Print 24 comment(s) - last by atlmann10.. on Apr 12 at 1:12 AM

"You know, even though I was a Mac (pictured). I generally enjoy reading the articles posted by daily tech with Mac's have issues. This one article though, it truly sounds like the author (yourself) has distain for Apple products."

"We're talking Chernobyl times 1, will side with whatever company or government official who decrees "its safe" and that "radiation doesn't exist" and that I am a tin-foil-hat lunatic for believing that something so dangerous could possibly be bad for me."  (Source: Barrett)
Macs, nuclear reactors and more... the readers have spoken

Much of my interactions with readers on DailyTech has been through our comments system.  I love getting into the fray and sharing my opinions, analysis, and thoughts.  Sometimes from the ratings, you agree with me -- others you don't.

But I also get a lot of interesting email messages as one of DailyTech's most active columnists.  In the perennial news tradition, I thought I'd share a few of my more more interesting recent emails and a brief response.

"Chris L" a Hotmail user writes:

You know, even though I was a Mac. I generally enjoy reading the articles posted by daily tech with Mac's have issues. This one article though, it truly sounds like the author (yourself) has distain for Apple products. While this may or may not be true, I have to said I wasn't to happy about the way you worded the article.. there has to be a better way to write something like this without showing your dislike for the product(s)

Well, I haven't met many Macs that could talk before, so I'm extra sorry that my article upset you!  Unfortunately, when a high profile product is defective and many users are reporting failures it is my job to report on it.  I also have written about Android infections, Windows 7 flaws, and more in the past.  I assure you what I wrote had nothing to do with my personal disdain/"distain" for products.

If you can't bear to read criticism about Apple, avoid articles about its problems in the future!  Thanks for reading, though!

Another reader appears extremely distraught about Japan's nuclear crisis.  In which I juxtapose CNN's color commentary with peer-reviewed facts on the subject, "Molech_NWO" a Yahoo user who goes by "YouDontNeedIt" shares the following:

Subject: Contact: More Garbage from the Mind of Jason Mick...

Ok, Jason... yeah... "unnecessarily fearful"... Gee, it has the potential of making areas unlivable for THOUSANDS of years and could possibly kill millions and increase cancers worldwide. Chernobyl contaminated food all across Europe. Frozen food had to be imported to so many countries! When Chernobyl blew, it was only about 60 tons of uranium. This Japanese reactor has hundreds of tons of MOX fuel, which has PLUTONIUM in it. There are not 1... but 3 reactors which have blown up.

There us HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF TONS of spent nuclear fuel that has been exposed to the air. It has not been kept cool. There could be a further meltdown and what happens if all of that spent nuclear fuel goes with it? We're talking Chernobyl times 1,000. Yeah... nuclear power is "SAFE". So why don't you google "MOX FUEL JAPAN NUCLEAR MELTDOWN" and see what I'm talking about.

They thought a 9.0 earthquake (YES, IT HAS BEEN UPGRADED TO a 9.0) could NEVER happen. But it did. And they didn't think a tsunami would happen along with an earthquake. I mean, come on... they didn't think giant extinction-level asteroids only happened so many millions of years apart, then Shoemaker Levy occurred and punched many holes in Jupiter the size of the earth. Then they said "oh, it could happen every few ten thousand years". All these past predictions of the odds of occurrence are completely invalid when a new event like a major earthquake or major asteroid collision occurs.

I just don't have time to get into all of this, unlike other commenter's on here, going back and forth bickering over little details all day all night.. .. but you have written another article trying to downplay the entire situation saying that nuclear power is safe and clean and we need to get off of volitile fossil fuel from the middle east.
Well, I've got news for you buddy... how about getting fuel from ALASKA... and how about all of those BILLIONS of Gallons of oil discovered in North Dakota and Montana?

The U.S. has enough oil in Alaska to last us for over 100 years, but thats not for us. Thats to be sold to other countries at a higher price and that gives an excuse to be involved in all these wars and have an excuse for the U.S. government to be involved with all of these awful middle eastern countries for our "precious oil supply" as if there isn't enough oil of the USA in Alaska, North Dakota, Montana and the Gulf of Mexico.

You're a complete idiot. I dont have time for this crap. I'm not going to be visiting anandtech and dailytech anymore. I just can't support closed-minded fools who try to downplay such a serious situation and then advocate nuclear power is "safe" and that anyone who thinks otherwise is a fool.
You have selectively cherry-picked outdated, false and biased information to advocate nuclear power.

Do you have any idea what a mess uranium mining and refining does? Do you have any clue as to what depleted uranium is? Do you have any clue about whats going on with the problem with uranium mining in Australia?

No... you'll just google it really quick and then pick an article that supports your limited point of view and opinion, you will side with whatever company or government official who decrees "its safe" and that "radiation doesn't exist" and that I am a tin-foil-hat lunatic for believing that something so dangerous could possibly be bad for me.

Now there's a few (okay more than a few) inaccuracies here.  First of all, recent reports indicate the rods have not melted down and the breach in containment at the north and south Fukushima reactor complexes has been minimal.

The MOX fuel used in one of the Fukushima I reactors is only a small reaction.  The rest of the reactors use low-enriched uranium fuel (LEU), so you're a bit confused.  Now if the rods completely melted down and containment was completely breached it would be bad news, but nowhere near "Chernobyl times 1,000" as you suggest.

And the above scenario is extremely unlikely to ever happen.  Power is being restored at the complex, so the rods will soon be cleaned.  Containment has not yet been fully breached and it's unlikely to be given the progress.

Ultimately, people so far have only been exposed, as I write, to levels of radiation naturally occurring in some parts of the world, such as a region of Iran.  Studies have shown that those levels have no adverse affects on the population.

More extreme radiation exposure certainly causes DNA damage and cancer.  But that's not what has happened.  What we're talking about is a very slight bump to normal levels of background radiation.  It's more like getting an extra chest X-ray than Chernobyl.

You also misunderstand my sentiments on oil.  While oil extraction and prospecting is also quite dangerous, I'm not at all opposed to it.  Ultimately, I feel switching from oil vehicles to electric vehicles powered by alternative energy sources like nuclear power is the key to sustainability and independence, as fossil fuel deposits will be depleted eventually.

The more serious issue, though, is coal power.  Even today's "clean" coal plants emit significant levels of toxic sulfides and nitrides.  Those compounds arguably have as bad or worse an effect on public health as current Fukushima emissions do.  Studies show they increase the risk of asthma and other respiratory diseases.

What's worse, coal mining is extremely dangerous.  While uranium mining, as you suggest, certainly has its dangers, coal miners have experienced the highest fatality rate in recent history.

Ultimately there's an inherent cost associated with all power sources.  But people should not be fearful of nuclear because of Chernobyl.  Chernobyl was the result of gross negligence and lack of automation.  The Japanese incident, if anything, shows that a Chernobyl-like event is virtually impossible with modern safeguards.  

Small radiation release from legacy plants (like the damaged 40 year old Japanese reactor that was to be decommissioned this year) is a possibility, but is unlikely and minimally harmful at worst.  And new plants (Advanced Candu Reactors, thorium reactors, pebble bed reactors) have virtually no risk of exposing the public to radiation.

We did learn a lesson from this incident -- water-proof your backup generators.  However, what happened in Japan is by no means evidence against nuclear power -- if anything it's evidence in support of it.  Your wild claims and distracting dialogue about asteroids confirm my suspicions:

The public is already uninformed and unnecessarily fearful about nuclear power.

And that is why I spent so much time debunking "investigative reporter" Bill Dedman's factually inaccurate claims about U.S. nuclear power plants.

I can't force you (or other members of the public) to gain the educate you need to understand the facts you read or to (in general) accomplish logical reasoning.  But I really, really wish you would, rather than spending time in your basement researching conspiracies on the internet (as fun as that can be!).

This story is being blown out of proportion/sensationalized by the mass media -- there's little if any risk to the population of Japan from the nuclear plant situation.

I did receive a number of fan emails about my fair and balanced coverage of the nuclear incident in Japan.  

Another reader (who appears much more grounded in the realm of facts and science) writes:

Hi Jason,

I'm an avid DT reader and enjoy your articles a lot. I'm a medical student at Stanford Med and graduated in engineering from Berkeley - I just say that to mention that I have a strong science background and am critical about the news I read.

I wanted to thank you for your articles on nuclear power. Nothing frustrates me more than uninformed, sensationalist claims that people make about technology. What is worse is when people instigate and propogate confusion over something as important as energy and health?

Your articles do a wonderful job of putting things in perspective: nuclear is important for a "green" future...

I wish I could have an impact and educate people about these matters so they don't hurt others as much with their own naiveté. Your articles go a long way in helping inform people and I thank you for that.

Keep up the good science,

Thank you Anthony, your support is much appreciated.  I'm grateful for all my readers, but especially for logical, educated ones like yourself!

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By NullSubroutine on 3/23/2011 12:36:35 PM , Rating: 5
I can't help but think some of those emails you got was people trolling in a semi-humorous nature.

Secondly, now I want to email Mick.

RE: lol
By JasonMick (blog) on 3/23/2011 12:40:40 PM , Rating: 2
You might be surprised... I've heard people voicing similarly outlandish statements of the Japan situation IRL.

And email away!

RE: lol
By FITCamaro on 3/23/2011 2:04:04 PM , Rating: 2
Please put a caption under the kitty.

"Bitches be trippin. Don't make me bust a cap on yo ass"

RE: lol
By Omega215D on 3/23/2011 8:03:02 PM , Rating: 2
I've heard the same sentiment from college professors. I go to a well known city university... ah hell CUNY that is well known for Criminal Justice and Forensic Science , the latter being my major.

My science professors (various disciplines) try to rationalize this whole ordeal and do point out the dangers of Nuclear power. The ones who believe the sensational stories are the Speech, psychology and some liberal arts professors who have no background in science and instead get their news from mainstream media. The speech professor gave me a C on a speech dealing with the over sensationalizing of global warming and I had used scientific facts and evidence that man may not be the only one to blame if any. She loves Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth.

RE: lol
By intelcpu on 3/24/11, Rating: -1
RE: lol
By Flunk on 3/23/2011 3:26:05 PM , Rating: 5
You're missing the point here. Fukushima will be 9/11 times a million. Fire falling from the sky, the earth rising up and engulfing all cities, dogs and cats living together, total chaos!

RE: lol
By Hieyeck on 3/24/2011 1:22:53 PM , Rating: 2
IT'S 2012!!111!!111oneoneeleventyone11exclaimationpoint!



RE: lol
By BioHazardous on 3/26/2011 12:09:32 PM , Rating: 1
lol ghostbusters

RE: lol
By Captain Orgazmo on 3/27/2011 1:41:01 AM , Rating: 2
Holy Jesus! Thats 818,181.81 reapeating!
The horror!

RE: lol
By dark matter on 4/2/11, Rating: 0
RE: lol
By silverblue on 4/9/2011 2:00:40 PM , Rating: 2
Fukushima will be 9/11 times a million.

"My God, that's... I don't even know what that is!"
"Nobody does."

By danobrega on 3/24/2011 11:54:37 AM , Rating: 2
I feel switching from oil vehicles to electric vehicles powered by alternative energy sources like nuclear power is the key to sustainability and independence, as fossil fuel deposits will be depleted eventually.

Although I would agree nuclear seems like a good solution until we reach a practical and sustainable solution to our power requirements, nuclear power is not sustainable. It requires fuel that eventually will also be depleted.

RE: Sustainability
By Dorkyman on 3/24/2011 3:32:49 PM , Rating: 2
Well, yeah, eventually. Like in a million years.

Because like every other resource, you don't just "run out." Instead, it gets harder to find and as a result the cost of discovery gradually goes up. It's all Econ101 stuff, not complicated at all.

Take oil. Some claim that the "cheap oil" is almost gone (oops, sorry about that, new discoveries of enormous fields have been recently announced). Even if that were true, we'd still be able to deliver copious amounts of oil at, say, $100/barrel, because that price point would allow for oil to be extracted from near-infinite sources such as shale and tar sands.

RE: Sustainability
By DrSpaceman on 3/30/2011 2:40:10 PM , Rating: 5
Actually look up breeder reactors. If we implement them now, nuclear power can be sustainable... However I fear the mass fear caused by the media about nuclear power might have set us back... hopefully it doesn't...

Also interesting fact, coal ash is more radioactive than nuclear waste. Also coal plants are responsible for tens of thousands of deaths a year in the US alone.

By randomly on 3/28/2011 10:46:13 PM , Rating: 4
Much like the false information that scared parents away from vaccinating their children and cost lives, inaccurate, exaggerated, and false information endanger people that may make crucial decisions based on lies.

Clearly 'YouDontNeedIt' has only a cursory and very flawed understanding of nuclear power, radiation, physics, and so on.

I find it very disturbing that people like this trumpet made up facts to scare people and misinform them, this is not socially responsible at all.

1)Chernobyl suffered a huge power spike and literally blew up with a small (~0.01 Kiloton explosion based on isotope ratios) nuclear explosion. This spread nuclear fuel and fission products over a wide area. The graphite fire that burned for 10 days carried core contents to very high altitudes and spread them over a huge area. There was no containment structure at all.

2) Fukushima is an entirely different situation. The containment buildings are intact, the only radioactive elements released are the volatile Iodine and Cesium isotopes that have been vented out with the steam to relieve pressure in the reactor chamber. The rest of the radioactive core material isn't going anywhere. With each passing hour the amount of decay heat in the spent fuel diminishes and the problem become less and less difficult to handle.

3) Any fuel that remains underwater is not going to meltdown. It doesn't matter how many tons of fuel is there if it's not going to go anywhere.

4) All spent fuel contains plutonium, not just MOX. There is nothing special about the hazards of MOX fuel.

5) The vast majority of the radiation detected outside the plant comes from Iodine-131 which has a short half life of about 8 days. In a month from the reactor shutdown 90% of the Iodine-137 will have decayed away. In 6 months there will be less than 1 part in a million left.

6) This event won't even be a Chernobyl times 1/10. It's unlikely at this point that anyone at all dies from radiation.

7) The explosions were just hydrogen explosions, if the containment had been ruptured to any significant degree we would be seeing a whole slew of spent fuel isotopes other than the iodine and cesium, but we don't.

He goes on to ramble about oil with the usual collection of errors about where we get most of our oil, how much oil we actually use, how much oil is available from certain fields etc. He wants to use fuel from Alaska to replace Nuclear power yet he's oblivious of the fact that oil has almost nothing to do with electric power generation, nor is it a cost effective alternative.

and Irony of ironies is this line of his:
'You have selectively cherry-picked outdated, false and biased information to advocate nuclear power.'

sigh... it's unfortunate that the most passionate advocates are often the least intelligent least informed people who would rather twist facts and make up lies than do the actual research to understand what the actual situation is. They are in it for the emotional reward that their righteous indignation gives them, not for the reality of the situation or to help people make well informed decisions. They have no objectivity and they just selectively filter for information that supports their view and ignore the rest of the evidence. That's not science, that's just dogma.

If you are going to make statements they should be as scientifically accurate as you can make them, and then let people make up their own minds from the accurate information.

By cruisin3style on 3/28/2011 12:46:23 PM , Rating: 3
now here is a long letter about how i feel!

By highlander2107 on 3/29/2011 2:47:20 PM , Rating: 3
...then I read who wrote it.


Fear-mongering media FTL
By edge929 on 3/23/2011 3:38:27 PM , Rating: 2
I totally agree that the media is blowing the situation with the Fukushima reactors out of proportion. Bunch of fear-mongering going on because it gets ratings up, pathetic. Worst part about this is the damage is already done, the general public has yet another negative, unfactual skew on nuclear power. Yes, it's important to inform the public (especially the Japanese public) of the situation but speculating about every possible worst-case scenario, ignoring the facts on the ground is NOT helping anybody.

Next they'll tell us there's arsenic in everyone's water supply.......... oh wait, there already is along with many other "bad for humans" things. It's all about quantity. This just in, your office desk has 10,000 times the number of bacteria as a toilet seat...

The anti nuclear movement
By atlmann10 on 3/27/2011 11:49:30 PM , Rating: 2
I got an email today about writing to my congressmen and of course President Obama about the dangers of nuclear fuel.

I think people should have to take a test to use this great tool of communication we have called the internet. There thought and consciousness level should be above that of a 7-8th grader. If not they should be given there own kiddie internet where they could email each other viruses or links to kittens, babies, and models that contain them anyway.

They could also trade there outlandish theories on it and feel good because all of the users on there would be of the same mental caliber, therefor they could willingly commiserate. Maybe they could give them the IPV4 internet, and keep the IPV6 addressing and capabilities for the people with above adolescent abilities to. That would totally solve the addressing issues as well, and since I hear a decent amount of them actually use dial up, well then they won't notice if we give them slower speeds and charge them more either.

I would recommend most adults, business owners, politicians, and other rational adults make a fake bounce email when they do this. You can have a folder in there for "idiotnet" I doubt most of them will understand the difference being that they can not generally spell or understand grammar anyway.

I don't know sounds like a win win to me. We would not have to listen to idiotic drivel, it would probably rid the world of viruses as well as scams because the scam hounds would go there, and you would not get nasty misspelled ramblings about non information either.

You could activate an auto reply I am sorry email from you IPV4 email address you publicly list.

By flyingpants1 on 3/29/11, Rating: 0
RE: Jason
By tng on 3/29/2011 5:42:37 PM , Rating: 2
He actually types out angry little replies to people who insult him in the comments section so the whole world can witness his childish rage.

Well, after reading allot of his replies to comments, it seems like he enjoys responding to them.

I don't see the childish at all in any of his replies.

Information - Where it Comes From
By tech329 on 3/30/2011 10:52:50 PM , Rating: 2
Every one of these arguments stems from and is reliant upon a system of provisioning of public information which is at best nominally flawed if not outright corrupt.

What fuels this is we have here in the U.S. and worldwide a regulatory scheme which necessarily is tasked with serving two masters. One of these is a need to produce products and thus profits. A second, and equally important one, is to do that in a way which is safe and doesn't harm citizens or introduce into the environment harmful byproducts.

The above is in no way a static relationship. That is, it isn't reliant upon a constant set of known facts from which are derived logical and ethical social, political and economic decisions. We have a completely interactive and very dynamic environment which is subject to arriving at conclusions which are variable over time and which will variably produce a range of outcomes.

It's not as if we don't know the decisions which are appropriate but rather what interests are being predominantly served at any given time. There is always a great deal of argument when things go wrong. This is a predictable defense of the indefensible. We call it finger pointing.

I was born immediately after WWII and across my lifetime this dynamic has been with us every moment. We go through periods of shifting control which are serendipitous in nature and are puzzlingly inexplicable. Our principal governing body, congress, is in no way properly trained or informed to be making the kinds of decisions it's expected to make. Nor is congress free of undue and inappropriate influence. We have thoroughly flawed systemic issues which cannot be solved. The scheme we have can produce no other than what we have. It could be changed to provide predictable and acceptable outcomes. However, the possibility of that is remote. The system we have provides for constantly manipulatiing outcomes to meet the desires of whoever is in control at any given time. And as we have seen, over time, those outcomes variably and unevenly support unique segments of our poulation.

An update on Chernobyl
By atlmann10 on 4/12/2011 1:12:42 AM , Rating: 2
TOKYO — Japan's nuclear regulators raised the severity level of the crisis at a stricken nuclear plant Tuesday to rank it on par with the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, citing the amount of radiation released in the accident.

The regulators said the rating was being raised from 5 to 7 — the highest level on an international scale overseen by the International Atomic Energy Agency. However, there was no sign of any significant change at the tsunami-stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.

The new ranking signifies a "major accident" with "wider consequences" than the previous level, according to the Vienna-based IAEA.

"We have upgraded the severity level to 7 as the impact of radiation leaks has been widespread from the air, vegetables, tap water and the ocean," said Minoru Oogoda of Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.

NISA officials said one of the factors behind the decision was that the cumulative amount of radioactive particles released into the atmosphere since the incident had reached levels that apply to a Level 7 incident.

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