Japan’s Cruel Ironies

Pacific Ring of Fire

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Things seem to be going from bad to worse and even beyond in Japan. I skimmed an article today written by Cynthia Tucker that emphasized a point that I have  made in talking to others. That would be the dependence upon and even faith that we have in technology. Her article drew an analogy between the tragedy in Haiti and the three-pronged tragedy that has occurred in Japan. In an underdeveloped country such as Haiti, one would somewhat expect a natural disaster to cause the  enormous devastation that took place. But, one of, if not the most technologically advanced  countries in the world, with all of its preparation has still incurred enormous devastation of its own from the tsunami and earthquake. This holds a   lesson  for other advanced countries, particularly one that has a significant population  in the Pacific Ring of Fire( Hint, hint, San Francisco,etc).

But there are still other ironies that are hard to ignore.Japan , of course, is the only county ever to suffer the effects of a nuclear attack. Now, it is incurring  an as yet undetermined effect from damaged nuclear power plants. I think that there are some points to be made vis-a-vis Japan and its reliance on nuclear power to generate its electricity. One would almost think that Japan is the mpst nuclear dependent country in the world.  Japan’s 54  reactors produce about 30% of its electricity. That figure puts  the country as the 15th most nuclear dependent country, far behind both Lithuania and France,both of which get over 75% of their electricity via the  nuclear route.

But, having said that, what still nags at me the most  is that of  which I spoke at the onset. Technology is not the cure-all and science  does not nor will it ever have all the answers. Yet, we( meaning the United States primarily, but others to be sure) think that if we throw enough money or scientific knowhow out there, that anything is possible. Sometimes, it makes me to just want to unplug, sorta the human equivalent of acoustic music, huh?


March 18, 2011 Posted by | Technology, Weather | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Two very different headlines

The nation of Japan has been struck by a  massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake, the largest on record in that country. The tsunami spawned by that quake has compounded the death and destruction that the Japanese will have to face. Estimates of those who lost their lives have already topped 1,000. Sadly, I expect that figure to rise considerably. Reports  from people in Japan speak of  tremendous destruction to roads, buildings, homes etc. A major nuclear power has also suffered damage adding yet another element to what must an almost surreal scene.

For a country already reeling economically, this natural disaster has presented the country with quite a difficult challenge to overcome. Our country is already providing help and people can take part through the American Red Cross and probably other agencies as well.

But what seems to be the biggest news story in our country today? Why, of course it is the ongoing struggle between the NFL owners and the NFLPA  which is basically the players labor union. Extended negotiations broke off  today as the union voted to decertify, thus tossing the ball into the legal system. Who will prevail and when is anyone’s guess. There will ultimately be a settlement and both the players and owners will  do well. Unfortunately, if there is a work stoppage, those most likely affected will be those who depend on the league for their livelihoods. I actualy have almost no sympathy for either side and the angst that many of  the pepople involved ( especially the players)  seem to be feeling and trying to gert us to feel.

On one side, there are themega rich owners and on the other are the  players;many of whom are make quite  a hefty income. Admittedly, the average career is relatively short but the average incomes are large. But they will never be large enough, I guess, since a 2009 study by Sports Illustrated estimated that 78% of NFL players will go bankrupt in their lifetimes. Guessing that is higher than in most other occupations. Chew on this additional piece of info. The NFLPA has distributed a booklet to each of its players  with advice on to cut costs if the lookout materializes. One of  those pieces of advice, cut the size of your entourage.

It is sort of hard for me to balance these labor issues with the stark reality facing the Japanee people. For them, we must pray.

March 11, 2011 Posted by | Sports, Weather | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment