The first and second Gulf of Tonkin incidents, on August 2 and August 4, 1964, provided the legal basis for the Viet Nam war, yet neither was the “unprovoked aggression” that the Johnson administration portrayed them to be. The first post in this series had an audio clip from a phone conversation in which President Johnson clearly […]
How much contamination would you find acceptable on your daughter’s teddy bear? Would you let her snuggle up at night with a bear that had been decontaminated to the industry standard – with low, but detectable counts? Does the bear mean so much to her that you’d want to get it back even with higher […]
There’s an old saying: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” But what should the saying be when the American public is fooled repeatedly, at a cost of millions of lives?
Earlier this week I was lucky enough to be asked to join a 1-day workshop on some legal aspects of responding to a radiological emergency, hosted by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO – pronounced “natch-o” in case you’re wondering). There were a number of questions we discussed but much of […]
Every so often we hear something in the news about nuclear reactors fueled with highly enriched uranium (HEU); usually with regards to nuclear weapons proliferation. Back in the good old days both the US and USSR constructed over a hundred small HEU-fueled reactors and shipped them all over the world – Uruguay had one, there were some in […]
Radiation is ubiquitous; an inescapable part of life on Earth. Background radiation reaches us from outer space, from the rocks and soils we walk on, and from naturally radioactive potassium in our own bodies. Through its entire history, organisms on Earth have been bombarded by radiation, and this will continue for as long as the […]
Even though the Cold War is supposed to have ended, the US and Russia still test each other’s air defenses. How much risk is there in such actions? More than one might think.
Well, it finally happened – North Korea finally set off another nuclear test, which wasn’t much of a surprise to be honest with you. After a couple of low-yield devices the North Koreans had plenty of reasons to continue testing – we’ll talk about that in a moment – and the world reacted fairly predictably […]
In the second Star Trek movie (based on the original Star Trek characters, not the more recent movies) there was a touching scene in which Spock sacrifices himself to save the crew of the Enterprise. His words, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few – or the one” were not only […]
So how far are we willing to go to keep ourselves safe? We’ve heard a lot of stories – we’ve experienced them! Think about all the contortions we go through at the airport – the TSA striptease comes to mind – not to mention the whole deal with having to leave water bottles and regular-sized […]