Beautiful Day

Another beautiful day. The white is retreating rapidly now, the landscape is more brown than white. This morning time was spent collecting fallen branches from the yard. The mature trees are tall and generate a lot of dead wood, which falls to the ground during wind storms. By the time spring arrives there is quite a collection of dead branches on the front lawn. Since that morning gathering, half a dozen crocuses have bloomed where only days ago there was snow; yellow and mauve.

This morning I meant to drive off at dawn, to visit the little house in the city. However, as suspected, I got a call to work for three hours tomorrow, so my plans have been postponed. Perhaps I’ll get away tomorrow or Thursday.

The access is for one month. I am desperately trying to find all the documents I need within that time. It is fatiguing and I wish I were not in such a hurry! Thus far I’ve collected 333 documents relating to my genetic relatives in the USA. It will take approximately 30 minutes to properly transcribe and reference each of these files. This can be done after the paid service expires. This part of the project is going to take some time.

Japan Nuclear Catastrophe

Just because it is unfolding slowly doesn’t meant it isn’t a catastrophe. Chernobyl was sudden, it burst onto the public scene full blown. No false hopes about what was going on there. Japan is another type of catastrophe. It keeps getting worse by increments, slowly unfolding to the public as the situation deteriorates, radiation accumulates. Because there is such general faith in science, it becomes difficult to fathom that there isn’t a quick fix for this problem. There may not be a fix at all. These nuclear areas may become the mythic no-mans lands of the future.

Radiation from Japan plant increasingly dangerous
By Tan Ee Lyn
HONG KONG | Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:27am EDT
(Reuters) – Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has so far leaked around a tenth of the amount of radiation released in the Chernobyl disaster, data showed on Tuesday, leading some experts to warn of serious long-term health risks…

Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) and the Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan estimated cumulative radiation levels at between 370,000 and 630,000 terabecquerels…

“If that is the total radiation so far from the time of first leakage, that amount is very serious. It’s undoubtedly very bad. That is close to one-tenth of Chernobyl’s radiation in a month,” said Lam Ching-wan, a chemical pathologist at the University of Hong Kong and member of the American Board of Toxicology…

Lam said regular cancer screening would be important for people living near the nuclear plant.

“Thyroid cancer is treatable and early detection raises cure rates. Without monitoring, you will lose the golden window of opportunity to early treatment,” Lam said.

Ben Cowling, a public health associate professor at the University of Hong Kong said such long term studies would be very useful for healthcare planning in the future.

“Any information would be useful because there is very limited information on these kinds of incidents,” Cowling said. “It could happen again in another place at another time.”

Fukushima and Chernobyl very different: IAEA
VIENNA | Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:48am EDT
(Reuters) – Japan’s decision to raise the severity level of its Fukushima nuclear accident to the highest notch of 7 does not mean it is comparable to Chernobyl, a senior U.N. atomic agency official said on Tuesday.
“This is a totally different accident,” International Atomic Energy Agency official Denis Flory told a news conference. He said the amount of radiation released at Chernobyl in 1986 was far higher.
[Cumulatively? We have a slow leak in Japan. What type of radiation? Without details this statement is meaningless, although I do agree that they are totally different accidents.]

Worldly Distractions


0 °C
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 0.0°C
Dewpoint: -2.2°C
Humidity: 85 %
Wind: NNW 15 km/h
Wind Chill: -4


“I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy.”
Richard Feynman
1918 – 1988


Richard Feynman

“Richard Phillips Feynman… (May 11, 1918 – February 15, 1988) was an American physicist known for his work in the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics and the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, as well as in particle physics (he proposed the parton model). For his contributions to the development of quantum electrodynamics, Feynman, jointly with Julian Schwinger and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga, received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965. He developed a widely used pictorial representation scheme for the mathematical expressions governing the behavior of subatomic particles, which later became known as Feynman diagrams. During his lifetime, Feynman became one of the best-known scientists in the world…

Feynman (in common with the famous physicists Edward Teller and Albert Einstein) was a late talker; by his third birthday he had yet to utter a single word. The young Feynman was heavily influenced by his father, Melville, who encouraged him to ask questions to challenge orthodox thinking. From his mother, Lucille, he gained the sense of humor that he had throughout his life….

In high school, his IQ was determined to be 125: high, but “merely respectable” according to biographer Gleick.[11] Feynman later scoffed at psychometric testing…

He opposed rote learning or unthinking memorization and other teaching methods that emphasized form over function. He put these opinions into action whenever he could, from a conference on education in Brazil to a State Commission on school textbook selection. Clear thinking and clear presentation were fundamental prerequisites for his attention. It could be perilous even to approach him when unprepared, and he did not forget the fools or pretenders…”