You know when you are a kid and you have done something your parents are somewhat concerned about they start using the word ‘If’ ? Playing football outside 30 feet from the house, with a force 8 gale blowing from the house toward you, and a 20 foot high hedge and the parents say “If you aren’t careful you’ll have a window out with that ball”. Or when you ride your bike somewhere they’ll say “If you don’t watch where you are going a car will knock you off !” or when you pull a face and the response is “If the wind changes direction you’ll be stuck like that !” – you get the idea. It’s that word IF. (As the fantastic Murray Walker used to say “If is F1 spelt backwards”) Anyway, it’s a conditional. If it does, If it does not. But parents (and bosses) always concentrate on the if it does. It lifts the event concerned to drama, it makes them seem like your rescuer, it makes what could be a no-risk into a life-or-death situation. And to us when we are the target it just seems stupid. Well….in the Guardian today is a story about leaking radiation. Scary !
A highly radioactive beam was emitted from a protective flask as it was driven 130 miles, for three hours, across northern England…
I read that and had an image of this radioactive beam being like a searchlight over London during the blitz. (Not that I remember the blitz) (I was away at the time :) ) but reading on …
radiation dose rates measured at Windscale “were in the order of 100 to 1,000 times above what would normally be considered a very high dose rate and measurement was beyond the capabilities of normal hand-held monitoring equipment.”
Wow… that IS scary. I mean, who wants to glow in the dark ?
We say the incident was serious
Yup – sounds like it was !
A judge was told how the container was “found to be emitting a narrow beam of radiation, of a very high dose rate, vertically down from that package base”.
….told the court it was fortunate the beam had gone vertically down.
….If an accident had caused it to emit horizontally the beam would have emitted dangerous radiation for 980ft.
IF. But it didn’t. And who worked out the 980 feet and why ? Dramatic effect ? Did he also have little models of the streets down which this lorry would have travelled showing that IF the beam had gone sideways and IF someone had been watching TV at No.63 at 6:10pm when the lorry had gone passed it would have fried their inner ears ? IF if if if. It did not happen. There is no IF.
There was no accident. All that happened was that the road now excites a geiger counter where it did not before. I’m not saying the leak wasn’t something that should not have raised an eyebrow or two but it’s more than a bit sensationalist – I got the impression the journo would have liked to have left that if out.
If’s are stupid most of the time. It’s like Sliding Doors. We can’t go through life using IF. Deal with what is there, cross those bridges that you get to.
Here’s a scary If. IF your parents had not had sex that night / day (parents have sex ? ewww), and their parents had not done the same and theirs the same etc etc etc and IF your parents had not met at that time and IF something had happened on the way to where they might have met and IF if if if – then you would not be here. Multiply that by hundreds of years.
Go kick a football :)
(and I’ve been told to mention this).