On Radon

This is a public service announcement.

When we were in the process of building our house 15 years ago, I came across a map of radon concentration in North Carolina that suggested we should be concerned about it.  I asked our builder about radon mitigation and his response was basically, what’s that?

I guess I chose to be preoccupied with other things, because I took his word for it, and we did nothing about radon when we built our house. But years later, I tested our house and found radon levels of 6 picocuries/liter downstairs, where my office is.  I know, 6 is just a number.  But 6 picocuries/liter is 50% higher than the “actionable” level suggested by the EPA and 50% higher than the level ruthlessly cited by real estate agents everywhere as the level that makes your home unsalable if breached, regardless of your own sense of peril.

So finally, I mustered the energy to clear out all the leftover construction materials that  our builders “helpfully” left behind in our crawl space, and I contacted a radon-basement specialist in our area (the only one, actually) and they properly and professionally sealed our crawl space and installed a radon exhaust fan, and the radon level in my office area dropped from 6.2 to 0.9 picocuries/liter (close to the environmental level).  I was amazed.

Folks in Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, fear floods and hurricanes and many build their houses on pillars to ward off storm damage.  It is my guess that far fewer people in Western North Carolina protect themselves from radon damage, because it’s invisible, it’s not BREAKING NEWS on CNN, and it can cost a few thousand dollars upfront to install something that will help your family live a longer life.

I wish I had been more insistent with our builder.  What was wrong with me?

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When he had the opportunity, Colin Kaepernick knelt to bring attention to an important and sad fact about America, namely how our racism results in the impoverishment and the early sudden death of black people, by violent means if not by by disease.

And what can I do about this?  I am not an NFL player.  In fact, I am done with the NFL. I am an older privileged white guy who pays $50 a year to have a website and write a blog, and I support Colin Kaepernick, as I have done before on this site, here and here.

The Nike shoe-burning by American racists/supremacists who want to make sure that black people know “their place” reminded me of the 1966 Southern Baptist bonfires of Beatles items, when John Lennon dared compare the Beatles’ popularity to that of Jesus.  Insult what we believe and we will torch you, was (and is) their poisonous message.

The poison persists and runs down the river, splashing over the rocks, baptising those who willingly stand in that current of hate, mistaking the force of the current for truth.

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Summer may be fading, but I thought I would share a couple of dip recipes for you to enjoy some warm weekend this month. I’m not sure which one you will like better!

Sheep Dip:
(Ingredients of TopClip40, manufactured by Orion AgriScience of New Zealand)

Diazinon (active ingredient), 400 g/liter
Low aromatic hydrocarbon solvents, up to 152 g/liter
Medium aromatic hydrocarbon solvents, up to 98 g/liter


“Salads of the Sea” Seafood & Lobster Dip:
(“A rich, delicious dip made with a blend of seafood, imitation lobster and buttery flavor” manufactured by Future Food Brands, a subsidiary of Lakeside Farms, Delphos, Ohio)

Cream cheese:

Cheese culture
Carob bean gum
Guar gum

Imitation crab meat:

Fish protein (pollock and/or whiting)
Wheat starch
Soybean oil
Egg whites
Potato starch
2% or less of:

Mirin wine
Natural and artificial crab flavor
Hydrolyzed soy protein
Sodium tripolyphosphate
Tetrasodium phosphate
Paprika oleoresin (color added)

Imitation lobster:

Alaska pollock
Pea starch
Modified tapioca starch
2% or less of:

Lobster meat
Natural and artificial flavors
Refined fish oil
Rice wine
Egg whites
Sea salt
Potassium chloride
Disodium inosinate
Sodium pyrophosphate
Soy lecithin
Paprika (color added)

Butter flavored oil blend:

Soybean oil
Palm oil
Natural flavor
Beta carotene

Lobster puree:

Canola oil
Guar gum
Xanthan gum

Lobster base:

Baked lobster meat including:
Tomato paste
Potato flour
Shrimp extract
Dry whey
Natural flavor

Potassium sorbate
Natural flavor

As we epicureans like to say, Bone Appetite!

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