Traveler to Japan measures radiation on planes, near Fukushima (news flash: planes are much worse!)

A Silicon Valley exec recently traveled to Japan for business. He took a Geiger counter with him and measured radiation throughout the trip–including on his flights to and from Asia. Steve Jurvetson posted a graph on his Flickr stream. He writes:

One of his destinations was 50 miles from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. As a precaution, a colleague gave him a Geiger Counter so he could make sure it wasn’t getting dangerous as he approached the plant.

Maybe they assumed he would turn it on when he hit the ground… Instead, he logged the whole trip, and you can see the relative peaks of radioactivity.

jurvetson’s Flickr via Sean Bonner’s Twitter

5 thoughts on “Traveler to Japan measures radiation on planes, near Fukushima (news flash: planes are much worse!)

  1. That you can get a fair amount of radiation on a plane is no news. But usually this time of exposure is limited, unless you live on planes.
    But if you live around Fukushima:
    a) You are exposed to (probably lower levels) of radiation for a _long_ time
    b) You might incorporate radiating particles – which is much worse in the long run than external radiation
    c) There might be limited hot spots of radiation around you don’t want to step onto
    Besides, what types of radiation were measured? There is a lot of difference between alpha and gamma particles…
    There is also a lot of difference between measuring current radiation and dose. That’s why dosimeters were invented. This survey is total bogus.

  2. As you’d know if you actually knew anything about radiation, the uSv/h rate is supposed to be dosage equivalent (in gamma rays) and is weighted for the different radiation types.

  3. OK. But still, this ‘survey’ only says that one guy with an instrument of unknown quality and unknown training with that instrument measured these values on a plane trip to Japan.
    Also, a), b) and c) still hold.
    Even without knowing anything about radiation, one can say that this data is like assuming: ‘Hey I know one guy who took potassium-cyanide and survived, so this ust be always non lethal”
    While bayesian inference works well for spam filters, it doesn’t always work well. 😉

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