Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Fukushima, Great Britain: What happens when bad news happens at home?

Have you noticed, how, sometimes, when something happens in a far-away, unfamiliar place, it's hard to grasp the scale of the thing? It's like, I know how far it is from San Francisco to Los Angeles. I know what if feels like to get in the car and do that drive. But when it's a place I've never been to and I hear about it in the news, I struggle to grasp the scale. For example, how far is it from Fukushima to Tokyo? I've got no idea!

Well, I thought it was time to bring Fukushima a little closer to home. What if Fukushima was in Great Britain.

The official exclusion zone around Fukushima is 20 kms and it's very likely that nearly all of that area will remain uninhabitable for the rest of our lifetimes. But in fact very high, unsafe levels of radioactivity have been measured more than 35 kms (22 miles) away.

In the case of Fukushima, the radioactive plume blew in the north-west direction. A similar event in a different place would, naturally, have different results. Wind direction, wind speed and who knows what else would cause a different fallout pattern. Nonetheless, I thought it would be interesting to impose a 35 km fallout radius on a map of Great Britain, at each of the nuclear power stations.

Here are the results.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

A better video of the rain

Someday this will all be lost under the sand

The view out my window on a normal day.

Today the wind picked up in a big way. We're having a real sandstorm. It's blowing so hard you almost can't walk against it. The weather reporters are predicting rain too. There have only been 2 days of rain since I arrived here last May.

When I was outside, walking back to my apartment and the wind was howling, I could smell water in the air. But so far there's been no rain. If it does start to rain I wonder if it's going to rain mud. That would be the kind of miserably suitable weather I'd expect in this God forsaken sand pit in the middle of the barren desert.

Here's the same view as above, but taken just a few minutes ago.

Another view down the street. The worst of the sandstorm is already past.

And another view.

Here's a 1 minute video of the rain. It finally arrived.

Welcome to Riyadh!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Dust storm in Riyadh

The wind blew in last night and really kicked up a lot of dust. The sea of sand that surrounds Riyadh is really more like a sea of talcum powder. The desert here is this amazingly fine sand that gets absolutely everywhere. Because its so fine, once it gets kicked up it just suspends in the air and stays there.

Notice that there are no shadows in the photo. Today is not a cloudy day. It's the dust in the air that's stopping the sun from getting through.

Here's a car across the street.

By the way, my TV set and the table it's sitting on (top photo) were clean yesterday.

Don't you wish you were here with me in this exotic place?