Friday, 27 March 2020

Bushfires v Nuclear War

As usual, my writing keeps getting overtaken by events. I was working on the next part of my "Preparing for Nuclear War" series but this was further put off when Australia suffered something that was comparable to a nuclear war in its effects - at least in terms of the country's wildlife. I decided to write about this, but before I could post anything a freaking new plague descended on us.

I think it would be a pity to let what I'd written go to waste, so here it is. It's no longer topical, but I suppose it will at least be in time for next bushfire season. Climate Change is not going away.

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Fear the Reaper

This Halloween the Grim Reaper paid a visit.

[click for larger image] Photo by Xesce

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Preparing for Nuclear War - Units of Radiation Dose

Before we can discuss the effects of nuclear radiation, it's necessary to get a handle on the units used to describe it. There are a whole lot of weird ones out there; you can be probably guess that a Curie is a measure of radiation of some sort, but what's a Sievert? It sounds like a type of cat. And what about a Becquerel - that sounds like a cute little marsupial. A REM? Is this something to do with sleeping?

Today's lesson is a basic guide to the two most important quantities that we will be discussing; Radiation Dose and Radiation Dose Rate. To keep this post a manageable length, I will only write about the units used to describe these quantities and won't go into how to measure them or what the effects of various doses are. (BTW, while I will mention various specific doses and dose rates for the purposes of illustration below, you can ignore the actual numbers for the time being.)

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Preparing for Nuclear War - Answers to the Quiz Questions

Here are the answers to the questions I posed last time.

I should point out that this information doesn't really come under the heading of "Preparing for Nuclear War", as it's not especially relevant to the sort of things you'll have to deal with after the bomb goes off.

The intent of bringing this up was to illustrate that the sort of nuclear physics you get taught at high-school can potentially lead you astray, and, more importantly, it shows why seemingly knowledgeable people pontificating on the subject on the net are more often than not talking complete bollocks. This stuff is harder than it seems and it's easy to think that you know more than you do.

Friday, 12 July 2019

Preparing for Nuclear War - An Introduction

"The most important thing is that when things get really bad and the world looks its darkest, you just have to throw up your hands and say well, all right! 'cause it's probably going to get a whole hell of a lot worse."

Cannibal! The Musical
In 2017 I posted a rant where I complained to the effect that politically and environmentally, there has been such a continuous stream of horrific calamities befalling the world that whenever I start to write a post commenting on one disaster it gets overshadowed by something even worse before I can finish. I promised to do better but the disasters starting coming at an even faster rate.

So I decided to write about nuclear war - it's one of the few bad things that haven't happened yet and maybe I'll be able to post about it before it happens.

Ron Cobb cartoon from 1966 [source]

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Praising by Faint Damnation

Recently I received an election leaflet in the mail; it was purportedly explaining why we should not vote for Peter Dutton.

I am shocked at these allegations.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Hippie Halloween

From a political and environmental perspective (which was meant to be the main focus of this blog), this year has so far been such a horrific nightmare that any attempt at a scary Halloween theme would have seemed pitiful by comparison.

So instead, just to be different, this year's Halloween was Hippie themed - although I suppose that here in the heart of Peter Dutton's electorate the concepts of peace, love, tolerance and compassion might well be considered to be terrifying to some.

Trippy Yeti (She Asks Me Why, I'm Just a Hairy Guy) [Photo by Xesce]

Peace Pumpkin 2018

Now The Acid Is Really Starting To Kick In [Photo by Blinky]