Tag: Japan

The growth of empathy.

As they say in the old country, it’s an ill wind that doesn’t blow anyone any good!

So often when I stare at the screen wondering just what on earth to write about, along comes something to fire me up.

In this case, it was a small clutch of disconnected items that seemed to have a common thread for me.

The first was reading the links in this morning’s Naked Capitalism summary and seeing this:

The REAL Fukushima Danger

Posted on September 14, 2013 by WashingtonsBlog

The Real Problem …

The fact that the Fukushima reactors have been leaking huge amounts of radioactive water ever since the 2011 earthquake is certainly newsworthy.  As are the facts that:

But the real problem is that the idiots who caused this mess are probably about to cause a much biggerproblem.

Specifically, the greatest short-term threat to humanity is from the fuel pools at Fukushima.

If one of the pools collapsed or caught fire, it could have severe adverse impacts not only on Japan … but the rest of the world, including the United States.   Indeed, a Senator called it a national security concern for the U.S.:

The radiation caused by the failure of the spent fuel pools in the event of another earthquake could reach the West Coast within days. That absolutely makes the safe containment and protection of this spent fuel a security issue for the United States.

Nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen and physician Helen Caldicott have both said that people should evacuate the Northern Hemisphere if one of the Fukushima fuel pools collapses. Gundersen said:

Move south of the equator if that ever happened, I think that’s probably the lesson there.

Former U.N. adviser Akio Matsumura calls removing the radioactive materials from the Fukushima fuel pools “an issue of human survival”.

So the stakes in decommissioning the fuel pools are high, indeed.

But in 2 months, Tepco – the knuckleheads who caused the accident – are going to start doing this very difficult operation on their own.

The New York Times reports:

Thousands of workers and a small fleet of cranes are preparing for one of the latest efforts to avoid a deepening environmental disaster that has China and other neighbors increasingly worried: removing spent fuel rods from the damaged No. 4 reactor building and storing them in a safer place.

The Telegraph notes:

Tom Snitch, a senior professor at the University of Maryland and with more than 30 years’ experience in nuclear issues, said  “[Japan officials] need to address the real problems, the spent fuel rods in Unit 4 and the leaking pressure vessels,” he said. “There has been too much work done wiping down walls and duct work in the reactors for any other reason then to do something….  This is a critical global issue and Japan must step up.”

Apologies, that’s more than sufficient to ruin your day!  If you really want to read to the end, the item is here.

However, the next item carries a much more positive thread.  It was an essay that was highlighted on Linked-In back in June.

The Number One Job Skill in 2020

What’s the crucial career strength that employers everywhere are seeking — even though hardly anyone is talking about it? A great way to find out is by studying this list of fast-growing occupations, as compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Sports coaches and fitness trainers. Massage therapists, registered nurses and physical therapists. School psychologists, music tutors, preschool teachers and speech-language pathologists. Personal financial planners, chauffeurs and private detectives. These are among the fields expected to employ at least 20% more people in the U.S. by 2020.

Did you notice the common thread? Every one of these jobs is all about empathy.

In our fast-paced digital world, there’s lots of hand-wringing about the ways that automation and computer technology are taking away the kinds of jobs that kept our parents and grandparents employed. Walk through a modern factory, and you’ll be stunned by how few humans are needed to tend the machines. Similarly, travel agents, video editors and many other white-collar employees have been pushed to the sidelines by the digital revolution’s faster and cheaper methods.

But there’s no substitute for the magic of a face-to-face interaction with someone else who cares. Even the most ingenious machine-based attempts to mimic human conversation (hello, Siri) can’t match the emotional richness of a real conversation with a real person.

Coincidentally, that thought about the ‘magic of a face-to-face interaction’ really echoed in me.  Why?  Because, I was ruminating on the wonderful world of human interaction this world of blogging delivers.  It seems to combine all the benefits of meeting real people with a global consciousness of those same real people spread way beyond our own local domains.

Hence  the reason why I offer the next seemingly unrelated item. The recent post from Sue Dreamwallker that I am republishing in full.

A Big Thank You to you ALL.

by Sue Dreamwalker

many-thanks-to-all_thumb

This is just a short post to say a Big thank you to all of my readers and to those who visit regular and comment upon my posts. You Bring with you such light and encouragement, and I often at a loss to say how much your kind support means.

I logged onto my Blog today and discover that my readership has swelled to 400 followers and so I just want to say a Big thank you for all of my oldest friends who have been with me since my beginnings of Windows Live Spaces days when I started in 2007, My first real post after transferring was called Finding Answers  here on WordPress.  And I remember well spending the best part of a Day getting to know and personalise my header  and  Blog back then as everything was alien that day was in Oct 2010.  A move I am so pleased to have made, as I just love the W.P. Community of friends we have gathered here and whom I have got to know and love.

And I just want to say a big thank you to all of my newest arrivals who have clicked the follow button.. I hope to get around to discovering your blogs as soon as time allows.And to say thank you to my email subscribers also.. And Welcome, I hope you enjoy my thoughts and if not please don’t be shy to air your opinions for that’s how we grow and learn by sharing knowledge and understanding.

Today I just want to post what I have been up to in recent days besides  the ‘Day-job’ in picture format.. So if you click the photos, you should be able to read more in the caption headings.. [Photos available on Sue’s blogsite.]

Take care all of you and I have a busy week a head in my Day Job, so I will catch you when I can…

Love and Blessings

~Sue~

Still the resonances continued.  For Rebecca Solnit published yesterday an incredibly powerful essay over on TomDispatch.  It was called Victories Come in All Sizes.  As always, Tom writes a wonderful introduction.  Let me skip to Rebecca’s opening paragraphs.

Joy Arises, Rules Fall Apart 
Thoughts for the Second Anniversary of Occupy Wall Street 
By Rebecca Solnit

I would have liked to know what the drummer hoped and what she expected. We’ll never know why she decided to take a drum to the central markets of Paris on October 5, 1789, and why, that day, the tinder was so ready to catch fire and a drumbeat was one of the sparks.

To the beat of that drum, the working women of the marketplace marched all the way to the Palace of Versailles, a dozen miles away, occupied the seat of French royal power, forced the king back to Paris, and got the French Revolution rolling. Far more than with the storming of the Bastille almost three months earlier, it was then that the revolution was really launched — though both were mysterious moments when citizens felt impelled to act and acted together, becoming in the process that mystical body, civil society, the colossus who writes history with her feet and crumples governments with her bare hands.

She strode out of the 1985 earthquake in Mexico City during which parts of the central city collapsed, and so did the credibility and power of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, the PRI that had ruled Mexico for 70 years. She woke up almost three years ago in North Africa, in what was called the Arab Spring, and became a succession of revolutions and revolts still unfolding across the region.

Such transformative moments have happened in many times and many places — sometimes as celebratory revolution, sometimes as terrible calamity, sometimes as both, and they are sometimes reenacted as festivals and carnivals. In these moments, the old order is shattered, governments and elites tremble, and in that rupture civil society is born — or reborn.

It really is an essay that you need to read in full.

However, this further extract covering the closing paragraphs explains why it resonated so strongly with me in terms of the rising consciousness of all the millions of ordinary people just trying to leave the world in a better place:

Part of what gave Occupy its particular beauty was the way the movement defined “we” as the 99%.  That (and that contagious meme the 1%) entered our language, offering a way of imagining the world so much more inclusive than just about anything that had preceded it. And what an inclusive movement it was: the usual young white suspects, from really privileged to really desperate, but also a range of participants from World War II to Iraq War veterans to former Black Panthers, from libertarians to liberals to anarchist insurrectionists, from the tenured to the homeless to hip-hop moguls and rock stars.

And there was so much brutality, too, from the young women pepper-sprayed at an early Occupy demonstration and the students infamously pepper-sprayed while sitting peacefully on the campus of the University of California, Davis, to the poet laureate Robert Hass clubbed in the ribs at the Berkeley encampment, 84-year-old Dorli Rainey assaulted by police at Occupy Seattle, and the Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen whose skull was fractured by a projectile fired by the Oakland police. And then, of course, there was the massive police presence and violent way that in a number of cities the movement’s occupiers were finally ejected from their places of “occupation.”

Such overwhelming institutional violence couldn’t have made clearer the degree to which the 1% considered Occupy a genuine threat. At the G-20 economic summit in 2011, the Russian Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, said, “The reward system of shareholders and managers of financial institution[s] should be changed step by step. Otherwise the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ slogan will become fashionable in all developed countries.” That was the voice of fear, because the realized dreams of the 99% are guaranteed to be the 1%’s nightmares.

We’ll never know what that drummer girl in Paris was thinking, but thanks to Schneider’s meticulous and elegant book, we know what one witness-participant was thinking all through the first year of Occupy, and what it was like to be warmed for a few months by that beautiful conflagration that spread across the world, to be part of that huge body that wasn’t exactly civil society, but something akin to it, perhaps in conception even larger than it, as Occupy encampments and general assemblies spread from Auckland to Hong Kong, from Oakland to London in the fall of 2011. Some of them lasted well into 2012, and others spawned things that are still with us: coalitions and alliances and senses of possibility and frameworks for understanding what’s wrong and what could be right. It was a sea-change moment, a watershed movement, a dream realized imperfectly (because only unrealized dreams are perfect), a groundswell that remains ground on which to build.

On the second anniversary of that day in lower Manhattan when people first sat down in outrage and then stayed in dedication and solidarity and hope, remember them, remember how unpredictably the world changes, remember those doing heroic work that you might hear little or nothing about but who are all around you, remember to hope, remember to build. Remember that you are 99% likely to be one of them and take up the burden that is also an invitation to change the world and occupy your dreams.

Rebecca Solnit, author most recently of The Faraway Nearby spent time at Occupy San Francisco, Occupy Oakland, and Occupy Wall Street in 2011 and wrote about Occupy often for TomDispatch in 2011-2012. This essay is adapted from her introduction to Nathan Schneider’s new book, Thank You, Anarchy (University of California Press).

Copyright 2013 Rebecca Solnit

The final element was from an email yesterday in from Chris Snuggs.  Chris has previously written guest posts on Learning from Dogs, the last one being In Defence of Politics back on July 8th.  In that email was the following photograph.

"You touch my mate and I'll have ya."
“You touch my mate and I’ll have ya.”

Let me draw out the thread that I saw in all these items.

That is that the 1% that Rebecca Solnit wrote about are incredibly powerful people, with access to more power, money and control than one can even imagine.  But what that 1% cannot control is the growing consciousness, the growing mindfulness and awareness of millions of people across this planet that something as simple and pure and beautiful as unconditional love will conquer all.

The most fundamental lesson that we can learn from dogs!

Hachikō, a lesson in faithfulness.

Note:  This post was first published in August, 2010 and has remained a very popular read on Learning from Dogs since then.

So here is that post once again, albeit with a few minor changes.

oooOOOooo

More than a film, a message from dogs to mankind.

Richard Gere and Hachi

We recently watched a film about an Akita dog called Hachi, Hachikō in Japanese, that demonstrates the loyalty that dogs can offer their human companions.

It’s a very moving film. Expect to shed many tears.  Even more so when one reflects that the Hollywood film is based, reasonably accurately, on a true story.  The details of this story are in Wikipedia from which is quoted:

In 1924, Hidesaburō Ueno, a professor in the agriculture department at the University of Tokyo took in Hachikō as a pet. During his owner’s life Hachikō saw him out from the front door and greeted him at the end of the day at the nearby Shibuya Station. The pair continued their daily routine until May 1925, when Professor Ueno did not return on the usual train one evening. The professor had suffered from a cerebral hemorrhage at the university that day. He died and never returned to the train station where his friend was waiting. Hachikō was loyal and every day for the next nine years he waited sitting there amongst the town’s folk.

Hachikō was given away after his master’s death, but he routinely escaped, showing up again and again at his old home. Eventually, Hachikō apparently realized that Professor Ueno no longer lived at the house. So he went to look for his master at the train station where he had accompanied him so many times before. Each day, Hachikō waited for Professor Ueno to return. And each day he did not see his friend among the commuters at the station.

The permanent fixture at the train station that was Hachikō attracted the attention of other commuters. Many of the people who frequented the Shibuya train station had seen Hachikō and Professor Ueno together each day. They brought Hachikō treats and food to nourish him during his wait.

This continued for nine years with Hachikō appearing precisely when the train was due at the station

Now watch and weep.

Back to the Wikipedia entry:

That same year, another of Ueno’s faithful students (who had become something of an expert on the Akita breed) saw the dog at the station and followed him to the Kobayashi home (the home of the former gardener of Professor Ueno — Kikuzaboro Kobayashi) where he learned the history of Hachikō’s life. Shortly after this meeting, the former student published a documented census of Akitas in Japan. His research found only 30 purebred Akitas remaining, including Hachikō from Shibuya Station.

Professor Ueno’s former student returned frequently to visit the dog and over the years published several articles about Hachikō’s remarkable loyalty. In 1932 one of these articles, published in Tokyo’s largest newspaper, threw the dog into the national spotlight. Hachikō became a national sensation. His faithfulness to his master’s memory impressed the people of Japan as a spirit of family loyalty all should strive to achieve. Teachers and parents used Hachikō’s vigil as an example for children to follow. A well-known Japanese artist rendered a sculpture of the dog, and throughout the country a new awareness of the Akita breed grew.

Eventually, Hachiko’s legendary faithfulness became a national symbol of loyalty.

Hachikō died on March 8, 1935. He was found on a street in Shibuya. His heart was infected with filarial worms and 3-4 yakitori sticks were found in his stomach. His stuffed and mounted remains are kept at the National Science Museum of Japan in Ueno, Tokyo.

Hachiko

A dog offers loyalty, trust and love in exchange for being treated with integrity and compassion.

That’s why we have so much to learn from dogs.

Smarter than we realise!

An insight into health

What we can learn about healthy lifestyles.

I am indebted to Schalk Cloete who has been leaving some very thoughtful comments on Learning from Dogs.  Schalk writes the blog, One in a Billion and more information about him can be learned here.  One of the very generous aspects of Schalk’s Blog is that his material is free from copyright, so I gratefully offer the following from his blog.

oooOOOooo

Perfect health the traditional way

There are a number of very special traditional communities around the world that enjoy amazing health and longevity completely without the help of modern medicine. People still contribute actively to their communities in their 80′s and 90′s and often surpass the magical age of 100 sometimes without ever visiting a doctor.

The most well-documented of these communities is the Okinawa islands in Japan, but a number of other such communities also exist. These include the region of Abkhasia in the Soviet Union, the Symi island in Greece, the Italian village Campodimele, and the mountain communities of Hunza in Pakistan, Vilcabamba in Ecuador and Bama in China.

So, what are the secrets of these amazingly healthy people? Well, I don’t really think we can call them “secrets”, but here they are: these people simply eat a healthy, nutrient dense and predominately plant-based diet (Okinawan food pyramid given below), they never over-eat, they live very active lifestyles and they have a very strong sense of community.  Basically, they live the polar opposite of the modern western lifestyle.

These healthy lifestyle choices have some pretty impressive results. One fun statistic about Okinawa is that they boast 15% of the world’s confirmed super-centenarians (those over 110) while having only 0.0002% of the worlds people, thereby giving them a concentration of super-elders close to 100,000 times greater than the rest of the world. Wow…

In John Robbins’ excellent book “Healthy at 100″, he discloses a lot of well documented research on Okinawa, stating that they are about 15% as likely to die of heart disease and cancer as Americans. They also live 5 years longer on average.

When it comes to healthcare spending, Okinawa has the lowest healthcare costs in all of Japan, which already has a three times smaller per-capita healthcare expense than the USA. Thus, they have about a 7 times smaller chance of dying from degenerative disease and live 5 years longer, all while incurring about 5 times fewer healthcare expenses. Not bad, I’d say.

Unfortunately, the younger generation of Okinawans are rapidly screwing up these awesome stats by succombing to the American lifestyle brought by the US troops stationed on Okinawa.  It really is quite sad how many grandparents have to bury their grandchildren in Okinawa nowadays.

But this just shows how alluring our modern consumerist lifestyle really is. These young Okinawans saw the vibrant health of their parents and grandparents first hand, but still chose to consume their bodies into oblivion. Unthinking consumerism is indeed a very powerful enemy…

oooOOOooo

Fascinating article from Schalk, as I’m sure you will agree.

Chernobly, Fukushima and change.

From out of darkness has to come the dawn

One side effect of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Northern Japan on the 11th March causing an explosion at the Fukushima nuclear power station is that the anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster is much more a news item than I suspect it might have been.

The nuclear accident at Chernobyl in Russia occurred on the 26th April, 1986, twenty-five years ago today.  One major difference between the two disasters was, of course, how they were reported.

Here’s a small extract from a fuller article in The Financial Times published on the 19th April written by Tony Barber who was in Russia those 25 years ago.

Twenty-five years after the explosion at the Ukrainian facility, I vividly recall every detail of those terrible days of April 1986. I was a 26-year-old foreign correspondent working in Moscow for Reuters news agency. On Friday, April 25, I flew to Kiev to spend a couple of days with Rhona, an ebullient Scottish friend who was teaching at the city’s university under a British Council programme. I was the only western journalist in Kiev that weekend.

While we caroused the night away, extraordinary events were unfolding 130km to the north. Technicians were conducting experiments that involved the disabling of automatic shutdown mechanisms at the plant’s fourth reactor. After a tremendous power surge, the reactor blew up at 1.23am on Saturday, April 26.

Except for high-ranking Communist party officials, the KGB and a number of scientists, doctors and fire-fighters, no one in the Soviet Union, let alone the wider world, knew anything about this. Soviet habits of secrecy and deception kept millions of people in the dark even as radiation spread across Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and beyond.

Certainly the disaster in Japan was widely broadcast across the world without any delays or restraints.  But the thrust of this Post today is to point out what, in the end, will have to be understood by the majority of the world’s peoples and their representatives in power.  That is that our dependence, our love affair, with cheap carbon-based energy has to come to an end, and soon.

On the 26th March, The Economist published a briefing on nuclear power entitled, When the steam clears.  As with so many of this newspaper’s essays, it was very well written [I am a subscriber to The Economist; have been for years.]  Here’s a taste of the article,

When last year a volcano closed the skies over Europe and a blown-out oil-rig turned the Gulf of Mexico black, there was no widespread enthusiasm for giving up oil or air travel. But nuclear power is much less fundamental to the workings of the world than petrol or aeroplanes. Nuclear reactors generate only 14% of the world’s electricity, and with a median age of about 27 years (see chart) and a typical design life of 40 a lot are nearing retirement. Although the world is eager to fly and thirsts for oil, it has had little appetite for new nuclear power for the past quarter of a century.

And towards the end of the article, this,

Distressing though it is, the crisis at Fukushima Dai-ichi is not in itself a reason for the world to change energy policy. The public-health effects seem likely, in the long run, to be small. Coal, with its emissions of sulphur, mercury and soot, will continue to kill far more people per kilowatt hour than nuclear does. But as an opportunity to reflect it may be welcome.  [my italics]

Power of hope

We need a continued growing awareness of the craziness of using coal and oil as primary sources of energy, and from that awareness a growing political pressure for change.  Change that recognises that mankind’s present energy strategies of continuing to pump carbon-based gases into the atmosphere are insane; pure and simple.

We need more of these examples:

Science Daily

University of Minnesota researchers are a key step closer to making renewable petroleum fuels using bacteria, sunlight and carbon dioxide.

Scientific American magazine

As the world continues to grapple with energy-related pollution and poverty, can innovation help?

The clock is ticking, as I wrote here a few days ago.

The Third Eye

A guest post from John Hurlburt.

Our living garden planet.

When we’re in love with God, the cosmos, our living garden planet and the steadily growing conscious interconnection between those who understand and serve, we live in awe and wonder and realize a peaceful natural serenity in the midst of our daily concerns and responsibilities.

As our world, our environment and our culture appear to be unraveling, it becomes increasingly necessary for human beings to slow down to re-energize. It’s clear that our species has recently lost spectacularly to natural forces in the Gulf of Mexico and Japan. It’s no coincidence that it’s our technology which continues to reveal the fundamental weakness of human ego. It’s more than a metaphor that our individual and species arrogance is our Achilles heel.

There are many people who fail to perceive, understand and appreciate parallel realities from a rational, sensory and unified perspective by learning to see through a mystical third eye. Mysticism may be misunderstood as simply thinking outside of the box. Forget about the box. Let go of self-centered fears. Become aware of being unaware. Nurture capabilities to perceive non-locally and act locally. What’s happening worldwide comes with the territory. We are each responsible for our collective destiny

Meditation reflects that imagination and creativity are necessary to invent and utilize tools. Creativity did not begin with humans and is not exclusive to humans. God’s nature precedes emerging technology. Morality derives from our common need for species unity.

The message is that God doesn’t care about money and the sky is no longer a human limit. The fact remains that except for occasional astronauts we all continue to live on the same planet. Those who understand need no explanation.

There is a need for productive use of intelligence and technology at our natural frontiers. We need to refuel world economies with clean energy visions that provide solutions for our present local planetary emergency.

We may choose to implement the changes necessary to avoid impending local ecosphere, cultural and technological meltdowns while preparing for a migration to the stars.

Unification is a common goal. Leaving the nest of our garden planet is a partial unifying solution for the problems of our exponentially expanding species. An alternative is that our obsession with the symbol of money will have the same dire consequences for those who are obsessed as for those whom are oppressed.

Please love God, maintain an even strain, follow your bliss, continue to learn, share and serve our common purpose under God, proceed as the way opens, cross the next bridge as we come to it, enjoy the journey and stay in touch.

Gratefully,

From an old lamplighter!

“Oh my ears and whiskers, how late it’s getting”

The quote that forms the title of this article is from Alice in Wonderland and is spoken by the Rabbit.

It's getting late!

At first, that quote seems quite mundane. However, most find ‘Alice’ quotes are rich in truisms and life’s great philosophies.  How about this?

Alice: “It would be so nice if something made sense for a change.”

So what drew me to these two illustrations from Lewis Carroll’s magical pen?  Just this sample of a few days of stuff coming into my email box!

1. Our environment.

From a recent piece on the BBC website.

Ice loss from Antarctica and Greenland has accelerated over the last 20 years, research shows, and will soon become the biggest driver of sea level rise.

From satellite data and climate models, scientists calculate that the two polar ice sheets are losing enough ice to raise sea levels by 1.3mm each year.

Overall, sea levels are rising by about 3mm (0.12 inches) per year.

2. Running on Oil

A recent email in my in-box from John Maudlin was all about Japan and oil.  But there were some stark messages about our use of oil across the planet.  Try this:

There are multiple sources for many of the metals Japan imports, so that if supplies stop flowing from one place it can get them from other places. The geography of oil is more limited. In order to access the amount of oil Japan needs, the only place to get it is the Persian Gulf. There are other places to get some of what Japan needs, but it cannot do without the Persian Gulf for its oil.

This past week, we saw that this was a potentially vulnerable source. The unrest that swept the western littoral of the Arabian Peninsula and the ongoing tension between the Saudis and Iranians, as well as the tension between Iran and the United States, raised the possibility of disruptions. The geography of the Persian Gulf is extraordinary. It is a narrow body of water opening into a narrow channel through the Strait of Hormuz. Any diminution of the flow from any source in the region, let alone the complete closure of the Strait of Hormuz, would have profound implications for the global economy. [My italics.]

3. Energy rethink

From Rob Dietz of CASSE, Centre for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy.

As if we really required more prompting, the unfolding nuclear accidents in Japan are confirming what we must do.  When a disaster strikes, the most urgent response is to help those who are suffering, prevent further calamities, and clean up the messes—it’s a time to get busy.  But the next critical step is to figure out what we might do differently—it’s a time to take a step back and contemplate how we got where we are and where we might go from here.  With each passing day, it is becoming increasingly clear that we need to rethink where and how we get our energy supplies.

And later in this article:

New York Times article provides an astonishing description of what happened at the Fukushima nuclear power plant where the backup generators failed to cool the overheating reactor:

The central problem arises from a series of failures that began after the tsunami. It easily overcame the sea walls surrounding the Fukushima plant. It swamped the diesel generators, which were placed in a low-lying area, apparently because of misplaced confidence that the sea walls would protect them.

The key phrase in that description is “misplaced confidence.”  Misplaced confidence sums up how we got to this point in history when it comes to selecting sources of energy to power our ever-expanding economy.  Regardless of what smooth-talking P.R. professionals say, a nuclear power facility has been the site of a serious accident about every 10 years: witness Three Mile Island in the U.S. in 1979, Chernobyl in Ukraine in 1986, Tokaimura in Japan in 1999, and now Fukushima in 2011.  “Safe nuclear power” is an offensive oxymoron.

Misplaced confidence also describes our failure to take big strides on phasing out fossil fuels.  We have misplaced confidence that we’ll find a technological solution to climate destabilization, that the market will take care of the problem, and that Mother Nature will continue to warehouse the emissions from our economy with no consequences.

Maybe millions of us should be adopting the same query as Alice; It would be so nice if something made sense for a change.”  Because continuing as we are without understanding the urgent need to make ‘sense’, to take heed, of the living, conscious planet that is our only home is utter nonsense!

Back to Mr Rabbit, “Oh my ears and whiskers, how late it’s getting!

Yes, Mr Rabbit, how late it’s getting!

Adjust your alarm clock!

A fascinating, perhaps even non-trivial, insight into that massive earthquake.

(Thanks to the website Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis for giving me a heads-up to this aspect of the ‘quake.)

MISH’s website pointed me to the website Space.com where there was this interesting reflection.

The massive earthquake that struck northeast Japan Friday (March 11) has shortened the length Earth’s day by a fraction and shifted how the planet’s mass is distributed.

A new analysis of the 8.9-magnitude earthquake in Japan has found that the intense temblor has accelerated Earth’s spin, shortening the length of the 24-hour day by 1.8 microseconds, according to geophysicist Richard Gross at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

Gross refined his estimates of the Japan quake’s impact – which previously suggested a 1.6-microsecond shortening of the day – based on new data on how much the fault that triggered the earthquake slipped to redistribute the planet’s mass. A microsecond is a millionth of a second.

“By changing the distribution of the Earth’s mass, the Japanese earthquake should have caused the Earth to rotate a bit faster, shortening the length of the day by about 1.8 microseconds,” Gross told SPACE.com in an e-mail. More refinements are possible as new information on the earthquake comes to light, he added.

The scenario is similar to that of a figure skater drawing her arms inward during a spin to turn faster on the ice. The closer the mass shift during an earthquake is to the equator, the more it will speed up the spinning Earth.

I was also interested to read in that article more confirmation that the earthquake moved Japan! (I had mentioned it in an earlier post on Learning from Dogs.)

The initial data suggests Friday’s earthquake moved Japan’s main island about 8 feet, according to Kenneth Hudnut of the U.S. Geological Survey. The earthquake also shifted Earth’s figure axis by about 6 1/2 inches (17 centimeters), Gross added.

The Earth’s figure axis is not the same as its north-south axis in space, which it spins around once every day at a speed of about 1,000 mph (1,604 kph). The figure axis is the axis around which the Earth’s mass is balanced and the north-south axis by about 33 feet (10 meters).

“This shift in the position of the figure axis will cause the Earth to wobble a bit differently as it rotates, but will not cause a shift of the Earth’s axis in space – only external forces like the gravitational attraction of the sun, moon, and planets can do that,” Gross said.

So if you are the sort of person that likes to be precisely on time ….. take note!

The full moon – very full!

Brought forward as a result of the Japanese earthquake.

I had this item scheduled for publication on Friday 18th March, the day before this month’s full moon.  But recent events in Japan made me decide to bring it forward to today for reasons that will be clear when this Post is read further.

The world is set to experience the biggest full moon for almost two decades when the satellite reaches its closest point to Earth next weekend.

On 19 March, the full moon will appear unusually large in the night sky as it reaches a point in its cycle known as ‘lunar perigee’.

Stargazers will be treated to a spectacular view when the moon approaches Earth at a distance of 221,567 miles (356,577 km) in its elliptical orbit – the closest it will have passed to our planet since 1992.

The full moon could appear up to 14% bigger and 30% brighter in the sky, especially when it rises on the eastern horizon at sunset or is provided with the right atmospheric conditions.

Moon apogee and perigee

This phenomenon has reportedly heightened concerns about ‘supermoons’ being linked to extreme weather events – such as earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis. The last time the moon passed close to the Earth was on 10 January 2005, around the time of the Indonesian earthquake that measured 9.0 on the Richter scale.

Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was also associated with an unusually large full moon.

Previous supermoons occurred in 1955, 1974 and 1992 – each of these years experienced extreme weather events, killing thousands of people.

However, an expert speaking to Yahoo! News today believes that a larger moon causing weather chaos is a popular misconception.

Dr Tim O’Brien, a researcher at the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics at the University of Manchester, said: “The dangers are really overplayed. You do get a bit higher than average tides than usual along coastlines as a result of the moon’s gravitational pull, but nothing so significant that will cause a serious climatic disaster or anything for people to worry about.”

But according to Dr Victor Gostin, a Planetary and Environmental Geoscientist at Adelaide University, there may be a link between large-scale earthquakes in places around the equator and new and full moon situations.

He said: “This is because the Earth-tides (analogous to ocean tides) may be the final trigger that sets off the earthquake.”

UPDATE: This was noted in Naked Capitalism on Saturday.

Volcanoes have reportedly erupted in JapanIndonesia, and Kamchatka Russia today, presumably due to the massive Japanese earthquake. There have been no reports of damage from the eruptions.

Dolphins – truly innocent victims

This just makes me weep!

Watch.

Read and be Educated.

In Japan, fishermen round up and slaughter hundreds and even thousands of dolphins and other small whales each year.In the small fishing village of Taiji, entire schools of dolphins are driven into a hidden cove after a prolonged chase. Once trapped inside the cove, the fishermen kill the dolphins, slashing their throats with knives or stabbing them with spears. The water turns red with their blood, and the air fills with their screams.

Now go here and here.

Take action.

By going here.

Not for your sake, not for my sake but for the sake of this magnificent creature.

I tried to insert a picture of dolphins being slaughtered in Japan but just couldn’t handle the negativity that the picture sent out.

Read this and focus on the beauty of these creatures – and let that inspire you to take action. Please.

By Paul Handover