[LMB] Flowers of Vashnoi.... and so it begins - Sidetrack

markus baur baur at chello.at
Sun Oct 20 15:32:50 BST 2019

something that occured to me one dark night about flowers of Vashnoi - 
or more specific the bugs .. (yes, its my engineer brain that worries 
about thinkgs like that)

since the radiation is so longlived we have to assume that the Cetas 
palyed games with the isotope contents of the bomb (and thus its fall 
out isotope mix) - it probably was a salted bomb


very many of the results of such a bomb are nasty isotopes of caesium, 
strontium, cobalt, gold and other stuff ..

the main problem is caesium and strontium who have relatively long half 
lives (responsible for the long time thid area has been unusable) and 
whose oxides (and they are mostl likely present as oxides) are both 
soluble and easi<y taken up in the food chain

my question is this .. in what chemical form do the bugs excrete these 
to substances, so that they are stable and do not reenter the foodchain?

note that i do not talk about the mechanism the bugs use to concentrate 
these radioactices, only about the stable for used for excretion- it has 
not to be watersoluble (or at soluble) and it has to be compeltely 
uninteresting to other lifeforms as a source of food



Am 20.10.2019 um 15:05 schrieb Gwynne Powell:
> It begins with one of the deepest fears we have: radiation.
> We're flying into Vorkosigan Vashnoi. This blighted spot has been in the
> books since the beginning; it's the reason Miles has so few relatives, it's
> a deep misery in the family. It was, for Miles, an example of his grandfather's
> disgust with him. Later it became a symbol of hope; he decided that
> maybe his grandfather left it to him personally simply because it was going
> to take a lifetime or two before it was useful again. Miles used it to get a
> rather dishonest loan when he was on Beta - and that led to him becoming
> Admiral Naismith with his Dendarii fleet. It gives a certain leverage when
> dealing with the Cetagandans; they broke every rule in the warfare book,
> and even for them it was a shameful act.
> For a dead, dangerous and useless piece of property it's actually had quite
> an impact on Miles's life.
> It's a mix of Earth and native vegetation, of swamp and meadows. It's an
> area in flux. Rangers and warning signs keep people out, radiation levels
> are checked regularly, they move the boundaries back as they can. Slowly.
> The signs work on the older generation; the radiation threat is clear in
> their minds. The younger generation may need fences. Progress: the fear is
> fading.
> Ekaterin and Enrique are working on an anti-radiation project. Ekaterin
> hasn't seen the area before, she's worked off-site in the labs at Hassadar.
> Miles has been twitchy about her being there, and she indulged him until
> it was necessary to go on site.
> Vadim, the ranger who is flying them, and who has been working on site
> with Enrique, is stiffly nervous about being in the presence of Miles and
> Ekaterin. She can see that, but knows that Miles will reassure him by the
> end of the day (Miles is good with personnel. And he cares about the people
> working for him, too.)
> Almost a quarter of a million died there. That's horrific. Most of Piotr's family
> were there, for a special meeting. He lost just about everyone. (The more
> you think about Piotr, the more you realise why he was the way he was. That
> poor sod took so many hits, broke his heart over and over again.) Piotr had
> never made a ceremonial burning for his family; the explosion 'had been
> burning enough'.
> Piotr had inherited part of it, bought out other owners for the rest (a way of
> compensating them - clever, and kind.) And he'd left it to Miles... just maybe
> he thought Miles would be able to use that keen brain to get it fixed, somehow.
> And, finally, that's what they're doing.
> They also see rubbish there; people are using it as a good place to dump
> rubbish. Maybe not for much longer?
> So, that's a pretty rugged beginning - wholesale death and misery. Danger
> from radiation, an always-scary thought. Land that's contaminated, dangerous,
> unwanted, defiled. A graveyard for hundreds of thousands. Death and loss. We
> start pretty horribly. Then there's the hope that this generation will rejuvenate
> this place - a glimmer of hope. Once again Lois gives us a clever infodump, setting
> the scene and the tone.
> This one isn't such an easy entry as some of the novels and novellas, it's dark and
> sad. But this is also one of those that really pays off for a second and third read,
> there's so many gems that we find when we're past the simple 'what happens next'
> stage of the first read, and we're able to settle in and pick up the subtleties.
> And there's Ekaterin, the brisk and insightful tone of her mind. She can read Miles
> like a book, she's very aware of the feelings of the people around her. And she has
> a certain ruthlessness of her own, when she needs it; she'll indulge her husband
> about his worries for her safety, until she needs to get out into the field. And then
> she'll go; that's her job.
> The van lands, they put on their radiation gear and head out. And off we go....
> --
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markus baur                     SCA: markus von brixlegg
schluesselgasse 3/5             tel: +43 - (0)1 - 50 40 662
a-1040 wien                     email: baur at chello.at
austria/europe                  icbm: 48°11'39"N; 16°22'06"E

a portrait: http://www.abcgallery.com/A/arcimboldo/arcimboldo9.html

"der Markus?? .... das ist der mit dem Buch..."

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