C Stuart Hardwick’s answer to What happened to the radiation that was supposed to last thousands of years in Hiroshima (1945)? – Quora

The Little Boy bomb was little more than a lab experiment stuck in a cowling and hung under an airplane. Only about 1.5% of the uranium fissioned. The remaining 64 kg (141 lbs) went up in the mushroom cloud and spread across the Pacific ocean. Oh no! What have we done to mother Earth???

Not a lot, actually. The ocean already contains uranium. This is Earth, after all, and it’s a rocky planet, and the ocean contains the runoff from the mountains and the soup from hydrothermal vents. Every 20 cubic kilometers of unadulterated seawater already contains the same amount of uranium spilled by the bomb. The ocean contains roughly 1.332 billion cubic kilometers of water, so it already contains 66,600,000 times the amount of uranium released by the bomb. Put another way, the bomb had zero impact on the amount of uranium in the environment. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

But what about the 1.5% that actually fissioned? That’s your nightmare poison, right? Well, yes. Much of it transmuted into a cocktail of highly radioactive scariness, however:

Not all isotopes are equal. After an atomic bomb goes off, the isotopes that hurt people are those with short half lives, not long ones. Isotopes like Niobium-95, Cerium-141, Barium-140 and in particular, Iodine-131 are extremely dangerous because they have half lives of only days. They release all their radiation quickly, so it can do a lot of damage—especially Iodine-131 which can be taken up by the body and transported to the thyroid gland, and Strontium-89 which can be taken up by bones. These fission products are truly monstrous—but they don’t last long. In weeks, they are no longer a reason not to enter the area unprotected. In a year, they are gone. That leaves longer-lived isotopes like Strontium-90 and Cesium-137, both with half-lives of about 30 years. These pose a long term cancer risk, but by now, they are basically gone too. The only effect they impose on today’s world is mucking up highly-precise scientific measurements.

So what’s this thousands of years business? Hysteria and misinformation, that’s what.

Source: C Stuart Hardwick’s answer to What happened to the radiation that was supposed to last thousands of years in Hiroshima (1945)? – Quora

Go read the rest– it’s quite good.  And, sadly, one of those articles it’s a bear to get just ONE line from.

4 Hidden Facts About ‘Hidden Figures’ | Lifestyle

Look, The Right Stuff is a great movie that had some details wrong. People in various parts of the space program didn’t appreciate Tom Wolfe’s take on everything, either. But acting like the 1960s at NASA was no different than the early 1940s in the matter of civil rights is not a detail. It’s a major distortion of American history. Director Philip Kaufman didn’t pretend Chuck Yeager was still trying to break the sound barrier in 1965.

But then, Melfi couldn’t be bothered with the details in the book Hidden Figures. Why? The movie is based on a 55-page proposal to the publisher. A glorified outline. The filmmakers’ own prejudices about America took over from there.

Fine, they didn’t have the whole book. But couldn’t they have interviewed the principals—or used Google?

Source: 4 Hidden Facts About ‘Hidden Figures’ | Lifestyle

And this is why I refuse to watch the movie.

They took something awesome, and used it to lie. 

Donald Trump, Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel Investigation & Social Justice Math | National Review

Mathematical ethics recognizes that, for centuries, mathematics has been used as a dehumanizing tool. Does one’s IQ fall on the lower half of the bell curve? Mathematics tells us that individual is intellectually lacking.

Source: Donald Trump, Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel Investigation & Social Justice Math | National Review

Read that, and realized there was something off…but had trouble framing it.  Especially framing it in a way that would make sense to someone saying it; mostly my response was “good heavens, that’s nonsense.”

Thankfully, Jonah did have a way to say how it’s wrong, in a way that makes sense even if your initial response was “yes.”


Take that bit about the bell curve of IQ. It’s an unpleasant fact that half of all people are of below average IQ. It’s also true that half of all people are below average height, weight, and everything else. And the other half are above average. You know why? Because that’s what “average” means.

“Mathematics” doesn’t tell us that “that individual is intellectually lacking.” It just tells us that, by one measure of aptitude or intelligence, people who score on the lower end scored on the lower end. Any other interpretation comes from outside the realm of math. There are accomplished people of low IQ and there are high-IQ losers sitting in beanbag chairs in their parents’ basements. There are evil smart people and righteous dumb people, too. Your soul cannot be measured mathematically.

Abusus non tollit usum.

A boo loose non tall lit oozum.

Say it with me a few times.

It means “abuse does not take away use” or “improper use does not rule out proper use,” meaning “just because you can give an example of how something shouldn’t be used does not mean it shouldn’t be used at all.”

Why, yes, I did just read one too many articles (ie, ‘one’) about how “we” need to stop saying ____ because here’s an example of where it’s used in a way the author doesn’t like, and why.

Now, there is merit to the idea that things spoken in jest are sometimes true and folks just don’t want to say it, but the last thing our culture needs is less rueful self mockery, such as when you do something basic and are absurdly pleased, notice it, and make a crack about “adulting.”

I grew up around ranchers and farmers, my mother was a teacher, and a lot of people had degrees. (Mostly thanks to the GI Bill, but mom for example majored in something ag related.)

It is normal for people to make jokes like this.  The guy who’s got an AA, if you complement, oh, the sign he and the 4-H kids just made on a local store window, might draw himself up and say as pompously as possible: “Well, I do have an art degree, you know.”  The gal who just managed to make a grilled cheese sandwich that actually looks good– no crumbles, the cheese is oh-so-picturesque in how it’s stretched across the cut, lovely light and dark shading across the top– will make a joke about “and now, having mastered the grilled cheese, I shall become a french chef!”

That doesn’t mean one can’t be absurdly pleased with basic things, or that one genuinely thinks praise is deserved for basic things– and if you do find yourself dysfunctional, don’t project it out on the world at large.  But a wise man once pointed out that one of the most childish things around was an obsession with being very adult.

(On a side note: I’m not obsessed with ‘changing the world’.  I’m working to improve it.)

Thanks, Domino’s, for supporting modern ag!

In a recent report from Brownfield Ag News, which recapped highlights of the Animal Ag Alliance summit in Kansas City, “Animal rights groups have been successful in pressuring many of the top food companies and restaurant chains to adopt stricter animal welfare policies, such as cage-free eggs and gestation stall-free pork. One notable exception is Domino’s Pizza, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., which has stood its ground in the face of extreme pressure from animal activists.”

Tim McIntyre told Brownfield that “farmers know best.” It’s as simple as that.

“We will never tell a farmer how to farm. We will never tell a rancher how to raise his or her animals,” said McIntyre. “What we believe is they’re the experts. They have the most vested interest in raising their livestock. It’s not just a job, we recognize that. It’s a life and we appreciate that—and we’re not afraid to stand up and say it.”

Source: Thanks, Domino’s, for supporting modern ag! in Beef Magazine

Guess I know where this weekend’s game’s pizza is coming from.

A former sailor's ramblings on anything from family, country and Church through general geek-ness.