In Episode 6 – Fukushima Roll – we discuss whether tuna contaminated by the Fukushima disaster is safe to eat, canceled plans for a wind farm off the coast of the UK, and a new advancement in nanostructuring superhydrophobic materials for even better waterproof surfaces.
00:00 we introduce Heather! A new co-host, and our resident Canadian and conservation ecologist. She talks a little bit about her work regarding overfishing of Atlantic Blue Fin Tuna in Canada.
3:25 Our first topic covers a paper published in June 2013 about the levels of radiation found in Pacific Bluefin Tuna linked to the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster. (paper: ” Evaluation of radiation doses and associated risk from the Fukushima nuclear accident to marine biota and human consumers of seafood“)
8:10 we forgot to explain that what “ionizing radiation” means is that it is radiation that is able to remove an electron from another atom and turn it into an ion. This significantly changes the bonding properties of the atom, and has the potential to cause damage to an organism.
10:30 Heather explains that radionuclide presence testing is used to map ocean currents and when water has last been to the surface.
23:35 The effects of the radiation from the Fukushima reactor are much lower than the natural radiation in tuna.
29:00 report of how much radiation is actually being put into the ocean (in Becquerel)
31:15 Alex references the XKCD Radiation chart that shows that the amount of fish in 1kg of affected tuna is a little bit less than the radiation you get from sleeping next to a person.
35:45 Alex: this disaster is a very bad reason to try to demonize nuclear power
41:30 Phew that first story was long. Here’s the second story! Plans for a wind farm off the North Devon coast in the UK were cancelled. (Via BBC)
56:15 We discuss Ultrahydrophobic materials from the Nature Letter: “Reducing the contact time of a bouncing drop”
59:00 somewhere around here we lost Heather to the winds of the internet. We’ll send out a search party and hopefully get her back for a future episode.
Alex also gives a good explination of surface wetting.
61:04 some very basic physics.
70:34 applications for superhydrophobic materials
72:45 we’ll try to get some superhydrophobic coating and do a special episode on them! Let us know if you have any ideas for experiments to perform.
73:43 signoff without heather!
Here’s a link to the article about fish eating plastic: http://deepseanews.com/2013/12/guest-post-the-invisible-consequences-of-mistaking-plastic-for-dinner/