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Japan

Crowd-Sourced Radiation Maps In Asia and US 99

Posted by timothy
from the zombies-are-crowdsourced-radiation-indicators dept.
kkleiner writes "In the past few weeks, several crowd-sourced radiation maps have arisen that attempt to give up to the minute looks at the threat level in the areas most likely to be affected by a catastrophe: Japan, Asia, and the US. These maps, available to the public for free online, are a timely example of how user-enabled systems are revolutionizing the way we solve problems. Tracking radiation levels is just the beginning. This is a preview of how accelerating technologies will allow us to monitor anything, anywhere, in realtime."
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Crowd-Sourced Radiation Maps In Asia and US

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  • ...slippery slope... something about smartphones... standard fud... etc. etc.
    • by AndyAndyAndyAndy (967043) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (inicafa)> on Thursday March 24, 2011 @03:25PM (#35603680)
      Moreover, this really isn't "monitoring anything, [...] in realtime." The map they set up [rdtn.org] requires manual, voluntary data input. Open to abuse, and certainly not crowd-sourcing in the sense of remote monitoring.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by OeLeWaPpErKe (412765)

        And the net effect will be a whole lot of fear mongering resulting from a few pranksters who'll probably think that's funny as hell.

        Like before [japanprobe.com]

        • by Sir_Sri (199544)

          or a bunch of people having access to data they do not understand, and inducing panic. Does a yellow circle mean I need to be cautious about my radiation exposure? I don't have heath care and can't afford cancer, maybe should wall myself up. The government isn't telling me why my number (e.g. 34) is nearly twice as high as someone else (18), that sounds really bad.

          yes it's cool, you can crowdsource data. But data without any real understanding of what it means, or presented in such a way as to be alarmi

          • That's probably why the article shows the XKCD radiation chart.
            • by tehcyder (746570)

              That's probably why the article shows the XKCD radiation chart.

              Which will mean almost nothing to 99% of people seeing it. There must be a simpler way of presenting that information.

      • by jrumney (197329)
        It's crowd sourcing in that abuse is relatively easy to spot if it is just one claim in a crowd of many that do not agree. Like the guy in Mito, Japan who is reading over 2000 microsieverts, when everyone around him is getting 0.4 or less.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Well, for once we see that radiation level, even in Tokyo and closer, is lower than in the UK's natural background. So, will that make the news? Nope. News is just FUD FUD FUD!! That's how they get viewers.

      And try not to get natural background radiation in Ramsar,Iran - that is 30uS/h (mSv/yr), not the "pathetic" 0.2uS/h in Japan "new ground zero" (as BBC put it). And people in Ramsar supposedly have less cancer than "average westerner".. Maybe cancer is more caused by our environmental pollution from coal,

      • by timeOday (582209)
        Contrary to the prevailing meme here, I've been a little surprised how measured and non-alarmist news coverage has been. I don't think one major news outlet in the US has failed to report that there's no risk in the US, and that the only Japanese who can expect to be severely harmed by radiation, so far, are the workers fighting to control the disaster. Beyond that, I'm sorry, but this radiation leak is still a newsworthy event. The tap water in Japan's water is deemed too polluted for infants to drink.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          Severely harmed? Not likely. 16 workers so far have received 100-200 millisieverts of radiation. 100 millisieverts gives you an expected increase in cancer incidence, lifetime, of .1%. No lower dose has been shown to raise cancer rates. So effectively, The radiation release is currently estimate at a 1.6% chance of causing one cancer.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          There is most likely 20,000 people dead because of the earthquake and tsunami.

          The number of people that will most likely die due to the radiation is 0-5.

          Even on slashdot, there were headlines similar to "Japan. Meltdown tsunami. 20,000 dead". Ridicules to the extreme. Then we have Nancy Grace talking bullshit alluding that radiation cloud will kill people in the US.

          For facts, the water is "too polluted" to drink for infants because Japan's level for water is something along the lines of 2000Bq/m3. How much

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        we see that radiation level, even in Tokyo and closer, is lower than in the UK's natural background.

        That's probably because of all the leaky UK nuclear reactors.
        >> ducks and runs for cover

    • What has smartphones to do with this subject?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I don't want to die from poisoning...

    • It is primarily about Iodine 131, that escapes from the heated fuel assemblies through tiny cracks, and is water soluble.

      - Just wash the food, ~80% will wash off without much effort.
      - The japanese government is tracking their food and will reject what gives off too high a dose.
      - If it can wait, just don't eat fresh food from the vicinity of the reactor. Half life of Iodine-131 is 8 days. So after two weeks ~75% is gone. Still great for conserved food, or even cargo shipped.
      - When you are older (> 25y or

      • by nschubach (922175)

        - If it can wait, just don't eat fresh food from the vicinity of the reactor. Half life of Iodine-131 is 8 days. So after two weeks ~75% is gone.

        Also, fresh meat is pretty bad after 2 weeks so you shouldn't eat it. ;)

      • In the US, when they try to figure out if a particular food stuff is safe for consumption, they assume that you are washing it. But, they also assume that you are the maximally affected individual: a baby who eats nothing but that food stuff.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I must resist the urge to start a business selling lead underwear to panicky people.

    I must resist the urge to start a business selling lead underwear to panicky people.

    I'll write that one hundred billion times on my sharks.

  • This is a preview of how accelerating technologies will allow us to monitor anything, anywhere, in realtime.

    Although to a degree I suppose this is already happening for the most part.
  • by MetalliQaZ (539913) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @03:26PM (#35603696)

    I need more things to worry about right now. Why rely on some government regulatory body to monitor radiation when I could work myself up into a panic RIGHT NOW!

    There is no escape. It's better not to know.

  • Crowdsourcing is just Conventional Wisdom 3.0 or Grapevine 2.0, depending on how you look at it.
  • That's all very cute, but where is the data from Japan's own nuclear measurement net? From what I've heard they have measurement nodes all over the place (like many countries), but instead of say Germany and The Netherlands, this data is not freely available?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You mean these data from Japan's own nuclear measurement net [bousai.ne.jp]? Don't strain yourself trying to find it; just piss and moan on the Internet until somebody gives you the link. Wouldn't want you to wear out your Googling fingers.
      • No, they have more than 19 measurement points. Anyways, those 19 are included on a few of the aggregator maps.

        Now go back to your troll cave.

        • by Anonymous Coward
          If you click on the prefecture as instructed to do so at the top of the map, you will get readings from multiple locations in each region, varying from half a dozen to two dozen measurement points per prefecture giving you a lot more measurements. The national map just gives you the highest reading from each prefecture.
  • by LurkerXXX (667952) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @03:28PM (#35603712)

    Hmm, what do they mean by 'in the areas most likely to be affected by a catastrophe: Japan, Asia, and the US.'?

    Europe has a lot of nuclear reactors. So does Russia.

    Do they mean the US is likely to be affected by Japan's current problem reactor site?

    Hopefully folks who own a Geiger counter know enough to not be worried about it being a problem for the US. Is the author one of the overhyping idiots that think the 'higher' levels of radiation in Tokyo, which are still lower than those normally occurring in Denver or Mexico City, are a danger?

  • Most likely? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @03:30PM (#35603748) Homepage

    in the areas most likely to be affected by a catastrophe: Japan, Asia, and the US

    Is the US "most likely" to be affected by this?

    I've sort of gotten the impression that the US was unlikely to be affected.

    Is this just fear mongering?

    • Re:Most likely? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Archangel Michael (180766) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @03:36PM (#35603854) Journal

      Yes.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Inverse Square Ratio:
      The US is far more likely due to our close
      proximity to a very dense group of lawyers.
      And:
      Even denser juries.

      Pathetic punctuation placed to torment those that care.

    • by kwerle (39371)

      Is the US "most likely" to be affected by this?

      Yes - if you count psychologically.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      It's fear mongering to sell their software; which looks singularly unimpressive.

      Of course in the pure technical sense, yes the use will be effected, everyone will. And it will be a minuscule amount which shouldn't concern anyone who will live for less then 50,000 earth years.

  • Let me fix this for you:

    Tracking radiation levels is just the beginning. This is a preview of how accelerating technologies will allow us to monitor anything, anywhere, in realtime."

    Not to mention how we now have unprecedented ability to spread hysteria when there's nothing actively wrong!

    Moving along. FTA:

    Three days from concept to a working map that gives valuable and reliable data to anyone who wants it for free, and not a dollar was spent in its production. Amazing.

    Wait, what? You mean nobody spent ANY time or money to get that data? It just magically appeared on servers? Poof!

    Ah:

    Their information is gathered from volunteer and official sources and embedded onto an adapted Google Map.

    Time != free (even the time of a volunteer has value to that volunteer). Official sources are most definitely not an example of data available without cost -- it's just a question of who pays the cost and when. In actual dollars, at that -- not just volunteer hours.

    While many of those wanting to track radiation levels after the Fukushima accident do so out of sympathy for Japanese citizens, let’s not ignore the fact that many others are simply worried about when dangerous radiation levels could show up in their own backyard.

    Well, sure. Because at any second, ANY OF THOSE PLANTS COULD EXPLODE!

    The problem with bloggers becoming the "new journalists" is that any sense of responsibility goes out the window in the race to get page hits.

    This perhaps came across as unnecessarily irritable... but I'm a bit tired of the attention that the "nuclear scare" is getting, while the thousands of people killed in the friggin tsunami are just a footnote.

    • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @04:04PM (#35604224)

      The problem with bloggers becoming the "new journalists" is that any sense of responsibility goes out the window in the race to get page hits.

      the bloggers seem to have been doing a vastly better job of reporting on this than almost any major paper or news corp.

      It's actually stunning how poor the reporting has been from the major news networks .

      The somthingawful GBS topic on it outlined the situation clearly and explained it far far better than any news article, after reading it I was left agape thinking "why the fuck can't reuters explain the situation that well when some kneckbeard with time on his hands can"

      • by ToasterMonkey (467067) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @04:37PM (#35604798) Homepage

        the bloggers seem to have been doing a vastly better job of reporting on this than almost any major paper or news corp.

        It's actually stunning how poor the reporting has been from the major news networks .

        The somthingawful GBS topic on it outlined the situation clearly and explained it far far better than any news article, after reading it I was left agape thinking "why the fuck can't reuters explain the situation that well when some kneckbeard with time on his hands can"

        Umm.. the blog that started this discussion is outright fear mongering, and here's a quote from the nytimes that I think is informative and representative.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/25/world/asia/25japan.html?_r=1&hp [nytimes.com]

        Japanâ(TM)s limits on iodine 131 are far lower than those of the International Atomic Energy Agency, measured in a unit called a becquerel. Japan says older children and adults should get no more than 300 becquerels per liter while the I.A.E.A. recommends a limit of 3,000 becquerels. Greg Webb, an I.A.E.A. spokesman in Vienna, said he could not immediately provide his agencyâ(TM)s recommendation for infants. The level that raised the alarm for infants on Wednesday was 120 becquerels; that had fallen to 79 on Thursday, according to the Tokyo city authorities.

        I think that like radiation levels in Japan, quality of journalism is being discussed with complete disregard to scale.
        Bloggers... blech.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        There are also quite a few blogs doing much worse than major news networks too. With the number of people that write blogs, including many people with professional experience in this area (or any other area) or simply others with free time and reading comprehension, it is not surprising that some well written blogs on the topic appeared. However, I don't think I would recommend someone should look for their information in blogs if it is a subject they are not familiar enough with to differentiate the well
      • by geekoid (135745)

        Not really. The BBC is excellent, and CNN is really really good.

        The news reports what's going on, it does not educate you as to what it means. So if you don't understand radiation, measurement, or nuclear power you can't expect the news to take time and fill the gaps in your education.

        I would rather they made it more technical, and stopped trying to make it easy for the layperson. There are better source for education.

    • The problem with bloggers becoming the "new journalists" is that any sense of responsibility goes out the window in the race to get page hits.

      Who said "real" journalists have any sense of responsibility in the race to get higher ratings? Just watch how the situation at Fukushima was covered in the news...

    • by ClintJCL (264898)
      Responsibility would imply reporting when it can result in actionable precautions. No reporting can bring back the thousands killed by the tsunami, but if there is any radiation danger (which there doesn't actually seem to be), reporting on that could save those who are paranoid enough to take it to heart. I didn't check my mail during the 2001 anthrax scare. One person died from unknown causes who was nowhere near a P.O. She was an old lady who probably caught it from contaminated mail. (Go google this if
  • The scale runs from "Mild Exposure" to "Shit Your Pants and Make Peace With God."

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Not to be a pendant, but its:

      "Bleed out all your orifices and Make Peace With God."

      heh.

  • by gman003 (1693318) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @03:58PM (#35604154)
    I looked at one of the maps. The highest value seen (1 microSievert/hr) means that you're barely getting more radiation over a year than you'd get spending just one hour at Chernobyl today. Since the article, at least, links to the XKCD radiation chart showing as much, I consider this actually a reassuring article - while radiation is leaking, it's not a significant amount. Besides some extra inspections on food from that area, it looks like everything is going to be essentially OK.
  • Anyone noticed there is no data from around the Hiroshima area?

    Just a curious observation....not radiation detectors there?...No one wants to submit their results?

  • by Chas (5144) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @04:31PM (#35604682) Homepage Journal

    Seriously, while this is going to be useful in some cases, it's just going give a whole group of people license to freak out. Or worse, try to be socially active to "clean up" the world of all radiation.

    Part of the issue here is people have been indoctrinated with "all radiation is bad and will kill you no matter what the dose is".

    Never mind that people are living in a sea of constant ultra-low-level exposure and would likely become ill were all sources of radiation eliminated.

    • by ckeo (220727)

      Yes, I still know of people that think microwave ovens will turn you into a mutant.

      just sit back now and watch the sale of geiger counters and radiation suits skyrocket.

    • by pnewhook (788591)

      Seriously, while this is going to be useful in some cases, it's just going give a whole group of people license to freak out. Or worse, try to be socially active to "clean up" the world of all radiation.

      Actually I was worried about the radiation until I looked at the actual radiation numbers and realized that if I stood in Fukushima next to the reactor for 3.2 YEARS, I would get the same level of radiation as a SINGLE CT scan.

      This is not a worry. Nuclear power still remains the safest source of power in the world.

      • by maxume (22995)

        What numbers have you looked at?

        This guys analysis suggests that you would have received the equivalent of at least 10 CT scans just by being at the front gate since the beginning of this incident:

        http://www.reddit.com/r/science/comments/g6h3l/real_data_from_the_fukushima_daiichi_power_plant/ [reddit.com]

        (Be sure to pick up the updated graph, the error is explained in a comment: http://i.imgur.com/kSXLy.png [imgur.com] )

        I don't have the knowledge to critique what he has done, but he is using the numbers published by the power compa

        • by pnewhook (788591)

          Whoops I was looking at the map listed in the article, and the closest reading to Fukushima was in Tohuku university which is about 20km or so away. That reading was 0.18 microSv per hour, which would be 3.2 years for a single CT scan equivalent.

          So the link you gave shows radiation averaging 200 microSv per hour. A CT scan is about 5000 microSv, so it would take 25 hours of constant exposure to get a single CT scan. So the other analysis seems correct for right next to the gate.

          But lets put those numbers

    • by SheeEttin (899897)

      Never mind that people are living in a sea of constant ultra-low-level exposure and would likely become ill were all sources of radiation eliminated.

      Considering that plant life is the base of the food chain, if you removed all sources of radiation, we'd be more than ill, we'd be dead. ;)

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        Never mind that people are living in a sea of constant ultra-low-level exposure and would likely become ill were all sources of radiation eliminated.

        Considering that plant life is the base of the food chain, if you removed all sources of radiation, we'd be more than ill, we'd be dead. ;)

        What, so therefore the more radiation, you're exposed to the healthier you are?

      • by Chas (5144)

        I know this.

        You know this.

        But you tell someone who's been indoctrinated into the Church of "Radiation Is All Bad", and they're going to just blank the minute you say it. It won't even register.

  • For those posting especially high values... Tawkon is NOT a true radiation detection application.
  • by sdguero (1112795) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @06:12PM (#35606194)
    "These maps, available to the public for free online, are a timely example of how user-enabled systems are revolutionizing the way we solve problems."

    It seems to me that this could only lead to hysteria, potentially creating a problem where there was none before.
  • by Reeses (5069) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @06:22PM (#35606312)

    Do any of these offer baseline measurements as a control?

    I look at some of those maps and think, "Man, 25's a big number. I mean, that's a lot of whatever. I should probably think about what to with my family/pets/tape backups." (Hardcore slashdotters can reverse that order.)

    But, what if before the big scary nuclear steam cloud, the number was 24 already? Is an increase in 1 really worth worrying about?

    What if it was 30?

    What if it was 5?

    How do I know?

    It seems that most of this info might not be that helpful without pre-nuclear-plant-explosion numbers.

    Maybe it's just me?

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