Even wealthy people can be crackpots

I saw Cody at Some More News talking about the rich people who are dealing with the pandemic in rich people ways. So Gwyneth Paltrow is buying an expensive custom face mask and jetting off to some exotic place to avoid the problems (she thinks). Grifters are setting up luxurious get-aways for the wealthy to get away…in groups. It’s all very Masque of the Red Death, and one can only hope it ends in the same way for them.

And then there’s Eric Weinstein. Sheesh. He’s supposed to be a smart guy? He does this rambling monolog about “Covid, new physics, and our need to get off the planet” and you just have to laugh. What a buffoon…except of course that he has a lot of money and is beloved by the Intellectual Dork Web.

To paraphrase his message, in case you don’t want to sit through that mess: humanity has been very lucky so far, but the lucky streak has ended and COVID-19 has put the world’s economic systems at risk. We should be asking why we’re so ill-prepared, why we have so few ventilators and hospital beds.

This is an insane risk to be taking with the world’s economy. People are accused of being racist if they call it the Wuhan virus and talk about travel bans.

“What should we do if the economy collapses?” he asks. He’s very concerned about The Economy.

This is where it all goes off the rails. To continue to paraphrase: He insists that we’ve got to get off of this planet. He admits that people called him crazy on the Joe Rogan and Ben Shapiro shows when he said that. This virus should have been grown in a lab and escaped. We’re not going to be wise enough to rethink. Are we going to have to reboot from tardigrades?

No, really, he said that. I guess he thinks “we”, whatever he means by that, might die off, and “we” will have to restart as tardigrades. I have no idea what he’s talking about.

Then he dismisses Elon’s idea of going to Mars, because it’s too marginal. The moon is too bleak for a colony. The only place with abundant opportunity is the far cosmos.

Wait, what? He doesn’t think there’s any place in the solar system to go (I agree), but he thinks we’ve desperately got to get off the planet (I disagree. He’s nuts). So we’re going to have to take off and travel to other star systems. Again, he uses “we” a lot. Who is “we”? Is he going to bring 8 billion people along with him in his space ship?

So, he points out, we’re trapped by Einsteinian physics, so he casually suggests we just have to invent a new physics. Just like that. Oh, Elon Musk going to Mars is crazy, but coming up with a new physics that lets Eric Weinstein do what he wants, that’s sensible.

That gets us about 8 minutes into him talking at his phone, less than halfway through, and you might expect that the rest would be talking about his New Physics, but no. He asks if he has enough of an audience to talk about his new ideas, and the rest of it is him mumbling at people in the chat and rambling on about how scientists and academia are close-minded and wrong, and how he wasn’t even allowed to attend his own thesis defense. Well, if this is how he defends his ideas, I sympathize with his committee.

It’s both infuriating and entertaining — this bozo is one of the leading lights of the IDW? Wikipedia puts his claims of a “new physics” in an enlightening context.

In May 2013, Weinstein gave a colloquium, Geometric Unity, promoted by Marcus du Sautoy as a potential unified theory of physics. His equation-less unpublished theory includes an “observerse,” a 14-dimensional space, and predictions for undiscovered particles which he stated could account for dark matter. Joseph Conlon of the University of Oxford stated that some of these particles, if they existed, would already have been detected in existing accelerators such as the Large Hadron Collider.

Few physicists attended and no preprint, paper, or equations were published. Weinstein’s ideas were not widely debated. The few that did engage expressed skepticism. They were unable to debate more intensely due to the fact that there was no published paper.

Yep, total crackpot.


  1. nomdeplume says

    This guy is president of the Dunning-Kruger society, right? But what a wonderful example of the way politicians think – if reality doesn’t agree with their ideology, then they change reality not ideology.

  2. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    I hate to tell Eric this, but galactic cosmic rays (GCR) will shred his DNA within a few weeks to months of his leaving Earth’s magnetosphere. An iron nucleus at the peak of the GCR energy spectrum will penetrate almost 3 inches of Aluminum shielding. There will still be substantial fluxes that would penetrate 30 cm (a foot) of Al. There is a lot of iron out there.

    There is also a lot of GCR oxygen, and that will fuck you royally as well and is much more penetrating–almost a meter of Al equivalent shielding.

    And there are a fuckton of protons even if you drag a small asteroid with you. Sorry, Eric, we’re stuck in the real world.

  3. says

    I’m all in favor of stellar exploration and colonization, but we have to be realistic about how that will work. Right now, it won’t. If we can’t make this planet work, where we’re already adapted to the ecosystem and we have loads of infrastructure to help us, what are the odds we can make it somewhere else?

  4. robro says

    I can do this: I have a new theory of everything. Everything is bullshit. Send me your money.

  5. wzrd1 says

    So, 1/5 of the US population died, 25% were massively effected by the 1918 influenza pandemic, the economy essentially collapsed and obviously, we should’ve left the planet then, as humanity became extinct by 1920, AMIRIGHT?
    He just further proves that which was proved in 1918, idiots abound and insist upon regaling the world with their idiotic notions, then and now.
    Dude is a classic example of why one does not poke baby in the fontanelle.
    Seriously, he’s not only not right, he’s not even wrong. He passed the Twilight Zone and entered deep into the Outer Limits.

  6. gijoel says


    blockquote> So Gwyneth Paltrow is buying an expensive custom face mask and jetting off to some exotic place to avoid the problems (she thinks)


    I’m astonished that she isn’t peddling jade nose plugs and homeopathic corona enemas on her abysmal shopping network.

  7. dangerousbeans says

    I support loading him onto a rocket and shooting him into space. He can have a seat next to Musk

  8. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Stellar exploration: it won’t happen…ever.
    We’ll be extinct long before we figure it out.

  9. Amphiox says

    If you can invent new physics to warp to Andromeda, why not invent new biology and cure coronavirus? It’s easier by a log order of magnitude!

  10. says

    I have a much simpler solution- a pill that will cause humans to evolve immediately into a superior life form that is resistant to viruses. This will only require a completely different biology than we currently have, but that should be easily dealt with.

  11. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    To a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    I hate to tell Eric this, but galactic cosmic rays (GCR) will shred his DNA within a few weeks to months of his leaving Earth’s magnetosphere.

    According to NASA:

    For a six-month journey to Mars an astronaut would be exposed to roughly 300 mSv,

    0.6 Sv / year is an impressively high number. It’s far higher than I would like for a regulatory limit right now for the general populace based on our limited data right now. However, it’s quite far from “shred his DNA within a few weeks to months”. Even under the pseudoscientific model of “linear no-threshold”, we’re talking about just a slightly elevated chance of cancer in their lifetime for a 12 month round-trip to Mars (less than 50% increase in the base odds). There’s no chance of imminent death from acute radiation poisoning. Are you getting paid by the Greens and their fossil fuel lobby funders in order to peddle such obvious nonsense?

    Moreover, we’ve exposed mice to higher radiation dose rates, about 1 Sv / year, and they show no observable signs of DNA damage in spite of detailed testing.

    There’s plenty of more evidence like that.

    Protip: Linear no-threshold is pseudoscience. It’s making some people concerned about space travel when it seems to be not an issue (at least regarding travel inside the solar system – are radiation rates higher outside the heliopause?). However, the reason why this really matters is that it’s impacting our use of medical imaging, which is causing real harm. It’s also impacting our ability to increase our use of nuclear power, which is causing millions of deaths every year from needless airborne particulate pollution, in addition to the horrors of climate change, ocean acidification, etc.

  12. aziraphale says

    I wonder if he has noticed that cruise ships (and aircraft carriers) are rather good incubators for COVID-19. I for one won’t be signing up for the longest cruise ever.

  13. says

    (at least regarding travel inside the solar system – are radiation rates higher outside the heliopause?)

    From what I understand (IANAPhysicist), the radiation outside the heliopause is certainly different with more GCR and fewer solar/stellar wind particles. Whether the total radiation is more or less I don’t know since the reduction in solar particles may more than offset the increase in Galactic particles (but may not), but those GCR particles which certainly would increase do have higher energies and so they’re harder to shield. As a result, I don’t have any reason to think I know for sure whether or not total radiation would increase or decrease, but I have good reason to guess that amount of radiation that penetrates shielding to reach the crew would increase.

  14. says

    His kind of thinking makes me think of the B-ark.

    Well, they had the people who disinfect phones on it. And then the people who thought they were so smart died from lack of hygiene.
    Well, I guess there’s finally something to be a bit proud of as a German: the people propelled to a kind of superstardom here are virologists.

  15. chrislawson says

    See, the core tenet of IDW is that if you spout toxic bile, that makes you a genius. Any sign that you are not a genius, indeed not even mildly intelligent or well-informed, is best rebutted by increasingly frantic ejaculations of said toxic bile.

  16. mailliw says

    This notion that people with the most money are the smartest has often struck me as a little bit puzzling.

    Say you and I are having an argument, we then compare each others bank balances, and if it turns out that I have more money then I am right.

    Consequently if Jeff Bezos says the sun goes around the earth, then the sun goes around the earth, unless of course, due to a change in the values of their portfolios, Warren Buffett becomes, at least temporarily, richer than Bezos. Buffett says the earth revolves around the sun, so that is now the truth.

  17. unclefrogy says

    you known I am having a hard time thinking of money as a thing lately I always have had a problem with thinking about money for very long any way probably why i ain’t got that much of it. Money is just an agreement between people that it means something and has some value it is not a force of nature or an element
    , agreements can change over night in ways that are not always predictable.
    uncle frogy

  18. Kagehi says

    The guy that does the Youtube videos of “Some Other News” just had a run down on this, and the “we” he is talking about is, of course, “Rich people”. One lovely example he gives is a meeting that happened between a futurist, who was invited to speak at a “conference”, only to find that it was 5 rich assholes, who didn’t give a damn about anything he said, but just wanted him to tell them what to do about the inevitable “event” which they knew, just knew, would one day ruin the economy (not threaten people, just the economy), and how to save “themselves” from it. Their own “ideas” of how to fix this was to hoard all their wealth (which, without an economy would be worthless, but.. yeah, logic), hoard food (which they could use for currency then, or something, so, maybe slightly… less illogical), and force people to work for them as guards (instead of paying them), by putting shock collars on them, and threatening to not feed them, if they didn’t protect them from the hoards of pissed off people whose lives they fucked over by hoarding everything and caring only about their own wealth, instead of the planet, or people in general. Oh, and if that wasn’t all feasible – something like ED-209s, i.e. robots, instead of people, to guard them.

    So, yeah, of course these lunatics are trying to “get off the planet”. They are convinced they are better, and better deserving than everyone that isn’t rich, but.. at the same time, they recognize that they will be eaten alive if things ever go badly enough for the rest of us to get fed up with their insane crap.

    I can imagine some future time where the rebuilt world manages to send a ship out into space, and finds the “escape vehicle” of these idiots, filled with useless gold, and other crap, none of which is worth shit, and dead bodies, from their “attempt to escape”… The only question is whether they will all be dead from radiation poisoning, and the like, or it will be like the inside of the Bioshock Rapture, with them all going nuts and killing each other over claims they stole each others useless garbage, or both.

  19. mailliw says

    #26 Kagehi

    Of course with sensible political policies that guaranteed to protect the vulnerable in society (which is all of us) the enormously rich would have no worries about the consequences of losing all their wealth as they would still have a roof over their head, enough to eat and decent medical care.

    What they would lose of course (and what really worries them) is power. The singer Neil Diamond said when asked what it like being rich: “you can only have lunch once”. Mr Diamond missed the point, the reason people want to be rich is not to buy more things but to have more power.

    Of course this power that comes from wealth is completely incompatible with democracy, as Louis Brandeis put it “We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”

  20. springa73 says

    The rich crackpots are, I think, the most dangerous ones, since their wealth attracts sycophants and enablers, and can even get people who would otherwise know better to take them seriously.

  21. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Gerrard, Once again, you display your ineptitude and arrogance. All radiation is NOT created equal. High-Z, high-energy ions are far more damaging to DNA than lightly ionizing radiation. That is why NASA spent beaucoup bucks developing NSRL to look at the effects of HZE radation on tissue samples, lab animals, etc.
    If you spent even 10 seconds on Google, you would find dozens of press releases describing the threat. Google Scholar will give you scholarly references. Instead, you look only at sources that support your pre-formed opinions.

    What is more: the 6 month trip to Mars is just the beginning. On the surface, Astronauts will face high exposure to neutrons as well as about half the radiation of interplanetary space.

    And even to leave the Solar System, we’re talking a voyage not of months, but of decades, you poltroon.

  22. says

    aziraphale@20 Previous cruise ship epidemics should have made us think about infection on space voyages, and COVID 19 is definitely a wakeup call. Imagine if a Mars expedition had been launched a month ago with someone infected with coronavirus onboard. Perhaps any long term space voyage would require the crew to be quarantined for several weeks, or even months, before the launch. Which might be a good filter as well, catching someone it turns out actually can’t stand being in an isolated space for months on end.

  23. unclefrogy says

    It is something that is often overlooked in fiction and in the popular imagination. I would hope that when we ever get to really practical planing for really long trips in space questions of infection and uninvited “passengers” be taken seriously.
    uncle frogy

  24. bryanfeir says

    Regarding the title: I’d say wealthy people are more likely to be crackpots; as springa73 notes above, they tend to attract enablers. (Or as I’ve noted about such people, they develop an ablative armour of yes-men.)

    My favorite story about that was that back in these days of Mir, part of the cosmonaut team training was to basically put them in a car in Moscow and tell them to drive to Vladivostok. If they were still on speaking terms after several days of driving across Siberia, they’d make a good space station team.

  25. leerudolph says

    Green Eagle @17: “I have a much simpler solution- a pill that will cause humans to evolve immediately into a superior life form that is resistant to viruses.”

    I have an even simpler solution—a brilliant synthesis of AI and Evolutionary Molecular Biology (or do I mean Molecular Evolutionary Biology? \/\/hatever) that will let us (by which I mean, The Rich Among Us) to transfer their Minds into viruses, with which they can Seed the Cosmos. I will call this The New Panspermia, or perhaps The Cosmic Money Shot.

  26. Kagehi says

    @ timgueguen

    And then… turns out the new “bug” they picked up is like HIV and may take 20 years to actually show symptoms. lol But, yeah, might be more useful to have better medical understanding/testing first, so you can figure out what the F someone has, instead of just waiting for some indefinite time to see if something shows up. But, that is at least as far away as the ability to do practical space travel.

  27. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    To a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    High-Z, high-energy ions are far more damaging to DNA than lightly ionizing radiation.

    That’s why I cited effective dose equivalent, Sieverts, and not the simple dose, the Gray, aka Joule of absorbed radiation per kilogram. I assume that NASA got the effective dose factor right.

    If you spent even 10 seconds on Google, you would find dozens of press releases describing the threat.

    Yes, I did spend more than 10 seconds on google, and I did find many press releases describing the threat, and they all appear to be based on pseudoscience, aka linear no-threshold, and some exaggerate the threat even under conventional linear no-threshold risk analysis, just like you are doing now.

    Google Scholar will give you scholarly references. Instead, you look only at sources that support your pre-formed opinions.

    Are you suggesting that my source is giving too small of a number for the effective dose equivalent? I admit, I just used the first source that I found because it was from NASA. Let’s see what other sources that I can find. I’ll just use the first applicable sources that I find.

    Radiation Climate Map for Analyzing Risks to Astronauts on the Mars Surface from Galactic Cosmic Rays
    Authors: Premkumar B. Saganti, Francis A. Cucinotta, John W. Wilson, Lisa C. Simonsen, Cary Zeitlin

    The effectiveness of water shielding (5 g/cm2 and 10 g/cm2) in transit form Earth to Mars on the organ dose equivalent at 12 different locations in the human body during solar minimum condition. The “Point” dose refers to dose without body shielding

    The table says: Point dose, 0 shielding, 120.0 cSv / year, aka, 1.2 Sv / year. Three times less than the dose that I already cited. Maybe because it’s for solar minimum instead of a typical, average, or at solar maximum. Dunno.

    Note that the paper does mention that it’s using a proper effective dose factor. See:

    Webber [12] has estimated an increase in the modulation potential Φ of 10 MV per A.U., which suggests the change in GCR between Earth (~1.0 AU) and Mars (~1.5 AU) would be small, however the modulation would be in the energy region where HZE particles have maximum biological quality factors and confirmation of the change due to modulation is needed for human exploration.

    The organ dose equivalent, HT can be determined by integrating the particle energy spectra folded with the energy, mass, and charge dependent stopping power or linear energy transfer (LET), L(E), and the LET dependent quality factor, Q(L), and by considering the distribution of shielding at the tissue, […]

    Although, uncertainties in heavy ion radiobiology including the radiation quality factors are expected to be much larger at this time than estimates of physical quantities, a validation of the radiation climate map described here is needed

    Next source.

    Galactic Cosmic Radiation Doses to Astronauts Outside the Magnetosphere
    Authors: John R. Letaw, Rein Silberberg, C. H. Tsao

    Note that it also tries to estimate the effective dose factor.

    3. Conversion to Radiation Dose and Dose Equivalent

    The computer codes described above allow the flux of charged particles to be computed at any position in a target (astronaut,spacecraft, planetary atmosphere). In addition, they provide either the energy deposition rate (LET spectrum) or the actual energy deposited by each particle species. These quantities aresufficient to estimate the radiation dose (in gray, Gy) to an astronaut.
    The biological effectiveness of various particles for many types of radiation damage is not directly proportional to absorbed dose. Particles with large LET (linear energy transfer) tend to cause long-term radiation effects (such as cancer) much more effectively than minimum ionizing particles. In radiation protection practice, the biological effectiveness of heavy ions is accounted for by multiplying the dose by a quality factor of up to 20 [19]. The resulting quantity, dose equivalent (in sievert, Sv), is 676 x 20 = 13520 times greater for an iron nucleus than for a proton of comparable energy.

    On page 12, they have a graph which shows about 50 rem / year for zero shielding, aka 0.5 Sv / year, also for solar minimum. Like the paper before, I don’t know why this number is so much lower than the other reported numbers. I have not taken the time to try to understand their analysis.

    So, as best as I can tell, the first paper that I cited from NASA is reporting a number, an effective dose rate, Sieverts / year, which is in the same ballpark as the academic consensus. In fact, my first source seems to give the highest effective dose rate of the three sources that I found.

    Back to you:

    What is more: the 6 month trip to Mars is just the beginning. On the surface, Astronauts will face high exposure to neutrons as well as about half the radiation of interplanetary space.

    I didn’t do any research into the effective dose rate on the surface of Mars. This also seems like quite a tangent, a diversion.

    And even to leave the Solar System, we’re talking a voyage not of months, but of decades, you poltroon.

    Yes, and? I don’t see how that’s a rebuttal to my point. Your rebuttal only makes sense if one accepts the accuracy of the linear no-threshold model, and as I’ve taken pains to point out, I don’t. If it’s safe for 6 months at a particular effective dose rate, then I have every reason to believe that it’ll be safe at that same particular effective dose rate for decades and centuries.

    To use an analogy of another potential poison, caffeine. The LD-50 of caffeine is somewhere around 10 g for the typical person. A typical caffeinated cup of coffee has around 0.1 g of caffeine. Thus, if someone drank about 100 cups of typical caffeinated coffee in a single day, they could easily die. However, if someone drinks the same cups cups of coffee, but only one per day, for 100 consecutive days, then they’re going to be just fine. This is the way that most poisons and toxins work, and the evidence strongly shows that radiation is the same way. An effective dose delivered over a single day can be fatal or cancer-causing, but if you spread that total effective dose over a whole year, then it can be entirely harmless (depending on the exact numbers involved, just like the caffeine example).

    To conclude, you originally said:

    shred his DNA within a few weeks to months

    That is still entirely indefensible. As I said above, even according to conventional linear no-threshold risk factors, for a year outside any planet’s magnetosphere in the solar system, it’s less than a 50% increase in the base chance of cancer in their lifetime (i.e. if it’s 1% chance in their lifetime, then it increases to 1.5% chance in their lifetime). What you said is just wrong. It’s wildly wrong. Please stop being so ridiculous.

    Again, MIT have done an experiment with mice with a higher effective dose rate than this. It’s just one experiment, and so I wouldn’t stake my life on 1 Sv / year being safe, and I would much prefer a much more conservative effective dose rate for normal people on Earth, but this is the best evidence I know of regarding these sorts of dose rates. That experiment shows that constant rate exposure of 1 Sv / year is entirely safe. It’s not just a little harmful. It’s not harmful at all. That means you are wildly wrong. (Again, under a lot of questionable assumptions, like whether mice and humans behave similarly in this case, and whether their effective dose factors are correct for these extreme circumstances and extreme radiation.)

  28. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    I made a minor mistake. The numbers were 0.6 Sv / year, 1.2 Sv / year, 0.5 Sv / year, for my three papers. So, actually, the second source I found had the highest effective dose rate. Sorry for the mistake.

  29. KG says

    1/5 of the US population died, 25% were massively effected by the 1918 influenza pandemic – wzrd1@8

    According to the CDC:

    The number of deaths was estimated to be at least 50 million worldwide with about 675,000 occurring in the United States.

    I thought for a moment you might have types 1/5 when you meant 1/50, but US p[opulation in 1918 was around 100 million, so even that doesn’t work,

    Are you getting paid by the Greens and their fossil fuel lobby funders in order to peddle such obvious nonsense?

    How much are you getting paid by the nuclear lobby to peddle this nonsense every time you post a comment?* If the fossil fuel lobby are funding “Greens”, they must be pretty dissatisfied, since every Green party and environmental pressure group I’m aware of has ending fossil fuel use at the top of its list of campaigns.

    *No, I don’t really believe this – I know you’re just a monomaniacal crank. I don’t think the nuclear lobby would be stupid enough to fund someone so obviously suffering from a personal obsession.

  30. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Gerard, Uh, dude, you do realize that you are arguing with a radiation physicist, don’t you. In fact, you are arguing with an entire peer-reviewed literature by radiation physicists. But by all means continue. It’s fun to watch you reveal what a Dunning-Kruger poster boy you are.

    The threat from HZE is qualitatively different from that of more lightly ionizing radiation. What matters here is the microdose deposited locally in a particular region of DNA. The microdose can cause mutations in both strands of DNA, and these cannot be repaired.

    There is a difference between microdose and bulk dose.

  31. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    To a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    Gerard, Uh, dude, you do realize that you are arguing with a radiation physicist, don’t you.

    So, you’re an ignorant fuck at your job. Gotcha.

    In fact, you are arguing with an entire peer-reviewed literature by radiation physicists. But

    I can read English. I can read these papers. I can do basic middle school math. The papers are agreeing with me, and not you. It’s a simple matter of

    1- measuring / predicting the simple dose in Grays, and

    2- obtaining the effective dose factor to go from Grays to Sieverts, whch in this case is a curve and not a simple number with a peak at 20x for high energy particles to account for the double strand breaks and other effects that you’re talking about, and

    2- using the LNT model and a factor which translates lifetime accumulated effective dose (Sv) into the increased chance of cancer over a person’s lifetime.

    I supplied several papers that give the simple dose in Grays, and the effective dose factor, and the effective dose in Sieverts. It’s in the neighborhood of 1 Sv for 1 year in space between Earth and Mars with zero shielding. I’ve looked up elsewhere what this means for a person’s chance of cancer in their lifetime according to LNT, and it’s about a 50% increase chance of cancer in their lifetime (aka 1.0% to 1.5% chance of cancer in someone’s lifetime, for whatever the real base chance is).

    You’re just spouting hot air. It’s pathetic.

    PS: LNT is still wrong. Your idea that double-strand DNA damage is irreparable, and it accumulates in a simple linear fashion, is wrong. LNT is not consensus. Plenty of respectable worldwide scientific organizations reject it, such as the French Academy.

    Regarding double strand breaks in particular:


    DNA repair. —The repair mechanisms present in mammalian cells have existed in yeast for 800 million years. Deinococcus radiodurans bacteria have error-free repair mechanisms that can tolerate doses of 7 kGy (17); in multicellular organisms, the tolerance dose is much lower. Sensor molecules may detect DNA damage and activate signaling factors. In turn, these factors may induce cell cycle arrest and facilitate DNA repair and other defense mechanisms(18–24). The two main repair systems for DSBs are homologous recombination and nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ). The signaling network and the choice of the repair system are influenced by dose, dose rate, nature of radiation, and position of the cell in the cell cycle. At low doses of x-rays, homologous recombination is error free, while NHEJ is low error prone. The efficacy and fidelity of DNA repair diminishes with increasing amounts of DNA damage simultaneously present in a cell. Indeed, the carcinogenic risk is negligible (or nonexistent) at low doses and dose rates (6,21,25) and increases with higher doses and dose rates (21,24–26). Checkpoints throughout the cell cy-cle allow for DNA repair or apoptosis and decrease the likelihood of aberrations and genomic instability in a dose-dependent manner (27,28). Also, and contrary to former beliefs, the magnitude of the mutagenic effect (per unit dose) varies with dose rate (29,30), reaching a minimum in the range of 1–10 mGy/min, which corresponds approximately to the rate of reactive oxygen species–inducing DNA damage during oxidative stress (16). The probability of error during the repair of DSBs is low when DSBs are widely separated in space or time but increases drastically when multiple breaks are present simultaneously (26). In humans, intrachromosomal inversions and deletions are not induced by doses less than 100 mSv or at low dose rates (31–33). Also, large studies performed in vivo or in vitro have failed to reveal an increased incidence of chromosomal aberration at doses less than 20 mSv (34).

    You are your part of your respective field, the LNT side, is a farce, and you are doing great harm to society, not only for doing your part in restraining nuclear power and causing the deaths of millions every year from preventable complications from preventable airborne particulate pollution, but also doing great harm by reducing the use of medical imaging because of these ridiculous fantasies.

    Now sit down, shut up, think about what you’ve done, and take your entirely baseless “appeal to personal authority” (your original assertion is false even under your so-called LNT consensus), and shove it up your ass.

  32. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Gerard the moron, Read the papers on HZE radiation damage–microdose is a different phenomenon than bulk dose. It takes place right on the scale of length of a DNA molecule.
    Or if the technical papers are too much for you, try the Scientific American article from a couple of years ago. Please get a clue.

  33. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Oh, and Gerard, you will notice that at no point have I mentioned Linear-No-Threshold. Do you know why? Because that applies to bulk dose you fucking fool!

  34. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    Everyone else should notice that I cited a paper that explained in some detail the biological mechanisms behind error-free repair of damage to DNA, including double strand breaks. The paper goes on even longer than what I provided in my quote, covering other mechanisms to protect the body, such as apoptosis. This goes completely unchallenged by a_ray_in_dilbert_space, and without even being remarked on.

    I’ve already demonstrated quite conclusively that large doses below a certain effective dose rate threshold are harmless. a_ray_in_dilbert_space is still pushing the idea that “micro-dosing” is somehow more harmful than bulk doses is ludicrous. a_ray_in_dilbert_space is a crank.

  35. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Gerard, how many peer reviewed papers have you published in radiation effects?

    I notice you never actually explain your position in your own words, just cite the same irrelevant papers and parrot the same talking points. Methinks you are a bot, and not a very smart one at that.

  36. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    So, not that Gerrard will understand what I’m saying–bots have a very shallow slope to their learning curve–but I thought I’d note why microdose is more damaging to DNA than bulk dose. It’s all a matter of scale.
    An ionizing particle loses energy as it propagates through matter mainly because it interacts with the electrons in the atoms as it passes. However, as the energy of the particle increases, its rate of energy loss decreases, but when it does interact, it imparts a lot of energy to an electron that gets ejected from one of the inner shells of the target atoms. This “delta electron” has a lot of energy and can travel a long way. Thus, while heavy nuclei (high atomic number Z) with high energy (high E) actually deposit less dose in the material, they can deposit very high energies in small volumes (high microdose).
    Since the volume in which the dose is deposited is roughly commensurate with the dimensions of a DNA molecule, microdose does much greater damage and is much more mutagenic than bulk dose–where energy is roughly equally distributed over the entire target material volume. This is a well known, though still not well understood phenomenon.

    That Gerrard doesn’t understand or even acknowledge it demonstrates that he really has zero understanding of the propaganda he posts.

  37. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    This is a well known, though still not well understood phenomenon.

    So – you’re throwing out all of LNT now, and saying that the risk of cancer from highly energetic particles is higher than traditional LNT risk factors with the 20x effective dose factor for high energy particles? You’re the one going against all of the establishment right now. We have very good evidence for the applicability of LNT for acute exposures from high energy particles from the nuclear bomb survivors. You’re speaking absolute nonsense.

    You say I’m acting like a bot? This is just projection. You’re just repeating yourself, and not engaging with statements and questions at all. You still have not said whether you believe that the real risk is accurately predicted by the traditional LNT model, with its traditional risk factor, and its effective dose factor of 20x for high energy quanta radiation. You’re just repeating this non-specific nonsense with zero citations and evidentiary support. You dismiss all of my peer-reviewed evidence that I cite on the basis of your own expertise. You’re telling a story without citing any numbers. You’re a crank. You have all of the hallmarks of a crank right now. Dismissal of academic consensus. Refusal to give citations of established experts. Refusal to use math and numbers. Refusal to engage the specifics of the establishment consensus model and where you think its weakpoints are. That’s what cranks do. You are a crank right now.

  38. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    Also: Refusal to provide their own specific and intelligible model as a replacement / alternative to the mainstream model. That’s what cranks do.

  39. stroppy says

    Hmm. Looks like ol’ Gerrard is starting to thrash.

    You know what would be amusing? If an actual NASA physicist called him on his bull and he didn’t know it.

  40. GerrardOfTitanServer says


    For high LET radiation the dose response for tumor induction is expected to be linear over the dose range from about 0.1 to 0.4 Gy with little dependence on dose-rate, especially at lower doses [21–30], however observed tumor dose responses often display a downward curvature as dose is increased. Also, there is the possibility of supra-linear responses at the most relevant doses (<0.1 Gy) due to non-targeted effects [13]. For the purposes of this report I will assume a linear dose response model at high LET is approximately correct for RBE estimates, and ignore the possibility of a non-linear response at low doses.
    21. Ullrich RL, Jernigan MC, Storer JB. Neutron carcinogenesis: Dose and dose-rate effects in BALB/c mice. Radiat Res. 1977;72: 487–498. pmid:339261

    Let’s take a look at this one source.


    They’re talking about low and intermediate doses as being a range of “0 to .25 Gy” and “sometimes 0-.5 Gy”. For the sake of argument, with an effective dose factor of 20x, that’s a dose range of 0 to 5 Sv and 0 to 10 Sv. The paper is doing analysis on evidence from acute dose ranges whose lower quartiles are larger than the total effective received dose of an astronaut over an entire year. This is not talking about low doses and low dose rates.

    By the paper’s own admission, they’re just trying to do mathematical fits at the very high dose range and extrapolating down to very low doses:

    Since it is not possible to measure directly effects at low doses and dose rates, estimates of risk are based upon extrapolation by use of mathematical models of the dose response relationship (Dpton, 1977). The two models most often applied are either a linear model or a linear quadratic model. Although the question of dose response models is fundamental, available human data are insufficient to allow a choice between these models and estimates of risk can vary greatly depending upon the model used.

    They’re also doing the same nonsense that I and other real scientists have been attacking regarding the naive and flagrantly false assumptions underlying LNT. They are trying to fit the data to a curve with a preconceived conclusion of linearity based on a ridiculously false model of how radiation harms cells:

    It should be appreciated that this model is based on the induction of initial cellular events but may not be adequate for the complex, apparently multistage process of carcinogenesis.

    While current models of dose response emphasize initial cellular events, many types of radiation effects can contribute to the process of tumor development. […]

    These errors are elementary. I have no idea why the author of the initial paper would cite this second paper. The second paper is clearly false based on knowledge that we have today about the error-free biological repair mechanisms, and it’s also clearly not applicable because the dose ranges that it’s dealing with are orders of magnitude larger than what is encountered in spaceflight, e.g. acute doses over the range of 0 to 5 (or sometimes 10) Sv versus the predicted received dose rate of astronauts outside the magnetosphere of Earth of roughly 0.003 Sv per day.

    Are you suggesting that I take these papers seriously? Please.

    From the first paper:

    Also, there is the possibility of supra-linear responses at the most relevant doses (<0.1 Gy) due to non-targeted effects [13].

    Again, that is not a relevant dose range in this discussion. Consider 0.1 Gy of high energy particles, with an effective dose factor of 20 for the sake of argument – that’s 2 Sv. That’s more than an astronaut would get over 2 years. This paper is comparing an acute dose vs the accumulated dose from chronic exposure over a 2 year period. There is no way that I can take this paper seriously. Rather than “<0.1 Gy”, the proper dose range would be something closer to “<0.0001 Gy”, aka the total accumulated dose an astronaut would receive in about one day. “One day” roughly the timescale that is relevant for biological repair mechanisms. (The relevant timescale for biological repair mechanisms is plausibly much less than one day.) This paper is using evidence that is off by three orders of magnitude! No shit that radiation is scary when we’re talking about acute doses of 20 Sv (aka 0.1 Gy of high energy particles). The discussion that we were having was dose rates of 0.003 Sv / day.


    For the purposes of this report I will assume a linear dose response model at high LET is approximately correct for RBE estimates, and ignore the possibility of a non-linear response at low doses.

    Yes, when you assume your conclusion, it’s quite easy to get to where you want to go.

  41. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    Ugg, typo

    20 Sv (aka 0.1 Gy of high energy


    2 Sv (aka 0.1 Gy of high energy