In 1990, the International Journal of Radiological Biology published a paper by M. Mine and his team of Japanese researchers entitled “Apparently beneficial effect of low to intermediate doses of A-Bomb radiation on human life-span.”† Mine’s team gleaned data from the “Health Handbook” that A-Bomb survivors were required to keep, recording every health change. They scrutinized data on over 80,000 subjects whose locations could be pinpointed at the time of the blasts, and determined the correlation between the relative risk of death and the dose of radiation received.
The situation in Japan is grim. Estimates of the dead or missing — and by now this latter group must be moved into the dead column — is above 25,000 souls. A half-million residents are homeless, with many in danger of starvation since roads and railroads have simply disappeared. Yet the world’s media pays only lip service to the plight of Japanese citizens. It is almost entirely focused on the disabled nuclear reactors and the “leaks” of radiation that have had, and will have, virtually no effect on human health.
Apple, Inc. finds itself amidst controversy once again, this time provoking the criticism of privacy watchdogs which are demanding an explanation as to why its iPhones and iPads are secretly collecting location data on their users. Other mobile service companies maintain similar records but require a court order to release the information.
Private industry is making progress toward lowering the cost of space flight, and NASA would like to come along for the ride.
Among the earliest actions of the Obama administration was the appointment of the “Augustine Committee,” which was given the responsibility of carrying out a review of NASA’s manned space program. The result of the committee deliberations was a NASA with its budget intact, but without a mission or mandate to go anywhere. The previous administration’s plans for a return to the Moon and eventual missions to Mars were abandoned — few presidential administrations are interested in implementing the showpiece programs of their predecessors.
This week marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most significant milestones in the “Space Race” between the United States and the Soviet Union, and it comes at a time when Russia once again hopes to sprint head of any rival space program.
California's Gov. Jerry Brown, who took office with a state government in horrific financial shape, is continuing to press for so-called “renewable energy.” A bill which has passed the state legislature and which he intends to sign into law could require that by 2020, California utilities would have to draw 33 percent of their power from solar panels, windmills, landfills gases, small hydroelectric power plants, and similar renewable sources.
An American company is planning to build the largest rockets since the days of NASA’s Apollo program, and promises to deliver payloads to orbit for a tenth the cost of the space shuttles of the U.S.’s troubled space agency. SpaceX has already successfully launch a smaller vehicle called the Falcon 9 on several occasions, but now the company has announced plans for a bold, new step in the development of private space flight.
As the United Nations officially began its first major climate-change conference of the year in Bangkok, Thailand, on April 5, UN climate chief Christiana Figueres warned of dire consequences if governments refuse to back ever-greater cuts in carbon-dioxide emissions with a new global-warming treaty.