Dr. Y

Recent Activity from Dr. Y

In closing

For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled. Nobel prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman, in an appendix to the report on the loss of the space shuttle Challenger.   The first post in this series was put up a little more than two years ago and I’ve written […]

The post In closing appears on ScienceWonk, FAS’s blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

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A foolish consistency

Consistency is good – there’s a sense of security in knowing that some things will generally remain constant over time. We can always count on gravity, for example, to hold us firmly to the ground; politicians are typically pandering and self-serving; I can count on radioactivity to consistently decay away; and so forth. Of course, […]

The post A foolish consistency appears on ScienceWonk, FAS’s blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

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The Mexican radiation accident (Part II)

A highly respected colleague and friend of mine says he no longer refers to “lessons learned” but, rather, to “lessons recognized” because he has noticed that we don’t always learn our lessons. It’s not too early to recognize some lessons from the Mexican accident of the other week, but the fact that this accident happened […]

The post The Mexican radiation accident (Part II) appears on ScienceWonk, FAS’s blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

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The Mexican radiation accident (Part I)

Most news stories involving radiation are, to be blunt, overblown. Radiation can be dangerous, but the risk it actually poses is usually far lower than what the media stories would have us believe. So my first inclination when I hear about another story involving “deadly radiation” is to be skeptical. And then every now and […]

The post The Mexican radiation accident (Part I) appears on ScienceWonk, FAS’s blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

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That Fracking Radon

Although there continues to be a great deal of comment-worthy material about Fukushima (including the latest idiotic suggestion that a collapse of the spent fuel storage in Unit 4 might call for the evacuation of California) I’d like to take a bit of a break from the apparent never-ending story. Partly I’d like to cover […]

The post That Fracking Radon appears on ScienceWonk, FAS’s blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

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Death by polonium?

Last year I posted a piece that, in addition to 2 other short bits, briefly discussed the possibility that Yassar Arafat might have been poisoned with polonium-210 (Po-210) in 2004, including the apparent finding of elevated levels of the nuclide in Arafat’s remains. At the time I was dubious that there would be enough Po-210 […]

The post Death by polonium? appears on ScienceWonk, FAS’s blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

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Once more into the breach

I’d been planning on waiting a little longer before returning to the topics of Fukushima and radiation health effects, but a particularly egregiously bad New York Times op-ed piece deserves some attention. So once more into the breach. Writing in the October 30 New York Times, pediatrician and anti-nuclear activist Helen Caldicott used the nuclear […]

The post Once more into the breach appears on ScienceWonk, FAS’s blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

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Defending the Earth

As astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has pointed out, we live in a cosmic shooting gallery. Less than a year ago a good-sized chunk of cosmic rock exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk with a force of over 400 kilotons – over 30 times as powerful as the bomb that flattened Hiroshima. The impact was […]

The post Defending the Earth appears on ScienceWonk, FAS’s blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

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The dose makes the poison

One of the most potent arguments against all things nuclear is the idea that even a vanishingly small amount of radiation exposure has the chance to cause cancer. Even if that risk is incredibly low there’s still a risk, and if a huge number of people are exposed to even a small risk then there […]

The post The dose makes the poison appears on ScienceWonk, FAS’s blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

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Where does the plutonium come from?

Last week I wrote about how the shortage of Pu-238 might impact the exploration of the outer Solar System, but I didn’t much get into where the plutonium comes from. After all, while there are trace amounts of natural plutonium, there certainly isn’t nearly enough to fuel a space probe. So this week it seemed […]

The post Where does the plutonium come from? appears on ScienceWonk, FAS’s blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

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