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Author Topic: A poll that would be helpful for my history term paper...
Tara
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I'm doing my paper on Chernobyl and how it effected Ukrainian independence from the USSR. I hate term papers very much, but this time I've actually gotten pretty interested in the topic.

What I would like to know is what percentage of people know what Chernobyl was. Do you know anything about it? Have you heard the name, but don't know what happened? Have you never heard the name in your life? Or do you know a lot about it?

I got interested in this question when I announced my topic to my history class and no one at all had ever heard of Chernobyl (except the teacher). I think it was something horrible enough that the whole world should know about it. Gorbachev tried to cover it up when it happened -- which in the end hurt his people even more -- and I want to see how successful he was, even now that it has been exposed.

Anyway, it would be helpful to me if you answered the question, and please also include your age and location (if you want to) so I can see how that effects how much you know about it. (For example, if you weren't alive in 1986, it's reasonable that you not know about it, but if you were alive then and don't know about it, that would be more surprising).

Thanks!

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kojabu
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I was two in 1986 and I know about Chernobyl.
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ElJay
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You realize that a self-selecting poll won't provide reliable data for a term paper, right? People who don't know about it are much less likely to post than people who do.

Chernobyl today.

33, Minnesota, know quite a bit about what happened and the effects.

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Tara
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quote:
Originally posted by ElJay:
You realize that a self-selecting poll won't provide reliable data for a term paper, right? People who don't know about it are much less likely to post than people who do.


Well, I'm hoping they will. I would think that if somebody told you something horrible had happened that you've never heard of, you would be interested in it.
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Kwea
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I do.


In order fro this to work for a paper though, this is a bad idea. Hatrack has no set number fo members so it is impossible to determine what percent of people here know about it.


Also, we aren't a neutral group. We tend to be fairly intelligent, fairly well read, and sci-fi readers....all people who would have a higher chance of hearing (and remembering) about this type of event.

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Tara
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I'm not looking for precise data. I don't even know how it will fit into my term paper exactly. I'm just looking to gain a sense of it.

And thanks for the link, EIJay, I'm reading it now and it looks really interesting.

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jebus202
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Yes, go ask the common people.
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The Pixiest
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How can you tell a swedish baby born after Chernobyl? Look for the Blonde eyes and Blue hair.

(for those who weren't alive in 1986, the radiation cloud blew northward all the way up to scandinavia. There was a run on iodine pills to protect against it.)

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ketchupqueen
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I was 3 in 1986. I know what happened at Chernobyl and have done reading about how it happened and the after-effects, both in school and on my own.

But I tend to think that asking this question on Hatrack is likely to skew you toward the more educated.

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Eaquae Legit
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I was 3 in 1986, and I know what Chernobyl was/is.

(Side note: kq, I'm always taken aback when I remember that we're the same age!)

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Euripides
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I was not even conceived when Chernobyl melted down, and I know what happened and what the effects were (and still are).

Your history class seriously needs to read more!

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JennaDean
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I was 14 in 1986, but wasn't aware of it at the time. I learned as an older teen/young adult (through reading a novel, as a matter of fact) that Chernobyl was a nuclear plant and there was some sort of accident/meltdown that was very damaging to the area. I don't know any details other than that.
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Qaz
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I remember when it was on the news. If you watched or read the news, you'd have to see it. I since read a book about it.
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jlt
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Not alive in 1986 and have not heard of it, but this thread has sparked my interest.
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Valentine014
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Someone, a while ago posted some photos of Chernobyl, (perhaps 6-8 months ago), which was a very long slideshow of victims which was very depressing. Perhaps someone here remembers what thread I am talking about.

To answer your question:

Do you know anything about it? Yes, basic knowledge. No more than it was a nuclear disaster in a Russian town that left lots of people very ill.

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Snail
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I was 2 years old when Chernobyl happened, and I know quite a lot of it. (Though I'm not sure whether your question was directed to non-American people.)

I know that the rise in radiation levels in other European countries was first measured in Finland, but the Finnish officials were too scared of the Soviet Union to release the information, so it was not until Swedish nuclear power plant workers made those same measurements that the information was made public for the world.

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Lyrhawn
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I was two when Chernobyl happened (apparently a lot of Hatrackers were born in the 82-86 area).

But I know what it is. To be honest I don't know a ton about it, I'm much more interested in that mystery explosion that flattened that huge swath of forest in Siberia that no one to this day seems able to explain.

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ketchupqueen
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quote:
(Side note: kq, I'm always taken aback when I remember that we're the same age!)
I know, I always think you're about three years older than me.
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Lyrhawn
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You're only a year older than me? I thought you were like three years older as well, which would make EL a theoretical six years older.
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Amanecer
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I was one at the time and I know what happened. It was covered in my World Geography and World History high school classes.
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Dragon
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I was born in 1987, I know that there was a problem (meltdown?) at Chernoby. I know there have been birth defects in the area as a result, but other than that I don't know much. It's never been covered in a class, so I'm not even sure how I know that much. Maybe there was an article in National Geographic once.
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Icarus
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I was fourteen at the time, and I remember it being big news at the time. I remember it being all over the media. I wouldn't say I'm intimately acquainted with the details, but I'm more than passingly familiar.
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ClaudiaTherese
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quote:
Originally posted by ElJay:
You realize that a self-selecting poll won't provide reliable data for a term paper, right? People who don't know about it are much less likely to post than people who do.

Chernobyl today.

33, Minnesota, know quite a bit about what happened and the effects.

Same (both the warning and the answer), except make it "37, British Columbia [born in Indiana]."
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Noemon
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35, Ohio (lived in Kansas when it happened, though), know quite a bit about what happened and the effects. I think it's be pretty hard not to be familiar with it, having been old enough to pay attention to the news when it happened.

Are people equally unfamiliar with Three Mile Island?

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ClaudiaTherese
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quote:
Originally posted by Noemon:
Are people equally unfamiliar with Three Mile Island?

I'd have the same answer as above for this, for what it's worth.
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Icarus
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I remember Three Mile Island, but Chernobyl was much more real to me.

(Of course, it was much more real to everyone else, too. [Wink] )

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RunningBear
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I know of it and I was -2 in 1986.
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Nighthawk
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My wife has a shirt that says "I survived Three Mile Island... I think."
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Dragon
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quote:
Originally posted by ketchupqueen:
quote:
(Side note: kq, I'm always taken aback when I remember that we're the same age!)
I know, I always think you're about three years older than me.
I think that is an interesting side effect of this thread. I didn't realize you two were only 4 years older than me. (And found myself skimming back through the thread for relative ages. [Razz] )
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scholar
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I am 26 and know about 3 Mile Island and Chernobyl.
kq- I expected you to be older than me. Probably cause you have kids and seem confident.

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JennaDean
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CT, Icarus, finally some people join the thread who weren't born in the 80's!!! I feel better.

But only a tiny bit better, because I'm really vague on Three Mile Island. [Blushing]

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Altáriël of Dorthonion
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I wasn't born until 1987 and I know diddly-squat about it.
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ElJay
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Hey Jenna, I was the first response in the thread and I wasn't born in the 80s. [Razz]
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El JT de Spang
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27, Louisiana, and I know about Chernobyl and Three Mile Island.

I'd like to reiterate what ElJay said about this poll not giving you any 'good' data, at least as far as a term paper goes. I think it's perfectly fine to include the data so long as you preface it by, 'in an informal poll conducted online, XX% of the respondents (who had an age range of XX-XX) blah blah blah'. 'Informal' being the key word in that sentence.

If you want to really impress the teacher, you can include a sentence or two detailing why a poll like this won't give you reliable data.

The wiki article on selection bias will get you started on the answer to that question.

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JennaDean
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Whoops, just chalk it up to senility.
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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Noemon:
Are people equally unfamiliar with Three Mile Island?

Weird, now that you mention it, I know a lot about Chernobyl, the event, the aftermath, the long term repercussions, etc. even though I was only four at the time.

However, I know next to nothing about Three Mile Island. Odd that.

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Reticulum
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I was -6 in 1986 and I know what Chernobyl was. Three mile island too.
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Tara
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quote:
Originally posted by Amanecer:
It was covered in my World Geography and World History high school classes.

Wow, that's the first time I've ever heard that.

I didn't hear about Three Mile Island till recently, and I still don't really know what happened. I'ma go wiki it.

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Tante Shvester
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Born in 1965, 21 when Chernobyl blew up, and I remember it from the news of the day. Also, I used to work with a guy who was in the Russian army at the time, and who had radiation poisoning and subsequent health problems from his exposure at Chernobyl.
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quidscribis
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Born in 1968, Canadian (western Canada) living in Sri Lanka, and I've seen stuff about Chernobyl and Three Mile Island in newspapers, on tv news, and read a fair bit of both over however many decades. I have a hard time imagining anyone my age, or within a decade, not knowing. It was a pretty majorly huge big deal, ya know?

And from what I recall, I think it was the subject of news a year or two after the fact as more information came to light about the aftereffects. Death rates, birth defects, illnesses, etc.

But then, I also have a rather, shall we say, eclectic at times reading selection. [Smile]

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Euripides
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quote:
Originally posted by Tante Shvester:

Also, I used to work with a guy who was in the Russian army at the time, and who had radiation poisoning and subsequent health problems from his exposure at Chernobyl.

They weren't serious illnesses I hope? Was he involved in the clean-up operation at all, or was he just unlucky enough to be in the general vicinity of the blast area?
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AvidReader
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26, Florida. My Dad's a nuclear engineer, so most of what I know about Chernobyl relates to its graphite based coolant system and why the same thing couldn't happen here in the US.

My Dad's been to Three Mile Island. They do safety conferences there or something. On the one hand, it's not as bad as most folks think. Radioactive material never left the containment building. On the other, it's a reminder to always be vigilant cause there can be serious consequences to thinking you know better than the computer. Never assume when it comes to safety.

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