Friday, March 25, 2011

A new archaeological excavation in central Texas provides a trove of artifacts proving that humans lived in North America 15,500 years ago, driving a particularly solid nail into the coffin of the "Clovis-first" hypothesis. Details on Suite101, "Hunter-gatherers Roamed across North America 15,500 Years Ago."

REA for the institute

Thursday, March 17, 2011

How to Monitor US Radiation Exposure Yourself

As the plume of radioactive debris from the damaged Fukushima nuclear reactors approaches the U.S., there are resources besides official reports that will let ordinary citizens track radiation levels.

You'll find a map with nine or ten active monitoring sites across the U.S. here:
This site updates automatically every three minutes. Note that its readings are in counts per minute, or CPM.

I've been tracking the readings on this site from British Columbia, Washington, California and Arizona since March 14, 2011, before any radiation from Japan would have made it to the West Coast. As of noon on March 17, the readings from the four sites have averaged 23.6 counts per minute with a standard deviation of 1.76 counts per minute. The author of this site says that "it would be unusual for those levels to exceed 130 CPM," and sets this as the alert level. This should provide a baseline for readings on and after Friday March 18, when the plume is predicted to reach the U.S.

I've located another site with fifteen active monitors here:
This site updates every fifteen minutes. Please note that its readings are in micro Roentgens per hour, and so differ from those of the first network. A note on this network's webpage says that typical readings across the U.S. range from 5 to 28 micro Roentgens per hour, with a standard deviation of around four.

Both networks take pains to point out that readings from a given monitor can vary widely over time, due to the random nature of radioactivity.

I, for one, feel a bit more comfortable knowing that I have two independent sources of information apart from whatever reports government agencies chose to release.

Robert Adler
for the institute

Monday, March 14, 2011

Denial runs deep

Zerospinzone co-founder Les Adler has published an essay on denial on the blog of the Whitman Institute that is well worth reading. He provides a historical and linguistic analysis of the powerful river of climate change denial that is being fomented and exploited by special interests, most notably the fossil fuel industry. His conclusion is that the presentation of facts and reasoned arguments will not be sufficient but that instead, ". . . attention also must be paid to the slow and careful psychological work of bringing unconscious fears and feelings to consciousness in order to promote creative change."