Here’s a good primer on radiation and the Japanese reactor situation: Understanding Radiation. Excerpt:
In the last months of the 19th century, Henri Becquerel, along with Marie and Pierre Curie, discovered that some materials spontaneously emitted mysterious rays, like X-rays, that could penetrate matter and expose photographic plates. This property was eventually labeled “radioactivity” — a property that caused certain atoms to spontaneously break down and emit energy.
This was, frankly, a major shock: there had been a whole theory behind chemistry built up around unbreakable, indivisible things called “atoms” — the very name means “indivisible” or “uncuttable.”
But science recovered, and now radioactivity is something we’re used to, at least until something like the Chernobyl, Fukushima, or Three Mile Island accidents makes people think about it again.
Since we’re not faced with thinking about radioactivity in daily life, the units and methods of measuring radioactivity aren’t part of daily life either, not like weight and temperature are. As a result, many people get confused about them. The worst confusion, in fact, seems to be among people who are reporting about radioactivity and radiation in the media.
We would like to be able to get something as clear as a weather report, telling us how hot it is.The problem is, we’re used to the idea of temperature, we have some intuitions about it. We know that 104°F is a hot day or a high fever. But what about radiation exposure?
So let’s look at radiation in some detail and see if there’s something similar.
We fear what we don’t understand, and most folks don’t understand radiation very well. It’s not one of my particular specialties, for that matter. We should treat radiation with a healthy respect, but it’s neither malicious nor magical. It can be measured and we know what the likely effects of exposure are.
Canada has cut corporate tax rates, and you know what happened? Business investment in the Great White North is booming. Excerpt:
When the political debate over the final phase of corporate tax cuts got heated on Parliament Hill earlier this year, the minority Conservative government would point to studies that showed the cuts could create long-term job gains of up to 100,000 and a boost to business investment of $30-billion.
But with Canada’s 41st election campaign set to get underway Saturday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be under the gun from the Opposition parties and Canadians to justify on a near daily basis the policy measure, which took corporate tax rates from 22.12% in 2007 to 16.5% this year and 15% in 2012. Beyond talking about what experts believe the tax cuts might do, the Prime Minister may be forced to tell Canadians what the tax cuts have done for them lately.
That will be a tough task. Tax experts who endorse the continued drop in business levies say it is difficult to measure tangible benefits. Still, it may be Canada is just beginning to reap the rewards from lower business taxes just as the political rhetoric about their effectiveness begins to ramp up on the hustings.
“I would hate to think where the economy would be coming out of the recession if tax rates hadn’t been coming down,” says Saul Plener, national tax leader at PwC Canada.
It’s early yet, but the early numbers on Canada’s recovery are good, and I know personally of at least one medical device company that is retaining a manufacturing facility north of Toronto that was slated for closure.
I wonder if anyone in our Congress is paying attention.