Posts Tagged geiger counters

Over one in six Japanese want a geiger counter | 世論 What Japan Thinks

I subscribe to “Yoron What Japan Thinks”. This guy has gone to the trouble of translating into English the results of online surveys that deal with consumer and life-style trends in Japan, surveys that I wouldn’t couldn’t read in Japanese.

These statistics are interesting, but I also liked his comment on irresponsible journalism.

I suppose if I was intellectually bankrupt and just wanted to get hits for this story by getting spread to the more excitable corners of the web, I should have entitled the story something like “Four in five Japanese will DIE of STUBBORNNESS”, and indeed I wouldn’t be too surprised if it gets picked up anyway and repackaged with a similar scary line. Anyway, I believe that geiger counters are actually relatively difficult to use accurately, and for perhaps the biggest source of mostly unfounded worry, foodstuffs, they are pretty much useless, but yet I hear that people in Tokyo supermarkets do wave them over the veggie stalls. I wonder how they react to bananas and Brazil nuts?

via Over one in six Japanese want a geiger counter | 世論 What Japan Thinks.

If you haven’t yet done so, take a gander at his “about” page, which includes this gem which makes me think he’s British (the use of “git”, not the fact he’s anti-social!):

Are you really an anti-social git?

“Yes” is probably the most accurate answer, with a tacked-on “…but I’m getting better”.

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Spooked consumers snapping up cheap Geiger counters | The Japan Times Online

Astonishing. A society which has been trained to obey orders, to undertake nothing on one’s own initiative without consulting superiors and peers/fellow group or community members, is taking matters into its own hands at an accelerating pace. Reality is forcing itself into people’s consciousness. The idea that they might have been living in a dream until now, that they are victims of their own values (collectivism, obedience to authority, letting the elites run the country (and assuming that those who do run the country are elites and thus must know what they are doing),and finally, a largely unsuspected and unconscious scientism, may, or may not, be slowly percolating…

Consumers are snapping up the devices, which range in price from ¥10,000 to ¥1 million, to check radiation in their backyards and parks where they take their children. The cheaper models are proving the most popular.

Although the cheaper devices are generally of lower quality, they can still be effective if users have a good understanding of how they work, experts said.

“Devices that detect only gamma rays are probably good enough for individuals,” said Masahiro Fukushi, a radiation professor at Tokyo Metropolitan University.

In general, cheap devices detect only gamma rays, which are released by various isotopes of iodine and cesium.

The more expensive models can detect alpha and beta rays as well, Fukushi said. Uranium and plutonium emit alpha rays. Strontium releases beta rays.

via Spooked consumers snapping up cheap Geiger counters | The Japan Times Online.

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Yakuza eye cleanup profits | The Japan Times Online

The government and law enforcement authorities appear to be fighting an uphill battle to prevent gangsters and other “antisocial” groups from cashing in on disposing of huge amounts of debris generated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, which played havoc with large areas along the Pacific coast of northeastern Japan.

via Yakuza eye cleanup profits | The Japan Times Online.

I was going to make a sarky comment about this, along the lines of “who cares if they’re anti-social, as long as they get the job done?” but then further down in the article I read something more interesting:

Another category of “antisocial” groups is groups of people known as sokai-ya, which are corporate blackmailers unique to Japan. They extort money by threatening to publicly humiliate or embarrass companies and their executives at annual meetings of stockholders (kabunushi sokai).

One such group is said to have dispatched more than 30 workers to the stricken nuclear power station in Fukushima to work on disposal of contaminated debris. Each worker carries a Geiger counter to measure and records the levels of radiation. The group’s aim, of course, is to threaten Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the nuclear station, and win compensatory money by proving that these workers have were over-exposed to radiation.

Anti-social? Seems to me they’re providing much-needed resources: a) workers,  b) Geiger counters (at one stage it was revealed that Tepco didn’t have enough dosimeters to go round) and c) information about radiation levels inside the plant. Considering Tepco’s secrecy and poor treatment of their workers, seems like this could be considered near enough a public service!

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Geiger counters ineffective for checking food, water | The Japan Times Online

The other day,  a Japanese tv show did a report on Japanese food bans in other countries and related news. They showed a sushi restaurant in Taiwan where the staff were taking radiation readings with a Geiger counter right there in front of customers before handing them their plates.

Good PR, right? There’s just one problem with that:

Geiger counters are probably ineffective for consumers in detecting hazardous levels of radiation

via Geiger counters ineffective for checking food, water | The Japan Times Online.

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