Skip to content

Go Japan Go

March 20, 2011

Japan vs the tsunami, in the style of ukiyo-e. Evocative. My money’s on Japan.

(By Boulet, a French site that I seriously need to dig into.)

You probably know ukiyo-e from Hokusai and his print The Great Wave off of Kanagawa (which was not a tsunami, incidentally).

Japan’s other battle, with radiation, is as much about fear as danger.  Part of the problem is that minute quantities are detectable and no one really understands radiation (and understandably fear it).

This Japanese video for children explains radiation better than many news sources. Nuclear Boy has a stomach ache and is farting – the worst case is if he poops & it leaks from his diaper.

On the subject of Japanese children’s poop media, “Everybody Poops” is a great book. As is “The Gas We Pass (Everybody Farts)

And as for scale – our planet is radioactive.  Bananas are radioactive. We are radioactive.  But scale matters, and this radiation chart by XKCD puts things into perspective.

(Worth reading the small text — the bananaphone reference is classic.)

I didn’t realize that Sieverts were SI units and Rems were US units (i.e. litres vs gallons). I think a lot of the confusion comes from people not understanding the difference between microSieverts (harmless) and milliSieverts (something to start thinking about over a course of a year).

I squarely blame computers for this — it is way too hard to type µ on a PC (vs option-m on a Mac), which means too many non-Mac people abbreviate microSieverts and milliSieverts both as mSv, allowing all hell to break loose as 1oe-3 and 10e-6 is a big difference. For the PC reading audience, buy a Mac for the good of science and humanity. Here are some extras for you to use while you save up.

µ µ µ µ µ µ µ µ µ

(1 rem = 0.01 Sv = 10 mSv = two chest x-rays, for those wondering.)

5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 20, 2011 5:15 pm

    Fantastic image and great resources. I actually sat through the whole stinky nuclear boy vid the first time I saw it. Precious.

    Boulet looks like a fun comix timesink! Holler if you need any Froggy language help…

    GO JAPAN! (Just heard from my friend; she’s got beisbol all lined up for us when I’m there in a few weeks. Can’t wait to rock the Giants shirt!)

  2. Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable permalink
    March 20, 2011 5:45 pm

    Ahh! So that’s what the Rems vs. Sieverts conversion? For the past week I’ve been wondering what the hell sieverts were, since I had never heard of them before, I have only heard of radiation in Rems. Of course, I wasn’t wondering about it hard enough to actually bother to google.

    Also, if ^M is actually the way you do that on a mac, that is lame. I mean, on the Mac’s behalf, as ^M is supposed to be a carriage return. That’s been the standard for close to 40 years.

    • March 20, 2011 6:23 pm

      whoops, option-m, not ctrl! oh, the irony (though muscle memory doesn’t fail me)

  3. Rachel permalink
    March 20, 2011 10:32 pm

    In the scientific community, u is used as a replacement for mu to avoid mix ups.

    • March 20, 2011 10:57 pm

      Good point. (But then they might get confused with Law & Order spinoffs.)

Leave a Reply to Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: