Friday, March 25, 2011
What Do You Want To Know?
During that first week, as I mentioned, I turned away from the media with an increasing sense of disdain, which over the course of the week turned into aggravation and disgust at the almost complete lack of factually correct information, the ongoing fearmongering and worst of all, the visual exploitation of human suffering.
I could not escape it altogether though, because in RL friends and relatives contacted me for information. While I know more than average, I know less than I ever will. However, I was surprised at the ongoing misinformation that was being disseminated by journalists and so-called correspondents, who had no scientific background to comment or report on these events.
Early on, a relative informed me about the "explosion of the nuclear reactor" and I found myself explaining that this will not be another Chernobyl, that this was likely, as it turned out to be, a hydrogen explosion and that the most concerning information she should listen for was whether the "containment" had been breached.
I am not an expert in this field, but in RL I turned to science sites that I was familiar with for updates and information. There is comfort in knowledge, the focus is on facts; quantifiable and measurable to the best of current technology and abilities. Scientists are often portrayed as cold and detached, but at times it is precisely that rational detachment that allows people in the science fields to function and cope in a crisis. A detachment that allows analysis, without belittling the human tragedy or catastrophizing the events.
Blogging became somewhat irrelevant, the posts that I had planned to put up prior to March 11, 2011, were humorous and it somehow seemed insensitive to pretend that it was "business as usual". In RL, the last 2 weeks were very busy and I did not have the time to write the posts that I believed to be the most appropriate and useful. Posts that provided some hopefully useful information.
I have noticed too many comments on the aforementioned science sites, that showed how desperately people were seeking basic answers with respect to earthquakes, nuclear fallout, nuclear plants and power, among other topics. It saddened me how apologetic these commenters were for not remembering their basic science classes. I saw far too many comments that included "this will sound like a stupid question, but could someone please explain...". I also noticed the searches done on my own blog and decided that I was going to post a simple FAQ in order to fill in some of the gaps left behind by the media, which has already turned its attention to more "sensational footage".
I already have some topics in mind, but if the readers of this blog have specific questions, I will do my best to answer them in an upcoming post. If you have suggestions, questions, topics of interest, feel free to comment below or just comment. For now, do something creative, watch a game, go see a movie, spend time with loved ones or go for a walk and just breathe.