The Theory of Relativity
Ben Dhonau posted an interesting comment on my little brainfart yesterday:
Cop yourself on: the dangers of accumulation in radon in confined spaces, especially houses, have been proved, known about, and publicized for many decades. If you want to ignore the risk that’s your lookout, but these paranoid conspiracy theories of yours are pretty silly. In incidentally it would cost about €50 to find out whether or not you have a problem.
I say it’s interesting as it goes to the very heart of what I was trying to say.
“Cop yourself on“. I’m not sure of the message here. I would consider myself to be as copped on as most. If anything I’m frequently too copped on.
“the dangers of accumulation in radon in confined spaces, especially houses, have been proved, known about, and publicized for many decades“. This is indeed true to a point. The subject of Radon gas has indeed cropped up over the decades and I am well aware that it is caused by the decay of Uranium which occurs naturally in the rocks we call home. However, Ben makes his first critical error here when he talks about the dangers being proved. The dangers are theorised at best, and theory is not proof. The best they can say is that there is radiation from Radon gas and radiation causes cancers, ergo Radon causes cancers. Does that take into account the levels of radiation involved? Their claim of 350 deaths a year is risable nonsense as it is purely a number on a spreadsheet calculated using various formulas.
“If you want to ignore the risk that’s your lookout” That is true and is the point I am making. I am being presented with a theoretical [and miniscule] fear and I am choosing to ignore it. Life is crammed with risks from birth to death. My own house is a deathtrap if I were to worry about risk all the time. There are sharp knives, glass, flammable materials, stairs, numerous poisons and mains electricity everywhere. I never ignore risk; I just take appropriate precautions. The risk from Radon is so small [even though I’m apparently in a Red Zone] just I just think precautions are unnecessary, especially as it would cost a couple of thousand to just potentially reduce an already minimal risk.
“but these paranoid conspiracy theories of yours are pretty silly.” There is nothing paranoid nor theoretical there. The panic induced into the populace by fear of “second hand smoke” and Covid-19 is fact not theory: Just ask anyone whose business has gone to the wall as a result of either. I never said there was a conspiracy. You may have taken that implication but I was suggesting as fact that there have just been a constant string of events which caused fear in the population.
Life is full of risks. I have heard it said that the most dangerous place you can possibly be is your own kitchen, and I would well believe it. The key factor though is relative risk. There is a risk a knife may slip and slice a vein or artery but while that risk indeed exists, it is relatively minimal [I have lived with kitchens for well over seventy years and it hasn’t happened yet].
We live in a risk averse society which is building up serious consequences for the future. I dread to think what adult life will be like for those kids who are brought up in an atmosphere of risk avoidance. Kids should be taught about risks and taught which are seriously dangerous and which aren’t.
“incidentally it would cost about €50 to find out whether or not you have a problem.” Why on earth would I spend €50 to see if I have a problem when I know that problem probably exists and where I have no intention of lashing out a couple of grand to mitigate a minimal risk?
It’s all relative.
To quote ‘Deep Throat’ from Watergate, “Follow the money”.
Somewhere lurking behind the scenes of most of the irrational scare-stories will be someone who’s invested in treatments for it or seeking others’ money to sponsor their work on it (so-called academics or pressure groups usually). They thrive on the oxygen of panic publicity, so best not to breathe it in.
In the strict scientific sense nothing is ever proved since to be a scientific theory it must be falsifiable. However, that exposure to high lev3ls of radon can cause lung cancer is backed by very strong evidence, and would clearly meet the legal standard “of beyond reasonable doubt” I agree that the risk is low relative to say smoking but I note that these factors are, in combination, multiplicative.
As I said, you are perfectly entitled to accept the risk. I accept many risks, as do we all, but don’t pretend this one is insignificant.
Re conspiracy theory, the burden of much of your post was that the powers that be were involved in a conscious log-standing campaign to scare the general public for I have no idea what reason. So maybe you can enlighten me.
As I siad you are perfecrly entitled to accept the
There is one feature that seems common amongst all the “scares” – more legislation. The smoking business brought in countless restrictive laws and regulations and since then we have seen a raft of proposals for minimum pricing, the display of alcohol and so on. The climate business has also led to a series of laws restricting how we live our lives. The Virus of course was a boon time for the law giving the state unprecedented restrictions and control. I grant that the Virus regulations have been “shut down” but they are still there on the books, ready to be re-enacted at a moment’s notice.
Regarding “scaring” the population, the is a noticeable feature of the news – it is predominantly bad. Taking Covid as an example, we had dire warnings of an impending pandemic followed by daily notifications of hospitalisations and deaths. If the numbers started to go down it was always some time before they would tell us “the levels are stabilising but we must wait and see”. They were always quick with the doom and gloom but rarely gave any good news. Just as an aside, I don’t remember any fanfare when the final restrictions were removed. Instead of rejoicing, the best they could come up with was “another variant of concern”.
I agree with you about the news concentrating on bad news This is because
it is what sells. This is summed up in a famous exchange of cables between an editor and one Of his foreign correspondents:
Editor: “Why no news?”
Correspondent: “No news, good news”
Editor: “No news, no job.”
Same in North Yorkshire.Definitely a risk ,how much can not be specific.Get lost.
Try learning some geology. N Yorkshire is very different from Co
If my knowledge of speleology serves me correctly, Yorkshire is predominantly limestone while Wckoew[!] is mostly granite, so the observation is correct, if a little sarcastic. However, for reasons unknown, apparently limestone can also be a source of Radon gas.
You are correct about the rocks in Wicklow and Yorkshire. The reason that some limestone areas pose a radon risk is because the limestones are underlain at relatively shallow depths by radioactive granite. Limestone is permeable so the radon generated in the granites can make its way to the surface.
Ah! Obvious when I think about it.
There’s an argument (bear with me) that God is Dead. Not for everyone of course but a spreading realisation that one pole of the Absolute Moral Order is gone. A corollary is that the Devil is Dead too. The other pole of the Absolute Moral Order is gone.
But people seek certainty in their lives, so the Moral Poles have been reinvented. The ‘Good’ Relative Moral Pole is now touchy feely churches, heart warming YouTube videos, and New Age practices that actually don’t need God. And without a Devil then existential risks step forward provide the ‘Bad’ Relative Moral Pole.
But people still hunger for Absolute Poles. So trivial good things are promoted to 100% Absolutes. Which also means that people promote trivial risks to 100% Absolutes (until the next one). And when people paste absolute meanings on day to day events there will always be priests, politicians, businesses, and advertisers to make a living from peoples’ search for absolutes.
That’s a theory that is very similar to one I have been formulating myself, namely that if a religion dies it creates a vacuum that has to be filled with some other “belief” for people to follow. I must expand further sometime in the future…..
Worked at Olympic Dam, one of Australia’s major uranium mines, radon gas underground and low level radiation were an acknowledged hazard. Controls were ventilation for radon and masks for mildly radioactive dust particles.
Grandad, if you have an underground cellar don’t spend more than 40 years down there. If you live above ground open the windows occasionally.
Since the area you live in is so dangerous you’ll have noticed your neighbors dropping like flies at 20 and bought up all those abandoned estates and are now raking it in selling glowing lambs as organic might lights.
Another bullshit alarm meant to keep the sheeple frightened and obedient
Welcome Richard! No cellars here though I think that was a hasty omission at the planning stage. I wouldn’t mind a cellar and have to make do with dumping my stuff around the house instead.
We do open the windows occasionally, at least once a year. I’m not in the least worried about radon and most of my neighbours are fine [the last time I looked]. I reckon I would get more radiation by eating fish caught in the Irish Sea.
Our last house was in a Radon red area. The houses in our complex were relative new and had vents around the base of the walls from a Radon “trap” underneath. That’s the extent of my knowledge about radon. Just to say, the area had a high cancer level from the cloud that sat over it and rained Chernoble radiation on it way back in time. The joke people used to say was that Yorkshire Dales sheep used to “glow in the dark”. And another thing I remember was the glass particles we breathed in when some volcano or other erupted in Iceland and a cloud blew over us country dwellers, polluting our fresh air. And then there was also bird flu where we had to keep the cat inside (but not the dog). And the very worst event was foot and mouth where we lived under a pall of smoke from burning carcasses and farmers committed suicide around us.