Radiation Release in Japan 20 to 50 Percent of Chernobyls


From Reuters

The release of two types of radioactive particles in the first 3-4 days of Japan‘s nuclear crisis is estimated to have reached 20-50 percent of the amounts from Chernobyl in 10 days, an Austrian expert said Wednesday.

That’s not encouraging. The numbers 20 and 50 percent are not as wide a variance as might be thought. They are referring to two different kinds of radiation.

Below-

The Austrian institute’s Dr Gerhard Wotawa stressed the two isotopes from Fukushima he had sought to estimate — iodine-131 and caesium-137 — normally make up only one tenth of total radiation.

Based on measurements made at monitoring stations in Japan and the United States, Wotawa said the iodine released from Fukushima in the first three-four days was about 20 percent of that released from Chernobyl during a ten-day period.

For Caesium-137, the figure could amount to some 50 percent.

Most dangerous jobs aren’t what you may think (via MSNBC)


As someone who on occasion has taught criminal justice classes, one of the more difficult problems you deal with teaching is the misconceptions about police work. Everyone knows all police work. They think. After all it’s on television, dozens of movies. You could even add in a few mystery novels.

Police work is the most dangerous work you can do. There are shoot outs and constant danger.

No, there aren’t. Half of all sworn officers never pull their gun on the job for any reason whatever.

The numbers are straightforward.

Read below.

James Pilant

From MSNBC –

Miners and police officers face many dangers. In 2009, the most recent year for which we have statistics, 101 miners and 97 police officers and security guards died on the job, making for a roughly similar fatality rate of around 13 deaths per 100,000 workers.

From further down in the article.

Still, it does matter what career path you choose. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) database, the 10 most dangerous industries to work in are anywhere from six to 60 times as dangerous as the average workplace.

First on the list is fishing, as anyone who’s seen Deadliest Catch on Discovery might guess. In the last year on record, 56 fishermen died, a colossal fatality rate of 200 per 100,000 workers, or 0.2 percent. Loggers and pilots are the only other jobs that come close to being that dangerous, each with 0.006 percent annual death rates. Construction (800 deaths) and transportation and warehousing (586 deaths) registered the largest number of deaths per sector, though their occupational fatality rates hovered around 0.002 percent.

Japanese Nuclear Plants Evacuated


The crisis continues. As I said yesterday, the Japanese utility company and the government are unwilling to give an accurate view of the disaster. So, one day we hear encouraging news which will be partially or totally dispelled by the next day’s news.

From the Associated Press

(AP) Tokyo’s utility company says black smoke has been seen emerging from Unit 3 of the crippled nuclear plant in northeastern Japan, prompting a new evacuation of the complex. Officials with Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Wednesday that workers from the entire Fukushima Dai-ichi plant have been temporarily evacuated. Operators of the power station have been desperately trying to cool the reactors and spent fuel pools at the plant after it was damaged by this month’s tsunami, which knocked out power to the cooling systems.

Elizabeth Taylor is dead at 79 (via CBS)


From CBS

Legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor has died at the age of 79.

The actress, who won Oscars for her performances in “BUtterfield 8″ and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” died Wednesday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from congestive heart failure, publicist Sally Morrison said.

I am never able to think of Elizabeth Taylor without thinking of Richard Burton. I am a product of my age. Here is a clip from The Sandpiper. I was nine when the movie was released. Their marriages and marital difficulties were a news background for most of my formative years.

James Pilant

This is a fan video of Johnny Mathis and Barbara Streisand singing “The Shadow of Your Smile.” It won an Academy Award for best original song.

Warren: Consumer agency on small banks’ side (via MSNBC)


I have become concerned at the language of corporate ethics and white collar crime. It is not precise enough for what we are doing. I have talked many times about banks often very critically. But very seldom was I speaking of the local banks, the small banks. Generally, the despicable actions of the 24 large investment banks were what was motivating my anger. We don’t have the right words. Multi-national corporations shifting jobs overseas are not the same as close corporations composed of a single family running a large farm. We speak of corporations and banks but we mean only a few. We need a new language in business ethics. We need a new precision. Those small banks, those small businesses would be allies in the fight for morality and justice if not lumped in with the others everytime criticism is made.

We need a new language.

James Pilant

From MSNBC

Small banks have expressed concern the new agency, set to open its doors in July, will add regulatory costs, making it harder for them to survive.

Warren told a gathering of community bankers that the opposite will happen as the agency simplifies regulations on products such as mortgages and seeks to crack down on non-bank lenders that went largely unregulated during the 2007-2009 financial crisis and are accused of shady lending practices.

“I know that you want a regulatory structure that doesn’t require an army of lawyers,” she said in remarks prepared for delivery at the Independent Community Bankers of America annual convention. “Big banks may be able to afford to hire all those lawyers, but you cannot.”