Tuesday, July 19, 2016

What Ice Wall? Phase 2

Entire post from NHK below- with not one single mention of the ice wall.  Instead- the regulators think TEPCO really should DO something about the problem - since - they haven't.  They are doing a study, though!  Thank goodness.  Oh, and this press release points out they are still pumping water into the melted down reactors to cool them.  And the water then goes - where?  They're not sure.

"TEPCO urged to cut risk of radioactive water leak

"Japan's nuclear regulator has urged the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to reduce the risk of leaking of highly radioactive water from the facility into the sea, in case of another tsunami.

"About 60,000 tons of such water is believed to have pooled in reactor buildings at the plant. The operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, is injecting water into the buildings to cool melted nuclear fuel, and groundwater is flowing into their basements.

"The Nuclear Regulation Authority instructed TEPCO at a meeting on Tuesday to urgently study measures to lower the amount and radiation levels of the water.

"The authority proposed 2 measures to TEPCO. One is building more tanks to store the water, even though the plant has about one thousand tanks. The other is treating the water using a system designed to filter out radioactive material, and circulating the water in a cooling system.

"NRA member Toyoshi Fuketa said the utility cannot keep the water in the buildings forever. He said TEPCO should handle the water problem either along with that of other radioactive water or first of all.

"Following the NRA's instruction, TEPCO is to report the results of its study at a meeting next month or later."

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Whole Truth About "Economics".

Buckle up.  Exactly how often these days do you have a chance at "the whole truth"??  But here it is.

A couple days ago, Ilargi over at The Automatic Earth posted a cartooned short lecture from "legendary economist Ha-Joon Chang" on - Economics.

Back in the dark ages of blogging, around 2008-2010, when I was posting frequently, I tracked the "rank" of my blog using the now extinct Technorati statistics.  I was pleased when I eventually ranked up in the top 4% (as high as I got, but darn good) - but surprised to find that their measure of my "authority"; a statistic I don't understand at all, had me ranked pretty high for ecology - but higher for economics.  What? A surprise to me; though both fields have the same Greek root in oikos, house, they notoriously don't talk much.

Apparently though, if you are trained in the study of resources, their uses, values, and flows - it becomes easy to notice when Economists are talking total nonsense.  Which is often/always; as every study has always shown.  Look up 'monkeys are smarter than investors" if you want to get into that topic.  Ha-Joon Chang has noticed the nonsense from inside the field - a considerable recommendation.  Take a look; not while you're distracted, because between the ironic narration and the double-entendre animations, this is packed tight:

Then; if you have the urge; take the time to search this blog right here for the simple word "economics".  You'll find I made many of the exact same statements about economics and economists, years ago.  Alas that I can't claim to be a legendary economist, though.  (No disparagement of Chang intended, I actually think he is truly brilliant - and speaks the truth.)

And the Moral Of The Story: according to both a legendary economist and Greenpa; Economics is a meaningless field of study.  Really.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Way Forward

At the moment, everyone on the planet is greatly afraid that we have no way forward.

I certainly don't know what will happen; but I do know these things: time will pass, we will change, and it is possible to try to find a "better way."

It would be good to remember at this point that History does have examples of times when we found a better way.  The abolition of slavery, for example and women's suffrage.  It would also be good to remember that both those events were painful; and neither resulted in completely solving the problems; slavery most certainly still exists, and many situations exist where great chunks of the populace have no say whatever in their governance.

But the effort was made; by millions of us, and the outcome was better.  Hang on to that.

A few more things we know.  In all cases where we found better ways, the truth, and fairness (not quite the same thing as justice) played major roles.  Truth, because any path based on untruth must fail by the laws of physics; and fairness - because somehow, we creatures of Earth are built to expect it.  Not only humans, but most species ever tested—primates, dogs, horses, crows, ravens— expect fairness, and resent its absence - sometimes violently.  (Google 'sense of fairness in ... ' if you want to check.)

Right now, our major social battles seem to be very short on truth, and very short on fairness.

There are some major truths we all know- which are not allowed to be uttered publicly.  Like.  Some police are racist.  All of them?  No.  But some, yes.  And the cops are not doing anything about it.

512 people have been killed in the USA by police so far this year; 990 were killed last year.  How do we know?  The Washington Post decided someone should look into the matter- since no federal agency keeps statistics on police related killings; nor do local police report them.  Here is the WaPo database.  59 police officers have died in the line of duty this year; 29 by gunfire.

Just so we know.

And - people, and parties, on all sides of everything — are afraid.  And fear makes us blind and foolish — and dangerous; to others and to ourselves.  Also untruthful; and unfair.

Just saying those things out loud, as part of the conversation, is a first step.  What to do about it can come later.

Speak truth.  Work for fairness.  I'm afraid.

If you're looking for common ground- there it is.