A really nice piece of research, as you've been told many times so far. I'm sure it took hours and hours to research, plus hours to write up. But I
have a couple of concerns. They are not so much to say, "This is not a problem," but along the lines of how you are communicating it. It's really is a
straight-forward research paper, neutral if not academic in tone, that sets forth your argument, gradually building to what you are really talking
1) It could really use an "Executive Summary" at the top which lists the main points of your research. You just start out with no foundation at all
talking about the issue, then suddenly "she has a concern" and I wonder, "Oh, what concern is that?" because so far you haven't given your audience a
clue as to what this is all about. You're jumping into the middle of the pool without any sort of preparation for your reader. As in most research
papers of this sort, the general pattern is to 1) Say what you are going to say, 2) Say it, 3) Tell us what you said. You jump into the middle of (2)
where we have to guess what your major concern is.
2) Your tone is completely academic, then suddenly we get something like this: “This site was once a very bad place but is no longer. We have
evidence of fairies, unicorns and trace elements of rainbow dust. All is well." Now I know you are just trying to be sarcastic here, and the sentences
themselves are very witty. You ought to be proud you can turn a phrase such as that. But it is COMPLETELY out of place and your credibility suffers as
a result. This is not the place to show yourself off. The report didn't say that. You lied for the sake of sarcasm. What did the report REALLY say?
Quote the actual quote. Footnote it. Document it. This is a serious issue and you're making fun of it. When you do stuff like that (and this isn't the
only place) you go from sounding like an objective observer laying down the facts to a person with a grudge, just another ranter at the city council
meetings who won't shut up and thinks it's all about him. What you absolutely must do here is save your stints of creative writing for something else
and play it straight here.
3) You really haven't defined what this stuff is or where it came from very well. You mention "Hanford tailings." What does that even mean? There are
no "Hanford tailings." "Tailings" are what is left over when you are mining. There was no mining at Hanford. It's a big flat space in the desert where
they built some buildings and did research. Yeah, there is/was radioactive stuff there, but it didn't "come from" Hanford; it was "shipped to"
Hanford. If you intend to lay the foundation for what this stuff is, you need to say WHAT it is, specifically, and WHERE it came from, specifically,
and WHY its dangerous, specifically. You can certainly establish that it was USED at Hanford, but to say it is "Hanford Tailings" is misleading at
You then launch into the "chemical dumping site" issue kind of as an afterthought, but once more with few details. WHAT chemicals? WHERE are they
from? And so forth. This is a very weak part of your paper, and the thing is, critics will jump on your weakest points to emphasize. A lawyer told me
once, "If you have five arguments, with two being really good and three being so-so, don't even bring up the three so-so arguments because your
opponent will use those three arguments against you. You need to nail this stuff down so it is unassailable--or leave it out. As they stand, they are
weak because of the paucity of detail. It SOUNDS like you are saying, "And, oh, by the way, some bad guys dumped some chemicals here once." The reader
is left somewhat confused, which is deadly to your cause.
4) So far you're really only banking on fear. You make fun of "them" saying, in essence, "everything is peachy," with your rainbows statement, but
that's as far as you go. What if it is "peachy"? What if the half-life of this radioactive stuff is to the point where you can't tell the difference
between it and background radiation? What exactly IS it now? How do you measure it? If they say it is OK, on what basis do they do so? What is the
reading? What is a "safe" reading? Who says that? Greenpeace? PETA? You don't deal with that well. Your argument appears to be, "Everyone knows
radioactivity is bad. They dumped some radioactive stuff here a long time ago, therefore everyone should abandon the region unless they clean it up.
And, by the way, they dumped some chemicals here, too, and everyone knows chemicals are bad, so...."
It kind of reminds me of the kid who urinated in a water reservoir in Oregon and got caught. What did the authorities do? They dumped millions of
gallons of fresh water to "clean out" this reservoir from this horrible urine. The thing is, when dissipated through these millions of gallons the
urine itself would be undetectable. It posed no health hazard. The same reservoir had birds crapping in it and dying in it every day, but the public
freaked out so they dumped a fortune in water to mollify their unfounded fears. Is this what you are doing? If not, prove it. So far you have not.
5) Your documentation isn't very good. It hardly exists at all. You say several times that you "can't cite this" because of the nature of the research
and the set up of the search engine you used to produce a report, but it's much more than that. Not only can you do a better job of citing the
sources, but you make many claims outside your primary "citations" that also need to be documented. Take a look at Turabian's Manual of Style
(University of Chicago) to investigate the proper way to make citations. If you don't do this, your paper is more or less a matter of your own
opinion. Not that your opinion isn't "valid" in your own mind or that of your supporters, but the argument as a whole is much, much weaker if you
don't pay attention to this.
6) Right now your motivation appears to be because one friend is about to "move in" to this complex and this one friend "has a concern." Well, what's
the easiest solution to that? If your friend "has a concern," then don't move in. It's not going to get better any time soon. So if there is all this
concern, then the solution is to not go there. Problem (for her) solved. With all this evidence, in fact, how could anyone in their right mind "move
in" at all? Therefore, in formulating your introduction and summaries, the overall health of the region and its populace must be the motivating
factor--not your friend. You can certainly mention in passing that the "concerns of an acquaintance" fueled your interest, but that simply cannot be
your motivation for this research.
7) I REALLY hope ATS is not your sole venue for this. That's a whole lot of work to dump into the ATS Black Hole. You've got a few people here who are
familiar with your issue, and a few more that will cheer you on because this is a typical, "Here's what the bad guys did" story, but there are maybe
two or three times in the history of ATS where the MSM in any form whatsoever picked up on an ATS issue, and then, as likely as not, ATS was described
as a "cranky conspiracy site," in other words, not really worthy of serious notice. So if you want this to "catch fire" or "go viral!" then this isn't
the place to do it. It might be a good place to refine your issues, but it's not an acceptable publisher for anything serious.
edit on 5/16/2014 by schuyler because: (no reason given)