No one has been killed by Fukushima radiation. 1,600 were killed by the panic over it.

No one has been killed or sickened by the radiation — a point confirmed last month by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Even among Fukushima workers, the number of additional cancer cases in coming years is expected to be so low as to be undetectable, a blip impossible to discern against the statistical background noise.

But about 1,600 people died from the stress of the evacuation — one that some scientists believe was not justified by the relatively moderate radiation levels at the Japanese nuclear plant.

Source: When Radiation Isn’t the Real Risk

People were removed from intensive care units to high schools. Nursing home residents were evacuated. And some people just killed themselves out of fear.

I remember watching a lot of friends and acquaintances obsess over the radiation threat, even as people were actually dying from the tsunamis and (as it turns out) from evacuation-related trauma. They were merely observers, but that attitude seems to be the same as the one at work in Japan at the time.

We really need a better-calibrated sense of the dangers of radiation.

EDIT: Oliver Lacan reminded me of this pertinent chart.

How Sleep Deprivation Decays the Mind and Body

This brings back memories of my experiments with “polyphasic sleep”. What they don’t tell you about is the profoundly demoralizing effect of sleep deprivation. I didn’t just feel crappy; I felt sad.

I also recall falling asleep standing up, and waking up as my face smacked into a cupboard. Fun times!

Getting too little sleep can have serious health consequences, including depression, weight gain, and heart disease. It is torture. I know.

Source: How Sleep Deprivation Decays the Mind and Body

Hydrated kids

Most American children and teenagers aren’t drinking enough fluids, and that’s leaving them mildly dehydrated, according to a new study. In fact, one-quarter of a broad cross-section of children ages 6 to 19 apparently don’t drink any water as part of their fluid intake.

Source: Got Water? Most Kids, Teens Don’t Drink Enough : Shots – Health News : NPR

I’m going to indulge in just a smidge of smug parent pride here. All three of our kids who are old enough to drink unassisted have their own water bottles, and they ask us for refills throughout the day. They don’t even think to ask for juice or soda; if they are thirsty, they drink some water. They know they’ll get juice if we eat out, and soda on Pizza Night (Saturday).

Apart from obnoxious parental pride, I’m also saying this as encouragement: it is, in fact, possible to raise kids to crave water.

Saints and sinners in the pantry

Especially nowadays, people don’t want to assert moral superiority over other people, so instead they assert physical superiority. But I think also that’s a proxy for asserting their moral superiority. Saying that I’m living a healthier life is the only courteous way left of saying I’m living a better life.

via Diet fads are destroying us: Paleo, gluten-free and the lies we tell ourselves – Salon.com.

Terrible article title, but a really terrific interview with a thoughtful author. I particularly liked the discussions of FitBits as a placeholder for actual mindfulness.

Make it so

sensitivity analysis started by White in 2011 and completed this year has shown that the energy requirements can be greatly reduced by first optimizing the warp bubble thickness, and further by oscillating the bubble intensity to reduce the stiffness of space time.

via NASA is Developing Real Life STAR TREK Warp Drive! – News – GeekTyrant.

The best part of all this is that the quotes from the scientists involved actually sound like things Geordi LaForge would say.