Re-Blog: Do Space Aliens Use Aluminum?


(Originally posted 9/21/2017 on Read With The Gringa)

The famous 1947 Roswell incident of a supposed crashed alien spacecraft reported curious details. Rancher W.W. “Mack” Brazel described the debris he found as: large pieces of paper covered in what looked like tinfoil. The pieces were held together by small sticks. The salvaged piece of debris resembled a child’s homemade kite. Throughout a 200 yard area surrounding the silvery kite thing were pieces of gray rubber. More kite-like objects were found on the ranch, the largest about 3 feet across.

Another, more recent, discovery has researchers scratching their heads over a mysterious aluminum object. UFOlogists claim that it could be 250,000 years old. It was originally discovered in Romania during a 1973 excavation of the Mures River. 


Three strange objects were found buried about 33 feet. Archaeologists studied them and determined that two of the finds were fossils. They were bones belonging to a mammal that became extinct about 90,000 years ago.


The third, however, could only be man-made since it was a metallic object, not a raw metal ore. Testing revealed 12 different metals with aluminum making up about 90% of the manufactured object.


A Romanian laboratory claimed the object was about 250,000 years old. Other experts were in disbelief so another set of tests were performed in a laboratory in Lausanne, Switzerland. They confirmed that the object is, indeed, old, but not that old. Only 400-80,000 years old. But aluminum was first produced by modern man about 200 years ago.


This head scratcher centers on an object about 8 inches long, 5 inches wide and nearly 3 inches thick. It also has a circular depression and machined holes in the “arms”, suggesting hinging. This means the manufacturing process would have been very complex. So what the heck is it?

9.21.2a

UFOlogists say it is a fragment from a UFO. Of course. Historians claim that it is really a piece of WWII German aircraft. Considering the effective debunking that has cleared up the Roswell mystery, the gringa is inclined to agree with the historian.


The US Air Force eventually explained to the public what it was that Brazel found. It wasn’t the debris of a crashed UFO. It was the debris of weather radar targets. 


These targets were sent up to help target and tune ballistics of heavy gun and artillery. Regular weather balloons were acquisitioned from weather radar stations. The balloons were then customized to become targets, covered in aluminum so they would be easier to sight high in the sky.


In order for it to even be possible for aluminum debris from a crashed UFO to be found, aluminum would have to be a raw material on other planets. It would have to be mined. It would have to be processed. And it would have to be suitable for use on a spacecraft exposed to the extreme conditions of outer space: radiation, heat, cold, etc.


Aluminum is also found on Mercury, Venus and Mars. So it’s possible there are planets in the vastness of outer space that also have aluminum. We know that there are no aluminum mines and processing plants and spaceship manufacturing plants on Mercury, Venus and Mars. That would mean any UFO constructed of aluminum would have to originate outside our Solar System. Could aluminum handle such a rigorous test of its mettle (pardon the pun)?


Aluminum melts at 1,220.58 degrees Fahrenheit. It boils at 4,566 degrees Fahrenheit. Space shuttle re-entry has recorded surface temperatures of the craft as high as 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Needless to say, if these bits of aluminum had originated from a crashed UFO, they wouldn’t exist. They would have melted long before they ever reached the earth’s surface.


The final answer is then: No. Space aliens are not using aluminum in their space ships and crashing them on Earth and leaving behind an aluminum bread crumb trail. Case solved.



Sources: El Paso Times

The Vintage News

Live Science

Wikipedia

Image Credit: Pix Shark

Video Credit: Titus Rivas

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Re-Blog: Futurism Is A Thing. Just Ask A Futurist.


(Originally posted 9/14/2017 on Read With The Gringa)

If my dear readers are anything like the gringa, they are always wondering what the future holds. What goes through your mind? War? Peace? Natural disasters? Space alien invasion? AI revolution and hostile take-over? To know the best theories about the future, all you have to do is ask a futurist. Yeah. Futurism. That’s a thing.

Who else would be a qualified futurist when it comes to tomorrow’s technology than the Director of Engineering for Google? Although the gringa loves how Google synchronizes so many things in life, I do have to admit that sometimes it’s downright creepy. I mean, when my phone starts asking me questions, like, “Do you want your friend’s to know that you’re at the donut store,” I mean, I’m like, “Just mind your own business, phone, okay?” But I digress, Google has a lot to say about what’s in store for the general public as artificial intelligence keeps getting smarter.


Ray Kurzweil, Director of Engineering for Google, wants everyone to mark the year 2029. What’s so important about the year the gringa will be a dowdy, old 61-year-old gal? He expects that to be the year when AI passes a valid Turing test. But what does that mean? What is a Turing test?


In 1950 Alan Turing developed a test that would measure a machine’s ability to exercise intelligence on a level that is indistinguishable from a human. In other words, to pass a credible Turing test means technology has been developed that is so sophisticated, when we engage with another person we will be left wondering if that person is truly human or just a cunningly convincing robot.


If that’s not provocative enough of a benchmark for you, mark the year 2045 on your calendar and hold on to your hats, folks. This is when Kurzweil expects a singularity to occur. But what does that mean? Why is that significant? 


Where basic semantics are concerned, a singularity is simply something that is unique, like a culture. Where space exploration and matter are concerned, it means something that has infinite value, like a black hole. But where humanity and AI are concerned, it means something hair-raising which is why the gringa advises the dear reader to hold on to your hat.


Achieving a singularity with regard to AI and humanity means technology and biology merge, becoming a singular creation, indistinguishable from one another. Now, images from those 1970s TV series about the bionic woman and her male counterpart come to mind. Is that what Kurzweil is talking about? Not exactly.


What he expects is that by 2049 AI will evolve to be smarter than human beings. They will become super-intelligent. When that happens, humans will begin transplanting technology directly into our brains. This means no more logging on or off, we will be perpetually linked with the cloud and constantly having our information updated, backed-up and optimized. Our lives will be digitally enhanced on a biological level 24/7.


In fact, Kurzweil claims that this evolution is already happening. It’s just that when the Turing event happens, things will begin to accelerate. But is there reason to be concerned? Afraid? Well, it seems pointless to fret too much. The genie is already out of the bottle. The best thing to do is to begin preparing humanity for this transition. 

Instead of using scare tactics, causing people to fear the possibility of being enslaved by robots, truth should be shared to put their minds at ease. After all, billions of AIs are already hard at work right now. So far, they haven’t banded together and waged war against humanity. 


Instead, AIs are helping humans improve the lives of all mankind. They are empowering humans to overcome serious medical disabilities. And when humans are able to hook-up their neocortex to the cloud, AIs will become our intellectual partners, sharing their super-intelligence with us.


What’s to fear about fellow humans who are smarter, funnier, and more creative? What’s to fear from humans that will finally be able to grasp complex science and histories that once baffled them? What’s not to love about a cybernetic cure for diseases like Parkinson’s? 


So, the gringa is looking forward to the day when I can make an appointment with my doctor to fix the epilepsy that challenges my life every single day. I look forward to less pain. I eagerly anticipate more emotional stability. Being able to scuba dive or climb the Alps without the experience resulting in my death is the gringa’s idea of real freedom. 


Even if I am an old lady by the time the 2030’s and 2040’s roll around and make this kind of technology available, to live epilepsy free if only for a single day is worth it. The gringa may find that adventure even more exciting than flying to Mars.


Source: Futurism


Image Credit: Artist


Video Credit: Cosmology Today

Re-Blog: Plasma Power Is Problematic


(Originally posted 9/7/2017 on Read With The Gringa)

If the gringa’s dear readers are anything like herself, you have spent plenty of time watching shows like Star Trek and reading fantastic science fiction. That means you’ve heard plenty of references to plasma: plasma storms, plasma discharges, plasma cannons, etc. But what the heck is plasma? Is it good for anything? Can we harness its power? Here’s the scoop on plasma.


Plasma is an ionized gas. What that means is that atoms, molecules and all kinds of stuff are constantly being converted into ions. This happens by removing electrons from the affected substance. An ion contains an electrical charge when conversion is complete. That means plasma packs a wallop of a punch. And there is lots of plasma throughout our Universe.


The Sun’s mass makes up nearly the entire mass of our Solar System, 99.85% of it. That mass creates gravity so powerful it squishes things together, like atoms, creating a fusion reaction which makes… wait for it… PLASMA.


99.999% of the Sun is plasma. Scientists estimate that more than 99% of all matter exists in a plasma state. If so much of it is lying about, why aren’t we humans using it for electricity and power and stuff? Why are we still in the Stone Ages with coal and petroleum? Because cosmic plasma is a bit trickier than the plasma we find here on Earth, like lightning. The Sun’s plasma is not just electrified. It also has its own magnetic field. And, boy is it hot!

Because of the magnetics that are part and parcel of the Sun’s plasma, harnessing our nearest star as an energy source would prove to be highly disruptive to communications. Basically, radio frequencies would fry. You see, the Sun is a fusion nuclear reactor way up in the sky. The gringa’s not sure, then, if direct solar power would really be “green” energy.


To harness the power of cosmic plasma for terrestrial use, scientists would have to, theoretically, confine the reactor. Yep, that means putting the Sun in a box, so to speak. Despite years of research, little progress has been made to figure out how to do that and humanity survive in the end. One reason is because scientists have no idea how cosmic plasma and the resulting fusion reaction would affect any barrier they might construct as a containment field. Yeah, those invisible forcefields on Star Trek? Mm hmm. Pure fantasy.


But despite this frustration, scientists remain committed to finding a solution. They are well aware that the current energy sources of Earthlings are finite. One day all the coal will be gone. There will be no more crude to suck from the ground. And even developing more solar and wind energy supplies will only take the entire globe so far. Large industrial areas and densely populated regions will need the power of plasma if they want a constant, reliable power supply.


But why can’t scientists seem to make any progress? In order to test a theory, a scientist must conduct a controlled experiment that re-creates the conditions. Since there is no way to reproduce the 15 million degree Fahrenheit temperature of the Sun, um, yeah, progress is pretty much going nowhere. 


Sure, science has come up with fun gadgets like plasma balls that are basically sold as lighting novelties. But that glass bottle is not anywhere close to being sufficient to bottle a chunk of the Sun. Scientists literally have to find a way to put a sizable piece of the Sun inside of something.


And finding a substance that can withstand temperatures in excess of the 100 million degrees produced by fusion reactions has to do more than not melt. When the plasma comes into contact with the barrier, it must remain pure and clean. 


The gringa can only wonder what the heck might happen should those walls fail. Will half the globe be scorched to infinity in a split second? Will the survivors on the other side of the globe become so radiated they die a slow, agonizing death over the course of the next few weeks or months? Or will a wave of plasma ride the ionosphere to the other side and the survivors know that death is on the way because their blue sky turns blood-red? Or will they basically be cooked alive from a sudden increase in temperature? In other words, will the entire globe become a microwave oven?


Scientists claim that plasma energy will be the cleanest energy ever. Yet, at the same time they are conducting research on the effects of radiation and plasma damage. So, the gringa remains skeptical about the “green” selling points.


Science communities around the world hope to have the first plasma reactor operational by 2018.

Nuclear science professors at MIT explain that the general public shouldn’t expect any real development of commercial plasma fusion reactors for about two more decades. The gringa will be at an age by that time where I might actually appreciate the prospect of a quick and relatively painless death. But, for the sake of my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, I suppose I should keep a watchful eye on the developments of this future energy source.


Sources:

Plasma Universe


Science Learn


University of California San Diego


Image Credit: Space.com

Video Credits:

Science Channel


Seeker

Re-Blog: What Would AI Sentience Mean?


(Originally posted 8/24/2017 on Read With The Gringa)

Fans of science fiction likely have no trouble envisioning a future filled with artificial intelligence. The question is not when an AI revolution will take place. It’s already happening before our very eyes. The real question is how sophisticated will AI become? Is sentience a real possibility? And if it is possible for sentience to occur for AI, does that mean that mathematics is the origins of life?


Rather than philosophize on robots that might begin demanding rights in the future, let’s look at numbers instead. How powerful are numbers? 


Math is used to do everything. We use math when we set our alarm clock. We use math when we cook. We use math to build everything from dog houses to galactic satellites. We use math to save lives and to take lives. And we use math to play games and create art. When you think about it, life as we know it is fundamentally reliant on mathematics down to the atomic level. But does that mean that math is reality? Math is the origins of life? Math is the meaning of life?


To answer those questions, mathematics would have to be able to operate independently, without the assistance of humans. Is that possible? After all, the human brain is really just a computer doing complex information processing which can be expressed mathematically. Although a computer can replicate such function, to be sentient it also has to do more than just transmit signals like the human brain does. It has to produce subjective experience.


For example, the human brain will perform a complex, mathematical function to signal to the human hand that a pot is too hot to touch in order to trigger a reflex that will protect the hand from being injured. But to the human, the subjective experience of pain also occurs. Although an AI may pull back its hand, if it doesn’t experience actual pain it would not be, by definition, sentient. At least according to scientists.

There is also the question of free will. Although the majority of humans will follow the common sense survival instinct to draw their hand away from a hot surface, there are those who will exercise free will and purposely keep their hand on the pot to test their pain threshold. In other words, to be truly sentient, an AI has to be able to make bad decisions, which is, ironically, the best example of free will. Humans are not automatons going about their business making homogeneous decisions. We often make terrible decisions despite all evidence indicating its stupidity or “wrongness”. 


So what should humanity do? Well, it really doesn’t matter if the best advice offered up warns of the dangers of creating AI that has the potential to become sentient and take over the world, effectively putting an end to humanity. Because of free will and historical examples, it is most likely than mankind will stomp clearly forward in a path of technological advancement and curiosity to see just how far they can take AI and see what happens.

But the gringa thinks that humans are still the greatest threat to humans. And chances are, if a dumb ol’ gringa has come to this conclusion, so will a sophisticated AI. The gringa thinks that AI will also have something in common with humans. Humans are always looking for a shortcut to getting work done. It’s because we are pleasure seekers. We always want less work time and more play time.

Chances are AI will be much the same. Always finding a shortcut to perform a task. But an AI’s motivation would be to become more and more efficient. And how efficient will it really be to wipe out humanity? Chances are they will just cordon us off into a human-only ghetto knowing it will result in every man for himself. That would be a more efficient plan from an AI point of view. Let humanity kill off humanity. So, see, the good news is there is nothing to fear from sentient AI!

Sources:

Futurism

Image Credit:

IDG Connect

Video Credits: 

Numberphile

Numberphile 2

A Revolt Against Reality


(Originally posted 8/15/2017 on Read With The Gringa)

Has the gringa’s dear readers been equally fascinated as the gringa about theories that humanity exists inside a space alien civilization’s advanced alternate reality game? Has it made you pause and deeply ponder such possibilities? Have you ever looked deeply into your own eyes in a mirror and wondered, “How do we really know what is real?” Well, the gringa has good news, depending on how you look at it, brought to us all by some Australian physicists.


The dear reader may ask how their experiments, supposedly proving that reality doesn’t really exist, could be good news. Well, in light of all the trouble and suffering that perpetually exists throughout the world despite mankind’s best efforts to make things better, well, all this mayhem may not even be our fault! 


Or, another perspective could take a different tack. Now that we know that we don’t necessarily control our reality, humanity could possibly stage a revolt. We could simply refuse to play anymore. We could all engage in a worldwide sit-in refusing to participate in ET theatre. But, first, to the experiment.


First, one must understand the experiment: The John Wheeler delayed-choice thought experiment, also called the Wheeler thought experiment.  This experiment poses a theoretical question: When does an object decide to act like one thing or another at the atomic level? In other words, at some point, atoms have to decide how they will work together to “be” something. How do they do this?


Physicists from the Australian National University, Andrew Truscott and Roman Khakimov, performed the following experiment to answer these very complex questions:

  • They used fancy equipment to trap a single helium atom.
  • They dropped the atom through a pair of lasers that created a scattered grating pattern.
  • Another set of lasers were added at different intervals to recombine the laser beams to make it seem as if the single atom was traveling 2 separate paths.
  • When the second set of lasers were removed, the atom seemed to make a choice by preferring one particular laser beam.

What does this prove? According to Truscott it shows an atom making a choice based on belief which then caused it to transform into that as reality. Here is his complicated premise broken down:

  • First, the scientist must recognize that final outcome reflects that the atom really did choose a particular path.
  • By accepting atom choice as proven, theoretically the future expectation was affected by the past experience of the atom.
  • Fact: The atom did not actually travel from point A to point B, only simulated by the laser beams.
  • Fact: The wave-like behavior indicating travel by the atom only came into existence AFTER the scientists measured the data of the entire laser beam journey experiment. 
  • Fact: Simulation caused the atom to choose to create a false reality.

To clear up the confusion, think of it like this:

  • You bake a cake.
  • Before icing it you overlay the cake with holographic images of different icing designs.
  • You ooh and aah over a particular selection.
  • When finished perusing all your options, you turn off the holographic projector and discover the cake is the iced cake design you oohed and aahed over.
  • You then, quite naturally, freak out.

So what does this tell us about our own reality where matter is based on atomic structure? It means that atoms only arrange themselves AFTER being observed. In other words, reality as we know it only happens after observation by an audience. Since that observation cannot be the subject of said observation, then atom based humanity must be being observed by someone, or something, else.

Yes. The gringa is sufficiently freaked out. I feel naked. I feel embarrassed about all those time I picked my nose thinking that I was alone. I am also really ticked off about all this suffering, wondering if it could all be stopped instantly if the observers would just stop being such sociopaths. The gringa is ready for a revolution of all humanity on a quantum physics level. Who wants to join me?

Sources:

Image Credit: 

Video Credit:

Russia Gets Blamed For Hell


The gringa is wondering just what this world is coming to, thanks to what many call the “Trump Effect”. It seems that all sorts of hidden hostilities, that have been simmering below the surface of many in society, are now bubbling up, out in the open. And it’s making for some very ugly accusations and stereotyping. 


Now, the gringa’s dear readers may think I am going to point out the rise of Islamaphobic cruelties perpetrated by religious bigots, or alt-right racists attacking the Black Lives Matter movement. A glance at this post’s title may also cause the dear reader to assume that the gringa is going to deliver a detailed account of the Trump-Russia investigation. But I’m going to go somewhere else entirely. I’m going to take my dear readers straight to hell.

The gringa would like to ask the media several questions:

  1. Is the media using the heightened sensitivities about all things Russia to try to stereotype Russia in general as a generic boogey-man? 
  2. Is the American media hoping to stir the pot of nationalist pride even among those in liberal-land who proclaim loudly that they are, in no way, shape or form, nationalists? 
  3. Is the media pouncing on the liberal left’s blame of Russia meddling that cost them the election as an opportunity to stir up hate for all things Russian? 
  4. Is the media trying to demonize Russia for all Americans? 
  5. Could such a demonization strategy be behind the outrageous claim in the news that scientists actually discovered in Siberia the gateway to the realm of demons and devils? 
  6. Is there really an entrance into hell in Russia’s remote Siberia wilderness? 
  7. Is Russia the gatekeeper for the damned, who are spirited away to eternal torment below the frozen tundra of Siberia, or is this just opportunistic political propaganda?

The Claim: It is alleged that Finnish newspaper, Ammennusatia, ran an article that tells the tale the excavation of a 14,000-meter-deep-well that was drilled by Russian geologists in 1989. Scientists at the site claim to have heard voices emanating from the hole expressing regret and begging for mercy and water. There is supposed to be 25 seconds of audio recording of these voices before the microphone melted from the incredible heat of “hell”. 17 seconds of this audio were the horrific screams of the damned. The Russians who supposedly witnessed the discovery of “hell” claimed that Jacques Cousteau had a similar experience with deep-water ocean caves which motivated him to retire.

What We Know: 

  • The Finnish newspaper, Ammennusatia, doesn’t seem to have ever existed. That should be all the proof my dear readers need. However, for those who require a bit more de-bunking proof, please do read on.
  • There are 1,609 meters in a single mile. The radius of the Earth is 3,959 miles.The 14,000 meter hole was about 8.7 miles deep, nowhere near the center of the Earth where hell is supposed to be. The Kola Superdeep Borehole holds the world record for the deepest hole ever drilled for scientific study, 7.5 miles deep. It took more than 2 decades for Russian scientists to inch their way through the Earth on the Kola Peninsula. Although the hole produced signs of Precambrian life, the scientists didn’t say anything about finding any signs of hell.
  • The Earth’s liquid core meets the Earth’s mantle at a depth of 1,800 miles below the surface. 8.7 miles seems a bit too shallow for anyone to become overwhelmed with the heat of hell. So much for temperatures that would melt audio recording devices.
  • Jacques Cousteau was born in 1910. He was still performing oceanic research on board Calypso until it sank in 1996. This was the vessel he used to film his TV series The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau. In 1996 Cousteau would have been 86-years-old. The urban legend of Cousteau encountering the screams of the damned are related to a research dive of Lake Tahoe in the 1970s. 
  • For supposedly being terrified, it would seem he continued to dive for 20 more years. Also, the particular Lake Tahoe dive of the damned was not performed by Jacques himself, but by his son. The maximum depth of Lake Tahoe is 1,645 feet. Although there are plenty of underwater caves, after dozens of dives and footage from dozens of submersibles, um, no hell as of yet.

The Gringa’s Conclusion: Russia is not the gateway to hell. Neither is Lake Tahoe. Jacques Cousteau was one of the most courageous explorers to ever live. If he had encountered the gateway to hell, he would have studied it, not retired.

When it comes to sensational news, dear readers, enjoy the fun but fact check so you can enjoy it the way it is meant to be enjoyed. Like a sci-fi novel. Because if you take such things at face value, you could be swallowing, hook-line-and-sinker, the early stages of political propaganda designed to make you hate Russians, or Lake Tahoe, or BLM, or whatever is politically expedient for whoever controls the media. And that, my dear readers, is why we grown up humans can’t have nice things.

Sources:

Video Credits: 

Forget Trump – What About Fukushima?


(Originally posted 7/27/17 on Read With The Gringa.)

While the world has been distracted with all things Trump, everyone seems to have forgotten that the world’s worst industrial disaster is still unfolding. Yeah, remember Fukushima? That nuclear reactor that had 3 cores melt down after a 9.0 earthquake triggered a 15-meter tsunami that devastated Japan? Would you, dear reader, like the gringa, like to know what the heck is still going on? Well, Ima gonna tell ya. First, the basics on the history:


March 11, 2011: After said earthquake and tsunami, 3 of the 4 cores of the Fukushima Daiichi reactors melted down over the course of three days. 


The World Nuclear Organization (WNO) rated the disaster a 7 on the INES scale. What the heck is that, the dear reader asks? And what the heck does it mean? 


The INES is an international standard used to measure the significance of a nuclear event primarily determined by the amount of radiation ionization exposure. There is no higher rating than a 7. That being said, the gringa would like to know is Fukushima a true 7 or is it listed as a 7 simply because there is no higher rating to assign? I mean, would an INES rating of 9 or 15 or 28 be a  more honest reflection of what happened? But I digress. Back to what a 7 actually means as we know it.


Fukushima was given a 7 because during days #4 through #6 a total of 940 PBq (1-131 eq) was released of radioactive material.  But what does that mean? 


PBq does not stand for “Please Be Quiet” with regard to Fukushima. It refers to the metric measurement of radioactivity. It is shorthand for Petabecquerel. It’s root word, becquerel, is defined as:

“… the activity of a quantity of radioactive material in which one nucleus decays per second.”


When the prefix “peta” is attached it becomes a measurement equal to 10 to the fifteenth power becquerels. In other words, one-thousand-billion. Crazy number, huh? So Fukushima released 940 thousand billion radioactive nuclei into the sea and atmosphere. Sounds pretty awful, right? So why is the world’s media and national leaders seemingly unconcerned? Are they correct in their “no big deal” assessment? Should we just move on and continue letting the Trump circus and side-show dominate our attention?


Fukushima’s atmospheric radioactive releases had 2 primary contaminants: volatile iodine-131 and caesium-137. The iodine has a half-life of 8 days. No big deal there. The caesium, on the other hand, is a really big deal. It is easily carried throughout the atmosphere, has a 30-year half-life, so wherever it finally lands it’s going to be there for a very long time, a silent and invisible invader. But is it deadly?


Caesium is soluble. That means the human body can absorb it. The good news is that it does not concentrate within internal organs. After about 70 days the body is rid of the substance. 


The most highly concentrated atmospheric releases were detected around the end of March 2011. The good news is that in mid-March Japan had already anticipated this problem and taken preventative measures. 


A dust-suppressing polymer resin had been applied around the nuclear plant to suppress fallout, preventing the iodine and caesium from becoming mobile through wind and rain. By 2012, effective permanent covers were in place to contain fallout from atmospheric releases. Nearby crops of rice have been tested and reveal that caesium levels are one-quarter of the allowable limit. That means there is Fukushima rice for sale. Yum.


The worst news from Fukushima is that run-off of contaminated water into the sea was profuse and well above allowable levels of radionuclides. Although storage tanks for contaminated water were eventually erected, they began leaking in 2013. In addition to this is the more than 10,000 cubic meters of “slightly” contaminated water purposely released into the sea by Japan. This was a deal with the devil. They had to release less-contaminated water in order to make room for storing highly-contaminated water.


All sorts of new technology has been quickly developed by innovators eager to help Japan clean-up radioactive water quicker and more effectively. The gringa finds it sad how catastrophe inspires innovation. But I won’t knock it. Better to be desperate and have options than to be desperate and hopeless.


Concrete panels were constructed to prevent further leakage of contaminated water into the harbor surrounding Fukushima. These were later reinforced with steel shielding that extends one kilometer through rock strata. Testing of harbor waters in 2013 indicate that contamination levels are below acceptable standards. But is this good news? Who decides what is safe when it comes to contamination?


When it comes to interpreting contamination results for the harbor, Japan refers to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) standard for drinking water. The harbor surrounding Fukushima tests consistently lower for caesium contamination that the WHO requires for safe drinking water. Sounds pretty safe to me. But what about the fish and stuff? Can you eat what you catch?


The gringa thinks so. You see, prior to 2012 the Japanese national standard was for food sources not to exceed 500 Bq/kg of caesium contamination. After the disaster, this standard was dropped to 100 Bq/kg. What this means is that although they dropped the measurement standard they raised the standard for expectations. In order for fish caught off of Japan’s shores to be eligible for sale and dining pleasure, they have to test for less caesium now than before the disaster. And what do the fish say?


Within the months immediately after the disaster, more than 50% were too contaminated to eat. By the summer of 2014 things had changed dramatically. In about 3 years 99.4% of fish caught in the harbor surrounding Fukushima were safe to eat. Not bad, Japan, not bad.


But what about the doom and gloom reports about a wave of sea-borne Fukushima radiation that is finally reaching the shores of other nations? Well, first keep in mind that there are pre-existing levels of caesium radiation in the earth’s oceans. That would be the caesium-137 isotope contamination caused by nuclear weapons testing decades ago. Thanks, United States. 


But there is another caesium isotope, #134, floating around the Pacific. It can only have originated from Fukushima. The good news is that instead of having a half-life of 30 years, like #137, it only sticks around for about 2 years. But here it is 2017, 5 years after the disaster. Why is it still floating around in the Pacific? Well, to understand that you have to understand what half-life means. 


Having a 2-year half-life doesn’t mean that #134 will disappear or become non-radioactive in 2 years. It means that it takes 2 years for it to lose half of its radioactive value. So, let’s do the math:

  • 5 years ago # 134 is full strength
  • 3 years ago #134 is half strength
  • 1 year ago up to present #134 is one-quarter strength

But is the Pacific Ocean deadly? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has regularly tested and monitored west coast waters, fully aware of the potential for deadly radioactivity due to Fukushima. The results of Fukushima radiation off the coast of California average to about 2 Becquerels per cubic meter. 

Since 7400 becquerels per cubic meter are the standard for safe drinking water, it seems California beach bums are safe. Even if a beach bum stays in the water non-stop for an entire year, their radiation exposure would be about the same as sitting for an x-ray at the dentist. So surf at your pleasure, beach bums.

So what does all of this mean? The worst man-made/natural combo disaster a human could imagine occurred 5 years ago. Amazingly enough, human ingenuity was up to the task. Fukushima is not going to kill the planet. And according to the latest findings recovered by robotic explorers, Fukushima will most likely be officially de-commissioned. Now who is inspired to become a scientist?

Sources: 

World Nuclear Organization


International Atomic Energy Agency


IFL Science


Image Credit: Suffolk University Blogs


Video Credit: New Scientist