Tags: chernobyl disaster

28 Apr 2006, Comments Off on Cucumbers and the art of Motorcycle maintenance

Cucumbers and the art of Motorcycle maintenance

Author: Helen

Nick Possum sent me a link:


Check out this crazy-mad Ukrainian girl’s website.
She’s into fast motorbikes and riding through Chernobyl. Also digging up relics from the vast grizzly WWII battlefields that she grew up amongst …
and visiting people in gaol.
Lots of great pics and downloadable movies.

Image from http://www.elenafilatova.com/
On the anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, I find myself getting depressed that the push is on to sell yellowcake to China. I don’t much care, to be honest, whether the intended purpose is for nuclear weapons or “peaceful” purposes. To me, it makes little difference, because – sorry to quote myself, but I’m lazy-


U-235 has a half-life of approximately 700-713 million years
U-238 has a half-life of approximately 4 billion years plus.
Plutonium is relatively benign with a mere 24,000 years.

Compared with:

Roman empire: 5th century BC to 5th century AD: About 1000 years
Byzantine Empire: 4th century AD to 13th century AD: About 900 years
Mayan empire: 4th to 16th century: About 1200 years
Imperial China (from Qin dynasty): 3rd century to 20th century: About 1700 years
Kingdoms of ancient Egypt: (Click here for a breakdown) about 3100 BC to 4th century AD: 3500 years, and as with China, weíre cheating by including
multiple periods, kingdoms and dynasties, so these periods, while the longest, are hardly stable.
British empire: Approximately 1700 to 1980s/1990s: A mere 300 years, being generous

Compare and contrast:

Engineered systems which have remained completely error free (including transport accidents, terrorism and sabotage) for at least the span of the British empire (the shortest example above): 0

Anyway, Elena is considerably more fun:


It is hard to find mechanic who does not drink. Sometimes, when they repair your engine they leave tools inside. Once while adjusting valve clearance on his car, my neighbour discovered a rotting cucumber under the valve cover.
We were amazed. There is no other way for a vegetable to get inside an engine, unless it was bolted down in there by some drunken mechanic. Perhaps it was a misplaced snack – but better than leaving a beer bottle in compression chamber!

Now go here for a haunting photoessay on Chernobyl.

Safe riding, Elena.