Dynamist Blog

The Chart Every Journalist Covering the Fukushima Plant Should Read

For the past week, I've been complaining that journalists covering possible radiation dangers from Fukushima plant have abandoned the old convention of putting radiation exposures in context (usually by comparing them to chest x-rays). The result is that all "radiation" sounds equally dangerous, and people in Plano, Texas, start stocking up on potassium iodine.

Randall Munroe of the priceless xkcd has put together a serious, and seriously useful, graphic that elegantly supplies an abundance of context. It's too big to reproduce here, so go see it here.

On his blog (or "blag") entry about the chart, Munroe makes an important point:

Lastly, remember that while there's a lot of focus on possible worst-case scenarios involving the nuclear plants, the tsunami was an actual disaster that's already killed thousands. Hundreds of thousands more, including my best friend from college, are in shelters with limited access to basic supplies and almost no ability to contact the outside world. If you're not sure how to help, Google's Japan Crisis Resource page is a good place to start.

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