I'm not agreeing, I'm just trying to point out a few more numbers that show the magnitude of the damage caused by radiation is significantly less than the magnitude of psychological damages and unwarranted fear of radiation that seems to espoused throughout the internet.
While not everyone is expected to be an informed citizen on every topic (nuclear science and engineering in this case), it's harmful to let dis-information spread and generate more fear.
Then you can focus on numbers other than $Deaths, like:
Some 160,000 people were evacuated as a precautionary measure, and prolonging the evacuation resulted in the deaths of about 1100 of them due to stress, and some due to disruption of medical and social welfare facilities.
Or perhaps look at a chart showing the magnitude of radiation around Fukushima with respect to time:
There is always radiation around us from natural sources (cosmic, ground, foods), so when the background radiation of the surrounding area is at a normal level, then why are people concerned? The numbers don't add up, but the perception of fear continues.
Or you can use this number instead of deaths: (emphasis added)
...40 children newly diagnosed with thyroid cancer and other cancers in Fukushima prefecture 18 of which were diagnosed with thyroid cancer, but these cancers are not attributed to radiation from Fukushima, as similar patterns occurred before the accident in 2006 in Japan, with 1 in 100,000 children per year developing thyroid cancer in that year, that is, this is not higher than the pre-accident rate.
You mean the 20,000 deaths caused by the Tsunami compared to the 0 deaths related to anything nuclear, where the handful of deaths surrounding the incident were caused by inaction and fear of radiation?
The physical effects of the Tsunami were incredibly more devastating than the Fukushima meltdown, however the psychological effects of the meltdown are truly staggering. It's a difference between facts and perception that, three years later, isn't going anywhere it seems. Nuclear is only scary if you don't look at what it actually is.
In Europe obstetricians advise women to start taking folic acid (AKA vitamin B9) at least two months before trying to get pregnant. Isn't the same advice given in America?
Well I don't know about you guys, but in America the father is typically a male.
why oh why are scientists wasting time on this? one step at at time, for now figure out how to cure cancer before worrying about the big picture. you must unzip your pants before worrying about how much piss comes out
Really???? If all "scientists" thought like that then we wouldn't be in a position to even KNOW what *cancer* is. We'd be stuck on a problem prior to that hundreds of years ago.
Science is all about looking far and wide for answers. Sometimes things are immediately applicable to your specific problem/condition/annoyance/life, but sometimes they aren't.
Applied science / engineering is more about solutions to your specific problem. Perhaps you can go ask the bio-medical engineers to hurry it up, but leave the scientists alone!
So you are asking me if we should halt all technological development related to 3D-printing because you fear that you could potentially print viruses?
History is laden with people whose hindsight on future technological trajectories was later laughed at. Consider Lord Kelvin who said:
"I can state flatly that heavier than air flying machines are impossible."
To directly answer your question: No, I think engineers have a moral obligation to invent and better the world not though aiding the restriction of technology but perfecting it, or if need be, inventing a new technology that makes the old "bad" one obsolete.
Legislating policy that hinders innovation will do more harm than good, of which will unfortunately only become apparent in hindsight as well.
How about weapons of mass destruction?.
As others have pointed out, the items are merely 'tools' and the application the tool is where the morality lies.
Could you imagine a world where we routinely use nuclear weapons to relieve stresses in the Earth's crust and prevent large earthquakes and their devastating effects? What about stopping large oil spills quickly?
Unfortunately, many helpful adaptations of large scale explosives are not being utilized due to the political implications, but even a 'weapon of mass destruction' can be a useful tool to save lives (and money).