HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » bananas » Journal
Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Next »

bananas

Profile Information

Member since: Tue Nov 9, 2004, 11:55 PM
Number of posts: 27,509

Journal Archives

Japan lawmaker breaks taboo with nuclear fears letter for emperor

Source: Reuters

A Japanese lawmaker handed Emperor Akihito a letter on Thursday expressing fear about the health impact of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, breaking a taboo by trying to involve the emperor in politics.

Taro Yamamoto, who is also an anti-nuclear activist, gave Akihito the letter during a garden party, setting off a storm of protest on the Internet from critics shocked at his action.

"I wanted to directly tell the emperor of the current situation," Yamamoto told reporters, referring to the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant north of Tokyo, which has been leaking radioactivity since it was battered by an earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.

"I wanted him to know about the children who have been contaminated by radiation. If this goes on, there will be serious health impacts."

<snip>

Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/japan-lawmaker-breaks-taboo-nuclear-fears-letter-emperor-110130052.html



Wait, why is this considered "politics"? This transcends "politics" - it's unquestionably a disaster for Japan as well as a global disaster - rated 7 on the INES scale.

Why shouldn't the Emperor speak about it? Oh wait, he did - last year - he was censored:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/03/japan-in-uproar-over-censorship-of-emperors-anti-nuclear-speech/255025/

Japan in Uproar Over Censorship of Emperor's Anti-Nuclear Speech
Michael McAteer Mar 26 2012, 8:46 AM ET

Why did Japanese TV channels cut Emperor Akihito's address on the one-year anniversary of the Fukushima crisis?

There is a particularly sensitive accusation reverberating through online discussion boards and social media in Japan: that Emperor Akihito's speech on the one year anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami was censored on TV for his comments about the nuclear disaster at Fukushima.

The 78-year-old Emperor Akihito had insisted on attending the memorial service, though he had been released from the hospital for heart bypass surgery less than a week earlier. While the emperor is technically just a figurehead, he is still deeply revered here. Many Japanese see him a source of guidance in times of political difficulty, which have been many in the last 20 years. His speech was highly anticipated. Unlike Prime Minister Noda, who never mentioned the nuclear crisis in his speech on the anniversary, the Emperor addressed it directly.

As this earthquake and tsunami caused the nuclear power plant accident, those living in areas designated as the danger zone lost their homes and livelihoods and had to leave the places they used to live. In order for them to live there again safely, we have to overcome the problem of radioactive contamination, which is a formidable task.


While this statement may seem more obvious than radical to outsiders, underneath the Imperial-grade Japanese understatement were two ideas that have become quietly explosive. First, he seemed to suggest that the nuclear crisis is not over, a "formidable task" yet to be overcome. This noticeably contradicts the government's official stance that Fukushima has achieved a cold shutdown and, for all practical purposes, the crisis is over. Second, it implies that it is not yet safe for people to return to areas stricken with high levels of radiation, at least not before the "formidable task" is "overcome." This, again, contradicts the government's position that it is now safe for people to return to almost all areas and that neither Tokyo Electric Power Company nor the national government are obliged to assist in long term evacuations.

<snip>

"The emperor's words were like a knife to my heart." tweeted @shun1sta, in a string of comments typical of the public reaction. "He seemed in such pain as well... I can only imagine the determination he felt to say what he did." "It seems to me that the Emperor was doing the most he could do, despite the constraints of his position, to communicate his opinion on the nuclear matter." "Surely the government asked him not to mention the nuclear crisis. He must have fought hard to tell the truth."

It is rare for Emperor Akihito, an accomplished biologist and the world's leading authority on certain species of Gobi Fish, to publicly take sides on any subject other than biology. It is said that his love for the sciences is partly due to the ease in which his colleagues can disagree with him. The reverence he commands in other spheres is so strong that, when it comes to politics, his opinion is considered a constitutionally guarded state secret. His normal silence only adds to the weight of his rare public statements on such matters.

<snip>

Office workers march in anti-nuclear demonstration in Tokyo

Source: Asahi Shimbun



Anti-nuclear protesters, many wearing business suits, marched through Tokyo’s Shinbashi district in the evening of Oct. 30.

Most of the attendees came straight from their offices to take part in the 40-minute demo.

The group started at a park near Shinbashi Station at 7 p.m and marched nearly 2 kilometers in the business district, shouting slogans such as “No to restarts,” “Stop contaminated water” and “Stop export.”

<snip>

The event organizer’s aim was to increase the involvement of office workers, who generally hesitate to join demonstrations. Ordinary people are generally not taking any action, the organizer said.

<snip>

About 600 people attended the march, the organizer said.

Read more: http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201310310072

Tesla Motors completes West Coast supercharger route

Source: CBS 8 San Diego

People who own Tesla Model S electric cars can now travel from San Diego to Vancouver for free.

Tesla Motors has completed its West Coast supercharger route, which includes stations along Highway 101 and Interstate 5.

<snip>

The superchargers are located near amenities like restaurants and roadside diners, so owners can stop for a quick meal while their Model S charges for free.

Read more: http://www.cbs8.com/story/23835702/tesla-motors-completes-west-coast-supercharger-route

Local woman explains why she was driving while wearing Google Glass

Source: CBS 8 San Diego

In a possible high-tech first, a Temecula woman helping Google test its prototype eyeglass-style wearable computer system got a traffic ticket in San Diego for sporting the equipment while driving on Interstate 15.

Cecilia Abadie told CBS News8 that she was pulled over near Aero Drive for going 80mph in a 65 zone, and thought she was only going to get a ticket for speeding. But when the CHP officer saw her wearing her Google Glass device, he wasn't happy.

"He was very annoyed and not having a very nice attitude," Abadie said. "And he kept asking me, 'Why, why would you wear a device like that when you are driving?'"

<snip>

"I said but it's not illegal, right? And then he said he it is illegal. I was very shocked. I didn't expect that answer. I had never heard of that before."

The law cited states that it is illegal to "drive a motor vehicle if a television receiver, a video monitor, or a television or video screen, or any other similar means of visually displaying a television broadcast or video signal that produces entertainment or business applications, is operating and is located in the motor vehicle at a point forward of the back of the driver's seat, or is operating and the monitor, screen, or display is visible to the driver."

<snip>

Read more: http://www.cbs8.com/story/23836671/local-woman-explains-why-she-was-driving-while-wearing-google-glass

Homer’s Last Theorem

In The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets, which comes out today, Simon Singh shows how a series of brilliant Simpsons writers have made the beloved cartoon series smarter about math and science than you ever would have guessed. The following is adapted from the book and published here with the permission of Bloomsbury USA.

<snip>

The bits of mathematical scribbling on Homer’s blackboard in “The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace” were introduced into the script by David S. Cohen, who was part of a new generation of mathematically minded writers who joined The Simpsons in the mid-1990s. Like Simpsons writers Al Jean and Mike Reiss before him, Cohen had exhibited a genuine talent for mathematics at a young age. At home, he regularly read his father’s copy of Scientific American and toyed with the mathematical puzzles in Martin Gardner’s monthly column. Moreover, at Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood, N.J., he was co-captain of the mathematics team that became state champions in 1984.

At the same time, Cohen maintained an interest in comedy writing and comic books. Even when he went on to study physics at Harvard University, he maintained his interest in writing and joined the Harvard Lampoon, eventually becoming president. Over time, Cohen’s passion for comedy and writing overtook his love of mathematics and physics, and he rejected a career in academia in favor of becoming a writer for The Simpsons. Every so often, however, Cohen returns to his roots by smuggling mathematics into the TV series. The symbols and diagrams on Homer’s blackboard provide a good example of this.

Cohen was keen in this instance to include scientific equations alongside the mathematics, so he contacted one of his high school friends, David Schiminovich, who had stayed on the academic path to become an astronomer at Columbia University. ...

<snip>

More: http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2013/10/29/the_simpsons_and_fermat_s_last_theorem_wizard_of_evergreen_terrace_has_brilliant.html





TVA buys more wind power, plans for future with renewables

Source: Chattanooga Times Free Press

TVA is sniffing the wind and making some baby steps we hope will grow to have giant footprints.

This month, the utility that serves seven states began tilting for windmills -- not against them.

The Tennessee Valley Authority this month signed nine contracts with wind farms in Iowa, Kansas and Illinois. That wind power will generate 1,542 megawatts of energy in the Tennessee Valley, adding to the 27 megawatts already made in Tennessee at the utility's Buffalo Mountain, the first and only commercial, utility-scale wind farm in the Southeast.

<snip>

For years, TVA seemed bent on ignoring the air and carbon problems its coal-heavy power generation created. The utility skirted some federal regulations for cleaner air, claiming its aging plants were grandfathered in under "best-technology" rules. Finally in 2011, TVA agreed to retire 18 older coal-fired units at three plants to settle environmental lawsuits with several states and environmental groups.

<snip>

Read more: http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2013/oct/30/tilting-for-windmillstva-buys-more-wind-power/

Monitoring of Parts in Old U.S. Nuclear Plants Called Unfocused

Source: Bloomberg

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s monitoring of aging components in nuclear power plants is “not focused or coordinated,” raising concern that the some safety risks may go undiscovered, according to a watchdog report.

The Oct. 28 report from Stephen Dingbaum, the NRC’s assistant inspector general for audits, comes as some nuclear power plants seek extensions on their operating licenses beyond 40 years.

“Despite concerns of component aging in nuclear power plants that are growing older, the agency does not routinely collect and monitor instances of active component failures due to aging,” Dingbaum wrote.

The NRC “cannot be fully assured that it is effectively overseeing licensees’ management of aging active components,” Dingbaum said in the report.

<snip>

Read more: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-10-29/monitoring-of-parts-in-old-u-dot-s-dot-nuclear-plants-called-unfocused

Arrests Call Into Question Nuclear Plant Employee Training

Source: NBC Chicago

Two more Dresden Nuclear Power Plant employees have been arrested in the past month, further calling into question the security screening that all nuclear power plant employees must undergo on a regular basis.

<snip>

The Dresden plant is one of six Illinois nuclear power plants operated by Exelon. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has ordered Exelon to retrain all workers in those plants on proper security procedures, specifically on how to recognize and report suspicious behavior among employees.

It's the direct result of the activities of Michael Buhrman and Landon Brittain, two former high-ranking Dresden employees who were senior nuclear operators at the plant.

Brittain is awaiting trial in DuPage County Jail, and Buhrman was just returned to the U.S. by federal marshalls after being arrested in Venezuela.

<snip>

IN the past 24 hours, the NRC has issued a personal letter to Burhmain and Brittain formally prohibiting involvement in any future license nuclear activities to protect the public health and safety.

<snip>

Read more: http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/Arrests-Call-Into-Question-Nuclear-Plant-Employee-Training-229795161.html

Pasta And Depression Linked? Study Finds Carbs And Red Meat May Cause Mood Disorders

Source: Latin Times

When one thinks of comfort food, pasta or its many derivatives often comes to find. But a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health debunks the idea that pasta can make you feel better. In fact, it finds the exact opposite. Published in the journal "Brain, Behavior, and Immunity," the new study has some groundbreaking findings that suggest that certain foods can play a role in making you clinically depressed.

When headline grabbing studies like these are released, many point out sample size and study length as a loophole for how valid the findings are. But the researchers in the pasta and depression study spent 12 years tracking over 43,000 women and their diets. Not a single subject had depression at the beginning of the study, but by the end, the picture was much different. The findings were clear cut: Women who ate fatty red meat, consumed refined grains (translation: pasta, white bread, chips and crackers) and drank soda were 29 to 41 percent more likely to be diagnosed for or treated for depression than their counterparts. Additionally, the women who consumed the foods mentioned also had higher biomarkers for inflammation.

This study builds on findings reported earlier this year from scientists at the University of Eastern Finland, which suggest that a healthy diet reduces the risk of severe depression. "The study reinforces the hypothesis that a healthy diet has potential not only in the warding off of depression, but also in its prevention," said Anu Ruusunen, MSc, to Science Daily, adding that foods that are associated with lower risk of depression include: vegetables, fruits, berries, whole-grains, poultry, fish and low-fat cheese. Science Daily reported that a "high consumption of sausages, processed meats, sugar-containing desserts and snacks, sugary drinks, manufactured foods, French rolls and baked or processed potatoes was associated with an increased prevalence of elevated depressive symptoms."

<snip>

Read more: http://www.latintimes.com/articles/9697/20131029/pasta-depression-linked-study-refined-grains-health.htm

Iranian reform campaigner is jailed

Source: Associated Press



An Iranian actress and political reformer has been jailed for 18 months on security charges in another sign of the tension between Iran's hard-line judiciary and calls for greater openness by new president Hassan Rouhani.

The case of 24-year-old Pegah Ahangarani also points to the internal - and sometimes conflicting - centres of power in Iran. News of her jailing came a day after authorities ordered the closure of the pro-reform Bahar daily for publishing a commentary considered offensive to Islam by raising questions about the successors of the Prophet Mohammed.

<snip>

Ms Ahangarani, who has appeared in about 20 films, has been detained twice since the protests in 2009 over the disputed re-election of then president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but she was released without charges. Recently, she has been banned from travelling abroad.

<snip>

Shortly after Rouhani's election victory, Ms Ahangarani asked him at a public meeting to appoint a culture minister who would be able to deliver promises on "freedom of thought and expression." She also said "incompetent" officials were the country's "biggest enemy."

Read more: http://www.independent.ie/world-news/iranian-reform-campaigner-is-jailed-29708179.html
Go to Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Next »