It's all I can do to keep from pulling my hair out.
Frightened, bewildered, constipated?
A month ago or so, the sensationalist western media were saying that Armageddon was upon us as the spent fuel rods at Fukushima Daiichi Number 4 were precariously immersed in a pool of water, atop a building, that could collapse at the next tremor and, if it did, that would cause a nuclear reaction bad enough that it would destroy life on the planet earth as we know it. Now, today, I found another article that talks about the extinction of the Japanese people! My god, what are we to do?
First off, the article about the hot fuel rods that seems to have grown cold (pun intended). Please refer to: Armageddon on the Eve of Destruction: Japan to Evacuate Entire Population to China and Russia! World's Newest and Biggest Military Power is Born!
Just today, again, I saw a bunch of articles talking about Fukushima Dai-ichi and the planned evacuation of Tokyo. Seriously, maybe I'm all messed up and completely wrong, but, to tell the truth, I think this sort of news is complete and total madness and that anyone who would believe this stuff for a second must be completely crazy. Here's the story from the EU Times:
The “extreme danger” facing tens of millions of the Japanese peoples is the result of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster that was a series of equipment failures, nuclear meltdowns, and releases of radioactive materials at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, following the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011.
According to this report, Japanese diplomats have signaled to their Russian counterparts that the returning of the Kuril Islands to Japan is “critical” as they have no other place to resettle so many people that would, in essence, become the largest migration of human beings since the 1930’s when Soviet leader Stalin forced tens of millions to resettle Russia’s far eastern regions. (emphasis mine)
Important to note, this report continues, are that Japanese diplomats told their Russian counterparts that they were, also, “seriously considering” an offer by China to relocate tens of millions of their citizens to the Chinese mainland to inhabit what are called the “ghost cities,” built for reasons still unknown and described, in part, by London’s Daily Mail News Service in their 18 December 2010 article titled: “The Ghost Towns Of China: Amazing Satellite Images Show Cities Meant To Be Home To Millions Lying Deserted” ... (emphasis mine)
Foreign Ministry experts in this report note that should Japan accept China’s offer, the combined power of these two Asian peoples would make them the largest super-power in human history with an economy larger than that of the United States and European Union combined and able to field a combined military force of over 200 million. (emphasis mine)
To how dire the situation is in Japan was recently articulated by Japanese diplomat Akio Matsumura who warned that the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant may ultimately turn into an event capable of extinguishing all life on Earth.
Folks, I highlighted and made bold the sentences that just defy belief. Seriously, is this comedy? No one in their right mind could possibly take this stuff seriously. The return of the Kuril Islands? Moving 40 million people to China? The largest super-power in human history?
That cracks me up. Especially the part about the Kuril Islands. As if you could take 40 million people and dump them on a bunch of islands that don't have the infra-structure to handle 20,000 people. If you were going to do that, why evacuate them? It's just a death sentence anyway.
There are only 18,000 people today who are living on the Kuril islands and half of them are under the poverty line!
The writer of this tripe (who fails to attach their name to an article) is in serious need of psychological and medical attention. This person is nuts. And anyone who believes this for a moment seriously needs help too.
I'm just shocked that so many people on the Internet are so dumb that they parrot this obviously fake story. I wonder if this is a news "false-flag" in order to discredit Internet news sources?Well, as the sensationalist media is wont to do with seriously declining revenues and a shrinking audience (for more on that, please refer to: "Wait! Did CNN Just Lose Half Of Its Viewers? from Business Insider), here I find another article that again talks about the extinction of the Japanese. As my friend Andrew Joseph over at the very enjoyable "Japan - It's a Wonderful Rife" blog (recommended reading) once commented to me:
Artist's Lego rendition of Japan disaster
I agree with you that the media loves its doomsday scenarios to sell the news. Having worked as a newspaper reporter for the Toronto Star, I can tell you that even a well-respected paper like that does not print all the news that is fit to print. It prints all the news IT thinks you want to read about. We all know that in the entire world on any given day, there are more than the 200 news items printed in a newspaper of 50 items in a TV news broadcast that occur. Why do they choose what they choose? They need something to sell.
Japan is hot. Nukes are hot. Ask one idiot for an opinion and you have a news story.
Well, now, Andrew, and friends, I don't usually read Fox News but just to prove the statement and point that, as the revenues and reader/viewership of the mass media declines, the news will become more and more ridiculous and more and more shrill... Here's stalwart Faux News filling a gap left over by World News. It doesn't get more ridiculous than this. Please refer to: Lack of Babies Could Mean Extinction of the Japanese People. Here is the story with my comments inserted:
Japan has a problem, a lack of children, and it seems likely there will be even fewer in the future.
Japanese researchers have now warned of a doomsday scenario if it carries on this way with the last child to be born there in 3011 and the Japanese people potentially disappearing a few generations later.
Academics from the city of Sendai, which was hit hard by last year's tsunami, calculate there are now 16.6 million children under the age of 14 now in Japan.
And they say that number is shrinking at a disturbing rate of one every 100 seconds.
So if you do the mathematics, as they did, then the country will have no children within a millennium.
Oh, my? Academics? Well they must certainly be correct. They have papers that say they studied and everything! "Academics from Sendai, which was hard hit by last year's tsunami?" Hmmm.... Suddenly I smell a bunch of professors looking for research grants ala Global Warming..
Another study recently showed Japan's population is expected to fall a third from its current 127.7 million over the next century.
Government projections show the birth rate will hit just 1.35 children per woman within 50 years, well below the replacement rate.
Now academics have created a population clock to highlight the fall and encourage public debate on the issue.
Nice placement of the "Doomsday clock" on their website. Just goes to show that these professors can't be THAT smart... They are trying to drive traffic to their site, yet they have no banner advertising or revenue model for that web site. Come on, guys, get with the program!
"By indicating it in figures, I want people to think about the problem of the falling birthrate with a sense of urgency," Professor Hiroshi Yoshida, who led the research team, told the Japan Times newspaper.
The clock will be kept up-to-date by adding the latest population data each year.
Why do you suppose that the birthrate is declining? Oh, goody. The article attempts to answer my question....
The question everybody asks is why is there a lack of children?
The answer seems to lie in several reasons.
One reason is the cost. Japan is an extremely expensive country and getting a child through college can wipe out a family's finances.
But research shows it goes much deeper than that as the Japanese state does throw a lot of money at people with children.
Duh! Raising kids is expensive. Did Einstein just figure this out? But hold your horses folks, now these statist clowns think that we can all have more children if the government gives away money!? (Told you this reeks of a plan to get grants for research!) Idiots! The government doesn't have any money! The government takes money for one part of the public and gives it to another... It's called a "transfer of wealth." So what these socialist idiot professors are saying is that the government should tax us more so that we can have more babies?
Wonderful. More babies born into an impoverished Japanese society. That's the answer to our problems.
Another argument is that there are more effeminate men now called "Herbivores" there who are either not interested in sex or women don't find masculine enough.
The article goes on and on using the "shotgun method" to attempt to reinforce its weak argument (the shotgun method is a method whereby the writer writes and writes and hopes that somewhere within the volume of material, they may be able to support their terribly weak thesis.).... I don't recommend reading the rest of it (I never recommend Fox News anyway), but it is here, if you wish.
It should be readily apparent to the reader that this piece of "journalism" is a very sorry excuse for that. The utter notion that the Japanese people face extinction due to depopulation and a low birth rate is ridiculous to the extreme. But, oh sure, it is true that we're all going to die someday...
Dear reader, hate to ruin your day, but that, "...we're all going to die someday..." is present company included (Pssst! Meaning you and me! - Hopefully you first!)
These professors who made this research need to do a little bit of reading and some research as well as get out of the lab and into the real world. I also suggest that these good doctors, instead of talking and writing, do some reading.
Here's an article that, while not debunking their theory as such, raises some very poignant questions about its validity. Did you know that birthrates are declining across the board in developed societies and not just Japan? Yes.
So, if you use the same logic of these doctor's theory and research then it stands to reason that if the Japanese are going extinct, so are the British, Americans, Canadians, Germans, French, Chinese, Koreans, Russians (insert your favorite people's names here). Please refer to: Foreign Policy Research Institute: Four Surprises in Global Demography:
Indeed, nearly all the world’s developed regions—Australia and New Zealand, North America, Japan, and the highly industrialized East Asian outposts of Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea— are reporting sub-replacement fertility. (Israel remains an exception.) But sub-replacement fertility is clearly no longer mainly a developed-nation phenomenon. If the Census Bureau’s projections are roughly accurate, just about half the world’s population lives in sub-replacement countries or territories.
Apart from Mongolia, according to the Census Bureau, all of East Asia is sub-replacement, as are Thailand and Burma in Southeast Asia, Kazakstan and Sri Lanka in South-Central Asia, many Caribbean societies, and most South American countries.
Perhaps the biggest surprise, given received notions about the Arab/Muslim expanse, is the recent spread of sub- replacement fertility to parts of the Arab and the Muslim world. Algeria, Tunisia, and Lebanon are now sub-replacement countries, as is Turkey. And there is the remarkable case of Iran, with a current TFR of under 1.9, which is lower than the United States’. Between 1986 and 2000, the country’s TFR plummeted from well over 6 to just over 2. If modernization and Westernization are the handmaidens of sustained fertility decline, as is often supposed by students of demography, both terms are apparently being given a rather new meaning.
Well, this shows that the disappearance of the Japanese isn't such a special problems as the good professors (and Fox News) would like us to believe...
I suspect that, as I said, this research, for the professors, is typically useless modern-day academic research whose focus is not getting to the truth or in forwarding science as such, but as a tool to garner more research grants.
For Fox News, this report is sensationalism that has no basis in reality and is now filling space because, as Andrew said, "Japan is hot. Nukes are hot."
Finally, I'd suggest to you, dear reader, and these quack professors to read the seminal book, "Freakonomics" by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. Freakonomics uses economics to explain the "Why's""and "What for's" in today's society.
Highly recommended book: Freakonomics
In one example of the results of unintended consequences, I recall one story in the book about how, in the mid-eighties to early-nineties, there was an explosion of crime in the USA. The crime rate and murder rate in the cities was growing exponentially. This lead to many in public office to scream about more police and more taxes to deal with the problem. It was a crisis that they said at the time would engulf all of American society.
But then, one year, the violent crime rate dropped. Then it dropped again the next year; then the next. It began a long decline along with the overall crime rate. Many asked the questions, "Why?" and "How?" but few knew the answers.
In Freakonomics, the answer was found by research into economics. The decline in crime rested in the Roe vs. Wade landmark supreme court decision concerning abortion in 1973.
Before Roe vs. Wade, abortion was illegal. Babies were being born out of wedlock and, in many cases, raised in homes without fathers or mothers. There was an explosion of these children in the late sixties and early seventies. By the mid-1980's these children were reaching their late teens. And, as angry youth, without good homes and parenting, they often became members of gangs and/or started a life of crime. This lead to the previously mentioned crime explosion of the mid-eighties to early-nineties.
After Roe vs. Wade, abortions became legal and the rate of babies being born out of wedlock plummeted. With it, the rate of children being raised in broken homes.... The rest is, as they say, history.
Fast forward to today: Japan (and the rest of the world) are dealing with a declining birthrate. I think it is a good thing.
The sensationalists in the media, though, will do anything to sell media. If there's too many people, then we'll all die because of raping the earth or Global Warming and the like.... If we don't have enough children, then we'll go extinct...
The only common denominator?
You'll read and hear about it because sensationalism sells newspaper and advertising space.
That is a sad fact of the modern world. Heed the warnings well and take everything you see and hear on the media with a huge grain of salt.
There was one thing, though, that was true and the only realistic and "useful" thing printed in that entire article from Fox News about the extinction of the Japanese. It was in the very last paragraph.
One Japanese friend discussed with me the fall in the birth rate and suggested to me if there are far fewer people there in the future it will be a much better place to live.
NOTE: For a wonderfully thought-provoking continuation on this subject, please check this post.
Where's the pictures of all those PYTs strolling around Shibuya?
What is really going on at the Daiichi plant these days? There doesn't seem to be a lot of updated information.
I think there isn't any news about the plant because reconstruction is a slow and boring process...
Yeah... I saw that crap about the extinction of the Japanese rate because the birth rate is dropping. What utter pap!
I figured you would do something on this topic - and you did.
I think the real shame is that our blogs pretty much only interest people interested in blogs (though yours also gets those interested in global economics and mine gets those interested in some sort of sexual innuendo. That means that the people who really need to learn that much of the media is full of it will never see the truth because they only follow the bad media outlets.
Good stuff as usual, Mike!
Kirk Sorensen: mechanical/aerospace engineer and studying nuclear engineering, shows you how the media can create Godzilla out of Fukushima... with low probability events and fear:
Some nice quotations that overlap with everything you guys have said:
"It just seems to me that when it's a subject I know a little about and I watch how the news covers it I get frustrated really quickly."
"I just think every media outlet I've seen is just drumming up fear. From the NYTimes to the Huffington Post to Fox News."
"Our media is built around putting your eyeballs on their print or websites and keeping them there. And the best way to keep them there is to scare you to death."
Interesting with lots of points well proven. I don't want to come off as 'MR- know-it-all, but my opinion about the articles shown is a Putin Russia is not going to give or sell the Kuril Islands. The Japanese diplomats are told that in no uncertain terms. Faux News' 3011( (a 1000 year prediction, good luck on that one).'(What did they predict accurately compared to what they predicted inaccurately about now in 1011?))
Great point about the 1000-year prediction... I remember that there was a guy named Al Hitler who predicted a 1000 year reich... Did pretty well on that for the first 10 years or so.... After that? Not so much.
Sometimes, good news is hyped. Do you think this news, at least, might be trustworthy? Here's a good example: Jobs Report Less Awful - Media Declares Recovery
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