Klein2 comments

Posted in: Do you think Prime Minister Naoto Kan made the right decision when he asked Chubu Electric to shut down the Hamaoka nuclear plant which stands in an area where a magnitude-8 earthquake is strongly pro See in context

No. It was illegal, confiscatory, and based on spurious speculation that was NOT intended for use in support of this kind of policy.

He is a demagogue. He made this decision to save his party and destroy due process.

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Posted in: Pakistan warns U.S. of supply line cut if missile attacks don't stop See in context

Just to step out of this and give some perspective, has anyone seen "Charlie Wilson's war"? OK. It is Hollywood, I admit, but interesting Hollywood.

In the very early 80s, Pakistan was instrumental in channeling Israeli weapons paid for by Saudi money into Afghanistan to fight the Soviets. They have been taking a cut ever since. A big cut. For 30 years now. Then as now, they have a HUGE interest in keeping the good times rolling. Seriously, what else has this country got going for its future?

Bin Laden was worth 25 million to the guy who shot him, but it is no exaggeration to say that he was worth 25 BILLION to the Pakistan nation. So they are bummed. Somebody killed their goose that lays golden eggs. The attack to get Bin Laden was the right thing to do. They should protest, but not too much.

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Posted in: Depp steers 'Pirates' into critical seas of Cannes See in context

"Pirates" at Cannes. Like a Prius at the Indy 500.

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Posted in: Temporary police booth established in Fukushima evacuee shelter See in context

Not late, I would say. Just in time.

Two months, people. It has been two months. These people still in the shelters are practically a smorgasbord for graft, corruption, and any kind of exploitation you might think of. I might just as well add endless proselytizing as another hazard of shelter life.

These people should be moved to real homes in real communities as soon as possible. Most would be better off just starting over.

Having police is a good move, but a weird dynamic might be starting. Are they going to be watching the outsiders, or the residents? WIll they be used more and more to settle disputes? They probably should not get involved in that. These shelters might be turning into pseudo-societies, like prisons. Already, they are filled by people with no jobs, no households to speak of, an ambiguous social role, no plans, no consumption decisions or choices. I think these places are pathological.

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Posted in: Some disaster-hit areas have had to stop accepting donated items because of a lack of storage space? What can be done to alleviate this problem? See in context

I knew this was going to happen by about 3.20. This region cannot except all the cast off clothing of an entire planet.

What is "this problem?" To alleviate this problem, donation of clothing should be left to LOCAL donations only in the future. Seasons, fashions, etc. are best matched from people in the region, and I am SURE that enough was donated from Japan that it alone was sufficient.

As for THIS problem, Fadamor seems to have the right idea, but it won't work. The fan heaters are a hazard to store in huge numbers. The clothes will go out of style. (Imagine surviving a tsunami and then having to wear bellbottoms or overalls for the next three weeks.) In this humidity, it will cost more to store them than they are worth, and some will get all moldy no matter what you do.

The best thing to do is probably to .... well.... why not let the experts handle it? Hard Off, Book off, used clothing stores. Let them each have a truckload and try to put it into their pipeline. They will have to hire and train employees to sort, clean, fold, etc. The gift of jobs would be helpful, and the items will not just go to waste.

I went to a makeshift landfill in Sendai this week. People are throwing away thousands (millions?) of tons of stuff. Stuff. And more stuff. Sodai gomi paradiso. I talked with this cute attendant there. I asked her if it was good to see people who were cleaning up and getting their lives started again. No. Her first comment was, "Sugoi Mottainai!!" Uh huh. By the way, there was a fire at one of these places in Sendai last week, which highlights the dangers of storing fan heaters and spontaneous combustion that can occur when you try to stockpile anything.

Stuff needs to be reused, then recycled. Distribution is the problem, not accumulation.

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Posted in: Kan to forgo PM's salary until nuclear crisis brought under control See in context

Oh no. An "out of control" "nuclear crisis" that has neither killed nor injured anyone.

Well, if Kan can't save us from this calamity, he certainly should be lashed with a wet noodle.

It would all be harmless fun if there weren't more serious issues to be tackled. Cleo alludes to that, but it is only the tip of the iceberg. Frankly Kan can't do jack about Fukushima, so he ought to do something else for the rest of the country.

And while the rest of Japan is watching paint dry in Fukushima, we in the rest of Tohoku are watching the death toll INCH to 15000. It was at 14987 today, so only a few more bodies to go before we hit the magic number. Then maybe Kan will care. I doubt it.

I find it odd that people are transfixed by a non-disaster as they ignore the real one. Manipulated by media much, everyone?

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Posted in: Before the nuclear crisis that followed the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, did you know what becquerels and millisieverts were? If not, do you know their significance now? See in context

Yes becq, and no millisiev. I learned the latter quickly as a matter of life and death, and I had to do it from the katakana, with no internet. I had a CRC, luckily, and some other resources.

I understand the latter well enough to make life and death decisions for me and my family now, which I guess makes me an expert.

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Posted in: Depp sends message to Japan at 'Pirates' world premiere See in context

Lady Gaga would have come to the premiere.

Just before he did 21 Jump Street, Johnny Depp was living in his car. Now he is just too busy to come to Japan when its people obviously would love to see him make the effort.

I think it is pretty clear what Depp is saying to Japan: "What have you done for me lately?"

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Posted in: Bin Laden's death provides fodder for U.S. TV late-night hosts See in context

I suspect a lot of this is New York bias. Letterman and Steward and the others really really took the attacks personally, and are savoring the vengeance aspect of it.

It is odd that people see this as a milestone or watershed of some kind. I always thought that the goals of the war on terruh were so much greater than one man, so I paid attention to the geopolitical ebb and flow. I thought OBL was dead a long time ago. He was not that important, I thought. But, I guess it turns out that most people view this as some big football game. Now I wonder why I had assumed otherwise.

What I am even more sure about is that 9/11 did something awful to the American spirit. People should be looking forward to the next victory, and the next, instead of just gloating over this and then joking about it. I think my viewpoint is a lot like that of that SEALS themselves. You go in, do your job, and move on. Everyone else is having a party and doing the back slapping, as though they had some part in it. Like fans after a football game.

I was actually AT a football game when Noriega's capture was announced. It was bizarre to see the cheering for that kind of political victory at a sports contest. It was not a juxtaposition at all. The announcement fit the mood perfectly, and the cheers blended right in. And nobody ever ever gave thought to the fact that Noriega had been OUR guy once, just as OBL was. Like Randy Moss or Brett Favre, Noriega and OBL got traded to the other team some time ago, so of course you root against them, and you cheer all the harder when they get nailed in a tackle. Now people are wondering if "the tuck rule" should have been enforced in this case, right?

But good thing our team won, eh? Woo hoo!

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Posted in: Peace effort See in context

"get some signs in japanese though as the english speaking community is one of the smallest minorities in"

Ah but Sharpie, maybe the goal is not to collect funds, but to SHOW AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE that they are collecting funds.

Maybe I am a tad too cynical, but I would say that a lot of aid organizations need funding more than people in Ishinomaki need a hot meal these days.

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Posted in: N Korea detains 2 Japanese over drugs, counterfeit money See in context

It looks weird to me. Could the drug and counterfeit trade IN Nork be that profitable that these guys would risk it? Even assuming that the companies were bogus fronts, these guys were suits, not hippies.

So why are three guys in suits doing trade with Norks in drugs and counterfeit bills? Kim can't even buy tractor parts for his people.

Well, we will never hear their side of the story, unless Masaki Furuya has something to say.

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Posted in: Watching, a stone’s throw away in Iwate See in context

It is a good article about the frustration a lot of people feel in Tohoku. We all hurried up to get our lives back to normal, now we are in this long period of waiting.... waiting.... and worrying about things over which we have no control.

Maybe it is the long hangover of the adrenaline rush of the first week. Scrambling for heat, food, clean water, then gasoline. It has all given way to wondering about rent and jobs again.

A festival or two in Sendai has been cancelled, but things will be getting back to normal soon. Some businesses have failed, and people have moved away, but as things get cleaned up, we can look forward to better times.

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Posted in: What are you doing in your daily life to conserve electricity? See in context

YongYang might be mistaken. Assuming that you are using a laptop and a hot seat for 24 hours a day, that might be 60 W for the computer and 20 W for the hot seat, so the PC uses THREE TIMES AS MUCH!

But my wife made this mistake: the toilet seat is on ALL DAY, definitely. The PC might be used 6 hours a day, with sleep the rest of the time. The sleep phase power consumption might be 5 W or less, so the PC might actually use less power overall. In our case, my wife kept a heater in the bathroom that I think cost us 600-1000 yen during December. 24 hour a day heating is just stupid. This is exactly why a good refrigerator is money in the bank.

If it is the right kind of laptop, just keep it on the toilet seat and close the lid. It will keep things plenty warm. Ha.

If it is not a laptop, all bets are off. Old monitors use 60-100 W or more all by themselves, and the fans, hard drives, etc of desktop machines all need power too. Sleep mode with the monitor turned off is not bad, but it still does not get you to zero power consumption.

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Posted in: What are you doing in your daily life to conserve electricity? See in context

There are a couple of points people should remember.

First, PEAK capacity is the problem. Usually, power companies can generate enough electricity to meet demand fr0m 10 pm to about 8 am or so, but they cannot meet demand during other times. Therefore, trying to save electricity between 10p and 8a is not going to make much of a difference beyond... being green. ANd YES, consumers need to cut back. Consumers compete with businesses for that precious capacity between 8a and 10 p.

Second, heating and cooling take A LOT of electricity. If you want to heat water for tea, fill the kettle, leave it out for a few hours, and THEN heat it up. It uses a lot less electricity and takes less time to heat it up (100 W becomes 50 W). If you heat with electric carpet or electric blankets, that is ok (remember that night use is not a problem), but turn them off when the sun comes up (0.2 kWh). Microwave ovens typically use 500-700 W compared to a convection oven, which uses 1 kW or more, but microwave ovens do the cooking in 1-3 minutes, not 10-20 minutes, so they use about a tenth of the power. I try to bake and cook at night or early morning, and then reheat food for breakfast or maybe lunch. Doing laundry late at night is good too. Washer motors use a few hundred watts, usually.

Think of peak consumption and then total consumption. Use LED and CF bulbs for lights that will burn long and often. Use old incandescents for lights that get flipped on and off a few minutes each time. DONT use even a small incandescent for a night light, use an LED.

Finally, I guess, I would advise people to just do the math. Read the labels on your appliances. A slow cooker or crock pot MIGHT be better than a frying pan. The former might use 100 W for 8 hours, but the latter might use 1 kW for one hour (and remember that you want to keep PEAK usage down anyway). You might find that all the energy you are saving by scurrying around doing this or that is a fifth of what you would save by just getting a new refrigerator (if you buy on credit, the electricity savings will pay your borrowing costs). A hot toilet seat 24 hours a day is quite probably using more energy than all the lights in your apt.

"Doing the math" is what I have done for a long time, but in the last two months, I have been able to cut usage by about 30%.

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Posted in: BIN LADEN BURIED AT SEA AFTER BEING KILLED IN FIREFIGHT WITH U.S. FORCES See in context

It is news. News for the day. You know now I know it is not over? All the people dancing around in New York and Washington reminded me most of all of the dancing radicals celebrating 9/11 and victory in Iraq, and this or that "victory" someplace. There will just be more tit and more tat. Which certainly means that nothing has changed. Islamic extremism preceded him, and I have no doubt that it will continue.

Celebration? OK. But I don't see much that has changed. The death of one man is a milestone? Symbolic I guess. What is the practical significance?

This makes very little difference to my everyday life. That it matters so much to so many people surprises me. What are people feeling? A decade and thousands of deaths were leading up to this moment?

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Posted in: Golden Week volunteers overwhelm some disaster sites See in context

"It is awesome to see the number of people with a desire to help the stricken."

The stricken. The poor. The aged. The disabled.

All of those people used to have lives and dignity and humanity. Now they are just adjectives whom someone can feel sorry for. The shelters must seem like a zoo.

56 of 65 of the areas where people who have been displaced now reside have asked that no new volunteers come. All of those people need to get their lives in order. They need to have attention by local governments and some kind of stability and routine. However well intentioned the volunteer tourists might be, they have been asked, politely, for about 4 weeks now by my reckoning, to just stay away.

Alternatively, I know it lacks a human touch, but take a group and go stack garbage at the coast. There is all kinds of stuff scattered everywhere, and it will take money to gather it up and get rid of it all. Or go clear a train station up the coast as the US military have been doing.

Think seriously about your motivations and consider that when you are not really helping people by volunteering, you are performing a selfish act, not a selfless one.

"Most of the victims right now are receiving one meal a day."

There is no way that Hakujinsensei could know this. I believe it is false. I do not know how it could possibly be true. I see the same demagoguery rearing up now as I did a couple of weeks ago for Fukushima. Like this:

"Big misconceptions propagated by the media/authorities so they don't look bad."

Yeah. It is one big bad conspiracy delicately and skillfully handled by people who are at the same time too stupid to do their jobs right, is that it? And how about this? Families, for instance those with four kids, are being given 8.9 man per month in rent subsidies to go find homes to rent, and there are thousands of temporary homes being constructed right now, but Hakujinsensei lets this fly:

"There is not enough food and besides housing it is the greatest need right now."

And Elbuda tells us not to trust the media. ONLY TRUST HEARSAY, everyone.

"This info I am getting from volunteers (Japanese) also robberies, murders etc..are happening in these disaster areas but the regular NHK, etc..WILL NOT COVER nor BROADCAST any of this kind of news."

Wow. News organizations will not cover it. Amazing. And considering the number of police I see in those areas, this seems extremely unlikely. ElBuda, even the LOCAL papers cannot find these stories you hear about. Doesn't that seem odd to you? Don't you think a crisis of public safety, if it existed, would be reported?

But can we all consider that if ElBuda was correct, then maybe limiting the number of outsiders bothering victims day and night would be a GOOD thing, right?

I am all in favor of reinstating civil order in these areas and kicking all the do-gooders out to go do-good someplace else. If you want to help, write a letter to your rep. in Nagatacho and let them fund local governments to help their own people. I do not see how this circus of chaos and people coming and going is a good thing. Get nagatacho to fund some real companies hiring real workers who can act professionally and get to work.

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Posted in: 2:46 Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake See in context

"It occurs to me while reading that we are still caught in it."

And "we" is an editor in Tokyo? Puh... leeze.

I classify this stuff as DISASTER PORN. People who will enjoy this are people who want to be connected, to say, "What was it like?" It is just as natural for people to scurry to safety as it is for them to have a peek at the danger they "narrowly avoided". Just to tell the parents back home.

All of the YOUTUBE videos, the special anniversaries and TV programs, the charity events, the hundreds of NGOs who have so crowded disaster zones (all 65 of them!) that they are now being turned away. What is going on?

It is a spasm of tragedy, concern, and whatever emotion you want to throw in there. Now you can read other people's stories and feel like you too were right here. RIGHT HERE! Bravery, courage, luck, etc. But without the ocean stench, lines for gasoline, and wafting radiation!

If it is so great, come and live in Sendai. Every waitress, every teller, every cashier, every resident has a story to tell. Not a few people are sick of it. We had good, interesting lives before the quake, and it would be nice to just have that back, thank you very much, without a lot of anxiety about whether the rest of Japan views this all as more than a carnival.

Buy the book. Have your fun. But if you need to read stories about it to feel something, I would say you missed it. If you are yearning to relive that, you weren't close enough to "appreciate it" the first time.

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Posted in: 2:46 Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake See in context

"There are no “flyjin” divisions here."

Oh. I bet there are.

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Posted in: S&P downgrades Japan's debt rating to negative See in context

""Ultimately, Japan owes over 90% of its debt to itself..."

And because of that some observers think that Japan will eventually "reset""

Some observers meaning nobody who holds Japanese debt. They keep issuing it and people keep buying it. The last few issues have been way oversubscribed, and the yen can't stay out of the clouds. I dunno, if my choice is listening to a bunch of pinheads at S and P or listening to the market, then that is no choice. These SandP guys are bond trader wannabes. I cannot imagine any lower aspiration.

Besides, people have been hemming and hawing about J debt for years. Remember "Japan is Greece"? That has come and gone.

And another thing, S and P has now invented a "negative rating". What is that? They have AAA, BB, A-1+, and AA-? Seems goofy to me. If they really want to take a stand, why don't they? I suspect it is because they don't want to be wrong.... again.

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Posted in: Donors hand envelopes with cash to evacuees in Ishinomaki See in context

Everyone has missed the obvious.

What is someone in a shelter going to do with 30000 yen? Go buy some dining room chairs? It is too little to pay deposits on an apartment, so what good is it?

The worst thing about this is that they can't do anything with it anyway. It is no help at all. There are usually no stores nearby, and if there were, what would they buy? No vending machines, and none will take these bills anyway. NO ATMs, no cash cards. The ONLY thing it does is breed envy.

I cannot think of a single thing this will buy them that they cannot get for free. This whole thing is much more complicated than money in an envelope.

At best, it is well intended stupidity or performance art. At worst, it is a malicious prank.

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Posted in: Japan's Christians celebrate Easter amid disaster See in context

Cleo, I think some people would say that the disaster showed us the best in ourselves. It gave people a chance to atone and aid others. It gave purpose in life to a lot of people. It vindicated the best qualities of human nature.

Others might say that it is good that it happened now and not a decade earlier or later. The learning that we will do from Fukushima will be that much greater because we have this impending fossil fuel crisis AND economic hardship. Still, the technologies and confidence were available to limit the damage there, and we are fortunate for that. Sensors and satellites and computers were all ready to crunch data from these events, and the damage was great enough that people will be motivated to predict them even better in the future.

If you know Voltaire, you know Candide. Is it a farce? Is it satire? Or is it a statement of human nature that, to go on, we have to believe that we are in the best of all possible worlds? I am not a religious person, but I see a lot of good coming out of all this that wasn't there before. It's not a fact. Just faith. Faith in humanity.

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Posted in: Gov't to launch massive 2-day search for quake bodies See in context

"Surely this is not as complicated as you make out. The missing relatives could submit a DNA sample and have a search run."

Surely surely surely... You seem very sure. Well I won't argue, then. I guess Japanese people will never be able to be as smart as us. Too bad. Gosh. I wish they could figure out this technology stuff they keep talking about.

And you misunderstood my closure comment. I am saying that this will be the last of the publicized search efforts. The government is not expecting to find much after this. It will be the last large organized search, if not the last one. I will say it again, it is time for the survivors to move on unless we are going to make the whole region a cemetery.

Yuri, you and I agree on many things, but your statement is absurd. They have been finding bodies from Mar. 12. They had an aircraft carrier and about a hundred aircraft and at least as many boats out combing the oceans. Half the nation's SDF has been combing the rubble for six weeks. It is neither little nor late.

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Posted in: Some comforted, some cramped in evacuee shelters See in context

Good point Smith. And I think that they ARE allowed to do so. People choose not to do so for various reasons. Would you believe that there are few students moving around even in Sendai? In many smaller towns, there is only one school, and nobody will split up the family.

Went to a chonaikai meeting today and heard from some doctors who had spent time in different shelters up north here. Before I get into that, I should say I am surprised at all the donating and "charity" going on throughout Japan. I hope that the money spent on massages was spent AFTER people made sure that those in the most remote areas are having basic needs met. Charity events and boxes are ubiquitous even in Sendai... and we are victims, aren't we?

The following are comments about Natori, Kessunuma, Ishinomaki and points north. The smell at many of the shelters is described by a physician as "overpowering", and I am thinking he has smelled worse things than I have. People seem to have their basic needs met: water, safety, food, etc. In many places, people are sleeping in shifts and snoring is an important long term problem. Diapers for young and old people will be a continuing problem.

Shelters have assumed different roles according to local or personal needs.

At some shelters, hundreds of people are basically living in cars parked nearby. People want to remain close to their wrecked homes, but rely on shelters for food, water, showers, communications, etc. In some places, there are apparently parking lots filled with people living in their cars. They have gathered for security. I have personally seen this in small clusters.

Other shelters are the sole living space. People will not even venture outside because they want to protect their "han", and they are afraid of aftershocks. Some of these people have homes that can be lived in, but they do not want to leave the certainty of the shelter, which reliably provides all services.

Then there are people living in their own homes, but who lack services. They go to the shelters for various reasons, obviously. Many areas lack shops, electricity and communications.

I want to point out a looming problem. It might be very enlightening for people who call themselves either a liberal or a conservative. Once a government evacuates people or sets up assistance, it creates clients. Whether it is Fukushima or Iwate, these people are now relying on bureaucrats to tell them what to do next, and to "assist" or at least "advise" them. If the government cannot follow through, it will be bad. If it does follow through, it might be bad. Local governments here announced that 100 000 prefab homes would be built. Are they eventually going to be dismantled and shipped someplace else, or are we building a Soweto? Are these people going to be independent again? How is that going to happen?

As I said above, and perhaps MIAMUM and SOUTHSAKAI cannot understand this, many people in shelters do not want to leave... maybe ever. Before 3.11 they were independent. Then they did not die. They are "lucky" to be alive. Now their expectations are extremely low. Many "settle" for security... and dependence.

Five weeks ago, there were 400 000 people in shelters and this was not a concern. Now there are 100 000 people there and probably another 50 000 or so who rely on them. Apparently there are 50 000 families in Fukushima who were displaced? Keep an eye on what happens to civilized society in the coming months. I think resources and bureaucracies can provide for "needs", but some of these commmunities are shattered... like Humpty Dumpty shattered. People will be afraid to start over until some real building gets going.

Nagata cho needs to do something bold and ambitious fast. More diapers and cup noodle will be necessary, but these people need higher purposes.

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Posted in: Gov't to launch massive 2-day search for quake bodies See in context

Smith. Think that one through. DNA?

When one suspects that a sample matches a person, it can be helpful, but I guess you are suggesting that every body found could be tested against a sample of what... a close relative?

So let's say they have what, 1000 unidentified bodies and there are 12,000 missing. I think that is about a jillion tests.

Or let's say you narrow it down by locale, where a body could be any of 500 people. What if it matches 5 people because of all the intermarriage. Or what if it matches none of them because of some hanky panky in the family tree. Or could it be a visitor? Or did the tides carry them northward? In none of those cases is any family going to be helped.

I don't know. I don't think even creative DNA use gets you anywhere.

We all know what this is, don't we? This is it. When this is over, there will be the odd surprise here and there, but we are going to close the book on the deceased and move on when this search effort is over. They are not planning on finding many bodies, but we have to move on.

This is closure.

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Posted in: What's your stance on countries using nuclear power for their energy needs? Are there realistic alternatives and if so, what is the most efficient way to phase out nuclear power? Or is it here to stay See in context

so many reasonable comments here that there is no reason to add too much.

Japan was not dealt a great hand in the natural resources department, so it does what it can. Whatever course Japanese people reasonably choose to follow is fine for me. Up to now, nuclear power has meant independence for Japan as it has worked to free itself first from coal, and then from oil (it imports about as much oil now as in the 70s). It also fits Japan's "swords into plowshares" politics that it incorporates materials that were used in warheads elsewhere.

We had a geothermal accident here in Miyagi not too long ago, which killed at least one person. One more person than Fukushima Daiichi radiation, I guess. But there are advantages in geothermal obviously.

I believe the BloomBox requires natural gas, which Japan lacks. Solar is not efficient for northern areas (two rainy/cloudy days in a row) and older networks. Winds are generally not consistent, making wind systems difficult to finance. Still, Tohoku could probably generate huge surpluses from December through April from Kosa bearing winds, and other times from taifun.

Smart grids using the huge capacity of all those plugged in Prius batteries along with solar, hydro, wind, nuclear, and geothermal resources would be a great system, backed up by highly efficient small generators using diesel or jet engines might eventually be enough. More local means less loss.

The problems at Fukushima Daiichi are extremely valuable for the entire world, and I have remarked publicly that they could not have come at a better time in human history. Imagine. An extreme disaster that has been managed very well, but not well enough. At a very small price, it has forced the world to look into the mirror, and for once, the world does not like what it sees. We humans are resource hogs. Along with higher costs and risks of fossil fuels, this event will mark a turning point in energy development.

Japan has the capital and technology to make the next leap. Now it certainly has the motivation. This is an exciting time to be alive.

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Posted in: Nuclear dilemma: adequate insurance too expensive See in context

Moral hazard. I don't think TEPCO is negligent, but there are some serious social problems that need to be addressed.

I very much hope that nuclear... negotiation is examined carefully after all this. I think the technology is ok, but the people taking the highest risks are not getting the greatest benefits. That has to change. That MUST change. And I don't think regulation or insurance is the answer. That makes me the odd man out, I know, but I think there are other ways. Some of them are almost costless.

High five to Fadamor. Japan can't be as high minded as Germany because it can't leech off of neighboring countries. Well said. By the way, the German left thinks that THIS is the issue that will change everything for them, so they are jumping into the boat with both feet. That is why they are saying such stupid stuff. Ah... who am I kidding... more power to them if they can really find a different way. I don't think they can though. And they certainly should not lie to people.

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Posted in: Is U.S. military relief effort Operation Tomodachi really about friendship? See in context

"unnamed Maritime Self-Defense Force member tells Shukan Post, “All the U.S. side did was send planes and helicopters into the air. The searching was done by Maritime SDF, Japan Coast Guard and Japanese police divers"

I have seen videos online of commanders telling their troops NOT to touch a Japanese person, living or dead. They were instructed to call SDF personnel immediately.

There is no way that I expect enlisted men to understand this directive, but I fully understand it and believe it was generally a wise policy.

To be quite honest, having swarms of aircraft and vessels up and down the coast made me feel good on many occasions. I can just imagine someone looking up from a campfire in Aomori and seeing the Ronald Reagan steaming by. What a hopeful sign that must have been.

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Posted in: Is U.S. military relief effort Operation Tomodachi really about friendship? See in context

Look. My understanding is that fully half of the SDF was up here doing relief. They needed to get to people and help them, and they understand Japanese.

The J government actually ASKED the US, Australia, NZealand, and SKorea for help. I am not aware that they asked anyone else, although help might have been offered.

I was a little worried about how all this would go down, and I think it was handled superbly. US forces were worried about radiation. People were concerned that they would be too John Wayne-ish. So they stepped back into a support role and let the SDF do touchy feely stuff. It was a great move and it demanded class and maturity. They supplied fuel and supplies. They cleared out Sendai airport in record time.

This demands its own paragraph. I know pilots flying in and out of Sendai airport who said that it would be AUGUST before flights would be using the facility. The US Marines turned that AUGUST into APRIL. And that was HUGE for this city. Then they used that facility to enhance aid to Natori and Ishinomaki and turned north to help isolated villages.

Now operation SOUL TRAIN is underway, to clear out train stations along the coast. It is successful and useful.

The important truth that the article ignores is that MANPOWER is in shortest supply in Japan. Paying US forces should not be a big deal. Having big guys with heavy equipment getting infrastructure together is crucial now. Saving SDF for other missions that are sensitive in different ways is important now.

Finally, I cannot think of a better way for people to get to know each other. Sounds corny, but the things that happen in Okinawa occur because soldiers and sailors and airmen are bored or stressed or lonely. Getting them out to DO WHAT THEY DO is the best way to improve their lives and let them see humanity. I almost think that helping people should be taught and experienced before anyone is taught to kill another human, but that is too much to hope for.

80 million? I think Japan is getting its money's worth. I hope politics does not ruin it all, becuase TOMODACHI was a success on a human and operational level.

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Posted in: Would legalized gambling ease Japan's economic woes? See in context

Here is an interesting proposal:

license gamblers. Has anybody ever thought of this?

Given a certain income, a certain knowledge of gaming, and knowledge of hazards of gambling, it might be ok. Don't let poor, stupid or weak people do it, and you can avoid the social disadvantages.

The license fees will be the government's cut... right off the top.

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Posted in: Once the nuclear crisis is brought under control, should TEPCO executives face criminal charges at some point in the future? See in context

I don't really see where Smith called him a criminal. Just saying. Was something deleted?

should they face charges? is the question. Smith says yes.

and then he says Japan always protects white collar criminals. I am inclined to agree.

I have been personally burned by high level white collar crimes in Japan, and yes, the perps do consistently walk. But then, that happens a lot in the US too.

Just to present my unpopular opinion, I see TEPCO had violations in 2002, 2006 and then another. It is all beside the point. I don't see what they credibly should have done before 3.11 that would have made any difference, and their performance after 3.11 has been stellar. Stupendous. They are even retaining financial responsibility, which is certainly not necessary at a time like this. But they do it. They won't give up until they clean up.

The question is "Once (it) is brought under control...". My my. Only recently, the question was "IF..." Who brought us from there to here? TEPCO. Just TEPCO.

The guy will be pilloried and ruined to appease everyone in the shame olympics that is sure to follow all of this, but you know, this was a meteor strike of a situation. Nobody was prepared. You weren't prepared. The SDF wasn't. DMAT teams weren't. Are we going to prosecute everybody?

And if you think an IAEA warning means something, take a look at a nuclear reactor now operating in Azerbaijan (?). It is on the National Geographic website. Have a look. It will curl your hair. See what reckless disdain for safety really means.

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