The Physics Police

The Physics Police

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Fukushima Lying Liars that Lie

There's a scare post by Turner Radio Network making its way around the Internet. The piece is called SURPRISE: You're Eating Fukushima Radiation and Bloody, Cancerous Tumors in Fish Contaminated By Radiation.

This ignorant bit of fear-propaganda relies on yucky pictures stolen from all over the Internet to convince readers that there are tangible effects of Fukushima radiation far away from Japan.

Of course, no such thing is happening. None of the pictures are of animals made sick from Fukushima radiation. Most of them were taken years before the nuclear disaster! The rest have just as little to do with Fukushima.

There are two lessons here regarding laziness.

First lesson, the people who make up these scare posts are super lazy. You don't have to get up very early in the morning to expose them as lying lairs that lie. Google image search did most of the work for me.

Second lesson, the suckers who read these scare posts are super lazy. They don't bother to do a simple fucking Google image search, which takes five fucking seconds. This is why the people who make up these scare posts put in so little effort; they aren't afraid of getting caught.

Scaring fraidy-cats is easy. It's like irradiating fish in a barrel!

(Warning: gross pictures below.)

Salmon caught in 2009, before the Fukushima disaster.
The post claims this salmon was caught by Brian Holter. In fact, it's a fish caught by someone named Morty who attached it to his 2009 post on a discussion forum, long before the Fukushima earthquake! The white stuff was caused by a parasite and is called Tapioca Disease.

Dr. David Schindler holding a fish from an inland river.
This fish is from the Athabasca River in Alberta, 500 miles from the Pacific Ocean! It's from a news article about the environmental impacts of oil sands, and has nothing to do with Fukushima. The coward who posted this scare piece cropped out the guy's face.

Pike caught in 2008, before the Fukushima disaster.
This pike was caught in 2008, long before the Fukushima earthquake! The picture is from a forum post by Barbwire asking about the infection, which was probably result from a rival fish bite.

Herring with an unknown infectious disease.
These bleeding herring were identified by Vancouver Island marine biologist Alexandra Morton as likely having some viral or bacterial infection. As she says in the article this picture is from, whatever the disease, it is clearly infectious, not caused by radiation.

Pickled herring from a food website.
This one is of a pickled herring, stolen from a cooking website! I think we, much like this fish, have more urgent problems than an infinitesimally increased lifetime risk of cancer from Fukushima radiation, which is vanishingly insignificant compared to background levels.

Chinook salmon from 2004, before the Fukushima disaster.
Here's yet another fish caught before the Fukushima earthquake! This one is from a website all about various fish pathogens. Oh, they have a nice (gross) section on that Tapioca Disease from earlier! Take my advice and finish eating before you check it out, though. You're welcome.

Point Lay walrus with skin lesions. Poor thing.
The sick walruses are from Point Lay. First of all, nobody in the scientific community thinks for a moment these skin sores are from radiation. Just to be sure, though, testing for radionuclides was added to the joint effort by NOAA and FWS to discover the cause of the illness. A 2013 update reported that:
... preliminary results confirm cesium 137 levels in one healthy and four UME seals are similar to cesium 137 levels in Alaskan seals sampled during the mid-1990's.
It will be interesting to see what the final results show. If "radiation" does have anything to do with it, then it will be UV from the ozone hole, not radionuclides from Fukushima.

First documented case of a great white shark with cancer.
The photo above is from a Discovery News article in 2013 about how sharks do in fact get cancer. The picture is important because it's the first time a tumor has been documented in the species. And no, I don't think many people are out eating great white sharks, even the ones with cancer.

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