Friday, October 28, 2011

On The Discovery of Blinky in Argentina

Like a lot of folks, we've been seeing the reports out of Argentina that locals have caught a 3-eyed fish (leading to inevitable Simpsons comparison) in a lake adjacent to the Embalse nuclear power plant.

Here are just a couple of thoughts before the shots get mainstream media pickup:

  • While the photos in question might be interesting to those who get their science from a prime time cartoon, one would hope they would be treated with a healthy dose of skepticism.
  • If the photos are real, we need to keep in mind that while seeing examples of mutation can be unsettling, they're not uncommon and occur naturally all the time.
  • Drawing a connection between this fish and the power plant is more than a bit of a stretch. During normal operations, nuclear power plants are a source of clean and reliable, carbon free power. As even a source like Scientific American has noted, coal plants actually emit more radioactivity than nuclear power plants.

3 comments:

Pedro said...

Let's see the end of the history but in Spain we saw a similar story in 2002. The ecologist organization "Ecologistas en Acción" said they had discovered a mutant fish and anormaly big vetegables around Garoña Nuclear Power Plant. It was even to be published in Science magazine...

http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2002/09/26/ciencia/1033059715.html

Four days later they recognized it was a deliverated lie...

http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2002/09/27/ciencia/1033144110.html

Finrod said...

I'm suspicious of a purported mutation which flies in the face of bilateral symmerty so blatently.

Joffan said...

My guess is that someone noticed that the eyes look just like the plastic bump feet on kitchen doors or chopping boards, gave the fish an extra "eye" and circulated a photo for fun. Then someone sent it to a journo with story and t grew from there.