The Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab

The Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab was a toy produced between 1950 and 1951.  The toy allowed the user to conduct simple experiments with radioactive materials.  Kit included;

  • A Geiger counter
  • An electroscope
  • A Wilson cloud chamber
  • A spinthariscope
  • Four samples of uranium ore
  • Pb-210 lead isotope
  • Polonium
  • Ruthenium
  • Zinc
  • various other accessories

After only a year of production, the toy was pulled from the market for obvious reasons.

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In Hiroshima, there are permanent shadows caused by the intensity of the blast from the bomb that was dropped. Nuclear bombs emit EM(electromagnetic) radiation which was absorbed by the people or objects that were in front of the radiation. So if they were far enough away from the blast, they wouldn’t have been incinerated, but still would have cast a shadow.

Since thermal radiation is light, and since light travels from a central point, everything in its path is burned except when there is something blocking it, so it creates this shadow effect. The surfaces behind the matter (the objects you see the shadows of) received much less radiation bleaching so there is a visible difference

Fukushima’s children are dying 
June 16, 2014

Some 39 months after the multiple explosions at Fukushima, thyroid cancer rates among nearby children have skyrocketed to more than forty times (40x) normal.

More than 48 percent of some 375,000 young people—nearly 200,000 kids—tested by the Fukushima Medical University near the smoldering reactors now suffer from pre-cancerous thyroid abnormalities, primarily nodules and cysts. The rate is accelerating.

More than 120 childhood cancers have been indicated where just three would be expected, says Joseph Mangano, executive director of the Radiation and Public Health Project.

The nuclear industry and its apologists continue to deny this public health tragedy. Some have actually asserted that “not one person” has been affected by Fukushima’s massive radiation releases, which for some isotopes exceed Hiroshima by a factor of nearly 30.

But the deadly epidemic at Fukushima is consistent with impacts suffered among children near the 1979 accident at Three Mile Island and the 1986 explosion at Chernobyl, as well as findings at other commercial reactors.
 
The likelihood that atomic power could cause such epidemics has been confirmed by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, which says that “an increase in the risk of childhood thyroid cancer” would accompany a reactor disaster.

In evaluating the prospects of new reactor construction in Canada, the Commission says the rate “would rise by 0.3 percent at a distance of 12 kilometers” from the accident. But that assumes the distribution of protective potassium iodide pills and a successful emergency evacuation, neither of which happened at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl or Fukushima.

The numbers have been analyzed by Mangano. He has studied the impacts of reactor-created radiation on human health since the 1980s, beginning his work with the legendary radiologist Dr. Ernest Sternglass and statistician Jay Gould.

Speaking on the Green Power & Wellness Show, Mangano also confirms that the general health among downwind human populations improves when atomic reactors are shut down, and goes into decline when they open or re-open.

Nearby children are not the only casualties at Fukushima. Plant operator Masao Yoshida has died at age 58 of esophogeal cancer. Masao heroically refused to abandon Fukushima at the worst of the crisis, probably saving millions of lives. Workers at the site who are employed by independent contractors—many dominated by organized crime—are often not being monitored for radiation exposure at all. Public anger is rising over government plans to force families—many with small children—back into the heavily contaminated region around the plant.

Full article

Damage Control: Recovering From Radiation and Chemotherapy
Protein discovery could boost efficacy of bone marrow replacement treatments

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report that a protein called beta-catenin plays a critical, and previously unappreciated, role in promoting recovery of stricken hematopoietic stem cells after radiation exposure.

The findings, published in the May 1 issue of Genes and Development, provide a new understanding of how radiation impacts cellular and molecular processes, but perhaps more importantly, they suggest new possibilities for improving hematopoietic stem cell regeneration in the bone marrow following cancer radiation treatment.

Ionizing radiation exposure – accidental or deliberate – can be fatal due to widespread destruction of hematopoietic stem cells, the cells in the bone marrow that give rise to all blood cells. A number of cancer treatments involve irradiating malignancies, essentially destroying all exposed blood cells, followed by transplantation of replacement stem cells to rebuild blood stores. The effectiveness of these treatments depends upon how well the replacement hematopoietic stem cells do their job.

In their new paper, principal investigator Tannishtha Reya, PhD, professor in the department of pharmacology, and colleagues used mouse models to show that radiation exposure triggers activation of a fundamental cellular signaling pathway called Wnt in hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells.

“The Wnt pathway and its key mediator, beta catenin, are critical for embryonic development and establishment of the body plan,” said Reya, who also works at the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine. “In addition, the Wnt pathway is activated in stem cells from many tissues and is needed for their continued maintenance.”

The researchers found that mice deficient in beta-catenin lacked the ability to activate canonical Wnt signaling and suffered from impaired hematopoietic stem cell regeneration and bone marrow recovery after radiation. Specifically, mouse hematopoietic stem cells without beta-catenin could not suppress the production of oxidative stress molecules that damage cell structures. As a result, they could not recover effectively after radiation or chemotherapy.

More here

Pictured: The continuous, necessary production of blood cells, including these red blood cells captured in a scanning micrograph by Thomas Deerinck, is the responsibility of hematopoietic stem cells found in bone marrow.

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Part of the mystery and terror of the Chernobyl disaster is the invisibility of the threat. The explosion at the Vladimir Ilyich Lenin nuclear power plant released more radiation than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, and one might never know they were being poisoned until months, even years later. Veteran photographer Gerd Ludwig’s spent 20 years photographing the area, chronicling the ongoing consequences of the radioactive release.

[MORE: 30 Years After Chernobyl’s Meltdown, Gripping Photos Expose the Human Fallout]

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A photo of a group of “Biorobots” in special dress taken just before they went out to the roof of the 4th Chernobyl reactor. The roof of the reactor had to be cleared of radioactive debris before the sarcophagus could be built, however workers quickly discovered that robots were not an option when the incredibly high radiation levels caused them to malfunction and break down. As a result the only viable option was to send out human workers, called ‘biorobots’, to clear the roof. 

Gamma Ray Bursts - the biggest blast in the universe

Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are the most powerful events in the Universe. GRBs are flashes of gamma-rays that last from less than a second to several minutes. They release a tremendous amount of energy and they are thought to occur when stars explode and subsequently collapse into black holes. In the explosion, two jets of very fast-moving material are ejected from the star’s magnetic poles. If a jet happens to be aimed at Earth, we see a brief but powerful gamma-ray burst. 

Because light moves at a finite speed, looking farther into the Universe means looking back in time. Astronomers have detected GRBs in extremely distant objects more than 13 billion light years away. It is believed that the very first stars formed when the Universe was between 200 and 400 million years old. The events that took place then were very powerful, with huge amounts of matter compacting into giant black holes, super heating the surrounding matter and forming quasars, the massive rotational centres of primitive galaxies. Our own galaxy probably evolved from events like these. We are seeing the echo’s of creation.

Fathom the Universe

Artist impression GRB shining through two young galaxies - credit: L. Calçada, ESO

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How the Sun Sees You by Thomas Leveritt.

This is a fantastic video illustrating the power and damage ultraviolet rays have on our skin. This is not to say however that we cannot enjoy time in the sun at all.

Instead, make sure that if you are going to spend any length of time outside, remember to put on some sunscreen, to cover yourself properly, and to be mindful of your skin.

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