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Deconstructing Nuclear Experts

Oz Waver

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#1
Some May be More Dangerous Than Radiation

Deconstructing Nuclear Experts
By CHRIS BUSBY http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Busby

Since the Fukushima accident we have seen a stream of experts on radiation telling us not to worry, that the doses are too low, that the accident is nothing like Chernobyl and so forth. They appear on television and we read their articles in the newspapers and online. Fortunately the majority of the public don’t believe them. I myself have appeared on television and radio with these people; one example was Ian Fells of the University of Newcastle who, after telling us all on BBC News that the accident was nothing like Chernobyl (wrong), and the radiation levels of no consequence (wrong), that the main problem was that there was no electricity and that the lifts didn’t work. “ If you have been in a situation when the lifts don’t work, as I have†he burbled on, “you will know what I mean.†You can see this interview on youtube and decide for yourself.

What these people have in common is ignorance. You may think a professor at a university must actually know something about their subject. But this is not so. Nearly all of these experts who appear and pontificate have not actually done any research on the issue of radiation and health. Or if they have, they seem to have missed all the key studies and references. I leave out the real baddies, who are closely attached to the nuclear industry, like Richard Wakeford, or Richard D as he calls himself on the anonymous website he has set up to attack me, “chrisbusbyexposedâ€.

I saw him a few times talking down the accident on the television, labelled in the stripe as Professor Richard Wakeford, University of Manchester. Incidentally, Wakeford is a physicist, his PhD was in particle physics at Liverpool. But he was not presented as ex- Principle Scientist, British Nuclear Fuels, Sellafield. That might have given the viewers the wrong idea. Early on we saw another baddy, Malcolm Grimston, talking about radiation and health, described as Professor, Imperial College. Grimston is a psychologist, not a scientist, and his expertise was in examining why the public was frightened of radiation, and how their (emotional) views could be changed. But his lack of scientific training didn’t stop him explaining on TV and radio how the Fukushima accident was nothing to worry about. The doses were too low, nothing like Chernobyl, not as bad as 3-Mile Island, only 4 on the scale, all the usual blather. Most recently we have seen George Monbiot, who I know, and who also knows nothing about radiation and health, writing in The Guardian how this accident has actually changed his mind about nuclear power (can this be his Kierkegaard moment? Has he cracked? ) since he now understands (and reproduces a criminally misleading graphic to back up his new understanding) that radiation is actually OK and we shoudn’t worry about it. George does at least know better, or has been told better, since he asked me a few years ago to explain why internal and external radiation exposure cannot be considered to have the same health outcomes. He ignored what I said and wrote for him (with references) and promptly came out in favour of nuclear energy in his next article.

So what about Wade Allison? Wade is a medical physics person and a professor at Oxford. I have chosen to pitch into him since he epitomises and crystallises for us the arguments of the stupid physicist. In this he has done us a favour, since he is really easy to shoot down. All the arguments are in one place. Stupid physicists? Make no mistake, physicists are stupid. They make themselves stupid by a kind of religious belief in mathematical modelling. The old Bertie Russell logical positivist trap. And whilst this may be appropriate for examining the stresses in metals, or looking at the Universe (note that they seem to have lost 90% of the matter in the Universe, so-called “dark matterâ€) it is not appropriate for, and is even scarily incorrect when, examining stresses in humans or other lifeforms. Mary Midgley, the philosopher has written about Science as Religion. Health physicists are the priests. I have been reading Wade Allison’s article for the BBC but also looked at his book some months ago. He starts in the same way as all the others by comparing the accidents. He writes:

More than 10,000 people have died in the Japanese tsunami and the survivors are cold and hungry. But the media concentrate on nuclear radiation from which no-one has died - and is unlikely to.

Then we move to 3-Mile Island: There were no known deaths there.

And Chernobyl:

The latest UN report published on 28 February confirms the known death toll - 28 fatalities among emergency workers, plus 15 fatal cases of child thyroid cancer - which would have been avoided if iodine tablets had been taken (as they have now in Japan).

This is breathtaking ignorance of the scientific literature. Prof. Steve Wing in the USA has carried out epidemiological studies of the effects of 3-Mile Island, with results published in the peer-review literature. Court cases are regularly settled on the basis of cancers produced by the 3-Mile Island contamination. But let us move to Chernobyl. The health effects of the Chernobyl accident are massive and demonstrable. They have been studied by many research groups in Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine, in the USA, Greece, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and Japan. The scientific peer reviewed literature is enormous. Hundreds of papers report the effects, increases in cancer and a range of other diseases. My colleague Alexey Yablokov of the Russian Academy of Sciences, published a review of these studies in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (2009). Earlier in 2006 he and I collected together reviews of the Russian literature by a group of eminent radiation scientists and published these in the book Chernobyl, 20 Years After. The result: more than a million people have died between 1986 and 2004 as a direct result of Chernobyl.

I will briefly refer to two Chernobyl studies in the west which falsify Wade Allison’s assertions. The first is a study of cancer in Northern Sweden by Martin Tondel and his colleagues at Lynkoping University. Tondel examined cancer rates by radiation contamination level and showed that in the 10 years after the Chernobyl contamination of Sweden, there was an 11% increase in cancer for every 100kBq/sq metre of contamination. Since the official International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) figures for the Fukushima contamination are from 200 to 900kBq.sq metre out to 78km from the site, we can expect between 22% and 90% increases in cancer in people living in these places in the next 10 years. The other study I want to refer to is one I carried out myself. After Chernobyl, infant leukaemia was reported in 6 countries by 6 different groups, from Scotland, Greece, Wales, Germany, Belarus and the USA. The increases were only in children who had been in the womb at the time of the contamination: this specificity is rare in epidemiology. There is no other explanation than Chernobyl. The leukemias could not be blamed on some as-yet undiscovered virus and population mixing, which is the favourite explanation for the nuclear site child leukemia clusters. There is no population mixing in the womb. Yet the “doses†were very small, much lower than “natural backgroundâ€. I published this unequivocal proof that the current risk model is wrong for internal exposures in two separate peer-reviewed journals in 2000 and 2009. This finding actually resulted in the formation in 2001 by UK Environment Minister Michael Meacher of a new Committee Examining Radiation Risks from Internal Emitters CERRIE. Richard Wakeford was on this committee representing BNFL and he introduced himself to me as “BNFL’s Rottweilerâ€. No difference there.

Wade then turns to a comparison of contamination:

So what of the radioactivity released at Fukushima? How does it compare with that at Chernobyl? Let's look at the measured count rates. The highest rate reported, at 1900 on 22 March, for any Japanese prefecture was 12 kBq per sq m (for the radioactive isotope of caesium, caesium-137).

A map of Chernobyl in the UN report shows regions shaded according to rate, up to 3,700 kBq per sq m - areas with less than 37 kBq per sq m are not shaded at all. In round terms, this suggests that the radioactive fallout at Fukushima is less than 1% of that at Chernobyl

But the IAEA themselves, not known for their independence from the nuclear industry, report that contamination levels out to 78km were between 200 and 900kBq/sq metre. And Wade has been rather selective with his data, to put it kindly. The UN definition of radioactively contaminated land is 37kBq/sq metre just as he writes, but actually, in all the maps published, the inner 30km Chernobyl contamination exclusion zone is defined as 555kBq/sq metre and above. This is just a fact. Why has he misled us? In passing, this means that there are 555,000 radioactive disintegrations per second on one square metre of surface. Can you believe this is not harmful? No. And you would be correct. And another calculation can be made. Since the IAEA data show that these levels of contamination, from 200,000 to 900,000 disintegrations per second per square metre, exist up to 78km from Fukushima, we can already calculate that the contamination is actually worse than Chernobyl, not 1% of Chernobyl as Wade states. For the area defined by a 78km radius is 19113 sq km compared to the Chernobyl exclusion zone of 2827 sq km. About seven times greater.

Now I turn to the health effects. Wade trots out most of the usual stupid physicist arguments. We are all exposed to natural background, the dose is 2mSv a year and the doses from the accident are not significantly above this. For example, the Japanese government are apparently making a mistake in telling people not to give tap water containing 200Bq/litre radioactive Iodine-131 to their children as there is naturally 50Bq/l of radiation in the human body and 200 will not do much harm. The mistake is made because of fears of the public which apparently forced the International Commission on Radiological Protection, ICRP, to set the annual dose limits at 1mSv. Wade knows better: he would set the limits at 100mSv. He is a tough guy. He shoots from the hip:

Patients receiving a course of radiotherapy usually get a dose of more than 20,000 mSv to vital healthy tissue close to the treated tumour. This tissue survives only because the treatment is spread over many days giving healthy cells time for repair or replacement. A sea-change is needed in our attitude to radiation, starting with education and public information.

But Wade, dear, these people are usually old, and usually die anyway before they can develop a second tumour. They often develop other cancers even so because of the radiation. There are hundreds of studies showing this. And in any case, this external irradiation is not the problem. The problem is internal irradiation. The Iodine-131 is not in the whole body, it is in the thyroid gland and attached to the blood cells: hence the thyroid cancer and the leukaemia. And there is a whole list of internal radioactive elements that bind chemically to DNA, from Strontium-90 to Uranium. These give massive local doses to the DNA and to the tissues where they end up. The human body is not a piece of wire that you can apply physics to. The concept of dose which Wade uses cannot be used for internal exposures. This has been conceded by the ICRP itself in its publications. And in an interview with me in Stockholm in 2009, Dr Jack Valentin, the ex-Scientific Secretary of the ICRP conceded this, and also made the statement that the ICRP risk model, the one used by all governments to assess the outcome of accidents like Fukushima, was unsafe and could not be used. You can see this interview on the internet, on www.vimeo.com.

Why is the ICRP model unsafe? Because it is based on “absorbed doseâ€. This is average radiation energy in Joules divided by the mass of living tissue into which it is diluted. A milliSievert is one milliJoule of energy diluted into one kilogram of tissue. As such it would not distinguish between warming yourself in front of a fire and eating a red hot coal. It is the local distribution of energy that is the problem. The dose from a singly internal alpha particle track to a single cell is 500mSv! The dose to the whole body from the same alpha track is 5 x 10-11 mSv. That is 0.000000000005mSv. But it is the dose to the cell that causes the genetic damage and the ultimate cancer. The cancer yield per unit dose employed by ICRP is based entirely on external acute high dose radiation at Hiroshima, where the average dose to a cell was the same for all cells.

And what of the UN and their bonkers statement about the effects of the Chernobyl accident referred to by Wade Allison? What you have to know, is that the UN organisations on radiation and health are compromised in favour of the nuclear military complex, which was busy testing hydrogen bombs in the atmosphere at the time of the agreement and releasing all the Strontium, Caesium, Uranium and plutonium and other stuff that was to become the cause of the current and increasing cancer epidemic. The last thing they wanted was the doctors and epidemiologists stopping their fun. The IAEA and the World Health Organisation (WHO) signed an agreement in 1959 to remove all research into the issue from the doctors of the WHO, to the atom scientists, the physicists of the IAEA: this agreement is still in force. The UN organisations do not refer to, or cite any scientific study, which shows their statements on Chernobyl to be false. There is a huge gap between the picture painted by the UN, the IAEA, the ICRP and the real world. And the real world is increasingly being studied and reports are being published in the scientific literature: but none of the authorities responsible for looking after the public take any notice of this evidence.

As they say on the Underground trains in London: Mind the Gap. Wade Allison and the other experts I refer to need to do just this for their own sake. The one place that this gap is being closed rapidly and savagely is in the courts. I have acted as an expert witness in over 40 cases involving radiation and health. These include cases where Nuclear Test veterans are suing the UK government for exposures at the test sites that have caused cancer, they include cases involving nuclear pollution, work exposures and exposures to depleted uranium weapons fallout. And these cases are all being won. All of them. Because in court with a judge and a jury, people like Wade Allison and George Monbiot would not last 2 minutes. Because in court you rely on evidence. Not bull****ting.

Joseph Conrad wrote: "after all the shouting is over, the grim silence of facts remain". I believe that these phoney experts like Wade Allison and George Monbiot are criminally irresponsible, since their advice will lead to millions of deaths. I would hope that some time in the future, I can be involved as an expert in another legal case, one where Wade Allison, or George or my favourite baddy, Richard Wakeford (who actually knows better) are accused in a court of law of scientific dishonesty leading to the cancer in some poor victim who followed their advice. When they are found guilty, I hope they are sent to jail where they can have plenty of time to read the scientific proofs that their advice was based on the mathematical analysis of thin air.

In the meantime, I challenge each of them to debate this issue with me in public on television face to face, so that the people can figure out who is right. For the late Professor John Gofman, a senior figure in the US Atomic Energy Commission until he saw what was happening and resigned, famously said: "the nuclear industry is waging a war against humanity." This war has now entered an endgame which will decide the survival of the human race. Not from sudden nuclear war. But from the on-going and incremental nuclear war which began with the releases to the biosphere in the 60s of all the atmospheric test fallout, and which has continued inexorably since then through Windscale, Kyshtym, 3-Mile Island, Chernobyl, Hanford, Sellafield, La Hague, Iraq and now Fukushima, accompanied by parallel increases in cancer rates and fertility loss to the human race.

There is a gap between them and us. Between the phoney scientists and the public who don’t believe what they say. Between those who are employed and paid to protect us from radioactive pollution and those who die from its consequences. Between those who talk down what is arguably the greatest public health scandal in human history, and the facts that they ignore.

Mind the Gap indeed.

Chris Busby is Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk. He is visiting Professor at the University of Ulster and also Guest Researcher at the Julius Kuehn Institute of the German Federal Agricultural Institute in Braunschweig, Germany. He was a member of the UK Committee Examining Radiation Risk on Internal Emitters CERRIE and the UK MoD Depleted Uranium Oversight Board. He was Science and Policy Interface leader of the Policy Information network on Child Health and Environment based in the Netherlands. He was Science and Technology Speaker for the Green Party of England and Wales. He has conducted fundamental research on the health effects of internal radiation both at the theoretical and epidemiological level, including recently on the genotoxic effects of the element uranium.
 

Fanakapan

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He was Science and Technology Speaker for the Green Party of England and Wales.
Interesting article, but that little line at the end rings Alarm Bells ?? The Greens rely to a great extent upon public Ignorance combined with their own sensationalised sound bites to get them selves noticed :)

Not for nothing has Green been referred to as the new Red :)
 

Tecumseh

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It seems to me that if there was any provable truth to this an attorney somewhere would have filed a suit.

Sorry Oz Waver you lost your credibility with me a long time ago and quite a few others here - I hardly read what you post anymore because I already know what its going to say.
 

Zed

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Interesting article, but that little line at the end rings Alarm Bells ?? The Greens rely to a great extent upon public Ignorance combined with their own sensationalised sound bites to get them selves noticed :)

Not for nothing has Green been referred to as the new Red :)
Yes, this appears to be very much the modus operandi with Mr Busby.... I have been reading some interesting stuff about him.
 

Oz Waver

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Apparently there are some legal proceedings going on. See chrisbusbyexposed website.

The nuclear industry is extremely powerful and to say "surely an attorney somewhere would have filled a lawsuit"... is clutching at straws.

The allegations that Busby has made are serious... he has reported the people concerned to the relevant authorities, this is on the record.

Now with the serious nature of this situation, Professor Busby would have been sued by now, instead his detractors are running for cover. Busby is seriously qualified and I've watched him debating other nuclear industry scientists... great watching... at the end of every debate I've seen so far, his points stand.

Many times when debating he gets the detractors to "out themselves".

Now you might disagree with Busby, but I'd take his expertise over some ignorant internet forum mugs any day....................
 

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Oz Waver, we understand your distaste for all things nuclear. It couldn't be clearer. So, what are our options here? We obviously need power and oil appears to be finite. Our Feckless Leader has a personal hard-on for the coal industry and wants to shut them down.

So, what do we do for power? Or are you also one of those people who worship "Gaia" and don't want anything newer than a horse-drawn plow?

Illuminate us, please. If I may use the term "illuminate" when speaking of a need for power.
 

Oz Waver

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Oz Waver, we understand your distaste for all things nuclear. It couldn't be clearer. So, what are our options here? We obviously need power and oil appears to be finite. Our Feckless Leader has a personal hard-on for the coal industry and wants to shut them down.

So, what do we do for power? Or are you also one of those people who worship "Gaia" and don't want anything newer than a horse-drawn plow?

Illuminate us, please. If I may use the term "illuminate" when speaking of a need for power.
Firstly, there are electrical energy specialist out there that are qualified to speak on the subject.

My thoughts are:
1) Decrease consumption: use of low power technologies such as LED lighting, Televisions etc. (not hazardous mercury filled fluorescence)
2) Hydro-Power
3) Tidal Energy
4) Solar Energy: New Generation of course
5) Gas

These are just to name a few... and then there are more controversial methods such as hydrolytic convertors, over-unity devices, Ionosphere Power and other Tesla devices.

There are also many patents, concepts that have been purchased and shelved by the power industry. Opening this is like opening a can of worms...

Technology is there, but the question of free energy is what would the world be like and the whole power structure might no longer look centralised. Just look at those getting off the grid. Obviously this is a big fear of those in control of the "conspiracy".
 

gnome

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It seems to me that if there was any provable truth to this an attorney somewhere would have filed a suit.
Actually, from his CV, it looks to me like Busby makes his living as a professional expert witness in just such court cases. Maybe all his TV appearances are really just free advertising for the court cases he expects to follow.
 

Nanook

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I'd love to be off the grid, with my own energy sources. That would be ideal. I'm also in favor of decentralized power sources. At the moment, solar and wind aren't the answer, although that may change in the future.

Hydro-power is in use where it's possible, even in the US. And gas is in heavy use, most of our homes are heated with natural gas. I do see a need for nuclear power, to supplant oil as it either becomes more expensive or scarcer.

I've worked at quite a few nuclear plants during refuel outages since around 1988. I tend to avoid them, but not for any reason you might think. They're a pain in the ass to work at, and work goes slowly at those plants. If you're used to working at a faster pace like I am, they will drive you bonkers. Hurry up and wait.

We shall see what the future holds, but nukes will probably be around for the foreseeable future.
 

Oz Waver

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I'd love to be off the grid, with my own energy sources. That would be ideal. I'm also in favor of decentralized power sources. At the moment, solar and wind aren't the answer, although that may change in the future.

Hydro-power is in use where it's possible, even in the US. And gas is in heavy use, most of our homes are heated with natural gas. I do see a need for nuclear power, to supplant oil as it either becomes more expensive or scarcer.

I've worked at quite a few nuclear plants during refuel outages since around 1988. I tend to avoid them, but not for any reason you might think. They're a pain in the ass to work at, and work goes slowly at those plants. If you're used to working at a faster pace like I am, they will drive you bonkers. Hurry up and wait.

We shall see what the future holds, but nukes will probably be around for the foreseeable future.
I don't disagree that nukes may well be around... the poignant points of Professor Busby remains.

The reason why nukes are still around have more to do with "power/control" than anything else.

Personally Wind Power is does not look promising at all, however solar is, the new generation of solar is very good especially when one considers all things.

Nuclear is an unnecessary energy source with crazy dangers attached to it. Few talk about Prompt Critical/Fission and Inadvertent super-criticality... It'd be irresponsible for me to talk about it. Suffice to say that the internet has a lot of pro-nuclear disinformation. Should we wait to see if it happens and then what? That's why Busby is talking about the survival of the human race. All go silent on this one.

Also this will greatly affect fertility rates... not that this isn't in line with what TPTB have stated.

I jokingly wonder if there were some kind of benevolent aliens looking down at what's happening here on earth... what would they be thinking? (its rhetorical Zed unless your an alien)
 
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gnome

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Firstly, there are electrical energy specialist out there that are qualified to speak on the subject.

My thoughts are:
1) Decrease consumption: use of low power technologies such as LED lighting, Televisions etc. (not hazardous mercury filled fluorescence)
2) Hydro-Power
3) Tidal Energy
4) Solar Energy: New Generation of course
5) Gas
I am with you on this, but think the priority should be on low-tech solar thermal applications - passive solar heating for homes and solar hot water. These are some of the cheapest and most efficient solutions out there. Most home energy use goes to heating/cooling the house and heating water. This is the low-hanging fruit.

Waste to energy applications also are a major opportunity for easy gains. For example, compost human waste & yard waste to produce heat and fertile soil.

Super-efficient woodstoves such as rocket mass-heaters also make wood heat into a reasonable proposition.

All these things are doable on a backyard scale without any technical advancements whatsoever, and very little in terms of capital investments.
 

Zed

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The nuclear industry is extremely powerful and to say "surely an attorney somewhere would have filled a lawsuit"... is clutching at straws.

The allegations that Busby has made are serious... he has reported the people concerned to the relevant authorities, this is on the record.

Now with the serious nature of this situation, Professor Busby would have been sued by now, instead his detractors are running for cover. Busby is seriously qualified and I've watched him debating other nuclear industry scientists... great watching... at the end of every debate I've seen so far, his points stand.
Why? You can't sue someone for making extreme forecasts. Unless they can prove he has caused some material damage to their businesses they have no case against him. You seem to under estimate what can be said quite freely, even if you are a complete radical green loon pseudo scientist. There would be plenty of those being dragged through court if it was an achievable and sensible thing to do. That is the other thing, Busby appears to be widely regarded as being on the extreme fringe so what is there to gain in chasing him? It would make no sense but to do anything else but ignore the man.
 

Oz Waver

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#13
I am with you on this, but think the priority should be on low-tech solar thermal applications - passive solar heating for homes and solar hot water. These are some of the cheapest and most efficient solutions out there. Most home energy use goes to heating/cooling the house and heating water. This is the low-hanging fruit.

Waste to energy applications also are a major opportunity for easy gains. For example, compost human waste & yard waste to produce heat and fertile soil.

Super-efficient woodstoves such as rocket mass-heaters also make wood heat into a reasonable proposition.

All these things are doable on a backyard scale without any technical advancements whatsoever, and very little in terms of capital investments.
Gnome,
I agree with you. This is low tech and rather naturalistic in approach.

In area of large population density different solutions would need to be taken on board. I still think that the solutions that have been bought and shelved by industry would readily solve these problems.

Zed,
Look at what many have said about Dr. Busby's most "controversial" book http://www.llrc.org/wings/subtopic/wingrevw.htm

Like I said many scientist are aware of who is representing the nuclear industry.

Professor Busby has stood his ground and is to be admired IMO. In no way are his detractor's (nuclear industry representatives) ignoring him, he has debated them publicly and continues to do so.

Fukushima just highlights why the world should immediately stop use of nuclear energy of this form. However Busby's work goes much further... He is on the side of humanity.
 

Zed

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In no way are his detractor's (nuclear industry representatives) ignoring him, he has debated them publicly and continues to do so.
I was talking in the context of the legal action that you had suggested... please don't head off on out of context tangents if you are responding to my posts. It makes no sense to take legal action against the man.
 
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Haole

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#15
 
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Oz Waver

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Interesting video Haole...

Looked up Karl Grossman... he's really good!

 
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gnome

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Taken with grain, considering the source is a nuke advocate...

http://junksciencewatch.wordpress.com/

Busby would have you believe that almost every scientist and doctor in the world is incompetent, involved in a gigantic cover-up, or complacent about the health of their families and friends. Read on and see if YOU believe him….

Busby’s CV exposed
Although superficially impressive to the gullible and the naive, his CV conveys a facade of scientific respectability that is built on sand. Here are some key points:
(1) BSc Chemistry (London), PhD Chemical Physics (Kent). Failed to complete his first PhD project – an early indication of his intellectual shortcomings.
(2) Glorified laboratory assistant for a few years.
(3) Dropped out to pursue a ‘life of adventure’ on the ocean wave – why bother getting a real job when millions of taxpayers will pay for education, health services, etc?
(4) Self-appointed "scientific consultant", "writer", and director of "green audit".
(5) Self-described government "expert" – in fact, Busby got himself invited on to the CERRIE committee by Michael Meacher MP to represent a tiny minority view (equivalent to flat-earthers) shared by virtually no scientists with any credible scientific record. Apparently, it was government policy to be as inclusive as possible, even if that meant including people with no talent beyond self-promotion. Richard Bramhall, Busby’s sycophantic second lieutenant and former professional musician, was also invited on to CERRIE to represent the low level radiation campaign, even though this is effectively the same organisation as "green audit".
(6) Honorary Fellow in Dept of Anatomy and Cell Biology at Liverpool University. As an aside, it appears that this may have been set up for him by his friend Vyvyan Howard. Howard was a colleague of the notorious Dutch pathologist, Dick van Velzen (famous for taking and retaining body parts without parental consent), and co-authored at least 25 papers with him. Howard now appears to have been exiled to the University of Ulster, Coleraine, Northern Ireland. Curiously, Busby’s name does not get a mention among the list of honorary staff on the website of the Dept of Anatomy and Cell Biology at Liverpool University, and when you ‘phone the Department, nobody seems to have heard of him! Despite this, Busby still claims an affiliation to Liverpool University. You’d think after the Alder Hey scandal, Liverpool University might be careful not to appoint people with a cavalier attitude to research ethics.
(7) More recently, visiting professor at (yes – you’ve guessed it!) the University of Ulster, Coleraine! I wonder who set that up for him? To be honest, I hadn’t heard of this institution either, but with honorary appointments like this, they seem intent on building a reputation as a centre of mediocrity. For an environmentalist, with all his travel to Coleraine and European cities, Busby must have one hell of a carbon footprint, but then with these guys its always do as I say, not as I do.
(8) Member of the editorial board of the grandiosely named, web-only "journal", European Journal of Biology and Bioelectromagnetics. In fact, this "journal" is not listed among official catalogues of scientific periodicals and so has equivalent status to the Beano! Anyone can set up an online-only journal and appoint themselves to the editorial board. After just six issues, the "journal" appears to have died, but not before Busby managed to publish eight allegedly peer-reviewed papers in it! Peer-reviewed by morons, obviously.
(9) Describes himself as an epidemiologist, but has had no formal training in epidemiology or statistics, or if he has, he should definitely ask for his money back! See further down for examples of his inability to perform basic arithmetic (kind of a prerequisite for this field of science, I would have thought).
(10) Superficially impressive list of publications, but
- hardly any are peer-reviewed.
- the original articles that are peer-reviewed are placed in journals with zero or negligible impact factors, and most have been criticised beyond recovery - perhaps he should re-name his organisation the "low level impact campaign".
- some of the ones he tries to pass off as peer-reviewed papers are simply letters to the editors of journals – usually these do not go for external peer-review and attract much lower status in the scientific world.
- the overwhelming majority of his "publications" are pretentiously titled "occasional papers" which are plainly not peer-reviewed, and have repeatedly been shown to be terminally flawed, third-rate attempts at "scientific research".
(11) Compared to some of the high-profile scientists he criticises, Busby’s CV is actually pitiful – intellectually he is way out of his league. In the real world of science, most people haven’t heard of him, and anyone who has regards him as a joke. But without a doubt, he is cunning and politically astute.
(12) "Expert" witness for hire. Incredible as it may seem, Busby has manufactured a career for himself as an "expert" witness. Basically, the more controversy he can stir up, the more he stands to earn in expensive court cases. Let’s see just how well the "expert" evidence of Busby stands up to scrutiny. A recent inquest into the tragic premature death of Gulf War veteran, Stuart Dyson, at the age of 39 was reported in the Daily Telegraph:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/new...ied-of-cancer-caused-by-Gulf-War-uranium.html
Before and during this inquest, Busby, acting as an "expert" witness for the family, made the following (among many) claims:

"Mr Dyson’s cancer was very rare in someone his age" [with a] "death rate from colon cancer in the age group 35-39 at 6 per million per year."
Why is this misleading? Firstly, the rate quoted by Busby was more than a decade out of date. Secondly, the rate of relevance is the incidence rate (reflecting the risk of developing the disease in the first place), not the mortality rate (which also depends on other factors apart from the cause of the underlying disease). It took me less than five minutes to find an up to date age specific incidence rate for bowel cancer in 35-39 year old men on the Cancer Research UK website: 5.4 per 100,000 – an order of magnitude more common than Busby would have you believe. But even this statistic is very misleading. The most relevant statistic is the cumulative lifetime risk of developing bowel cancer up to age 39 (or thereabouts). Using the age specific incidence rates on the Cancer Research UK website, I estimate this to be around 1 in 1600 – still uncommon, but around two orders of magnitude more common than Busby misled the jury into believing.

"Twins studies show up to 15% heritable components for the most genetically linked cancers; but this is not the case for colon cancer which is clearly almost entirely environmental in origin."
ABSOLUTE GARBAGE! and perhaps an example of one of the most complete falsehoods conveyed to the Coroner and the jury in this inquest. The best evidence about this, based on a very large twin study from the Nordic countries, was published in the most prestigious medical journal in the world, the New England Journal of Medicine in the year 2000: Lichtenstein P et al. Environmental and Heritable Factors in the Causation of Cancer. N Engl J Med 2000;343(2):78-85. The authors concluded that around 35% of risk of colorectal cancer can be explained by heritable factors. And by the way, asking only about parents and only about colon cancer does not constitute an adequate exploration of family history. A proper family history needs to consider the disease history of all known relatives, including cancers that are genetically associated with colon cancer (such as endometrial cancer – cancer of the lining of the womb).

"On the basis of the information I have seen I conclude that Stuart Dysons death from colon cancer at the age of 39 in 2008 was more probably than not a late consequence of his exposure to DU while deployed in the Persian Gulf in 1991."
What Busby failed to tell the inquest was that the most recent review of epidemiological studies of Gulf and Balkans War veterans found no consistent or convincing evidence of an excess risk of cancer among these personnel (Lagorio S. Review of epidemiological studies of cancer risk among Gulf War and Balkans veterans. Epidemiol Prev 2008 May-June; 32(3): 145-155). Like every one of us, it is likely that Mr Dyson had been exposed to thousands of environmental carcinogens during his lifetime. It may have been, but only the most biased observer would conclude that the cause of his cancer was "more probably than not" a late consequence of exposure to depleted uranium.

The family got the verdict they wanted, but when this has been achieved by an "expert" witness misleading the Coroner and the jury with a litany of falsehoods, was it really worth it? Making a laughing stock of the British legal system is surely in the interests of nobody except the terminally dishonest.

Almost all of these single issue environmental campaigners have massive vested interests. See, for example, Ben Goldacre’s assessment of one of Busby’s buddies, Roger Coghill, who thrives on the controversy surrounding the potential health effects of radiation from electromagnetic fields (EMF):

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jun/28/sciencenews.mobilephones
Having put the fear of God into vulnerable and scientifically naive individuals, Coghill markets measuring devices and EMF protection equipment on his website. Incidentally, Coghill’s company, the Medcross Group, appears to be responsible for managing and publishing the pseudo-scientific "journal", European Biology and Bioelectromagnetics (see point (8) above). The problem is, if you add together all the purported health effects claimed by each single issue environmental campaigner (ionizing radiation, EMF, incinerators, etc), it would be impossible to survive on planet Earth!

Busby’s approach to the manufacture of disease clusters
Imagine the incidence of a disease is one new case per 200 persons per year. Imagine a village containing 200 residents in 50 houses, 4 people to each house. Every year, you might expect one person in the village to develop the disease. Anything unusual about this? Yes, according to Busby. He looks at the data and realises that he can manufacture a disease cluster if he just chooses the right boundaries of time and space. Like a Texas sharpshooter, who draws the markings on a target after he has fired his bullets, Busby draws a circle round the household containing the person with the disease. The incidence of disease in his study population is 1 in 4 per year, or 50 in 200 per year - a 50-fold higher incidence than background rates. Bring on the gullible journalists! Obviously, this is illustrative – in practice, Busby typically does his "analyses" at ward level. So, for example, if he is trying to prove a coastal effect, he looks at the data, and then ignores any coastal wards or periods of time during which the incidence of disease is average or below average. His highly selective approach is very nicely illustrated in this article:
http://iopscience.iop.org/0952-4746/28/1
Click on "Number 1, March 2008", and then on

the "Acrobat PDF" links to the first listed paper, "Leukaemia incidence in Welsh children linked with low level radiation – making sense of some erroneous results published in the media".

Another more recent example of Busby’s scientifically indefensible data manipulation comes from his secondary "analysis" of Scottish childhood leukaemia data. Despite the fact that the incidence of childhood leukaemia in the Dumfries and Galloway area of Scotland was apparently lower than expected in the years immediately following the Chernobyl incident, Busby selectively excluded the data relating to these years, on the demonstrably false grounds that this represented a "major period of risk". Despite this bit of statistical jiggery-pokery, designed to achieve the results he was looking for, even he could not come up with a result that was remotely close to being statistically significant. The letter reporting Busby’s "results" and a commentary which comprehensively demolishes his woeful efforts can be found in the journal, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, April 2008, pages 286-287 (unfortunately you have to pay to access this). As an aside, and as reported in Busby’s cleverly named propaganda comic, Radioactive Times (April 2008, pages 14-15), it seems that Busby had to effectively blackmail the editor of Occupational and Environmental Medicine into publishing his letter by threatening to stir things up in the media (who are invariably stupid enough to oblige).
Taking Busby’s approach, you can generate a cluster of almost any disease almost anywhere in the country – all you have to do is choose your boundaries of space and time after you have looked at the data. Let’s just ignore the fact that there is a major deficit of disease in the immediately surrounding area or time period. No amount of arrogance, fake concern or self-righteousness can conceal the fact that this is epidemiology for simpletons. If you want to swallow this kind of garbage, you are seriously lacking in any powers of critical analysis.

Busby’s inability to perform simple arithmetic

As one of many examples, in Busby’s Menai Straits "report", when calculating expected numbers of cancers, he concludes that the 4-year period 2000-2003 is only 3 years. This seemingly trivial error is important because it leads to an under-estimation of expected numbers (by a factor of 3/4 or 75%). Even in the absence of any genuine increase in risk, this crass error misleadingly inflates the ratio of observed to expected cases, generating an apparent but spurious increase in risk of 33%. Of course, everyone can be forgiven for making occasional mistakes, but this is part of a depressingly repetitive pattern. For example, page 2 of the same "report" – "…in the 16 years between 1963 and 1982". Actually, that’s 20 years – count it out on your fingers like we used to do at primary school (although most of us probably got the right answer). It is impossible to avoid the conclusion that Chris (I can’t count) Busby is not competent to perform even simple calculations, or alternatively, he sets out deliberately to defraud (or both). Either way, none of his "analyses" can be trusted. He has been told about the errors in his Menai Straits "report" but the report remains on his bizarre website, an indication of his total lack of integrity.
Here’s one more example of so-called "science" emerging from the Busby stable (and like the contents of most stables, it might be good for fertilising roses, but not much else). Its an article published in yet another little known journal, Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy, December 2007, pages 623-630. You can access the abstract, at least, from the sciencedirect.com website. Busby and his colleagues describe a new constant they have developed called the "cancer incidence temporality index". Sounds impressive, I hear you say. The equation describing this groundbreaking constant is given in the article’s abstract as:

I = (∑Oa/∑Ea)/(∑Oa/∑Ea)

Only schoolboy mathematics is required to realise that this is indeed the ultimate constant – no matter what values you assign to Oa and Ea, the answer is always going to be 1! What a massively useful contribution to knowledge and mankind! Shurely deserves a Nobel prize.

Incompetent analyses, while irritating, are usually easy to spot. Of more concern is when data are apparently falsified. I quote from a letter published in response to an article of Busby’s in the little known journal, Energy & Environment (I don’t think this journal even merits an impact factor):
"Disturbingly, the only new data on infant leukaemia during the exposed period that are presented by Busby and Scott Cato, namely the Welsh registration data, do not accord with those held by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit".
For more details including further evidence of Busby’s breathtaking statistical incompetence, see the "journal" Energy & Environment, May 2002, pages 294-297 (Again, I’m afraid it is necessary to pay to access this).
Busby’s ignorance of the very basics of epidemiology
Leaving aside Busby’s inability to perform simple arithmetic, and his unorthodox approach to analysis of data, you don’t have to look far to discover that his self-proclaimed expertise in epidemiology is entirely delusional. For example, on his green audit website, he proudly presents a "case control survey study" which purports to show adverse health effects in the children and grandchildren of nuclear test veterans. I imagine that any student of epidemiology could tell you that, in a "case control study", study participants are chosen on the basis of the presence (cases) or absence (controls) of the disease being studied. In Busby’s study, it seems that participants have been chosen on the basis of exposure (child or grandchild of nuclear test veteran) or absence of exposure (child or grandchild of unexposed friend or relative of nuclear test veteran) to radioactivity, with multiple disease outcomes being investigated. For the uninitiated (including Busby), this is known as a cohort study (in this case a retrospective cohort study because exposure and outcome have already occurred). It seems that Busby is not familiar with even the basics of epidemiological study design.
There may very well be adverse health effects in the children and/or grandchildren of nuclear test veterans, but Busby’s terminally flawed study cannot show this because, despite his singularly uncritical reasoning, there is a seriously high risk of bias arising from the way in which exposed participants selected both themselves, and the unexposed controls, for inclusion. I note that Busby’s study was funded by the British Nuclear Test Veterans Association – I sincerely hope that they are not misguided enough to engage such an amateur as their expert witness in any legal proceedings.

Another of Busby’s amateur "studies" can be found in the little known International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (again, I couldn’t find an impact factor for it). It purports to be a study of cancer (or as he calls it "cancer malignancy"!), infant mortality and birth sex-ratio in Fallujah, Iraq, 2005-2009. To be fair, it would be almost impossible to carry out a credible study of this nature in Iraq at the moment due to the poor infrastructure for collection of any routine health statistics, and as usual, Busby doesn’t disappoint. Unusually, for a study involving potentially intrusive interviews of subjects about their health, ethical approval was granted to themselves by the authors! The methods section is characteristically vague, but very sportingly manages to convey the amusing scenario of the interview team being attacked for poking their noses in where they weren’t wanted! Sadly, the study is fatally flawed due to the very high likelihood of selection bias (people with illnesses to report are more likely to have participated). This is betrayed by frankly incredible relative risks (for example, almost 40-fold increased risks of leukaemia in the under 35s, and an almost 10-fold increased risk of breast cancer in women). Some physicians in Fallujah have alleged that they are seeing increased numbers of birth defects and cancers, but talk about over-egging things! Oncologists would notice and be overwhelmed by a 50% increase (equivalent to a relative risk of 1.5) in their workload; a 10-fold increase would lead to a total meltdown of their services. Apparently, Busby believes that the higher he makes the relative risks, the more convincing they will be. In reality, when they don’t tally with people’s empirical observations, they just appear childish and ridiculous. A pity, because it allows others to dismiss an excess of ill-health in Fallujah when it may, in fact, be a very real phenomenon.


Busby’s misinformation campaign
There are so many falsehoods on Busby’s llrc website, it is difficult to know where to begin. For example, "Radiation remains the only known cause of leukaemia" and "..the Government and the chancer [sic] charities do not dare commission the vital project – a case / control study in which patients and their parents are examined for their body burden of man-made radioactive elements, compared with healthy controls."
A five minute Google search of reputable websites reveals that the first statement is patently untrue (Try googling "benzene and leukaemia", for example). And why won’t the Government and cancer charities commission the "vital" project? Because its already been done and shown nothing, perchance? See:
(1) Gibson BE et al. Lancet 1988;2:630 and (2) Watson WS et al. The measurement of radioactivity in people living near the Dounreay Nuclear Establishment, Caithness, Scotland. Int J Radiat Biol 1996;70:117-30.
Busby’s approach is to latch on to anything that supports his own crackpot theory and ignore any evidence to the contrary. For example, see this interesting paper by Cook-Mozaffari P et al. Cancer near potential sites of nuclear installations. Lancet 1989;2:1145-7. The abstract is reproduced below:
Mortality and census data for 400 districts of England and Wales were analysed with respect to existing sites of nuclear power stations and sites where the construction of such installations had been considered or had occurred at a later date (potential sites). Excess mortality due to leukaemia and Hodgkin’s disease in young people who lived near potential sites was similar to that in young people who lived near existing sites. Areas near existing and potential sites might share unrecognised risk factors other than environmental radiation pollution.
Does this get a mention on Busby’s website? You must be joking! Because any fair-minded person would interpret this as suggesting the possibility that it is something about the characteristics of the areas chosen to build nuclear sites (rural, low population density, etc) that increases the risk of leukaemia rather than radiation per se.
It is tempting to think that Busby is simply so ignorant that he doesn’t appreciate how ignorant he really is*. Almost certainly true to some extent. But the real CERRIE report makes it clear that these papers were discussed – so he must be aware of them, but chooses to mislead visitors to his website. Clearly, his incompetence and his lack of integrity make him ideally suited to seek political office and join the political gravy train by standing as an MEP candidate for the Green Party. And while we’re on the subject of politics, just what on earth are the Green Party thinking of? There are stacks of highly competent, mainstream scientists of unquestionable integrity, with serious scientific records and impeccable green credentials, yet the Green Party appoint an incompetent narcissist like Busby as their "National Speaker on Science and Technology"! Do they want to remain in the political wilderness forever?

Look, I could go on – but you probably get the picture. Don’t take my word for it – you can verify all of this stuff on the internet. But beware of single issue campaign groups, and always question the motives of people with unashamedly political ambitions.
*See Kruger J, Dunning D. Unskilled and unaware of it: how difficulties in recognizing one’s own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments. J Pers Soc Psychol 1999 Dec; 77(6): 1121-1134. This paper provides some insights into the personalities of people like Busby.