So, back from the wars in Florida. And let me say, Atlanta Hartsfield, I do not like. Also, and I think I mentioned this earlier this week, with this economic downturn, all my flights were packed. As in, all were sold out, there wasn't a free seat open in any of them. And just a casual survey, none of the other flights that people were on had seats open. On one flight I unfortunately had the window seat. Thankfully it was on the shortest leg. I had to sit twisted with my left should in the window well to try and fit. Dear airlines, your seats suck.
And to the lovely woman who sat in front of me, you know, you really probably shouldn't be telling your "friend who is a boy but not your boyfriend" all those things. It made me uncomfortable, and I was just sitting behind you. I could see he felt like he was left twisting in the wind. Also, you might want to chop out about half of your "likes", it'll make the conversation go faster. I would say I would try and fit the conversation into some story I'll write eventually, but to tell the truth, I tried to blank it out of my memory.
So now we're engaged in Libya. Do we feel better? The Arab League is upset that some civilians were caught up in the cross fire. I'm sorry, didn't you know this was going to happen when you endorsed the no-fly zone? And let's see, we have launched 120 some odd Tomahawk Cruise Missiles at an cost of $0.6 Million a piece. That's not including the cost of maintaining the shipborne presence in the Med, delaying the scheduled deployment of the Enterprise to the Indian Ocean to relieve our crews there. And flight operations (sure, the brits and the french are doing most of the combat flying, but guess who is picking up the tab for the air traffic control (at least 3 P3 Orions, probably 5 in total) and keeping the refueling station above the Med operating (probably 3 or 4 KC-135s). All of which would have to put either pulled from combat operations or from those crews that are supposed to be in their home station cycle (not to mention the extra wear and tear on that equipment, most of the KC-135s are older than the crews flying them).
But what the hell, we're helping, right? And hopefully it'll distract everybody when we don't help in Yemen, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia.
And in Japan, we now have contaminated foods and ground water. Fabulous. I know what they're saying, but Japan is screwed. "The dose is the equivalent of a CT scan." Sound innocuous, doesn't it? Except for a couple of things, 1) you shouldn't get a CT scan just for the giggles of it, they're potentially damaging, but it's hoped that what you learn is worth the cost, here you're not learning anything and 2) A CT scan is 15 minutes or so and the radiation doesn't linger in your tissues. Radiation exposure is a function of both dose and time. For those people in that area, it's like getting a CT scan every day. No so good a thing.
Also, that's radiation contamination has shown up in milk, yeah, you're boned. Because it's not that the contamination is in the milk, but in the feed of the cattle (how the milk became contaminated). That's not going away anytime soon (as in, if they're able to stop the contamination right now, they're probably not going to be able to sell milk for three months, and there will be continued low-level contamination in the milk for decades - as someone who worked on one of Fernald's environmental report, that's pretty much the cycle). And it's not like Japan has all this extra land that they can shift production to. Finally, Japan gets a lot of their protein from the sea. Guess where most of the fall out it going. Yep, you betcha. Also, guess where we get a lot of our fish protein from. Dun duhn daaaa!
How long will this stuff persist in the environment? Well, here's a little interesting fact, right now you have several radioactive molecules (strontium and cesium) in your bones that were created and released from Trinity and the various above ground atomic/nuclear explosions from the 40-70s. So will your grandkids.
Expect to see (if you haven't already) many people giving lots of statistics about how many people die because of the use of coal (it's something like 1500 people a year, IIRC), or attempts to minimize what's going on ("we believe there's some water in the storage ponds with the spent fuel rods," means, "It's still too hot - temp and radiation wise - for us to directly observe the situation"). Understand, many people also die mining and refining uranium. Also, if I had to wager money, my guess is most of the technicians who stayed at their stations have gone over their recommended dosage levels. And thank the gods for them sacrificing themselves. It would have been a whole lot worse if they would have abandoned their stations.
I could go on, but I'm sure we're all depressed enough now. So as you say your prayers tonight, or think about the world, or whatever, spare a moment for the people in Japan and the nuclear technicians that have saved many lives by staying at their posts.