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Earth Science

Nuked Coral Reef Bounces Back 332

Posted by samzenpus
from the that's-one-big-clown-fish dept.
sm62704 writes "I found this New Scientist article interesting, as I was actually alive (albeit very small) when Bikini Atoll was H-bombed. The article says that the reason the reefs are now flourishing is because they are mostly undisturbed by humans, who are afraid of the radiation. Background levels there are now 'similar to that at any Australian city,' while nearby islands haven't been so lucky.'When I put the Geiger counter near a coconut, which accumulates radioactive material from the soil, it went berserk,' says Maria Beger of the University of Queensland in Australia."
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Nuked Coral Reef Bounces Back

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  • vacation (Score:3, Funny)

    by ILuvRamen (1026668) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @02:41AM (#23100984)
    sounds like a great place to visit. I can see the ad now..."Come see the beautiful, undisturbed coral reefs. Just don't go near the irradiated coconuts!"
    • Re:vacation (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Knutsi (959723) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @03:45AM (#23101302)
      Would be interesting to look at how long expected development time for the cancers you could get from these coconuts would be. Maybe for people over 65-70, the food is perfectly safe to eat! (:
      • That may happen (Score:3, Interesting)

        by WindBourne (631190)
        Coconuts tend to be blown off of trees during storms. Then they float a LONG distance. Somebody COULD pick one up and eat it. I am surprised that the feds has not decided to use plant remediation to pull the radiation off the island. All they need to do is harvest the grass and even trees every so often. Of course, if it still has high radiation, put a number of animals back there. This is the time to see how humans will do in space.
        • Re:That may happen (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Knutsi (959723) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @06:37AM (#23101952)

          Or maybe the people where the coconut washes ashore have a life-expectancy lower than that of the west, and the increased cancer risk that comes with eating it is minor, and irrelevant. Cancer largely develops late in life, and is of more concern to populations living as long as we in the first world than most other places around the globe.

          Even if you killed of all the coconuts, the cost of the operation could be high. Maybe, in terms of people's life quality, the money would be wiser invested covering other issues of health in the region, giving more people higher quality of life, rather than lengthening the life expectancy of a few unlucky individuals by a matter of days on average.

          • Re:That may happen (Score:5, Informative)

            by Firethorn (177587) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @08:49AM (#23102828) Homepage Journal
            and the increased cancer risk that comes with eating it is minor, and irrelevant.

            This. One of the fun things back in HS was to take the radiation detector to various common items. Heck, Brazil Nuts, Lima Beans, and Bananas are radioactive. So aren't carrots and potatoes. Potassium, an essential nutrient is radioactive.

            An extra dose of radiation doesn't mean that somebody is going to die from cancer. It all depends on the dose.

            rather than lengthening the life expectancy of a few unlucky individuals by a matter of days on average.

            Unless the individual is making said radioactive coconuts a staple of their diet; I'd say minutes is more likely.
          • by electrictroy (912290) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:02AM (#23103810)
            >>>"Background levels at Bikini Atoll are now 'similar to that at any Australian city,'"

            Note to self:
            Don't visit an Australian city.

        • by BiggerBadderBen (947100) <biggerbadderben@gm a i l .com> on Thursday April 17, 2008 @07:43AM (#23102254)
          I imagine that a pair of swallows, either African or European, could take one of these coconuts quite far.
        • by batquux (323697) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:25AM (#23104202)

          Coconuts tend to be blown off of trees during storms. Then they float a LONG distance.
          Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sm62704 (957197)
        Maybe for people over 65-70, the food is perfectly safe to eat! (:

        Especially if they smoke cigarettes. Ever notice that whenever someone does of lung cancer, cigarettes are always to blame whether they smoke or not, even if they worked at the Hanford Nuclear Facility [wikipedia.org]?

        I can remember one winter when I was a kid and they had open air nuclear tests in Nevada. A couple of days later we had a thindersnowstorm, and they said the snow was radioactive and you shouldn't let your kids play in it. Of course we did.

        You
      • Re:vacation (Score:5, Interesting)

        by MikeyTheK (873329) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:29AM (#23103328)
        Ha. Ha. Here's the deal on Bikini: 1) You can't live there. You can visit on a dive excursion. Everything is brought with you. There are bunks in the buildings, but that's all 2) The radiation is in the form of cesium, which is extremely water soluble. As a result, it is present above the waterline in the sand and soil (but not at the surface, as rainwater constantly washes it away). In addition, since cesium is SO soluble, all traces away from the shore are long gone. So it's safe to dive the wrecks, which are spectacular. 3) Previous attempts to get the cesium to bond to other elements, e.g. iodine, did not succeed as planned, and the vegetation continues to suck it up. 4) In 1946 there were around 150 residents that were relocated to Kili Island and to Ejit, so they'd like to get home some time, too. 5) If you ever get the chance, cough up the cash, learn how to dive, and GO. Most of the wrecks are deep, but the water in the lagoon is as clear as you are going to see, and the wrecks are pristine. I've done diving at a military-controlled atoll, where there is very little traffic, fewer tourists, and an active SCUBA community. It may be the best diving I have ever done.
    • It's cool (Score:5, Funny)

      by 2.7182 (819680) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @04:46AM (#23101538)
      that we totally defeat the Bikini Atoll in a nuclear war!! Woo go USA

      It was silly though, back when US sentiment was so against Bikini Atoll, that everyone decided to change the name "Bikini" to "Freedom suit."
    • Re:vacation (Score:5, Funny)

      by mh1997 (1065630) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @07:24AM (#23102170)

      When I put the Geiger counter near a coconut, which accumulates radioactive material from the soil, it went berserk,
      Seeing a coconut go berserk because a giger counter was near it would scare the crap out of me. No wonder nobody wants to go there. Would the coconuts act in a calm and mature manner if a tourist didn't bring a geiger counter?
      • Re:vacation (Score:5, Funny)

        by frisket (149522) <peter.silmaril@ie> on Thursday April 17, 2008 @07:40AM (#23102230) Homepage
        Antecedent Object references the direct object (Geiger counter), not the indirect (coconut).

        A Giger counter presumably counts paintings.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by jollyreaper (513215)

        Seeing a coconut go berserk because a giger counter was near it would scare the crap out of me. No wonder nobody wants to go there. Would the coconuts act in a calm and mature manner if a tourist didn't bring a geiger counter?
        I think the OP's problem was he used an HR Giger counter. That's been known to have some unpleasant effects.
  • Reality TV? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Barny (103770) <bakadamage-slashdot@yahoo.com> on Thursday April 17, 2008 @02:49AM (#23101020) Homepage Journal
    Would sure as hell make survivor more interesting.

    "oh, and by the way, anything you eat is likely radioactive"

    Maybe make the first episode with reality TV execs on the island....

    Queue Gilligan's Island jokes too.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Archimonde (668883)
      The trick would be not to tell them that food is radioactive.

      You can always add some more lawyers and politicians to make things more interesting.

      Just drop them off with parachutes, give them one and only instruction ("Survive"), sit back and enjoy the mayh^Hshow;)
  • Hmmm... so when are we going to see Giant Coral reefs draining the Gaea out of it's soul?
  • Maybe we should nuke all the worlds hypoxic dead zones! That would certainly remove the waste accumulated there. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_zone_(ecology) [wikipedia.org]
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Maybe we should nuke all the worlds hypoxic dead zones! That would certainly remove the waste accumulated there.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_zone_(ecology) [wikipedia.org]
      This is a really bad idea. The only reason this coral reef is doing so well is that we scared Godzilla away from eating it. Logically, the places that have the least life were made that way by very large monsters.
  • by Alain Williams (2972) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Thursday April 17, 2008 @02:52AM (#23101032) Homepage
    Were there lots/little/none ? Oh, come on - that would be one of the most interesting things to tell us. We are all so worried about ''nuclear power fading your genes'' - we now have a 60 year experiment that could tell us about long term effects but they are silent.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Studying the effects of high background radiation on coconuts is hardly going provide much insight into the effects on, say, human brains.

      ... at least not in my case ...

    • That is an interesting idea, to see the genetic divergence that radiation may have caused. You call always look at Chernobyl though for a glimpse as to what radiation has done to the wildlife there. As far as I know, it hasn't affected it all that much. There is a higher incidence of fatal mutation, but over all what I have read is that it hasn't had a huge impact. Another site that you could look at is Rocky Flats in Colorado. While us humans that contaminated the hell out of the place are trying to figure out how to warn future generations into the thousands of years about what we did there, the wildlife has reclaimed it as their own. It's a wildlife refuge now and as far as anyone can tell there hasn't been that much impact on the animals there. The problem is though that we're only seeing the first few generations of life since these places have been contaminated. We don't know if it will build up over time and cause radical genetic diversion or if life will adapt to it, it could take a very long time to see the effects of what we have done. Oh, and if you're curious about some of the other things that we have done check out a book called The World Without Us, fascinating read.
      • by Psychotria (953670) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @04:22AM (#23101434)
        I am not sure that variations in genetic material gathered from the site has been studied yet. You are correct, however, that this is a very interesting thing to be studying. The fact that corals seem to have recolonised successfully (albeit with less diversity) is 'possibly' due to nearby atolls "seeding" the affected areas. The nearby atolls were obviously affected by radiation as well, and therefore subject to possible genetic mutations. Therefore, measuring the difference in genes between the nearby places and ground-zero might show no difference at all (because the mutated corals etc from nearby "seeded" the ground-zero area). I am not sure how this would be resolved, unless the baseline samples were taken from further away, where they were not irradiated... which leads to further problems (the genetic difference--if any is measured--may be caused by other factors)...
      • by tezbobobo (879983) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @04:59AM (#23101594) Homepage Journal
        One interesting mutation or effect of natural selection would probably flora and fauna with a naturally higher resistance to radiation. At least by slowly killing ourselves we are making sure other species survive.

        Terence Boylen - Yeah!
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        The effects of mutations on populations or entire ecosystems can not really be accessed within 50 years. Sure, the reality proved much less dire than certain activists of the time would claim, but it's undeniable that increase in radiation do have an effect.

        Most mutants will simply die before being born or shortly thereafter. The genes of the few mutants that make it to th adult states tend to be recessive as well and quite likely to just get "neutralized" by selection, genetic drift et al.

        All these b
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by mdielmann (514750)

        There is a higher incidence of fatal mutation, but over all what I have read is that it hasn't had a huge impact.
        The three-eyed hawks seem to have no benefit, but the three-eyed mice are doing well. The deer with heads on both ends seem to have trouble deciding where to go, but the three-headed lizards are pretty fierce. One can only imagine the scoffing such stories will bring in a few millenia's time.
    • by Super Jamie (779597) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @05:08AM (#23101626) Homepage
      Look up what's going on around Chernobyl at the moment.

      Whilst humans can't go anywhere near it, or the town of Pripyat, many species of plant and animals have flourished in the 30-odd years since the infamous meltdown. These species display no visible deformations, and continue to breed and live undisturbed by humans.

      Almost as if they had just... evolved to cope with the massive doses of radiation they cop every day.
      • by Firethorn (177587) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @08:58AM (#23102912) Homepage Journal
        These species display no visible deformations, and continue to breed and live undisturbed by humans.

        Well, to be fair, I'll mention that one study involving birds found that the chicks of birds nesting in the sarcophagus had double the expected deformity rate over birds nesting outside of Chernobyl.

        Given that a number of the bird species are the ones where the chicks gradually push out the others such that only one survives out of a laying of 2-6 eggs, the effect of the extra deformities was essentially noise, statistically insignificant to the species.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by jollyreaper (513215)

        Look up what's going on around Chernobyl at the moment.

        Whilst humans can't go anywhere near it, or the town of Pripyat, many species of plant and animals have flourished in the 30-odd years since the infamous meltdown. These species display no visible deformations, and continue to breed and live undisturbed by humans.

        The thing they're still not sure on is how much of the wildlife is actually reproducing in the area and how much is infill from surrounding territories. They've yet to see the birds with speckled albino feathers make it back from a migration.

        While I think that the recovery of Chernobyl is astounding and certainly flies in the face of what everyone expected, I don't know if the bounceback after a global nuclear war would be quite so quick.

        Of course, the thing that people tend to overlook is that the planet

      • by Foerstner (931398) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @12:42PM (#23106754)
        Almost as if they had just... evolved to cope with the massive doses of radiation they cop every day.

        The tricky thing about evolution is, only the survivors survive it.

        Naturally, some sub-population will survive and, lacking competition, thrive. Most humans, though, would consider it unacceptable to eliminate, say, the 50% of a population that is most susceptible to radiation (or heart disease, or any other condition) even if the surviving population was stronger and better adapted as a result.
    • by Vexar (664860) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:33AM (#23103368) Homepage Journal
      Mr. Williams, kindly rethink your statement about silence regarding 60 years of nuclear power. There is no "they." It is not that anyone is silent, it is that you are not reading what is out there.

      If anyone wants to know where the #1 source of airborne, man-made radiation is, they need go no further than a lump of coal. Nuclear power plants require employees to wear film strips, much like those we see in cameras. The strips change chemistry and appearance with radiation. Ask a nuke worker how their rad levels are. They know. Oh, and if such a worker ever gets a medical treatment involving radioactive material, be it a barium enema (whee!) or chemotherapy, they would set off all the safety sensors in the facility if they went onsite, and trigger an immediate shutdown (unless you're from Soviet Russia, and you disabled the safety features because you wanted to try an exciting experiment in Chernobyl, which didn't work 4 months ago, because those safety triggers shut you down, but this time, you turned them off!).

      Back to the lump of coal. The average coal plant, say 1000 MW, produces 5.2 tons of uranium (6% fissile), and 12.8 tons of thorium. Where does it go? Up into the atmosphere, as soot. Where does it come from? It is a rock. It comes from a dark hole in the ground, maybe W. Virginia. Nuclear power plants are closed systems. They don't combust materials and breathe oxygen. Every once in a while, the control rods need to be replaced, along with some pipes and such. The equivalent nuclear plant to said coal plant produces one standard shipping container full of rad "waste" per year. All reactors designed in N. America and many in Europe and Japan are planned with storage space for the rad waste, on-site.

      One thing we could do, is once every 10 years, fill up a small freighter with the rad waste containers of the world's reactors, ship it to the Bikini Atoll, and drop the load 30 feet offshore. The metal will corrode eventually, but before that it will be covered with coral.

      You know, I don't care a hoot about carbon dioxide, it has never done me much harm. Ozone is produced en masse by lightning strikes in the troposphere, and nobody can beat the mess made by a single, violent volcanic eruption. I do want to see the end of combustive power systems, because we don't need competition for oxygen. Living where I do, I can vouch for my corner of the planet and say it ain't getting any warmer. I do care about airborne radioactive particulates (aka soot) and rad waste. The coconut trees and oceanic coral have proven their value to society, I think we should reward them with a higher status in our world culture by making them the guardians of rad waste. If a lone coconut should travel thousands of leagues, well, shoot, it's not going to hurt anyone more than a barium enema. At least it isn't in the air.

      Why did I put the waste of rad waste in quotes, you wonder? Well, from where do you think the barium and iodine and whatever ungodly stuff is in chemotherapy comes? A hole in the ground? No, that waste serves medical purposes. The rest of it could be put into a different reactor design, in accordance with the reactor families planned out in the 40's and 50's, but nobody has spent the research dollars to go far with them.

      Final note: I heard a rumor that the prescription drug "Lunesta" contains a coconut extract. Is that why they have glowing butterflies in their ads?

  • by evwah (954864) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @02:52AM (#23101034)
    now we just have to bomb the shit out of Australia so our scientists can proudly proclaim "these coral reefs are far LESS radioactive than any Australian city!"
    • by Marbleless (640965) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @02:54AM (#23101042)
      ... and nuking them would be considered as major improvements to some of our cities ;)
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by kramulous (977841) *
      Great! I might get the day off work. Perhaps a little island hoping will be in order.
    • You joke, but ... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17, 2008 @03:15AM (#23101138)
      I was rather stunned when, planning my trip to AU a few years ago, I realized that ONE nuclear sub could take out the whole country!
      Or at least send it to Mad Max-land.

      Physically AU is huge. Roughly the size of the US. Superimposing a map of one on the other gives fairly accurate driving times and distance calculations.
      Demographically it is very very small.

      I also figured out the real problem is water. While the US, EU, and CN have large navigable rivers running deep into their continents, AU has nothing to bring water to the center of the country (or more accurately there isn't enough rain in the center to drain and form navigable rivers).
      AU could be a super-power if it had enough water to support a population of 300 million. Instead it is so dry they are lucky to have 1/10 of that at about 22 million.
      • I was rather stunned when, planning my trip to AU a few years ago, I realized that ONE nuclear sub could take out the whole country! Or at least send it to Mad Max-land.
        Hmm.. so did you ever go on holiday or did you just decide to keep enjoying the tinned food and cable TV in your basement.. uh.. I mean bomb shelter?
      • Re:You joke, but ... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by jollyreaper (513215) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:22AM (#23103196)

        I also figured out the real problem is water. While the US, EU, and CN have large navigable rivers running deep into their continents, AU has nothing to bring water to the center of the country (or more accurately there isn't enough rain in the center to drain and form navigable rivers).
        AU could be a super-power if it had enough water to support a population of 300 million. Instead it is so dry they are lucky to have 1/10 of that at about 22 million.
        If only you had an imperial ecologist to help you with the terraforming... of course, I've got this crazy vision in my head of marsupial sandworms in the Outback and Steve Irwin enthusiastically trying to manhandle them.

        The crazy thing is that it isn't just ocean evaporation and the winds that help bring water to a territory, the vegetation has so much to do with it as well. It brings up ground water, breathes it into the air, and can create rain.

        There's a theory that says the Amazon Rain Forest is a human artifact.

        Terra preta ("dark soil" in Portuguese) refers to expanses of very dark, fertile anthropogenic soils found in the Amazon Basin. It owes its name to its very high charcoal content. It is also known as "Amazonian dark earth" or "Indian black earth". In Portuguese its full name is "Terra preta do índio" or "Terra preta de índio".

        Terra preta is characterized by the presence of low-temperature charcoal in high concentrations; of high quantities of pottery shards; of organic matter such as plant residues, animal faeces, fish and animal bones and other material; and of nutrients such as nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), calcium (Ca), zinc (Zn), manganese (Mn).[1] It also shows high levels of microorganic activities and other specific characteristics within its particular ecosystem. It is less prone to leaching than surrounding soils. Terra preta zones are generally surrounded by terra comum, or "common soil"; these are infertile soils, mainly Acrisols,[1] but also Ferralsols, and Arenosols.[2]

        Terra preta soils are of pre-Colombian nature and were created by man between 7000[3] and 500 BP ("Before Present"). Thousands of years after its creation it is so well known by local farmers and caboclos in Brazil's Amazonian basin, that they seek it out for use and for sale as compost (see Pedology). Its depth can reach 2 metres (6 feet). It is reputedly known by the locals as self-regenerating at the rate of 1 centimetre per year.[4]
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terra_preta [wikipedia.org]

        Just imagine what we could do if we turned our minds to the greater good instead of the quickest buck.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dcam (615646)
        I also figured out the real problem is water. While the US, EU, and CN have large navigable rivers running deep into their continents, AU has nothing to bring water to the center of the country (or more accurately there isn't enough rain in the center to drain and form navigable rivers).

        That is part of the problem. Another problem is that Australia is extremely nutrient poor. Being in the middle of a continental plate, with few volcaones (none active), means that little new material comes to the surface.
  • berserk? (Score:5, Funny)

    by polar red (215081) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @03:01AM (#23101072)

    When I put the Geiger counter near a coconut, which accumulates radioactive material from the soil, it went berserk.
    How did You defend yourself from that coconut?
    • Re:berserk? (Score:5, Funny)

      by zoogies (879569) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @03:18AM (#23101152)
      We gripped it by the husk. It's a simple matter of weight ratios, really.
    • Bravo, I didn't even notice the ambiguity there :) far too early in the morning

      I'm thinking the gravity gun would have been enough defense though. At least with the coconuts you can sense them with a geiger counter. You can't be so sure with the head crabs and drop bears though.. :/
    • Re:berserk? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Jesus_666 (702802) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @04:39AM (#23101500)
      Luckily the coconut had panicked the turn before and dropped its weapon - and as everyone knows, nonhuman combatants are unable to pick up a weapon once they've dropped it. The researchers proceeded to use the Stun Rod on the coconut, but it later died because the base didn't have a Containment Unit.

      (Okay, so most /.ers are not going to get that one. Who cares?)
  • by Fluffeh (1273756) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @03:08AM (#23101100)
    REAlly, I think it proves that after we screw things up royally on this planet to the point where we are no longer able to live on it, it won't take the earth too long to bounce back and thrive once more. Hopefully the next set of inhabitants on this planet will look after it better than we do.
    • by Kjella (173770) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @05:33AM (#23101724) Homepage

      REAlly, I think it proves that after we screw things up royally on this planet to the point where we are no longer able to live on it, it won't take the earth too long to bounce back and thrive once more.
      Unfortunately, we're also great at building bunkers and other highly isolated environments. Even if we got hit with a dinosaur-killer i imagine we'd bounce back better than most animals. If we've killed ourself off, the world has to be really really well wiped.
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Thursday April 17, 2008 @03:13AM (#23101132) Journal
    For those of you who are anthropologists as well as zoologists, it should be mentioned that there were native inhabitants of these islands that were forced to move before the tests.

    We did it to Native Americans on the continental United States as well but it really bears mentioning that there was a pretty gross injustice paid to these peaceful peoples in the name of atomic testing. I remember watching this footage on an ABC special as a kid and I luckily recorded it so I could watch it over and over again. When watching project Baker, I kept thinking "Wow, that's impressive, that was somebody's home."

    I suppose I'll be called a self-hating liberal but I believe we should never forget the price we pay for the weapons we hold. These weapons that were supposed to be the end of war aren't and any future horror developed to stop war won't be the end to war either.

    Just imagine what the look on your face would be if someone showed up and told you to evacuate your state because it was now going to be used for nuclear testing. You probably wouldn't be very happy to leave your home in the name of warfare.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by UrinalPooper (1240522)
      As sad as it is, if the alternative was fighting a drawn-out conventional war instead of just trying to scare the crap out of one another, the US and the USSR's Cold War took a relatively minimal toll on human life... displaced natives notwithstanding. The proxy wars fought in southeast asia are a testament to how bloody and destructive a conventional war between those two countries would have been. If the bloodshed between India and Pakistan declines, we may be in a position to thank those destructive we
      • by Mantaar (1139339) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @04:15AM (#23101416) Homepage
        That's why I'm always saying Ahmadine-whatever should have his own atomic weapons.
        Seriously, Iran may be as islamistic as it gets, but they're humans after all and hopefully not stupid enough start a nuclear war.

        Their opponents however, who are trying to do everything to prevent them from producing A-bombs in the first place, are not to be trusted that much, because they (America, Israel) are the ones that have started wars in the last couple of years (the latter only in "defense", but I think they/their PR may be able to produce one such "defense" case quickly).

        On the other hand, there shouldn't be yet another A-armed nation. But that's a vicious circle: how is a nation without A-bombs going to defend itself against, say, America? It's nearly impossible to defend yourself against America at all these days - if don't have that bomb, there's nothing you can do. If you do have it, however, it's likely you're not gonna be attacked in the first place.

        Maybe this is the reason we haven't seen a war in Iran yet. They are afraid. Uhm... on the other hand it's more likely to be due to the pain in the neck that is Iraq and the upcoming elections in America.

        I must admit that those are speculations I'm really just pulling out of my ass... but hey, that's what the comments threads are for, aren't they? Oh dear, I can se the "leftie"/"commie"/"antisemite"-responses rushing in... but please, in the name of whatever deity you believe in: a Semite [wikipedia.org] may just as well be an Arab, so be correct and call me anti-Judaist. Which is not what I am, as I call some Jews my friends... btw: this article [studentpa.info] has not gotten the publicity it deserves.
    • Well, yes and no (Score:2, Interesting)

      by WindBourne (631190)
      These weapons that were supposed to be the end of war aren't and any future horror developed to stop war won't be the end to war either. First, we developed the weapons and these kept USSR and America from going to war. The simple fact is, that both side were terrified of using these. We all knew what would happen. So, it really did accomplish what we wanted. And later, other nations aquired the knowledge. Some by their own work, and others by stealing it. The ones who developed it on their own had an advan
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by jrumney (197329)

        The real problem is the recent round of nuclear build-out. These countries do not have the maturity to handle these. Basically, Turkey and Pakistan.

        Turkey? The only nuclear weapons on Turkish soil are the ones stored at the USAF base at Inçirlik.

      • by eldavojohn (898314) *

        First, we developed the weapons and these kept USSR and America from going to war. The simple fact is, that both side were terrified of using these. We all knew what would happen. So, it really did accomplish what we wanted.

        You're not really trying to argue that both sides understood we would never ever use the nuclear weapons we had worked so hard to build, are you? Both sides of the coin are madness, as you'd never spend so much money creating these weapons never to use them. I once read a book by Robert Strange McNamara (see also Fog of War) that talked numbers. The numbers he talked about were how many nuclear weapons we built during the cold war and also how much each of these weapons cost. MIRV technology, kill area

        • SIGH (Score:3, Interesting)

          by WindBourne (631190)
          Far too many do not think logically today. I just wonder if this is a reflection of public schools or having had too many neo-cons in office.
          Did we want to use nukes? Well, to the point of testing them. And we did. We did all sorts of tests. But other then first use of these, we never used on ppl again. Just because we have these weapons does not mean that we will use them. We have sarin and VX in our arsenal (as do a number of western countries). We also have a number of biologicals that have been weaponi
  • Maybe we should consider nuking all environmentally sensitive areas.

    No, wait...
  • by nguy (1207026) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @03:35AM (#23101238)
    Animal life around Chernobyl is also doing well. That's not an indication that radiation is harmless (most animals are shorter lived than humans, so they can tolerate more radiation), it's an indication that human presence is even more harmful than radiation.
    • by imbaczek (690596)
      I believe you managed to misspell "much" as "even".
    • by hummer357 (545850)
      I wouldn't know if this is necessarily correct: if radiation damages the animal's genetic information, wouldn't you see mutations more quickly due to their shorter reproductive cycles?
  • by tick-tock-atona (1145909) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @03:36AM (#23101250)
    More informative article here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080415101021.htm [sciencedaily.com]

    The full story is that although some of the corals have bounced back remarkably, the nuking has also resulted in the localised extinction of some more sensitive sensitive species

    However the research has also revealed a disturbingly high level of loss of coral species from the atoll. Compared with a famous study made before the atomic tests were carried out, the team established that 42 species were missing compared to the early 1950s. At least 28 of these species losses appear to be genuine local extinctions probably due to the 23 bombs that were exploded there from 1946-58, or the resulting radioactivity, increased nutrient levels and smothering from fine sediments.
    Article also has some good stats on the nuking itself:

    One of the most interesting aspects is that the team dived into the vast Bravo Crater left in 1954 by the most powerful American atom bomb ever exploded (15 megatonnes - a thousand times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb). The Bravo bomb vapourised three islands, raised water temperatures to 55,000 degrees, shook islands 200 kilometers away and left a crater 2km wide and 73m deep.
  • Radiation and life (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Knutsi (959723) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @03:38AM (#23101252)

    I once heard something fascinating. After the Chernobyk accident, the radioactive cloud that contaminated (mainly) the north of Norway caused allot of fear in people, and for people's health. The gouvernment continued to slaughter and burn massive amounts of raindeer and livestock.

    A friend later told me that the meat was actually fully usable, and that it's destruction may have been unnecessary. She suggested we should have fed it to the elderly population, which did not have time to develop cancer from the meat anyhow.

    There will be allot of talk in this discussion about the fear of radiation, and that is why this discussion is so good. Life does well with increased radiation! Humans don't however, by virtue of the way we look at human society and human worth. What it does say however, is that fear of nuclear energy, a power source that may have dramatically less consequence for life on this planet than most other energy sources, prevents us from progressing in the energy debate! (and maybe also in space exploration, given worries of launching nuclear-powered space craft)

    Check this news item [nationalgeographic.com] for a similar case to the coral reef in the article.

    "People in the first world have convinced themselves that chemicals and radiation stand in the way of their personal immortality"
    - James Lovelock

    • by jamesh (87723)

      A friend later told me that the meat was actually fully usable, and that it's destruction may have been unnecessary. She suggested we should have fed it to the elderly population, which did not have time to develop cancer from the meat anyhow.

      I don't think you have a very thorough understanding of how the food chain works. Soylent Green will in turn be eaten by the younger population. We need to be taking care of what we feed our elderly!
    • by jafac (1449) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @01:35PM (#23107628) Homepage
      Life may (or may not) actually thrive in radioactive environments.

      That's actually a red-herring in the argument against nuclear power and NIMBY-ism. The real worry isn't about real health effects. It's financial.

      The real argument is;
      "If your plant explodes, because you spent money on CEO bonuses instead of safety inspections, even if your radioactive cloud does not meaningfully impact my health and safety, the measurable radiation in the soil of my back yard will destroy the value of my property in the open real estate market, while your endowed CEO floats gently down to an easy retirement on his golden parachute."

      This is a REAL and measurable negative impact from nuclear power, and no amount of "radiation is good for you" PR-spin is going to change it. Nobody wants their nest-egg destroyed. Nobody wants their hometown community erased.

      Even increased regulation and vigilance is not going to impact this effect that nuclear power plants have on residential real estate markets.
  • Oblig: (Score:3, Funny)

    by Cryacin (657549) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @03:42AM (#23101282)
    You put the lime in the coconut, and drink it all up... Then die of radiation poisoning.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sm62704 (957197)
      Not a lot of airplay, these youngsters won't know the reference. Lyrics:

      ARTIST: Harry Nilsson
      TITLE: Coconut

      Brother bought a coconut, he bought it for a dime
      His sister had another one, she paid it for the lime

      She put the lime in the coconut, she drank 'em both up
      Put the lime in the coconut, she called the doctor, woke him up, and said

      Doctor, ain't there nothin' I can take, I said
      Doctor, to relieve this bellyache, I said
      Doctor, ain't there nothin' I can take, I said
      Doctor, to relieve this bellyache

      Now let me

  • by quibbler (175041) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @03:42AM (#23101284)

    Even without husk-gripping, coconuts move... they're supposed to, thats how they get from island to island...

    I think this is a note to self: do NOT eat coconuts that you find on the seashore. I wonder if anyone's realized that little issue...

  • Yeah but.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by PinkyDead (862370) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @04:07AM (#23101388) Journal
    With the giant mutant anemones and sponges with teeth and the crushing and the laser eyes!

    To people of Japan, your cities are no longer safe. Run for your lives. The coral is back, and this time it's pissed .... and mutant.
  • That explains the crazy contraptions the Professor came up with.
  • Hope I got the title right, but I think this was the name of a great documentary following the resurgence of wildlife in Chernobyl's exclusion zone. I came away with the impression that the radiation is more of a detriment to humans to the rest of the natural world.
    • by WindBourne (631190) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @05:18AM (#23101672) Journal
      All of life has the same problem. That is the radiation induces faster changes in all. Some on birth defects. The vast majority are simply miscarried (most ppl never realize that many women suffer at least 1 miscarriage and it is due to a fatal defect). But of course, some make it to the world. The recent Indian girl who was born with a duplicated face (probably the best place that she could be born was in northern India; there she is a goddess; elsewhere she would be considered a freak) was possibly induced via radiation or pollution. For the living, it means loads of cancer. No doubt that animal life in any of these radioactive areas are suffering shortened lives due to such. In fact, I am amazed that we (USA and Russia) are not tagging these animals to see how long and what they look like at end of life. These are all living labs. Heck, I am more amazed that Hollywood has not made some interesting movies based on just these areas.
  • Any sign of a 200ft mutated iguana in TFA?

    Cue the cut scenes of panicked citizens running away from the shoreline whilst an authoritative man barks orders into a microphone.
  • "When I put the Geiger counter near a coconut, which accumulates radioactive material from the soil, it went berserk," says Beger.

    At this point Beger realized he was pointing it to his crotch. It's all fun and analysis until someone grows another arm out of their back.

  • What was the reading?
  • Exactly! Geiger counters are usually ridiculously sensitive. I don't think that "going berserk" can be easily translated to mSv/hr. Presumably this guy has no training in radiation safety and shouldn't be anywhere near the atoll.
  • by hcdejong (561314) <hobbes@xmsnBLUEet.nl minus berry> on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:47AM (#23103564)
    Nuking the site from orbit is not sufficient to be sure?

Receiving a million dollars tax free will make you feel better than being flat broke and having a stomach ache. -- Dolph Sharp, "I'm O.K., You're Not So Hot"

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