Monthly Archives: September 2013

Lets get all fookooing excited about some vague data trend!

I’ve noticed in the recent months Jake Adelstein getting a bit more excited about Fukushima. Previously he focused on the links between the Yakuza and TEPCO and their subcontractors, obviously his area of expertise, but recently he’s been straying into not quite Fookooshimar territory, but at least into overexaggeration of the contamination. It used to be just on Twitter, but now I have seen an article on The Daily Beast looking at birth defects which is trying to find controversy where there is most likely none.

The article leads off with:

The prevalence rate—the frequency of malformations among childbirths, such as holes in the heart (atrial septal defect)—was 2.43 percent, a number that is still below what is considered a normal figure among radiation experts.

So, err, nothing. I’m also trying to parse exactly what “a normal figure among radiation experts” means, but reading ahead shows me that it should actually be “a normal incidence rate among medical experts”. (Please feel free to correct my paraphrasing!)

Near one group of tanks the levels reached 2,200 millisieverts per hour. An unprotected person standing close to the contaminated areas would receive a lethal radiation dose within hours.

Where “unprotected” means “nude” and “close” means “within tens of centimetres”.

The 2011 Report on Congenital Malformations notes the prevalence of malformed infants as 2.43 percent

I don’t like the word “malformed” here – the report title is obviously a medical understanding of the term, but “malformed infants” suggests extra legs or whatever, whereas both I and my step-nephew have the holes-in-the-heart menioned above but the requisite number of limbs. Furthermore, the survey was for children born during the 2011 calendar year, but as far as my Googling goes, the reasons for holes in the heart are not well known; is it hereditary (yes to some extent), a genetic artifact at conception (don’t know), or something during pregnancy (smoking, perhaps?).

British radiation expert Dr. Ian Fairlie

Get Googling guys! He has real qualifications, but he hangs around with the usual suspects. :roll: Here is an interesting paper that he has produced which I think takes about the worst-case scenario that he as a scientist can honestly produce, and assumes the Linear No-Threshold Model to get 3,000 additional deaths over 70 years, which also assumes everyone who doesn’t die from radiation manages to keep going for another 70 years, yet for the majority of Fukushima Prefecture residents, medical X-rays, airplane flight, and even natural background radiation is likely to be a bigger factor.

Of the roughly 360,000 children, there were 44 suspected cases of thyroid cancer. […] In the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, thyroid cancers cases started to show up after four to five years after the accident.

I think we can all read between the lines. :roll:

BTW, I wish I could find a link to it, or even remember what the name was, but one of the towns near Fukushima Dai-ichi paid for all children to have some expensive DNA-level blood test (I think that was what it was) to see if their genes had been spliced by radiation. About 20% of the children have been tested so far, and the one child they covered came back 100% clear, no dodgy DNA. Cynics would say that of course NHK would make sure they covered someone who was OK, especially as they didn’t report overall statistics on what percentage had been found to have damaged DNA.

Foreigners should be grateful for no tenure, and dolphin back on the menu

Here’s a report on an interesting paper that found:

We find consistent evidence that students learn relatively more from non-tenure line professors in their introductory courses.

Does no tenure make you a better teacher then?

Secondly, the Daily Fail reports that dolphins are thick neds:

dolphins are less sophisticated than chickens

gangs of males try to assert their authority by forcefully mounting other males – often resulting in bloody fights

We would be doing the world a favour by eating these gay sex pest bird-brains!

A quick geography lesson

Fukushima, Osaka:

View Larger Map


Fookooshimar, Osaka.

I count four out of six straying towards Fookooshimar, and the Tai-chi instructor on about spirulina, chlorella and modifilan is in total tinfoil hat territory.

Chinese paper making more sense on Olympics than Japanese one

The South China Morning Post had this to say on Tokyo winning the 2020 Olympics, regarding Fukushima, quoting an expert:

Watanabe said fish caught outside the harbour had shown a gradually decreasing level of caesium contamination, more markedly so in waters 20 kilometres from the plant.

Despite also quoting Hiroaki Koide, the whole article is quite well balanced.

However, in the English-language edition of the Akahata, we have nonsense like this:

Ahead of the International Olympic Committee’s announcement early Sunday, foreign media outlets repeatedly asked the Tokyo 2020 Bid Committee whether the Fukushima plant was really safe. The question was artfully dodged with empty guarantees and statistics on where some of the radioactive material in the ocean had settled, rather than what kind of sea life may have consumed it before migrating along the coast.

What a disappointment that no-one would admit we are ALL going to DIE!

Then we have a quite fanciful article about Kansai hating on Tokyo winning. Note that although I heard lots about Scotland complaining that the London Olympics spending would be at the expense of the Scots, I’ve not heard similar views from Kansai television. We have this text:

There has even been local speculation that the International Olympic Committee might be forced to consider taking the games away from Tokyo if the problems at Fukushima worsen over the next couple of years.

Who has been speculating? Anyone important? The article author and a few friends in the pub? We are never told.

Finally, we have this wonderful letter from a reader, with some advice on how to remove the radioactivity from the waste water:

There is a new technology, called capacitive deionization […]. It has only recently been introduced to the market, but I imagine that it would be possible to locate some that could be drop-shipped.

I find the idea of TEPCO searching the web to try to find a few online shops where they can order some quite hilarious. Mind you, given their overall uselessness, I suppose TEPCO could do worse…

A reluctant Fukushima kenmin and a Fookooshimar fail

I read an article in the Japan Times entitled "Fukushima: health disaster or PR fail?", written by their resident scientist of exemplary qualifications. To save you the bother of reading, the answer is, of course, B. However, especially when you contrast the tone with last month’s anti-whaling article by the same author, where he even went as far as putting italics in the headline, his lack of passion for the lack of health problems forecast by the professor he interviewed is quite, quite disappointing.

Here’s also a Tokyo equals Fookooshimar site that tried and failed to chase away the Olympic committee, and all I can see reading the numbers is that there is absolutely nothing to worry about. I wonder what the figures would be if a similar survey was conducted in Istanbul or Madrid?