If you want clicks, then now is the time to write about earthquakes and nuclear disasters. That is why Science 2.0 has now an article telling us how great it is that the quake hit Japan, because Japan is so well prepared, and this is mostly thanks to the good folks from science and technology, so no wonder there are only a mere 1000 dead to count. Another article presents us with press releases of Japanese nuclear reactor officials trying to calm the panic.
Comments were quick to point out that maybe it is not quite so great to use science in order to give people a false sense of security so they keep populating areas they maybe should not settle in, build nuclear reactors where they should not. They correctly criticized the rather naïve posting of some agency’s biased releases without attaching a severe dose of disclaimers.
The excitement clearly reveals a certain naivety on science blogs. You got to have been impacted by a no less than childish trust into technology there for a moment to actually go ahead and just base an article on the number of a mere 1000 people killed after an 8.9 scale earthquake trapping people so that a huge tsunami can conveniently drown them. You got to believe in nuclear power to actually defend “please keep walking, nothing to see here” in the comment threads. In this case, it makes me somewhat angry, for two reasons:
1) We have been told that reactors are secure! For example, we have been told that rods are held in place by magnets and that when electricity fails, the magnets can quite obviously not hold the rods any longer, which then have no other possibility but falling into a position where the reactor simply cools down and nothing bad can possibly happen, ever. All the different reactor types, rods or pellets or whatnot, have redundancy aplenty in a variety of independent, fail-safe shut-off mechanisms, so we are told. Did you notice that there is not just one reactor block having problems, but all of the blocks at the Fukushima plant are in trouble?
We have been told again and again that reactors are constructed so that terror attacks and earthquakes shake them into safe configurations and that problems with nuclear power can quite generally only occur every billion gazillion years. How many years since 1986? I count about 25.
2) I have played with the thought to write an article on how to get potassium iodide pills and when to take them, but then I am getting older now and less confrontational – after all, I do respect the authors of those mentioned posts a great deal. So let me only pose this question: Do we on this purported science platform have to chase ambulances at all? And if we do, can’t we be at least more careful about what we write in the excitement of it all?
Here a really stupid picture just for some FOX news like “balance” on Science2.0. It does not go my way (I am in China), but I do have potassium iodide tablets ready nevertheless.
Science supposedly involves people who are somewhat more experienced and wiser with information processing as such, used to proper analysis with statistics and advanced thinking and all that good stuff which science bloggers identify with and are so proud of. Guess what, such goodies need time!
Whenever yet again I read on a “science blog” that somebody “has beaten” somebody else to write about some topic, I get this distinct feeling that something is very wrong. Here my solution: Those are not science blogs!