Lets stop spreading rumors

We all know how Japan has been affected by Tsunami and now the nuclear blasts. It is indeed disappointing to see how a hard working country like Japan, (which after the Hiroshima, Nagasaki attacks resolved to become a strong economy) has been reduced to a wasteland. My father says that Japanese are sincere people with a determination to succeed. He says they wont be crying for sympathy from so-called rich countries, they have lot of self respect and they will surely make a huge comeback. I hope for the same.

Meanwhile, I am sure many of you might have received this mail from some of your contacts in your mailing list:

There was a nuclear blast 4:30pm Sunday in Fukushima Japan. If it rains today or in the next few days, DO NOT GO UNDER THE RAIN. If you get caught out, use an umbrella or raincoat, even if it's only a drizzle. Radioactive particles, which may cause burns, alopecia or even cancer, may be in the rain.
BBC flash news: Japan government confirms radiation leak at Fukushima nuclear plants. Asian countries should take necessary precautions. If it rains, remain indoors first 24hours, close doors n windows, swab neck skin with beta-dine where thyroid area is, radiation hits thyroid first. Take extra precautions, radiation may hit Philippines starting 4pm (Pinas time) today!
PLEASE PASS THIS MESSAGE.


I don't blame the people who mailed this to us, they shared with genuine concern. However, though it is good to share information, it is definitely not good to spread rumors. We need to understand the difference between the two. Imagine, what would the condition of a person be who is already affected by a particular incident. I remember, a day after 26/11 occurred, there were fresh rumors floating about another attack at CST. People were simply scared and my mom was not even ready to allow me to go to a nearby market. Why scare people and create panic amongst them? We cannot avoid such mails or messages (you will be bombarded with such mails and messages by someone or the other) but definitely we can judge if these mails or messages are to be believed or not. According to me such mails are rumors until the Government does not issue an official statement regarding it and deserves to be deleted forever. We as educated citizens of the country should be careful about the information we share. We need to remember that even a harmless mail such as these can lead to confusion and chaos in the society.


P.S: A special thanks to my friend Monali who brought to my notice that these mails were rumors. 

24 comments:

BK Chowla, said...

Thanks.
Something to learn from

Insignia said...

Yes, Japanese are honest, sincere and hard working people. They are like phoenix. They would sure rise from the ashes.

Such actions of sending false alarms must be shunned. Good of you to bring this in a public forum as this

moonlite:D said...

agree with u!

Anita :) said...

I received these emails too. Your post is an eye opener.
And sure Japan will rise from the ashes like the phoenix.

Anita :) said...

I received these emails too. Your post is an eye opener.
And sure Japan will rise from the ashes like the phoenix.

dr.antony said...

Like everything else,this too will pass.
The Japanese are well known for their hardwork and commitment.They will survive,for sure.
Rumours are part of our lives.But,not at times like this.These people always remain anonymous and will never come out of hiding.
Thanks for bringing this out.

dr.antony said...

Like everything else,this too will pass.
The Japanese are well known for their hardwork and commitment.They will survive,for sure.
Rumours are part of our lives.But,not at times like this.These people always remain anonymous and will never come out of hiding.
Thanks for bringing this out.

dr.antony said...

Like everything else,this too will pass.
The Japanese are well known for their hardwork and commitment.They will survive,for sure.
Rumours are part of our lives.But,not at times like this.These people always remain anonymous and will never come out of hiding.
Thanks for bringing this out.

gayathri-vishwanathan said...

@Chowla sir thank u

@bindu i agree Japanese people are strong and i am sure they will rise up. Their resilience is being admired by everyone. I saw these mails and actually took it seriously for a moment until I saw another mail from my friend monali who sent me a link stating that these are all rumors

thanks CV :)

thanks anita i hope we dont get such mails again, its sickening to see how misinformed some people are, they just want to create panic amongst others.

yes dr.anthony rumors cannot be avoided, these will surely be sent to us. It is only upon us to stop believing such rumors and clarify if its true before sending them.

Bikramjit said...

Good of you to have put this post .. People are dieing and SOME SAD SICKO is finding time to write such emails ...

I have had umpteen Jokes abut this situation ridiculous people find a joke on someones misery in a second.. if it happens to them they will know ..

Take care an gold bless
Bikram's

Vinnie said...

The Japanese sure are a spirited lot! vaise ekdum sahi baath kaha aapne...stop spreading rumours

how's u G3? still on Bhaigiri?

gayathri-vishwanathan said...

bikram jokes on such sad situations...seriously they might be out of their senses

vinnie hi how r u? yes i am on bhaigiri till now. As a mumbai gal I cannot give it up so easily :P

Ketan said...

While these kind of emails are stupid, and it might not be even very difficult to make out that they ought not be trusted, what I am worried about is the stupid manner in which the media is covering the entire incident.

There is so much alarm being created around explosions (not) occurring in the nuclear reactors.

Everyone is talking in sensational terms like 'radioactivity is 400 times the normal outside the reactors' or 'increased radioactivity found in Tokyo'. But the problem is nobody goes one or few steps ahead and asks the right questions!

And those right questions would be:

1. Okay 400 times higher activity, but how much 'outside'?

Remember, dose rates follow inverse-square law. If the distance increases by ten times, the dose rates would fall by hundred times. So, if activity is 400 times normal 1 m outside the reactor, it would be 0.000001 times that just 1 km away! Which is truly insignificant.

2. Okay, radioactivity has been detected just outside the reactor, but what kind of emission is it?

If it is gamma emission then they can penetrate through the skin. If they are beta/alpha emissions, they would not be able to breach the dead layer of the skin. Of course, if this radioactivity enters the body (through inhalation or ingestion - say 'cuz of contaminated water), then the beta emissions can cause some harm depending on the total ingested dose. However, people around the reactors have already been administered stable iodine, which will block the entry of (radioactive) iodine-131 into the thyroid, and thus not cause any significant harm. [The institute where I work has administered iodine-131 to over 8,500 patients for treatment of thyroid cancers and hyperthyroidism - no increased incidence of any kind of cancers, fetal malformations or infertility in the patients or in the employees has been found]....

Ketan said...

...3. Okay, radioactivity has been found, but what are the half-lives of the isotopes getting leaked out of the reactors?

Most of the detected radioactivity is because of cesium-137 and iodine-131. Former is a relatively long-lived compound, but is unlikely to be inhaled as it is a heavy metal. Moreover, its half life is long, which is bad, but which is also good, because longer the half-life, fewer the nuclear disintegrations that occur per unit time, which means lower the 'activity' and lower the exposure rates. Iodine-131 has a half-life of 8 days. And thus any of I-131 released would become negligible in merely few months.

4. Okay, even if the radioactivity is found increased at far off places (like Tokyo), is that a bad thing? And how bad?

First of all, merely the presence of radioactivity in a region does not automatically predispose us to cancers (though, those are the 'models' used by scientists currently to predict risk of cancers from radiation, but these models were based largely on exposures from Hiroshima-Nagasaki bombings, which are not exactly reliable, because the exposure was lot more acute and intense as compared to what might result from events in Japan). In deed, in our daily life we keep on getting exposed to some level of radiation - in fact, some of it also enters our body through the food we eat, because there are 'naturally occurring' radioactive isotopes! So, in fact farther from the site of leak radioactivity is found we can be assured that with such large scale dispersion the radioactivity must have got 'diluted' and its actual amount would be too negligible to have any consequence.

Lastly, I would like to say that many of the radioisotopes found just outside the reactor must have been short-lived positron emitters because of sea water that was used for emergency cooling. The half-life of these positron emitters does not extend beyond one hour. So, in just 24 hours they would be almost completely eliminated.

I hope all this info helps relieve some of the concerns people have regarding nuclear energy.

Some of what I said above was derived from this excellent article (click).

PS: Sorry for the long comment. :D

A S said...

hii

yes, i agree..nice post

Harman said...

yaa..I agree...Japanese are always considered as civilised and honest people
they will come out of these crisis..its jus matter of time!
God Bless the country!

gayathri-vishwanathan said...

Hi Ketan, welcome to my blog...frankly you should be sitting with one of those panelists who have a relevant reply to some of those sensational questions but are unable to put across their point because the news anchor is barking. I sent your 2 comments to my father and he is mighty impressed with ur reply. He has promised me that he will explain it to me because I could only understand your 2nd and 4th point :) keep writing.

AS thanks :)

Harman...yes god will help this country for sure because they are strong willed people and will work hard to become a strong economy once again.

Tomz said...

hi first time in ur blog..

in fact , i too have received the same mail..thanks to share this information that those were mere rumours..

gayathri-vishwanathan said...

Hi tomz thanks for visiting my blog, as i said even i did not know that it was a rumor until my friend shared a link with me

Jack said...

Gayathri,

We surely need to ba on guard against rumours. One of the discreet weapons in war is to spread rumours in enemy country.

Take care

Aragorn said...

Quite true... I havent received the rumor mail (thankfully) but as you said few random ones end up floating everywhere. the famous case is that of the mail claiming to help someone if the mail is forwarded. Would want to use this forum to let people know that such mails are complete fake and no telecom company pays any money for just forwarding the mail.

With respect to the Japanese people resilience to the calamities, just one word for them. RESPECT.

I had written a recent post on the characteristics shown by Japanese amidst these bad times. Would be great if you could share it among many more, so that the message is passed on to many. Wont mind if you share the post in your blog too. :)

http://argetslam.blogspot.com/2011/03/10-things-to-learn-from-japan.html

Regards,

PS
*+

The Blue Periwinkle said...

Yus yus!!
I agree. Toh-tal-lee!

HaRy!! said...

better to stayput than spread the rumor huh! well tsunami in India was no different. We had super duper wrong sms'es being sent across....anyways how yu doin : :)

Quest said...

Its like after night, sometime between 5:30 am and 6:30 am solar radiations comprising of UV,V,IR rays will enter Earth. So please stay indoors so as to save yourself from getting a sunstroke :D