Japan's hopefully not so "great fall"

Well, WOW, is there any other way to say it?

As much as this story dominates the news, I have the distinct impression no one can really contemplate it right now. Like it’s easier to rally around a poor country like Haiti, but the inescapable fact is this is a more dramatic event. Japan will not get back to “normal” for a long long time… if ever?

I happened to be feeling particularly nostalgic lately about my videogame favorites over the years, even getting around to listening to Panzer Dragoon music a lot this last week. I couldn’t help feeling the poignancy in the cultural undercurrent of fatalism, that informs so many of the themes in all these games from a few islands, that the whole world has grown to adore.

Listening to this was literally making me cry - Dream
And feeling even more sad that I never found a way to visit Japan before now, even when my brother was there for a whole decade…

Plus strangely finding myself on the west coast now, more or less ‘living’ for the first time in a place that’s similarly vulnerable - apparently I drive right on top of our own Hayward Fault on a daily basis - and can’t help but wonder what it’s all about. My hopes and prayers (such as they may be) have gone out to NZ of course, and now JP really needs any and all the good vibrations we can muster, as this is still far from a past tense event.

You have proven your resilience more times than almost anyone in recent history though, I’m betting you will again. All the best wishes to you Nippon.

Such a brutal planet we live on. My condolences to all those affected by this tragedy.

Yeah, there’s not much one can say with an ongoing disaster of this scale. Hopefully it will be over soon, so people can then focus on getting back on their feet, which will be very, very tough… I’m amazed at the way they deal with it all though, I feel that if this happened anywhere else there would have been panic and riots left and right…

It seems things keep getting worse… Weren’t some members here in Japan?

Japan will recover. It’s a huge disaster, yes, and thousands of lives have been lost… But countries (and Japan in particular) have recovered from much, much worse.

(I have family in Tokyo, Chiba, and Fukushima and everyone is safe and accounted for… thank god. Heading out there in April and I hope things will have stabilized somewhat by then!)

Great to see a positive note from you Abadd, the tone of coverage usually seems either abstracted or sensationalized still… and I admit I can’t really bring myself to dwell on it too much either, or dig for better coverage.

Amazing how much a single personal anecdote can adjust the perspective. :anjou_love:

Haha, yeah, the news is depressing to watch. But that’s what sells, isn’t it?

Not to down play the severity of the disaster (tens of thousands lost or dead, billions of dollars of damage, nuclear issues, etc), but let’s put it into perspective…

I mean, Japan is the country - and the only country, I might add - that got hit with two nuclear bombs, then rose up to be one of the biggest economic powers in the world (and then the bubble burst… but they’re still up there!). They rebuilt their cities and moved on. Other countries have done the same - the US with 9/11 and with Katrina, half of Europe after WW2, etc etc. People are resilient creatures and with a little international support, I have no doubt Japan will be back on its feet. :slight_smile:

No, I don’t believe it is something from which anyone can move on quickly either as if they’d never let anything slow them down when this is a memorable reminder of just how fragile life can be. My prayers go out to them.

I always wished I was born in the states or Japan, just for the enriching culture (long story, don’t ask).

It never ceases to amaze me what people can accomplish when pushed. That age-old saying that people are sometimes at their best when things are at their worst comes to mind, because life doesn’t give them a choice.

This made nuclear power a debate again, and after this, one that has been settled by the looks of it? Like the economic crash, it seems like another idea that has been discredited for the world to see.

There is still a bit of a culture gap between us and Japan that almost makes each other alien to one another still, it feels anyway, despite the (both literal and metaphorical) impact of American ideas there, or is that just me?

There is a lot we can learn from Japan’s example of self-reliance IMO. It’s very underrated I’d say by the rest of the world.

I don’t mean to say they’ll move on quickly. I’m saying that it doesn’t spell the end of Japan. I have friends and relatives that live in the Fukushima area and they are already cleaning up and moving on. Granted, that’s an anecdotal reference, but people are very resilient. That being said, they’re aren’t truly self-reliant. Remember, they have very little need to spend on their military (other than their Self Defence Force) specifically due to the fact that the US provides all military protection to Japan. In addition, they do not have enough farmland to sustain the whole nation, so they import a lot of food from Australia and the US. No nation is truly self-reliant anymore.

As for the nuclear issue, I wouldn’t quite discount it yet. No permanent damage has been done, and less people have been injured/killed by this accident than the dam that broke in Fukushima (hydro power) or the oil refinery that exploded in a rather impressive fireball in Chiba (and nevermind the massive amounts of carcinogenic chemicals it spewed into the environment in an impressive fashion - and that’s when it was operating normally :P). Of course, neither of those are news because they aren’t as exciting as nuclear emergencies. Now, I don’t mean to downplay the severity of the situation. It’s definitely a huge crisis that needs to be resolved. That being said, the fact that there hasn’t been any recorded deaths and whatnot is actually, IMO, a testament to the safety of the system.

Let’s put it into perspective - the Deepwater Horizon oil rig went up in flames, spewed unimaginable amounts of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, destroyed miles of habitat, etc. And yet, did that suddenly make everyone call for a dismantling of all oil rigs? That happened during the normal course of operations. The Fukushima plant was hit by a 9.0 earthquake, then a gigantic tsunami, and still hasn’t gone anywhere near the level of damage that Deepwater Horizon caused. And it’s not like that was the first oil-related accident of its kind, either.

I don’t think nuclear is the final answer to our energy problems, but it is a lot safer for the environment, all things considered, than coal plants or oil.

The potential harm seems far greater, otherwise I agree with you. I just don’t know how people will spin it to their advantage. This addiction to oil seems endless. We’ve talked about ending it for how many decades now and yet we seem to need higher highs.

What’s that old saying? The spice must flow.

Better self-reliant than dependent on a centralized authority especially as individuals is all I really meant. It’s a harsh reality we’d rather not be real when disasters like this strike. I really hope that they bounce back from this. I still think that Japan is underrated in that sense.

I still have visiting Japan on my long list of things to do one day to soak up the rich culture. What a world we live in and what hell it is to make it a better place.

The potential for harm to the immediate area is definitely great, but no greater than our other energy sources.

Point in case: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centralia,_Pennsylvania

Every energy source we have has the potential for great environmental damage, aside from solar and wind at this point. But unless we do something about greatly changing our civilization and drastically reduce our population… not something anyone is particularly interested in kick starting for obvious reasons.

As for the Japanese being self-reliant, that’s not entirely true, either. Japan is a very socialized state and has been suffering from crippling social issues because of the top-heavy age brackets. The Japanese population is shrinking (only 1.7 children per couple nowadays), which makes it difficult to support socialized safety nets for the massive amounts of elderly people (there’s a downside to having some of the longest lifespans in the world, I guess). What the Japanese definitely do get credit for is the lack of rampant crime in reaction to this terrible disaster. No significant amount of looting, no spike in crime rates. But, again, this is likely a direct result of the socialized state. Japan has a very flat poor-to-rich ratio and has a very large swatch of middle class citizens. When there is less disparity between the rich and the poor, there is far less reason to commit crime.

That being said, Japan definitely has a rich culture. The older side of Japanese culture really takes appreciation of nature and of art and beauty to a whole new level. However, there is also a subtle arrogance that comes with it, as well as a soul-crushing sense of duty that often suffocates creativity and individualism, particularly in the workplace. It’s for that reason that I love visiting Japan, but have little desire to live there for the long term.

Because they cannot expand (nevermind the emergence of slave labor countries that has now helped to export industry abroad), so they adapted, but during their boom period from between after the war until recently they have been market leaders (after their Conservative parties merged in 1955 especially), much like the states (political science is a hobby of mine now).

I can see we are going to disagree on this in a polar opposite sense already, probably.

Socialized makes it sound like a positive thing. Now there is a dangerous word from where many are standing. You sound incredibly convinced already. I will stand by my opinion in believing that this is not the answer because of where it can lead.

The one thing that gives the greatest freedom to change your life is new growth and new starts where your destiny is in your hands, not the system’s. They called America the land of opportunity for a reason.

Soul crushing is a good word, but the reason is because of how people force themselves to do things they hate in general imo, yes because of a work ethic that is crushed into people. But isn’t that just reality? Money buys freedom and no one is going to give it to you. It’s still a work or starve world.

Besides, aren’t you eager to terraform Mars? I’m hoping I can buy a house there next century during my next life where I can store my giant robot from Japan.

Yes, social mobility does not trap people in the endless cycles of poverty and few opportunities that leads to crime, but that isn’t something a bureaucracy that has no motivation to compete with itself can ever create (take Greece as the perfect example), not without treading on individual liberties, because that inevitably happens as sacrificing a few to ensure the survival of the many becomes simply logical. The people in the states were almost disconnected from Federal government to hold leaders accountable by never needing them too much to ENSURE it was a reflection of the people and not vice versa of ending up as pawns of the state, which becoming dependent on leadership fosters.

Because honestly, giving all that power to people who can do what they want without consequences who feel that the human population needs to be downsized? No thank you. If you look at the numbers, the western world is barely replicating anyway. In fact, we aren’t even replacing ourselves whilst people are given CHOICES. That always was the key, not something incredibly drastic.

I don’t feel the need to disagree with you on the nuclear power issue other than to say the potential dangers however minimal will be spun to make other sources of power seem that much more appetizing.

That is indeed a shame.

Edit: edited for clarity and reposted.

ANYWAY, I digress as usual. Catch you later!

Maybe the lesson here is not to build nuclear power plants near fault lines or in tsunami risk areas.

That said, I would like to see alternatives found to nuclear power. The same for coal and oil.

What about geothermal energy? I wonder if it could be harvested to meet the population demand.

Wind and solar energy could be used more widely too, and they are completely renewable. There needs to be a greater push for scientific advancement in renewable energy, and then to actually deploy these new technologies.

As ever, my own predisposition towards both fatalism and detachment will filter any thoughts…

Nuclear power is/was sexy, one of the reasons it was able to compete with fossil fuels. But it’s also not congruent with any “grass roots” business model, it needs major investors and a very bureaucracy friendly infrastructure. It has a very significant and reliable maintenance budget.

And I’m not trying to discount it either, but the issue of hidden costs is always, well, hidden. The stock reply from the status quo about solar or other renewable energy options is that it’s “not ready”. Which is just a fucking joke, or would be if such simplistic, myopic “wisdom” wasn’t then accepted so literally. So then this is how nuclear (fission) power is ready, after a half century of research and practical application to the tune of trillions of dollars… ?

Shortsightedness, expedience, and just plain greed have defined our human history of cultural entropy and emergence. The basic tendencies haven’t changed very much. There is a fundamental paradigm shift that is in sight, but has not been truly ratified yet. It seems to me we exist in a certain limbo, between the classical truth (and truth it is) of governance, that those with exceptional qualities bear exceptional responsibilities; and the truth of ever more contemporary importance, that power itself corrupts.

It is a fundamental quandary of the human condition, as pack animals we are still not fully wired for the nuance and ambiguity inherent to the scale of civilization that we have managed to create. Authority is either accepted or it is challenged, with very little middle ground available to our response. And by extension, authority that is accepted is deemed righteous, and authority that is challenged is deemed worthless, again with very little middle ground afforded.

All accepted wisdom is truth, until it is no longer accepted. And all circumstantial truths eventually become quaint. And all visionaries who challenge accepted wisdom begin as a minority, and of course not all are successful nor will be remembered. More importantly, each truth that supplants a previous will be equally circumstantial…

“Those who do not remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.” Well, has any zeitgeist ever truly remembered the past? This is who we are, until we are this no longer… or perhaps even until we are simply no longer.

/waxing all free-association like on y’all.

A truth that is not circumstantial - or at least that is perennially circumstantial? - is that life goes on, and will always go on. Life endures, perseveres, and overcomes; in it’s own clumsy, beautiful, even perfect nature. And yet all patterns must change, slowly or otherwise, because that is the very definition of life. And in the end all sorrow, mourn and loss is over a thing that only existed for immeasurable moments. And so it could never be truly lost, for the memory of it is also the reality, and the totality of it.

Which is why, even in the midst of our greatest laments, we cannot ultimately stop seeking the future. Why life must always go on. :anjou_happy:

Compared to the amount of people Oil, Gas and Coal as killed over the years , Nuclear safety record is almost with out equal . I’m so sorry what happen in Japan, but I so so hope people don’t use this against Nuclear, more so when we need every more energy

Wind and solar energy could be used more widely too, and they are completely renewable. There needs to be a greater push for scientific advancement in renewable energy, and then to actually deploy these new technologies.[/quote]

Solar is pretty rubbish and has it’s owns issue’s with chemicals and disposal of old solar panels. Wind is just a that, a complete load of hot of Air - How anyone can think that they are Green, much less or can meet the energy needs of countries is quite frankly beyond me.
I’m just amazed in countries/Islands like the UK New Zealand we haven’t embraced Tidal. None of the short shelf life issues, like with Solar or Wind, none of the destruction of the land issues like with with Wind; and unlike Wind, a constant and guaranteed source of power

I’ve heard mixed reports on the efficiency of solar and wind power. Without an understanding the science behind these sources of energy, it’s difficult to comment. It would be good to see some clear evidence/test results.

Tidal power seems worth investigating at least.

The future does look grim, but if you look at history there is also a pattern of social progress. At the least, I wouldn’t rule out things getting better just yet.

TA: I believe in nuclear power for the sake of creating a much more self-sustaining energy source. The raison d’etra of perpetual expansionism does not, however (that is what it takes to stay ahead, and if we don’t someone else will). The only way our addiction to profiteering will end is when we have no other choice in reality (as opposed to in theory). That’s human nature for you, but when a whole system and people’s lives are built on growth, it’s unrealistic to expect it to change overnight.

Heretic, that was one of the most beautiful posts I’ve ever read on the internet.

This paradigm shift that is now solidifying on the horizon is still the product of people stumbling in the dark as if that blinding darkness were the shepherd herding the sheep.

I say work within the rules to steer the tide by using its very self-interest as a weapon against it (by making it in their best interests to do the right thing), rather than outright damn with damns. Replace greed with another healthier drug addiction that is every bit as real, or exploit necessity being the mother of invention. People often become the monsters we all despise because they feel that is exactly what they need to be, and in this jungle, they are not wrong. People are still going to take a sense of purpose from adapting to all of this.

I can see a future for humanity beyond a reset. In the end, however, it HAS TO BE a choice (for a lot of people the paranoia of being controlled is very real and very justified but the inability to see through other people’s eyes stops everyone seeing that with the understanding they need).

It’s a struggle to not give up all hope for the human race I know. We are the product of a broken world that breaks us IMO.

I really appreciate that Geoffrey, as it was a rare state for me. And it’s probably only because I feel among friends here that I was able to let go like that with such incongruity. (lol) It may be as raw and direct a reflection of the non-linear patterns of actual thought as I’ve ever managed, and I actually had a moment of question before posting it. But it just felt real… so thank you for a gift of corroboration. :anjou_happy:

It started rather ugly… though perhaps even that was elemental? I do however feel like stressing I’m not against nuclear power in any platform way, and I think that virtually anything is better than burning more fossil fuels at this stage. TA you make valid points there as well, but it echoes some of the platform misdirection and oversimplification (imo).

As a starting point any economic argument will be narrow-minded by default, as economics are so arbitrary. Any price-tag has little direct relation to an objective and relative cost, in actual hard resources, be they human, environmental or elemental. And in the case of both traditional resources and nuclear, the books have been so thoroughly cooked, both willfully and logistically at this point, I don’t believe it’s even possible to have a very relevant factual debate about it.

The idea of nuclear power was once being sold as literally free energy, “too cheap to meter”. Uncounted subsidies later… well of course nothing is free. Even solar, of course, so it’s similarly even easier to undermine something that is conceptually packaged as a passive energy generator. So no it’s not a perpetual motion machine, TOTAL FAIL, scrap the whole concept!

Wind, Solar and Tidal share the trait of their viability being dependent on environment. Of course solar could never be as relevant in the UK as it may in say, the US southwest (where I’ve lived most of my life), just as tidal has literally zero viability in many places. And that’s again a prime distinction: the idea of a stored energy source that is consumed on demand makes the easiest sense to us, it fits with our accustomed position in the natural order even… right?

Knowledge is power, indeed, but possession is nine-tenths of the law. And when it comes to any finite elemental resource, generally someone is already in possession of it, or at least in a position to control who can possess it. And so those someones already have power and influence, and a clear mandate to protect and increase that influence. Nuclear is not directly parallel to the fossil fuels dynamic, but the principle still applies in a way it will not to most other “alternatives”.

Anyway, this is already just another example of the normal chore (for both myself and anyone reading) my attempts at corralling my thoughts into linear and literal expression become. Conceptually, I’m most attracted to the idea of decentralized / small scale nuclear plants, it certainly seems one of the most obvious ways to virtually eliminate the possibility of major contamination events.

And like, I know what you’re saying there TeamAndromeda about the safety record… but the issue simply cannot be reduced to cold numbers like that. There is a different order of complexity, immediacy, scale and even yes horror possible in a singular event like this. Compared to any pre-twentieth century man-made faux pas.

My Family were miners, I live in a ex mining Village I haven’t got to go or look far to the see the damage Coal as done to people and the environment ; We’ve only just recovered from the damage digging for Coal inflicted on my Aera, the last thing I want to see is to see all the Valley’s ripped up again to put in those wind farms, and unlike Coal or Nuclear , they will not bring in hundreds of Jobs .

I hate Nuclear and wished it had never been invented, but it has and it’s hear and to me it must be used to help power the UK. Do not want to be held to ransom with Oil in the Middle East or Gas from the Russians. So would like to see the UK use a combination of Offshore Wind farms, Tidal and Nuclear to meet the UK energy needs