The uncertainty of science: According to a new study by researchers at Ben-Gurion University in Israel of mortality rates across the entire United States, people that live in regions of higher background radiation have lifespans on average 2.5 years longer.
Background radiation is an ionizing radiation that exists in the environment because of natural sources. In their study, BGU researchers show that life expectancy is approximately 2.5 years longer among people living in areas with a relatively high vs. low background radiation. Background radiation includes radiation emanating from space, and radiation from terrestrial sources. Since the 1960s, there has been a linear no-threshold hypothesis guiding policy that any radiation level carries some risk. Hundreds of billions of dollars are spent around the world to reduce radiation levels as much as possible.
…According to BGU Professors Vadim Fraifeld and Marina Wolfson, along with Dr. Elroei David of the Nuclear Research Center Negev, lower levels of several types of cancers were found when the radiation levels were on the higher end of the spectrum rather than on the lower end. Among both men and women, there was a significant decrease in lung, pancreatic, colon and rectal cancers. Among men, there were additional decreases in brain and bladder cancers. There was no decrease in cervix, breast or prostate cancers or leukemia.
Their data “covered the entire US population of the 3139 US counties, encompassing over 320 million people,” according to their paper’s abstract.
Up until now the assumption has been that any radiation is bad, based not on research but on assumptions gained by the negative consequence of exposure to high radiation. There has been no good data on the consequences of low level background radiation, because it is so hard to gather. The time frames are long and the numbers small, all of which causes the impact of background radiation to be overwhelmed by other factors. This study’s statistical use of the entire U.S. population is an attempt to overcome these obstacles.
This study is statistical, which means it found a correlation between higher radiation and longer lifespans. Correlation however does not prove causation. The study found no direct evidence that humans health benefits from background radiation. We should therefore take these results with a large grain of salt.
At the same time, their extremely large database is quite telling, and adds some weight to their conclusion.
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From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space
, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.
does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.
“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.
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