Tag Archives: clouds

The End is Near: How Japan Will Nuke Us All – Or Not

Editor’s Update: Because there are times when sites like WordPress are blocked or difficult to access, KateWhitney occasionally cannot properly access the site to publish her posts. For this reason I help her upload photos, and sometimes repost things she emails me. Though I am listed as the author, the following is her work.

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CLARIFICATION: a Nuclear melt down is NOT when the fuel rods in a nuclear reactor become SO hot that they fuse together in a molten mass, and melt through their containment vessel, and continue to melt through the Earth until they reach the core of the earth, at which point we no longer are able to control their reactions. Which as a consequence of the lack of human intervention, they reach a critical mass and blow the earth apart in an apocalyptical nuclear explosion that ends life as our universe knows it. That last sentence is mine – it seemed like the natural progression of the idea.

This is the explanation I overheard in a conversation yesterday. Please, if you don’t know what something is, don’t make up an answer. It makes you look ridiculous. As Abraham Lincoln put it — “Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool, then open it and remove all doubt.”

Frankly, if it the overheard scenario were the case, it would be most helpful for us if the spent fuel rods would sink into the core of the earth. It would solve all our problems. The earth would act as a natural barrier to the radiation, protecting us, and eventually when the rods reached the molten lead deep down, they would cease to be an issue.

This, my dear hominoids, is what Wikipedia was invented for; to eradicate ignorance and prevent the spread of its destructive influence. Phrases like “I’m not sure but I THINK….[insert baseless idea here]” should no longer be a part of our daily diction, as we have no excuse for not being adequately informed. If you find yourself too busy to keep up with the situation — just don’t talk about it! There’s no shame in just not sharing an opinion you haven’t yet had the time to verify.

As China is so close (~2,500 km) to the site of the Japan accident, there has been a sudden fear of imminent destruction by radioactive fall-out. Never mind that the wind doesn’t blow this direction from Japan.

But undeterred by this rational people have taken to rushing to the stores to buy salt. There progression of this idea is this: potassium iodide is the chemical compound used to treat people who are exposed to or will be exposed to iodine radiation. Potassium iodide also happens to be one of the chemicals used to ionize table salt. Thus it is found in minority quantities in any salt you buy.

If you buy enough salt, you consequently end up with the useful dosage of KI (potassium iodide). The question that remains to be answered, is how people intend to extract the KI to make it a useful dosage in the event of a meaningful amount of radiation floating across the China Sea? Salt, in large quantities, is lethal. For a 220 lb male, this is about 300 grams — or about 12 ounces of salt.

Table salt consists of something like 0.006% potassium iodide (wiki page on salt). This means that in 300 grams of salt, one only gets about 0.018 grams of KI. Incidentally, if my calculations are correct, this is roughly a single dose for radiation exposure. Unfortunately, if you we’re somehow able to intravenously ingest the salt, you also just killed yourself from your lethal dose of salt. ( I say intravenously because of course there was now way you were just going to swallow about 12 ounces of table salt!)

Really, what you should do is read this VERY helpful article on nuclear fallout and the use of potassium iodide.

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Filed under life in china, out and about

City in Hiding

It’s official (my official conclusion). Beijing is unofficially (Beijing seems to be unaware of it) going into hiding.

I say this because for the last couple of days Beijing has become the victim of an enveloping haze.  City officials are apparently completely unaware, as the weather forecast (according to the official report printed and posted in the elevator of my building. How more official do you want?) indicates clear skies. It is not clear.  Au contraire, the city is slowly disappearing. The worst part is, no one seems to know why.

Sunday morning I was unable to see any kind of appreciable ‘skyline’. By the evening I couldn’t see more than a couple of blocks. Since this morning, I have been unable to see the buildings directly behind the first line of high-rise apartments on the opposite side of my street.  For the last two days you could have seen the sun clearly, but now there’s only an orange disk in the sky – like a floating egg yolk.

If the city weather committee are saying it’s ‘clear’, which, see for yourself from the photos it’s not, what is going on?  Smog? I am dubious. No doubt Beijing has its ample share of pollution and micro-particulates clogging our lungs and dusting every available surface. But if the smog were this thick, everything would have a yellowish tint. No. It doesn’t look grimy enough to be smog.

There’s no significant cloud cover – at least from what I can tell.  This weather seems to be for city-cloaking devices only.

My only thought is perhaps it’s some kind of dust-storm. I asked a local, and he didn’t think so.

“No – when Beijing gets sand storms, everything is covered in a thin layer of yellow-ish dust,” he answered.

This would imply the cloud would have a yellow tint. Which it does not.

Well folks. I don’t know what it is. The only thing I can say is, I hope we get some wind soon!

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Filed under man made weather

China’s Diabolical Weather Scheme

Remember that movie (was it  X-Men?  Or another comic-book movie?) where the villain is controlling the weather — sending horrific hurricanes and scary snow storms to a city that has attempted to defy his power?

It all sounds a bit science-fiction-y, but yesterday China ended a 3+ month drought with it’s very own seeded snowfall.

I haven’t yet written my  laments about how incredibly dry this city is. I go to bed itching all over – in spite of the fact that I’ve practically bathed in body lotion.

It really was an amazing show. The night before everything you could feel the moisture in the air, then when the city woke up the next day there was a layer of 3-4 inches of snow, and steady flakes coming down, quite literally out of the blue.

This artificial snow fall (which was the first precipitation of any kind since the end of October) ended (or was part of?) the worst dry spell some parts of this region in China have seen in 60 years.

But Do Not Fear! China is working on perfecting their weather control capabilities! Zhang Qiang, head of the municipal artificial weather intervention office, (I want that title!) said his team has been seeding clouds with rockets containing the silver iodide material the last couple days, using (and get this!) Anti-Aircraft guns. I knew there was a peaceful use for those things. Just imagine what they could do with nuclear war heads!

You can see an official news article on the topic here.  The article also notes that it was a controversy to use this step  — last year the city was a veritable mess over the uncontrollable man-induced snowfall.

Beijing isn’t a city you want to get stuck with a lot of snow because there’s no infrastructure to deal with it (Think NYC in those blizzards).  Last year in the governments attempt to stop the drought caused it to snow almost continuously for weeks (ask the locals about the account and they start shaking in their boots over the stress and confusion it brings back).

They don’t have snowplows here, so instead they get whole troops of men to go out on the highway with large boards,  and by staggering them out across the lanes, they scoop up the snow with the boards and slowly clear the highways.

Thankfully, for the sake of the traffic, the roads were busy enough all evening to keep any significant snow from sticking to the roads.

As soon as I woke up I could see dozens of little men running around with brooms, or shovels or any improvised tool clearing snow from walkways, and later from any imaginably dangerous horizontal surface (I even saw men on the roofs of the buildings across from me, cleaning off what might cause a leak later).

Overall, the drought looks to be a bit of a bigger mess than the snow that had to be cleared yesterday afternoon.  The winter wheat crop seems to be almost non-existent. If you are a betting man, I’d short grain, as it looks like China may be going out on the market to supplement it’s own desperately lacking supply.

See this article on the dire circumstances that we’re facing here.

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Filed under life in china, man made weather