Understanding the Fear of Nuclear Power - Part 2

Rob Stein at the Washington Post adds some more reasons to the nuclear pile. There are many reasons why humans fear radiation so intensely. One reason is because radiation is silent, invisible and odorless. Another is because radiation is associated with cancer, which itself is one of the most feared words. Another reason is that in accidents, as opposed to medical treatments, exposure to radiation is involuntary. Other reasons are the searing images of victims of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, a generation raised fearing Cold War-mushroom-cloud annihilation and the way radiation is portrayed by popular culture.

Understanding the Fear of Nuclear Power - Part 1

So why are we so collectively scared of nuclear power? Bradford Plumer interviewed some cultural historians in an attempt to answer that question. Our fears of nuclear power have a long history and predate World War Two and Hiroshima. Movies about the dangers of radiation were being made as early as the 1930s. In 1928 a lawsuit brought by the “radium girls” against the United States Radium factory in New Jersey was settled.

The Nuclear Panic Button!

The recent nuclear catastrophe in Japan captured my attention for most of the past week since the March 11 earthquake. Based on the headlines over the last few days it appears that the focus of media attention has shifted to war in Libya. Neither event leads to optimism. The frustrating thing about the nuclear disaster in Japan has been the not unexpected backlash against nuclear power. Having grown up in the 1980s I remember the many nightmares about nuclear war that seemed to plague that decade.

On the Unimaginable

I made a mistake tonight. I turned on the radio to listen to the news about the foiled terrorist attack discovered in the United Kingdom. Over and over again the news anchors, the commentators, and even the police used the word ‘unimaginable’ to describe the plot. The root of all this hyperventilating seems to have come from this quote: Paul Stephenson, Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said: “We are confident that we have disrupted a plan by terrorists to cause untold death and destruction and commit mass murder.

Emergency Response and Hastily Formed Networks

The April issue of the Communications of the ACM contained an article about hastily formed networks. A hastily formed network is a network formed in response to a disaster or crisis of some kind. For example, the response to Katrina last summer and fall. Some students at SI collected material about the various responses to Katrina. Today I came across another story related to disaster response. It seems Tom Evslin and Jeff Pulver are trying to convince the FCC to mandate an emergency voice mail system for people affected by a disaster.