Musings on optics, physics, astronomy, technology and life

The Knight Science Journalism Tracker has highlighted an article in which Associated Press science writer Seth Borenstein explores Americans’ conflicted feelings about all things nuclear, from the duck-and-cover days to Homer Simpson and his arrogant boss. I’ve known Seth since my college journalism days and am always interested in reading his stuff.

Another longtime friend, Jonathan McDowell of Jonathan’s Space Report fame, has been using his Facebook account to post links to educational pages about radiation (since most of us don’t know our millisieverts from a meltdown). He lists a graphical radiation dose chart (with a pinch of humor), a slightly more mathematical page about radiation doses, and a physicist’s talk about the specific radiation situation in Japan.

Maybe this isn’t the right topic to be blogging about at bedtime. I remember a certain time in my youth when I read John Hersey’s Hiroshima, or saw images from that nuclear-blasted city on a TV documentary, and ended up lying awake for hours, staring at the ceiling, and wondering what the bomb would look like as it crashed through the roof of my house a microsecond before exploding and vaporizing us all into instant oblivion.

Today I live a lot closer to a major city than I did then, but somehow I’m not as worried about The Bomb, at least not one launched by an enemy superpower. I’m more likely to worry about our collective dream-killing Great Recession, which in my mind won’t be over until other friends of mine get jobs.

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Comments on: "Late-night thoughts (links, mostly) on radiation fears" (1)

  1. The thing about wondering what the second (or nanosecond) before death would be like from a nuclear bomb attack or, perhaps, plummeting from the top of the Chesapeake Bridge, is that there is nothing to reflect upon once the deed is done.

    Indulging in the “what would it be like” musings is assuming an afterlife that allows for a review of your life in this physical plane. This does not preclude the possibility of an afterlife but, I wonder, if it would be worthwhile to review this current one once we get to the next.

    Sudden death from nuclear attack or any other means is, er, sudden and, thus, cannot be reflected upon and only imagined for the purposes of fiction – good or bad.

    Just my $.02

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