Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Caldicott Contest

I'm holding a contest! Right here on this blog. I admit that April Fool inspired me to be slightly silly, but the contest is real.

Helen Caldicott came to Dartmouth again, spouting her usual stuff. I wrote a little satire in an email for friends: Helen Caldicott takes on the automobile. That gave me the idea for the contest.

Contest Rules

Do a "Helen Caldicott" on some non-nuclear technology. Cars, soft-freeze ice cream, poetry books, wood stoves...whatever you want. Explain why this technology will kill people and should be banned. Whatever problems the technology presents, run with them. Reductio ad absurdum. The Caldicott method. Make it funny. Enter the result as a comment on this blog post.

Your essay should be less than 300 words long and in good taste. No swear words. Attack her ideas, not her hair style. The contest runs from today till April 15. The winner will be Guest Blogger on this blog in early May. (Yeah, I know. You'd rather have a bottle of decent wine. Okay, I'll think about it.)

Who is the judge? Well, I am, but I may recruit some friends. We'll have a bottle of wine and read the contest entries. No, we won't drink YOUR bottle of wine. Honestly! Why did you even think that?

My Contest Example

Your car is going to kill you even if you don't drive it. Its battery is full of enough lead to kill your family and every family on the block. But the battery won't get a chance to kill you because your gas tank is full of highly-explosive, carcinogenic material and will kill you faster! You cannot assure me that gas will NEVER leak out of the tank as it sits in the garage. You cannot assure me that it will NEVER ignite once it is in all in a puddle on the garage floor! You say such an accident has not happened yet, but you cannot PROVE it is physically impossible. No you can't! It could happen. It WILL happen!

First your garage will explode, along with any other cars you have in there. Flames will quickly spread, the fire department will be busy elsewhere, nobody will be smart enough to leave a burning building and---well, there you have it! The entire neighborhood completely destroyed. Children killed en masse at the school. Terrible, screaming deaths....

Heck, why stop at the neighborhood and the school. The fire can spread to the city, the farms, the entire ecosystem....

Can you prove this is physically impossible? Of course you can't. All you can say it that it is not likely (HAH!) and never happened so far (HAH!) I laugh at such prevarication!

My friends, such pale assurances are simply not good enough in this modern age.

FYI, a link to Caldicott at Dartmouth.

Illustration of patented early Benz car (1885) that needs to go through a learning curve.


Kit P said...

Toothpaste! Few realize that this ubiquitous substance has an L/D50 of just one family size tube for newborn infants. Furthermore, there is absolutely no benefit for newborn infants.

The massive drug company have made American dependent on such luxuries with even a warning to young mothers of the links to infant mortality. Profits is all these companies care about without regard to job losses in the dental industry.

When will it end? Consumers are day and night with toothpaste advertisements to further the dependency. It is no wonder every newborn infant is at risk. That is millions of babies in peril. How many more must die?

Joffan said...

The scourge of modern life is clearly paper. This dangerous product is widely known for causing painful cuts, and a simple calculation shows that only a hundred such cuts would cause significant blood loss. The reckless bundling of paper in packs of 500 sheets is clearly a callous disregard for the safety of the public. Further, children are forced to spend many hours a day in high paper dependency environments, and there are so many cuts suffered in each school year that the extrapolated global fatality rate is thousands every year.

Nor are paper's dangers confined to the merely physical. Almost all seditious and revolutionary propaganda through the ages has involved the use of large amounts of paper. Descriptions of weapons of war from bullets to atom bombs arise from their initial stages through the use of paper. The very use of paper for currency enables vast systems of oppression and violence.

Stop this vile tide of paper!

Kit P said...

A word of caution. Anti-s take their causes seriously without applying any common sense. A web site spoofs dihydrogen oxide and a city in California takes it seriously trying to ban dihydrogen oxide until somebody pointed out it was a joke.

We need to be prepared to organize by starting a web site where concerned citizens can donate to protecting babies from tooth paste. I am willing to donate my time for free with the understanding that travel expenses are paid for. Our first convention should be in Newport since it has been years since I have visited there. If this takes off, we need to be prepared to take out message to the EU. Mothers in Rome and Paris need to hear the message too.

Meredith Angwin said...

Hi. I'm doing something unusual here. I received a helpful comment, but I thought one link provided was not suitable for this forum. After correspondence with the writer and WITH his approval, I have done a small edit.

I thank Gerald for writing.

I don't view Ms. Caldicott's malicious obsessions as humorous, but maybe that's just some shortfall of mine.

I've analyzed her philosophy at:

For my assessment of Caldicott, read:

Coincidentally, I accidentally found a photo of Caldicott, arriving nude at some social event.

(link deleted by Meredith)

Draw your own conclusions about her powers of judgement.

Gerald Murphy
You may contact me at

david lewis said...

It is my great pleasure to introduce to our audience here at Gibbering Idiots Unleashed On Audio, Helen Caldicott.

"Good morning Dr. Caldicott. You've been writing and speaking on the dangers of solar power since the first hydrogen bomb exploded in the early 1950s, yet this horrible and dangerous nightmare that civilization is involved in continues. Can you give us your assessment of the situation today, after your 60 years of work trying to keep this catastrophe from happening?"

Caldicott: "Well I think the human race is bent on a suicidal mission. I can't describe it in any other way. And I think I will go back to Albert Einstein who so long ago said, prophetically, that the fusing of hydrogen and the collecting of the power produced changes everything save man's mode of thinking, thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe. (chokes back tears in a very dignified manner)

During the crazy, crazy, Cold War, America and Russia built 1,529,893 times as many hydrogen bombs as would be needed to destroy the entire Universe. Every planet in the Universe, every city in every country, every child's playpen, right down to each sock in each precious little child's chest of drawers, is targeted with at least twenty of these hydrogen bombs. If even one thousandth of one of these bombs went off, the nuclear winter bomb war blast horrible radiation insane exploding mutant end of the world would be here. And so we are on a suicidal path. We come close to nuclear annihilation many many times each day as, at the whim of the uncontrollable twitching of the fingers of the leaders of Russia and American on the button that will launch and explode every last one of these bombs, we are threatened with the end of the Universe at any instant. I don't know why we are still here.

And at the same time, back on the farm, the evil solar power industry has gone berko and wants to build solar power stations by the thousands and millions. All over the world. And they know that solar power in itself increases global warming because just thinking about it releases massive quantities of deadly global warming gas. Each solar facility is massively expensive and the entire enterprise is subsidized completely by the federal taxpayer. But the solar power industry says, in a lie, that it is the answer to global warming and that it will build solar collectors left right and center. So we are on the path to annihilation. This is because any country that has solar collectors has access to hydrogen bombs, and that means plutonium triggers, which are produced in nuclear reactors. 500 trillion tons of plutonium are produced in one reactor each year and you only need one tenth of a picogram of plutonium, (with a confiding tone) it actually only takes one fifteenth of an attogram (which is billions of times less material than one picogram), to make a nuclear bomb. (more choking back of tears in a dignified manner). And so, as the solar industry expands, as each country obtains solar collectors and power stations, and thus gains access to evil hydrogen fusion power, that is, hydrogen bombs, that destabilizes the balance of terror between Russia and America. And so, for instance, if Lower Slobbovia decides to aim its solar collectors at Upper Tuckus, for as much as one second, the anxiety would be so high, that it is inevitable that Russia, America, and every other solar power using country in the world will launch their weapons, and every hydrogen bomb in the world will all blow up at once. And that's the end of life on Earth. And so, when we see the solar industry on stage, remember, the backdrop is hydrogen bombs exploding ending all life on Earth."

People interested in more of this extremely important, very timely and rational discussion should download the rest of this podcast from Authors Audio, entitled Nuclear Power is not the Answer - Helen Caldicott.

Atomikrabbit said...

Unfortunately, I arrive late to this fabulous party.

But the ghastly recital of unmitigated horrors listed above caused my troubled mind to foment an ecological nightmare.

Monstrous groaning windmills were shredding eagles, bats, and condors; solar array controllers had gone berserk and were barbequing endangered desert tortoises with their concentrated beams; freezing homeowners by the thousands were falling to their deaths while trying to clean snow off their subsidized rooftop solar panels.

Meanwhile, gypsy bands of tie-dyed Greenpeace mimes, courageously risking forfeiture of their welfare benefits, roamed the world on recycled bicycles trying to replace the missing electrical generation. Running low on methane-rich unicorn farts, the GPs raided the offices of their K Street paymasters and strapped overweight fossil fuel lobbyists to treadmills. The black-pantsuited blonde was cryptically screaming “Marcellus, Marcellus!”

And then, mercifully, I woke up.