Let Them Eat Cake

It’s no secret that our government doesn’t tell us everything they probably should.  They didn’t want to admit that they monitor us with the NSA, and I’m pretty sure they are still trying to murder Edward Snowden and his whole extended family for blowing the whistle on them.  News media isn’t a trustworthy source of information either, and they would rather report on Justin Beiber getting arrested for shitting on a sidewalk than tell us anything useful or profound going on in the world like the protests in Ukraine where the government is being kind of unchill and taking away peoples civil rights and stuff.

I bring these things up because the web is buzzing about how the media and government are overlooking radiation that is hitting the west coast of the United States.  Parts of the west coast may be in danger of radiation exposure due to Fukushima radioactive waste leakage from 2011.  The internet and citizens of the west coast are growing concerned over videos like this one


showing Geiger counters going crazy on the beach, which are apparently showing up everywhere.  Now, Fukushima originally did not produce enough radiation to cause concern according to a National Academy of Sciences study from 2012, so panic anywhere other than immediately around Fukushima has scientifically been regarded as unwarranted.  Radiation expected to hit the west coast after it traversed the Pacific Ocean would be low enough to be considered negligible according to experts at the time.  However, it’s been almost three years since the Fukushima disaster and some leading scientists are concerned because no authorities are measuring radiation levels in the US.  Dr. Ken Buesseler, a noted oceanographer from the  Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts, said in an interview last week that,

“No one is measuring so therefore we should be alarmed. I really try to take the approach that we shouldn’t trivialize the risks of radiation and shouldn’t be overly alarmed.”

Additionally, in an interview on CNN, Arnie Gunderson said that radiation hitting the west coast will be 10 times greater than all of the Pacific Ocean nuclear bomb tests combined. The LA Times and other mainstream media outlets claim that Fukushima concern is unjustified and cites the two-year-old study I linked above, among other two-year-old studies.  However, we only have two-year-old estimates to douse our fears with, and oceanographers said that it would take at least a year longer than 2012 for radiation to really hit the west coast.  Anecdotal evidence is appearing all over the internet from fishermen claiming they don’t see as many fish or dolphins, to biologists complaining about mysterious wildlife deaths, to civilians taking their Geiger counters to the beach.  These blog reports and YouTube videos should all be taken with a grain of salt because anyone can say whatever they want on the internet, just like I am right now, or calibrate their Geiger counter wrong to misguide their audience.  Maybe they aren’t all unfounded and fake, though.  Maybe more radiation is hitting the west coast than we originally thought.  In Dr. Ken Buesseler’s words, “I don’t have concerns. But [radiation levels] still need to be monitored. They’ve been going up for two years now. We’re expecting these levels to increase, but I’m also concerned there’s not support to do these types of analyses, so that’s why we have to rely on the public to help us with that.

Most of us are aware that radiation is really bad, and you’re supposed to stay away from it, but did you know that you are exposed to radiation every day?  Whether it’s the sun’s Ultraviolet radiation, medical X-rays, cosmic radiation from outer space, or radiation emitting from within the earth itself, we are exposed to very small amounts throughout our whole lives.   Radiation is used in medicine and science to do lots of cool stuff, but at the same time it’s kind of really bad for you.  Ionizing radiation is highly reactive and unstable.  When people are exposed to radiation, this energy is transferred to our cells and can cause all kinds of damage, especially when it creates free radicals.

These radicals are the same things our cells use to kill bacteria, but free radicals from the environment can cause damage to anything inside the cell, especially DNA.  DNA damage caused by free radicals can lead to cancer.  The reason some people may get any kind of cancer despite having little or no risk factors, such as a genetic predisposition, and not participating in much risky behavior, such as tanning, may be because the little radiation we are exposed to normally in the environment, in addition to other normal things we are exposed to throughout our lives that can help cause cancer, led to a perfect storm of DNA damage and mutations that culminated into cancer.  Some cancers are more common than others depending on age, sex, genetics, or behavior.  Between 40 and 50 percent of Americans who live to age 65 will have either BCC or SCC at least once.That’s insanely common, and the rate will probably go up in the future with how popular tanning is or was; I see less orange people than I used to now, but that could just be me.  Cancer is already a serious concern for many people, and avoiding risk factors is crucial to prevention.  Areas of the west coast may have unhealthy levels of radioactivity, and authorities aren’t doing anything about it to verify we are safe.  Fucking Obama.

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