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[Cornelia] Hesse-Honegger, 49, paints insects that she believes have been deformed by radioactivity. As an illustrator at Zurich University's Zoological Institute, she grew increasingly concerned about the mutations she observed in routine genetic studies in the lab. Then, in April 1986, came Chernobyl.

"I worried about the effect on insects," says Hesse-Honegger. "The scientists pooh-poohed any danger. I decided to see for myself." Near Chernobyl's restricted zone, and in high-fallout areas in Sweden and Switzerland, she found bugs with deformities on their bodies, wings, feelers, limbs, and eyes.

She has since gathered misshapen insects from around England's Sellafield nuclear plant and Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania. "Normally," says Hesse-Honegger, "about 1 percent [of insects] may be born damaged." But at Three Mile Island, for instance, she found that the number was as high as 15 percent to 20 percent.

Scientists, meanwhile, remain skeptical--with some exceptions. Says Joan Davis, a water protection specialist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, "Maybe low-level radiation is playing havoc with life. Numbers alone don't seem to move us, [but] pictures leave behind a loud and clear signal that something is desperately wrong."


I'm not making an argument here.  I remembered a programme about an artist who painted deformed insects.  The programme was The Truth About Art, presented by Waldemar Januszczak.


In it he met the artist Cornelia Hesse-Honegger in a field near Sellafield (Windscale.)  Cornelia Hesse-Honegger was staring intently at the grass...looking for bugs.  Your description of Mary Mycio hunting intently around Chernobyl reminded me of this and what with the six metre catfish and the wolves I was...reminded of...Cornelia...also hunting, but for smaller animals.

I don't know any of the facts of the case, and you have a mission to argue for as much nuclear power as possible as soon as possible.  Okay.  But...well...you reminded me of a counter-story regarding animals and the results of nuclear leakage...so I thought I'd add it, what with the six metre catfish...bizarre animals came to mind...

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sat Mar 10th, 2007 at 06:39:13 PM EST
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