Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Radiation precautions

I am a kid of Chernobyl. I remember how they told us to drink certain liquid in the kindergarden, and everyone had to do it. Mothers, younger siblings, everyone. My mother took us away to the cottage for more than two weeks where we stayed indoors with supplies of water drilled from 32 meters. Luckily it was not raining...

This was the first time in history when Polish authorities which were at that time directly dependant on Moscow made decisions against orders from Cremlin, but in favor of their own citizens.

Withholding information, a process natural for non-democratic regimes, should not occur in democracies. But, as wikiLeaks reports on japanese nuclear incidents had shown, it is also a daily practice for free-elected governments.

Currently I receive signals from Korea, that my friends are worried and have no clue if there is nothing to be afraid of, or the situation is dangerous. Some foreign Samsung employees had ordered Geiger counters from abroad.

Better safe than sorry, and the fear in Korea, which is very very close to Japan is very understandable and more than justified. What can one do to minimize the possible effects:

- do not eat fruits or vegatables or mushrooms from unknown sources,
- do not drunk mass brand beer which does not have a brwery of production clearly indicated,
- do not drink unknown source bottled water,
- in case of rain, wash yourself immediately,
- avoid rain for several weeks until you make sure that whatever radiation in the clouds there was, it fell down on the Earth one way or the other
- potassium iodine is not harmful and does not give any side effects, if you have it you can take it, but if you live in Sweden, I would not exaggerate

Thanks for my civil defence classes...

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

In the shadow of the quake

Two way tourism between Japan and South Korea had for the long time been very strong pillar of the economies. Now travel agencies feel real slow down because of the disaster, they practically stopped any operations.

Two way tourism had been proving that old time tensions had slowly started to vanish. Japanese, who had occupied Korea for 35 years, are obviously not loved by a lot of Koreans who remember the old times.

Despite bad memories common distrust had slowly vanished. Together with growing Korean Wave a lot of Japanese middle class citizens have been doing weekend shopping in Seoul, crowds of them are visiting sites of their favorite soap operas.

Japan became fashionable among Koreans and is one of their favorite destinations for Lunar New Year or other holidays to go for a visit.

Finally this tragedy had shown that there is a peace between the nations, not only between the governments.

South Korean celebrities and citizens are donating money for Japan. Samsung Group had given already 100 million yen, which is 1,22 million dollars. Daum, one of the internet providers, collected so far 40 million won.

Maybe, in the shadow of the quake, stupid conflict about Dokdo Islands with some small traces of natural resources, not really worth even to be drilled out, will finally be resolved. If this moment is not used, there might be no other opportunity.

There are other, more serious, and never resolved problems between Tokyo and Seoul. Japan had never gone through full denazification and fascist veterans are still presented there as national heroes. It may be a wind of change for both nations, and time of forgiveness. Better late than later. Or never...

15th March 2011

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Earthquake in Japan 3

How can you help Japan?

In Japan currently there is sweet drinking water crisis.

My friend Mikina who is in Tokyo says:

"In my situation, I can get electricity. But no access to gas and water. It’s happening in the whole city I live.
Luckily we our family had eight 2litter drinking water bottles and full of bathtub.
Our city supplies water at every school but they say it takes 2hours to get water and it is limited to 10litters per family. We can’t know when we can get water from tap next. It can be tomorrow or one week after. (...)
Though things should be appreciated, when whole nation try to send things to suffered area, they are not handed to people appropriately and effectively. So I believe contribution of some money helps much more."

Donate Money for Japan - International Red Cross

Apart from this you can donate sweet bottled water supplies to your local Red Cross, or contact state aid agencies.

 Street cracked after the first quake in one of areas which suffered less damage, this can rip apart any second. Photo by Mikina from Tokyo.

Earthquake in Japan 2

Fukushima Power Plant had been reported to have a leak which is now decreasing. Two shakes coming one after another during recent two days had damaged the concrete building of the plant but not it's metal cover, says the authorities. Just in case 20 km zone of evacuation had been created.

The death toll is rising. For now at least 649 people had been killed by the tsunami and the quakes. The water supplies and energy situation on the Japan islands is critical, help however will soon arrive from the world.

Japan quake technology is legendary efficient, but this time it was the tsunami which caused the biggest losses.
State preparations started after the quake in 1923 which was so far the most disastrous with losses and casualties. Since then the quake conscioussness among civilians had risen, the authorities had imposed a lot of solutions including the quake training simulation which every citizen has to go through on 1st September every year.

Since 1981 new building technology makes every skyscraper and building a must have special foundations which amortise the quake up till the magnitude of 9, theoretically. This technology has proved itself very efficient and really helps during such disasters.

It seems however that the only thing which actually saves from the tsunami are high altitude natural sea banks, like on the Korean penninsula, which won't protect the fish industry or boats, but will protect vast spaces of land.

Japanese people help eachother before the rescue teams arrive, a neighbour helps a neighbour with whatever possible.

It is not safe to come back to the buildings even if they seem not to be damaged. Secondary quakes will for sure weaken their cracked structures more.

Japanese economy suffered losses which noone dares to measure yet. Nikkei went down rapidly, same for the exchange rate of yen, but Japanese economy, an export based power, will eventually drag itself from the disaster.


On the side: how come the Kaddafi mess causes oil index skyrocketing and Japanese disaster which may actually harm a lot of platforms and tank ships in Pacific region is causing oil price index down?
The logic of investors is black magic for me. Or may be there is no logic, just a group panic instinct?

Friday, 11 March 2011

Earthquake in Japan

Today there was an earthquake in Japan of 8,9 magnitude. Losses are enormous, mostly in technical assets, infrastructire, businesses and others.

Circa 250 dead, 88 000 missing after strong shakes and 10 meter tsunami rushed through islands of Japan, numbers may increase with time. 
Government warns about secondary shakes and prepares civilians for situation of worse than what it is already.

For such a sudden and strong event I want to congratulate Japanese people for organization and preparations for such a case. Country was shaken but it is not paralyzed. Advanced technologically and very organized, went through struggle with powers of nature not as harmed as countries affected by Indian Ocean Tsunami and earthquake in 2004, where there have been 230 000 fatalities.

Is Korea prepared for an earthquake of this magnitude? A year ago in January there was a small shake which had risen this question in the newspapers. This time, Korean Penninsula was spared.

The authorities had noticed such threats and try to catch up, but will they catch up on time?

Soon more details.