Reflecting on the plume of comments.

SURFING Magazine's ScoopYears ago, SURFING Magazine would print a letters to the editor section in each issue. It was the reader's opportunity to publicly express their opinion. Fast-forward a few years, and factor in a few unemployed mailmen, and now we have online commenting. When you remove the thought that goes into actually taking pen to paper and mailing a letter, things get a bit hasty. The Internet is instantaneous and interactive, but it's a far better environment for conversation. Yet somehow, we've lost the official reply from the magazine along the way. We’re going to fix that.

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly is SURFING Magazine's new letters to the editor section. If you are the voice of reason in a mangled thread of banter, we salute you here. If you call us out on something and actually make valid points, we'll bring your comment to light here. If your comment makes no sense whatsoever, well, we might just poke a little fun at you here.

This week, we look back at The Scoop: Radioactive Pacific. —Brendan Buckley


Love how people don't understand that the pacific ocean is 6.6 × 10^20 litres, and the volume per day apparently leaving the reactor was 1.13×10^6 litres of potentially contaminated water, means that was 1.71×10^-13 % of the volume…or 0.000000000000171% of the pacific oceans volume. Then add mixing between the other oceans and the number gets EVEN smaller.

Also the Cs has many isotopes, most of which are unstable and have half-lives of mere minutes. Some last days or years, but stable radioactive isotopes are pretty rare and usually give off less radiation per unit time since releasing energy is the mechanism by which the atom becomes stable.

As for the coffee analogy, if you put a teaspoon of milk in a swimming pool of coffee, it doesn't make much difference to the color and milk doesn't decay. Now add that teaspoon of milk to a swimming pool that is a hundred million times the size of a regular pool. Thats closer to the volume ratios we are looking at here.

This will hopefully put things in perspective for some. (take with a grain of salt/a drop of milk 😛 )

I may not be qualified to teach this stuff since I do not have a degree in Nuclear Chemistry/Physics, but using a moderate amount of critical thought and a bit of research it becomes clear pretty quick that this radiation is something we want to prevent in the future, but no reason for panic.


"Ocean" should have won this, but their comment was 648 words and therefor too long to repost. But Rowsta's was simple, explanatory and non-hostile. They didn't call Ken Buesseler an asshole or attack any other commenters. They moseyed on in, dropped some knowledge and bailed. No harm, no foul: just some mathematics, a link and a weird tongue face. Boom.


The last place anyone should look to for accurate information on something as serious as radioactive waste in our ocean is Surfing magazine or any surf related magazine for that matter which will do no real investigation/journalism whatsoever. Downplaying this is ridiculous. It's ok you'll be fine,no worries just keep polluting, destroying our ocean and see what happens. Wake up, we are slowly killing our oceans right before our eyes. This is bogus.


We strongly disagree with your first sentence. The last place anyone should look for accurate information regarding radioactive waste in our ocean is social media — which is exactly what prompted us to get this scoop. We'd never claim to be vanguard investigative journalists, but we did go as far as reaching out to three esteemed scientists before we began to put this post together. The radiation from Fukushima is an issue that is entirely relevant to our audience, and so we covered it. We strove to report it in a way that was straightforward and easy to understand. Ken is renowned for his work, and we simply relayed his knowledge. However, Don is very much right in saying that we must take action in protecting our oceans. We do need to wake up, and maybe Fukushima is our call. By no means are we saying that this is trivial, or that people should ignore it. We just want to shed light on the facts and ease unwarranted fear.



of a NOAA tsunami swell map, not radiation!!!! http://nctr.pmel.noaa.gov/honshu20110311/


You are correct. This image is fake, or at least misrepresented. Hence, our caption. Try reading the very first line of text next time.