Radiation levels in Japan and the U.S.A.

UPDATE 13 April 2011: All links work in Part 1. Added a Part 2 for U.S, European radiation levels

Part One: Radiation levels in Japan

The source for this chart is Ryugo Hayano, Ph.D. Professor Hayano is the Physics Department Chair at The University of Tokyo. Click on the image to view a larger version, with higher resolution. It links directly to the Professor’s user page on image-sharing site Plixi. You’ll find many other charts and graphs there. Some charts are localized at a prefecture level.

Graph of Radiation

Graph of Radiation levels in Japan on 10 April 2011

I offer my thanks to @hayano and Daniel Garcia. Daniel R. Garcia Ph.D. is a nuclear scientist from France, doing a post-doc at TEPCO, in Fukushima. He was there prior to the earthquake and tsunami. Daniel frequently sends updates via Twitter as @daniel_garcia_r. He works at the reactor site every day, takes photos, and makes them available via Twitter.

Fukushima nuclear plant

Control board of Fukushima 1 Nuclear Power Plant when all was well

Both Daniel and Professor Hayano are reliable, because they never confuse Becquerel with Sievert with Roentgen, they know radio-isotopes and their half-lives better than nearly anyone. Daniel had to assisted the press a few weeks ago when there was confusion between Cesium 137 versus Iodine 137 versus Iodine 131 versus Uranium 137.

PART II: Other locales, other radiation levels

The Radiation Network is an excellent resource for radiation information in the U.S.A. and other parts of the world. It is a network of civilian volunteers using a protocol to report radiation readings, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Sensor stations are located throughout the contiguous 48 states, Hawaii,  Alaska and Norway. There was one in Northern Japan. Sadly, it went off-line last month.

The Radiation Network is non-profit, all volunteer and headquartered in Arizona. Tim is the public face of the Radiation Network. Using software developed for this purpose, Tim collects and aggregates the real-time data from the sensor stations, then updates the map online with the readings at one-minute intervals. The Radiation Network has went online nearly a decade, ago. Thus they offer very reliable baseline measures for comparison and detection of any incident. Their criteria for elevated radiation include

  • Rule out protocol for false positives e.g. spikes due to sensors  malfunctioning,
  • Level of radiation that is significant: Higher than the threshold AND sustained, and how long “sustained” is,
  • Exogenous causes such as geography. Readings in Colorado are always higher due to the higher elevation.

The site is basic but  functional. There are The Maps, and The Message. The Message is a running log of updates.

In addition to the embedded links above, you can read a little more about the Radiation Network in this little piece I wrote on Amplify on April 7.

Published in: on April 10, 2011 at 8:59 am  Leave a Comment  
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Rebuilding the Antikythera Mechanism


The Antikythera was an early analog computer

The Antikythera Mechanism is older than Charles Babbage’s computation machine by an order of magnitude. It is the oldest known calculator. Some rather chewed-up looking pieces are on display at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. I wouldn’t expect otherwise, as the Antikythera was built in ancient Greece in about 100 BCE.

The Antikythera is an analog computer requiring a very comprehensive understanding of gear ratios and differentials. It was designed so well that it can accurately calculate solar eclipses and other celestial events. It’s true purpose was not understood until recently, according to the description by MacMillan Publishing.

Fully functional Antikythera replica using Lego

MacMillan posted a video on YouTube yesterday, as part of their Digital-Science.com roll-out. Andrew Carol is the person shown in the video. He is the “master Lego craftsman” and a software engineer with Apple Computers.

Watch an amazing 3-minute video that quickly shows how the all-Lego Antikythera calculator was constructed.

The full story behind all this is here… Read More

via Casting Out Nines.

Published in: on December 10, 2010 at 1:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Science Trading Card

Science Trading Card via Flickr

I was inspired by the story of this year’s Nobel Laureate in Physics, Professor A. Geim. He was an Ig-Noble prize winner a scant ten years ago, for the distinction of levitating live frogs with magnets. Now he and his University of Manchester colleague have won the Nobel Prize for extraction of graphene, a carbon-based material with amazing properties, including exceptional conductivity, transparency and strength.

Put aside the subject of this image, cigarettes. Note the style, humor and backdrop. It is delightfully whimsical, much in the spirit I attribute to Professor Geim as he levitated his frogs.
Image: Churchman’s Cigarettes, Early 20th Century originally uploaded by the Chemical Heritage Foundation

Published in: on October 11, 2010 at 10:21 am  Leave a Comment  
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