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Author Topic: Japan  (Read 10207 times)
David Sutton
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« Reply #20 on: March 13, 2011, 02:27:40 PM »
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The Japanese urban search and rescue team did wonderful work here in Christchurch over the last few weeks (as did the Chinese, British, American and other national USAR teams). We are all so sad to see them return home in such circumstances.
As Mark rightly says, time will show the money spent on infrastructure will not have been wasted. But for the time being in those areas without power, the cell phone networks will will be running out of battery power and going down. Those still working will be swamped. Landline phones will only work for those with analogue phones, the internet will be down and what is working will also be swamped. Roads not trashed will probably be clogged with traffic. No-one, especially the government, will know what's happening for a few days. Local linesemen and emergency workers will be going night and day to restore essential services but while they can work wonders it will just take time. At least people know how to look after each other and that helps us all to get through times like these.
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Justinr
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« Reply #21 on: March 13, 2011, 03:19:52 PM »
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I fear you may have misconstrued my post there Mark.

There is no doubt that the evacuation training saved many many lives as did the engineering of their high rise buildings which is something to be greatly admired. However, the billions I was referring to specifically applies to the coastal defences which were simply not up to the task, and doubt that any country is capable of affording the sort of defences that would have been as you point out. Unfortunately I have not seen one instance on the news or web that suggests physical coastal defences saved much at all. Indeed, how could they when it is the wavelength rather than amplitude that does the damage and this was one colossal volume of water being thrown at the shoreline. I guess that further down the coast, away from the epicentre then the defences may have served their purpose, but we are not seeing that reported.

« Last Edit: March 13, 2011, 03:25:29 PM by Justinr » Logged

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« Reply #22 on: March 13, 2011, 03:41:39 PM »
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TEPCO is reporting that they have external power to the reactor complex.
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Justinr
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« Reply #23 on: March 14, 2011, 02:47:16 AM »
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TEPCO is reporting that they have external power to the reactor complex.

Unfortunately a little too late it would appear (from the RTE news site) -

There has been a second explosion at the Fukushima nuclear plant, 240km north of Tokyo in Japan.

Seven people are reported to be missing.


One can't help feeling that they are fighting a battle that is slipping away from them. Let's hope that they get on top of it all but the thought still lingers that with nuclear power we are still playing at the edge of what mankind can handle.

« Last Edit: March 14, 2011, 03:51:28 AM by Justinr » Logged

Mark D Segal
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« Reply #24 on: March 14, 2011, 08:14:27 AM »
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I fear you may have misconstrued my post there Mark.


Not impossible, but also maybe what you wrote in that first post was not sufficiently clear in terms of what you meant. Anyhow, for you sitting in Ireland and me here in Toronto, I'd be rather more reluctant to speculate about the psyche of a whole country I've visited a number of times but never lived in, especially at a time like this, even if such generalizations could be at all meaningful in any event. From what we're seeing in the media here, it looks to me as if the overall manner in which they are coping with this disaster both at an official and individual level is truly admirable; it makes me wonder if we could do half as well here were anything like this to ever happen, but one doesn't really know till it does. Japan will recover and rebuild - based on history that is a reasonable prediction. But between now and then, there are dire predictions that the seismic activity is still highly volatile and we can only wish them the best and help as we can.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #25 on: March 14, 2011, 08:24:55 AM »
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One can't help feeling that they are fighting a battle that is slipping away from them. Let's hope that they get on top of it all but the thought still lingers that with nuclear power we are still playing at the edge of what mankind can handle.


Mankind has been *playing at edge* of this technology for the better part of half a century or more and we know a thing or two about it. The fact that those plants didn't break apart and spew radioactive waste across a very broad region of the world attests to it. Building these facilities on fault zones has known risks and it is clear their plant design and construction standards - going back 40 years (the age of that plant) and since have been very high. They do design these things to deal with multiple, low probability contingencies, but nothing in life is 100% whether it is nuclear or anything else. The main thing we need to hope for is that the reactor cores remain largely contained. So far that seems to be the case, but there is so much we obviously don't and can't know. I can't imagine how horrible this is for the people on the front lines of those emergency measures they are trying to implement. When it's over and done with there will undoubtedly be many lessons of experience to be learned from it, because this is unprecedented in reality.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Justinr
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« Reply #26 on: March 14, 2011, 10:26:41 AM »
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Not impossible, but also maybe what you wrote in that first post was not sufficiently clear in terms of what you meant.

Ah! My fault of course, sincerest apologies. It's always said that America and the UK are two cultures separated by a common language, I shall bear in mind to extend that to Canada as well. But then again the difference between the Irish and English cultures (separated by just a few miles) are far greater than is at first obvious and extend way back before the Catholic church became involved but that's a different matter altogether.

Human psychology is fairly constant throughout the world and the condition of shock in response to events is common to all groups and races, it is natures way of helping us deal with life when experiencing a stress of any sort. The whole world, let alone the Japanese, were quite rightly in a state of of shock at the extent of the catastrophe but it is their country in which they have an emotional stake and have come to believe that the very best preparations had been made. It is therefore understandable that  the simple swatting away of their walls and gates by the Tsunami led to a state of disbelief and even denial to begin with. Certainly that was the impression that came over whilst following it on the various news channels and web. Do I really need to visit Japan to feel as my Japanese brethren are feeling? Perhaps I should visit Ethiopia before giving to charities working to relive starvation. The ability to portray and communicate suffering of whatever type is a hallmark of modern communications for surely the conveyance of emotion and 'feelings' both experienced and witnessed is one of the reasons that many of us carry a camera at all.

Now I think we can all agree that Japan will cope as well as any other country but it is kind of you to remind us anyway. These sort of disasters are not without precedent as I am sure you are aware, for instance there were the North Sea floods of 1953 which Claimed 2,500 lives and in which my mother was caught up. She has often said that the most memorable thing about those days was the bewilderment at what was going on. Thankfully for me (if nobody else) she survived although the town of Lowestoft where she was living at the time was completely cut off and badly damaged by the surge.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2011, 10:51:03 AM by Justinr » Logged

Justinr
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« Reply #27 on: March 14, 2011, 10:37:11 AM »
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Mankind has been *playing at edge* of this technology for the better part of half a century or more and we know a thing or two about it. The fact that those plants didn't break apart and spew radioactive waste across a very broad region of the world attests to it. Building these facilities on fault zones has known risks and it is clear their plant design and construction standards - going back 40 years (the age of that plant) and since have been very high. They do design these things to deal with multiple, low probability contingencies, but nothing in life is 100% whether it is nuclear or anything else. The main thing we need to hope for is that the reactor cores remain largely contained. So far that seems to be the case, but there is so much we obviously don't and can't know. I can't imagine how horrible this is for the people on the front lines of those emergency measures they are trying to implement. When it's over and done with there will undoubtedly be many lessons of experience to be learned from it, because this is unprecedented in reality.

A half century is but a blink of an eye in the history of human development as I am sure an intelligent fellow like yourself who reads the papers like the rest of us is very much aware. Mind you we thought we could handle industrialisation but are now told that it is killing the planet with all that beastly CO2 produced. We have not mastered nuclear power, only tamed it and like a dog we consider domesticated and calm it can turn and bite our backsides without the slightest hesitation or provocation.
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Steve Weldon
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« Reply #28 on: March 14, 2011, 10:54:31 AM »
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Wow.. the human and environmental toll is adding up at an incredible pace, a country is suffering on an unprecedented (for modern times) scale with no end in sight.

And the best we can do is posture?
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« Reply #29 on: March 14, 2011, 11:01:07 AM »
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Wow.. the human and environmental toll is adding up at an incredible pace, a country is suffering on an unprecedented (for modern times) scale with no end in sight.

And the best we can do is posture?

I know, sad isn't it.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #30 on: March 14, 2011, 01:40:11 PM »
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I know, sad isn't it.

Indeed.

I'm turning my attention to finding out the most effective agencies through which to support the rescue and recovery effort. More talk doesn't help the people of Japan.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #31 on: March 14, 2011, 05:56:21 PM »
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Putting all disagreements aside it really does appear to be turning from bad to worse. The world has offered to help but I for one am now thinking that the offer has to morph into a full scale emergency aid programme sooner rather than later.
 
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feppe
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« Reply #32 on: March 14, 2011, 06:20:24 PM »
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I'd like to remind people that Haiti is one of the poorest countries on earth by any metric, and was hit by a devastating earthquake killing perhaps more than 300,000 people, 800,000 are still in refugee camps, and further devastated by a cholera epidemic at the worst imaginable time. Most worryingly, the country and its plight has been largely forgotten by media, and aid workers and funds are being diverted to other locations despite the continued need for reconstruction which is slow or non-existent.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #33 on: March 14, 2011, 06:52:43 PM »
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I'd like to remind people that Haiti is one of the poorest countries on earth by any metric, and was hit by a devastating earthquake killing perhaps more than 300,000 people, 800,000 are still in refugee camps, and further devastated by a cholera epidemic at the worst imaginable time. Most worryingly, the country and its plight has been largely forgotten by media, and aid workers and funds are being diverted to other locations despite the continued need for reconstruction which is slow or non-existent.

You have an excellent point here. Every time there is a major emergency one sees a tremendous outpouring of pledging, only to learn some time later that while individuals may well have contributed to their chosen agencies, governments have simply not delivered on a high proportion of what they pledged. The usual explanation for it is that the receiving end was ill-equipped to absorb it, or bureaucratic hindrances were put in the way of using it effectively, and so on. There will be no such excuses in Japan, so let us see how it plays out this time. The real tragedy of Haiti of course is hundreds of years of its history. There is only so much outsiders can do to help repair a country. In the final analysis, the preparedness and resiliency of local institutions and societies is determinative; on this spectrum Japan stands at one point and Haiti at quite another - and it isn't only poverty, though poverty certainly doesn't help. That said, the attention span of the media is also very short. It rolls from one crisis to the next as they arise. Last week is was Libya, now Libya is off the radar screen and it is Japan. One wonders whether the situation in Haiti would be much improved if there were more sustained international media attention to the plight of the people there. Whatever, yes, much time has elapsed since the earthquake in Haiti. It could be important for one group or another to take a good, hard retrospective look at what happened there, what didn't happen and why.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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DiaAzul
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« Reply #34 on: March 15, 2011, 05:15:48 AM »
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That said, the attention span of the media is also very short. It rolls from one crisis to the next as they arise. 

You don't say - top news story on the radio this morning was Charlie Sheen going to fetch his trailer from the film set of his last series. It takes approximately one week before celebrity trumps disaster and we are back to the banal rantings of the undeserving.


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David Plummer    http://photo.tanzo.org/
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #35 on: March 15, 2011, 08:30:00 AM »
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I've been very impressed with the BBC World Service coverage of what's happening in Japan. So far it has been intensively sustained from the start of the situation, looking at the evolution of circumstances from many angles. They are not only covering the banner-line events, news style, but also bringing in expertise on various aspects of the crisis, in particular the nuclear power and humanitarian situations - to provide informed analytical insight. Of course, Libya has kind of taken back-seat to this, as one supposes it should, but they haven't lost sight of it; as well they are now ramping-up coverage of Bahrain, which many people may not realize - could be a much stickier wicket for international politics than is Libya. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation also has a highly respected news and current events organization which has also been very good. But getting back to Feppe's point, it remains true that as the onset and initial shock of a crisis recedes in time, the news interest falls away while the situation on the ground continues to be dire.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #36 on: March 15, 2011, 08:57:25 AM »
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Anybody remember what major parts of Japan looked like after WW II? I do. Here's what the Tokyo Ginza looked like just eight years after the city had been almost totally destroyed. The Japanese will snap back faster than anyone can imagine at this point. They're what Winston Churchill called "a serviceable people." They'll do their mourning but they'll be busy fixing things while they mourn.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #37 on: March 15, 2011, 09:07:49 AM »
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I agree with you.

I just visited your website and looked at your Asian and Street images from the 1950s and 1960s. This is wonderful, engaging photography of real historical and photographic value. Have you thought of making them available in a Blurb book, or something similar?
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #38 on: March 15, 2011, 10:36:04 AM »
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I'd like to remind people that Haiti is one of the poorest countries on earth by any metric, and was hit by a devastating earthquake killing perhaps more than 300,000 people, 800,000 are still in refugee camps, and further devastated by a cholera epidemic at the worst imaginable time. Most worryingly, the country and its plight has been largely forgotten by media, and aid workers and funds are being diverted to other locations despite the continued need for reconstruction which is slow or non-existent.

Feppe, I agree. Haiti is a sad case. But Haiti's big problem is political. Take a look at the list of Haitian heads of state for the past 200 years: http://www.haiti.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=67&Itemid=114. Most have been overthrown or have "died in office." Beginning in the middle fifties the country was taken over by Papa Doc Duvalier, an out-and-out criminal, followed by Baby Doc Duvalier, a chip off the old block. Finally, another criminal, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, took over and shortly thereafter was thrown out by the people. Aristide came back in the middle nineties, finished a term, was reinstated by force by the United States, and was kicked out a second time by the people. Leadership over the past couple years has been weak at best, and Aristide is back in town, though not yet in office. Until Haiti is able to find something other than a kleptocrat to lead the country, aid is going to be futile and reconstruction simply isn't going to happen.
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RSL
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« Reply #39 on: March 15, 2011, 10:40:29 AM »
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I agree with you.

I just visited your website and looked at your Asian and Street images from the 1950s and 1960s. This is wonderful, engaging photography of real historical and photographic value. Have you thought of making them available in a Blurb book, or something similar?

Mark, Thanks for the kudos. It always makes me happy to know that someone likes my photographs. But as I've said before, my main problem with marketing is that although I may not be the world's worst marketer, when he dies I'm probably in.
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