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Earthquake and Tsunami hit Japan - comments? 
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Post Earthquake and Tsunami hit Japan - comments?
Well I hope this isn't too sad or "off" a topic for these Forums.
My idea was asking you guys to post your opinions and predictions how much this horrible event will have an impact on the entire planet (economy, further improvements of warning systems, nuclear power plants, etc.)

It goes without saying that my thoughts are with all the victims of this horrible event. I don't say that as an obligatory throwaway phrase, I mean it.

Please do not hesitate pointing it out if you think this topic doesn't belong here (is/will be discussed ad nauseum elsewhere).


Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:19 pm
Post Re: Earthquake and Tsunami hit Japan - comments?
Environmentally, they've had some damage to their nuclear plants, but the facilities appear to be well-built enough that the most disastrous extent of the radiation has not been able to leak. People are rightly scared of the possibility of another Chernobyl, but, if anything, this disaster has thus far been a positive demonstration of what plant technology can do when it's properly built and maintained. Of course, that might be famous last words, considering that the true extent of the damage has yet to be revealed and there have been recent reports of melting fuel rods.

Economically, it's going to be rough--hundreds of billions of dollars lost, easily. Japan, like any other developed nation, has a sizable debt and an inextricable connection with the other major world economies via trade. Everyone's going to feel the pinch. The more that other nations pitch in to help, the more they'll blunt the severity of the pinch for everyone involved, both by spreading a little desperately-needed wealth and by the economic boost that such efforts tend to generate.

As for what's happened to the people themselves, it breaks my heart. I can't imagine what it's like to see the remains of those who were swept away washing back up to the beach. I have been avoiding really tuning into this tragedy, because not much good can come of seeing the same 10 second clips of horror played over and over again on the cable news, but I do get the basic facts through outlets like Facebook and Twitter. George Takei in particular has been quite vocal about the importance of donating to relief efforts.

By way of him, here's a number you can dial to send $10 to Red Cross. Write "REDCROSS" in a text message and send to 90999. When you get a message back, send "YES" to the same number. Obviously, this isn't the only way to donate, but it's simple and instant.


Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:26 pm
Post Re: Earthquake and Tsunami hit Japan - comments?
This is a real tragedy. The remarkable thing about the Japanese infrastructure is that an earthquake of this magnitude resulted in so little loss of life and damage to property. That would have flattened most countries.

Unfortunately, the tsunami it triggered did flatten cities and has resulted in tremendous loss of life. We've all seen those remarkable images, but there hasn't been a lot of the human element on the news. The BBC had a brief interview with a man looking for his wife and daughters and the way he was struggling to contain his composure just about broke my heart.

I don't know how much tsunami warning systems can be improved. Supposedly, the warning sirens did fire, but there's little one can do that close to the epicentre. The warnings certainly helped Hawaii where the government managed to evacuate the coast in time, even though the damage is negligible in comparison.

Ken wrote:
Environmentally, they've had some damage to their nuclear plants, but the facilities appear to be well-built enough that the most disastrous extent of the radiation has not been able to leak. People are rightly scared of the possibility of another Chernobyl, but, if anything, this disaster has thus far been a positive demonstration of what plant technology can do when it's properly built and maintained. Of course, that might be famous last words, considering that the true extent of the damage has yet to be revealed and there have been recent reports of melting fuel rods.


I've spent some time reading about this and as far as I can ascertain, a Chernobyl type event is extremely unlikely. However, it should be noted that the Fukushima 1 reactor is based on very old technology and doesn't even have a concrete dome (now mandatory). Cruelly, the reactor was supposed to be closed sometime this month which makes the timing of the earthquake even sadder.

It seems that the worst case is slightly worse than Three Mile Island (I hope). Ms. Fonda and others were very vocal about that event, but overall it released a trivial amount of radiation. For comparison, the radiation found in milk after that event was comparable to the 1/75th of the radiation found in a common banana [wikipedia.org].

Countries are already re-considering nuclear because of this (Germany and Switzerland have already made announcements) which is unfortunate. Nuclear doesn't seem to be the problem. It's those old nuclear plants using outdated technology. New plants pose very little risk (and produce much less nuclear waste), but most countries are reluctant to build them because of the negative way nuclear energy is perceived.


Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:49 pm
Post Re: Earthquake and Tsunami hit Japan - comments?
In principle, the risk of nuclear disaster can be compared to the risk of a plane crash: highly unlikely, but, because of how the media runs with it, greatly exaggerated. The risk of disasters with more conventional technologies (examples: cars in transportation, coal-fired power plants in energy production) is actually much more common and costly.


Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:08 pm
Post Re: Earthquake and Tsunami hit Japan - comments?
Man, I thought the last year's big earthquake in Haiti(and Chile) was tragic, but this... there's just no way for me to it into words, it's way too much to take in, so i'm not going to be reading any more articles related to this disaster if I can help it.


Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:18 pm
Post Re: Earthquake and Tsunami hit Japan - comments?
...and meanwhile Christchurch, NZ picks up their pieces and moves to the back page of the paper.


Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:59 pm
Post Re: Earthquake and Tsunami hit Japan - comments?
I live in the Bay Area and we are all watching this with an uneasy sense of seeing our future
I donated on the Apple site
I have been to Japan several times. They have a culture second to none - just makes me sad
Rob


Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:50 am
Post Re: Earthquake and Tsunami hit Japan - comments?
Glenn Beck said it all. God be hatin'.

*sigh*

I wish the media would focus less on what everything meant to us. The Japanese are in trouble. Cover them. God bless NPR.


Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:36 pm
Post Re: Earthquake and Tsunami hit Japan - comments?
SoundSanity wrote:
Glenn Beck said it all. God be hatin'.

*sigh*

I wish the media would focus less on what everything meant to us. The Japanese are in trouble. Cover them. God bless NPR.


Wel I don't live in the US - and here it comes. I don't have a tv set. I can't stand he way tv programs are made and presented today.
I read and check on the Web. All I care for at the moment is the Japanese people. I hope they will be able to rebuilt, have the strength to get over such a traumatic event - and carry on ASAP.
About nuke plants: I've always been against them (this is not a Japanese issue, but a worldwide issue, it took one of the worst natural disasters for the German government - a bad joke BTW - to get their fat and gay asses to move and consider shutting down nuke plans a little faster than that slow "closing down" program which is taking forever). Shut 'em all down already! The "modern ones" are Safe! Yeah sure..... Ka-Boooom!
Those "stupid" bearded anti-nuke students in the early 70s were right. Wasn't Chernobyl enough to prove their point? Apparently not.

Don't get me started on nuclear waste and storage - all over the planet.

Besides this my thoughs are with all the Japanese people who went through this ordeal and who lost (or are still searching for) their beloved ones.


Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:37 pm
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