Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I really think that nuclear power has the potential to help man- and womankind by producing clean renewable power. Stuff like this, though, isn't helping.

For the first two days after the accident, the wind blew east from Fukushima towards monitoring stations on the US west coast; on the third day it blew south-west over the Japanese monitoring station at Takasaki, then swung east again. Each day, readings for iodine-131 at Sacramento in California, or at Takasaki, both suggested the same amount of iodine was coming out of Fukushima, says Wotawa: 1.2 to 1.3 × 1017 becquerels per day.

The agreement between the two "makes us confident that this is accurate", he says. So do similar readings at CTBT stations in Alaska, Hawaii and Montreal, Canada – readings at the latter, at least, show that the emissions have continued.

In the 10 days it burned, Chernobyl put out 1.76 × 1018 becquerels of iodine-131, which amounts to only 50 per cent more per day than has been calculated for Fukushima Daiichi. It is not yet clear how long emissions from the Japanese plant will continue.
Found at newscientist, here.

However, here in the states, we're safe, as can be seen using this handy map of radiation levels.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Hipster Trap!

Where's the lp?

Thanks, reddit.

Wells Fargo Behaving Badly

From the San Diego Bankruptcy Attorneys' blog we get this information:

Wells Fargo has an interesting corporate policy, and by “interesting” I mean to say “bordering on the criminally fraudulent.” If you have a regular checking account at Wells Fargo, and file for bankruptcy, the bank will freeze your assets — even if you don’t owe them a dime.
Much more information here.

If that's not bad enough, one branch of Wells steals money. EEEk. !!! A man deposited $10,000.00 in his daughter's account. Wells took the money out of his account then closed his daughter's account, saying that the check was fraudulent, even though they had the money. It took a local news station's involvement to get the money back.

Actual Nuclear Scientist on Japanese Crisis: It's going to be OK + other linky goodness

An English teacher in Japan has a friend that's a real nuclear scientist from MIT. He has written up the most comprehensive, understandable post I've seen. It can be found here.

An excerpt:
The point is that the nuclear fuel has now been cooled down. Because the chain reaction has been stopped a long time ago, there is only very little residual heat being produced now. The large amount of cooling water that has been used is sufficient to take up that heat. Because it is a lot of water, the core does not produce sufficient heat any more to produce any significant pressure. Also, boric acid has been added to the seawater. Boric acid is “liquid control rod”. Whatever decay is still going on, the Boron will capture the neutrons and further speed up the cooling down of the core.

The plant came close to a core meltdown. Here is the worst-case scenario that was avoided: If the seawater could not have been used for treatment, the operators would have continued to vent the water steam to avoid pressure buildup. The third containment would then have been completely sealed to allow the core meltdown to happen without releasing radioactive material. After the meltdown, there would have been a waiting period for the intermediate radioactive materials to decay inside the reactor, and all radioactive particles to settle on a surface inside the containment. The cooling system would have been restored eventually, and the molten core cooled to a manageable temperature. The containment would have been cleaned up on the inside. Then a messy job of removing the molten core from the containment would have begun, packing the (now solid again) fuel bit by bit into transportation containers to be shipped to processing plants. Depending on the damage, the block of the plant would then either be repaired or dismantled.

A Korean (nuclear engineer?) has been posting on somethingawful.com. Here's one of his posts. He also states that the reactors will be safe, mostly.

An excerpt:
Without cooling water, the likely "worst case" will be the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) building up heat, which builds up pressure, which could cause a rupture of the vessel. The fuel rods will spill out radioactive contents, fires might break out, and the reactor is basically a lost cause.

And how does that affect the general populace in terms of radioactive dose?
-Not at all.

The Atlantic weighs in by comparing the Japanese nuclear crisis to Three Mile Island.

Secret Bank of America help line

BofA has (or had) a secret number that actually played fair with customers seeking a mortgage modification--if you were a member of congress.

Read about it here.

By limiting access to the number, BofA is, effectively, offering to help Hawaii's legislators get re-elected, whether because they publicly offer to help constituents or because they use the special access in a targeted way, perhaps to reward campaign contributors or particularly persistent, media-savvy constituents. It's worth noting a legislator's offer to use the unpublished number to help any constituent who calls doesn't change the problematic nature of this lobbying effort. Homeowners shouldn't need their legislators to intervene in order to get their banks to play ball.


BofA's letter to legislators concludes: "Your constituents, our customers, deserve a direct response to their concerns regarding their mortgage needs. This communication is just another effort on our part to ensure that we service their needs in an appropriate and timely fashion."

I couldn't agree more. With that in mind, here's the special hot line number and e-mail address that the company reserved for legislators (and specifically requested I not publish): 888-655-7622, poinquiry@bankofamerica.com.

See full article from DailyFinance: http://srph.it/ePN1eL

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Internet--not a private club it turns out.

I was against Prop. 8 in California, no secret. I fruitlessly did battle on the internet against it. Just found this write-up of my performance. Amazing.

“Frankly, that’s a trait that MANY lesbians share – a visceral need to challenge authority. One of the main reasons you and I rub Quimby and lorian and (especially) djinn wrong is that we speak with an authoritative voice. They associate that with oppression and pain, so they lash out at it without stopping to read carefully what we are saying. It’s a little worse, actually, for you, since, ironically, they can see me as a “nice guy” who just doesn’t get it fully – but they feel betrayed by you (another woman). ”

When I faced (keyboarded?) my accusers, this followed.

Hmmm – I think some of this conversation used to be whispered – did the whispers become public when you switched over to the new format Alison?


found here