Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Shuffle-Play in Dark Days

We're at a bit of a loss for what to do. On the one hand, there's elevated amounts of Godzilla snot floating over Tokyo; on the other hand, the UK's chief science adviser and a moron who once declared war on crows say that it's perfectly safe to be out & about. What's a media-gorged foreign resident to do?

But, happily, our ward is currently exempt from the rolling blackouts, so we've the internet & a handsome record collection to keep ourselves occupied as we fortify ourselves against radioactive intoxicants with spinach (high in iron!) and hard liquor (a.k.a. "The Chernobyl Method").

...Hey, another aftershock! Ain't no party like a tectonic party because, evidently, the party don't fucking stop.

Anyway, in our idle hours under self-imposed house arrest, we've come up with a kind of apocalypse playlist, reproduced below. Each link leads to a YouTube clip, so you can enjoy each song discretely.

And the Earth Died Screaming

1. AC/DC - "You Shook Me All Night Long"
2. Tom Waits - "Misery Is the River of the World"
3. The Fall - "Lay of the Land"
4. David Bowie - "Panic in Detroit"
5. Tricky - "Aftermath"
6. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - "City of Refuge"
7. Talking Heads - "Life During Wartime"
8. Kraftwerk - "Radioactivity"
9. Loop - "Burning World"
10. Black Sabbath - "Into the Void"

Postscriptual Requests
11. James Q. "Spider" Rich - "Yakety Sax"
12. Spacemen 3 - "Things'll Never Be the Same"
13. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - "Cabin Fever"
14. John Lennon - "Nobody Told Me"
15. The Mothers of Invention - "Any Way the Wind Blows"


Alex said...

Not that you don't have a squillion other places to go if the shit really hits the fan, but we love us some refugees in the Me household. Come on down.

Seb said...

Much appreciated, m'dear. We'll keep you posted.

JM said...

Are you okay? Did you take shelter in time?

Seb said...

Well, after the quake on Friday, there hasn't particularly been a need to "duck & cover" (so far). We're in good shape: plenty of supplies, friends & neighbours around us, and plenty of kind offers of asylum abroad - though hopefully it won't come to that!

carl said...

might be of interest


i think basically in the uk they have no idea of the geography of japan so it's like bad things are happening in japan... japan equals Tokyo ergo Tokyo is a disaster zone....

have you seen any informed consensus that tokyo is in danger of reaching levels of radiation that are injurious to human health...even in a worst case scenario...?

I haven't.. in fact most of the scientist i've seen in the media seem a bit "meh" about it.. it's a problem within a limited area...
maybe that will change but they would have to be dreadfully, catastrophically wrong...a massive underestimate of their worst-case scenario, a situation which far exceeds even the previous worst disaster in reach and scale...

how's your local family mart? any run on foodstuff?

carl said...

alWhat risk does Fukushima pose currently?

The Japanese authorities have recorded a radiation level of up 400 millisieverts per hour at the nuclear plant itself.

A sievert is essentially equivalent to a gray, but tends to be used to measure lower levels of radiation, and for assessing long-term risk, rather than the short-term acute impact of exposure.

Professor Richard Wakeford, an expert in radiation exposure at the University of Manchester, said exposure to a dose of 400 millisieverts was unlikely to cause radiation sickness - that would require a dose of around twice that level (one sievert/one gray).

However, it could start to depress the production of blood cells in the bone marrow, and was likely to raise the lifetime risk of fatal cancer by 2-4%. Typically, a Japanese person has a lifetime risk of fatal cancer of 20-25%.

A dose of 400 millisieverts is equivalent to the dose from 50 -100 CT scans.

Prof Wakeford stressed only emergency workers at the plant were at risk of exposure to such a dose - but it was likely that they would only be exposed for short periods of time to minimise their risk.

The level of exposure for the general population, even those living close to the plant, was unlikely to be anywhere near as high. There should be no risk to people living further afield.

How can the Japanese authorities minimise the cost to human health?

Prof Wakeford said that provided the Japanese authorities acted quickly, most of the general population should be spared significant health problems.

He said in those circumstances the only people likely to be at risk of serious health effects were nuclear workers at the plant or emergency workers exposed to high levels of radiation.

He said the top priority would be to evacuate people from the area and to make sure they did not eat contaminated food. The biggest risk was that radioactive iodine could get into their system, raising the risk of thyroid cancer.

To counter that risk, people - in particular children - could be given tablets containing stable iodine which would prevent the body absorbing the radioactive version.

The Japanese already have a lot of iodine in their natural diet, so that should help too.

How does Fukushima compare to Chernobyl?

Professor Gerry Thomas, who has studied the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster, said: "It is very unlikely that this will turn into anything that resembles Chernobyl.

"In Chernobyl you had a steam explosion which exposed the reactor core, which meant you had a lot of radiation shooting up into the atmosphere."

Prof Thomas said although the Chernobyl disaster had led to a rise in thyroid cancer cases, the only people affected were those living in the areas of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia that lie closest to the site of the Chernobyl Power Plant, and who were young at the time.
so this from bbc...

carl said...

that's from the bbc website

Seb said...

Yeah, the greater risk now seems not the radiation, but the disruption of normal life-support systems to the capitol. There's definitely been massive shortages this week, but by today most supplies are back in stock (if in limited, even rationed, quantities). But our ward is still exempt from blackouts, we've enough food to last through the weekend, and we've got friends & neighbours around - strength in numbers!

Our buddy Lee lives further out in the suburbs than we do, but he's been providing some excellent perspective of the reality on the ground:


The only problem presented by our wait-and-see stoicism is that, if it really becomes time to get the fuck outta Dodge, it would be too late to avoid the chaos & risks of an active worst-case scenario.

But man, the goddamned alarmist media is not helping our strategic thinking.