Tuesday, March 29, 2011

NHK Reports That the Exposed Fukushima Workers Received Fairly Low Doses

NHK World has reported that the workers who were exposed Sunday received less than 150 mSieverts. Two men were standing in water up to their ankles and that all three received beta radiation burns. None of the workers had ingested or inhaled any radioisotopes. Had the men been wearing waterproof Wellington boots (rain boots), they would likely not have even suffered any significant exposure. (Beta particles can be blocked by clothing. The higher the energy, the thicker protection one needs.) These men came in contact with the radioactive water which shouldn't have happened. Shame on TEPCO for not providing adequate clothing and protective gear to their employees. Shame on the MSM for over-exaggerating the workers' exposure.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

What Happened to My Country and Its Charity?

When I was growing up, America had a space program and we were going to the Moon. Neil Armstrong landed on the Moon in 1969 when I was seven years old. We were the wealthiest country in the world and we could do almost anything we could conceive of. We always sent in emergency supplies and aid when disasters struck. Our officials seemed knowledgeable and informed. So, I was surprised and disheartened when I learned that Americans were leaving Tokyo out of fear and that our government was making things worse by fear mongering about the nuclear incident at Fukushima.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko received a Ph.D. in theoretical particle physics, but went to work for Congress and the Senate after receiving his doctorate. He used to be Senator Harry Reid's science policy advisor. Reid was instrumental in closing the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository after $13.5 billion dollars had been spent on building it. So, now nuclear waste is stored on site at each nuclear facility. So, we have an NRC Chairman who has actually made the nuclear industry less safe prior to becoming chairman. Then he states publicly that the water in one of the Fukushima spent fuel pools had drained away leaving the fuel rods completely exposed. Not only did he have bad intelligence, but he was spreading fear. So much for informed government.

Then there is the meme being promoted not to donate to charities to help Japan. One who has spread this meme is Felix Salmon. They don't require our money or our aid it seems. But then, we get this news that people are starving in the devastated areas. There's not enough emergency rations coming in.

Usually we send aid in directly through the our military. The U.S. Navy would be a good choice because it has the most expertise in using nuclear reactors and the dangers inherent with using that technology. But it doesn't appear that our navy will helping the Japanese at Fukushima directly. We seem to be delivering food supplies and other aid, but are being hampered by poor weather.

Now we have twits buying iodide pills on the West Coast. They are paying $140 for a $6 bottle of pills. This is sheer insanity and beyond all rationality. Are people that ignorant and scared? They have the Internet as a resource if they can't trust the media for information.

It's okay to have nuclear weapons which can kill millions, but not okay to have nuclear power which could wean us from foreign oil and be used to destroy said weapons as fuel. It's okay to fight and defend our oil suppliers in the Middle East rather than be energy independent. What is the true cost of a barrel of oil when the costs of Iraq and Afghanistan are factored in? How much American blood is spilled to keep our oil companies and Arab dictators happy? What happened to our charity to our own people and others? We are the country who created the Marshall Plan to rebuild Germany and Japan. We created Social Security and Medicare to help our elderly and poor. Does any of this make sense? What happened to my country which professes to be Christian? Who stole it? I want it back.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Defeating the Most Dangerous Form of Genius

I suppose genius depends upon how you define the word. It's difficult to defeat an intellectual or spiritual genius because good ideas have a way of spreading over time. It is easy to defeat such a person in the short term by denying them resources or killing them, but the genius and his ideas are likely to outlast your empire. Archimedes is the archetype for this type of genius, and he caused the Romans no end of trouble in their attempts to take Syracuse. (Yeshua ben Yosef would be the spiritual equivalent.)

Then, there's military genius. Rome only defeated Hannibal by using its vast resources to limit his army's movements and his options through the efforts and strategy of Fabius Maximus. The Roman elite* didn't like his strategy and advice at first and because of their pride and deafness, several Roman armies (and many of those elites) paid dearly. Eventually, they had a commander who could defeat Hannibal in combat, Scipio Africanus. Hannibal killed or defeated many competent Roman generals and their armies because they were not his equal. In a way, Hannibal selected his own equal in an opponent such as Scipio Africanus. The other examples of such military genius are: Gengis Khan, Stonewall Jackson, and Erwin Rommel. Gengis Khan conquered a vast empire and was essentially undefeated in battle. Stonewall Jackson kept the Southern cause alive, but was accidentally killed by his own men. The Civil War might have lasted longer had Stonewall lived, but the result would not have been different due to the overwhelming resources of the North. The same is true for Rommel. Had Hitler given him the resources he'd have needed, the North African campaign would have lasted longer and perhaps have ended differently. But, Germany was doomed once Hitler took on the USSR and then declared war on the United States. A Rommel or a Hannibal can not win a war of attrition against a better equipped foe, but if such genius has the material wealth and manpower on his side (like Khan), only death can stop him. I wonder if we are selecting for our own Taliban fox in Pakistan at this time. We are certainly killing enough of their leaders. We are likely selecting for those smart enough to survive and thrive amid drone strikes, hunter-killer teams, and other modern methods of hunting and killing human beings. Are we creating our own Hannibal, and what will the human cost be when he is unleashed with enough resources to cause mayhem? Heaven help us if our resolve and determination break before the Taliban's does because an Islamic military genius with a nuclear weapon is very bad indeed.

We don't have the modern American equivalent of a Hannibal. All of our general officers say that they are, but likely the Roman generals thought that they were Hannibal's equal as well until they met him and his army in battle. Bravery and competency are not enough to thwart military genius. Hannibal killed 50,000 Romans in a single day's combat. The modern equivalent of a Hannibal is the total annihilation of an entire corp or more, and many more, if nuclear weapons are used.

* The elites blamed the soldiers for many of the failures and exiled them to Sicily even though the failure lay with the elites themselves. It seems that some things never change. We are seeing common people (homeowners and teachers) being blamed for the failures of elite financial and public institutions. The elites who are really to blame are promoted or allowed to continue their bad policies. It seems that America is the new Rome, and we are rapidly approaching the death of the American republic. The Roman republic could not withstand the rise of two or more powerful oligarchs. America has at least four and they are consolidating and increasing their power.


Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Catch and Release Gone Bad

Catch and release gone horribly wrong. It turns out that bull sharks steal fishermen's catches in the Breede River in South Africa. Bull sharks tolerate freshwater extremely well. Here then, are two documented accounts of different sharks eating caught fish. It is likely the hooked fish's distressed behavior is attracting the sharks.


Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Military Technology Rhymes

“History doesn't repeat itself - at best it sometimes rhymes”
- Mark Twain

The same goes for concepts as well. The Japanese discovered that silken capes or banners which billowed could stop arrows. They created silken armor called horo. The silken cloth would billow behind a galloping warrior like a sail. Horo was tested recently and 70% of the arrows were stopped by the silken sheet. Since the rider would be wearing armor, the remaining arrows would likely be stopped before any damage could be done. We see the same concept in play with Schurzen, skirt armor for tanks and armored vehicles, to stop AT, HE, and eventually, shaped charge antitank weapons. In essence, the Germans discovered that 5 millimeter of armor provided quite a bit of protection to a tank from modern infantry "arrows". So, we see the same concept used for protecting armored calvary at different times in military history.


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