Web Social Phenomenons

I have just been getting myself aquianted with a couple of recent web phenomenons. Fiverr isn’t exactly new, but it is still a very current trend which I definitely think deserve classifying within the realm of ‘most recent’ internet trends. In case you don’t know what Fiverr.com is, it is all about ‘what would you do for a fiver?’ Basically, it is a giant list of ‘services’ of sorts being offered for the price of $5. And of course, you can request services for $5 too, if you can’t find exactly what you are looking for.

I think I like this website and trend. Superficially it seems to offer a LOT of really useful services for very cheap. And if you can use any of those services, then they are all bargains. I have taken a few deals out already, but am still waiting for delivery of them all, so I will have to report in again on what I thought of those services. I hope to continue exploring and finding really good services through fiverr for a while to come.

The second phenomenon I have found, thanks to Fiverr, is called Twiends. Now this one I am far less sure about. In fact, I am pretty sure it highlights exactly my biggest complaint and annoyance with the overall social phenomenon scene created by Facebook and Twitter et al. That you end up with giant crowds of people – who don’t really care…

I guess I will have to explain this – How Twiends works, is basically you follow people on twitter, or like pages on facebook and in return you get ‘seeds’. These seeds then allow you to ‘pay’ other people to follow your twitter account and like your facebook page. Pretty simple, apparently completely within T&C of both organisations (since they aren’t actually being ‘bought’ or ‘sold’) but completely pointless too…? I mean, what is the point of getting people to follow you who are only following you so they can get more people to follow them… Surely the people who have blindly followed you have blindly followed many other people too? So how are your tweets and updates even going to get through the noise of all of their other follows and likes???

The analogy which comes to mind is of these social networks being like a large party, where there might be 1000 people, but everyone self-organises in to smaller social circles where they can have discussions with one another. You can’t talk to everyone, but at least the 5-10 people in your circle can hear you. But with Twiends, it feels like we are trying to turn that party in to a rave where everyone is free to talk, but it is so noisy, no one can hear anyone at all. You might accidentally hear what the raver next to you says, but it is by accident more than design.

What is the point of all of it all anyway?


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SydneytoHobart Website Progress

I am making some good progress with SydneyToHobart.com.au. A few days ago I came up with a decent purpose for it – basically it can solve the problem I had last year when I tried to go in to the city to watch the start of the race: I had no idea where to go! So SydneyToHobart.com.au is all about helping people to figure out where to go, when to get there and how to get there to watch the start of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. Simple enough, and hopefully enough people will be interested in that same problem as the Sydney to Hobart race approaches.

Monetisation is still not settled. It might just be an adsense blog, or if I can sort it out well, I will try to sort out advertising deals with local cafes and restaurants. There is also scope to affiliate with the numerous boats who offer spectating from the water for a fee.

Not a big issue at this point. First challenge is actually to get adequate information together. I’d love to be able to find a few Sydney to Hobart spectating veterans who would like to help out. But until they offer themselves up to help, I am all on my, like with all of my projects 🙁


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Global News Network Syndication

I am very happy to report my first ever Flippa.com purchase. I am even happier to (tentatively) report it as a complete success. I will have to write another entry about my evolving Flippa strategy because this post is about my new website, a global news syndication network, KLTNews.com.

Not a bad domain name. The KLT doesn’t really stand for anything, it is just ‘cool’ (I guess???) but basically it makes a short, somewhat easy to remember domain name for a simple automated news syndication blog. And it actually looks really good. I sort of broke all of my own basic rules when purchasing this one, but it was really very cheap, and so the risk didn’t seem to be very big.

My job now will be to develop it a little bit further, bring in some more traffic and help improve its overall penetration in to the news market. With a design as well made and intuitive as it has, there is good scope for return traffic and visitor retention.

Wish me good luck with my new website!


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Google +1 Button Released

I just found out that Google have released a +1 button. I’m not exactly surprised, it has been an obvious next step for quite a while now, and something which Stumble Upon and numerous other social network style referral systems have had in effect for a while now. It is just a big deal that now there is a direct system which actually influence the Google Search results. It is quite amazing and exciting and terrifying all at once. Exactly how this is going to change the SEO scene is anyone’s guess…

Obviously, the first concern is abuse. I have no doubt that very soon you will be able to see threads over at places like Digital Point where people will be offering to +1 other peoples pages if you +1 theirs, and people will offer +1ing services and all of that sort of stuff. No doubt Google realise this and are doing everything they can to make such things pointless and a waste of time of the people trying to do it.

This does however make me wonder what the value could possibly be of the +1 if they are going to try to stop people from gaming the system. If the system is to have any impact on search results, then it is gameable. If they make it ungameable, then how could it possibly have any significant impact on the search results?

Seems hard to comprehend, but don’t think for a second that I would risk not having the button on my main websites in an effort to get improved rankings on Google. The risk of not getting every slight advantage offered isn’t worth it!

So how about you head on over to Sports Arbitrage Guide right now, and +1 that homepage for me 😀

PS: If you want to add the +1 button to your website now, just visit this page: http://www.google.com/webmasters/+1/button/index.html


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Lake District Walks Added to TDMSKP

I have just added three new walks to TDMSKP from a recent trip I took to the Lake District. We stayed in Waterhead, just south of Ambleside in a YHA. From there we had a huge day, completing all three of these walks!

First we walked to Troutbeck, then up to Wansfell, then along the ridge to Wansfell Pike, and on down in to Ambleside. ON the way in to Ambleside we quickly walked through Stock Ghyll Park, taking plenty of photos of the beautiful waterfalls in there. After a nice relaxing lunch we started on the second major walk, heading towards Rydal Hall, then on to Grasmere. The return half of the circuit took us to Rydal Cave, which was quite spectacular.

Anyway, be sure to check out the three guide articles I have put together for these walks. They are just the beginning of Immortal Outdoors in the UK! Immortal Outdoors is still under construction, but with progress being made, it will hopefully be ready before this trip is out 🙂


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Why Militant Atheism is Necessary

Militant Atheism is necessary as a force to counteract the unbalanced political and social power that popular religious belief systems have wielded for too long through their powerful standardising of beliefs. It is impossible to persuade people to change their point of view when their point of view is not actually their own and they don’t care about the subject matter. As such, the only option left is to challenge the foundation of the belief structure itself so as to undermine the authority of the people who decide what their followers should and should not believe.

For, Against and Other

It is true that on any contentious point you will get people with extreme points of view on each side. You will also get a lot more people right in the middle who don’t care, and then a complete spectrum in between of people who care, and may have opinions leaning one way or the other. What matters though, is that most of these people, particularly those who are not in the ‘extreme point of view’ position, can have their views changed by evidence and reason.

Where Religion changes this game, is how it allows large numbers of people to be made to believe the same position, often to the ‘extreme’ point, just by asserting that it is true and providing a bible quote or two. And it really only works with holy texts too. If you get a group of climate change deniers together, and tell them that they should also understand that abortion is fundamentally wrong – then it is unlikely that the assertion will carry any sway with them. There is no reason for that common belief system about climate change to carry over in to the world of the abortion debate. There is no reason to accept the claims of the ‘leader’ in this scenario… but when the leader is actually representative of “God” or a “holy text” or any other sort of manuscript which is somehow meant to hold the secrets of life (in an absolute sense) – then suddenly the leader, who has some sort of special ability to understand, or interpret or present the information known to God or the Holy text/manuscript, can make just about any claim on any topic – because God does actually cover everything… All topics are in fact related to ‘God’.

Every Belief is Related to God

So, religious institutions have a special belief power over people. As soon as someone gives over their ‘Everything belief’ to God or the Bible or the Koran etc, then when their religious source says “Homosexuality is evil”, then the most ambivalent person on earth on this topic is very strongly inclined to simply accept this claim as fact. After all, who can argue with God?

Of course not all people agree about all things in religion. Hence the two great schisms in Christianity. And the break between Judaism and Christianity. And ditto again with Islam. And all of the different forms of Hinduism and Buddhism. And the different denominations of Christianity and Judaism and Islam… etc.

So there may very well be a form of each religion for each specific combination of beliefs. To an extent anyway. But I don’t think most people feel free to ‘shop around’ for their belief system. Most people are born in to it. Or stumble in to it haphazardly – converted to ‘Christ’ by some major life changing experience you don’t usually stop to analyse all of the sub-beliefs that go with the church that you just happened to walk in to. So you end up in some belief system which tells you that slavery is actually OK in Gods eyes… Sorry, wait…no one (publicly) believes that one anymore, so I should use a more modern example. You walk in to a church that believes that homosexuality is a sin and that homosexuals are going to suffer for eternity in hell. Now thanks to your recent “Finding God” experience, you are open and ready to receive the word of God!! Hallelujah! And after all of the niceties and meeting all of the wonderful smiling people, and hearing how loving and wonderful and forgiving God is, and Good and all of that great stuff… you eventually find out that homosexuals are evil and going to hell.

“…That’s odd. I’ve never really though about homosexuality before.” you might think. Maybe never encountered it much – or when you did, simply didn’t care. But now… well now you know that God has ordained it. You know the truth… because “God said it”. The fact that it is people telling you this is irrelevant – they are simply relating to you God’s own words. So what on earth can you do other than believe them????

How long do you think it will take to turn someone who has never given the slightest shit about someone else’s sexuality and private life before, into someone who thinks the homosexuals are evil, when they are surrounded by other people who have been similarly brainwashed by rhetoric claimed to be in the name of the central belief?

The logical cause here is very straight forward.

  1. You believe <religious concept> is true.
  2. Leader of <religious concept> states that <belief>, because <religious concept>
  3. You believe <belief>.

So in order for someone to challenge <belief>, arguing against topics related to the belief is a waste of time: they aren’t the reasons the belief is held. You have to argue against <religious concept> or the leader, because those things are the actual logical causal reason for the belief to be held.

Christians who are disgusted by homosexuals are not disgusted by homosexuals because of anything homosexuals have ever done – they are disgusted by homosexuals because of what their religious leaders have told them. To argue with them about how homosexuality is just a private lifestyle that has nothing to do with them is to miss the point – they don’t CARE about that. What they care about, is their belief system itself. If you want to argue about homosexuality with a Christian who ”hates fags”, then you have to argue about Christianity.

Why This Matters

This matters because the beliefs of the people, determine the policies of the Governments. And when beliefs are artificially created by powerfully people within religious organisations, politics is affected in an imbalanced way. It is imbalanced, because politics engages in the actual topic itself – it will engage in arguments about gay marriage, on the terms of gay marriage. But when the argument isn’t actually about gay marriage, the political process is a complete waste of time. Politicians simply cannot engage in a campaign for Gay marriage, and then spend their time pointing out all of the flaws in Christianity. It isn’t acceptable, and won’t work either. But that is what needs to be done, because the people who are stopping gay marriage equality are doing so because of their religious beliefs, not because of the stuff the politician is talking about.

The idea of how our democratic system is meant to work, is that the differences in opinions held by it’s constituents are the fuel for the debate and are the basis of debate. Differences in opinion are acceptable, and entirely part of the system – but what is far more important than holding different opinions, is the opportunity to change opinions. Whether they be the opinions of the extremes, or simply swaying the opinions of the people in the middle who don’t really care – as long as evidence, facts, reason and logic can be used to sway numbers to a particular belief about contentious points. And as soon as disproportionate numbers of people have their beliefs determined by an external influences in such a way so as to prevent a change in belief…. then democracy cannot work. Instead, we have a democratic portion of the population, constantly dragging a theocratic portion along with it.

The Real World

There is no better example of this than the Gay Marriage debate. This is the sickest of sick public policy debates to waste anyone’s time in the last few decades. (I wanted to say ‘ever’, but I quickly remembered women’s rights (another Religious doctrine maintained that fight for a while) and before that, slavery (yet another religious doctrine kept that one alive way too long too)).

You see, for this debate, just like women’s rights and slavery, there were people who saw the injustice of the old system, and there were bigots who simply didn’t like the idea of giving equal rights to people who they viewed as lesser than themselves. These two roles exist with and without religion. And if religion was taken off the table, then I think the number of people supporting gay marriage would drastically out number the people who are against it, and the number of people in the middle who don’t care would simply vote for it, because it won’t harm them and will give rights to more people. Problem solved. But because religion is involved, a ‘debate’ rages on the topic as if there is actually some sort of pro and con analysis going on here.

There isn’t!

It is just complete BULLSHIT coming from religious flocks who think that homosexuals don’t deserve the same treatment as them because someone in power has convinced them that ‘God’ said that homosexuals are an abomination. And because of that a priori assertion of lesser value, they then attempt to shackle together ridiculous arguments to rationalise their position after the fact.

Nonsense like “Gay marriage will destroy the institution of marriage” – Yeah bullshit. Tell that to the 50-70% divorce rate already in existence amongst heterosexuals. I feel stupid even pointing that out, because everyone knows that argument is complete rubbish and how ‘destroyed’ the sacred institution of marriage already is!

The point here is that all of the powerful counter arguments made against the ridiculous arguments made by the ‘religious right’ who are 95% of the time behind the anti-gay-marriage movement – are almost completely a waste of time. As articulate and clever, and cutting and poignant and perfect as they are – they are completely wasted. Because the people they are ‘arguing’ against, don’t actually care. They don’t hold the belief themselves. They were never convinced that homosexuals shouldn’t be married – they are simply following the belief pattern handed off to them by their religious leader.

You cannot argue against someone, who doesn’t care about the argument.

And that is why Militant Atheism matters.

If we ever want to get public policy back on to the track of ‘Reason’ and genuine debate between the extreme positions in an attempt to sway the moderates – we need to remove the large class of people who would be moderate, but are pushed to extremes by absolute belief systems forced on to them by religious instruction that they have chosen to believe in.

When someone’s mind is locked in on a belief because of religion, then arguing the points of that belief is useless. You have to address the source of the belief itself – the actual religion.

Needless to say, this same point applies to Creationists inhibiting scientific education, anti-abortionists inhibiting reasonable social programs, people against stem cell research without understanding the science first…anti-euthanasia absolutists… etc Where religion has a position, people are forcibly influenced into that belief position too. Rational debate is therefore impossible, and social policy is improperly affected.

For the sake of a sensible, reasonable, progressive society which continues to IMPROVE – we must throw off the shackles of religion. Because one thing all of these religions have in common, is the absolute forbiddance of progress.

The Bible doesn’t come in wiki format.

Militant Atheism

To me, Militant Atheism is all about stopping the religious groups of our world from exerting their numerical powers and superstitious beliefs over political processes. I don’t care about Jehovah’s Witnesses coming to my door. I don’t care about friends and colleagues praying for me. I don’t care at all what people do in private, or even in public for that matter. What I do care about, is when laws are made which create injustice, inequity and force stagnation of knowledge, and those laws are made simply because too many people have been brainwashed into agreeing with those laws, because a mythology has been used to convince them of that position. Not reason. Not evidence. But mythology.

No longer should our advanced society allow itself to be hindered by mythology.

Further Information

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100 Percent Winners Review

Reposted from Sports Arbitrage Guide Blog

After a little research in to the 100 percent winners setup, exactly what is going on here is pretty clear to me. The creators of this software are experienced internet marketers who have already had success with a previous program in the Forex world, and are simply building on that success and making more money by branching out in to the arbitrage trading world. Unfortunately, the people who have created the whole 100 percent winners brand, are, as I said, Marketers, not arbitrage traders.

The Marketing of 100 Percent Winners

So what we have, is one of the best marketing campaigns you will have ever seen. They have the amazing sales page which covers every base you might worry about. They have the testimonial videos, the beta testing results, the explanations, the money back guarantees etc. They even have multiple domains, each covering different aspects of the marketing launch, including 100percentwinnersscam.net where people who are worried it is a scam, might actually believe they are about to be told all about how much of a scam it is – but I can guarantee that when you subscribe to that page, you will be told a ‘frank’ version of how it is probably actually pretty good afterall, and you might even make money using it…

Meanwhile, of course, they have set up an affiliate program and I assume started recruiting professional affiliate marketers well before launch date, so that they could saturate Google with positive affiliate-biased reviews and spin of their software. When you search 100 percent winners, or any variation of that term, you only get pages made by the company, reviews about the company posted by the company or someone affiliated with them, and affiliate pages selling the article. One affiliate page made me laugh:

Hi,I am Jones James and I from Chicago.I swear to the God the following 100 Percent Winners reviews is my real experience with the product.I got really interested when I first heard of sports investing and decided to test 100PercentWinners software.I paid 100 Percent Winners 3 weeks ago. This is going to completely change my life.$3,740 in first week…$21,095 in 4 weeks…and the best part is it’s completely automated, so once you set things up it all runs on autopilot.I love 100 Percent Winners.For the first time ever i’m in control of my life now.

Who knows how long this legal loophole is going to last, but I know this:Some smart people are going to make an absolute killing with it while it lasts.

LOL. Yeah. ‘swear to god’ alright. And lie your arse off. “Completely Automated” – even the company doesn’t claim that on its sales page. “Legal Loophole” FFS. Seriously. Who makes this shit up?

Getting back to their sales pitch itself, they talk all sorts of nonsense about $320,000 profit since the middle of 2010. I call BS on that one. They then highlight some 17-40% arbs they have placed in the last 24h – 100% legit and audited, they say. Bull. Shit. says I. And then their video showing how to make $320 in 3 minutes. Aside from the fact that I have trouble believing that it is legitimate – lets assume they got lucky and found a palp on betcity (which they didn’t show the cancelled bet there btw), the technique they showed in placing the arb will cause major losses for anyone trying to learn how to arb trade. They placed the bets at Pinnacle before even looking to make sure the odds were real at BetCity!!! Absolute sure fire way to lose money. Ugh.

100 Percent Winners – The Software

OK, full disclosure here – I was going to purchase the software and see for myself, and then probably use their full refund option (which I believe will be legitimate), but after simply browsing their videos, and thanks to a screenshot posted on Arbforum by someone who has already subscribed, I don’t really think I need to see the software myself. It is obvious that the software is basically just a simple alert service, which does *essentially* the job designed to do, but without any real caution for the reality of arbitrage. ie: No filters for palps, and no real finesse to finding the real arbs.

100 percent winners software screenshotWhen I saw the price being charged for a subscription, my first thought was not of it being expensive (as no doubt some people who stumble across their page will worry about). No, my first though was “How can someone run a decent alert service for that amount?” You can’t. No development team could create and maintain decent arbitrage software and make it worth their while for such a small ongoing subscription fee. Most of the market leading alert services at the moment charge 100 percent winner’s initial fee of $150 or more, every month.

Now if we look at the screenshot provided here, you can see so many obvious palps it isn’t funny. The first ‘arb’ there, for 90%!!!!!! has Stan James and Stan James. Yeah sure. A bookmaker will absolutely accept bets that guarantee itself a loss of 190% of whatever you bet. And as for the rest of them, simple experience tells me, and any other arber looking at that image, that none of those arbs are real.

Is 100 Percent Winners A Scam?

I wouldn’t call it a scam. You’re not about to lose your life savings by buying 100% winners, but you might lose $170 if you don’t ask for a refund… and then you can only blame yourself. No, I think these guys are just clever marketers who like bending the truth ‘a little bit’…. And besides – they aren’t even really making any money off the arbitrage sales. Their profit comes from the $490 Pro Tipping service they try to flog to you after you find arbitrage isn’t making you any money. (see the 100 percent winners affiliate page to see where their profits come from, and why so many people are trying to flog this software so hard).

I don’t think 100 percent winners is really worth anything. I mean, you spend money on arbitrage software to help make finding arbs easier, or at least hand enough to you each month to pay for itself + some profit. And every alert service I have ever paid for has been able to do that. I doubt 100 Percent Winners could. Maybe it could – but between all of the errors, palps, and false positives that fill it’s display, how would you ever find a real arb?

So if you actually want to do arbitrage trading, I recommend shopping around for a better service (and trialing a few of the free options out first). Buying 100 Percent Winners to do arbitrage trading is sort of like buying a rolex in Bali for $10. It seems like a bargain at the time, but in one week time when it stops working, you realise that it wasn’t even worth the $10.

Join the Discussion

Join our discussion on 100 Percent Winners in our forum. Ask questions if you want, or just tell everyone what your experience of their service was like.


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Kalang Falls and Dalpura Canyon Updated

Been doing a bit of canyoning lately, and so I have updated the guide article entries on Dalpura Canyon and Kalang Falls. I have also added entries for Boyd River Camping Area and Kanangra Boyd National Park.

In other news, I am still a bit stuck with Immortal Outdoors. Working on it still though. I will make this site, and it will be worth the wait.

I have also been doing a lot of work on Sports Arbitrage Guide lately. I have added a forum finally, and am just letting it grow of its own accord. You can see the forum here: Sports Arbitrage Guide Forum

I am also working on the website schematic plan for the Helping People website. I was able to find someone who offered to build it with me, so we might as well throw it up and see what happens.

All in all, lots of stuff happening.

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Jacob Barnett and Scientific Progress

StumbleUpon, the bringer of all great discoveries, took me to an article last night about a 12 year old savant which really excited me. Jacob Barnett, based on my understanding from this article, appears to be a genius of the highest order. His Mathematics IQ was graded at 170 – the highest score possible. He taught himself all of the maths you are meant to learn in highschool in two weeks, because he was about to start studying at university and wanted to make sure he had the basics down. And he did that while he was 12. As a 12 year old university student, he helps explain things to other students who are struggling.

My favourite story though, was from when he was 3:

they went on a tour of the Holcomb Observatory and Planetarium at Butler University.Kristine Barnett will never forget the day.

“We were in the crowd, just sitting, listening to this guy ask the crowd if anyone knew why the moons going around Mars were potato-shaped and not round,” she recalls. “Jacob raised his hand and said, ‘Excuse me, but what are the sizes of the moons around Mars?’ ”

The lecturer answered, and “Jacob looked at him and said the gravity of the planet . . . is so large that (the moon’s) gravity would not be able to pull it into a round shape.”


“That entire building . . . everyone was just looking at him, like, ‘Who is this 3-year-old?’ “

Anyway, he is about to turn 13 now, and is also about to be given a research position at his university (I don’t think they left him studying undergrad at university for even a whole year).

Jake’s Theories

As an almost 13 year old prodigy, Jake already has a couple of new “change the text books” theories which he is developing. First of all he is developing a “new expanded theory of relativity” which will expand on what Einstein did. Secondly, he thinks the big bang theory is flawed, and so is developing his own theory to account for the creation of time and matter.

The Potential

Jake Barnett is exactly the sort of person that science needs to come through every now and then (I hope anyway) and really put everything on the line. The obvious potential benefits are huge of course. He could improve existing theories, and solve long standing unsolved problems. He might even come up with a better theory than the fringe theories which scientists have been disagreeing over for decades. But all of that is pretty normal. Non-Genius scientists do all of that stuff all the time. That is what Science is about. I see Jake’s potential as much bigger, and playing a much more important role in ‘Scientific Advancement’ at large.

Jake has the intellect, and the speed of information uptake to provide a real critical analysis of what Scientists think they know. Jake is potentially an incredibly strong catalyst for the next scientific revolution…

Scientific Revolutions

The fundamentalists and science deniers who still exist in our amazing society are constantly claiming that science is flawed, and that it is full of errors and/or lies. They believe this because they don’t like the conclusions that scientists reach, and they don’t understand the science itself. It still amuses me when talking to creationists who are absolutely convinced that one day Scientists are going to realise their errors, and like has happened in the past, they will go through a scientific revolution in to the next more correct theory: Creation!

The fact is, Scientific revolutions happen. Old theories have been replaced in the past, or, more commonly, old theories are altered and improved. The non-scientific out there who want to believe certain things always pronounce the science which disagrees with their beliefs to be one of those theories which is due to be changed any day, and as demonstrated by the creationist lot, will do anything (except science) to make it happen.

But as Thomas Kuhn’s theory on Scientific Revolutions basically observes, eventually some new genius, or a new generation in generation will eventually come through and as they learn the facts and theories of their chosen scientific trade, they will be perfectly placed to view this information critically. They will be in the process of learning the tools of their science, while simultaneously not be completely indoctrinated with ‘the truth’ of the conclusions. And if the conclusions are flawed in some way; if there are too many bits which don’t make sense – then that new generation, or that particular genius will typically find themselves stuck on those problems. Rather than just accepting the problems as acceptable difficulties or margins of error, the new generation can focus on finding a better solution because they aren’t attached to the old one.

Jake’s Potential Role

So my interest here, is the role that Jake can play in this long scientific dance of continual improvement and refinement of theories. He has learnt the maths of astrophysics in, I would think, record time. He understands the principles intimitely, and yet certainly hasn’t had time to form emotional attachments to paradigms or frameworks of thinking which will force his brain to accept only one option.

Basically, Jake is exactly what all of the young earth creationists out there are waiting for – someone without a belief-system axe to grind, who understands the science to go through physics, and change it all! If they were right. But of course, so far Jake seems to basically agree with the theories currently accepted. He hasn’t claimed that relativity is wrong (yet), but seems to think that he can improve it. He does think the Big Bang theory is wrong, and I hope he is right (because I never much liked that theory anyway ;).

Every new scientists that goes through this process is a small testament to the rigours of our scientific progresses. Every new person trained in the skills required to do the maths, and to understand the principles used in predicting and estimating motions, histories and actions is one more person to falsify the theories which are currently accepted. Another person to spot ‘the lies’ about radiometric dating. Another person to spot the mathematical errors in relativity. Another person to simply observe that the entire scientific theoretical basis of everything we know is a giant house of cards about to collapse on itself.

But it continues to not happen. And Jake is a tornado about to blow through that ‘house of cards’. If modern physics is flim flam, he will blow that house of cards away. If not, then he will be able to just get on with the good work.

Either way, we win. Science will function as intended, theories will be revised or improved and the entire human race will benefit from the process.

PS: Not that I am trying to put too much responsibility on Jake’s shoulders. It isn’t his ‘responsibility’ – it is just one of the sorts of consequences that can arise from someone in his position…

also,  The original article that inspired this post is well worth reading:  Genius at work: 12-year-old is studying at IUPUI

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Fukushima and the Banana Equivalent Dose

After seeing sensationalist headlines in the newspapers about “Australians Exposed to Radiation!” and constant talk about radiation leaks and a recent radiation spike etc with relation to the Fukushima Nuclear Power plant, I started wondering why none of these news sources seemed to ever mention how MUCH radiation was leaked, or what amount of radiation is was spiked to… or how much exposure the Australians were exposed to.

I don’t want to just go on a rant about how frustratingly terrible the news sources are for ommiting this incredibly simple and IMPORTANT element of these stories, although that is an obvious temptation….but seriously, I want to know. And I think that in order for people like me (non-nuclear physicists), I think they should present the information in the form of the Banana Equivalent Dose.

The Banana Equivalent Dose (BED)

You see, because of the high Potassium levels in Bananas, they are significantly more radioactive than most foods. As such, for simplicity of explaining radioactive exposure, the “Banana Equivalent Dose” system was devised, and is used as simply as it sounds:  “They were exposed to 50 Bananas worth of Radiation” for example.

Finding the Information

So I set out to try to find out exactly how much radiation has been released from the power plant. I found a few articles (1, 2) which repeated the same piece of information:

Japanese radiation readings:

Monitoring of radiation levels on the spot is ongoing. At point MP4, where a reading of 1,015μSv was detected yesterday, a radiation level of 44.6μSv was recorded at 00:30 this morning, and a level of 36.7μSv at 6:00am. After the start of venting around 9:20, a reading of 76.9μSv was recorded at 9:20 and of 70.3μSv at 9:30.

The radiation spiked up to 30 bananas a day (2 days ago) and then fell back down to 1 to 2 bananas per day.

UPDATE: Unit 2 has had serious damage and radiation levels on the edge of the plant compound briefly spiked at 8217 microsieverts per hour but later fell to about a third that. Normal annual doses for a year will occur in one day.

Meanwhile, two BBC (1, 2) articles provided the following radiation levels:

The Kyodo news agency reports that a radiation level of 1,557 microsieverts per hour was registered on Sunday… Later measurements included 750 microsieverts per hour at 0200 on Monday, and 20 microsieverts per hour at 1145….after Tuesday’s explosion, readings at the site rose again beyond safe limits – 400 millisieverts per hour


After the explosions and fire, radiation dosages of up to 400 millisieverts per hour were recorded between reactors three and four at the Fukushima Daiichi site, about 250km north-east of Tokyo.

A single dose of 1,000 millisieverts causes temporary radiation sickness such as nausea and vomiting.

Later, a reading of 0.6 millisieverts (mSv) per hour was made at the plant’s main gate, the International Atomic Energy Agency said.

And finally, of course, Wikipedia provides a great summary of the facts:

Dose-equivalent rates reported from the stations rose as high as 400 millisievert per hour

Fukushima Radiation Levels

So, working with that information, we have a worst radiation level of 400millisieverts per hour, measured from between the 3rd and 4th reactors. So at its worst levels, the plant has been measured releasing 4,000,000 BED. (1 banana = 0.0001mSv. Wiki) The rest of the time, the radiation has been sitting around 200 – 10,000 BED. So the general radiation levels of the power plant is perhaps akin to working in a Banana plantation, plus a bit, while the large spike is definitely a significant amount of radiation.

That 4 million BED of radiation was measured in the compound, and based on the comment by the BBC article, that “A single dose of 1,000 millisieverts causes temporary radiation sickness such as nausea and vomiting” means that someone standing, unprotected, in the the middle of the facility would feel those effects of radiation sickness after about 2.5 hours.

I guess more importantly than ‘feeling sick’ is the risk of death caused by that sort of exposure. The wiki article gives some goo dexamples of Dose levels, and observes that 100mSv per year is clearly carcinogenic – so 400mSv would obviously have a very strong risk of causing, probbaly multiple, cancers.

All that being said though – I don’t think anyone is standing unprotected anywhere near the nuclear reactor. There is a 20km exclusion zone, and my understanding of this radiation, is that it rapidly decays – it isn’t uranium leaking out or anything like that – nothing permanent or with a giant half life. One article stated that these radiactive particles which produce these readings last seconds… That seems to conflict with the fears of radiation heading over towards Tokyo, but then, I have only heard standard media talking about those sorts of fears, and I am not very convinced that they actually know what they are talking about.

Nonetheless, the whole situation is being handled with absolute care, and no risks seem to be being taken…

Human Exposure

Through all of my searching, I could not find one mention of exactly how much radiation was detected on the people exposed to radiation, or anything to help identify what had happened. The headlines typically sounded terrible, but once in to the story, it was clearly stated that the radiation was measured at “very low levels”, and that there was no risk of negative health affects. But no story that I have seen has provided numbers. I expect the BED of the exposure, based on the fact that the standard BED INSIDE the reactor is typically around 200-10000, they have probably experienced less than 1 year of smoking would expose them to.

But without any actual reporting, I can’t say.

The Hype and Fear Mongering

While trying to find this information, I found a lot more fear mongering and hype than anything else. For example, this article: http://www.businessinsider.com/cesium-and-iodine-radiation-fukushima-ines-scale-2011-3 is by far my favourite. It dedicates itself entirely to exploring the nuclear situation, and talked about nothing other than the reactors, and the radiation, the history of nuclear disasters, the rating given to this nuclear event etc. It quoted experts about the nuclear situation… and then, out of the blue, in the second last paragraph it slips in the death toll from the Earthquake and Tsunami, right before the last paragraph which quote the death toll from Chernobyl.

Ahhh, tell me you aren’t trying to create an incredible sense of fear about nuclear accidents???

Basically this article reads like this:

<Ten paragraphs of all of the possible problems of nuclear fall out, radiation, and tragedy>

People have been asked to evacuate from a 20km radius around the plant.

The death toll is said to be expected to reach 1700. Over 680 have been found dead and number of people found dead is rising hourly as more people are found.

Approximately 4,000 people were killed in Chernobyl.

There is no attempt to explain that the death toll is from the Tsunami, and the following paragraph about the ‘death toll of Chernobyl’ is surely doing its best to make it sound like the death toll is somehow a result of the Nuclear Power Plant accident?!??!?!?

This example is pretty special though.

The normal type of fear mongering that I found looks more like this one: http://cryptogon.com/?p=21138 which basically comes down to big bold headlines about radiation leaks, people being exposed, and warnings from official bodies. Again, no details, no facts, no perspective about the actual threat. Just generic statements that make everything sound really bad.


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