The Blame Game

Science fiction authors are a motley crew, which includes a small number of professional scientists but also many others with no particular background in science or technology. EuroScientist published a short story called The Blame Game by Ian McKinley, who is a scientist involved in the rather esoteric area of radioactive waste management. In this story, a number of experts caught up in the chaos resulting from sudden environmental collapse argue about the root cause. The bottom line is that that there are so many interacting factors that it’s impossible to disentangle them. McKinley chose fiction as a means to talk to non-specialists about radioactive waste. He sets out to debunks the myths around the topic which stem from films, novels and, increasingly, comics, manga and anime, to get readers to ask themselves key questions about the topic.

Hazardous chemicals crossing borders

Anyone who has stood in line to have their bags, boots and body checked before getting on an aeroplane will know that international borders are well protected. After all, that young mother with her squealing baby could so easily be carrying more than the requisite quantity of fluid in a plastic bottle in her hand luggage. The old gentleman with the walking frame? Who’s to say he hasn’t packed it with old-school sticks of dynamite ready to hijack an autumnal tourist flight packed with mini-breakers. That surly teenager’s personal music player with its incessant “tss, tss, tss” and fragile glass touch screen? It could so easily be converted into a lethal weapon with a sharp blow to the arm of the aircraft seat releasing a shard of sharp glass with which to threaten the crew while they point to the exits and mime putting on an oxygen mask in case of the aircraft losing cabin pressure…