"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!

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch

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