[ExI] books

spike at rainier66.com spike at rainier66.com
Mon Mar 23 04:04:54 UTC 2020


BillW, you asked what books I am reading these days.  


I have mostly followed the tragic path many of us have trodden, away from paper media to rely on the internet for most of my reading.  This isn’t all bad, for I haven’t convinced myself that this path really is tragic.  However there is a sense of loss.  I love my books.  I personally own over 1000.


The most recent book I spent much time in was Nicholas Christakis Blueprint, which has its insights.  I was given two books by Randal Monroe which I found most entertaining and thought-provoking: How To and Thing Explainer.  I had previously read Monroe’s What If, which I found worth the time.


Regarding reading on the internet, I have close friends (the parents of my son’s best friend) who lived thru the 1986 Chernobyl experience as physics students at the University of Kiev.  Both hold PhDs from that institution.


They were in their junior year when the physics students noticed high radiation in the physics building.  Searching for a leak of something, they noticed with some alarm that the radiation levels didn’t change anywhere they went in the building, and that the type of radiation they were seeing was inconsistent with any materials they had in that building.  


They went outside and discovered that the radiation levels were even higher out there, and were consistent everywhere on campus.  They didn’t talk to anyone other than each other.  Ukraine was still part of the Soviet Union in 1986.  The physics students made some calls and figured out what had happened, for they figured out it had to be a nuclear reactor accident.  They knew exactly where all of those were located.  They began contacting people they knew, but the phone lines to Pripyat had been cut.  The days immediately after the accident at the end of April, Gorbachev was trying to keep the secret.


I tread carefully when I am around my friends as they tell of their experience, for they soon get spitting-blood mad at communism and everything USSR because of what happened: they expected the students to attend the May Day parade.  Only the physics students realized there was radiation falling from the sky and they dared no tell anyone.  This was the system in those days.  I have heard only part of the story.


The HBO miniseries Chernobyl is what they are viewing this week as we sit indoors (I am going outside anyway (the local constables saw me (and did nothing.)))  So I search around on the internet and graze on articles about the accident.  I want to be able to at least listen intelligently, even if I don’t know enough to speak on the topic.  


After my friends view the miniseries, I will ask them what the series got right and what they got wrong.  Then listen carefully about what they say.








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