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Posted on March 28 at 9:43 a.m.

Contrary to some of the commentators' thoughts, this article is not only unbalanced (ie no input from contrary viewpoints), and as soon as the "banana" comparison was aired, it became abundantly clear that the article invoked junk "science" to bolster its conclusion.

The human body is born with potassium40 (as found in bananas) in its tissues and it is the most common radionuclide in human tissues and in food. We evolved in the presence of potassium40 and our bodies have well-developed repair mechanisms to respond to its effects. The concentration of potassium40 in the human body is constant and not affected by concentrations in the environment. The amount of potassium (and therefore of K40) in the human body is fairly constant because of homeostasis, so that any excess absorbed from food is quickly compensated by the elimination of an equal amount. It follows that the additional radiation exposure due to eating a banana lasts only for a few hours after ingestion, namely the time it takes for the normal potassium contents of the body to be restored by the kidneys.

As regards cesium and iodine radionuclides: There was ZERO background radioactive cesium or iodine before above-ground nuclear testing and nuclear accidents started. The long term health effects of ingestion are largely unknown. The article also quotes EPA and other official arbiters on what is considered "safe". We not only do we do not know what is "safe" in *reality*, but these agencies have a long record of moving the goalposts to conform to corporate demand/pressure, or political expediency.

This article reads like a subtly-disguised hit piece for and on behalf of the nuclear power (and nuclear weapons) industry, a modern-day sacred cow.

On The Fukushima Fallout

Posted on September 15 at 8:27 p.m.

Those in authority do not appear willing to face the main cause of this ongoing issue - more industrial and property development than the existing infrastructure can handle. The 101 freeway is the only North-South highway in this region, and it can only take a certain amount of traffic; so much new development, especially west of Santa Barbara as far as Winchester Canyon (business parks, malls, subdivisions and other property development) springing almost overnight like mushrooms in the fall, has generated way too much traffic for the highway to handle. Much of the 101 was designed to handle the traffic density of the 1960s and 1970s and the rush to pave every square foot of open space around the 101 in recent years has swamped our only north-south route.

Another issue aggravating this problem is the excessive inflation of property costs - house prices/mortgages and rent in Santa Barbara itself means that thousands of people who work in town on a daily basis cannot afford to live here and have to commute from as far away as Oxnard to the South and Santa Maria in the North. In addition, our local geography/topography doesn't exactly help matters - between Gaviota and Ventura, there is a narrow coastal strip varying between a few hundred yards to a few miles wide, so constructing a parallel highway is not on the cards.

Gridlock is one of the scourges of modern US society and is responsible for billions of wasted person-hours each year - a huge headache for the economy and a big hit on the quality of life for so many people. Any plumber will tell you what will happen if you try to push more water down a pipe than its diameter will allow: It will back up and cause a mess. It's a simple matter of physics. What is the solution? There isn't one - this situation will keep getting worse while rich, influential developers with bottomless pockets are able to buy politicians, or get around existing regulations by hiring teams of attorneys to hatch clever convoluted schemes that stay *just* within the law.

On Eyes Wide Open

Posted on September 3 at 3:46 p.m.

The "witness" said that "it was hard to tell if the man was white or Latino as it was dark outside"... but he was able to to hear the entire conversation and describe the knife in detail, and then claim it was "textbook suicide by cop". I wasn't there, but it doesn't take an eyewitness to deduce that this "witness's" statement sounds coached, or compromised.

Will there be an investigation? Who knows? When the police investigate the police, the outcome is about as useful as when the Mafia investigates the Genovese Family.

On Witnesses Recall Fatal Shooting

Posted on August 13 at 9:59 a.m.

You go Lev!

On Lynette (SB Sings), Lev Allan Blitz, and Jesse Rhodes

Posted on August 13 at 9:55 a.m.

Did either of these guys have two previous convictions? If so, whatever happened to 3 strikes?

On Gang Members Sentenced to 16 Years for Beating Death

Posted on August 6 at 6:30 p.m.

Alcohol is a magic substance which can turn even the smartest, most intelligent, mindful, selfless, present and aware people into loud, incapable, incoherent, slobbering, boring, micro-cephalic morons. Just go down del Playa in Isla Vista on a weekend and you can get a ringside seat in the circus. It's... hilarious, sort of.

What's the attraction with puking, inability to think or speak coherently, risking losing your license or killing someone or yourself on the road, staggering around with the world spinning uncontrollably, headaches, hangovers, and then not being able to recall what kind of total idiot you made of yourself the previous night? OK, once is an experience - I've been there myself and watched the video - (argh) - and it doesn't get any better than that. It's amazing that people keep repeating the same action, and spending so much of their hard-earned money in the process - perhaps expecting something different or better to happen?

On UCSB Ranked #2 Party School in Country

Posted on August 5 at 1:58 p.m.

Many IV student apartment buildings constructed in the 1950s and 1960s do not conform to (current) seismic code, and would likely be death-traps in a major earthquake. If anyone remembers the January 17, 1994 Northridge Earthquake, a number of apartment blocks - more modern and substantial than many I.V. apartment buildings, collapsed in pancake fashion, killing people as they slept on lower floors.

At some point in the future - may be in 10 years, or 100 years, or perhaps next week - there will be a destructive local earthquake. A M6.8 quake leveled most of downtown SB in 1925. On August 13, 1978 an earthquake in the Santa Barbara Channel (magnitude estimated between 5.1 and 5.7) caused $millions in damage to the UCSB campus and "scores of injuries" - and this was during the summer vacation. A Northridge-sized quake - up to 75 times as powerful as the 1978 event - during the term-time in Isla Vista, where 23,000 students live, many in seismically unfit dwellings - would be a catastrophe.

On New Era in Isla Vista Housing

Posted on August 4 at 11:36 a.m.

Regardless of the potential efficacy of anthracimyin in humans, one thing remains consistent: if the projections for profitability re. big pharma are "insufficient, and/or not quick enough", then forget about any "magic bullet" as regards treating MRSA and others - let your expectations not become a prison.

The rules of capitalism dictate that the requirement of *maximum profitability* for the corporation and its shareholders outweigh (specifically in this case) public health concerns. The pharmaceutical companies are only there for one primary purpose - as is any business - and that is to make a profit for its shareholders. They are not there to cure or treat people - that is only the perceived result of their business activity. It's the same with any aspect of the privately run US health care structure - the sole aim is to make the largest profit in the shortest time. A parallel is the US prison industrial complex - now largely in the hands of private corporations, the aim is to generate as many prisoners as possible, for profit - and now the US has more people behind bars, in proportion to its population, than any other nation on Earth - by far.

Please don't read a "good or evil" aspect to this - corporations are inanimate bodies (ie not people) and do not possess any conscious intent of their own - that's just the way it is. If we are to enjoy the fruits of capitalism, then we have to pay the resulting penalty - which in the case of climate change, may be terminal.

On Scientists Find Unique Bacteria at Gaviota State Beach

Posted on July 3 at 8:45 p.m.

This deliberate omission is a disgrace - a flagrantly anti-American, anti-freedom attitude which clearly reflects the political, *not* patriotic, stance of the parade organizers.

The group of Veterans targeted in this arbitrary action have served their nation as honorably as any other group within the US military, whose job is to protect the United States and its Constitution. When I checked today, the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights remained a part of the US Constitution, regardless of the events of the last 12 years or so - and within its text, it prohibits "abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, and interfering with the right to peaceably assemble".

Perhaps by not supporting the glorification of war, death and destruction, and calling out those who profit from such, the Veterans for Peace have clearly been singled out and banned - using such phony "reasoning" including "handing out fliers", and "causing litter which costs the City to clean up". Members of the Tea Party and other groups have also handed out fliers during previous 4th July parades with no negative consequence.

How ironic that this parade, supposedly celebrating liberty, now has an indelible stamp of not only politically motivated duplicity, but also the violation of the constitutional rights of the Veterans for Peace to celebrate America's day of Independence, freely, and on a public street nonetheless.

On Mayor Sides with Veterans for Peace over Float Flap

Posted on June 26 at 10:21 a.m.

Here is yet another indication that freedom of speech and expression - the core value of America - alongside many other integral aspects of civilization in the US enabled by the Bill of Rights, is being gradually whittled away.

This process of devolution of liberty is gradual enough not to notice on a day-by-day basis, but if allowed to continue without "appropriate intervention by we the people", America will, in the not so distant future, end up somewhere up the creek of totalitarianism, and without the proverbial paddle.

On Fourth of July Organizers Deny Veterans for Peace Float

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