I Started Chasing Radiation And Ended Up Following The Money


A recent YouTube video purports to show the San Francisco area being “fried” by radiation, radiation which the videographer somehow knows just had to come from Fukushima. That’s hitting close to home, as I live near San Francisco and really don’t want to sizzle. The “shocking” video is accompanied by all kinds of links, most of which are irrelevant to the claim that he found dangerous radiation. A few, though, were quite helpful.

Regular readers of the blog should have already read Mike Rothschild’s excellent posts on Fukushima scare-mongering. If you haven’t yet, please do so now. He covers the science well and I won’t be adding anything new on the Fukushima radiation itself.

The emailer who alerted Skeptoid to the video pointed out one of the first red flags: Someone who can’t focus a camera on a Geiger counter might not be operating the counter itself correctly. As a thread I found on Slashdot points out, these are instruments that need calibration and training just to be able to interpret. They aren’t like light meters.

I decided to first see if what this fellow was measuring was real. Before doing that, I had to investigate the instrument he was using. Following his helpful link took me to a web page describing this particular counter. Then I found Amazon storefront of General Electromagnetics and the red flags started really piling up. (Note that they also supply hardware for all your ghost-hunting needs.) The store was started  “out of personal interest and concern for the possible dangers associated with overhead power lines, cellular phones, microwave ovens, police radar and all the electronic radiation which increasingly pollutes our modern environment…” Brian has covered these concerns well already, such as here and here.

That led me to Less EMF, where you can find, uh, you guessed it. At least it’s “sophisticated Polyester/Cotton blended with micro-fine stainless steel fibers for excellent radiation protection” rather than just tin foil.

Arriving finally at the source web site, Radiation Network, threw up several more red flags. Now, cheesy web site design does not automatically mean that the information there is not valid but, as another Skeptoid episode pointed out, it’s often a marker for a particular brand of nonsense. But while the design on both was, shall we say, of a certain type, they both eventually traced back to the same place. Radiation Network is registered to one Tim Flanegin, of Prescott, AZ.

Who just happens to be in the business of selling Geiger counters.

This wouldn’t be the first time that scaring people has been used to separate them from their money. Apparently Geiger counters are almost unobtainable in Japan due to high demand.

And so it appears that something is radiating from Fukushima: Fear. It is not carried on the wind, nor washed upon our shores by ocean currents. This tsunami of panic, causing stress and emptying wallets, rides the internet, traveling “halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes”.

About Craig Good

Film maven. Foodie. Skeptic. Voice actor. Writer.
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12 Responses to I Started Chasing Radiation And Ended Up Following The Money

  1. Anonymous says:

    The source website is Rense.com, not the Radiation Network.

  2. Frank says:

    The source website is rense.com. Try again.

    • Craig Good says:

      Ooh, even better. Err… worse. Can you point out the link I missed? Sounds worth an update.

      I assume you do agree that Radiation Network is in the mix there.


      • stompsfrogs says:

        I can, the guy who posted the video on youtube says that’s where he got it from. I was coming here to point that out, because it’s a pretty amazing website. Up there with timecube, I’d say. Says it right in the video description: “Thanks to Rense.com for originally publishing this video and “Dave” for making this video.”

  3. ladyatheist says:

    And now a conjoined whale fetus is supposedly a victim of Fukushima:

    • Daniel says:

      Supposedly? do you suppose this would have happened naturally otherwise without any human intervention? C’mon Ms. Atheist, this isn’t religion, this is science..

      • roger says:

        Your right, conjoined fetus is certainly a new thing.

      • DragonLady says:

        See “Very Special People” an excellent book about human exceptions which feature a chapters devoted to conjoined twins, and a full chapter on Chang and Eng (Bunker) the “original” Siamese Twins.

        You see pictures of two headed snakes and four legged chickens all over the internet.

        Developmental defects happen and have been well documented for centuries. They are not confined to any species nor is human intervention a requirement. A nuclear reactor is not a necessary factor.

        Documented science, not religion.

  4. morbid says:

    Actually some newer Geiger counters come with software that connects through USB that monitor local radiation levels and and reports them to Radiationnetwork.com. It mostly a hobbiest and nerd activity. Interestingly the software supports monitoring station to monitoring station text chat and Serial Data Export from a Gieger counter to export your data logs. In some cases it can be used to do group observations or experiments with stations over the country.

    I should state that his counter is actually a very, very common consumer grade Geiger counter. Not terrible or bad in any manner and comes precalibrated by a either digital or cesium source when manufactured. The options for measurement are limited and thusly easier to understand. The person in the video however doesn’t realize that sand is naturally radioactive.

    Radiation network also sells counters, sure. But they also integrate the majority of the detectors offered on that site as working correctly with both the GeigerGraph and Radiation Network software. It is after all more conveinent to offer the equipment one needs to make the software you sell and the web service useful.I do occasionally plug in my counter to the network but I’m usually doing personal dosimetry for myself out of curiousity as to where natural hotspots or elevated background might exist.

    His readings are not much higher than 1-1.5 microsieverts. Higher than normal but easily explained by natural amounts of radium and thorium present in beach sand. I’d just chalk this up to a person who isn’t well informed on the nature of radiation and it’s natural sources. He probably bought his counter from that site, which is where i bought a PRM-8000 and the radnet software. They do good business and reply to questions about the products. Probably one of the more reputable dealers of radiation detectors that actually knows what they sell.

  5. ask412 says:

    What hypocrisy.

    The denigrating of a few individuals who have like many before chosen to profiteer out of an accident. In this case the planets largest. Sure this is not palatable.

    Anyone taking this thread seriously, has not developed the values for an elevated worldview.

    The comparison of what the military / nuclear power industry have created in pursuit of trillions of dollars of vested interest is utterly ludicrous.

    It is vested interests that have supported the case of denial of global warming, climate change and the military / nuclear power industry.

    Money, profit, leveraging of power influencing laws to suit their agenda and rewrite history to fit their story.

    Any serious critical thinker could drive a semi fully loaded through your line of logic. Not to mention supporting commenters.

    Do your due diligence on the ‘other’ side of this issue. That is your obligation to your family and friends, instead of letting others influence your thinking.

    Simply lift your awareness, little else is needed to face this front and centre.

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