Search found 67 matches

by MTGradwell
Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:59 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

I should clarify: Giant space sharks make an argument for jettisoning nuclear waste into space. I realise it isn't a feasible option. That said, how would a space elevator affect things? Obviously, we'd dump the waste in the elevator, as per usual. This would cause a problem for the giant space sha...
by MTGradwell
Tue Jun 17, 2014 6:34 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

It seems very odd that your primary objection to war would be minor residual effects of the weapon that will have a minimal effect, and not, yknow, the people directly being shot. I have never stated that the residual effect of the weapons used was my primary objection to the war in Iraq. In fact t...
by MTGradwell
Tue Jun 17, 2014 8:58 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

And there is a third alternative, which consists of not blowing people up. Well that's not a legitimate alternative in the sense that it won't help you win the war. It's an alternative in the same way "not driving" is an alternative to gasoline and "not surviving" is an alternat...
by MTGradwell
Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:38 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

You also have to understand that the alternative to uranium is lead, which is not exactly nontoxic. But at least it doesn't get converted extremely rapidly into a fine powder, which gets everywhere and is unrecoverable, and which is both toxic and radioactive. And there is a third alternative, whic...
by MTGradwell
Mon Jun 16, 2014 7:40 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

Sorry, I keep forgetting you haven't actually been reading my posts, or at least didn't bother to read the one wherein I already ran those numbers. You're right that my memory was off, though. I assumed more mixing in that calculation. It was 1mg of top-millimeter dust, of which only 2.3mg/kg is re...
by MTGradwell
Sun Jun 15, 2014 10:19 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

When you addressed the inhalation problem and made assumptions which were reasonable (though you insist that they weren't), your scenario actually resulted in a HIGHER figure than anything in any of my scenarios: 1700 cancers per annum, and I generously conceded that 700 of those cancers might not ...
by MTGradwell
Sun Jun 15, 2014 7:13 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

Why would uranium dust, which you've repeatedly reminded us is extremely fine, not filter down between much larger grains of sand? While this can happen, the extent to which it happens is very limited. If this were not the case, then the first dust storm in Iraq would also have been the last one. T...
by MTGradwell
Sun Jun 15, 2014 5:47 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

Fine. Let's assume all 1000t of DU ended up as dust in Baghdad (a huge maximization of the problem), That's probably a much more reasonable assumption than the usual one, except in the very long term (although of course we shouldn't totally discount DU which was expended in Basra, Fallujah, etceter...
by MTGradwell
Sat Jun 14, 2014 11:08 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

No. You cannot have it both ways. Either a lot of dust is picked up and moved around, which mixes the UO2 with "regular" sand and dust, or not a lot is, which means it can't get all over everything. I can't have it both ways, but you can, apparently. You say there isn't a lot of dust in t...
by MTGradwell
Sat Jun 14, 2014 10:55 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

Even in a dust storm, the amount of uranium in the air would be relatively low, because uranium is much denser than sand. You would probably choke on the sand before you had to worry about the uranium. Furthermore, the fact that the earth gets moved around to such an extent only means the uranium w...
by MTGradwell
Sat Jun 14, 2014 9:19 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

I wonder why you assume that, every day, every surface in Iraq gets completely covered with dust. This is kind of where I'm at. It's not freaking Tatooine. People are not actually constantly eating and breathing nothing but dirt. Yeah, dust happens, but it's not THAT insane. You're right, it's not ...
by MTGradwell
Sat Jun 14, 2014 8:57 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

You posted pictures of severe dust storms in Iraq, but now you want to work from the assumption that UO2 dust will stay in the top mm of soil for a long time? Is this because you believe those dust storms only move the top mm of soil around? Pretty much, yes. If you look at a plant after a dust sto...
by MTGradwell
Sat Jun 14, 2014 6:20 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

OK, remind me, where did I give an estimate for what's in the ground that was off by a factor of 6000? I don't mean you overestimated how much uranium was on the ground, I mean you overestimated how many deaths it would cause. Though I suppose that's not quite true because your original estimate al...
by MTGradwell
Sat Jun 14, 2014 12:19 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

I wonder why you assume that, every day, every surface in Iraq gets completely covered with dust. Because the dust is a very fine dust. It doesn't take much of a breeze to redistribute it. so if you clear a 1m^2 area of dust (e.g. by rolling pizza dough on it) it won't take very long for dust from ...
by MTGradwell
Sat Jun 14, 2014 12:13 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

Sure, there are additional small quantities ingested in food and water and the like, but given that your estimate for just what's in the ground was off by a factor of 6000, I don't much trust you to have accurate guesses for other sources without solid data to back it up. OK, remind me, where did I...
by MTGradwell
Sat Jun 14, 2014 11:56 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

OK, since there's so much demand for it, here's a calculation which in part makes use of the WISE dose calculator at http://www.wise-uranium.org/rdcu.html (and that's a great resource by the way; I wish I'd known about it a decade ago). I've been assuming that the DU dust spreads evenly over the sur...
by MTGradwell
Sat Jun 14, 2014 1:13 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

The thing you seem to be missing is just how little dust there actually is in the air, so even if it's very dusty and the UO2 dust only settles right near the top of the soil, if it mixes in at all there's going to be only a minute fraction of that in the air. https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=iraq...
by MTGradwell
Sat Jun 14, 2014 12:53 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

Mikeski wrote:But... but... I even used the wrong "your". :cry:

And you do get points for that. Like I said, nice try. But, how can I put this? We can't all be maestros. I'm sorry. Perhaps if you hadn't added the parenthetical "someone had to do it" ...
by MTGradwell
Sat Jun 14, 2014 12:44 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

And from gmalivuk: "(And I'd wager eating a chunk of metallic potassium is in fact far *more* dangerous than an equal-sized chunk of uranium, for chemical reasons rather than nuclear ones.)" - which is of course entirely true, except perhaps for extremely tiny chunks, but it does read lik...
by MTGradwell
Fri Jun 13, 2014 11:44 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

No point in calculating expected doses or retention periods. You're right, because I've already done that for you repeatedly. I have repeatedly calculated and posted the results for expected doses and the cancer risk associated with those doses, in this thread. Repeatedly. As in, multiple times. Mu...
by MTGradwell
Fri Jun 13, 2014 10:36 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

Your strawman is also full of straw. Almost nothing in this paragraph bears any resemblance at all to what people have been saying in this thread. One trivial example: please find me someone in this thread who has suggested that the chemical danger from uranium is zero. "The danger of uranium ...
by MTGradwell
Fri Jun 13, 2014 10:05 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

Not a lot, but enough to result in selection pressure which would be significant over the timescales normally associated with evolution. No. Yes. And now this discussion has officially reached the lowest depths it can possibly attain, unless somebody is willing to step up and prove otherwise. Your ...
by MTGradwell
Fri Jun 13, 2014 9:51 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

No, the claims you have repeatedly encountered for days now have been that the actual dose of radiation from the amount of uranium we're talking about over the areas we're talking about is too small to cause the number of deaths you're claiming. And the usual justification for this claim is the ass...
by MTGradwell
Fri Jun 13, 2014 9:18 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

And the reason army people wear gloves when they handle DU munitions is because they're paranoid. Every single person who has ever heard of the stuff knows damn well that uranium is dangerous. No one in the thread is denying that. But we know it's dangerous through other means than by looking at ho...
by MTGradwell
Fri Jun 13, 2014 8:59 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

JudeMorrigan wrote:
MTGradwell wrote: Not a lot, but enough to result in selection pressure which would be significant over the timescales normally associated with evolution.

No.

Yes.

And now this discussion has officially reached the lowest depths it can possibly attain, unless somebody is willing to step up and prove otherwise.
by MTGradwell
Fri Jun 13, 2014 8:55 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

Noone has claimed that uranium isn't bad for you. We have claimed (based on the direct evidence!) that the chemical risk is siginicantly greater than the risk from its radioactivity. And we've preferred to rely on actual evidence rather than spurrious speculation. That's really the extent of it. It...
by MTGradwell
Fri Jun 13, 2014 8:41 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

Evolution is a slow process, and the idea that it *must* have adapted us well to ingesting uranium ignores a wild number of problems, such as the fact that uranium is essentially non-existent in our natural diet, and thus, no significant selection pressure exists...among many other problems. Do ple...
by MTGradwell
Fri Jun 13, 2014 8:20 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

For one thing, cyanide isn't excreted the way it comes in, it's processed. I doubt it could be excreted through urine as fast as radon is exhaled, and yet its half-life is about the same. Because it reacts and changes to other things. And this is relevant because? Because it directly contradicts th...
by MTGradwell
Fri Jun 13, 2014 7:31 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

And when did I say or imply otherwise? Really, this discussion is a waste of my time. No matter what I say, things will be put into my mouth that I have not said and do not believe. I might try again in another decade or so, but for now I have better things to do. Such as ingesting uranium. Or anyt...
by MTGradwell
Fri Jun 13, 2014 7:04 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

Great, but you're still failing (intentionally?) to grasp the actual point, which is that biological half-life doesn't depend on toxicity. a) In what way am I failing to grasp it? b) I can see what point you are trying to make. What I can't see is why? - Are you trying to say that the body delibera...
by MTGradwell
Fri Jun 13, 2014 6:51 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

If nature could evolve such a mechanism then you can be sure that it would have done so. I see that we can add evolution to the list of things that you don't understand. What, I don't understand evolution because I think it results in the possible, as opposed to the impossible? Or because I think i...
by MTGradwell
Fri Jun 13, 2014 6:34 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

Here are some specific biological half-lives, mostly from Wikipedia (mostly from Googling "biological half life" [elementname]" ): Norepinephrine - 2 minutes Hydrogen Cyanide - 20-60 minutes Radon - 30-70 minutes Uranium - 15 days Potassium-40 - 30 days Polonium - 30-50 days Strontiu...
by MTGradwell
Fri Jun 13, 2014 5:51 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

And come to think of it why does the human body excrete uranium so fast? Is the human body as unreasonable as I am? No, I'm beginning to thing that almost nothing is as unreasonable as you are. How fast the body excretes something is entirely dependent on chemical properties, not nuclear ones. So e...
by MTGradwell
Fri Jun 13, 2014 8:57 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

Except there are cellular mechanisms to repair DNA that has been damaged by radiation. Radiation below a low threshold probably carries no increased risk of cancer at all. If it does, we have no way of measuring it. DNA damage is usually self-repairing, mainly because such damage usually results in...
by MTGradwell
Fri Jun 13, 2014 8:36 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

That same chart puts the smallest one-year dose linked to any increase in cancer risk at 100mSv. 1 Sievert equates to an approximately 5.5% chance of developing cancer. 100mSv is a 0.55% chance. If the entire approximately 32 million population of Iraq was exposed to 100mSv per annum, that would re...
by MTGradwell
Fri Jun 13, 2014 6:47 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

they're not much into bananas Can you get off the bananas? The point of the banana comparison is that they don't cause cancer, not that they do. But this is the crucial point on which we differ. If something emits radiation (as bananas do, in quantities so large that a truck of bananas can trigger ...
by MTGradwell
Thu Jun 12, 2014 4:34 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

Your assumptions were not reasonable. You can't assume Iraq has the same rate of radiation-induced cancer deaths as the US or as the world at large, and then downplay all the causes of that radiation except for uranium. If a large portion of the radiation I'm exposed to isn't present there, then a ...
by MTGradwell
Wed Jun 11, 2014 11:41 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

If 1000 metric tons of uranium were spread over the land area of Iraq (437000 km^2) to a depth of 3 dm (an estimate given here , which mentions that depth in fact varies from just a few cm to 7 m depending on the projectile), Is that "dm" a typo? That's a long report but I've searched all...
by MTGradwell
Wed Jun 11, 2014 2:11 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

(Dude, just read the rest of the thread before replying any more.) Suppose 1000 additional deaths per year worldwide were caused by cancer from some sort of radiation. There are 7 billion people, so that means an individual risk of 1/7,000,000, which can come from 2.6μSv of radiation. So, if everyo...
by MTGradwell
Wed Jun 11, 2014 1:57 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1377: "Fish"
Replies: 288
Views: 42384

Re: 1377: "Fish"

Sure, one stray particle can lead to cancer, but since you can't avoid all radiation, the important thing is relative risk. And if the DU in the dust only increases your total radiation exposure by, say, 1%, then it only increases your risk of cancer by 1% too. So if the baseline rate is 1%, now it...

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