes several half-lives before safe levels are reached. For example, at 7.5 million times safe levels, the time required to get to the safe level is given by a log formula.
    Let u(n) = radioactive iodine level after n half-life periods; u(0) = 7,500,000. Then we have:
    [Eqn 1] u(n) = u(n-1) / 2;
    [Eqn 2] u(n) = u(0) * (1/2)^n;
    [Eqn 3] log(u(n)) = n * log (1/2) + log(u(0)).

    Now after the n^th halving of radiation levels, we want it (ie u(n)) to be at or below the maximum safe level of 1 (ie in arbitrary units of “max safe level”). This gives, from [Eqn 3], the inequality for n, the minimum number of halvings to reach a safe level:
    [Eqn 4] Choose n at least large enough so that u(n) < 1;
    [Eqn 5] log(u(n)) < 0; (Uses log(1) = 0)
    [Eqn 6] -n * log(2) + log(u(0)) < 0; (Uses log(1/2) = -log(2). )
    [Eqn 7] log(7500000) log(750000) / log(2);
    [Eqn 9] n > 15.83 / 0.6931 = 22.84,

    Therefore we have a minimum of N = 23 half-lives to go before 7,500,000 times the safe levels of radioactive iodine decays to the safe level. That is not 23 days! In fact, this is T = N * 8 days or T = 184 days.

    That is six friggin’ months to wait before we reach the safe level. This shows how the mere existence of a short half-life is not sufficient to ensure safety. There is still a long way to go with this story, unfortunately.

  20. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    April 6th, 2011 at 22:50 | #20

    Donald – there is attrition of the radiation through radioactive decay. You have accounted for this. However there will also be substantial dilution by virtue of the ocean being really big so it is quite possible that the safe level will be reached much, much sooner.

  21. April 6th, 2011 at 23:10 | #21

    And then we can extract all our future nuclear needs from seawater!

  22. plaasmatron
    April 7th, 2011 at 00:04 | #22

    @ #21

    That is what the nuclear fusion guys said back in the 60′s.

  23. Alice
    April 7th, 2011 at 07:32 | #23

    @Chris Warren
    Chris – I have never seen such pathetic and increasingly elaborate and complex pretexts for deletion / moderation / the cutting of segments of posts concocted as have been lately at BNC and applied to anyone who disagrees with Barry Brooks nauseatingly cheery pro nuclear advocation.

    To ensure he doesnt take full blame he employs a moderator who frequently cuts and deletes with the sad excuse “I will need to check this with Barry”.

    Barry Brook is no better than a Leunig Cartoon.

  24. jakerman
    April 7th, 2011 at 09:45 | #24

    @TerjeP (say tay-a)

    Dilution may dilute gamma radiaion, but gamma radiation readings do not measure the effects of particulate ingestion/inhalation. One tiny particle just one millionth a gram of plutonium is enough to cause cancer.

    And bio-concentration works opposite to dilution.

    TerjeP’s safe level means spreading the problem around rather than get rid of it. Caesium, and Strontium have half lives of 30 years and hence will be around (bio concentrating) for hundreds or even thousands of years. Plutonium (hl 24,000 yeras) if leaching from the reactor will be destroying genomes for in that environment for hundreds of thousands of years.

  25. Chris Warren
    April 7th, 2011 at 09:47 | #25

    @Alice

    Barry Brook is a nuclear-Windschuttle. I had similar problems getting a letter expressed how I wanted, into Quadrant. It belatedly surfaced this month.

    In general the Right will always use the media to foist their self-serving fabrications and foundation myths onto society, such;

    - the supposed weapons of mass destruction in Iraq
    - minimum wages increases costing jobs
    - the ‘fact’ that aboriginals caused their own demise
    - Australia was ‘terra nullius’
    - nuclear is safe
    - etc (whatever suits)

    You can find the same logic in the British anti-slavery campaigns where plantation owners spread data on how well slaves were treated, contradicting claims that slaves were mistreated and advertising how a slaves living standard was better in colonial America that in tribal stone-age Africa.

    And of course, we saw the same denial during the nicotine wars.

  26. Alice
    April 7th, 2011 at 10:22 | #26

    @Chris Warren
    Chris..for some reason my link keeps failing but see

    and they say no one saw the crisis of the GFC (and now the US government and economy) coming and Chomsky did more than a decade ago, but more importantly he nails the source of right denialism.

  27. jakerman
    April 7th, 2011 at 11:45 | #27

    @Donald Oats

    Donald, the “safe levels” are actually “legal levels”. Returning to legal levels will not undo the harm/risk in the system caused by seveal days, (weeks?) release of millions times higher levels.

    If you have time Don, would you run your eqn’s with these figures:

    cesium-137 was 1.3 million times the amount allowable, Halflive = 30 years.

    http://www.allheadlinenews.com/briefs/articles/90043623?Seawater%20near%20Fukushima%20plant%207.5%20million%20times%20over%20legal%20radiation%20limit#

  28. Ernestine Gross
    April 7th, 2011 at 13:45 | #28

    There is the additional problem of the pattern of ‘dilution’. In contrast to washing powder which can be desolved more or less evenly in a washing basin, I understand the dispersion of the radioactive elements in the Pacific is influenced by the currents in the sea. How would anybody know where a fish was, relative to a complex dispersion pattern not known to a typical housewife, when offered for sale in say 5 years time?

    The mess is so comprehensive that it is outrightly silly to try to whitewash it with words.

  29. Alice
    April 7th, 2011 at 14:05 | #29

    @Ernestine Gross
    Eww Ernestine. The full horror is not yet realised. Tepco and Japanese Govt have already acknowledged it will take months to get the mess under control and perhaps thats even a whitewash. Where are the barges going with the excess radioactive waste water now? To the nearest safe nuclear waste facility around the corner?. If they had one they would have used it for the spent fuel rods so dont even ask.

  30. jakerman
    April 7th, 2011 at 14:19 | #30

    Another problem with white-washing the effects of nuclear accidents such as Churnobyl is it misleads people as to the effects of nuclear weapons.

    That the IAEA-WHO figure of 4,000 deaths total. Compared to Iraq occupation deaths of 100,000 to 1,000,000. Or take Barry Brooks figure of 2 poeple kill in Japan compared to the Tsunami deaths of 100,000 on Boxing Day 2009.

    By white washing the real costs of these accidents we conceal from decision makers the impact of prorata levels of radiation released from nuclear weapons use. As more people are influenced the manipulated reports the argunments against use of nuclear weapons becomes erroded and understated.

  31. Alice
    April 7th, 2011 at 14:50 | #31

    @Chris Warren
    Chris. Ive just collated the extensive list of why people are being “deleted” on BNC. Thank goodness the good Prof only rarely deletes. These BNC people are really just political animals and its not about the nuclear. Its just another strain of denilaism (especially when they are in there pushing Plimer of all people). But I loved this BNC moderator post below

    “If you look back over the moderation comments on this site(moderation began at the beginning of the Fukushima crisis when traffic to the site increased dramatically along with incivility and insulting comments) you will find that many of the comments by regulars on BNC have also been deleted/edited for violating BNC commenting rules. The same applies to both sides of the argument. We try to keep the conversation civil. Personal attacks on individuals and slanging matches are not allowed. Perhaps you should have a good look at some of the anti-nuclear/green blogs. Few, if any, of them even allow any comment by pro-nuclear supporters to be posted and insults abound.”

    I’d recommend deletion for the last two lines of the BNC moderators own comment, following BNCs own ad hoc and growing list of comment rules, as being inflammatory, not supported by references, a personal appraisal, an ad hominem and a personal opinion that cant be verified because he has provided no link to peer reviewed non out of date papers.

    Plus its a dummy spit.

  32. jakerman
    April 7th, 2011 at 16:39 | #32

    The Corporatist Apologiest have put their hard right foot forward:

    The new post is likely to pay considerably more than that, with Bolt seen to be something of a favourite of new part owner Gina Rinehart.

    ‘‘I have no idea what Rinehart hopes now to do to Ten, if anything,’’ Bolt wrote in his Herald-Sun column last November shortly after the Western Australian mining magnate bought a 10 per cent stake in the company for $168 million.

    ‘‘Nor could I guess what chances she’d have of turning it into, say, an Australian Fox News, even if she wanted to … But I do have an idea of what worries Rinehart about our future.’’

    That would be the Greens, a mining resource tax and a carbon tax, all of which Bolt has frequently railed against in print.

    http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/new-host-bolt-wont-take-on-abc-rival-20110407-1d5n9.html

  33. Ernestine Gross
    April 7th, 2011 at 16:56 | #33

    Now, let put things into perspective. Gina Rinehart can afford the entertainment she wants. Nobody else has to watch it.

  34. jakerman
    April 7th, 2011 at 17:27 | #34

    @Ernestine Gross

    Like Kerry Packer in that, like Rinehart, he also subsidised the Sunday Program. Unlike Paker in that he subsidised something aspiring to be quality journalism.

  35. Ernestine Gross
    April 7th, 2011 at 17:51 | #35

    Jackerman, sometimes I am careful with my choice of words – wish it would be always.

    On more serious matters: What about desalination plants and nuclear pollution? This is one question I haven’t found anything on as yet.

    Sea salt is another item.

    Imagine the additional costs of production if all the inputs of food products have to be first tested for nuclear pollution content. The tax on ghg emissions seems to be a trivial item by comparison. But, lets see what the experts have to say on these questions.

  36. jakerman
    April 7th, 2011 at 18:06 | #36

    Bolt might rate well, Fox news does and they have far more opinion than news.

    Strange that Fox is such a well trusted source of news when they a providing 13 hours per day of opinion and editorilising versus 5 hours of news without Editorilising .

    is the Name “Fox News Network” false Advertising?

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

  37. Alice
    April 7th, 2011 at 18:52 | #37

    @Ernestine Gross
    and I wont be watching it Ernestine after that woman, who made her fortuna from her Dady, set too and organised the billionaires street protest a while ago against the mining tax (placards and all).

    Sheesh – and we have to tolerate these princesses?

  38. Alice
    April 7th, 2011 at 18:59 | #38

    Excuse spelling above – its atrocious – but the idea of Gina buying a television station just convinces me that the first thing the wealthy always want to control is the minds of the rest of us.

  39. paul walter
    April 7th, 2011 at 22:51 | #39

    Re Ernestine Gross, 28.
    I thought it; you wrote it..

  40. jakerman
    April 8th, 2011 at 11:36 | #40

    Some interesting interviews including with Chris Busby, “a chemist who specializes in cases of so-called low-level nuclear exposure”.

    http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/EcoshockNews/~5/KUMWnwG2ay8/ES_110408_Show_LoFi.mp3

  41. Alice
    April 9th, 2011 at 08:11 | #41

    This is a really amazingly depressing story on Fukushima that seems to have been missed entirely at so called nuclear political expert sites where they continue to misuse perverse statistics to support the use of nuclear.

    The fuel rods (which it has now come out were blown to smithereens in at least one of the reactors at Fukushima – and which someone accused me of being alarmist when I made that point originally in here some weeks ago) apparently cant be removed or wont be cool enough to handle until 50 to 100 years time. There is no happy ending to the story of Fukushima.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/04/01/3179487.htm

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