Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Our hearts go out to you

Today's blog comes straight from Snopes, the leader in urban myth debunking.

CLAIM: Map issued by Australian Radiation Services shows expected path of nuclear fallout across the western United States.

I hope people realize this is amazingly serious if a meltdown happens. The Fallout will travel according to the trade winds...

80-120 rads - You have a 10% chance of vomiting and experiencing nausea for a few days
130 -170 rads - You have a 25% chance of vomiting and contracting other symptoms
180-220 rads - You have a 50% chance of vomiting and having other severe physical effects
270 More..-330 rads - 20% chance of death in 6 weeks, or you will recover in a few months.
400-500 rads - 50% chance of death
550-750 rads - Nausea within a few hours ; no survivors
1000 rads - immediate incapacitation and death within a week or less.

Japan has "lost control" of 4 out of 5 nuclear reactors at two facilities hit hard by the earthquake. Radioactivity outside the buildings was reported earlier at 8 times 'normal'--a six-mile radius has been evacuated. Potentially, this could be the worst nuclear accident in history. If you have an iodine supplement (even kelp) take it immediately at a maximum dose and be prepared for fallout across North America in three days, lasting indefinitely.

It would be unprecedented to get accurate news about this event.

F A L S E ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

THE TRUTH: This map showing the projected path of fallout across the western United States following a possible meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan began circulating shortly after a massive 8.9 earthquake hit that country in March 11, 2011. The map bore the logo of the Australian Radiation Services, an organization which has disclaimed any connection with it:

Australian Radiation Services is aware of information about radioactive contamination being spread from the Japanese nuclear reactor incident released under the ARS logo and name. We wish to be clear that this information has not originated from ARS and as such distance ourselves from any such misinformation.

News accounts regarding Internet-circulated information about the situation regarding nuclear reactors in Japan noted that:

Some postings were criminally absurd and flat-out wrong.

One map that went viral showed color-coded plumes of radiation moving eastward across the Pacific and the prediction that radiation levels measuring 3,000 rads would reach the Aleutian Island chain in three days. Levels of 1,500 rads will hit the northern coast of British Columbia within a week and western North American "from Alaska to the Baja tip in 10 days, with radiation levels of 750 rads," the posting warned.

These numbers, which would kill or sicken quickly, have absolutely no basis in fact at all. And, according to a radiation expert at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, they are more typical of the levels that might occur after a nuclear attack.

In fact, Japanese nuclear officials have said repeatedly that they're dealing with "a minimal level of radiation that does not harm human health."

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has concurred with that assessment:

There is little chance that harmful radiation from Japan's damaged nuclear plants will reach American land, said Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman Gregory Jaczko.

"Based on the type of reactor design and the nature of the accident, we see a very low likelihood --really, a very low probability -- that there's any possibility of harmful radiation levels in the United States or in Hawaii or any other U.S. territories," Jaczko told reporters at the White House.

Snopes ends here, and Playground Monitor starts.

So while pranksters are spending their time scaring the pants off folks, the people of Japan are in a world of hurt. Yes, there's danger from the nuclear plant. There are also food and water shortages, gazillions of dollars in damages, planned power outages to conserve energy for the rescue operations, thousands of bodies needing to be cremated.

Not surprisingly, there is no looting in Japan. The peoples of this country have long been schooled in discipline, and one expert in Japanese culture said he wasn't even sure the Japanese language contained a word for looting. At stores where limited supplies of food and water are available, people wait in line politely to receive their fair share.

I've watched in pure shock as this tragedy has unfolded. I've seen the YouTube videos showing the wall of water sweeping over a seawall. I've seen a video showing skyscrapers swaying as the ground shook. I've seen maps showing how the geography of the country has changed as a result of the quake.

The rest of the world has watched too, and sent their good wishes and, if so inclined, prayers.

They've also sent their money because much of the help needed right now must come from outside sources. Here's a link showing how you can donate to help the people of this battered nation. If you can, give til it hurts, because those people are sure hurting.


Smarty Pants said...

I donated $100 to the Red Cross through American Airlines the other day. I was looking for a way to keep my account active so I didn't lose miles and when I saw the ad on to donate, I thought that was the perfect choice. I'm hoping my company does a matching gift program, too.

I'm amazed at how calm and civilized a people they are. Could you imagine it happening here? All hell would break loose. Katrina is a perfect example - they had rapes, murders, looting, people yelling at the tv cameras for the government to come in and fix all their problems... makes me a little ashamed, really when I see how they are in Japan.

In other news, my verification word is chylly. And I am a little chylly. I had to turn the heat back on last night.

Maven Linda said...

The media is sensationalizing this beyond belief. It's sickening. People are panicking and buying iodide tablets in PLANO, TEXAS!!!!

I donated through iTunes; Apple is doing a lot of relief work in Japan.

Instigator said...

I have connections with the nuclear industry so I've been having conversations with people who know what they are talking about. The panic that some people have started is unconscionable. Do we need to be aware and vigilant? Do we need to help any way we can? Absolutely. But we do not need to melt into a panic. Japan is handling the situation extremely well all things considered. They've trained for this. They've prepared for this. And they're doing everything humanly possible to mitigate the danger. That's all anyone can ask for.


Stephanie said...

PM-Great Post!

The response of the Japanese people and the people across the world who are reaching out to help them does give a person hope for the future.

Wouldn't it be great if it didn't take a disaster for us to reach out to help each other!

Lynn Raye Harris said...

This is ridiculous. I lived 1000 miles from Chernobyl and never took an iodide tablet. Neither did the hundreds of thousands of Americans living in Europe at the time. It's 24 years later and lots of people I knew at the time are still alive and healthy.

My heart goes out to the Japanese. To the scammers: you suck. To the Americans in this country who want to take iodide tablets: get the facts first. You don't need them. Americans stationed in Japan might, but you definitely don't.

Problem Child said...

Oh, Lynn that explains SO much...

~snort. couldn't resist.~

robertsonreads said...

Yes, are hearts and prayers. Those poor people, what a tradegy! May we all continue to pray and give as we are able.

Julie Miller said...

Thank you for sharing this.

Prayers to everyone in Japan and elsewhere dealing with this catastrophic event.

Also want to note that the Humane Society and other animal help groups are looking for donations to help take care of and if possible reunite lost and abandoned pets in Japan with their owners.

Jean Hovey said...

It does seem like disaster maker for the best of times and the worst of times. It takes the worst to bring out the best.

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Just because I twitch whenever anyone turns on the microwave.....! You don't have to be so mean. *g*