Friday, June 2, 2017

Hate Mail

A little xkcd goes a long way.  I've never been much of a fan, I like Dykes To Watch Out For and Alison Bechdel a lot more, she's smarter and can draw.  I'm sure Randall Munroe is a nice enough kid but he often doesn't know what he's doodling with.   I'd grade him a C who, from time to time, puts in an A- effort. Sometimes he's a jerk. 

Update:  Uh,  no.  I was familiar with xkcd and Randall Munroe before,  I even included mention of him and an idiot who cited one of his more irresponsible cartoons in a previous post.

In the days as the Fukushima reactors were melting down,  there were a number of blog fights on the topic at Eschaton blog, where I hung out quite a lot.   I was involved on the anti-nuclear side.   One of the the pro-nuclear antagonists, and in his case that word is a massive understatement, was one,  Chris Tucker,  a typical example of the frequently encountered angry atheist whose religion is scientism.   Some of us brought citations from The Union of Concerned Scientists, George Kistiakowsky, other specialists I don't specifically remember to the argument.  Tucker brought an xkcd cartoon asserting that the dilution of nuclear pollution in the general, background radiation,  make it innocuous,  harmless.   As an aside, I wish I had ten bucks for every time some college educated  disciple of scientism had turned to the authority of xkcd or the like to, as they believe, clinch an argument.

When I pointed out that the cartoonist included a disclaimer at the bottom that his drawing shouldn't be mistaken as a serious reference,  Tucker, who was prone to enraged tantrums, had one.  He had a number of them over the coming weeks at a number of us, as our predictions of meltdowns and pollution became lines in news stories, stories that were clearly pushing a nuclear industry line of minimization of the risks of what many scientists, some of them prominent figures in nuclear science, warned of. 

Update 2:  First, Chris Tucker was an asshole, it's not as if everyone who dies is a nice guy, even I'm going to die someday.  Second, people and animals aren't just something you can average into "background radiation" they are individuals who can ingest or inhale radioactive particles which can give them various cancers from which they can die,  parent children with serious birth defects, etc.  A lot of that wouldn't show up in one of his stick figure drawings. Some is all too obvious.  Maybe Randall Munroe would like to do some cartoons on the subjects of these photos found in this story about people with birth defects in the hot zone in Kazakhstan. 

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