Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I Thought the Japanese Pampered Their Mutts

I thought the Japanese Pampered Their Mutts. A woman in England has bought her dog a Rolex!

The Daily Mail is there:

BORDER Terrier Smike's owner can't be strapped for cash - she bought him a dog collar with a built in £2,500 Rolex watch.

Pet lover Karen Denney, 30, got her watchdog's bling birthday gift from a pet wear store in St Helens, Merseyside, near her home.
Designer Alison Jones, 27, said: "It's the ultimate accessory."

Read more: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3607806/Watchdog.html#ixzz1NtUCJK37

Nuclear Panic Time? What is Important to You?

I often wonder what people are thinking and how they deem what is important to their lives or not. I never ever wonder if people watch too much TV (they do) or if they are brain-washed by the mass media (they are).

While searching for relative and credible information on the Fukushima nuclear accident and nuclear power in general, I found a forum called, in the expected creative fashion of physicists (I suppose) "Physics Forum" on the Internet that is used by various mathematicians, scientists,  nuclear engineers and physicists to discuss the issues of the day. Some of the things discussed there I found quite interesting. 

There were several threads about Fukushima. The discussions were quite level-headed, it seemed, with a healthy bashing of mass media sensationalism... Just like you've read on this very blog. There were also many scientific comments about the levels of radiation from Fukushima and how the situation was being way blown out of proportion.

I am going to list up just a few of those comments for you and then ask a question that seems to be bothering me concerning my question in the very first sentence of this post; I often wonder what people are thinking and how they deem what is important to their lives or not.

In one thread, several of the engineers were complaining how people are always confusing nuclear energy with nuclear weaponry and how that is a ploy used by the anti-nuclear power lobby to scare people. The over-whelming consensus was that people don't have a clue that there is no way to rationally compare a nuclear weapon and the process one uses to kill people with a nuclear power plant that is designed to generate electricity.

It's true. There's no way that any informed person could compare a nuclear power plant with a nuclear weapon. They are two completely different things. Wikipedia's page on nuclear fission reports:

While the fundamental physics of the fission chain reaction in a nuclear weapon is similar to the physics of a controlled nuclear reactor, the two types of device must be engineered quite differently (see nuclear reactor physics). A nuclear bomb is designed to release all its energy at once, while a reactor is designed to generate a steady supply of useful power. While overheating of a reactor can lead to, and has led to, meltdown and steam explosions, the much lower uranium enrichment makes it impossible for a nuclear reactor to explode with the same destructive power as a nuclear weapon.

One comment, on the "Physics Forum" thread about Fukushima, from a nuclear engineer, was short and to the point. He wrote that the evidence concerning longevity in the USA and around the world since the beginning of the nuclear age does not show that nuclear power has shorten our lives at all. In fact, if the anti-nuclear crowd were to be believed, then our average lifespans would be getting shorter, when, in fact, life expectancy has increased anywhere from 11% ~ 15% in 50 years. He gave this chart below. 

He added: "Obviously, background radiation, atmospheric testing, and nuclear power are major impacts on world health."

Of course, there are many other factors that would play a part in our lives getting longer such as food, water, environment and medicine.... But, I wonder, is there anyone of us who thinks that of the four I just mentioned, the only one that has gotten better over these 50 years can only be medicine. Certainly our environment, food and water has not gotten better.

One only need to look at the average American or the grocery store shelves full of processed, pumped-full-of-chemicals food that many people feed themselves to know that can't be good for you. 

Another engineer commented on how he thought it was curious that people get all riled up and up in arms about nuclear power plants but are basically silent when it comes to nuclear weapons testing.

He wrote:

I guess atmospheric tests were stopped before word "radiation" became synonym of "panic". For anti-nuclear activists, equating nuclear weapons and nuclear power has always been a key tactic. It's just that they haven't had anything to raise panic over in more than 20 years. 

On that note, I strongly agree. Since 1945 to today there have been over 2055 (at least) above ground and underground nuclear weapons tests all over the world. That's an average of 31 nuclear explosions on our earth every year. This chart from Wikipedia on Nuclear Weapons Testing:

Nuclear weapons release thousands of times more energy (read: radiation) into the environment than nuclear power plants do or ever could; known nuclear weapons testing has occurred, on average, over 31 times a year, every year since 1945. We've had three nuclear power plant accidents.

The jury is still out on Fukushima. Many people's lives have been devastated and many people have lost loved ones in the earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima disaster... But, still, to this date, no one has died from exposure to radiation. Hopefully, no one will. 

As far as Chernobyl is concerned, the Physics Forum moderator had this comment about claims that Chernobyl has caused cancers:

"...there is no Chernobyl effect visible in the epidemiological data - background is high enough to mask it."

This claim is backed up by a BBC Documentary called "Nuclear Nightmares." Episode Three, from 1:20 ~ is particularly relevant.  

The BBC documentary confirms the remarks by the moderator in that "According to standard models for radiation risk, the Chernobyl nuclear accident should have caused over 9,000 deaths due to cancer... Numbers have varied widely... But the most authoritative were published in 2005 by the Chernobyl Forum, an international forum of scientific agencies, including a number of UN bodies...." The total confirmed deaths were 47 and those were from the clean up crews at Chernobyl. 

You can view the BBC Documentary "Nuclear Nightmares", in full, here

(Please also pay close attention to the information about children's cancer in the same part three.)  

Continuing on, many will say that the discovery of irradiated tea in Kanagawa or other vegetables in Ibaraki are proof that the Fukushima accident is worse than reported. I have another thought on this notion. 

We have a saying, "If you go looking for trouble, you'll find it." I think that now, since everyone is so concerned about Fukushima, that we are being much more careful and diligent in our checking of our immediate environment. But I want to postulate one idea that won't be comfortable for most people...  I am wondering if this newly found radiation is not from Fukushima and we found it because we actually bothered to look. The fact is, it came from somewhere else.

Perhaps it came from another nuclear power plant? Perhaps Tokai or Hamaoka? You know, there was a cooling breakdown at the Tokai nuclear reactor on March 14th? Could these sorts of things be the origin of this radiation? Or could it be from something else? 

I suppose we might never know. Like I said, if you go looking for trouble, you'll most probably find it.

Do not misunderstand what the purpose of this blog post is. I am not pro nor anti nuclear power. I do believe that the worst thing that could happen to us is a loss of cheap and clean energy. But the real purpose of this post is not to defend the nuclear industry. It is to go back to my comments at the very start of this post: "What is important to people?"

Specifically, in this case, and finally to the point; we know that many nations have a massive amount of nuclear weaponry. We know that these nations have been testing these weapons, that, I think is an easy guess, to say that they've released hundreds of millions and millions more time the radiation into the earth and atmosphere than our three nuclear power plant accidents up until now... The USA and NATO nations have, and continue to do so until this very day, used highly radioactive depleted uranium weapons in the Middle East, yet you don't hear a peep about that from most people.

Effects of depleted uranium in mid east. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

Most people panic and crap their pants about Fukushima, but when their governments wage war and use nuclear weaponry, they say nothing.

It's a real head scratcher for me. What are these people thinking about? What is important to these people?

As these people stuff their face daily with food laced with chemicals, preservatives and other carcinogenic agents that they eagerly put into their own bodies; things they buy that are part and parcel of the processed foods, chips, pizza, etc., from the grocery store. They eagerly lunch daily on chemical trash from fast food establishments like McDonald's or the like. Then they wash it down with other chemical drinks like Coke that can dissolve metals...

Ex-Max Health Reports: According to a new study led by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), with collaborators from the University of Toronto and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. The researchers found that smoking is responsible for 467,000 premature deaths each year, high blood pressure for 395,000, and being overweight for 216,000. The effects of smoking work out to be about one in five deaths in American adults, while high blood pressure is responsible for one in six deaths. 

People don't seem worry about these things that are known to cause all sorts of health problems like high-blood pressure, diabetes, heart attacks, etc.... These things that they could handle if they showed some self restraint for a better, healthier life... They don't seem to worry about that...

No, they won't do anything, won't say anything, about that... 

But, they will worry, and be very vocal, about the effects on their health from a minuscule amount of radiation from a nuclear power plant's accident hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away.

You really have to wonder how people create their priorities. 

Is "what is important" only what the mass media tells people what is important at that time? It seems so. We have a society of people who are being led by the nose who have lost the ability to think for themselves.

Interesting, no? Just what is important to people? What is important to you?


I present for you now, a video showing a marker for every nuclear weapons test made from 1945 to 1998

A Time-Lapse Map of Every Nuclear Explosion Since 1945 to 1998 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Sex Services in Japan First to Get Back to Business After Earthquake

Japan is slowly getting back to business. It's about time. When the government tells us that we shouldn't celebrate because of the March 11 disaster and that we should cancel festivals, Hanami and other drinking parties, that only serves to hurt local business and the economy.

The best thing any of us can do is to try to get our lives back to normal and get the economy going. We need to work, we need to sleep, we need to play.... I certainly need to go out drinking and enjoying life more. 

I can't imagine anyone else who doesn't need to go out and enjoy life more.

Well, hats off to the world's oldest profession. It seems that right after the Tohoku disaster,  sex- related  service industries were the first back to business. 

The excellent Tokyo Reporter has the story for us:

Even the horrifying death and devastation that struck northeastern Japan on March 11 could not suppress the human sex drive for long. Friday (June 10) reports that sex businesses were among the first to recover, many as soon as one week after the disaster.
“I was back at my job on March 18,” says Kitty-san, a 21-year-old employee of a delivery health (out-call sex service) service named Ainori in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture. “From the day we reopened demand was even higher than it was before the disaster. Many customers had suffered from the catastrophe, and had even lost family members. They justified their urges, saying they ‘sought psychological relief’ or ‘wanted to be consoled.’
Gratuitous cheesecake photo #1
I suppose you could call it "Psychological relief" or "Consolation"....
“A lot of customers had been evacuated to temporary shelters where they couldn’t bathe, and just wanted to go to a hotel so they could get cleaned up,” Kitty continues. “One guy, who was about 35 years old, was pretty grubby. ‘I haven’t had a bath for two weeks’ he told me. He seemed so happy when I gave him a shampoo.”
So great was demand to use local hotel rooms with power and hot water, couples could even be seen queued up outside waiting their turn.
“I think our shop was the first one back in business after the quake,” says an employee of Ainori. “We couldn’t get through to the girls at first because cell phone communications had shut down. Afterwards we finally made contact. 
Prostitution and the free exchange of time and services between two consenting adults is a free market ideal and a business that's been around since the beginning of society. No amount of government legislation will ever change that. Making laws that makes these activities illegal is pure nonsense.
You cannot legislate morality.
I applaud these businesses for getting back on track early and creating jobs for people. The economy needs it.

Gratuitous cheesecake photo #2

Read more at the  Tokyo Reporter

Hourly Updated Radiation Levels in Tokyo Posted by Scientific Institution

Click here for a comparison of current radiation levels and pre-quake levels in Shinjuku, see here for water

Click here for regular up-to-the-hour updated information:

Next, updated daily and hourly from the Advanced Industrial Science and Technology Unit in Tsukuba (Tsukuba is between Tokyo and the accident site at Fukushima. It is about 75 kilometers north of Tokyo, and 150 kilometers south of Fukushima). Is an updated hourly summary of radiation measured in microSv/hour.  You can view the daily and hourly radiation level updates herehttp://www.aist.go.jp/taisaku/ja/measurement/index.html

Here is an chart from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology's National Metrology Institute of Japan webpage. It shows what typical radiation levels (measured in microSv) are in our daily lives: 

At the bottom left, you see the mark of 190. That's the amount of radiation you get on a one-way flight from Tokyo to New York. Above that, you see the number 2400. That is the amount of radiation that a person gets annually from nature. At the top left is the number 10000. That is annual radiation amount a person who lives in Karapari City in Brazil gets. At the top right, you see 6900, that's the amount of radiation you get from a CT scan. Bottom right? That's 50, the amount a person receives from one X-ray. 

As you can see, there is absolutely no radiation risk in Tsukuba and Tsukuba is much closer to the accident site than is Tokyo. One gets a much bigger dose of radiation flying from Narita to New York. In fact, at 0.05 microSv per hour, you would have to be standing outside in the elements everyday for nearly 40 days straight to equal the amount of radiation you'd receive on just that single one-way flight from Tokyo to New York.

What a Difference a Day (25 Years) Makes

If Japan fails to end industrial policy, its postwar developmentalism may be judged a failure.
--Yasusuke Murakami, 1996

Maria Grever - Cuando Vuelva A Tu Lado
You might recognize the melody. It is "What a Difference a Day Makes." 
This song was written by a Mexican composer named Maria Grever 
and it was originally in Spanish!

"How could this have happened?" Japan, the nation that just 25 ~ 30-years ago was predicted by many to dominate the world spent most of the 1990's and the 2000's just struggling to stay afloat. In fact, the only reason why Japan did stay afloat was massive government spending on useless public works projects and the like.

Today, Japan's debt stands at 225% of GDP. The cupboards are laid bare and with the continuing troubles all around the world with rising food and oil prices, not to mention the recent disaster in Japan do not bode well. Things are headed for a clash this year, I predict.

Mike Whitney says:

....(USA) unemployment is on the rise (Initial claims rose to 424,000 on Thursday), GDP is falling (1Q GDP revised to 1.8%), durable goods are down 3.6 percent in April, the market is topping out, business investment is flat, Europe's on the ropes, Japan is in a historic slump, China is overheating, the output gap is as wide as it was 6 quarters ago, bank balance sheets are bleeding red from falling home prices and non-performing loans, and the housing market is crashing.

Most of the rest of the article that Whitney wrote is pure Keynesian nonsense but he had the above information correct. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

I have recommended stocking up on food and water and think you should do the same.... Especially if you live in an earthquake prone country like Japan. Because if something happens, all the stores will sell out of water and most foods within a day, if that long.

The store shelves always look full because they are constantly restocked throughout the day. What's going to happen when something bad happens and the delivery trucks stop running?

Japan, in particular is in a very precarious position today. 

In 1998, Richard Katz wrote a book entitled, Japan: The System that Soured (The Rise and Fall of the Japanese Economic Miracle). It was one of any books at the time that speeled out what went wrong with the Japanese economic miracle. I bought the book when it first came out and still have it. I am amazed at how much this writer had predicted that has come true. 

He wrote: 

"Without sweeping structural reforms, Japan will continue to stagnate. Japan's productivity growth is so dismal these days that, even if it operated at full capacity, economists say the fastest it could grow is around 2 percent or so. That's half the 4 percent rate it averaged from 1975 to 1990. And yet; because of Japan's myriad macroeconomic problems, Japan has commonly been unable to operate at full capacity. In four out of the six years since fiscal 1992, Japan has grown less than 1 percent, and in three of those four years less than 0.5 percent. Japan grew less over the entire five-year period from mid-1992 through mid-1997 than it did in the single year of 1990. Unless there is massive budgetary stimulus, this negligible growth is expected to continue through at least 1998 and 1999 (see Figure 1.1). By the dawn of the new millennium, Japan will have spent an entire decade growing more slowly than the United States, the nation it was supposedly "on track to overtake by the year 2000."

"Nor is this a temporary slump. According to official forecasts, without reforms, even at full capacity, the fastest growth Japan could sustain between now and 2010 is only 1.8 percent a year. After 2010, says the normally optimistic MITI, the combination of poor productivity and a declining labor force means it will get worse. Japan's growth potential will plunge to only 0.8 percent a year."

It astounds me that this writer was so aptly able to predict the future growth rate of Japan.

I remember when I first read this, I thought, "Japan will recover!" Now, I am not so sure.

As the quote at the top of this post suggests, if Japan cannot reform its postwar industrial policy, it will be deemed a failure. The only way that is ever going to happen is that the political system that strangles Japan must collapse. The Good Old Boys and vested interests must go.

The only way that the people are going to rise up and demand that is the bottom is going to have to fall out. Just as a drug addict or alcoholic must hit rock bottom before he will admit his problems and seek help, this country will have to collapse under the strain of a massive debt to GDP ratio.

Japan is headed for some very tough times and some very difficult decisions... It's rainy season now in Japan and the weather is cool.... But in about six weeks, it's going to start getting very hot. And I don't think that is just the temperature of the summer days... I think things are all falling into place for some very difficult times for everyone. Not just Japan.

Living in Japan - White Cultural Superiority Complex

White Cultural Superiority Complex? This girl says it all. This applies in Japan or anywhere

elsewhere in Asia.

Japan Talk 13: アメリカで「外人」でいること Being a Foreigner in America:


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Police Start Shooting Protestors in Spain w/Rubber Bullets- Still Not News in Japan

Astounding. The peaceful demonstrations in Spain are over. The people have begun beating people and shooting them with rubber bullets. As usual, Japanese news is eerily silent on the matter. What's going on here? 
Google reports that the government has sent in police in Barcelona with truncheons and they are beating peaceful demonstrators and shooting them with rubber bullets. Google reports:

BARCELONA — Spanish police fired rubber bullets and swung truncheons to disperse anti-crisis protesters in a Barcelona square Friday as cleaning crews cleared their tent camp.
Catalan police in anti-riot gear moved in after about 50 protesters sat down on the street to block a convoy of cleaning trucks leaving the Plaza de Cataluna square with remnants of the encampment.
Police, some with plastic shields, were shown on television dragging protesters along the street and swiping with truncheons at activists, who had been chanting: "They shall not pass."

An AFP reporter at the scene saw rubber bullets fired.
The protest blockade was broken up within minutes but about 100 protesters regrouped in the square. They were surrounded by two police cordons blocking hundreds more people from entering from nearby roads.
Demonstrators chanted: "The people, united, will never be defeated!" and "No to violence!"
Cleaning crews with 10 lorries dismantled the last of the tents under police surveillance. Later, police left the square and let thousands of demonstrators flood in.
By the evening, at least 5,000 people were in the square protesting against the police intervention, some having put up tents. A dozen police vehicles were in streets leading to the square.
"What happened today was awful but it is a warning" for the country's leadership, said Ramon Deltran, 50, a psychiatrist.
I predict that this situation is going to seriously escalate and, like I wrote on May 21 in Massive Anti-Government Protests in Spain Spreading to Italy! No Mention at all in Japanese Press, the exact same thing is going on now! 
Ultimately, unemployment, taxes and austerity measures have caused these huge demonstrations that are, as one protester said, "... against the criminal behavior of the central bankers and IMF. Taking tax money from the people and giving it to rich bankers have finally made the people take to the streets...."

Yet, this news is nowhere to be found in the Japanese news services in English or in Japanese.

I predict that this demonstration in Spain will collapse the Spanish government.
There's no way unemployment or the situation with government debt, which will lead to higher taxes and more austerity measures in Spain is going to go away anytime soon, so these demonstrations are going to go on. The government, by taking a heavy hand are just escalating the situation. They are toast.
But, once again, not a word about it in the Japanese press! I checked both Yahoo! Japan and NHK and cannot find any mention of this news!
Here's a screen capture of NHK news site:
Quick translation from top to bottom:

Anti-Nuclear Demonstrations Prompting Closure of Nuke Plants

President Expected in Poland
Tourism promotion delegation sent to China
U.S. envoy continuing investigation of food shortages in North Korea 
Honda in Canada leaks personal information
The state of the last shuttle maintenance announced
"The strange quiet of territorial negotiations"
Syrian crackdown as police fire at protesters
Democratization and  assistance in the Middle East
Massive demonstrations protesting the army in Egypt
U.S. Secretary of State visits Pakistan

......Nothing about police shooting people with rubber bullets in Barcelona Spain. How about Yahoo! Japan?

Well, what do you know!? Yahoo! Japan does come through and has a story about Barcelona! (Marked in red)... Yippee... Er, well, not exactly about demonstrations and the police rousting people out like the Nazi Gestapo, but about how some soccer team from Barcelona won a soccer championship for the fourth time beating Manchester United..... .....Yawn!

Unemployment in Spain is the highest in the EU at over 21%, the entire country is about to go bankrupt and these stupid people care about who wins some professional sports title? Are you kidding me? Morons. 

Who was it that wrote something about "Bread and Circuses for the masses"