1. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has confirmed that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster now rates as an International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) Level 7 event. For perspective, Chernobyl is the only other reactor plant accident in history to have received such a rating. Based on the training I received during a decade spent working in the nuclear power industry, reports from Fukushima from the very beginning of the crisis clearly indicated to me that this was going to be a major radiological event, deserving of the highest levels of media and government attention. The problem is, though, that in the absence of a photogenic mushroom cloud, our domestic media outlets seem to have lost interest in this nuclear event, I think largely because the economic impact and casualties right now pale in comparison to the visceral, visual impacts of the triggering earthquake and tsunami that led to the nuclear crisis. But that’s stunningly short-sighted, given the long-term impacts of ionizing radiation. Interestingly enough, the American media actually did seem to have a better handle on the severity of this evolving, long-term radiological event in its earliest days, but then they seemed to back off when ill-informed members of the American blathering class (both on television and in the blogosphere) started jumping up and down and shrieking like howler monkeys about “media hype,” for reasons that to this day strike me as perverse and inexplicable. Consider this: the Japanese government is preparing to evacuate upwards of a 30 kilometer radius around the Daiichi plants, which would be like the Feds here sweeping in and telling everyone who lived within 18 miles of the New York State Capitol (essentially the entire Capital Region) that they had to leave their homes, now, and perhaps never come back. That’s not hype, that’s horrifying, and I think the bloggers and pundits who created the impression that this was all just a media kerfuffle did a grave disservice to their readers and viewers, and were tremendously disrespectful toward the present and future victims of this nuclear disaster, including those who will lose they have everything now, and those who will suffer in years (and generations) yet to come from the physiological consequences of this event. At bottom line, radiological safety and control is a tremendously complex and complicated field, with far-reaching ramifications, and if the only things you know about it are what you or your staff found on Wikipedia one afternoon, and you’ve never worn a dosimeter to work, then you really have absolutely no business at all waxing profound about it in public, under any circumstances. Seriously.
2. Very, very, very, very much less seriously: I’ve been trying not to notice that the beloved Kansas City Royals had the best record in the American League Spring Season standings, and that they’re playing .667 level ball and competing for the top of their division a couple of weeks into the regular season. Were I of an apocalyptic bent, I would certainly be looking into the deeper corners of the Revelation of Saint John the Divine for clues as to how this most unlikely of scenarios fits in with the coming end of times. If the beloved Washington Capitals manage to turn their number one seed in the Eastern Conference into something other than a 7-game series loss to Pittsburgh in the second round (after squandering a 3-1 series lead), then I’ll definitely be buying some Beast Insurance and keeping my eyes peeled for the Whore of Babylon. On the upside, I hear that Gog and Magog have got some fantastic giant warriors on their side, so perhaps the beloved Washington Wizards can swing some trades there that’ll get ’em out of the lottery for a year or two . . .
3. Years ago, I realized that I over-used the phrase “Odds and Sods” when I was titling multi-topic posts (like this one) on my blog. So, since I’d cribbed that phrase from an album title by The Who, I decided to just use other Who song titles for such posts instead. Then I ran out of Who songs that seemed to fit, so I moved on to Bee Gees song titles, and when I’d exhausted that list, I started in on song titles by Emerson, Lake and Palmer that seemed to fit. That list, too, seems to have run its course, so I’ve picked a song title from the canon of yet another artist tonight, one so prolific that I figure I should be able to get at least a couple of years’ worth of omnibus blog post titles out of his work. An Indie Albany gold star for the first reader who identifies him, without checking on Wikipedia for the answer . . .