5SpeedRacer5 comments

Posted in: Man arrested for killing wife during quarrel See in context

I am not going to comment on other countries at all, but let me express my continuing amazement that this kind of thing makes national news. Japan does not have a show as some other countries do, like COPS, but can you imagine how unbelievably DULL that show would be?

I mean, it all comes down to, at the VERY worst, a crime of passion where some guy just flat out murders his wife, but it seems that maybe it was an accident. He did not flee custody or resist arrest or anything dramatic at all. Just some sad incident. The process will just grind him through and he will wind up in prison one way or another. Case closed.

It is sad, but sadder than a drunk driver killing someone? Sadder than someone drowning? There are so many people in the world randomly bouncing off of one another that the fact that this happens once in a while just does not surprise me in the least.

The fact that it happens as rarely as it does in Japan surprises me.

Rating: 2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Japanese frantically gearing up for civil defense See in context

Well, most of Japan has had a lot of practice panicking over nothing, so this should be no problem for people outside of Tohoku. Tokyo's city motto seems to be "when in panic or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout."

Think of all the stuff people could buy "just in case." One of the really big boondoggles in Tohoku after 3.11 was for people to get solar AS A BACKUP to their regular grid, and people who had solar were hit up by battery companies because solar IS NOT ENOUGH. This never ending panic mongering might be great for business, but it is not justified.

It bears repeating that Japan is an extremely safe and stable country. Go talk to your neighbors if you want to feel better about your community. If you are on your own, get enough stuff for a solid week and then ration it and you will be fine no matter what happens. If you feel unlucky, go for two weeks just in case.

Rating: 0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Five aging nuclear reactors will be decommissioned, but where should their 26,820 tons of radioactive waste be stored? See in context

This is simply an inflammatory question. The answer is, of course, is to store it exactly where they had planned to store it. There are plenty of candidate locations and whatever happens as a result of the recent anti-nuclear hysteria changes absolutely nothing.

Cleo, "in the living rooms..." Really? Really? Whatever someone might think about the "fairness" of this, people consumed the electricity and enjoyed all of the social benefits. Simply turning on the community and pointing fingers is entirely irresponsible.

The good news is that the hysteria is so pervasive that people will simply believe that this is a toxic nightmare. And it isn't. Tohoku had far worse CHEMICAL spills that it had to deal with after 3.11 than this radiation business. Remember the iodine? It is all but gone now. The most intensely emitting waste degrades the fastest.

Leave it to the experts. That was the plan and that still should be the plan, right?

Rating: -6 ( +0 / -6 )

Posted in: Elon Musk on mission to link human brains with computers in 4 years See in context

I think it would be great if Elon Musk could sell cars profitably. That is a trick he cannot seem to master.

Rating: 0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Saga governor OKs restart of Genkai nuclear plant See in context

Kyushu electric needs this. Kyushu needs this. A huge mismanaged solar company failed there this last week, so I think people are longing for the good old days. I don't blame them.

Watched a documentary recently that was made by a bunch of eggheads at Stanford. It was from 2008. You can see a pretty distinct trend in opinions about nuclear energy, even then. Talk of building MORE nuclear plants in the west was absolutely normal before 3.11. It was just accepted as necessary to get rid of coal use. Then right after 3.11, there was visible concern by scientists and engineers that turning away from nuclear power was going to derail the whole anti global warming effort. Now we see that in most of the world, there is tacit acceptance that NEW nuclear is probably going to be too expensive, but that OLD nuclear should not be shut off for no reason.

Clearly, Japan is out of step. 3.11 was not a signal, it was noise. Just like 9.11 in the US, it sent Japan off into a blind alley of wrongheaded measures and shortsighted fear that do not reflect rational progress. Alas Japan has even fewer choices, with worse penalties for making the wrong ones. I am not sure that Japan will right itself, but maybe people need to look on the bright side and ignore the last 6 years.

Japan has old but safe nuclear plants that will not be useful for much longer. We can use them and reduce emissions, let utilities recoup some losses, and support a transition to wider use of gas and renewable. Twenty years? And then they get decommissioned at the utility's expense, not the taxpayer's. Nobody will be building more of them in Japan. During that 20 years, accidents are very unlikely. And even more unlikely to be widely destructive. But that 20 years would be enough time to get Japan beyond coal and oil once and for all. 20 years could buy a gas or hydrogen infrastructure that uses methane hydrates. It might be enough time for solar to become so cheap that production and storage beyond capacity will be no big deal.

Or. You know. We can keep doing what we are doing. Japanese taxes will create a decommissioning super state, and clean coal will keep coal mining alive worldwide because coal will always be cheaper than hydrate. Utilities will be too poor to support solar or wind, and will end up being bought up by the Chinese as the Australian utilities are. Electricity prices will be so high that old people will freeze in winter and smother in summer. But hey, at least we can avoid radiation. Which is killing so many people these days, right?


Rating: -10 ( +1 / -11 )

Posted in: I was moved to tears by the U.S. armed forces’ support during Operation Tomodachi (after the March 11, 2011 disaster). They did so much to help Japan in its time of need. See in context

Operation Tomodachi was a big deal. Put in its proper perspective, the US forces did not do nearly as much as the SDF. Not even close. But there were some particularly symbolic parts to it that were unforgettable to Tohoku people.

On 3.11, people will not forget that the horizon was on fire. If you were along the coast in Miyagi, the fires were pretty close, but the chemical and petroleum fires were visible up the coast to Iwate and down the coast to Fukushima as an orange glow. Kessenuma and Ishinomaki were on fire. I know personally of people near the Onagawa nuclear reactor who looked southward to Sendai and thought that Sendai must have been destroyed. They did not even bother trying to contact relatives there.

And in the next few days. Here and there, very large ships of US military forces started to appear on the horizon pretty close in. They were symbolic of presence and order and civilization. You just cannot describe how much that lifts confidence beyond what a helicopter or jeep convoy would. By and large, Tomodachi went after some symbolic tasks that the SDF did not have the ready resources for. For instance, I think it was the Marines who cleared out Sendai airport. They got it up and functioning in a month, where the SDF had been estimating four months. I think it was also Marines who took landing craft to some isolated villages out on the peninsula which had been wrecked AND isolated by the tsunami.

By far their most important role was backing up the SDF and letting the SDF have personal contact with the people while the US forces took care of some heavy lifting and patrol tasks and some tasks like those mentioned above.

The US forces were trusted as friends who respected the Japanese counterparts and supported and deferred to them at the same time. Hard to describe, but just a very welcome presence. There is no question that any funds spent for that effort, no matter who spent them, were worth it.

Rating: 1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Y800 bil needed to scrap nuclear reprocessing plant See in context

"According to law, the nuclear power companies included in their monthly charges a proportion of it to cover the full cost of decommissioning its nuclear reactors and they are also required to set aside those funds to be used only for decommissioning. "

I remember the VERY DAY when Naoto Kan stood up and told the nuclear plant operators to shut the plants down, with NO compensation, no justification, and no due process. On that day and on this site, I predicted that bad things would come from such nationalization. Not one person agreed with me. And six years later. Here we are. Time for payback.

I think every utility in Japan can point to their records and show that if they had been allowed to operate their plants as promised by regulators and due process under the law, they would have been able to have sufficient funds to take care of decommissioning. Unfortunately, nuclear hysteria pushed the national government of Japan to interfere with the plans that the utilities had and forced them to buy fossil fuels at high prices. At that point, the government, and YOU the taxpayer, took full responsibility for the utilities. The government, without authority, evidence, or process COMPELLED the fiduciaries of the utilities to abandon their responsibilities to rate payers and shareholders.

This issue will not go to court because Naoto Kan's government had no legal, scientific, or procedural leg to stand on. The government will be lucky not to be sued for punitive damages. We can all feel lucky that the utilities will not go bankrupt, and that they will manage the decommissioning. But make no mistake. Taxpayers will be footing the bill.

It did not have to be this way, and I warned all of you. You did not listen. Hysteria is not harmless. Now get ready to pay up.

Rating: -1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: TEPCO aims to restart Kashiwazaki-Kariwa reactors in 2019 See in context

"Just get Enefarm, put all electricity through the gas company and slowly stop paying TEPCO crooks"

Maybe you missed the memo, but one aspect of deregulation and the access that all of these companies get to the grid is that they will be liable for industry charges related to nuclear cleanup and decommissioning, just like everyone else.

And really, your reaction is extremely disingenuous. TEPCO consumers have enjoyed about four decades of clean, safe, cheap power from Fukushima. Is it REALLY something to be admired for people like you to proudly declare that you won't take any responsibility for that, as a TEPCO customer? You should be ashamed of yourself. Nobody else can run away from the problem. If you really believe that you supported TEPCO and that TEPCO did something wrong, you should be first in line to try to make that right. I think that part of the liberal credo is stepping up and taking responsibility for social harm. I wonder if ENEFARM is encouraging people to do the right thing or to simply run away from responsibility.

Rating: -1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Protective clothing no longer needed to walk near Fukushima plant See in context

I have driven through the area many times. It is just no big deal, people.

I see a lot of people posting against bullying of people from Fukushima, but look at the posts above to see where the bullying comes from. Mostly, these dolts have never been to the Fukushima site, but they are just SURE that people will start dying any day now from some imagined menace. It is really awful and it ought to stop.

People in other areas of Japan might not know this, but radiation levels have been reported in local newspapers since late March, 2011. AT ANY TIME, somebody could have questioned those reports or investigated them, and frankly, a lot of people probably have, but no retraction has been forthcoming. The readings are accurate and scientifically valid. THey are the data of record. They show a rapid and regular reduction of radiation levels throughout the whole region. Believe the science. Or stick to your shaman ways and dubious hearsay.

The hysteria is entirely unrealistic and unsupported by official and scientific observations conducted through the area and reported by reputable sources from day 1. Once people understand that the nuclear hysteria is on a par with people who deny 9/11, Sandy Hook deniers, climate change deniers and other lowlife conspiracy theories, we can put this whole mess behind us and move on.

Rating: 3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: TEPCO aims to restart Kashiwazaki-Kariwa reactors in 2019 See in context

"are supposed to be paid by the utility from funds saved up during the normal 40 year operation life of the plant; they should not be paid by the tax payer. "

I think you missed the first part of this movie. If I were a lawyer for the utilities, I would bring up that little episode when Kan, the Prime Minister and representative of the government of the people of Japan, told nuclear plant operators to shut down, FOR NO REASON, in about May of 2011. At that time, Naoto Kan the mighty assumed responsibility and liability for the activities of utilities. He did not use due process, he did not cite any scientific or economic reason, he just did it. The utilities complied fully.

So really, I think the utilities are off the hook. They did nothing wrong. They were fully compliant with all regulations They did their jobs. If the government wants to nationalize their operations and tell them they have to use fossil fuels, well, ok, but why do the utilities have to pick up the bill for national hysteria?

I mean. I feel a big OOOOOPS for the anti-nuclear hysterians here because they will be responsible for a lot of poor people not being able to pay their electric and tax bills really soon now. At the same time, they are responsible for CO2 emissions going through the roof. Kan and Asahi and all the rest of the witch hunters have earned their ignominy, and here it comes.

If you truly believe that antinuclear hysteria has created a better Japan, you should have no problem paying an extra 5000 yen per month or so in taxes and electric bills. Where is the courage of your convictions?

Rating: 2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: TEPCO aims to restart Kashiwazaki-Kariwa reactors in 2019 See in context

Not sure if anyone noticed, but I did. Starting next month, I will be paying about .5 yen MORE per kWh because my utility has to pay people who installed solar. I will also be paying about .5 yen MORE per kWh because the price of fossil fuels is coming up ever so gradually. If you use 500 kWh per month, be ready for fork over another 500 yen per month on top of the 1000 yen or so in surcharges you are already paying.

There is NO CAP on those extra charges to everyone' s electric bill. If each of those goes to the highest value recorded over the last five years, you could be paying an extra 5 yen per kWh in less than a year. Add in decommissioning costs just for fun. 20% to 30% fee hikes are on the way, people, and the structure for those hikes has already been approved.

I predict that once people start to understand how much this anti-nuclear hysteria is really costing them, we might get some different policies in relation to these fully functional plants. Hysteria and waste are expensive... who knew?

Rating: 0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: TEPCO aims to restart Kashiwazaki-Kariwa reactors in 2019 See in context

costs "e borne by the taxpayer, not TEPCO."

As they should be. TEPCO is in business to provide stable power to its customers. There is no law that says they have to make a profit, but there are laws saying that they have to provide stable power. You know that right? If the government wants to represent the people and tell TEPCO what to do, that is fine, but the people have to pay.

I really don't get this constant hue and cry from people who post against nuclear. Look. If you want to keep people from doing what you legally obligated them to do, you have to pay them. They kept their end of the bargain, and they are certainly TRYING to keep it. If you want to mandate that they pay for more solar, well, you will get the bill. If you don't want them to use nuclear, well, they will charge you for all the coal and gas they burn. Pay up and let people do their jobs.

It is time to grow up, people. Everyone has respected the whole anti-nuclear agenda and they got what they wanted. Don't cry about paying the bill and don't cry if TEPCO meets all of your rules and criteria and then some. Or could it be that all that talk about safety, etc. was just a hysterical tantrum to which NOBODY was supposed to respond reasonably?

Rating: -3 ( +1 / -4 )

Posted in: Y800 bil needed to scrap nuclear reprocessing plant See in context

CHA-CHING! Well, everybody, these are certainly tax dollars and they will certainly be going to companies that are ready to solve the problem. So, I see a lot of good news here.

If for some reason you don't like it or have something negative to say, consider this. If nuclear really were too expensive or dangerous or just not green enough, then why is China, the world's green technology leader, moving straight ahead with nuclear development? If you want to say that they are wrong, be prepared to say that they are wrong about wind, solar, hydro, and EVs and everything else. Or maybe, just maybe, the Chinese know what they are doing.

And if you just don't want to pay the taxes, just consider that it did not have to be this way. Development of reactors and power plants and facilities like Tokaimura could have been supported by nuclear power plants that could be generating electricity and paying their own way for better R and D in the area. Unlike China, Japan has been gripped by anti-nuclear hysteria that has destroyed the industry, the R and D, and has only served to make Japan dependent on fossil fuels and contractors paid with your taxes.

Japan has made its choice. Why all the frowns?

Rating: -3 ( +0 / -3 )

Posted in: Damages suit dismissed over tsunami deaths at disaster-use facility See in context

Well. Here goes.

I went to Okawa Elementary as part of a group of local officials. The school stands today (or does it?), as it did on 3/11, just a little above sea level a couple of kilometers from the ocean along a narrow inlet. Near the school, about 150 meters away, is a large steel bridge. If you walk up a gradual slope westward from the school, you get to the bridgehead and the bridge that spans the waterway. Also, right behind the school, about 20 meters from the back door, is a hill with a face that is more or less a cliff, with a slope of 40 to 50 degrees, with bamboo and trees growing from it. Jungle-ish. The hill and other nearby hills dominate the landscape. But they are rugged, with no clear path up into them.

I will gloss over the exact number of students involved and other details that do not make a lot of difference to me at this point. What seems clear is that, at some point after the earthquake, teachers and administrators were faced with a choice to escape the tsunami that they guessed was coming. They made the choice, and it was controversial, for obvious reasons. 

Do we take these 6 to 12 year olds to the bridge, or up the cliff face? More specifically, do we take these kids on a freezing, snowy afternoon in single file lines in an orderly fashion to a place where anyone would tell us we would be safe from any imaginable tsunami? Or do we clamber up the ice-cold, probably snowy cliff face, presumably with teachers helping the youngest and older students paired up with younger ones, in an every-man-for-himself rush up the harsh slopes? Scratches? Injuries? Broken bones? Who knows what might happen?

I seem to recall that the bridge was the designated evacuation point, with road access and even terrain that small children can handle. But just to be sure, who could the principal have asked for guidance? Nobody really. But if he could have, who would he have asked? Parents? They would have told him to go to the bridge. Older local residents? Fishermen? They would have told him that the bridge is definitely high enough and the steel was not going to collapse. Ghosts of the last 10 generations would have given the same advice. "Tsunamis just do not get that high! Not here. Why subject these very small children to all the scratches and bruises and ripped clothes and dirt rubbed into wounds and poked eyes all to avoid something that is just never going to happen?" Maybe a teacher, recalling events that may or may not have happened, told the principal that going up the hill was a wise course. Would that have sounded remotely reasonable to you?

Gamblers play the odds. Politicians do, and corporate executives do, and drivers and bankers and even doctors and teachers and judges and lawyers and criminals. Kids do it too. Everybody does. Research suggests that animals do it too. It is the right thing to do in any situation. And anyone... and I mean you too... would have looked at that situation and said, "Yeah. Yeah. Let's form some lines and head to the bridge. Come on kids." Because a tsunami that could top that bridge, well, it was inconceivable. Just. No way. And everyone would have said so. And it was the way to bet whether you were betting a dime or your life. 

No tsunami warning before or since has driven people of that area to scale cliffs in a blind panic for fear of their very lives. 

And if you go there today and look at that school and that bridge. You will not be able to do anything but cry. Because they went to that bridge. Their school was inundated and their homes were destroyed as they watched. They did everything right, and the waters came. And they watched as the freezing waters rose. And one. By. One. The rising. Waters. Swept those children away. 

I don't see a villain to this awfully tragic story. And if you do, you should go there and spend some quiet moments looking at the mountain and the bridge. Of course they should have gone up the mountain, injuring themselves in the process and leaving stragglers behind. But you would not have. And they didn't. Some claimants were awarded some money, which is fine, but I am not going to judge anybody. If there were a God that could have killed those beautiful children, God has forgiven the people who took them to the bridge. They deserve to be forgiven. 

I don't see a reasonable process, policy, or person that would have changed that outcome, except the obvious: don't build schools near the coast. And yet. And yet. All throughout Japan, you will find schools that might be inundated someday. Schools are being built near the coast to replace the schools that were wrecked by the tsunami. Does that surprise you? Now that you know, feel free to share some blame someday. And others will happily blame you. Does mere knowledge of a worst-case scenario make you culpable? Does trying your best make you responsible? Does an optimistic outlook on life make you negligent? Or maybe we accept risk of death as a part of life and get on with it. Think hard about your answer. It will change your life.

One last thing. I personally use this little story to measure and compare so many other things that happened on and after 3/11. What was reasonable on and BEFORE 3/11 might seem like a dreadful lack of preparation to some people. And what seems reasonable NOW, such as huge seawalls, monthly drills, and over-preparedness, will become boring and silly after a while as we become "normal" and complacent, and complicit, again. Just in time for the next tragedy. Reasonable precautions will be plenty for nearly everyone, and an unlucky few will just be wiped away no matter what we do. It is the human condition.

Rating: 1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Damages suit dismissed over tsunami deaths at disaster-use facility See in context

I don't know if JapanToday will allow double posts. I have a very illustrative story about Okawa if anyone wants to hear it.

Rating: 1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Damages suit dismissed over tsunami deaths at disaster-use facility See in context

You are welcome. Just another two cents and some recognition for some other people who deserve it.

From what I gather from the article, 162 of the 196 people at the evacuation facility perished. Families of two of the deceased sued. Let's face it. All of them could have sued. But they didn't. What does that say? I think it puts the real face on what Tohoku has been through. Everyone had to deal with the tragedy. Everyone had loss and pain. But the people who were there and the people who know what happened, by and large, are not doing a lot of finger-pointing.

Your bus was late this morning. You were late for work. It was fate. At 2:46 on 3/11 the ground started shaking like God was tap dancing and pretty soon the waves came in and there was nowhere to run. It was fate. What do you do? You try to go to work the next day and do your duty and you hope the guys at Fukushima Daiichi stick to their jobs as well. And they did.

Nobody can be proud of being perfect. Tohoku can be proud for doing their best with what they had. I think the other 194 people at that evacuation site, wherever they are, would share this view. We can be better, but not being perfect does not make us bad people. That is the takeaway that unites people instead of dividing them.

Rating: 0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: 30% of all Japan's medical diagnoses said to be mistaken See in context

"d 14.2% of his diagnoses had been mistaken. To a layman that sounds shockingly high. It’s not. Modern estimates of misdiagnoses in the medical field as a whole are roughly 30%, reports Shukan Post ("

This is the crux of the article. To prescribe any medication in Japan, a doctor MUST make a diagnosis. I am not sure, but I think it is necessary for any treatment whatsoever. Doctors are people. Communication by most people is not great. A lot of conditions or symptoms could be anything or nothing at all.

Here is the killer part of the statement that is actually fantastic. This doctor believes that 86% of his diagnoses were correct and even the muckraking Shukan Post seems to grudgingly admit that 70% of diagnoses were correct. Then factor in that the ERROR includes ALL CAUSES and the correct diagnoses must be entirely correct. I would say that is remarkable. You could also continue and say that, in most cases, the erroneous treatment is probably not going to HARM a patient, and you can lump those in with the good cases. What you come up with is that going to see a doctor is very likely to let you figure out what your problem is, and it is unlikely to make you worse off. Seems like a bargain to me. Other industries are probably doing a lot better, but when you think of this as a person to person service industry, it is doing pretty well.

If it were socially acceptable for a doctor to just shrug their shoulders or prescribe placebos, we could probably get the error rate down quite a bit more. "Take two aspirin and call me in the morning" takes care of a lot of health problems.

Rating: 3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Damages suit dismissed over tsunami deaths at disaster-use facility See in context

One aspect of modern human nature that I truly despise is this: People believe that, when something bad happens, it MUST be the fault of some person who MUST have been either culpable or negligent.

You see it every day. People will usually be egged on in this kind of thing by lawyers and the press who want to keep all the bile alive and get people to believe the absolute WORST about their fellow man. People who believe this are likely to view others with suspicion, hatred, outrage, and all other manner of very negative feelings. People who believe this are also likely to overlook anything that a victim might have done to put themselves into a risky position, etc. But worst of all, it is ARROGANT to believe that all accidents can be prevented and all less than perfect outcomes come from some agency that must be punished, vilified, and preferably eliminated.

I have personally been to both of the main sites named in the article. I am pretty sure I have been to the others too. I have spent almost an entire day at the elementary school in Okawa, walking the site and praying the prayers. I experienced the tsunami and quake first hand and I will tell you that it was absolutely unprecedented and awesome. It is not a surprise that a lot of people died. It is miraculous that so many survived. That is the proper attitude because it leaves room for what humans are and it suggests POSITIVE aspects of human beings as we move into the future. We did our best, but we can do better. We are not villains and idiots who gave up on each other in distress.

Of COURSE some evacuation sites were swamped. OF COURSE teachers sent elementary kids to high ground near a bridge rather than straight up a rugged mountain. OF COURSE people who lived near the coast died in droves. Blaming humans for being fallible and frail is an affront. We are all guilty as charged. It makes me sick to my stomach that if this cataclysm had killed only one person, there are plenty of people who would spend their lives looking for some human scapegoat to pin it on. Look at Fukushima, and you will know what I am talking about.

It is a good call by judges. Let's continue to move for closure. If people need cash payments from taxpayer funds to satisfy the lawyers, well so be it, but let's move on. Everyone in Tohoku did their best and looked out for one another as best they could. It is no surprise that sometimes that is not going to be good enough when nature comes to take what is hers. Maybe it looks different when you WATCH a horror movie unfold. When you are IN IT, you understand it a little better, and you judge others a lot less harshly.

Rating: 5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Nuclear authority OKs plans to decommission 5 aging reactors See in context

"This is not a technology problem it is a market and regulatory problem"

OK. You first. And I am pretty serious about that. If you have not taken advantage of the GREAT subsidies over the last five years to install solar just for your own home, then you failed your family and your community. Markets and regulation were ideal and you blew it. They were counting on you. We all were.

Oh wait. No. You are talking about SOMEONE ELSE'S money? Oh. Well that is different. How about the moneybag utilities? Sorry. Japan's policies all but bankrupted them by making them strand huge assets (nuclear) and forcing them to turn to foreign fossil fuels for stable electricity for five years. How about the government? Too late. They have already been looted for highway funds and pensions. So where is the money going to come from? What is there to regulate? Who will you tax?

It could have been different, but we have been brought to this point by anti-nuclear hysteria. Japan was a world leader in greenhouse gas policy because it used nuclear power. Now it is among the world's leading coal consumers because that is how anti-nuclear activists wanted it.

Solar is plenty cheap, but the FIT has been dropping along with prices for solar panels. What is happening now is that the risk to solar installers is not falling. The business has been unable to maintain itself. A huge solar provider failed in Kyushu this week, but JT is not reporting that. And battery storage is not cheap enough to be useful. I know this because I have priced all systems on the market. They are not even close to economically feasible.

Let's not hold this illusion that technology is going to save us. If people can be herded and cowed and manipulated as easily as they were against nuclear power in Japan, then there is no technology or policy or regulation on earth that will save us from a riled up, stupid populace.

Rating: -2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: Putin-linked think tank drew up plan to sway 2016 U.S. election: documents See in context

Is it blaming the victim to say that if the US voters fell for this, then Russia is not the real problem here? Is it? Because really, if you substitute Democrat or Republican or Big Oil or Big Coal or NRA for the word PUTIN in the headline above, it would be just as true and draw zero outrage.

The only thing that bothers Americans is that a special interest drew up plans to influence an election? Really? That has been going on for centuries.

People need to wake up and be skeptical of politics and journalism to a reasonable and healthy degree. They need to recognize manipulation and work constantly to avoid it.

Russia did not invent echo chambers and lazy journalism. Go ahead and call them out for being the bad guy, but it will just be someone else next time if you don't get your house in order and stop being unreasonable. We can start by realizing that the American left is starting to look about as brainwashed as Trump voters looked in November. A plague on both your houses.....and senates.

Rating: -2 ( +2 / -4 )

Posted in: Reporter kicks house wall after resident refuses interview over Vietnamese girl's murder See in context

"come back with a quote from that neighbor, by hook or by crook, and when the neighbor wouldn't do it, the hapless reporter couldn't contain his frustration. "

Really all this says is that journalism is the problem. There is no need to obfuscate it or sugar coat it. If the only way to do your job is to bully and intimidate vulnerable people, you might as well work for the yakuza.

Every single day I see twisted logic and lazy reporting spewing forth from news services, and this guy kicking some person's house just epitomizes the ignorance and arrogance of today's media. Some lip service gets paid to "fake news," but everyone has their favorite echo chamber and muckraking rag, so we shrug it off and go back to our bubble.

But what happens to communities? You know, this same stuff happened after 3.11, with journalists complaining that information was being released in Japanese, stories about Fukushima being filed from Hong Kong and Singapore. And the eventual stigmatization and harassment of displaced people in Fukushima. It is just awful and I saw it all.

The press is now being used over and over in a type of legal coercion and 'trial by media' of many companies even before any legal verdict has been made. Before any jury hears a single fact or argument, people are convinced that xyz company committed some heinous crime. Who needs a legal system when we have tabloids?

It is a sorry state of affairs. And just like this guy kicking a bystanders house, it is entirely out of control.

Rating: 0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Nuclear authority OKs plans to decommission 5 aging reactors See in context

This is not unexpected. Looks like most of these were in Kansai. Putting all of these plants behind us, here is what we can expect. 1. Higher electric bills because decommissioning is more expensive than operating the plants. 2. Greater use of fossil fuels because they are the only way that utilities can provide energy reliably to these huge urban areas. That means much higher greenhouse gas emissions. 3. Fluctuating prices for electrical power because fossil fuels are vulnerable to international pricing and yen exchange rates.

This is what people wanted. There are going to be a lot of people cashing in on this. And the people paying for electricity will pay.

Rating: -1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: GM announces China version of hybrid Volt See in context

Did everyone see their slogan? "Changing the Current Transportation Mode"

That is really catchy. Just rolls off the tongue.

Well. Three cheers for GM. I don't think this will end well, but GM has to do something to try and build its brand. This move has probably been a about a decade in the making and it is coming too late, probably, but if they can learn and try to move into some other countries a little earlier, the effort will not have been a total waste.

Rating: 0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Reporter kicks house wall after resident refuses interview over Vietnamese girl's murder See in context

Japanese journalists are really awful. We had a pseudo scandal in our area some years back, and the reporters were walking around the whole community asking personal questions that really... were just the kind of dumb stuff you see in lurid weekly magazines. Just any old information that could sell some copy. Very unprofessional bottom fishing.

But wait. There is more. I drew the line when they started bugging kids as they walked home from school. They would follow the kids home and talk to their parents. A "guy I know" started shadowing and shaming the journalists and their employers for bothering the children and interfering with them as they walked to and from school. A lot of parents were apparently very supportive of the anti-muckraking guy, but would not say so publicly, lest they be swept up in the witch hunt.

Do not support this. The public's right to know trivia is not more important than a child's right to privacy and a safe and stable environment. Does this guy who kicked the house REALLY THINK that some random person has some information that is going to tell us all why some guy killed some school girl? Then he ought to tell the police. If not, then leave the community alone.

Do not forget that the town where this murder occurred is full of people who have paid their respects to the deceased and the family. They need to move on with their lives. We rely on the justice system to handle the rest. Go to the courthouse. Leave the community alone.

Real news does not get reported nearly enough, but boy oh boy, a few juicy words from a neighbor can make you a king for a day in the tabloids. These reporters are vultures. And they are lazy. And they prey on weak people.

Rating: 1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Pence tells Japan U.S. wants results on trade deal See in context

"The trade imbalance with Japan is obscene and needs to be corrected immediately."

Why? Several geniuses posting above seem to think that it should be cars, no agricultural products, or this or that ... which really needs to be regulated controlled taxed or whatever. What happened to all the free trade conservatives? Where are all these currency manipulators?

Non-existent. This is such a bunch of smoke and mirrors. Seriously. The US is going to sell more WHAT in Japan? What? Rice? Nope. Regulated or not, cheap or not, Japanese people will not buy it. Ford trucks? Nope. And making them cheaper is not going to help. What else. Sugar? Beef? Japan has as much as it wants. Coal maybe? Natural gas? Japan will buy as much as the US wants to ship, but last time I checked, US interests are opposing that.

OK. So if the US can't sell more, then should Japan just keep the US from buying more? Nope. Tried that. It just hurt US businesses and gave profits to Japanese companies.

So. Really. Why bother to even yak about it? Pence has no ideas. That is for sure. He is working with a bunch of amateurs anyway. Japan cannot push on a string. I see this kabuki as a bunch of nonsense. It is a waste of time just reading about it. Short of just begging Japan to support the US in very vague terms, I have no idea what this is about. Some dumb campaign promise from a few months ago was nagging at someone... I guess.

PS. There was a brief shining moment in the mid 1980s when the US could claim that Japan was getting an unfair advantage. So what happened? The yen went from 360 to 120 to the dollar overnight, and people STILL did not change their buying patterns. Detroit has declined with a strengthening yen, not a weakening yen. Japanese energy productivity is twice that in the US. Even the huge US debt cannot keep the dollar down, and that is Japan's problem?

PPS. If Pence does not want the US to join TPP, maybe Japan should find some other way. It seems inappropriate for Pence to just poo-poo the whole thing if the US is not going to participate.

Rating: 2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Musician Ian McCulloch flees Japan amid U.S.-N Korea tensions; show cancelled without notice See in context

Does not surprise me. I want to remind everyone that a lot of big names avoided coming to Japan after 3.11 for no reason at all. Oh yeah. Radiation. What a bunch of jerks.

Can anyone remember the big name that DID NOT CANCEL and the one that came to Japan first after it all went down?

Lady Gaga. Never forget. She has bigger huevos than all the others put together. She is hard-wired that way.

In other news, I saw this comment. "compete with the likes of the Japan times" I have nothing libelous to say about the Japan Times, but let's just say that, for several decades now, I have only read it when it is free. And every time, I got what I paid for. I can also honestly say that I have patronized JapanToday advertisers about 30 times as much as JapanTimes advertisers. That statement is worth something.

Rating: 0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Should airlines be allowed to overbook on flights (selling more seats than available to account for the likelihood of no-shows)? See in context

The airline can make any contract it wants to, and so can you. Full stop.

But wait a minute. What is the problem here? Here it is. There are at least two kinds of people in the world: people who want secure contracts for a seat and people who have all the time in the world, who care about price, who play games with frequent flier miles, etc. Let's call the former REAL PEOPLE and the latter OPTIMIZERS.... emphasis on the MIZERS.

The problem is that the airlines deal with so many of the optimizers that they think everyone is an optimizer. They are wrong. And real people can't understand why airlines have to be so cheap as to fill every seat!. Well guess what... the airlines are optimizing too.

So forget your statistics and your computers. It is much simpler than that. Let the airlines play their games of doing short sales on seats. And let optimizers buy tickets that give them an option to fly or to be paid some money, and let them play their stupid games and win their stupid prizes.

BUT DON'T HARM THE REAL PEOPLE. Before a plane takes off, if people have to be booted off the plane, offer the optimizers money and keep upping the ask until you get a bid, just as any short seller has to do when caught out. If 30 people bought 100 dollar tickets and you have to bump five of them, then start the bidding at 150 bucks. By the time you get to 300, I bet you have five "volunteers." But don't be shocked and appalled if you have to pay some guy 1000 bucks. If you are short, you have to cover. Alternatively, for these optimizers, each should be forced to enter a SURRENDER PRICE when they buy a ticket. Then the airline can just find the lowest surrender prices and kick those people off. And they have already agreed to it. Such pre-bidding will make everyone happy.

But REAL PEOPLE don't want the shenanigans. They want to pay their money and fly. If they don't show, sell their seats. Fine. But don't play games with them or beat them up.

It is really that simple. I make a lot less money than the CEO of United does, but he cannot figure this out. Apparently only true idiots can operate airlines and earn humongous salaries these days.

Rating: -1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan sees potential in solar power See in context

A lot of fuzzy thinking and fuzzy reporting going on here. The article is a grab bag of notions and products and wishful thinking. Then there is some cheerleading going on for and against nuclear etc. in the comments. Oy vey.

Look. Solar is cheap and getting cheaper, but not by leaps and bounds from here on out. "Profit" from installing a solar system, as 1glenn mentions, comes about 10 years out and that is AFTER paying for your finance costs, etc. Unfortunately, most people don't have a time horizon that long. But if cutting your electricity bill way down excites you, and it should, then you should have installed solar yesterday.

So let's be clear. If you live in Japan and install a well designed high quality system and consider all the relevant factors, you will have a good investment. I am sure of that. The FIT is designed to reduce your risk and it does that. Take it and move on.

Everything else? I consider them all unfounded claims. I have not found any battery system worth what it costs. All give a negative return on investment no matter how clever you think you are. Installing solar on water MIGHT be a good idea, and it has a lot of benefits in Japan, where access to water areas is usually restricted anyway. But here again, this is experimental as far as I am concerned. Solar energy is not "free" and the only reason that water installations are inexpensive is that the land is not purchased or taxed. Err. OK. But nobody in the article says that.

Anyone who says that solar PV is not effective or efficient "north of Sendai" is certainly wrong. If we imagine that the sunny Australian desert is a 10 for solar PV, Iwate would be about a 5 and Hokkaido would be a 4. San Francisco would be a 5. Germany would be a 5. But let's remember that if nobody can USE the power, generating efficiency is meaningless. And people in Japan pay more for electricity than people in Saudi Arabia.

The final paragraph of the article is really the best part. I have seen the science and done the math. It is a hugely important idea and it works. Solar from space is a great idea that needs support.

Rating: -2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: The reactors inside the No. 1 plant are full of unknown challenges. We have no choice but to use our available knowledge to create robots that can deal with these problems. See in context

The quote is a non-sequitur. It is hyperbole.

I can think of a lot of worse things for a government to spend money on, but making an appeal this way is just wrong. Let's parse it, shall we?

"full of unknown challenges" How would we know that? It is unknown, right? And if they are unknown... let's just do everything to be sure.

"We have no choice" Well, yes we do. The reason you are on an ADVISORY committee is because people have choices to make based on your opinions. Of course we have choices.

"robots... deal with" Oh. Right. Let's let THE ROBOTS deal with the problems. The robots can't do jack. People have to deal with the problems.

Ugh. This is an academic. Pandering. The worst kind. Tell you what. Let's just keep doing what we are doing because there are plenty of technologies coming down the pike. The more we use panic to ask for money, the worse off technology will be. I propose that the stance of Japan's leaders should be to SHOW people that technology is useful and that people are competent. That might not be best for budgets or headlines, but Japan does best when it relies upon itself.

I am fully confident that Japan has all the resources it needs to solve the technical problems with Fukushima Daiichi. Unfortunately, Japan's PR machine cannot compete with hysterical housewives. Whipping up the housewives with hyperbole is not helping matters.

Rating: -4 ( +0 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan's grim population outlook makes immigration talk inevitable See in context

I am pretty sure that people don't know what "inevitable" really means. And just as evidence, let me say that I think I saw this same headline over a decade ago. Maybe two.

Rating: 1 ( +1 / -0 )

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