Sunday, March 20, 2011

Fukushima: Disclosure vs secrecy.

In the discussions of the disaster that arose in the web, it became apparent that many people think that the data indeed has to be withheld from the public to avoid panic in the disaster such as the one at Fukushima nuclear power plant. Data such as high resolution pictures taken by US drone, disclosure or non-disclosure of which is up to Japanese government. Data which, it can be argued, is meaningless to the public.

I'm sure however that for anyone who ever thought about making a donation, it is obvious that full and accurate disclosure would help the cause. How much you donate to a particular cause is dependent on how bad it is.

Let's not engage too much in the thinking of how people who live there - people who are going to work as usual despite their anxiety over things they don't know - their anxiety over nondisclosure of the data - are less brave or less educated than you and would panic in case of public disclosure. That is deeply disrespectful of those people.

Let's instead be positive and think of the people more generous or more rich than us who can make the difference if they are moved by the data. Let's think of the companies right now developing new technologies, which would benefit from the data and which can donate something that no money can buy - the technologies that exist only in prototypes. Let's not forget of all the people smarter than us, who would be thinking how to make reactors safer - and can tell their ideas to a friend who happens to be a nuclear energy professional, over a cup of tea.

Let's be more humble and less narcissistic, let's not think that public is all dumber, less educated, and less brave than you. The public is not. Even if you happen to be a 'genius' with meaninglessly high score on IQ tests, there's members of the public who are smarter than you, those who are more educated, and have relevant experience. The public is varied. Some people actually care and can help a lot more than you or me could, if they have the information.

I came to know a few people who live in Tokyo, and come to work as usual. They don't deserve extra suffering from the anxiety over whenever the government is giving accurate figures. And they definitely don't deserve mockery with references to 'tin foil hat' from those of us who are fortunate to be living far away from any radiation incidents. If you happen to fancy yourself educated on the topic of radioactive contamination, you should be able to explain things instead of giving self important 'look i'm better than you' speeches. Reserve those speeches for unaffected, if you want to make speeches.

If you like this blog post and think that it is well written, please share it. If you disgree - you can comment negatively, as long as it is not disrespectful of the survivors, any comments are welcome.

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