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View Diary: japan nuclear disaster: mothership (195 comments)

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  •  it's emotionally difficult, for those not trained (28+ / 0-)

    in doing so, for people to look at a bunch of ambiguous data and withhold judgement. it sort of relieves the stress of uncertainty to assume something will go one way or the other, but then one does, as you said, get whiplash when things don't end up that way.

    it might be wise to know that you don't know, and embrace it, but it drives most people bonkers.

    •  this is one of the wisest comments ever (9+ / 0-)

      thanks wu ming.  
         I am a psychoanalyst and my husband is an engineer with many decades of experience in nuclear energy. We both regularly face the same problem. UNCERTAINTY  whether it is from within or without. Complex human beings and complex power plants. A hysterical rush to conclusions is not helpful to anyone.  

      You don't get to keep democracy unless you fight for it.

      by artebella on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 07:06:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't advocate an hysterical rush (5+ / 0-)

        to conclusions, but I think it is prudent to assume the worst.

        Nuclear accidents are more prone to deception than any other, simply because radioactive particles are invisible, have no taste nor smell; and their deleterious effects might take years to manifest.

        The industry has persistently practiced deception in every case - Three Mile Island never had anything but a voluntary evacuation.

        This link describes some of the effects of various accidents.  The advise to stay indoors is relatively useless, unless you can completely seal the building.  The only proactive moves are the administration of potassium iodide and evacuation.

        We would be wise to keep an eye on prevailing winds and the jet streams as this tragedy unfolds.

        Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth - Abraham Lincoln

        by Gustogirl on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 10:30:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  exactly (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Gustogirl, koNko, Picot verde, Belle Ame

          and this isnt a one time release, so what are you suppose to stay in yur bubble for what?  If you really do have it sealed, you have about 8-12 hours of air give or take. If you dont have it sealed, you are sitting in a radiated soup.

          Get the hell out of there is the wise thing if it is indeed possible..

          Bad is never good until worse happens

          by dark daze on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 10:41:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Seriously, how do you seal against radiation? (0+ / 0-)

            People would just repeat the "seal your house and stay indoors" orders and I would wonder if I was missing something. If you seal up your house against outside air (pretending it is even possible to find every air leak), how long before you suffocate? You have to have an exchange of air with the outside, i.e. replenish oxygen remove carbon dioxide, at least through the normal gaps and pores of most buildings, if not a dedicated ventilation system as in specially-designed sealed buildings. And even in high tech wealthy Japan I doubt many homes have ventilation with the kind of filters you'd need - if they exist. Or maybe if you have enough plants to help provide oxygen and remove CO2 . . . .

            So I presume this is just one of those BS orders issued by authorities to fool people into thinking they actually have some control over the situation?

        •  I try to be objetive (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Gustogirl, wu ming

          Including making reasonable judgements about the information - including the source.

          Actually, that is my temperment and training too - I work in R+D in the materials science and sometimes, partiularly with our own work, we tend to less than objetive and it can be a fatal flaw. So yeah, a healthy amount of skepticism is a good thing.

          "Show Me" works. It's an invitation to provide proof.

          What about my Daughter's future?

          by koNko on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 11:18:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  plant has 4 reactors nearing meltdown (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gustogirl, Picot verde

        if you have 4 reactors nearing meltdown, one may have a breach. Now reactor 5 and 6 temps are rising.  You dont have to be a genius to understand systemic failure.

        Sorry, but if you have a pregnant wife or small children in japan, you do have to rush to a conclusion.

        The govt and energy agencies will tell you only what they want you to know, Thats not news or clear information.

        Think for yourself, why is that so hard?

        If most of the workers in that plant have fled? what more information do you need?

        If you flee Japan and find out, that disaster was avoided, you lose a lil money etc.  If you wait, you may have dead kids and cancer.

        You dont need 5 years of risk access schooling to see what the wise thing to do is.

        Bad is never good until worse happens

        by dark daze on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 10:38:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  wait what? 4? (0+ / 0-)

          I thought the other 3 of the 6 had been in cold shutdown, well before the earthquake for maintenance or something.

          •  It's the pools of fuel rods (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            The pools of fuel rods are nearing meltdown.

            These GE reactors have a fatal design flaw -- the toxic fuel rods, which are prone to catching fire and spreading cesium through the air, are not in any kind of containment vessel when they are not being used.

            Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

            by neroden on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 08:51:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Here is the problem (0+ / 0-)

          90 million people don't get that choice and at some point maintaining public order and avoiding panic is a good thing, systematically. Sometimes this motivates government to be less than honest - they are human too.

          Sure people should think for themselves and exercise the options available they think reasonable, I don't think anyone is arguing about that.

          What about my Daughter's future?

          by koNko on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 11:23:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  not everyone has that option (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          spideymike, Annalize5

          but yeah, a friend of mine just left tokyo today with her family, and i am relieved. were i in that position, i would have done the same.

          but assuming for the sake of making a decision that the risk of a bad situation makes it worthwhile to choose to leave is not the same thing as assuming that that possibility is reality, and the only possible outcome.

          certainty is a mistake, even if acting on an uncertain probability is worth doing. do you see the difference?

      •  I like it too, but you should do the honors (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The e-mail address is TopComments at G Mail dot com.

        Unplug the Koch machine! It's swallowing people's money!

        by Seneca Doane on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 11:39:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  As a statistician (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      k9disc, Ignacio Magaloni, wu ming

      I can personally attest to the bonkers part.

      Now where did I put my shot glass?

      by aztecraingod on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 09:45:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Coping With a Traumatic Event - Links (6+ / 0-)

      In reading about Chernobyl, one of the common findings of the studies that looked at the impact was that the pyschological trauma was significant and long lasting.

      This kind of impact is shared not only by direct victims and their families, but also the professional and volunteer responders and by the community at large (especially those under a perceived threat - even if the threat is not 'real'.)

      It is worth including the care of your mind and spirit in your 'first-aid' kit and list of things to do.  It comes under the same heading as the airline instructions to "put on your own mask first".

      Given how close our modern communications bring us both in observation and time, as the widespread and long-lasting psychological  impact of 9-11 here in the US showed, it probably doesn't hurt for even those here to keep some of this in mind.

      Here's just a start:

      Responder Self Care: Caring For Yourself in the Face of Difficult Work (PDF: 74KB/2 pages) Pdf is available as seperate link here:

      (While reading this, you might want to take 4 slow, deep breaths, holding each for a moment or two after inhaling and after exhaling. )

      Coping With a Traumatic Event
      A traumatic event is a situation that threatens your safety or the safety of others in your environment. Whether you are directly or indirectly impacted by trauma, you may experience intense feelings of fear, hopelessness, or anxiety.

      Common Reactions To Traumatic Events

      Strong emotions including shock, fear, anger, grief, confusion, and horror
      Feelings of helplessness, disbelief, powerlessness, disconnectedness, or aloneness
      Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
      Difficulties sleeping
      Nightmares or disturbing dreams
      Intrusive or upsetting thoughts or memories of the event
      Having strong reactions to things that remind you of the event
      Problems with concentration, learning, and decision-making
      Extreme mood swings, irritability, restlessness, outbursts of anger
      Headaches, stomachaches, rashes, or other allergic reactions
      Not wanting to share crisis job related responsibilities, or relinquish control of the situation
      Feelings of foreboding or impending doom, or feelings of fear about the future
      Increased concern about the safety of loved ones or about your own safety
      Thoughts of death or suicide; persistent feelings of pessimism

      Coping Techniques

      Stay connected to friends and family—many people find it helpful to talk with others about what happened, but even those who prefer not to talk can find comfort in being with loved ones.
      Take care of yourself. Eat well, get enough exercise and sleep.
      Do activities you enjoy or find relaxing.
      Avoid excessive drinking—remember that alcohol is a depressant.
      Try to get back to your normal routine, but be aware that you may need to do some extra self-care.
      Don’t make big life-changing decisions for several months.
      Take time to grieve—traumatic events often leave us with a sense of loss.
      Do something positive to help others - give blood, donate food, volunteer.
      Ask others directly for what you need and want.
      Act on facts about what has happened, not speculation or rumors.

      How Do I Know If I Need Professional Help?
      In general, professional support is a good idea if you’re having trouble coping on your own.

      Strong feelings that won’t go away, that last longer than a few weeks, or are interfering with normal functioning may be symptoms of depression, anxiety, or a post-traumatic reaction.

      Many people do not seek professional help because they blame their symptoms on personal weakness or think that they should deal with their problems on their own. Many people, however, find that counseling helps them deal with their feelings more effectively.

      Caring For Yourself In The Face Of Difficult Work
      Our work can be overwhelming. Our challenge is to maintain our resilience so that we can keep doing our work with care, energy, and compassion

      10 things to do each day

      1. Get enough sleep
      2. Get enough to eat
      3. Vary the work that you do
      4. Do some light exercise
      5. Do something pleasurable
      6. Focus on what you did well
      7. Learn from your mistakes
      8. Share a private joke
      9. Pray, meditate or relax
      10. Support a colleague

      Contact your local public health agency for more information.  If you need the phone number, please call MDH at xxx-xxx-xxxxx. [redacted as not applicable]

      Adapted from “A Guide to Managing Stress in Crisis Response Professionals,” HHS, SAMHSA, CMH 2005, and Idaho State University Institute of Rural Health.

      Sometimes when life hands you lemons, you should throw them back.

      by Into The Woods on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 09:53:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Additional info for responders (5+ / 0-)
        Your empathy for others helps you do your job. It is important to take good care of your feelings by monitoring how your use them. The most resilient workers are those that know how to turn their feelings off when they go on duty, but on again when they go off duty. This is not denial, it is coping strategy. It is a way they get maximum protection while working (feelings switched off) and maximum support while resting (feelings switched on).

        How to become better at switching on and off

        1. Make this a conscious process. Talk to yourself as you switch.
        2. Use images that make you feel safe and protected (switch off) or connected and cared for (switch on) to help you switch.
        3. Develop rituals that help you switch as you start and stop work.
        4. Breathe slowly and deeply to calm yourself when starting a tough job.

        Taken from a card produced by the
        Idaho State University Institute of Rural Health,

        Sometimes when life hands you lemons, you should throw them back.

        by Into The Woods on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 09:58:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Good Advice. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wu ming, Into The Woods

          In a way this was what I was suggesting, ie, a degree of acceptance and moderating expections to the degree it is possible.

          Maybe it's my personal character but I rather have lower expectations and be proven wrong that the opposite.

          What about my Daughter's future?

          by koNko on Tue Mar 15, 2011 at 11:27:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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