The world is clearly different now, post-Fukushima

Scientists are trying to figure why scores of seals have washed ashore in Alaska this year either dead or suffering from a mysterious disease. The seals have lesions, irritated skin, and hair loss – often symptoms of radiation poisoning - and scientists worry it might have come from the Fukushima plant in Japan. So far – there’s been no sign of elevated radiation in the waters in the Pacific Northwest - although the US government moved monitoring from daily to quarterly – but scientists are conducting tests to determine if indeed the seals have been poisoned by nuclear fallout making its way to US waters from Japan. Test results aren’t expected for a few more weeks. A study conducted earlier this month suggested that as many as 14,000 premature deaths in the United States – mostly among infants – might be attributed to nuclear fallout from Fukushima. The world is clearly different now, post-Fukushima. No nukes.


Jeff Golden's picture
Jeff Golden 11 years 22 weeks ago

Hi, Thom-- I just heard your near astonishment talking to a lucid-sounding progressive who says he might vote for Ron Paul. Even though you acknowledge merit to some of Paul's positions, you sound like the pile of reasons to oppose him massively outweighs reasons to support him. I'm less and less sure that's true. Yes, the bad pile is big and troubling. At the same time, Paul is the one and only anti-war anti-empire candidate, and the only candidate not dancing to the tune of Wall St banks (yes, I notice and like some of the President's rhetoric, and yes, there were pieces in the financial reg bill that were a little more than token...but he's also continuing prvate fundraising luncheons with Lloyd Blankfein and friends...what do you suppose they're talking about, the Mets?). That right there is a pretty damn big plus pile for Paul, given current times and what has to happen going forward.

This is NOT a no-brainer decision for true progressives. And, very crankily, I'm almost sure to end up voting for Obama.

leighmf's picture
leighmf 11 years 22 weeks ago

There is no point in SPECULATING on Fukushima, when it is so very easy to establish if the seals have radiation poisoning and it is so very easy to test the single-celled marine organisms of areas suspected of receiving fallout.

If radiation poisoning is the suspected cause of the seal disease, it can be instantly determined whether their cells are radioactive. If they are radioactive, there is no way of knowing whether the seals contacted radioactivity from above or below- they may have swum through any sort of grossly polluted area. There are pollution devices around Alaska, such as oil rigs.

Radioactive substances are readily incorporated and readily detected in the tissues of marine organisms. To estimate oceanic fallout, plankton have to be studied. In fresh water, agal cells will be radioactive. These are simple, inexpensive tests which can be performed by any of thousands of independent environmental laboratories nationwide and even college students.

PS- No matter what is said, marine scientists are some of the first to know when radiation is present in ocean organisms. It is one of the most exciting events in the life of a marine scientist as it opens new avenues in the field of oceanography. We should expect to find radioactive organisms globally, eventually. The distribution of the new era of radioactive sea life (since the Bombs, and a few unauthorized tests) will teach us new things about ocean currents and ocean circulation, which few people will care about in the least.

Berry's picture
Berry 11 years 22 weeks ago

One thing about Ron Paul. He can not be bought. He looks like a president, talks like a president and Dr. Paul is very intelligent. He has love for our freedoms and respects our freedoms and wants to keep it that way. He wants to put a stop on these military invasions.." No one is perfect . One does not have to agree with everything he says. But we need to start somewhere and turn this thing around, that is ending these wars pollutions, bring back law and order etc for our freedoms to ring once again now if not sooner. I can not imagine why anyone would not vote for Ron Paul. Its the times!

KassandraTroy's picture
KassandraTroy 11 years 22 weeks ago

Be sure to eat your fish! It's so GOOD for you!

Another government cover-up, this time brought to us by a Democrat. How many does that make during Obama's term? Just the ones advertised that is, that they couldn't sweep under the rug.

Oh, I found out today that my state's driver's liscenses have to go to DC and be checked against a terrorist watch list. I have an "interim license" for however long it takes to clear it.

The police state is expanding very quickly in this country

PhilipHenderson's picture
PhilipHenderson 11 years 22 weeks ago

We have our heads in the sand. Nothing has ever occurred on the planet to compare to the meltdown at Fukashima. There is no science to explain what happened or to suggest what to do next. Everything is being invented on the fly. This is a possible global disaster and we are pretending it is only a local event. Before 1945 there was probably no more than 200 pounds of plutonium on the planet, now there are thousands of tons of this deadly element. Welcome to the nuclear age, the age of we don't care what we can't see. I hope that the top nuclear scientists in the world are quickly engaged to assist the Japanese to find a way to resolve this problem. In the meantime the Republican leaders want to build new nuclear profit plants, despite the dangers and the important questions we have no answers to, such as, what do we do with nuclear waste?

louisehartmann's picture
louisehartmann 11 years 22 weeks ago

Hi Kassandra - what state are you in?

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 11 years 22 weeks ago

I began to produce solar power on a low level in 2007. My electricity bill declined a lot, although I only worked with AA batteries. Finally I worked with three panels, each 10 watts and a voltage regulator I had constructed myself. I tried to expand, but there wasn't anything on the market at my modest level. Presently I am watching the offers on the market, not producing any electricity. After laptops dropped in prices, solar panels actually should too -- but this didn't happen yet.

Personally I think, manufacturing solar panels shouldn't be a major argument for creating jobs. I hope this will be done by robots, so solar power will become very cheap and ergo even affordable for the majority....

I gave up in late summer 2009. As I said before, I'm watching the market. Well, I love my project (and my equipment, right now in the basement dumps) but it never was cost-effective. Not yet -- and this gotta change!

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 22 weeks ago

Gotta watch those sneaky Japanese....sending trained seals to smuggle in radiation into the US to contaminate us. They never really did get over our A bombs and their WWII balloon bombs was a failure except for one that made it to Oregon...or was it Washington state? Fukishima disaster?...earthquake? or maybe ET aliens? They are getting us back for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Or maybe it is the Iraqis who have plotted this dastardly deed...getting back at us for all of that depleted uranium that our troops polluted Iraq with causing thousands of birth defects. It might be a good idea if American women, especially on the west coast...didn't get pregnant. I guess one could say "What goes around, comes around". ;-}

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 22 weeks ago

There is a natural phenomena called "Red Tide" that occurs sometimes which kills marine life. I saw this many years ago when a leopard shark had entered the marina and was swimming around and bumping into boats. I learned later that it was likely due to the Red Tide that was occurring at that time. But, I imagine marine biologist would be able to tell weather it was the Red Tide or radiation sickness that cause the seal's lesions and/or demise. I guess one would have to wait for a study to be done to determine this.

leighmf's picture
leighmf 11 years 21 weeks ago

What I said above in comment 3 is, why are they speculating? I am a marine biologist. I don't understand why they are intimating radiation poisoning. It either is or isn't. It can be determined right away, just like with people.

Red Tides are algal (planktonic) blooms and organisms eat the algae, which contain a neurotoxin. People who eat wild fish that have dined in Red Tides can die or become critically ill .

I believe the radiation idea should not have been announced until it was ruled out. There are many other things which may account for the diseased seals.

And as I also said, it is easy enough to test bodies of water for radioactive materials in the plankton.

LonoM 11 years 21 weeks ago

I know that everybody believes that nuclear energy is dirty and dangerous but that's simply not true. There is a very clean source of nuclear energy that comes from the element Thorium. Unlike uranium, thorium can be used in a much safer state which will not melt down. In fact, it can be used to burn off the dangerous radioactive waste that comes from uranium nuclear facilities. Russia and India have active facilities. The United States has an inactive facility from the 60's. There are 2 "problems" with this type of facility.

1) They don't produce weapon grade material. If you consider that a problem.

2) They used to be difficult to initiate. They used to need uranium for the intial fire up. There is a new technology base on particle accelerator technology that can create a safe nuclear plant the size of a McDonald's. It's called a pocket particle reactor.

There is enough thorium that we currently know of to power the earth for 1,000 years. There are several groups of scientists that have been trying to bring this to the forefront. It's difficult to find a negative narrative on the subject because of it's clean burning qualities. What little waste is left can be used in medical technology usage.

No fracking. No meltdowns.

LonoM 11 years 21 weeks ago

There is one very good reason not to vote for Ron Paul. Ayn Rand. This is Paul's hero, so much so, he named his son after Rand. Just read a litle bit about Ayn Rand and you'll understand that Ron Paul isn't being reasonable or prudent; he's being selfish. The Rand philosophy is complete selfishness and not the consideration of future generations. Ron Paul proposes an everybody for themselves mentality. If that's what you believe in, there are a lot of countries like that out there for you to choose from. I prefer to protect children, the elderly and others that are defenseless.

Ben Davis Jr.'s picture
Ben Davis Jr. 11 years 21 weeks ago

Whether the seal problems are a result of the nuclear accidents or not may be an open question. However, that the world is clearly different now, post-Fukushima, is clear. In California we are taking steps to ensure that what happened in Japan doesn't happen on this side of the Pacific. We have a statewide initiative measure underway that would close all of our state's nuclear power plants. With enough signatures the issue will be before state voters in November 2012. Petitions are available for downloading and printing at

Tanya1144's picture
Tanya1144 11 years 21 weeks ago

It's all to neanderthal to me. I was reading from a print out, here in WI, from a 1906 newspaper...this being around the time of the big Ford Model T movement in the industrial revolution, but they were discussing wind energy from their wind mills on their farms, and how productive and infinite it was. They talked about seeing a future of warmth, lighting and economic growth being produced from the same air we breathe. Wow, when did special interests and money take the place of our future?

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