Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bits and Pieces - April 21, 2011

I'm still struggling with BEIR VII, to try to get some numbers out on what the various radiation exposures associated with Fukushima mean in terms of people's health. In that regard, the far too many units used to describe those exposures are the subject of four posts at the American Nuclear Society's Nuclear Cafe by Stewart Brand, Steve Aplin, Mimi Limbach, and me.

I'm kind of sad to see Russia pulling out of the International Science and Technology Center, which funded former Soviet scientists to do non-weapons work after the breakup of the Soviet Union. I worked with a group at the Institute of Nuclear Physics in Alatau, Kazakhstan, who were funded by the ISTC to assess the radiation risks at the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site and was extremely impressed by their work. But perhaps the need for external funding has lessened in Russia, and it would be condescending to continue this program. Nothing lasts forever, and this program was intended to deal with the particular conditions of an extraordinary time.

Back in the United States, former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson has thrown his hat into the already crowded Republican presidential ring. There was a time, maybe as recently as a year ago, when I would have said that Johnson was too kooky to be a serious presidential candidate. No mas. As far as I can see, his biggest disadvantage is that he's not being paid by Roger Ailes.

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