Saturday, March 12, 2016

holding errorists to account

The fifth anniversary of the the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami passed this week.

Stephen Aplin has an extraordinary post on authority - earned and fearmongered

Accurate and inaccurate predictions, garbage dumping, and death threats: an easy lesson about nuclear power, still not learned after 1,827 days
...While I am immensely pleased that nobody has died or even gone to the hospital because of the effects of ionizing radiation released because of the meltdowns (radiation has of course been released, but in amounts simply too small to cause harm to anybody or anything), I have found these past 1,827 days to be rather frustrating. I harbour this naive fantasy that those who were surprised to hear me tell anybody who would listen to expect few if any casualties might revisit their initial surprise.
I understand why they were surprised. I was one of very, very few people saying what I was saying. The vast majority of other commentators on the nuclear situation in Japan following the earthquake were saying just the opposite. They were telling everybody who would listen that there would be untold death and disease because of the release of radiation.
I also understand why these prophets, false prophets I should say, got on the air: from the point of view of a media vehicle locked in mortal hyper-competition with other media vehicles for readers/viewers/listeners, it is much much sexier to prophesy doom and destruction. Reassurance is boring, even if it is bang on. I get that.
What I find disappointing is that the prophets of doom, having been proved laughably wrong, are not being called to account. I mean, they said this stuff in public. You might think that having said things that prove they do not know what they are talking about, somebody might, you know, call them on it.
Apparently such correcting of the public record is not a priority in the current media universe.
It should be. There are real consequences to allowing alleged experts to utter falsehoods in the public sphere.
Please read the full post at Canadian Energy Issues.

I'll argue there are real consequences "to allowing alleged experts to utter falsehoods."
Depression is common, fear is up, and air pollution far too persistent - those are real consequences of mangling messages on the anniversary of the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.
Here’s Reuters:

Five years ago, one of the biggest earthquakes in history shook the country’s northeast. The 10-metre (33-foot) tsunami it spawned smashed into the power plant on the Fukushima coastline triggering a meltdown and forcing nearby towns to evacuate. The disaster killed over 19,000 people across Japan and caused an estimated 16.9 trillion yen ($150 billion) in damages.
And here a tweet from one account associated with Greenpeace:

Has tag don't deliberately misleading people.

sick - and too long contagious.

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