Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Ken Has a Dinosaur Skeleton

Ken Ham has managed to get his hands on what appears to be a genuine allosaurus skeleton for his creation museum. Based on some of the weakest evidence I've ever heard, he claims that it is only 4500 years old and therefore disproves an old Earth.

Serious research could be done on these remains, but instead they're going to gather dust in Ken's museum as he uses them to spread creationist misinformation. I weep for the real paleontologists who won't get to examine this find.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Tuna Fallout

I'm seeing another round of Fukushima panic posts going around on Facebook. Apparently every fish in the Pacific Ocean (and probably the world) is contaminated with radiation from the melted-down Fukushima nuclear reactor.

Radioactive material certainly did reach the ocean from the Fukushima meltdown. As I understand it, the amount of contaminated water from the reactor that reached the ocean would fill a large swimming pool or two.

In the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, that doesn't amount to much. Given some time to disperse (like a couple of years), the radioactivity of ocean water contaminated with water from Fukushima is indistinguishable from normal background radiation. Furthermore, the "hottest" radioactive isotopes decay pretty quickly. Iodine-131, for example, has a half-life of eight days; there isn't even a word for the tininess of the fraction of iodine-131 remaining from that incident. It's effectively gone.

There are more persistent isotopes, of course. There are cesium isotopes from the meltdown with half-lives of years, but the danger is still negligible. Information I'm seeing tells me that you would have to eat twenty tuna steaks to take in the amount of radiation you would get from one typical banana.

This is paranoia based on lack of understanding. Don't worry about radioactive tuna.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Solar Roadway

Now there's a clever idea.

You might want to check out the IndieGogo page.

UPDATE: I'm going to revisit this, since some loud YouTube people have been defecating on the notion.

I don't believe for a second that this technology can live up to all of the hype that has been made about it on YouTube, but I do believe that it is worth investigating. It's certainly not cost effective at its current scale (the individual bricks cost thousands of dollars using current methods), but its potential can't be determined if it isn't tested on larger scales.

This project exceeded its expectations on IndieGogo, and there are vocal critics who think that is wasted money. I am glad it met its goal. I want to see if it really can be a cost-effective and useful alternative to current road technology. Existing asphalt roads need to be replaced or repaired every few years. I want to know if this alternative is competitive.