Radiation Is ‘Good for You’?

That’s what Ann Coulter says anyway. Of course, this is hardly the only time the far-right culture warrior has tried to promote junk science to a gullible audience. She also peddles creationist arguments against evolution. Anyway, now here she is trying to persuade folks that they shouldn’t be worried about radiation from exploding nuclear power plants.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXFUUGeV1DI&w=480&h=390]

12 thoughts on “Radiation Is ‘Good for You’?

  1. Coulter dismisses criticism with a light “ha ha ha!” and a flick of her long, blonde (and I mean “blonde” in the pejorative sense) hair.

    Total. Moron.

    Coulter knows absolutely nothing about science, being reduced to quoting from the New York Times science section of all things! Yeah, the media hasn’t promoted that radiation is good for you. Must be a Liberal Conspiracy!!!!

    Even O’Reilly of the “the tides come in, the tides go out” school of Bronze Age creationist thought tries to put her back under her rock, but Ann is adamant. Unlike the tides, won’t be moved.

    When ideology replaces knowledge, learning and science this is what you get. Vapid morons. And the same ideology prevents O’Reilly from telling her she’s the stupidest person on the planet. Amazing!

  2. Well, she hasn’t been in the media spotlight lately, so she was due for a turn. She must have a new book on the way.

  3. Sorry to say TFN, Blondie is right—sort of—as well as wrong. In the past, some studies have indeed shown that small increases in radiation exposure might be beneficial in some ways—but only up to a point with a very low threshold. The official U.S. government position is that any radiation exposure at all above background levels is potentially harmful to human health. It can also be argued that natural background radiation in certain locations is also potentially harmful.

    The basic principal to protect yourself when dealing with radiation is called TDS: time, distance, and shielding. The longer the time you expose yourself to a radioactive emissions source of a given intensity, the more likely you are to be harmed by it in some way. The farther the distance you can put between yourself and an emission source, the better off you are. If you can put an appropriate shielding barrier between yourself and an emission source, your chances of being harmed are greatly reduced.

    Also, the folks on CNN the other night were wringing their hands in anguish because they were having difficulty understanding what radioactive contamination is. Basically, they thought that radioactive contamination was “little packets of sunshine” that travel on the wind and get on your body somehow—kind of like a sound wave that attaches itself permanently to your elbow and somehow kills you. And they could not imagine how that happens. Well, the reason they could not imagine how that happens is because…well…that is not what happens.

    Radioactive contamination is easy as pie to understand, and I am going to show you that right now with an example that you can take to heart and remember the rest of your life. The first bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima in World War II was a bomb made with a core of highly enriched and extremely radioactive Uranium-238. Think of it as a 5-pound loaf of bread. When the bomb exploded, that 5 pounds of bread was instantly converted into trillions of tiny little wheat flour particles—many of them so small you would need an electron microscope to see them. Got that? Its a loaf of bread reduced to trillions of microscopic wheat flower particles (actually radioactive Uranium 238 particles and other nasty little isotopic particles collectively called radionuclides). Radioactive contamination is, for lack of a better term, simply “dust particles” from a hunk of radioactive metal that has been turned to metal dust.

    If you have a 5-pound lump of radioactive Uranium-238, and you set it on a table in front of you, the whole lump emits rays just like the sun—bad rays that can burn you and do other nasty things to your body. If you convert that lump into trillions of little metallic dust particles, one dust particle can land on your head, another tiny particle can land on your leg, and another tiny particle can land on your foot. Just like the “Lump Momma” they all came from, each tiny particle will sit on your head, leg, and foot and behave like a little sun—emitting strong sunshine and burning your butt good (so-to-speak).

    Now, wasn’t that simple??? So easy. So logical. So obvious once you understand it. Radioactive contamination is a “dust problem.”

    You may have heard the term “radioactive decontamination.” Because radioactive contamination is basically just tiny particles of radioactive metals dust, they can be washed out of things just like mom gets those sandlot dirt particles out of your jeans with Tide detergent. They can also be scrubbed off of your body like any other dirt.

    There you go folks—oversimplified a bit—but basically the real truth on radioactive contamination.

    Do you remember that huge explosion you saw at the Japanese nuclear power plant on TV? Do you remember seeing that huge cloud of brown crap billow up into the air. That was super-heated water vapor molecules, smoke particles from burning things, dust from fragmenting concrete, and radioactive uranium particles. It all gets caught up on the wind and carried away to a theater near you. The particles fall onto your clothes; sit there on your polyester threads; emit alpha, beta, and/or gamma rays—and all the while—mess up your body.

    Lesson over.

  4. Sorry folks. I meant Uranium-235—not Uranium-238. Even though I work with them nearly every day, it is sometimes hard for me to remember which is which when writing about it to folks like you—caught my own mistake—apologize for that.

  5. It is unconscionable and irresponsible for any news organization to broadcast Ann Coulter’s uninformed and dangerous public health misinformation. Even O’Reilly tried to reel her back in which gives you some idea of how dangerous he thought her ravings were.

    No, all radiation is dangerous. Radiation breaks DNA. It causes free radicals in the body. That’s why you wear sunscreen. That’s why senior citizens wear big hats and visit the dermatologist every year. That’s why you wear a lead apron when you get a dental x-ray. That’s why lab technicians wear film counters and have them tested monthly.

    Alexander Litvinenko was murdered after being given 10 micrograms of polonium-210. Ten micrograms is TWO HUNDRED TIMES the lethal dose. Although an alpha emitter, whose rays don’t even pass through a sheet of paper, from within the body whether ingested or inhaled is absorbed where billions of “tiny suns” destroy the body from within.

    Coulter implied in her thoughtless, mean-spirited and evil ideological attack (without consequence nor accountability) that the Government has deliberately set minimum radiation levels high in spite of “mounting scientific evidence” that radiation is actually beneficial.

    This kind of capricious, ha-ha, non-accountability by public figures has to end. It’s dangerous to the weak-minded and uninformed; it’s a public danger. Ann Coulter should be condemned publicly for her misinformation and censured by the very news organizations that enable her to have such a large platform.

    If Coulter wants to run around the country, like Jenny McCarthy, and preach the benefits of radiation that’s one thing, but to have the tacit approval of a national “news” organization is something else.

  6. Thanks Doc Bill. I could not have said it any better. I’m just glad the Texas SBOE is not in charge of radiation protection.

  7. Hey, radiation causes cancer, aka uncontrolled growth, i.e. the same as unregulated ‘unleashed’ capitalism => good.
    Not to forget the benefits of getting bitten by radiocative spiders and the ability to read at night without a lamp due to one’s glowing thorax.

    When radium got discovered there was a fad of special ‘tonics’, i.e. drinks spiced with small amounts of radium. They actually had an invigorating effect (that much was true) but there came a rude awakening when Mr.Cancer knocked at the door some time later. Btw, a number of other poisons show similar effects: first you feel better then you die in a very unpleasant way.

  8. I know this is a little off-topic, but I hate how Bill O’Reilly purposefully brings on ridiculously kooky right-wing guests like Ann Coulter and disagrees with them in an attempt to prove how “fair and balanced” he is. As if disagreeing with Ann Coulter (and other occasional extreme right-wingers) is PROOF that he and his network is not a mouthpiece for the Republican party.

  9. Hey Ann, fly over to Japan, waltz into that nuclear plant, sit down and enjoy your glowing tan. Then come back and tell me how healthy you are.

    She is a complete nut case. What a fool.

    Background radiation causes background rates of cancer.

    The far right has declared war on science, as evidenced by Coulter. So much so, that they will wreklessly ignore and rationalize away known hazards just to prove an idological point.

    That just goes to prove that you can be really smart and really educated and still have no sense whatsoever.

  10. Was it me mishearing things but I believe Coulter repeated many times that the government sets “minimum” radiation exposure limits? I guess I didn’t know them thar liberals want you to get a minimum amount of Vitamins Cesium-137 and Iodine-131. If that’s the case, then Coulter’s arguments were (as usual) a waste of time, for then we get what she said we should have.

  11. Listening to Ann Coulter makes me imagine what you would get if you crossed David Duke with a brain-dead snake. How many sieverts did she have before that program?

  12. TFN, you missed on this one. Coulter is an idiot and wrong about almost everything, but in this case she is actually citing legitimate science.

    The body’s protection and repair mechanisms are reactive. Bacteria and viruses cause disease, but children who are overly protected against bacteria and viruses often grow up to have allergies and immune disorders. In adults regular exposure to bacteria or parasites can activate and normalize the immune system, producing very real health benefits.

    Current research does indeed appear to show a similar reaction to low levels of radiation. It appears that very low levels of radiation do indeed activate the body’s protection and repair mechanisms. It does indeed appear that, for certain very low levels of radiation, the negligible damage caused is actually outweighed by the health benefits resulting from the highly activated protection and repair systems.

    The body is reactive. Protection and repair systems get switched off without stimulation, natural responses can get thrown out of whack. Bacteria exposure and radiation exposure can be *too low* for optimum function and optimum health.

    Now I have to go bleach my brain… you made me side with Coulter. You suck, chuckle.