I had to laugh. In the comments Some Other Tom wrote:
I’m waiting for the day that even uttering the word cigarette will be taboo and banned. I know it is coming…
Two hours later, Magnetic replied:
In one school, the very word “cigarette” is verboten.
The linked article read:
…an incident that occurred as one of my Messiah College student-teachers read “The Tale of Despereaux” by Kate DiCamillo to her fourth-graders.
As she shared the scene where a father, cigarette in his clamped mouth, sells his daughter, she looked up to find 24 pairs of horrified eyes upon her. She paused, recognizing this was troubling.
Wisely, she created time for conversation. She assumed that the children were disturbed by the selling of a child. But, in whispered unison, the children warned their young student-teacher that the word “cigarette” is forbidden at their school.
They insisted that she replace the word “cigarette” with “chicken.” Strikingly, a man with a chicken in his mouth made a strange substitution, but the children were surprisingly satisfied and seemingly unfazed that a child was being sold by her father … as long as he was not smoking.
Can’t make it up, can you?
Elsewhere, I came across the Nuclear Emergency Tracking Center, which might be a useful resource.
However I’m very much in two minds these days about the danger of radioactive material. I used to believe that it was extremely dangerous. But the flourishing plant and animal life around Chernobyl have got me wondering if relatively high background levels of radiation pose any real threat.
I’ve also seen a couple of YouTube videos of Galen Winsor, a guy who built and ran and decommissioned nuclear reactors in the USA. He seems to have gone round America telling people that the stuff was harmless, even eating uranium to show people. He says, in the video below, that the sun is a nuclear reactor, and the electromagnetic radiation from the sun is the same as the radiation emitted by radioactive uranium or plutonium. Both can kill people, but he said that to do that they had to burn people (just like through over-exposure to sunlight), which needed very high radiation levels. He said that the EPA (which he said meant the End of Progress Altogether) had set the danger levels of radiation one million times higher than necessary.
I began to wonder if it’s the EPA’s job to go round exaggerating dangers. They’ve done it with environmental tobacco smoke. And according to Winsor they’d done it with radioactivity too.
I’m not well versed on radioactivity. But here’s one of his hour-long videos. Margo won’t like it, I’m sure, but maybe others will have comments to make on it.
P.S. Galen Winsor wasn’t alone. Physics Professor Bernard Cohen: “All estimates of the cancer risk from low level radiation are based on the linear-no threshold theory (LNT) which is based solely on largely discredited concepts of radiation carcinogenesis, with no experimental verification in the low dose region of the most important applications. These risk estimates are now leading to the expenditure of tens of billions of dollars to protect against dangers whose existence is highly questionable. It is therefore of utmost importance to test the validity of this theory.”