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Jay Lake
Date: 2013-09-15 09:20
Subject: [links] Link salad is back in Portland
Security: Public
Tags:audio, books, christianists, climate, cool, culture, food, germany, guns, healthcare, japan, kalimpura, links, personal, podcasts, politics, religion, reviews, science, space, stories
A reader reacts to Kalimpura — They liked it.

[info]james_nicoll is entertainingly snarky about the Clarkesworld podcast of my story, "Torquing Vacuum"

Launch Pad is on sale — The anthology benefits the Launch Pad workshop, and includes a reprint story from me.

Facebook and Twitter Are Converging The two largest social networks are becoming more similar, as they borrow each other’s features, and search for profit. The social media singularity is on the event horizon. What rough beast slouches towards the NASDAQ?

Most delicious dessert trucks in America

Bremerhaven Photos, Part II: Ships — Some very nice modern and historic ship photos from Cora Buhlert.

Straining Upwards to Hear the Cosmos

Tepco admits to reporting false radiation levels for nearly 2 years at Fukushima — Because reasons! (Via David Goldman.)

The obesity era‘The previous belief of many lay people and health professionals that obesity is simply the result of a lack of willpower and an inability to discipline eating habits is no longer defensible.’. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Fischer: It Is 'Ignorant, Ignorant, Ignorant' To Think Human Behavior Can Impact The Climateit is dumb, dumb, dumb; it is stupid, stupid, stupid; it is ignorant, ignorant, ignorant to think that there is anything that man can do to control the climate through human behavior." If you want to do something about the climate," Fischer said, "you want to do something about the weather, there is only one thing that we can do to affect climate or affect weather and that is to pray to Yahweh." Faith certainly doesn't have to make you stupid, but American Christianity does an excellent job of privileging willful ignorance that would be laughable in any non-faith-based context. Thank God I'm an atheist, given this is how leading Christian voices think and speak. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

US bid to name “Science Laureate” hits snag with climate denialistsConservative lobbying groups freak out, get bipartisan bill pulled. Because being conservative means never having to admit that reality trumps your proudly willful ignorance.

Police Wound Two Women In Shooting Near Times SquareCaught in the line of fire by police officers, two women were shot near crowded Times Square in Manhattan last night. The bystanders were wounded as police struggled to deal with a man who was behaving erratically. Because guns make us all safer. Those two women should be grateful for the Second Amendment rights that ensure that anyone might be carrying a firearm.

Man seeking help after North Carolina car crash shot by policeAn unarmed man who was shot dead after running toward police officers in Charlotte, North Carolina, may have been just trying to get help after crashing his car, police said. Because guns make us all safer. He should be glad he gave his life for your Second Amendment rights. I'm sure every single one of the other 30,000 people killed by firearms every year feels the same way. I know I would be proud to die for your illusion of safety.

Qotd?: Where did you wake up today?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.0 hours (solid)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Weight: 246.6
Number of FEMA troops on my block closing golf courses for Agenda 21: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

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User: autopope
Date: 2013-09-15 17:09 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Ahem: wrt. Tepco, "concentration levels of radioactive cesium being reported some becquerels lower than the actual level" ...

... Normal background level is around 20-80Bq/s. That's because 1 Bq is an incredibly tiny radiation level; the natural Potassium-40 in your body produces around 4000Bq/s. The Hiroshima bomb produced a radiation pulse of around 8 x 1024 Bq.

Upshot: if Tepco were out by an entire order of magnitude, it's insignificant in human terms. To have any risk impact it needs to be considerably more zeros than that.
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User: nojay
Date: 2013-09-15 17:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Bequerel is a rate, i.e radioactive decays per second. The measurements TEPCO and the Japanese government have been reporting at and around the Fukushima Daiichi plant are of how many decays per second occur in a litre of seawater, hence Bq/litre. For comparison regular seawater runs around 11Bq/litre, nearly all of that attributable to healthgiving potassium which has a common radioactive isotope K-40, half-life 1 billion years and a danger to all life on Earth until long after the Sun goes red giant on us.

It's not easy to measure radioactivity caused by other substances in seawater because radiation from the naturally-occurring potassium tends to overwhelm the instruments. A few km offshore dilution means it can take several weeks to get good readings from seawater samples of radioactive isotopes of cesium and strontium which are likely to have come from the Fukushima site. A quick test usually comes back ND meaning Not Detected, usually under 1 Bq/litre. The longer-duration tests give readings of Cs-134 and Cs-137 of 0.005Bq/litre or even less in samples taken a few km from the nuclear site.

The standard for radioactive cesium in drinking water in Japan is 50Bq/litre. It used to be 100Bq/litre before the releases from Fukushima, the WHO recommended limit is actually 200Bq/litre. The same limit applies to bathing, by the way which means it would be regarded as totally safe to go swimming off the coast of Fukushima...

Edited at 2013-09-15 05:53 pm (UTC)
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User: barbarienne
Date: 2013-09-15 20:54 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm not sure the NYC shooting article backs your thesis, given that (a) the shooters were police, not civilians, and (b) NYC has the strictest gun laws in the USA.

A man is high and running around and creating problems and they cops only fire three shots? That seems like restraint to me. (Perhaps it is sad that it seems like restraint.) The report is unclear, but I get the impression they stopped shooting when they figured out they were doing more harm than good. That puts them a couple of steps ahead of most pro-armed-society yahoos.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2013-09-15 21:15 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
My thesis is that if the United States were not overflowing with gun-toting yahoos, the police would neither need to be so quick to resort to violence, or even need to be armed at all.

This is a second order effect of the Second Amendment fostering of widespread private gun ownership.

C.f. developed countries like the UK and New Zealand where most police do not go armed at all, and there are vastly lower levels of gun deaths from either civilian or police violence because there are vastly lower levels of gun ownership.
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User: autopope
Date: 2013-09-16 14:39 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Minor nit: UK police do routinely go armed: just not with guns.

Virtually all beat cops wear anti-stab armour, and carry batons, handcuffs, and pepper spray. They're increasingly adding tasers to that inventory. And they all have TETRA radios to call in tactical firearms teams if they're dealing with an actual armed incident -- knife, sword, or gun. The firearms teams have pistols and semi-automatic carbines and are trained marksmen. So the big difference from US policing practice is that only trained marksmen get actual guns, and the guns only come out when they've been ordered by a senior officer who has been trained and authorized to control lethal force.

(Some forces -- the Nuclear Police and the Transport Police units stationed at airports -- are all armed and routinely carry automatic weapons. But these are special cases.)

Edited at 2013-09-16 02:40 pm (UTC)
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