Monday, May 16, 2005

The end of life on this planet

That's it. Game over. The end of all life everywhere on the planet. And it's all thanks to Bush and Blair. You may argue that you can see plenty of life all around you, but it's doomed. Right down to the lowliest bacterium.

How do I know this and why am I the only one to mention it? I know it because of a link I spotted on Buzzflash. Why am I the only one mentioning it? Probably because there is such a large quantity of Bushco outrages to read about every single day that we cannot keep up with more than a fraction of them (which I suspect may be a Rovian tactic to keep us off-balance, defocused and prone to giving up in despair). I try to skim through all of the articles in the hope of website stats influencing the mainstream media to improve on coverage of that kind of article, but there's no way I could read all of the articles linked to on Buzzflash in depth, let alone The Democratic Underground, Truthout and the like (no slur intended to all the other good sites too numerous to list). So I figure everybody else skimmed that article thinking it was just a rehash of stuff they already knew, given prominence on Buzzflash only because of the paper it appeared in.

The paper it appeared in was the The Lone Star Iconoclast published in Crawford, Texas. Yes, that Crawford, where a pretend president pretends to work on a pretend ranch whilst ignoring a Presidential Daily Brief about Osama bin Laden being determined to use hijacked aircraft as missiles to destroy major targets. You probably figured that Buzz only linked to it because of the novelty of the source, and I suspect that Buzz only skimmed it for the same reason. The article was about Depleted Uranium munitions. And if, like me, you read it in detail, you realized that Bush and Blair have committed what the article calls "omnicide" - not just genocide of a country, or an ethnic group, or a race of humans, but the death of all life on the planet.

Since the mainstream media is often very misleading about the effects of DU, saying the effects will last "centuries" or "generations" and even the better internet resources sometimes misunderstand the technicalities, I'll give a full explanation of its horrors before going on to explain why it has not just doomed all life in Iraq but the whole damned planet too.

Depleted Uranium is used in "penetrator" munitions. One reason for using it is its density (which gives it more "punch"). There are other dense metals but all except tungsten are too rare and too expensive to even be considered. DU has several advantages over tungsten.

  • DU is dirt cheap (there are many, many thousands of tons of the stuff sitting around in nuclear plants waiting for somebody to come up with a safe way of disposing it) but tungsten is expensive.

  • DU is "self-sharpening" and keeps its point whereas the head of a tungsten munition mushrooms and loses its punch very quickly (I have to point out here that others have claimed that some tungsten alloys could also be self-sharpening, but they still wouldn't be cheap).

  • DU is pyrophoric, meaning it ignites upon impact and burns fiercely whereas tungsten is not (again, others have claimed that tungsten alloys could also be pyrophoric but they wouldn't be cheap). DU is not just a penetrator it's also an incendiary - it punches through the wall of a tank then cremates the occupants.

DU has what a sane person would view as major disadvantages: it is toxic and radioactive and as it burns it creates particles of uranium oxide that range in size from the size of dust particles to nanoparticles (far smaller than the visible particles in smoke). It is toxic because it is a heavy metal: heavy metals mimic other metals vital to enzyme functions when it comes to body cells creating those enzymes but fails to work properly in those enzymes. Although it has a long half-life, its daughter products do not and they all release very energetic particles that disrupt DNA, causing cancers (if they disrupt the DNA in body cells) or birth defects (if they disrupt the DNA in germ-line cells).

The half-life of Depleted Uranium is 4.5 billion (that's US billion, and UK billion after Thatcher unilaterally redefined the meaning, or European milliard) years. That is the age of the earth (or, if you're a talebangelical, that's about 750,000 times the age of the earth). That doesn't mean after 4.5 billion years it's all gone, it means after 4.5 billion years you have half as much as you started with and after 9 billion years you have a quarter (half of half) of what you started with.

Bush-the-slightly-smarter used 350 tons of DU in his war in Iraq (also predicated upon lies). Prior to Bush-the-fucktard's war in Iraq the rates of cancer and birth defects were between seven and twelve (depending on the type of cancer or birth defect) times what they were before the first Iraq war. Let's take a ninefold increase as an average to simplify the arithmetic. After the first war, we'll say there were eight additional cancers for every "normally occurring" cancer and eight additional children born with birth defects for every "normally occurring" child with a birth defect. If Bush-the-fucktard hadn't started his illegal war, 4.5 billion years from now there would only be 175 tons of DU and only four additional cancers/birth defects for every natural cancer/birth defect, so the total incidence would be five times what it should be. 9 billion years from now the excess would only be twice the normal rate, so the total incidence would be three times what it should be. 13.5 billion years from now the excess would be one additional case for each normal case and the total incidence would be twice what it should be. 18 billion years from now and there would be one excess case due to DU for every two normal cases so the total incidence would only be 50% what it should be. That is a long time before it drops to anything close to normal (you might think that's still too high, and I agree).

Here's the problem. In 220 million years the sun will swell into a red giant and engulf the earth. How much DU will be present then? You can calculate it from this equation:

remaining = e-0.6931×t/4500000000

where t is the time from now in years. Plug in 220000000 for t and you get a shade under 97%. There will be no appreciable decline in cancers or birth defects up until the point where the sun swells up and engulfs the earth.

Even the paltry 350 tons of DU that Bush-the-slightly-smarter used have caused serious problems. Take a look at this to see some of the horrific birth defects (warning, content is extremely disturbing). But it's not just the Iraqis that are affected. Even the scant months served by US forces in the first gulf war was enough to load them with DU and cause severe birth defects in children conceived by them after the war. From one of the Iconoclast's articles:

The soldiers from Gulf War I in a group of 67 soldiers who came back, they had DU in their equipment, in their clothes, in their bodies, in their semen, and they had normal babies before they went over there to war. They came back, and the VA did a study. Of 251 Gulf War I veterans in Mississippi, in 67 percent of them, thier babies born after the war were deemed to have severe birth defects. They had brains missing, arms and legs missing, organs missing. They were born without eyes. They had horrible blood diseases. It’s horrific.

You can see why Bush-the-fucktard is trying to kill VA medical benefits: every US soldier who has spent more than a month in Iraq is going to conceive children with terminal birth defects; is going to be riddled with cancers in a matter of years; is likely to have semen so radioactive that his wife will get uterine cancer.

Bush-the-slightly-smarter only used 350 tons of DU in Iraq. We have absolutely no idea how much Bush-the-fucktard has used because the figures are not available. However, we know that in March and April of 2003 alone the coalition forces used 2,200 tons of DU in Iraq and overall has used at least 1,000 tons of DU in Afghanistan (citation). The amount used in Iraq is such that a birth without major defects will be a rarity, and living longer than five years after birth without contracting cancer will be a rarity. Bush and Blair have committed genocide (and worse) in Iraq.

Last week I knew most of this. I knew that Bush and Blair had committed genocide (and worse) in Iraq. They had sown Iraq's fields with radioactive salt. All life in Iraq was doomed. The so-called "cradle of civilisation" was a radioactive wasteland. Irrespective of whether or not the war was justified (we now have proof it never was, although we knew that all along) it is a war crime and a crime against humanity (and also a crime against all life, but the Geneva Conventions do not cover that). DU munitions breach several Geneva Conventions since they do not discriminate (they affect not only civilians but our own damned forces) and they persist long after the conflict is over (220 million years from now, when the sun engulfs the earth, there will still be 97% of the DU there now).

OK, I thought, Iraq is doomed and maybe these arseholes will be made to pay for that, but at least the rest of the planet only has to worry about global warming (which may already have gone into a self-reinforcing mode even if we stopped all emissions of greenhouse gases tomorrow), the ruination of topsoil by intensive agriculture, the fact that we have exceeded the "carry capacity" of the planet, and Peak Oil (the reason we invaded Iraq, are going to invade Iran, then Nigeria, Venezuela, Mexico and even Canada, and the reason Cheney's energy policy meeting minutes are top secret), and the almost certain nuclear war when Russia and China decide they don't like the US stealing all the world's oil when they need it to.

Then I read this article in the Iconoclast. The US and Chinese atomic test areas are subject to dust storms that carry the radioactive contamination (nucleides with half-lives far shorter than DU) around the planet. The reasons the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was signed were basically:

  • Increase in cancer rates correlated with atomic tests.

  • Decrease in SAT scores correlated with atomic tests. Ironically, one of the reasons Bush-the-fucktard is such a fucktard is because his psychopathic ("Why should I worry my beautiful brain about [body bags]") mother was pregnant with him during a phase of intense atomic testing.

  • Die-off of fish in the atlantic. When radioactivity causes new-born fish to have so many serious defects they cannot survive then the population declines. And you thought it was due to overfishing (which may well be a contributing factor, but not the only one).

Iraq is also subject to dust storms. The nanoparticles of DU-oxides and the smoke-sized particles are light enough to be spread around in a slight wind. The dust storms mean that the dust-sized particles too are going to be spread around the planet. We have not just sown Iraq's fields with radioactive salt (bad enough) but we have sown every field on the planet with it. Short-lived organisms in the food-chain are going to suffer lethal mutations and die off; long-lived organisms in the food chain are going to suffer lethal cancers in a few years and die off.

As I said, we don't know how much of this stuff has been used. Maybe if we stop things right now there is some chance of survival. Or maybe it's already too late.

I'm an atheist. Even so, I find myself hoping there is a God. Not because I hope for an afterlife in Heaven (I cannot agree with the ethical standards that conventional religions say their God possesses and I know that if those religions are correct I am destined for Hell), but because I fervently hope there is a special corner in Hell reserved for Bush and Blair where even by Hellish standards they will be subject to "cruel and unusual punishment." However bad it is for me, I will be elated for all eternity knowing that it is worse for them.

Addendum Saturday, May 21, 2005

This issue still doesn't seem to have the coverage it should have. The only other coverage I've seen on any of the "mainstream non-mainstream media" (i.e., reasonably trustworthy internet sites/blogs) was on the Jeff Rense Website and was an overview of some of the information appearing on the Aspen Truth blog. I am so relieved that somebody else out there understands the significance of this. That makes maybe a dozen of us in total. By the time the big die-off from DU starts in a decade or two, there could be hundreds of us who understand why it's happening.

Addendum Tuesday, Jun 14, 2005

The Iconoclast moved their article to their archives and so the URL changed (I've updated the link). Any sensible web site design would keep the article in the same location to save on bandwidth even if they didn't care about people having to update stale links. *sigh* I forgive them because that is the most important news article ever published.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, that sucks. We are screwed.

Friday, October 14, 2005 7:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Deadhorse said...

Actually, the sun won't expand to a red giant in 220 million years.

Altho it will in about 4 billion years or so after that. As far as now known, the life environment for the earth has only about a billion years to go before changes in the sun make things too hot.

All nitpicking tho as uranium has a half life of around 4.3 billion years and the earth would have long gone evaporated by the sun before the uranium had decayed to safe levels.

The use of DU is mostly an act of evilness because of its indiscriminate toxicity to everyone and everything.

Sunday, January 08, 2006 7:33:00 AM  
Blogger Brian de Ford said...

Hi Dr Deadhorse

I took the figure of 220 million years from an issue of New Scientist I had read about a month before posting that article. It wasn't an article specifically about the sun or about the earth, but mentioned that as a side-issue.

I've since seen other New Scientist articles which mentioned the sun swelling up as a side-issue, and they all put different figures on it. That was the best figure I had at the time.

But, as you say, it's largely irrelevant. When the sun engulfs the earth there is still going to be a hell of a lot of DU around. And long before then life on earth will become uninhabitable because of changes in the sun.

The point I was making, as I'm sure you understand, is that this stuff isn't going to go away. Things will not improve by more than a small fraction before life on earth becomes impossible for other reasons. Whatever damage will be caused by the DU used so far spreading around the planet isn't going to decline by any significant amount for as long as the planet is habitable.

If we've used enough to double the planetary cancer and birth defect rates then it's going to stay double for as long as the planet is habitable. If we've used enough to put those figures up tenfold, it's going to stay tenfold. And if we've already used enough to kill all life on the planet, life will never arise again on this planet.

Sunday, January 08, 2006 8:22:00 PM  
Blogger Laurie said...

i saw your comment on the georgewashington blog site.

i think this is the most important article i've read on the internet so far.

i am sorry more people have not viewed this post and i will make sure to tell more people about your blog.

yesterday i was trolling 911 sites and ended up on the UN website where i read an article about roundup weed killer and how most countries around the world are requesting a ban on it. knowing that i could get in my car right now and drive to my local home depot and pick up a gallon of this shit really distresses me. i thought to myself... the EPA used to protect us from these types of harms, but now we have these ex chemical company fucks running things and basically now we are doomed. i guess the roundup is the least of our worries now. how sad.

i don't really understand some of the more complicated items about the sun etc. but, i do know that if i started at birth counting from one to one billion, spending one second on each number, that i would be in the ballpark of 35 years old when finished counting.
that puts billions in perspective for me.

my only disagreement with you, and it is with your profile not your article, is that your long sweater belt should always match the color of your scrunchy knee high socks! peace

Sunday, September 02, 2007 11:35:00 PM  

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