Tell Obama to "Label GMOs!"

SOURCE: Brad Parsons (mauibrad@hotmail.com)
SUBHEAD: Join us to tell Obama to label GMOs at a demonstration near his Kailua vacation home.

By David Mulinix on 31 December 2013 on Facebook -
(https://www.facebook.com/events/196349857222062/)


Image above: A self GMO labeling campaign you can lead yourself. From (http://www.treehugger.com/green-food/label-it-yourself-gmo-labeling-goes-diy.html).

WHAT:
GMO Labeling Sign Waving

WHEN:
Wednesday, 1 January 2014, Meet at 11:45am.
Demonstrate from noon to 1:00pm

WHERE:
Aikahi Park Shopping Center
25 Kaneohe Bay Drive
Oahu, Hawaii
Just a block away from Obama's vacation home.

SPONSOR:
DeOccupy Honolulu and Idle No More Hawaii

MAKE A DIFFERENCE ON GMO’S! JOIN US TO TELL OBAMA TO LABEL GMO’S ON NEW YEARS DAY FROM NOON TO 1PM AT OBAMA’S KAILUA VACATION HOME.

Obama can singled handedly get GMO’s labeled. So we’ll be waving signs in front of Obama’s Kailua vacation home asking him to tell the FDA to label GMO’s. 


We’ll met on News Years Day, Weds., Jan. 1, at 11:45am, at Aikahi Park Shopping Center, 25 Kaneohe Bay Drive, just a block away from Obama's vacation home. 

Event from noon-1:00pm. Please bring signs asking for GMO labeling. Be clever and fun with your signs. 

Our intent is to attract some of the international press that will be in Kailua following the President. Hope you can make it, and please share this info with your friends and contacts who are interested in getting GMO’s labeled.

Sponsored by DeOccupy Honolulu & Idle No More Hawaii.


.

It's time for a shutdown!

SUBHEAD: The elite fear rejection of atomic energy because it would crash the global economy relying on it for energy.

By Juan Wilson on 31 December 2013 for Island Breath -
(http://islandbreath.blogspot.com/2013/12/its-time-for-shutdown.html)


Image above: Illustration by Victor Juhasz for Rolling Stone From (http://eon3emfblog.net/?p=2729).

Today I received a comment this morning on an article A Brief Radiaition Spike on Kauai 12/27/13.  That post has been the most widely read on this site in the four years of its existence (over 5,000 reads).



I am a radiation protection professional (Health Physics). From what I read of your article you are anxious over the temporary "spike" readings from your Radex RD1212 at 1-3 microsieverts level.

I share the mistrust of officials in charge of the TEPCO disaster but honestly your readings are nothing to be alarmed at whatsoever. I could explain in detail why and offer a way for you to independently verify your exposure and risk. I don't want to waste my time if you don't want to hear it but if you do I'll shed some light on it. Totally up to you, however I'd hate to see you stress over these levels, honestly
From Speculative Measures


Mt response was as follows.


Aloha Speculative Measures,

I am not very anxious of a singular (or even infrequent) spike in background radiation. I am worried that there will be a point where the Fukushima NPS will have to be abandoned and further Tepco mitigation is halted.

This  could happen if, for example, some fuel pellets blown out of reactor #3 during its nuclear explosion,dell into the spent fuel pond and eventually produce a pyrophoric fire or criticality.

There are many other scenarios might result in abandoning the site to the fates. Another is an earthquake that would knock down what left of building #4.

Abandoning the site would likely result in the eventual uncontrolled dispersal of a continuous stream of transuranic (hot)  particles into the atmosphere.

The spike we saw here on Kauai was likely hot particles from steam vented from the #3 cooling pond on 12/24-12/27. The jetstream (that is more irregular die to global warming) was blowing south to Kauai, in the days leading to the spike.

I conclude that in such conditions we will have hot particles in the air at times here. I don't care what you say, my research on this issue tells me that inhaling even small numbers of hot particles is a death sentence.

Dispersal of transuranic material is likely happening now from underground contact of the corium with tidal ocean water going into the Pacific Ocean.  This material will eventually work its way up the food chain and into us.

Transuranic material will also be washed from the ocean into intertidal areas (the beaches of the Pacific Ocean shorelines). Ultimately this hot material will be carried as dust past the beaches and into the interior or our islands and the mainland.

Fukushima's 311 will certainly be seen as a much worse disaster for America (and the world) than the World Trade Center 911. It will be viewed as the worst human engineering disaster of all time.

For me, it has now passed Global Warming, Peak Oil, and Financial Collapse as the near term most immediate problem humans have to deal with.

Mankind will be lucky if it has the industrial and energy resources necessary to quench this fire and shutdown the 500 off nuclear power plants operating today before each becomes another Fukushina.

As a radiation health professional do you approve of the actions of your colleagues aboard with USS Ronald Reagan who advise the crew that they were in no danger from hot particles hitting the deck?

IB Publisher


There are plenty of reasons to worry about elevated background low level radiation. As is commonly understood for regular "low level" radiation tests for mammograms; the diagnostics are more dangerous to health than the risk of the disease.

With Fukushima we are going to be dealing with ever increased levels widespread dispersal of low level (cesium and iodine) and high level (uranium, plutionium) radio activeelements. The former persist in the environment for centuries and the former for millennia.

More to the point, the failure of Tepco to get control of the continued dispersal of new radioactive elements into the atmosphere and ocean means the dispersal itself may not end for centuries or millennia.

The bottom line is that no radiation health professional has any way of knowing the long term risks to the biosphere from Fukushima (and other nuclear power plant failures). I work on the assumption that they are likely bad to current species of flora and fauna on the planet.

It seems to me that the industrial nations, along with their corporations and military don't want a panic. They fear rejection of atomic energy because it would crash the global economy relying on it for energy. They certainly don't want a collapse of the current electric grid dependent consumer economy.

I say  FUCK THEM!

It's time a real cleanup and a worldwide shutdown!

Note: this is a followup to my response above:



It will be interesting to see what kind of commitment the government of Japan sustains to recover the fuel. I'm thinking they will get most of the fuel using robotics simply due to the economic fallout if they don't, but who knows. You'r right there's certainly not an easy, quick or cheap remedy.

Regarding hot particles, it's not a very precise term. When that term is used in Radiation Protection circles it refers to a specific type of material - an exceedingly small, fragmented fuel particle. Their also know as "fuel fleas" because being so small and so activated they often carry a high static charge that can cause them to jump to alternately charge objects. Now there can be radioactive particles that have elevated activity that indeed could pose health risks, particularly if concentrated, but these are not "hot particles" as the term is used.

I think if you were to find them they would be attached to some sort of debris. On their own they are typically much heavier than water so I would't expect to find them too far from the event site (i.e not >100 mi) but can very piggy back on debris from the site or potentially in sea-life as you alluded to. Honestly I'd be super surprised to see a "hot particle" anywhere near Hawaii but please keep us posted!

Regardless, were you to find a hot particle here are 3 characteristics to look for:

They are hot! - If you're not seeing at least 1000uSV/hr it's probably not a "hot particle". It could be an activation product which is a lesser of the two concern but hot particles are hot. By hot I mean 10,000-100,000 uSV/hr - we find some as high as 500,000 uSV/hr (50R/hr in US units) although most are in the former range. So if you're not seeing at least 1000uSV/hr I wouldn't spend the money getting it analysed.

Discrete high energy - If you were to have a hot particle on the end of a Popsicle stick and put it in front of your meter you would see wild swings in your meters response depending on how you position it. A few centimeters would mean the difference between 1000uSV and 10000uSV.

Beta discrimination - A significant portion of the radiation is in the form of Beta Radiation. You can stop almost all Beta radiation with a credit card. If your meter had a Beta Window (a thin film in front of the detector vs a hard plastic encasement such as yours has) you could perform a "field check" by measuring the bare particle then measuring it again with a credit card in front. If you see the sustained meter reading drop by 1/2 when using the credit card AND an original reading of at least >1000 uSV/hr sustained, then you could have a Hot Particle. If a credit card thickness of plastic doesn't drop the meter response by 1/2 you have something else.

From Speculative Measures

.
Hey, Speculative Measures,  thanks for your analysis.

Crash on Demand

SUBHEAD: A review of David Holmgren's essay "Crash on Demand" shows a way through the tough times ahead. Peak Oil - Climate Change.

By David McLeod on 18 December 2013 for Integral Permaculture -
(http://integralpermaculture.wordpress.com/2013/12/17/crash-on-demand-david-holmgren-updates-his-future-scenarios/)

[IB Publisher's note: Download "Crash on Demand: We;come to the Brown Tech Future" from our server here (http://www.islandbreath.org/2013Year/12/131230crashondemand.pdf).]


Image above: Nomadic camel herders pass abandoned Exxon Tanker. From (http://www.senseandsustainability.net/2013/12/27/stranded-by-climate-change/).

David Holmgren, co-originator of the Permaculture concept, published Future Scenarios in 2007, originally as a website, and then published by Chelsea Green in 2008 as a small book (126 pages). He explores four possible human futures as the two great crises of Peak Oil and Climate Change converge into what he has coined our energy descent future. In my view, this is essential reading. Adam Grubb, founder of Energy Bulletin, characterized it like this:
These aren’t two-dimensional nightmarish scenarios designed to scare people into environmental action. They are compellingly fleshed-out visions of quite plausible alternative futures, which delve into energy, politics, agriculture, social, and even spiritual trends. What they do help make clear are the best strategies for preparing for and adapting to these possible futures.
Three years later, in 2010, Holmgren contributed an additional important essay, Money Vs. Fossil Energy: The Battle for Control of the World. Holmgren describes this essay as “a framework for understanding the ideological roots of the current global crisis that I believe is more useful than the now tired Left Right political spectrum.” Like all of his work, it is based on a profound energetic literacy, and is quite startling and original, and “challenges much of the strategic logic behind current mainstream climate change activism.”

A year ago, in a December 2012 interview, Holmgren was asked:
What do you see as the biggest challenges in our struggle to control our resources today?
 His Answer:
After a lifetime of focusing on the biological basis for existence, and then the energetic basis, I’ve now become more and more interested in money, ironically, after ignoring it for most of my life. On the downside of the energy peak, it’s actually the bubble economies that can unravel so fast, that become almost the most important thing in shaping the immediate future.
That bubble economy is, of course, actually falling apart right now. So a lot of the mainstream sustainability strategies assume we have a growing and steady economy. Permaculture works from the basis that we can adapt and do these adaptions in an ad-hoc way from the bottom up, and we’ve been doing that essentially for 30 years without the support of government and corporations. I’m not saying that we’ve got all the answers, but there’s a lot of people out there who are modeling and have been modeling how creative responses are going to happen.
The 2013 UpdateAnd now a year later, as 2013 draws to a close, David Holmgren has published a new essay (a 24 page pdf download), which is an update of Future Scenarios, builds on Money Vs. Fossil Fuels, and expands his new focus on money and economy. The essay is titled Crash on Demand: Welcome to the Brown Tech Future.

Six years on, of the four scenarios outlined in Future Scenarios, Holmgren is seeing the Brown Tech scenario as the one currently in play, where the decline of fossil fuels unfolds slowly, “but the severity of global warming symptoms is at the extreme end of current mainstream scientific predictions.”

The political system is Corporatist, and emphasis is placed on replacing declining conventional fossil fuels with lower grade fossil fuels, which are both more expensive and also release more GGE (Greenhouse Gas Emissions), which exacerbates Climate Change even further. The introduction to this essay states:
David’s argument is essentially that radical, but achievable, behaviour change from dependent consumers to responsible self-reliant producers (by some relatively small minority of the global middle class) has a chance of stopping the juggernaut of consumer capitalism from driving the world over the climate change cliff. It maybe a slim chance, but a better bet than current herculean efforts to get the elites to pull the right policy levers; whether by sweet promises of green tech profits or alternatively threats from mass movements shouting for less consumption.

In the extensive discussions about money and economy, the influence of systems analyst Nicole Foss (Stoneleigh -The Automatic Earth) and economist Steve Keen (Debt Deflation) are strong and freely acknowledged. Holmgren believes that deflationary economics is the most powerful factor shaping our immediate future.

The basic recommendation (as noted in the quote above) is not much different from what David Holmgren has been recommending for 30 years: to engage in a shift away from being a dependent c0nsumer, and toward being a responsible self-reliant producer for your household and community, and to shift a significant portion of assets out of the mainstream economy and move them into building household and community resilience.

These actions not only put us in a more secure position, they also, if engaged by perhaps 10% of the population of affluent countries, might be just enough to shift our economies out of the perpetual growth paradigm we’ve been inhabiting since at least the industrial revolution, and is now only hanging on via a rising debt bubble. The collapse of the current bubble economy will be painful.

However, given that current growth is only being made possible by rising debt, we are not doing ourselves any favors by perpetuating it. As he had previously pointed out in Future Scenarios:
…without radical behavioral and organizational change that would threaten the foundations of our growth economy, greenhouse gas emissions along with other environmental impacts will not decline. Economic recession is the only proven mechanism for a rapid reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and may now be the only real hope for maintaining the earth in a habitable state.
Holmgren makes the case that while it may be too late for the Green Tech scenario to materialize, it may still be possible to avoid the worst effects of the Brown Tech scenario (a 4 to 6 degree “Climate Cooker” Lifeboats scenario).

A severe global economic collapse could switch off enough GGE to begin reversing climate change, so that the Earth Steward scenario of bioregional economies based on frugal rural agrarian living, assisted by resources salvaged from the collapsed global economy and the defunct national governments, might emerge in the long term future.

It’s not a picture of a bright and shiny future, granted. The last 10 pages or so, however, I found to be quite stimulating, and opened up more possibilities for positive engagement. Topics discussed are Nested Scenarios (different scenarios co-existing at different scales); Investment and Divestment; Formal and Informal Economies;

Alternative and Non-monetary Economies; Labor and Skill Vs Fossil Fuel and Technology; Brown Tech Possibilities; Actors at the Fringe; and Not Financial Terrorists (but Terra-ists with hands in the soil). There are also many great footnotes/links worth following up on.

This is a highly recommended essay – essential reading for those trying to make sense of our long term future and how we can best make a positive difference.

.

US & Japan know criticality brewing

SUBHEAD: Radioactive steam coming from Fukushima Unit #3. Some think it is from a fuel pool criticality.

[IB Publisher: We relied too heavily on the Turner Radio Network. There were very few sources trying to determine what was going on and likely to happen in the face of days of radioactive steam rising from Fukushima Reactor #3. The radiation spike here on Kauai the day before the Turner material below convinced me (see here) that the jet stream was possibly carrying hot particles across Hawaii. The Turner article convinced me to report on the possibility of a criticality to be on the safe side. See Arnie Gundersen's article dated 1/1/14 (here) for an updated explanation.]

By Staff on 28 December 2013 for Turner Radio Network - 
(http://www.turnerradionetwork.com/news/146-mjt)


Image above: Detail of photo of Reactor #3 with radioactive steam escaping fuel pool. From (http://www.stormsurfing.com/cgi/display_alt.cgi?a=npac_250). A site to see animated images of current jetstream activity across the Paficic Ocean.

Persons residing on  the west coast of North America should IMMEDIATELY begin preparing for another possible onslaught of dangerous atmospheric radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster site in Japan.  The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) says radioactive steam has suddenly begun emanating from previously exploded nuclear reactor building #3 at the Fukuishima disaster site in Japan.

TEPCO says they do not know why this is happening and cannot go into the building to see what's happening due to damage and lethal radiation levels in that building. Experts say this could be the beginning of  a "spent fuel pool criticality (meltdown)" involving up to 89 TONS of nuclear fuel burning up into the atmosphere and heading to North America. Steam photo, full details and suggested methods to protect yourself appear below.

On December 28, 2013, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO)  admitted steam was seen billowing out of reactor building #3, saying the steam appeared to be coming from what's left of the fifth floor of the mostly-destroyed building.  It is widely known that persons cannot get inside Reactor Building #3 because it is severely damaged and highly radioactive, so TEPCO cannot state for certain what is happening in that building or why. TEPCO admits they do not know why this steam is being generated, but matter-of-factly revealed today (December 28)  the steam was first spotted on December 19 for a short period of time, then again on December 24 and again on December 25.

Nuclear energy experts have told TRN that the ONLY way this could be happening is if radioactive material previously ejected from the reactor explosion in March, 2011 has mixed together with other materials and has begun its own self-sustaining reaction(s), also known as a "criticality."  Put simply, another "meltdown" may be taking place.

There are basically two possibilities if another meltdown is in progress:
  1. Pellets of radioactive fuel, ejected when the reactor exploded, have mixed together and "mini" meltdowns are taking place with those small clumps of pellets. This would not be a horrific problem and may be manageable, OR;
  2. Pellets of radioactive fuel, ejected when the reactor exploded, went into the spent fuel pool located above the reactor and have begun melting down so seriously they are boiling off the water in the spent fuel pool.
Since steam is visible, experts tell TRN that Scenario #2 above is is the most likely scenario and if so,  it would be an absolute nightmare -- WORSE than the original Fukushima disaster!  The Spent Fuel Pool was situated on the fourth floor above Reactor #3, and if this is the source of the steam, the situation could escalate rapidly out of control.

[IB Publisher's note: In order to get an idea of disposition of airborne radioactive elements carried on winds from Fukushima see updated animation of jet stream here (http://squall.sfsu.edu/scripts/nhemjetstream_model.html) for polar cap view showing Pacific Ocean from Japan to California and here (http://squall.sfsu.edu/scripts/nhemjetstream_model.html) for area between Hawaii and California. Note speed and direction of wind to help determine risk where you are of hot particle danger, especially if it is raining.]



SUBHEAD: U.S. Senator admits no federal agencies are checking for Fukushima radiation hitting America because of budget cuts. 

By Staff  on 6 December 2013 for Turner Radio Network -
(http://www.turnerradionetwork.com/news/74-mjt)


Video above: This was taken December 23rd 2013 with a basic Geiger Counter at Pacifica State Beach, near San Francisco, California. From (http://youtu.be/LcQLxT49ZP0)

U.S. Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) has confirmed that no federal agency is responsible for monitoring radiation levels in the Pacific Ocean from the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan; and says no one should expect federal involvement "due to budget cuts." This statement comes as scientists confirm radioactive water from the Fukushima accident will reach the U.S. west coast anytime now.

It is very difficult to obtain accurate information on the dangers from Fukushima radiation to residents of the West Coast of North America, Alaska and Hawaii. On the one hand, there is fear-mongering and “we’re all going to die” hysteria. On the other hand, there is a tendency for governments to cover up the truth to avoid panic and deflect blame for bad policy. Japan has just passed a bill which would outlaw most reporting on Fukushima; and the U.S. government is not even monitoring radiation levels in the waters off the U.S. coast. As the Cape Cod Times reports:

With the first plume of water carrying radionuclides from Fukushima due to hit the U.S. West Coast any day now, the senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Ken Buesseler's latest project is to convince the federal government to monitor radiation levels in the sea water. “We don’t have a U.S. agency responsible for radiation in the ocean,” Buesseler said. “It’s really bizarre.”

He spent this past week in Washington, D.C., meeting with representatives of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Department of Energy, asking them to come up with some sort of plan to keep tabs on levels of radionuclides in the ocean.

Buesseler also talked with U.S. Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., who agreed the federal government has a role in making sure the oceans are healthy and safe. But Markey said in an email that an increased federal role is not likely because of budget cuts.
Indeed, Dr. Buesseler points out the circular reasoning which the government is using:
"I completely agree that no radiation has been seen in the regards that we’re not testing for it in any organized way … We have very few data; it’s not really being organized. The government says we don’t really need to do that because we’re predicting very low levels." so they won't bother testing to see if their predictions are right!   He went on to say "I’d very much like to see study on our side of the ocean just to confirm these values and build some confidence with the public that’s been concerned about this. They’re right to be concerned . . ."
People are certainly concerned.  As the Wall Street Journal notes:
Water containing radioactive materials has been leaking from storage tanks and drains at the plant into groundwater and the nearby ocean, raising concerns across the world that currents might spread radioactivity to faraway places.
But people don’t know where to get accurate information on the risks involved. John Kelley, a professor emeritus at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, says he’s not sure contamination will reach dangerous levels for humans but says without better data, who will know?

“The data they will need is not only past data but current data, and if no one is sampling anything then we won’t really know it, will we?
“The general concern was, is the food supply safe? And I don’t think anyone can really answer that definitively.”
An associate professor and marine chemist at University of Victoria’s School of Earth and Ocean Sciences told CBC on November 20th:
"The Department of Fisheries and Oceans — the Institute of Ocean Science … program which is a time series program that monitors the chemistry and biology of the North Pacific that’s headed up by Maria Robert. They’re making measurements of these Fukushima-source radionuclides offshore, and they’re starting to detect the presence of the plume of radioactivity."
(Incidentally – because rain is one of the main ways that radiation can spread – seawater which evaporates and then rains on the coast can dump radiation inland for some distance).

Given these facts, it seems imperative for citizens in the U.S. and Canada to begin contacting government officials to demand radiation monitoring and public reporting. Japan couldn't stop the leaking radiation, so they outlawed information about the leaks with a new law rammed-through their government today. Citizens in North America cannot afford to have their health endangered by government inaction and we won't be shut-up about it.



SUBHEAD: Radioactive steam has been pouring from Fukushima Reactor #3 likely from criticality in fuel pool. Tepco says they have no idea what the source is.


Image above: Detail of photo of Reactor #3 with radioactive steam escaping fuel pool. From article above IB Publisher note's that this photo has been determined to have been taken in March of 2011 after reactor #3 explosion.

Tepco (translation), Dec. 27, 2013: At around 7:00 am on December 27, and confirmed by the camera that from Unit 3 reactor building, 5th floor near the center, steam is generated. Have not been identified abnormal plant conditions of 54 minutes at 7:00 am the same day, the indicated value of the monitoring post (meteorological data of 50 minutes at 7:00 am, 5.1 ℃ temperature, 93.1% humidity).

Tepco (translation), Dec. 25, 2013: At around 7:00 am on December 25, and confirmed by the camera that from Unit 3 reactor building, 5th floor near the center, steam is generated. Have not been identified abnormal plant conditions of 8:00 am the same day time, the indicated value of the monitoring post (meteorological data of 50 minutes at 7:00 am, 2.8 ℃ temperature, 76.7% humidity).

[IB Publisher's note: The following emission may have been the one that created the spike we measured on Kauai on December 27th, 2013 when the wind was blowing from the Northwest. See (http://islandbreath.blogspot.com/2013/12/kauai-brief-radiation-splike.html).]

Tepco (translation), Dec. 24, 2013: At around 7:00 am on December 19, and confirmed by the camera that from Unit 3 reactor building, 5th floor near the center, steam is generated. Have not been identified abnormal plant conditions of 55 minutes at 7:00 am the same day, the indicated value of the monitoring post (meteorological data of 40 minutes at 7:00 am, 5.6 ℃ temperature, 93.7% humidity).

Then, in 58 minutes around 7:00 am December 24, steam is no longer observed. It should be noted, have not been identified abnormal plant conditions in a 3-minute time at 8:00 am the same day, the indicated value monitoring posts, etc. (meteorological data of 50 minutes at 7:00 am, 4.1 ℃ temperature, 74.9% humidity).

3 months ago: Steam observed 5 of previous 6 days at Fukushima Unit 3; Lasted for 24 hours straight at one point -- Nuclear Expert: There could be pockets of corium still in molten state; Nobody quite understands what’s going on (AUDIO)

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Brief Radiation Spike on Kauai 12/27/13

.

Brief radiation spike on Kauai

SUBHEAD: We had a brief but significant spike in radiation today that was over 30 times normal background level.

By Juan Wilson on 27 December 2013 for Island Breath -
(http://islandbreath.blogspot.com/2013/12/kauai-brief-radiation-splike.html)


Image above: Spiral roller coaster ride at Busch Gardens in Florida, From (http://www.sochealth.co.uk/2013/05/25/avoiding-the-rollercoaster-a-policy-for-dementia-must-be-responsible/).

In early November I bought a Radex RD1212 radiation monitor from Amazon. The Radex is Russian made with an English menu. It's simple ans seems to work fine. One feature of the unit is that it keeps a record of the time and strength of radiation it senses.

I used it daily at first to get an idea of what was normal here on Kauai. The unit measures in micro-sieiverts per hour. That's a millionths of a sievert. As a reference;
  • A person can safely be exposed to 3,650 micro-sieiverts in a year or .4 micro-sieiverts/hour. 
  • A radiation worker in the US is limited to a dose of 50,000 micro-sieiverts in a year. 
  • A person who absorbs 100,000 micro-sieiverts in a year is considered to have a clear increased cancer risk. 
  • A person absorbing 2,000,000 micro-sieiverts will suffer severe radiation poisoning that could lead to death.
Note: I believe the reference above is lowballing the risks to long tern exposure to nuclear radiation. The first source mentioned for the material is the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission charged with licensing and regulating nuclear power plants... in other words keeping nuclear power plants going.

The Radex's first time recording in my home were measurements of five minute averages for 15 intervals. The total average value was .08 micro-sieiverts per hour. That would convert to about 700 micro-sieiverts in a year. That's much less than the 100,000 micro-sieiverts in a year considered to increase the likelihood of cancer.

The Radex is programmed to set off an alert when it measures over .3 micro-sieiverts per hour, or about 2,600 micro-sieiverts per year. That, depending on where you are, is about normal background radiation. Over the last two months I noticed a slight increase of background radiation from about .08 micro-sieiverts per hour to .09 micro-sieiverts per hour.

Sometime after lunch, the 27th of December, I turned the Radex radiation detector on and left it in the kitchen. Then I went back to work in my office.

I made a couple of phone calls on my wireless phone and noticed waves of static that occasionally almost obliterated my conversations. A bit later I turned on my FM radio and found the only Kauai station that came in without excess static was KKCR. All the KONG group stations were drowned out with static. I did not think much about that the radio signal - they often vary - but the wireless phone was almost alweays clear and without static.

Then about 1:50pm I heard a sound I thought was the electric inverter that provides power to my fridge. It's on solar and can suck up a lot of power. I thought the beeper on the inverter was going off to tell me the batteries were getting low.
Then I noticed that the beeping was irregular. I went towards where I though I heard the sound and was led to my kitchen table where the Radex sat beeping away. When the unit gets to a measurement that would lead to .3 micro-sieverts/hour it makes a ping for each decaying betta or gamma particle that hits it. The Radex was crackling with pings.

The only time the Radex alarm had gone off since I bought it was when I moved it close to a wind-up travel alarm-clock I'd been given as a gift. It had once had a coating of radium painted on its hands a blob of radium at each hour. Much of the radium seemed worn away and there was just a greenish smudge that remained. But the Radex said it was a "hot" clock so I had to get rid of it.

The Radex alarm went on steadily. In the first of three five minute intervals starting a 1:50pm HST was .25 micro-sieverts/hour (almost three times higher than normal). Part of that time was less than .3 micro-sieiverts/hour but part was higher and that's when the alarm pings went off. The second interval averaged 1.34 micro-sieiverts/hour.

By that time I was googling "Hawaii radiation alert" and visiting http://www.radiationnetwork.com/AlaskaHawaii.htm  for a live reading of the Maui geiger-counter. It was at 39 counts per minute and was lit up orange (meaning trending up).

The third five minute interval was averaged 1.78 micro-sieiverts/hour. Somewhere early in that five minutes I noticed a reading above 3.0 micro-sieiverts/hour (over thirty times higher than average). I got a bit freaked out then. At a continuous dose that would be over 26,000 micro-sieiverts in a year (or more than half that the NRC is allowable for a worker in a nuclear plant.

I tried to call my wife Linda and alert her. But about as quickly as it began the radiation spike ended. The following interval was a steady .09 micro-sieiverts/hour. Now at 4:00pm HST it is still .09 micro-sieiverts/hour... but the the Maui geiger-counter is at 43 CPM.

I checked the weather and found that the wind was blowing from the North-West. That is unusual and might indicate situation in which the jet-stream from Japan was diverted further south than usual.

This event really spooked me. According to more than one source I found the level I was reading was dangerous. The readings I got put me momentarily in the brown range on Table 1 and in the red zone on Table 2.

Table 1 below indicates prolonged exposure at the spike level I measured could lead to a real risk of cancer if exposed to continuously in less than a year.
http://nukeprofessional.blogspot.com/2012/04/geiger-counter-interpretation.html



Table 2 below recommends that at the exposure spike I measured one should take shelter or leave the area.I believe this table was created from the table above as a source, but advises different actions.
http://coconutgirlwireless.wordpress.com/2013/01/08/surfing-kauais-radiation-levels/



This Fukushima thing has us on one nasty roller coaster ride.

See also:
RadiationNetwork.com detects Fukushima Fallout in Hawaii 6/11/11

.

NSA - Fukushima - USS Reagan

SUBHEAD: Did the NSA conceal Fukushima meltdown from military sent into area on the USS Ronald Reagan?

By Alan Jones on 24 December 2013 for -
(http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/freedom-press-not-free/2013/dec/24/did-nsa-conceal-fukushima-meltdown-military-sent-a/)


Image above: The USS Ronald Reagan in better days. From original article.

More than 50 U.S. Navy sailors who served aboard ships that responded to the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan report falling ill to cancer and other radiation-linked diseases.

The reported illnesses among sailors who served on the USS Ronald Reagan and other Navy ships make it imperative to ascertain whether the Navy knew or should have known the conditions into which it was sending personnel.

To that end, it is critical to know whether the NSA intercepted telephone and email communications from the Tokyo Electric Power Company, and whether the spy agency knew that TEPCO was covering up the multi-reactor meltdown at the time the Pentagon ordered sailors into harm’s way during “Operation Tomodachi.”

It would be hard to imagine that the NSA, the embattled spy agency which has been caught eavesdropping on the German and Brazilian heads of state, as well as on the Pope, was not using all available surveillance technology and Japanese translators to monitor the unfolding TEPCO catastrophe. It would be highly unlikely that it failed to provide the Obama Administration with frequent updates on the situation.

Did the Navy get updates about Fukushima from NSA? Who was responsible for deciding who would get updates? Who was responsible if the NSA did not provide them?

These are questions that the sickened sailors and their families will want answered, as a growing class-action lawsuit against TEPCO moves forward, as reported by Fox News.

The Navy’s decision to move ships into the area near Fukushima could spell another scandal for President Obama at a time when his approval ratings are reaching new lows, and could further alienate military veterans.

The case also raises serious questions about whether the NSA properly executed its mission to protect U.S. troops from overseas threats. These injuries came at a time when the spy agency seemed preoccupied with conducting surveillance on the American people in what U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon called an “almost Orwellian” violation of the U.S. Constitution in his ruling on the NSA’s PRISM program.


.

Hapa Trail Court Victory

SOURCE: Brad Parsons (mauibrad@hotmail.com)
SUBHEAD: Knudsen Trust, Planning Department and DLNR in error allowing Hapa Trail access for Koloa-Poipu development.

By Juan Wilson on 27 December 2013 for Island Breath -
(http://islandbreath.blogspot.com/2013/12/hapa-trail-court-victory.html)


Image above: Detail of existing conditions at proposed "Village at Poipu" subdivision showing some archaeological sites to be buried under blacktop and Chemlawns by Stacey Wong of Knudsen Trust. From article linked to below.

Stacey Wong, a trustee for Knudsen Trust, made an effort to pave over a large section of the area between Koloa Town and Poipu Road. Phase One was to be at the south end of the huge and archeologically rich site and be accessed by breaching the historic Hapa Trail.

Ian Costa, the disgraced former Kauai Planning Director, made every effort to push this project through for Knusden Trust's Stacey Wong and lawyer Walter Hong. They made headway with the Department of Land and Natural Resources

Theodore K. Blake, a local resident, was active in trying to stop the project. He wrote in December of 2009 (http://www.islandbreath.org/2008Year/14-hawaiiana/0814-27HapaTrailRant.html):
The big issue is that Hapa Trail is proposed to be breached and there has been no Environmental Assessment for Hapa Trail's breaching or plans showing how the breaching will occur and what is will look like. We need to get the County Council members on board, the Mayor and our representatives. Any one who has a connection or knows any politician needs to make a call and follow up with an email or letter.
Hapa Trail is also an numbered State Historic Site, 50-10-30-992. SHPD needs to approve whether or not Hapa Trail can be breached or an alternative route used to Po'ipu Road.

The Planning Director, Public Works Director and the County Attorney need to be apprised of what is going on with this application and applicant.
The project was eventually approved. Ted Blake filed a civil against; Ian Costa as director of the Kauai Planning Department; William Aila, in his capacity as Chair the the Department of Land and Natural Resources; and Stacey Wong, the Successor Trustee of the Eric A. Knudsen Trust.

Blake's complaint asserted six claims against the Defendants including a failure of the Defendants to follow the proper environmental and historic review processes, violations of Native Hawaiian rights, and breaches of the public trust.

Blake subsequently amended his complaint in part because he discovered that Hapa Road belonged to the State of Hawaii and not the County. In Count Five, Blake stated;
The Defendants failed to comply with HRS chapter 205A, the CZMA, in failing to consider historic and cultural values. HRS § 205A-4(a) provides that, “In implementing the objective of the coastal zone management program, the agencies shall give full consideration to ecological, cultural, historic, esthetic, recreational, scenic, and open space values, and coastal hazards, as well as to needs for economic development.”
 Blake argued;
"The undisputed evidence in this case, however, is that the County Defendants failed to give full consideration of historic sites in the area.”
 Blake asserted;
The Planning Commission admitted that it failed to review various archaeological reports, and still does not have ‘sufficient knowledge or information to form a belief as to’ whether dozens of archaeological sites, including the “remnants of an extensive and complex auwai system,” have been found on the Knudsen Trust land.
In his amended complaint, Blake also asserted two additional claims of negligence and public nuisance against the Knudsen Trust for allegedly breaching Hapa Road and its adjacent rock wall.

Supreme Court  ruled that the Circuit Court erred in dismissing Blake's case on the basis of judicial economy.

Court decision link here. (http://www.islandbreath.org/2013Year/12/131227hapatrail.pdf)



Deny the Knudsen Trust
By Juan Wilson on 17 November 2008 for Island Breath -
(http://www.islandbreath.org/2008Year/14-hawaiiana/0814-27HapaTrailRant.html)

[IB Publisher's note: This is a segment of a series of articles about the Hapa Trail violation and the attempts by Stacey Wong, trustee of Knudsen Trust, to develop suburbia on a vital archeological remnant of Hawaiian culture that demonstrates a way of living sustainably on this island.]

Our island, our state, our country, and the world, are at a turning point. The importance of these days before the next American administration cannot be exaggerated. Western civilization is deciding whether to continue careening down the highway to extinction or finding an off-ramp.

Between now and the Obama inauguration we have a moment to catch our breath and reflect. Do we bet everything we have left to restart the hyper-growth economy? Or, do we invest in another way of living on this planet?

Near Koloa, in the Waikomo Stream watershed, lies a region that was densely occupied by pre contact Hawaiians from mountain to ocean. It was a region that was crisscrossed with waterways that nourished a complex system of agriculture (and aquaculture). This system fed thousands of kanaka maoli for a thousand years. People; along with yams, taro, fish, chickens and pigs; thrived.

Through a fluke of history, hundreds of acres of this land, between Waikomo Reservoir to Poipu Beach, was never developed by westerners. It is an uninterrupted landscape that rises from the ocean to the foothills of the Haupu Mountains. Over time there was a little sugarcane grown there; a little grazing done; but it was never paved over, or its remains physically removed, by the dominant plantation culture.

The results of that “neglect” is the windfall for us now. The site has hundreds of archaeological remains. This area is largest, richest and densest field of its kind anywhere in Hawaii. There is detailed evidence of how people, maintaining a rich culture, lived well on this island.

It is evidence of how we might live here in the future. The importance of this will be clearer shortly, as we experience further collapse of the world’s economic systems. What we learn here could save us.

This part of Kauai is not an agriculture wasteland, as the developer has stated.
This part of Waikomo was where the whalers came to get provisions for their journeys. It was where the yams and sweet potatoes were grown to feed the California gold-rushers. It was where the mainlanders came to start sugar production in Hawaii.

The Knudsen Trust plans to subdivide this amazing place into suburban lots. At this point in time, to bulldoze this area for a network of cul-de-sacs, to satisfy a speculative real estate scheme, is an abomination.

We need to enforce a moratorium on development in this area. We need to understand the archaeological record to know what worked here for a millennium. We need to emulate, and yes, maybe even improve on those techniques. What we do not need is a rush to pave over this knowledge with a bankrupt system with a dim future.

Two upcoming public events will engage this issue. The Koloa Community Association Meeting at 6:30pm on Thursday, November 20th 2008 at the Koloa Community Center, Koloa, Kauai and the Hapa Trail Walk at 8:00am on Saturday, November 22nd 2008 - about 2.5 hours duration, starting from Saint Raphael's Church in Poiou, Kauai

TOOLS
Below are links to series of base maps (8.5"x11") have been produced for the walk in order to specify the location of observations in the context of aerial photography and identified archaeological sites.

They are available here as PDF files:

Hapa Trail Keymap 144k PDF
Hapa Quadrant C3 3.9mb PDF
Hapa Quadrant C4 3.4mb PDF (most of proposed development site)
Hapa Quadrant C5 3.3mb PDF
Hapa Quadrant C6 3.2mb PDF
Hapa Quadrant C7 3.8mb PDF

See also:
Island Breath: Hapa Trail - Kauai Archaeologic Site
.

China rejects GMO corn

SOURCE: Teri (gypsieme@hotmail.com)
SUBHEAD: The Chinese government rejects over a million tons of Syngenta genetically modified corn.

By Richard Lopez on 27 December 2013 for LA Times -
(http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-china-rejects-shipment-of-gmo-corn-20131227,0,2126813.story#ixzz2ohuqVdW5


Image above: Harvesting GMO corn. From Frpm original article.

China rejected two shipments of U.S. dried distillers' grain, a corn byproduct, because it contained genetically modified material, state media reported Friday.

China's top food-quality watchdog rejected the two shipments because they contained MIR162, a special insect-resistant variety of maize developed by Syngenta, a Swiss maker of seeds and pesticides.

The first shipment, 545,000 tons, was rejected last week in Shanghai, state media said. The second shipment, 758 tons, was rejected Monday.

MIR162 is not on the Chinese government's short list of approved grains considered genetically modified organisms, or GMO.

Still, Chinese consumers remain wary of GMO crops and some nationalist-leaning pundits have suggested the Western-dominated technology leaves China’s food supply vulnerable.

The U.S. is the world’s largest corn exporter and China is its No. 3 customer. The Asian nation is expected to buy a record 7 million tons of corn in the 2013-14 marketing year.

Chinese authorities said the shipments have been returned and are urging American officials to improve their "inspection procedures to ensure they comply with Chinese quality standards."

.

An Old Kind of Science

SUBHEAD: Americans who can’t afford health care or heating fuel in the winter still have cell phones and internet access.

By John Michael Greer on 18 December 2013 for Archdruid Report -
(http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2013/12/an-old-kind-of-science.html)


Image above: A homeless man with a guitar and recycled aluminum cans talks on cellphone. From (http://talesfromthelou.wordpress.com/2013/03/10/homeless-to-get-free-cellphones-in-california/).

The attempt to conquer nature—in less metaphorical terms, to render the nonhuman world completely transparent to the human intellect and just as completely subject to the human will—was industrial civilization’s defining project. It’s hard to think of any aspect of culture in the modern industrial West that hasn’t been subordinated to the conquest of nature, and the imminent failure of that project thus marks a watershed in our cultural life as well as our history.

I’ve talked here already at some length about the ways that modern religious life was made subservient to the great war against nature, and we’ve explored some of the changes that will likely take place as a religious sensibility that seeks salvation from nature gives way to a different sensibility that sees nature as something to celebrate, not to escape.

A similar analysis could be applied to any other aspect of modern culture you care to name, but there are other things I plan to discuss on this blog, so those topics will have to wait for someone else to tackle them. Still, there’s one more detail that deserves wrapping up before we leave the discussion of the end of progress, and that’s the future of science.

Since 1605, when Sir Francis Bacon’s The Advancement of Learning sketched out the first rough draft of modern scientific practice, the collection of activities we now call science has been deeply entangled with the fantasy of conquering nature.

That phrase “the collection of activities we now call science” is as unavoidable here as it is awkward, because science as we now know it didn’t exist at that time, and the word “science” had a different meaning in Bacon’s era than it does today. Back then, it meant any organized body of knowledge; people in the 17th century could thus describe theology as “the queen of the sciences,” as their ancestors had done for most of a thousand years, without any sense of absurdity.

The word “scientist” didn’t come along until the mid-19th century, long after “science” had something like its modern meaning; much before then, it would have sounded as silly as “learningist” or “knowledgist,” which is roughly what it would have meant, too.

To Francis Bacon, though, the knowledge and learning that counted was the kind that would enable human beings to control nature. His successors in the early scientific revolution, the men who founded the Royal Society and its equivalents in other European countries, shared the same vision.

The Royal Society’s motto, Nullius in Verba (“nothing in words”), signified its rejection of literary and other humanistic studies in favor of the quest for knowledge of, and power over, the nonhuman world.

The crucial breakthrough—the leap to quantification—was a done deal before the Royal Society was founded in 1661; when Galileo thought of defining speed as a measurable quantity rather than a quality, he kickstarted an extraordinary revolution in human thought.

Quantitative measurement, experimental testing, and public circulation of the results of research: those were the core innovations that made modern science possible. The dream of conquering nature, though, was what made modern science the focus of so large a fraction of the Western world’s energies and ambitions over the last three hundred years.

The role of the myth wasn’t minor, or accidental; I would argue, in fact, that nothing like modern science would have emerged at all if the craving for mastery over the nonhuman world hadn’t caught fire in the collective imagination of the Western world.

I mentioned last week that Carl Sagan devoted a passage in the book version of Cosmos to wondering why the Greeks and Romans didn’t have a scientific revolution of their own. The reason was actually quite simple. The Greeks and Romans, even when their own age of reason had reached its zenith of intellectual arrogance, never imagined that the rest of the universe could be made subordinate to human beings.

Believers in the traditional religions of the time saw the universe as the property of gods who delighted in punishing human arrogance; believers in the rationalist philosophies that partly supplanted those traditional religions rewrote the same concept in naturalistic terms, and saw the cosmos as the enduring reality to whose laws and processes mortals had to adapt themselves or suffer.

What we now think of as science was, in Greek and Roman times, a branch of philosophy, and it was practiced primarily to evoke feelings of wonder and awe at a cosmos in which human beings had their own proper and far from exalted place.

It took the emergence of a new religious sensibility, one that saw the material universe as a trap from which humanity had to extricate itself, to make the conquest of nature thinkable as a human goal. To the Christians of the Middle Ages, the world, the flesh, and the devil were the three obnoxious realities from which religion promised to save humanity.

To believers in progress in the post-Christian west, the idea that the world was in some sense the enemy of the Christian believer, to be conquered by faith in Christ, easily morphed into the idea that the same world was the enemy of humanity, to be conquered in a very different sense by faith in progress empowered by science and technology.

The overwhelming power that science and technology gave to the civil religion of progress, though, was made possible by the fantastic energy surplus provided by cheap and highly concentrated fossil fuels. That’s the unmentioned reality behind all that pompous drivel about humanity’s dominion over nature: we figured out how to break into planetary reserves of fossil sunlight laid down over half a billion years of geological time, burnt through most of it in three centuries of thoughtless extravagance, and credited the resulting boom to our own supposed greatness.

Lacking that treasure of concentrated energy, which humanity did nothing to create, the dream of conquering nature might never have gotten traction at all; as the modern western world’s age of reason dawned, there were other ideologies and nascent civil religions in the running to replace Christianity, and it was only the immense economic and military payoffs made possible by a fossil-fueled industrial revolution that allowed the civil religion of progress to elbow aside the competition and rise to its present dominance.

As fossil fuel reserves deplete at an ever more rapid pace, and have to be replaced by more costly and less abundant substitutes, the most basic precondition for faith in progress is going away. These days, ongoing development in a handful of fields has to be balanced against stagnation in most others and, more crucially still, against an accelerating curve of economic decline that is making the products of science and technology increasingly inaccessible to those outside the narrowing circle of the well-to-do.

It’s indicative that while the media babbles about the latest strides in space tourism for the very rich, rural counties across the United States are letting their roads revert to gravel because the price of asphalt has soared so high that the funds to pay for paving simply aren’t there any more.

In that contrast, the shape of our future comes into sight. As the torrents of cheap energy that powered industrial society’s heyday slow to a trickle, the arrangements that once put the products of science and technology in ordinary households are coming apart.

That’s not a fast process, or a straightforward one; different technologies are being affected at different rates, so that (for example) plenty of Americans who can’t afford health care or heating fuel in the winter still have cell phones and internet access; still, as the struggle to maintain fossil fuel production consumes a growing fraction of the industrial world’s resources and capital, more and more of what used to count as a normal lifestyle in the industrial world is becoming less and less accessible to more and more people.

In the process, the collective consensus that once directed prestige and funds to scientific research is slowly trickling away.

That will almost certainly mean the end of institutional science as it presently exists. It need not mean the end of science, and a weighty volume published to much fanfare and even more incomprehension a little more than a decade ago may just point to a way ahead.

I’m not sure how many of my readers were paying attention when archetypal computer geek Stephen Wolfram published his 1,264-page opus A New Kind of Science back in 2002. In the 1980s, Wolfram published a series of papers about the behavior of cellular automata—computer programs that produce visual patterns based on a set of very simple rules.

Then the papers stopped appearing, but rumors spread through odd corners of the computer science world that he was working on some vast project along the same lines.

The rumors proved to be true; the vast project, the book just named, appeared on bookstore shelves all over the country; reviews covered the entire spectrum from rapturous praise to condemnation, though most of them also gave the distinct impression that their authors really didn’t quite understand what Wolfram was talking about.

Shortly thereafter, the entire affair was elbowed out of the headlines by something else, and Wolfram’s book sank back out of public view—though I understand that it’s still much read in those rarefied academic circles in which cellular automata are objects of high importance.

Wolfram’s book, though, was not aimed at rarefied academic circles. It was trying to communicate a discovery that, so Wolfram believed, has the potential to revolutionize a great many fields of science, philosophy, and culture.

Whether he was right is a complex issue—I tend to think he’s on to something of huge importance, for reasons I’ll explain in a bit—but it’s actually less important than the method that he used to get there. With a clarity unfortunately rare in the sciences these days, he spelled out the key to his method early on in his book:
In our everyday experience with computers, the programs that we encounter are normally set up to perform very definite tasks. But the key idea I had nearly twenty years ago—and that eventually led to the whole new kind of science in this book—was to ask what happens if one instead just looks at simple arbitrarily chosen programs, created without any specific task in mind. How do such programs typically behave? (Wolfram 2002, p. 23)
Notice the distinction here. Ordinarily, computer programs are designed to obey some human desire, whether that desire involves editing a document, sending an email, viewing pictures of people with their clothes off, snooping on people who are viewing pictures of people with their clothes off, or what have you.

That’s the heritage of science as a quest for power over nature: like all other machines, computers are there to do what human beings tell them to do, and so computer science tends to focus on finding ways to make computers do more things that human beings want them to do.

That same logic pervades many fields of contemporary science. The central role of experiment in scientific practice tends to foster that, by directing attention away from what whole systems do when they’re left alone, and toward what they do when experimenters tinker with them.

Too often, the result is that scientists end up studying the effects of their own manipulations to the exclusion of anything else. Consider Skinnerian behaviorism, an immensely detailed theory that can successfully predict the behavior of rats in the wholly arbitrary setting of a Skinner box and essentially nothing else!

The alternative is to observe whole systems on their own terms—to study what they do, not in response to a controlled experimental stimulus, but in response to the normal interplay between their internal dynamics and the environment around them. That’s what Wolfram did. He ran cellular automata, not to try to make them do this thing or that, but to understand the internal logic that determines what they do when left to themselves.

What he discovered, to summarize well over a thousand pages of text in a brief phrase, is that cellular automata with extremely simple operating rules are capable of generating patterns as complex, richly textured, and blended of apparent order and apparent randomness, as the world of nature itself. Wolfram explains the relevance of that discovery:
Three centuries ago science was transformed by the dramatic new idea that rules based on mathematical equations could be used to describe the natural world. My purpose in this book is to initiate another such transformation, and to introduce a new kind of science that is based on the much more general types of rules that can be embodied in simple computer programs. (Wolfram 2002, p. 1)

One crucial point here, to my mind, is the recognition that mathematical equations in science are simply models used to approximate natural processes. There’s been an enormous amount of confusion around that point, going all the way back to the ancient Pythagoreans, whose discoveries of the mathematical structures within musical tones, the movement of the planets, and the like led them to postulate that numbers comprised the arche, the enduring reality of which the changing world of our experience is but a transitory reflection.

This confusion between the model and the thing modeled, between the symbol and the symbolized, is pandemic in modern thinking. Consider all the handwaving around the way that light seems to behave like a particle when subjected to one set of experiments, and like a wave when put through a different set. Plenty of people who should know better treat this as a paradox, when it’s nothing of the kind.

Light isn’t a wave or a particle, any more than the elephant investigated by the blind men in the famous story is a wall, a pillar, a rope, or what have you; “particle” and “wave” are models derived from human sensory experience that we apply to fit our minds around some aspects of the way that light behaves, and that’s all they are. They’re useful, in other words, rather than true.

Thus mathematical equations provide one set of models that can be used to fit our minds around some of the ways the universe behaves. Wolfram’s discovery is that another set of models can be derived from very simple rule-based processes of the kind that make cellular automata work.

This additional set of models makes sense of features of the universe that mathematical models don’t handle well—for example, the generation of complexity from very simple initial rules and conditions. The effectiveness of Wolfram’s models doesn’t show that the universe is composed of cellular automata, any more than the effectiveness of mathematical models shows that the Pythagoreans were right and the cosmos is actually made out of numbers.

Rather, cellular automata and mathematical equations relate to nature the way that particles and waves relate to light: two sets of mental models that allow the brains of some far from omniscient social primates to make sense of the behavior of different aspects of a phenomenon complex enough to transcend all models.

It requires an unfashionable degree of intellectual modesty to accept that the map is not the territory, that the scientific model is merely a representation of some aspects of the reality it tries to describe.

It takes even more of the same unpopular quality to back off a bit from trying to understand nature by trying to force it to jump through hoops, in the manner of too much contemporary experimentation, and turn more attention instead to the systematic observation of what whole systems do on their own terms, in their own normal environments, along the lines of Wolfram’s work.

Still, I’d like to suggest that both those steps are crucial to any attempt to keep science going as a living tradition in a future when the attempt to conquer nature will have ended in nature’s unconditional victory.

A huge proportion of the failures of our age, after all, unfold precisely from the inability of most modern thinkers to pay attention to what actually happens when that conflicts with cherished fantasies of human entitlement and importance.

It’s because so much modern economic thought fixates on what people would like to believe about money and the exchange of wealth, rather than paying attention to what happens in the real world that includes these things, that predictions by economists generally amount to bad jokes at society’s expense; it’s because next to nobody thinks through the implications of the laws of thermodynamics, the power laws that apply to fossil fuel deposits, and the energy cost of extracting energy from any source, that so much meretricious twaddle about “limitless new energy resources” gets splashed around so freely by people who ought to know better.

For that matter, the ever-popular claim that we’re all going to die by some arbitrary date in the near future, and therefore don’t have to change the way we’re living now, gets what justification it has from a consistent refusal on the part of believers to check their prophecies of imminent doom against relevant scientific findings, on the one hand, or the last three thousand years of failed apocalyptic predictions on the other.

The sort of science that Wolfram has proposed offers one way out of that overfamiliar trap.

Ironically, his “new kind of science” is in one sense a very old kind of science. Long before Sir Francis Bacon set pen to paper and began to sketch out a vision of scientific progress centered on the attempt to subject the entire universe to the human will and intellect, many of the activities we now call science were already being practiced in a range of formal and informal ways, and both of the characteristics I’ve highlighted above—a recognition that scientific models are simply human mental approximations of nature, and a focus on systematic observation of what actually happens—were far more often than not central to the way these activities were done in earlier ages.

The old Pythagoreans themselves got their mathematical knowledge by the same kind of careful attention to the way numbers behave that Wolfram applied two and a half millennia later to simple computer programs, just as Charles Darwin worked his way to the theory of evolution by patiently studying the way living things vary from generation to generation, and the founders of ecology laid the foundations of a science of whole systems by systematically observing how living things behave in their own natural settings.

That’s very often how revolutions in scientific fundamentals get started, and whether Wolfram’s particular approach is as revolutionary as he believes—I’m inclined to think that it is, though I’m not a specialist in the field—I’ve come to think that a general revision of science, a “Great Instauration” as Sir Francis Bacon called it, will be one of the great tasks of the age that follows ours.

.

A letter to Abercrombie on HEI

SUBHEAD: It is antithetical to free enterprise to a have a monopoly with a guaranteed profit at the expense of consumers.

By edward J, Wagner on 20 December 213 in Island Breath-
(http://islandbreath.blogspot.com/2013/12/a-letter-to-abercrombie-on-hei.html)


Image above: The Lionel toy train Electric Monopoly Car. From (http://www.legacystation.com/LionelToyTrains/display_product_OFGT26477_26477-Monopoly-Electric-Company.html).

Dear Governor Abercrombie,

As the primary plaintiff in John Carroll's class action lawsuit against you AND the State of Hawaii, and on behalf of all Hawaii ratepayers in this class action, I submit to you the following questions for response prior to the opening of the 2014 Legislative session.

First a little background information to set the stage.

You ran for Governor on an energy platform in which you called out the HECO monopoly for its abuse of power and promised bold action to reign in those abuses.

According to your stated energy policy as a newly elected Governor,

"We have a regulatory system and a utility monopoly that were built for a time and public purpose that are in the past. If we do not fundamentally change our approach, we will not reach our goals."

Hawaii’s boundless renewable energy potential is bottlenecked in our archaic utility structure. Their monopolistic control is often at odds with the public interest in the world beyond fossil fuels. Democratizing energy requires the creation of a free market in energy so that we can deploy clean energy sources and our entrepreneurs can create new jobs.

I now ask you to answer the following questions.

1)
Please explain the following statement from HECO today, December 20.  Is this statement the result of its continuing incompetence in moving Hawaii forward to a clean energy future?  Is it just its continued stonewalling to give the PUC more time to approve its biofuel project with Aina Koa Pono so it can declare that geothermal development is no longer needed? Is it the result of HECO’s inability or lack of expertise to evaluate the bids because the technology is too complex for its feeble mindset?
"After careful review of all geothermal bids, Hawaii Electric Light has determined that none of the submitted bids sufficiently met both the low-cost and technical requirements of the Geothermal RFP. We are currently working with the Independent Observer to develop a request that will be sent to the bidders. The request will give the bidders the opportunity to provide additional information so that we can make an informed decision that is in the best interests of our customers and residents and that meets the goals of the Geothermal RFP. These goals include lowering customer bills, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, allowing for continued integration and management of intermittent renewable resources, maintaining reliability of service, and protecting the health and safety of the public and environment. We appreciate the efforts the bidders have made to date and look forward to working with them and the Independent Observer on next steps."
2)
Do you agree or disagree with the following statement by retired Senator Fred Hemmings? Please justify your response if answering No.
"HEI is Hawaii's most egregious monopoly. It is antithetical to free enterprise to a have a monopoly with a guaranteed profit at the expense of consumers. Our Electricity is the nations highest priced hovering around 200% above the national average. HEI has made Hawaii the most dependent state on fossil fuels. HEI utility lines are a blight on the landscape. HEI executives are amongst the highest compensated in Hawaii. HEI invests excess profits in other business including over seas ventures. The solution is to break up the monopoly for the benefit of consumers."
3)
Residents of Oahu, Molakai, and Maui are discussing plans to form a utility cooperative or municipal utility. Larry Ellison wants to convert Lana'i into a model for sustainability. Kauai KIUC is NOT a true cooperative. It is owned by Touchstone Energy, a profit-making corporation.

The state Legislature has discussed the conversion of the utility monopoly to a consumer owned grid for 30 years. HECO's Robbie Alm stated on January 29 that HECO will cooperate fully with the Legislature in that conversion. Both the Legislature and US Congress can repeal the HECO non-exclusive franchise.

Will you therefore support this public utility model by asking the Legislature to draw up conversion plans and pass a conversion bill that you will sign in 2014? If not, why not? Under what circumstances will you support such a conversion?

4)
Did you know that residents of Hawaii in the beginning of the 20th century were just as opposed to having an electric utility monopoly as our residents today? Did you know that 4 days before the overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy, Queen Liliuokalani signed a law to nationalize the electric utility? Did you know that the PUC was established in 1913 with a mandate to protect residents from ever having an electric utility monopoly?  Why then have you not called for ending the HECO monopoly as part of your stated energy policy?

5)
Do you agree or disagree with the following statement that appeared in a 2001 Honolulu Weekly article entitled "HECO - Wired to the Past? If not, why not?

You bring in any engineer from any big utility company on the Mainland, and they're horrified at what the system looks like, at the technology they use and at what it costs. It's appalling," says Al Hee, president of Waimana Enterprises Inc., a locally based energy company that proposed private, small-scale power plans that have been opposed by HECO.

Before answering, you should know that the grid is literally crumbling beneath our roads and sidewalks. I personally have had 10 extended power failures on my street since February 5, and such power failures are bound to occur more frequently across Oahu and neighbor islands as the grid deteriorates further.

In the USA, all states abide by the North American Reliability Standards, except Hawaii. Hawaii is "exempted" just as it was "exempted" in the 2008 Lingle-HECO HCEI agreement from the protections of the federal PURPA law that polices energy 'monopoly' corporations.

Since Hawaii has no reliability standards, then there is no way our State can hold HECO to standards of reliable service for ratepayers & our State energy security.

According to page 43 of the same 2008, maintaining and upgrading the electric grid is essential to supporting reliable, renewable energy.

Where in HECO's 5 year IRP plan does the company state that upgrading the grid is even on the table? The company talks about advanced metering and upgrading in-house technology, but not the grid itself. Is HECO unwilling to upgrade the grid because it knows that it will bankrupt the company?

Ratepayers have paid surcharges for years to maintain and upgrade the grid. Yet, the company is demanding that ratepayers now pay more money for upgrades, essentially paying twice. Where did all the money go, if not set aside in a fund for grid upgrades? Did it go to excessive executive compensation and excessive dividends?

6)
Describe how the HECO companies have complied with the PUC's directive regarding the Integrated Resource Planning (IRP).

How has the State addressed the failing of HECO to address the directive to develop an Action Plan that governs how the utility will meet energy objectives and customer energy needs consistent with state energy policies and goals, while providing safe and reliable utility service at reasonable cost.

7)
How do you justify your inaction when some residents are burning candles at night and cooking with wood because they can not afford electricity? Two homes have burned down as a result. One resident even chained himself to the HELCO front door to protest high electric rates. Senator Solomon submitted petition signatures to you. How do you respond to residents who are making hard choices between paying for food, medicine, school supplies and paying for electricity, when the utility monopoly pays both excessive executive compensation and excessive dividends?

8)
Please explain how you can allow the utility to suddenly crush the solar industry in order to establish itself as a monopoly in renewable energy, starting with the building of the largest solar farm in the state? Would not adding solar to every commercial and residential rooftop in the state be a more effective use of valuable land resources AND cool rooftops in the process? How truthful has HECO been the past 5 years regarding the amount of solar electricity it can safely accept on the grid?

9)
Explain why have you not rescinded the 2008 Lingle-HECO agreement, knowing full well that it only intent was and still is to support, protect and perpetuate the archaic utility monopoly and its profits to the detriment of our economy, our planet, and our residents? Pope Francis calls it the idolatry of money.

Sincerely yours,


Edward J. Wagner


.

USS Reagan too radioactive to dock

SUBHEAD: US Navy has downplayed the horror aboard the the USS Ronald Reagan after Fukushima.

By Staff on 22 December 2013 for ENENews  -
(http://enenews.com/nypost-snow-falling-on-navy-ship-was-from-fukushimas-radioactive-steam-is-that-aluminum-foil-i-taste-sailor-people-were-defecating-on-themselves-in-hallways-from-excruciating-diarrhea)


Image above: Crew if the USS Reagan trying to wash radioactive contamination off ship. From (http://www.stripes.com/news/lawsuit-expands-over-radiation-exposure-during-fukushima-disaster-1.211889).

New York Post, Dec. 22, 2013: Navy sailor Lindsay Cooper knew something was wrong when billows of metallic-tasting snow began drifting over USS Ronald Reagan. [...] she and scores of crewmates watched a sudden storm blow toward them from the tsunami-torn coast of Fukushima, Japan. The tall 24-year-old with a winning smile didn’t know it then, but the snow was caused by the freezing Pacific air mixing with a plume of radioactive steam [...] Senior Chief Michael Sebourn, a radiation-decontamination officer, was assigned to test the aircraft carrier for radiation. The levels were incredibly dangerous and at one point, the radiation in the air measured 300 times higher than what was considered safe, Sebourn told The Post.

Fox News, Dec. 20, 2013: [Months after 3/11], while still serving aboard the [USS Ronald Reagan] aircraft carrier, [Quartermaster Maurice Enis] began to notice strange lumps all over his body. Testing revealed he’d been poisoned with radiation, and his illness would get worse. And his fiance and fellow Reagan quartermaster, Jamie Plym [...] also began to develop frightening symptoms, including chronic bronchitis and hemorrhaging. They and 49 other U.S. Navy members who served aboard the Reagan and sister ship the USS Essex [report] illnesses including thyroid and testicular cancers, leukemia and brain tumors [...] [They] wonder if their service to their country and to Japan has left them doomed. [...] the number of plaintives has more than quadrupled [from the initial dozen] as more service members come forward with radiation-related illnesses, [attorney Charles Bonner] said. Nathan Piekutoski, 22, who served aboard the USS Essex [...]i says he suffered from leukemia [...] “Within a few months I started getting all these weird symptoms” [...] Plym says she is prepared to have her symptoms question in court [...] with so many U.S. sailors coming forward, she believes justice will prevail.

Lindsay Cooper, Navy sailor aboard USS Ronald Reagan during 3/11 rescue operation: “I was standing on the flight deck, and we felt this warm gust of air, and, suddenly, it was snowing [...] We joked about it: ‘Hey, it’s radioactive snow! I took pictures and video [...] Japan didn’t want us in port, Korea didn’t want us, Guam turned us away. We floated in the water for two and a half months [until Thailand took them in] “People were shitting themselves in the hallways [All the while crew members had been suffering from excruciating diarrhea].”

Cooper interviewed by EON, published Dec. 20, 2013: (at 4:30 in) “As soon as you step foot on the flight deck and went outside you had this taste of like aluminum foil.”[...] (at 10:45 in) We thought that we had felt a plume because there was kind of this warm air that went past the ship and you could kind of tell the differences between jet exhaust — we didn’t have any jets going around at the time. It was like 20 degrees outside and you could feel this warm air and you kind of enjoyed it at first and then you’re like, ‘Is that aluminum foil that I taste?’


Video above: Plaintiffs Lindsay Cooper and Mathew Bradley, together with their attorneys Charles Bonner, Paul Garner and Cabral Bonner report their experiences on USS Ronald Reagan.  From (http://youtu.be/DSz1wGc1PcU). 

San Diego Union Tribune, Dec. 18, 2013:  A San Diego federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit alleging that U.S. sailors were exposed to dangerous radiation [but] left the door open for a follow-on lawsuit [...] saying it was beyond her authority to determine whether the Japanese government had perpetrated a fraud [...] Sailors represented in the lawsuit were deckhands who washed down the flight deck, and performed other decontamination tasks. Paul Garner, the Encinitas lawyer leading the case, said the sailors’ ailments include rectal bleeding, other gastrointestinal trouble, unremitting headaches, hair loss and fatigue. Some have thyroid and gallbladder cancer. Many are in their 20s.  Garner said he will refile the case without alleging the conspiracy with the Japanese government. The number of plaintiffs is now at 51 people. Garner said he intends to add at least 20 more when he refiles.  [...]

Japan Daily Press, Dec. 18, 2013: The lawsuit claimed that the power company’s officials lied about the amount of radiation leaking from the molten-down reactors of the plant, with the Japanese central government complicit in the lie. The U.S. personnel said that it was that information that was used by the U.S. Navy to calculate their operational safety, and the health risk on the sailors in the relief effort. [...] Garner said that he will be refiling the case, but this time minus the charges against the Japanese government. [...]

Charles Bonner, one of the attorneys representing USS Ronald Reagan service personnel, Nuclear Hotseat, Dec. 10, 2013: The 51 sailors that we represent right now have come down with a host of medical problems, including cancers, and leukemia, all kinds of gynecological problems, people with thyroid cancers, people who are going blind [...] tumors on the brain. These service men and women are young people 21, 22, 23 years old and no one in their family had ever (inaudible) any of these kind of illnesses before.

Daniel Hair, Petty Officer 3rd Class aboard the USS Ronald Reagan: [Around 5 months after 3/11 his] body began to betray him [...] his immune system began to attack his body. The diagnosis, he said, was a genetic immune system disease, which on X-rays looked to have made his hip joint jagged and his spine arthritic.  [...] Other servicemembers have been diagnosed with leukemia, testicular cancer [...] “I live in pain every day. I went from this guy in top physical condition to a deteriorating body and a whacked-out mindset.” [...] no history of the genetic disease in his family and that doctors have told him radiation exposure could have triggered it.

Al Jazeera’s America Tonight, Dec. 17, 2013: Dozens of sailors who served on the nuclear powered super carrier USS Ronald Reagan are suing the owner of the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. The sailors say they have cancer and say it may have been caused by their rescue efforts following the plant’s meltdown.

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Radioactive Sailors 12/22/13
Ea O Ka Aina: USS Ronald Reagan & Fukushima 12/15/13


.