[ RadSafe ] Birds and radioactivity

Karen Street Karen_Street at sbcglobal.net
Tue Mar 6 16:33:16 CST 2012


It meant that I was too lazy to look up the technical name for the o and that I didn't have at my fingertips the description of how to type letters that I don't often use. I was substituting oe for o with the line through it and wasn't sure that's what I was supposed to do...

I know we Americans can be lazy and ignorant, and in this case, I was. I did guess that it was Danish. At least with the two dots, I know it's an umlaut and know for sure that oe is the other way we can write it.

Also, there may be cultural differences in how we describe things. I'm not sure that an American would take funny to mean ridiculous in this case. Just imagine that it's another version of "how are you?", brought out more frequently by Americans than would occur in some other cultures. 

On the other hand, from the political discussions now occurring in the US, it appears that about 1/3 of my fellow Americans are utter foreigners to me, so my assumptions about what Americans might mean when we talk or write are probably mistaken.

I have talked to people in other countries who want to know why, when 99 German speakers and one American go to a conference, the conference is in English. It can be frustrating, I know. At least you can feel confident that we'll understand this issue with more clarity as English is displaced by Chinese.

> Lao Ma Shi Tu - 老 马 识 途 - "Old horses know the way" - Chinese Proverb
> Let an old horse guide your way, Franz.  I don't think she meant
> anything by that, and I'm sure she didn't mean to imply anything about
> American Culture, whatever that is...
> Best,
> 老 马 (Lao Ma - Old Horse)
> Dan ii
> Dan W McCarn, Geologist
> 108 Sherwood Blvd
> Los Alamos, NM 87544-3425
> +1-505-672-2014 (Home – New Mexico)
> +1-505-670-8123 (Mobile - New Mexico)
> HotGreenChile at gmail.com (Private email) HotGreenChile at gmail dot com
> On Tue, Mar 6, 2012 at 2:32 PM,  <franz.schoenhofer at chello.at> wrote:
>> Karen,
>> Funny comment about the Danish "o with the line through it". Sine ira et studio: This is typical "American" (rather "US") habit - everything that does not fit the US point of life, language and opinions and US every day of life is "funny" or I interpret it as "ridiculous". Not to talk, that our latin characters are used in the world to an absolute tiny, if not negligible percentage. Think of arabic characters, Chinese ones, Indian ones, Thai, Tibetan, Georgian, Greek and Cyrillic ones etc. etc. etc.
>> To continue my lecture: What you call "o with the line through it" is a typical character in Danish and to some extent in Norvegian. It corresponds phonetically approximately to the "o" in  "worst". Since we Europeans did not invent the internet, we were forced to convert our special letters to a US-readable form. Regarding my name: "Schoenhofer" is written with an "o" with two dots on top, being spelled as well like "o" in "worst". In German we have as well as in most Scandinavian languages (Swedish, Danish, Norvegian) a, o, and u with two dots on top (pronounced like "a" in "many", there is in German also a "u" with two dots on top, pronounced like "y" in "typical". In Finnish there is btw the character "y" used, as well as "a-dots" and "o-dots".  To confuse you completely I would recommend you to try to find icelandic letters......
>> I hope you do not regard this mail as offensive - if you do, I cannot help you.
>> I would appreciate if this mail would help RADSAFERS from the USA to recognize that the USA are not the only scientific power in this world and become a little more tolerant.
>> Best regards,
>> Franz
>> ---- Karen Street <Karen_Street at sbcglobal.net> schrieb:
>>> Timothy Mousseau of the University of South Carolina and Anders Moeller (funny o, the one with the line through it) of the University of Paris-Sud
>>>> Karen
>>>> Is this Moeller one of the Moeller who belong to the HPS?
>>>> John
>>>> On Tue, Mar 6, 2012 at 5:52 AM, Karen Street <Karen_Street at sbcglobal.net>wrote:
>>>>> Bjorn,
>>>>> I'll be interested if you learn more, and if the authors respond. Here is
>>>>> some added perspective—
>>>>> Moeller has run into trouble before, according to a Scientific American
>>>>> blogger (
>>>>> http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=scientific-meltdown-at-chernobyl-2009-03-24).
>>>>> And one of the participants in their Chernobyl study said that they ignored
>>>>> big variations from region to region in habitat. And Moeller manages to
>>>>> acquire boucoup data and write a lot, 30 articles in 2008. My guess is that
>>>>> all of his work is in fields where others are unlikely to run confirming
>>>>> experiments, because bird brain size is not of major interest to most
>>>>> researchers.
>>>>> Science has a better track record and more respect in fields where people
>>>>> care a great deal about the numbers and check them extensively (physics and
>>>>> climate change), not so much in fields where a single person or group
>>>>> follows its bliss with no check from the greater community.
>>>>>> When I saw this paper last week I first noted that the article mentioned
>>>>> that 14 bird species were common for Chernobyl and Fukushima. The article
>>>>> did not give the species names however. Instead they appear in an attached
>>>>> appendix (separate file).
>>>>>> The appendix triggered my attention further because it was a long list
>>>>> of bird names in Latin. I decided to go through the list and see which the
>>>>> 14 species were. Numbers in parenthesis below = the number of observations,
>>>>> "neg" means negative slope = decline, I have here added the names in
>>>>> English:
>>>>>> Acrocephaus arundinaceus (17, neg), great reed warbler
>>>>>> Aegithalos caudatus (46), long-tailed tit
>>>>>> Alauda arvensis (3), skylark
>>>>>> Buteo buteo (10, neg), common buzzard
>>>>>> Corvus corone (103, neg), carrion crow
>>>>>> Delichon urbica (1), common house martin
>>>>>> Garrulus glandarius (8), eurasian jay
>>>>>> Hirundo rustica (144, neg), barn swallow
>>>>>> Motacilla alba (8, neg), white wagtail
>>>>>> Parus ater (17), coal tit
>>>>>> Parus major (56), great tit
>>>>>> Parus montanus (1), willow tit
>>>>>> Passer montanus (294, neg), euroasian tree sparrow
>>>>>> Troglodytes troglodytes (1), eurasian wren
>>>>>> In other words, six "common" species which have a negative slope
>>>>> dominated by the following three: carrion crow, barn swallow and euroasian
>>>>> tree sparrow. Most of the 14 species above are quite common in northern
>>>>> Europe. In addition, a field sparrow, Emberiza cioides (Meadow Bunting or
>>>>> Siberian Meadow Bunting) and Cetthia cetti (Cettis warbler) showed a
>>>>> decline.
>>>>>> The first three of these are clearly associated with humans to some
>>>>> extent. I would not be surprised if that also to some extent is true for
>>>>> the Emberiza species whereas I know nothing about the Cetthia except that
>>>>> it is a migratory bird.
>>>>>> So I have a question here: If people are evacuated from some of these
>>>>> areas - doesn't that then also mean the the life conditions for these birds
>>>>> also change? I doubt that this has anything to do with radiation dose as
>>>>> the doses are far too small to be expected to affect bird behavior. The
>>>>> slope in Fig. 2 in the paper - I wrote one of the authors and asked about
>>>>> the units - it is log(abundance) as a function of log/microSv/hour). From a
>>>>> strict point, the unit should not be in microSv as the sievert only is
>>>>> defined for humans.
>>>>>> Does RadSafer know anything about the behavior of the Cetthia species?
>>>>> Was it particularly cold in northern Japan last year or just "normal" (I'm
>>>>> thinking about the migratory pattern)? In addition, what does it mean for
>>>>> all these bird species that large areas were flooded?
>>>>>> I do not have the background material with me at this moment of writing
>>>>> but if I recall correctly, all Parus species and the related Aegithalos
>>>>> caudatus showed an increase in numbers. It may also be commented that the
>>>>> buzzard partly is associated with humans (like waiting along highways etc
>>>>> looking for road kill - something they probably won't do when the car
>>>>> traffic ceases).
>>>>>> My personal comment only,
>>>>>> Bjorn Cedervall, Stockholm, Sweden
>>>>> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>>> From: Karen_Street at sbcglobal.net>
>>>>>>> The Economist has an article saying that more radioactivity, fewer
>>>>> birds, and the problem is twice as bad at Fukushima as Chernobyl.
>>>>>>> http://www.economist.com/node/21548920?frsc=dg|a
>>>>>>> One problem is that the reason they give at the end is so unlikely
>>>>> (different composition of radionuclides). Another is a question about who
>>>>> is doing the inventory at 35 µSv/hour locations, and how good the inventory
>>>>> is.
>>>>> --
>>>>> Best wishes,
>>>>> Karen Street
>>>>> Friends Energy Project
>>>>> blog http://pathsoflight.us/musing/index.php
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>> --
>> Franz Schoenhofer, PhD, MinRat
>> Habicherg. 31/7
>> A-1160 Vienna
>> Austria
>> mobile: ++43 699 1706 1227

Best wishes, 
Karen Street
Friends Energy Project
blog http://pathsoflight.us/musing/index.php

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