ACSH advisor Dr. Jerry Cuttler, an independent consultant based in Toronto, has been carrying on an almost solitary crusade to de-mythologize and tether to actual evidence the widespread fears and regulatory hyper-precaution concerning ionizing radiation and nuclear power. His recent talk at the VII International School on Nuclear Power, National Centre for Nuclear Research, in Warsaw Poland, was entitled Radiation effects on humans and organisms, and reasons for the fear.
His main focus was on the enhanced fear of radiation effects subsequent to the tsunami-induced damage to the Fukushima nuclear reactor in Japan in March of 2011. Some of his main points bear repeating:
- Fukushima radiation same as natural background radiation
- Evacuation resulted in 1600 premature deaths
- Precautionary action was not “conservative”
- Chronic radiation is beneficial < 700 mGy/year. Radiation becomes harmful > 700 mGy/year (According to the National Council on Radiation Protection, the average person receives about 3.6 mGy/year from background sources and a dental X-ray is about .005 mGy).
- The official policy, “linear non-threshold,” is invalid, based not on science, but on antinuclear ideology
- End regulations based on politicized science
Without this authority, the TTIP’s chances are radically reduced. That’s a good thing, because TTIP isn’t simply a threat to the NHS, or even public services in general. It’s an aggressive expression of the “free market” ideology that should have been binned with the financial crash. The defeat of the TTIP will be one more nail in its coffin.
The desire of Hamas leaders to ignite the West Bank and fan the flames of the uprising in East Jerusalem is no secret. The calls on the Palestinians to launch a third intifada are openly made during prayers in the mosques, as well as by media channels affiliated with Hamas. In addition, intensive activity has been going on in the field. While, so far, it has apparently not been aimed at setting up terrorist cells designed to carry out attacks, the Palestinians are encouraged and urged to clash with the Israeli security forces and set out on independent terrorist attacks.
The Hamas methods of operation were anticipated by the Palestinian security apparatuses a year ago already. According to a report submitted in December 2013 to PA President Mahmoud Abbas by the PA adviser for security affairs, Gen. Tawfiq Tirawi, officials in the Palestinian security apparatuses warned that the failure of the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians would push Hamas into trying to ignite the area. The authors of the report evaluated that Hamas would seek to reorganize its military wing in the West Bank and lead to a third intifada. Officials in the Palestinian security apparatuses anticipated that, rather than sending out suicide terrorists — the way Hamas operated during the second intifada — Hamas members would opt for shooting attacks and other independently launched terrorist attacks by individuals acting on their own.
In what appears to be the first of its kind ruling in the United States, the Board of Health in Brown County, Wisconsin, where Green Bay is located, has declared a local industrial wind plant to be a human health hazard. The specific facility consists of eight 500-foot high, 2.5 megawatt industrial wind turbines.
The board made its finding with a 4-0 vote (three members were not present) at an Oct. 14 meeting after it had wrestled with health complaints about the wind plant for more than four years. Ultimately, the board’s ruling was based on a year-long survey which documented health complaints and demonstrated that infrasound and low-frequency noise emanating from the turbines was detectable inside homes within a 6.2-mile radius of the industrial wind plant.
Henri Lepage reviews
Capital in the Twenty-First Century
by Thomas Piketty, translated from the French by Arthur Goldhammer
The concentration of wealth among those with the highest incomes has returned to the levels of the early twentieth century: now, again, they hold roughly 45 to 50 percent of it. “The shape of the curve,” says Piketty, “is rather impressively steep, and it is natural to wonder how long such a rapid increase can continue: if change continues at the same pace, for example, the upper decile will be raking in 60 percent of national income by 2030.”
Piketty takes the analysis further: during the thirty years prior to the Great Recession, he concludes, the richest one percent were the beneficiaries of three-quarters of total American growth. For 90 percent of Americans, average income growth was only 0.5 percent per annum.
If these figures are striking, they must nonetheless be viewed with much caution, especially where they concern the top percentile of the population, which is the most spectacular part of the display. Let us consider the method used to collect and create these data sets. Piketty and his team have aggregated them from a survey of a century’s worth of tax records, income tax having been introduced in the United States in 1910. Given that the analysis is based on tax records that range over such a long period, one has to wonder what effect changes and developments in the tax law might have had on the numbers. How did changes to tax rates, taxpayer categorization, and tax-assessment criteria affect the figures reported in these records, or the way they appear to represent patterns of national income and its distribution?
In reality, economies and markets do not function in the stylized and simplistic fashion they do in Piketty’s book, which reflects throughout his resolutely macroeconomic and deterministic approach.
In a radio program broadcast on France Culture in September 2013, Piketty offered forthrightly that his book was a political book.