"You have to work hard to offend Christians. By nature, Christians are the most forgiving, understanding, and thoughtful group of people I've ever dealt with. They never assume the worst. They appreciate the importance of having different perspectives. They're slow to anger, quick to forgive, and almost never make rash judgments or act in anything less than a spirit of total love . . . No, wait--I'm thinking of Labrador retrievers!" David Learn, 1998

Friday, April 29, 2011

Message of Christ in the Royal Wedding

April 29, 2011

The television audience of the wedding ceremony of Prince William and Catherine Middleton was estimated to number two billion people! I was not among that number, but I encourage you to read the following from the transcript of the ceremony, as these authoritative words bring hope.

The Very Reverend Dr. John Hall, Dean of Westminster Abbey: Dearly beloved, we are gathered here in the sight of God and in the face of this congregation to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony, which is an honorable estate instituted of God himself signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church, which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence and first miracle as he wrought in Cana of Galilee and is commended in holy writ to be honorable among all men, and therefore is not by any to be enterprised nor taken in hand unadvisedly, lightly or wantonly, but reverently, discreetly, soberly and in the fear of God duly considering the causes for which matrimony was ordained.

First, it was ordained for the increase of mankind, according to the will of God and that children might be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord and to the praise of his holy name.

Secondly, it was ordained in order that the natural instincts and affections implanted by God should be hallowed and directed aright, that those who are called of God to this holy estate should continue therein in pureness of living.

Thirdly, it was ordained for the mutual society help and comfort that the one ought to have for the other, both in prosperity and adversity, into which holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined.


James Middleton, Catherine Middleton’s brother: Reads Romans 12:1-2, 9-18

DR. RICHARD CHARTRES, LORD BISHOP OF LONDON: Be who God meant you to be, and you will set the world on fire. So said Saint Catherine of Siena whose festival day it is today. Marriage is intended to be a way in which man and woman help each other to become what God meant each one to be: their deepest and their truest selves.

Many people are fearful at the prospects for our world, but the message of the celebrations in this country and far beyond its shores is the right one. This is a joyful day. It is good that people in every continent are able to share in these celebrations. Because this is, as every wedding day should be, a day of hope.



(From Ron Prentice, California Family Minute)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

More blogs about Japan

Jess on  Blog Schmog suggests two blogs which speak about helping Japan recover:

Glory Speaking by David and Tomo Robison, missionary appointees with SEND International, currently raising support to be missionaries in Japan, hoping to be there by July: Disaster relief updates from Pastor Yoshiya Kondo in Morioka City, Iwate.

Living and learning: Musings about living life and learning at home in Japan
by Sue, wife of a Japanese man, both Christians, in Saitama.


ON ANOTHER NOTE: If you didn't get invited to the Royal Wedding, go to Letters from midlife.




Monday, April 25, 2011

Since He's still alive. . .

Since Jesus is still alive, the day after we celebrated His resurrection, I want to post for you (with the author's permission) the essay he read at our Easter service yesterday.

Hour 36
by Jeremy Bear

It's 4:00 PM on what we can reasonably assume to be April 3rd.  A blood-red lunar eclipse hangs in the afternoon sky, rare for Passover season in Jerusalem.  We're on a grim little plot of land the locals call "The Head".  Or, more specifically, "Golgotha".  Or "Calvary".  Or "Cranium".

Or "Skull".

If you're the Roman government, it's the perfect sort of spot for crucifixions.  Located near the Northwest entrance of the city, it lets visitors and new arrivals know: Jerusalem takes capital offenses seriously.  Cliffside crags and outcroppings throw unfortunate shadows in the shapes of angry eye sockets and a malformed nasal cavity, giving the place its name.

Thieves, malcontents and other reprobates hang from crosses, their arms hyperextended, lungs asphyxiating. Dead or not, their wounds are already drawing flies and chances are, if you're just happening upon this little tableau, you smelled it before you saw it.

The year: AD 33. And everyone knows the name of the still-warm corpse being peeled off his cross and wrapped in linens by two members of the Sanhedrin: that’s Jesus of Nazareth.  Or, to some, “Jesus, bastard son of Mary”.

Within a couple of hours, the body of Christ is taken to a fairly impressive tomb purchased by Joseph of Arimathea.  And there’s no doubt whatsoever: the Son of Man is dead.

It isn’t a coma and it isn’t even “mortally wounded”.  All vital signs are negative.  Blood pressure: zero-over-zero.  Jesus is done.


7:00 PM, Friday, April 3 - Hour #3
What’s left of the now-buried Christ’s blood reserves has begun draining from his capillaries and gravity is causing it to pool at the bottom of his muscles and internal organs.  His face and chest are growing pale, losing more color by the minute, while the backs of his legs, torso, arms and head are purpling and swelling.

Brain activity ceased entirely within 10 minutes of his final breath, but now the cells of his gray matter are already beginning to decompose.

His muscles slowly cure, hungry for warmth and oxygen that just isn’t coming. The linens were treated with perfumes and that helps with the odor, but it won’t keep out bacteria.  It won’t keep it in, either.

Christ’s body is quickly losing heat.

4:00 AM, Saturday, April 4 - Hour #12
His pH has shifted and his cells begin to respond accordingly: they rupture, leaking enzymes.  The bacteria in his intestinal tract that once aided digestion now begins feeding on the intestinal walls themselves, gobbling proteins and excreting methane.

1:00 PM, Saturday, April 4 - Hour #21
Gas collects in Christ’s stomach and large intestine.  His belly and bladder shifts, swells and occasionally ejects a foul mix of ammonia, methane and hydrogen sulphide.

A thin layer of liquid enzymes floats underneath his endoderm, causing his skin to slip.

9:00 PM, Saturday, April 4 - Hour #29
The Hydrogen Sulphide/CO2/Methane mix has reached critical mass and bloats the entirety of Jesus’ corpse, distending his torso, pushing ruptured skin outward. 

Organs soften and froth, hair follicles loosen.  His respiratory system’s a self-sustaining, anaerobic community.

Christ is beginning to putrefy.

3:00 AM, Sunday, April 5 - Hour #35
The linens brown as Jesus’ seething blisters empty into the fabric.  He’s black and marbled, sulfhemoglobin collecting in his settled blood.

He’s stone cold.  And his body is eating itself.

And that’s all.

...




4:00 AM, Sunday, April 5 - Hour #36
It happens.

Suddenly and strangely, something that can’t possibly be... is.

Something goes wrong.

Backward.

Something shifts.

Something that can only be described as subatomic takes hold and keeps holding.

Algor mortis reverses into rigor mortis reverses into no mortis whatsoever.

Core temperature rises: 65 degrees.  70.  75.

Enzymes separate and collect proteins, carbohydrates and lipids, blossoming into healthy, functioning cells.  Liquefied tissue layers and solidifies.

Core temperature: 80.  85.

Blood rehydrates and begins absorbing oxygen molecules by the billions.  Skin reconnects with soft fat and tissue.  Lungs deflate, expelling methane, then inflate, now with oxygen-rich air.  His heart swells and, for the first time in 36 hours, beats.

90.   95.

Muscles dilute lactic acids with fresh, pure blood.  Pecs and glutes, delts and quads expand and contract.  Capillaries open.  Veins and arteries pulse.

96.

Electricity sparks through his cerebral cortex, reopening synaptic passages, firing signals and lighting up nerve endings.

Maggots and infection explode from every orifice and dissolve immediately.  Lesions stitch themselves back together.

97.

Kidneys begin filtering. Lymph snakes from tonsils to thymus to spleen and back again.

Christ opens his mouth.

98.

He opens his eyes.

He takes a breath.

And maybe it took hours.  Or maybe it was instantaneous.

But somehow, for some reason, Jesus of Nazareth... The Son of Man.  The Christ.  The Messiah.  Jesus-who-was-dead...

Isn’t.

It’s not a healing or a medical marvel. It’s not chemistry-gone-haywire.

It’s something impossible: a refurbished, reconstituted Jesus.  Head to foot, cell to cell.

Resurrection.

And this God-power... this subatomic, resurrecting influence... this Authority...

Rather than continuing to radiate out from the tomb, the planet, the galaxy, reversing physics and correcting every death, every wrong... it stops.  It leaves Christ to complete Christ’s work.

What’s more, it leaves the scars: in the hands, the feet, the side.

It knows Christ, clearly, cell to cell.  But it also knows us.

It understands why we needed him to keep his scars.  And why we need our own.

And those 36 hours, from Friday afternoon, April 3, AD 33 to Sunday morning, April 5, AD 33...

There’s been nothing more bewildering, nothing more triumphant.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

From now on, for updates on Japan go to The Japan Times

Daily hits to this blog have gone from a peak of 164 exactly one month ago to four. I assume most of you are no longer interested in updates on Japan, or at least not in those exclusively. So if you do want them, I refer you to The Japan Times and specifically their section "Tohoku-Kanto Earthquake News" (i.e. Sendai), plus the various blogs and other sites I have linked to in previous posts.

Please don't stop praying for the Japanese people to find His "great Light" in all their darkness. (Bible: Book of Isaiah chapter 9, verse 2) Thank you.

SENDAI TSUNAMI VIDEO: THIS IS THE WAY IT WAS!

Video: Tsunami engulfing Minami Sanriku

     This graphic 5-1/2 minute long video captures the Sendai tsunami of March 11, 2011 from beginning to end. As appalling as it is, this is the only way those of us who weren't there can ever understand what it was like to experience an inexorably oncoming wave 60 feet high eventually spreading five miles inland.
     The people on the hill from which this was taken start out making comments like, "It's awful! Look! Oh, no! Houses are being swept away!" Watch what happens. . .
     By the way, this is the devastated town our missionaries to Japan Ralph and Joan Justiniano made two relief trips to. (See their updates on March 25, April 6, and April 15.

There are more tsunami videos of other towns posted at hyotenka.blogspot.com/.

HEROES: East Japan Relief Trip #3: Ishinomaki and Kesennuma

TRIP 1 (March 27: Shiogama), and 2 (April 4: Ishinomaki)  are in the process of being scanned and re-posted so the text includes the photos. This fourth trip describes the team taking aid to Ishinomaki again and then to Kesennuma, one of the hardest tsunami-hit villages. (Videos of Kesennuma being flooded are posted at hyotenka.blogspot.com/.)



Friday, April 15, 2011

"The Lord said 'Turn'"--and 3 stranded families were found

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Justiniano-  2nd Tsunami Relief Trip Story       April 15, 2011
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Hope in the Midst of Tragedy Pt. 2

      Just after returning from the the first relief trip, some special needs arose in the disaster zone and the Lord led us to make a second trip.  On top of that we knew there are a number of devastated coastal towns further north from the larger city of Sendai that don't get as much attention, such as the town of Rikuzen Takata.  It had a population of 26,000, and 10,000 are still unaccounted for.  Many of the survivors are now in evacuation camps, but we know in cases like these, there would typically also be some whose houses were not completely swept away, and so their owners wouldn't qualify to stay in the evacuation camps.  With their city completely demolished, however, they would also have no electricity, water, or gas.  We loaded up our mini-van with supplies and asked the Lord to direct us to people like those in need.  After a long drive from the base camp and much scouting, we saw lots of devastation, talked to a number of people sorting through the rubble, but didn't find any who needed supplies.  With a long return drive back to base ahead of us and the time getting late, we decided to call it a day.  

At the last section before leaving the disaster zone, a little side street caught my eye and the Lord said, "Turn," so we entered a small, tucked away hamlet.  When we asked one of the residents if they needed any drinking water, her eyes lit up as she excitedly said, "Yes!"  "Are you getting electricity here?"  "No!"  "Can you use some lanterns?"  "Yes! Yes!"   When we gave a lantern to Mrs. Suzuki, she cradled it in her arms like a baby and said with glee, "I've wanted one of these for a long time."  (They've been without electricity for over a month now.)  The 3 families on that hillside had their first floors swept away by the tsunami, but their houses still remain.  They say because they are only a group of 3 families, the government relief forces don't come.  They scampered up the hillside when they saw the tsunami come, and from there, watched the tsunami sweep away their all their belongings on the ground and first floor levels.  They were thrilled to see the supplies and quickly called other family members to see what we had brought.

Please PrayWe've loaded up the car again with supplies they've asked for and are scheduled to depart early tomorrow (Saturday morning, Japan time) so we can have more time to relax and talk with them.  Please pray for the Murakami and Suzuki families, that they will be hungry to know the Lord Who sent us to them.

Thank you for your prayer.
Rich blessings to you!
Ralph, for the Justinianos



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Thursday, April 14, 2011

FINALLY: Fukushima 101 -- Dr. Kaku makes it crystal clear

      "Think of driving a car, and the car all of a sudden lunges out of control. You hit the brakes. The brakes don’t work. That’s because the earthquake wiped out the safety systems in the first minute of the earthquake and tsunami. Then your radiator starts to heat up and explodes. That’s the hydrogen gas explosion. And then, to make it worse, the gas tank is heating up, and all of a sudden your whole car is going to be in flames. That’s the full-scale meltdown.
     "So what do you do? You drive the car into a river. That’s what the utility did by putting seawater, seawater from the Pacific Ocean, in a desperate attempt to keep water on top of the core. But then, seawater has salt in it, and that gums up your radiator. And so, what do you do? You call out the local firemen. And so, now you have these Japanese samurai warriors. They know that this is potentially a suicide mission. They’re coming in with hose water—hose water—trying to keep water over the melted nuclear reactor cores. So that’s the situation now. So, when the utility says that things are stable, it’s only stable in the sense that you’re dangling from a cliff hanging by your fingernails. And as the time goes by, each fingernail starts to crack. That’s the situation now."  (
From Despite Japanese Gov't Claims of Decreasing Radiation, Fukushima a "Ticking Time Bomb," on DemocracyNow.org)

     This is the partial transcript of an interview with Dr. Michio Kaku, a Japanese American physicist, a bestselling author, professor of theoretical physics at City University of New York and the City College of New York. His brand new book is Physics of the Future: How Science Will Change Daily Life by 2100.  

AMY GOODMAN: So, talk about this raising of the category level to 7, on a par with Chernobyl.

DR. MICHIO KAKU: Well, Tokyo Electric has been in denial, trying to downplay the full impact of this nuclear accident. However, there’s a formula, a mathematical formula, by which you can determine what level this accident is. This accident has already released something on the order of 50,000 trillion becquerels of radiation. You do the math. That puts it right smack in the middle of a level 7 nuclear accident. Still, less than Chernobyl. However, radiation is continuing to leak out of the reactors. The situation is not stable at all. So, you’re looking at basically a ticking time bomb. It appears stable, but the slightest disturbance—a secondary earthquake, a pipe break, evacuation of the crew at Fukushima—could set off a full-scale meltdown at three nuclear power stations, far beyond what we saw at Chernobyl.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about exactly—I mean, as a physicist, to explain to people—exactly what has taken place in Japan at these nuclear power plants.

DR. MICHIO KAKU: (See quote at top of page)


AMY GOODMAN: What do you think has to be done now?. . .

DR. MICHIO KAKU: Well, TEPCO is like the little Dutch boy. All of a sudden we have cracks in the dike. You put a finger here, you put a finger there. And all of a sudden, new leaks start to occur, and they’re overwhelmed.

I suggest that they be removed from leadership entirely and be put as consultants. An international team of top physicists and engineers should take over, with the authority to use the Japanese military. I think the Japanese military is the only organization capable of bringing this raging accident under control. And that’s what Gorbachev did in 1986. He saw this flaming nuclear power station in Chernobyl. He called out the Red Air Force. He called out helicopters, tanks, armored personnel carriers, and buried the Chernobyl reactor in 5,000 tons of cement, sand and boric acid. That’s, of course, a last ditch effort. But I think the Japanese military should be called out.
 

AMY GOODMAN: To do...?

 DR. MICHIO KAKU: Because of the fact that the radiation levels are so great, workers can only go in for perhaps 10 minutes, 15 minutes at a time, and they get their year’s dose of radiation. You’re there for one hour, and you have radiation sickness. You vomit. Your white corpuscle count goes down. Your hair falls out. You’re there for a day, and you get a lethal amount of radiation. At Chernobyl, there were 600,000 people mobilized, each one going in for just a few minutes, dumping sand, concrete, boric acid onto the reactor site. Each one got a medal. That’s what it took to bring one raging nuclear accident under control. And I think the utility here is simply outclassed and overwhelmed.

AMY GOODMAN: And yet, these workers are in for much longer periods of time.

DR. MICHIO KAKU: That’s right. And we don’t even know how much radiation levels they’re getting, because many areas around the site have no monitors. So we don’t even know how much radiation many of these workers are getting. And that’s why I’m saying, if you have access to the military, you can have the option of sandbagging the reactor, encasing it in concrete, or at least have a reserve of troops that can go in for brief periods of times and bring this monster under control.

AMY GOODMAN: What about the evacuation zone? Is it big enough?

DR. MICHIO KAKU: It’s pathetic. The United States government has already stated 50 miles for evacuating U.S. personnel. The French government has stated that all French people should consider leaving the entire islands. And here we are with a government talking about six miles, 10 miles, 12 miles. And the people there are wondering, "What’s going on with the government? I mean, why aren’t they telling us the truth?" Radiation levels are now rising 25 miles from the site, far beyond the evacuation zone. And remember that we could see an increase in leukemia. We could see an increase in thyroid cancers. That’s the inevitable consequence of releasing enormous quantities of iodine into the environment.

AMY GOODMAN: What has to happen to the plant ultimately?

DR. MICHIO KAKU: Well, in the best-case scenario—this is the scenario devised by the utility itself—they hope to bring it under control by the end of this year. By the end of this year, they hope to have the pumps working, and the reaction is finally stabilized by the end of this year. . .
They’re literally making it up as they go along. We’re in totally uncharted territories. You get any nuclear engineering book, look at the last chapter, and this scenario is not contained in the last chapter of any nuclear engineering textbook on the planet earth. So they’re making it up as they go along. And we are the guinea pigs for this science experiment that’s taking place. Then it could take up to 10 years, up to 10 years to finally dismantle the reactor. The last stage is entombment. This is now the official recommendation of Toshiba, that they entomb the reactor over a period of many years, similar to what happened in Chernobyl.

AMY GOODMAN: Entomb it in...?

DR. MICHIO KAKU: In a gigantic slab of concrete. You’re going to have to drill underneath to make sure that the core does not melt right into the ground table. And you’re going to put 5,000 tons of concrete and sand on top of the flaming reactor. . .

AMY GOODMAN: . . . Japan was the target of the dawn of the Nuclear Age, right?. . .  The U.S. dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima, Nagasaki. Your own family mirrors the history of the Nuclear Age. Can you talk just briefly about that, before we talk about current U.S. policy?. . .



DR. MICHIO KAKU: That’s right. In California, my parents were interned in the relocation camps from 1942 to 1946, four years where they were put essentially behind barbed wire and machine guns, under the supervision of the United States military. 

AMY GOODMAN: And yet, you became a nuclear physicist, interestingly enough, and you worked with the people who made the atomic bombs that were dropped on Japan.

DR. MICHIO KAKU: Yeah. In fact, my high school adviser was Edward Teller, the father of the hydrogen bomb. And he arranged for me to get a scholarship to Harvard, in fact, and that began my career as a nuclear scientist. And Edward Teller, of course, wanted me to work on the Star Wars program. He put a lot of pressure and said, "Look, we’ll give you fellowships, scholarships. Go to Los Alamos National Laboratory, Livermore National Laboratory. Design hydrogen bombs." But I said no. I said, "I cannot see my expertise being used to advance the cause of war."

AMY GOODMAN: And you’ve been very outspoken when it comes to nuclear power in the United States. . . President Obama is taking the opposite position. He really is very much the nuclear renaissance man. He is talking about a nuclear renaissance and has not backed off, in fact reiterated, saying this will not stop us from building the first nuclear power plants in, what, decades.

DR. MICHIO KAKU: . . . [I]n the United States, we’re now poised, at this key juncture in history, where the government has to decide whether to go to the next generation of reactors. These are the so-called gas-cooled pebble bed reactors, which are safer than the current design, but they still melt down. The proponents of this new renaissance say that you can go out to dinner and basically have a leisurely conversation even as your reactor melts down. But it still melts. That’s the bottom line.

AMY GOODMAN: And so, what do you think should happen? Do you think nuclear power plants should be built in this country?

DR. MICHIO KAKU: I think there should be a national debate, a national debate about a potential moratorium. The American people have not been given the full truth, because, for example, right north of New York City, roughly 30 miles north of where we are right now, we have the Indian Point nuclear power plant, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has now admitted that of all the reactors prone to earthquakes, the one right next to New York City is number one on that list. And the government itself, back in 1980, estimated that property damage would be on the order of about $200 billion in case of an accident, in 1980 dollars, at the Indian Point nuclear power station. 

AMY GOODMAN: No private corporation could even build a nuclear power plant: you have to have the taxpayers footing the bill.

 DR. MICHIO KAKU: You have to have what is called the Price-Anderson Act, having the United States government guarantee the insurance. Nobody will guarantee—nobody will sell an insurance policy for a nuclear power plant, because who can afford a $200 billion accident? That’s why the United States government has underwritten the insurance for every nuclear power plant. So the Price-Anderson Act is an act of Congress that mandates the U.S. government, the taxpayers, will underwrite the insurance, because nuclear power stations are not insurable.

You can watch the whole interview at DemocracyNow.org/2011/4/13/


Monday, April 11, 2011

Aftershocks/afterthoughts

     (New draft)
     One month today. As of this writing, there have been 966 aftershocks in Japan since March 11, an average of 32 per day.
    Between "the Japan thing" (as I have been calling it with friends) and other stressors closer to home, I'm running down, hitting a wall. I find it hard to concentrate or feel motivated. I have periods of anxiety, physical tension, knots in the stomach, others of listlessness and isolation, an inability or unwillingness to talk to or engage with anyone, or make the effort to care about one more prayer request.
     When it seemed that the next major quake might be here in California, Jerry and I talked about leaving the state for awhile. Jerry wanted to stay so if it hit we could help survivors. I said if we stayed we might be among those who needed help, whereas if we left we could come back afterward and help. On the other hand, to get out of the state we would have had to drive toward and eventually across the most ominous fault line in California. That didn't seem wise. And where would we go? What would we take? How long would we stay away? So we let it go.
     The earthquake didn't materialize (God is apparently not through with Japan yet) but even now I keep a pair of jeans, a sweatshirt, tennies, 2 bottles of water, a battery-powered radio, a Bible, and a thick candle and matches in the "triangle of life" next to my side of the bed.
     I realize that 3/11/11 is my 9/11/01. From the age of 7 until 23, when I married my first husband, my home address--whether I was living in Hiroshima with my family, sailing around the world with them and three Hiroshima yachtsmen, attending high school in Honolulu, college on Maui, university in Tokyo, or Bible college in Portland, Oregon--was Yacht Phoenix, Eba, Hiroshima, Japan.
     Since March 11, hits to this blog gradually increased from eight per day to way over one hundred. Now they are thinning out again. I have no idea who most of you were. I wish I did. Hardly anyone left a comment. I wish I knew why you came, what you thought. I know why you are leaving and it's understandable. So many other, more recent concerns in the world are pushing Japan to the background, even though the needs, as one survivor pointed out, are greater than ever.  
     On April 14 it will have been one year since I started blogging, first His Scribe, then His Scribbler. Maybe I'll take a break.
     Life is short. Love each other.

P.S. All the Navigators staff members who were missing on March 15 were found alive, thanks be to God.
     
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RADIATION: The good news?

     Found an interesting juxtaposition of facts on the Nuclear Energy Institute: Radiation in perspective website: 
--Americans receive about 310 millirem of radiation per year from natural background radiation.
--NRC has established that the dose limit for protecting public health is 100 millirem per year.

Excuse me? The maximum safe dose per year is 100 millirem and we're already getting more than three times that dose from our environment? Just reinforces the truth that any more is too much!  

Heart-rending news story: 
From Nuclear Energy Institute, April 10:
     "The Japan education ministry is expected this week to release radiation exposure safety guidelines for school children in areas outside the evacuation zone surrounding the power plant, the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum reported. The guidelines will require schools to suspend classes, stop outdoor lessons, or ensure students wear face masks if radiation surpasses certain levels." 
     I'm sure those little paper masks will keep out radiation as well as the lead aprons at the dentist and lead barriers in X-ray rooms at hospitals, don't you think? At least as well as the pathetic little paper caps mortally-exposed workers at Chernobyl wore as they battled radiation gushing from their wounded reactor.

But here's "good" news (good being relative, of course):
IODINE-131
     On April 6 the level of radioactive iodine (iodine-131) around the Fukushima nuclear plant was 7.5 million times the legal limit, according to the Los Angeles Times. Iodine-131 has a halflife of 8 days. Now that the leak seems to be stopped we have the happy prospect that 8 days from April 6, the radiation levels will be down to only 3.75 million times the legal limit. Eight days after that it will be halved again--so that (help me here, Jerry) if you bought milk in Tokyo four days ago, it should be safe to drink sometime this coming October. 

CESIUM-137
     On the same date, radioactive cesium (caesium-137) emitted from the plant was 11 million times the legal limit. At a halflife of 30 years, the radioactivity in the cesium will gradually decay (as it spreads, albeit diluted, around the whole earth through wind and water currents) until by 2043 it will finally be only 5.5 million times the level safe for human beings. 
     If there are NO MORE releases of cesium-137 into the sea or atmosphere from any source between now and then, we will get back to normal background levels of cesium-137 by the year 2701.    


Is there anyone out there--anyone sane--who still thinks trying to harness nuclear power to run our electric lights and computers is worth our global health?  



Saturday, April 9, 2011

This soft rain

       How can I believe
this soft rain that I so love
          radioactive?
                --Ted Reynolds

This is one of the most haunting of my brother's poems. It is raining now outside our bedroom window. I didn't know the truth of this poem would fall so close to home.

Friday, April 8, 2011

OPERATION RESTORATION: An Appeal to Beachcombers

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This is an appeal to next year's beachcombers:    

     Jerry and I live about five miles from one of the beaches along the coast which stretches the entire length of North and South America. When we walk or drive along the beach we often see people fossicking for shells or scanning the sand with hand-held metal detectors for coins or other small treasures.

     About a year from now remains of the tsunami in Sendai, Japan last month are expected to start washing up on our shores. Boards from people's houses. Tatami mats. Clothing. Tin pans and potholders. Eyeglasses. Perhaps a hairbrush. A child's shoe. A lacquer bowl. A purse intact with keys, billfold, pictures of the grandchildren. Games, DVDs, toys, dolls. A gold wedding band.

     I appeal to beachcombers: if you come across anything, especially something of monetary or sentimental value, that may have been part of the lives of Japanese victims of the triple disaster of March 11, 2011,  please don't keep it! No one knows how much of this flotsam will reach our shores but please consider every bit of it as someone else's property and handle it honorably.
     Perhaps each beach community can set up secure bins for these things, with bubble wrap and tape to wrap fragile ones in. Beachgoers who find any item can attach a note to it giving the place and date of the find. They may want to add a personal greeting, wish, prayer, even a photo of themselves and contact information.
     At some point the collected items can be taken to the nearest Japanese consulate or embassy to be shipped back to Sendai. There, some of the items may be recognized and retrieved by surviving family members. Can you imagine what it would mean to those who lost everyone they loved and everything they owned to have something, however small, restored to them? A child's favorite stuffed animal? The collar of a pet? A family heirloom?
     The rest of what is recovered could become the nucleus of a 2011 Tsunami Victims' Memorial Museum.
    We could call it OPERATION KAIFUKU or the English equivalent, OPERATION RESTORATION.

(Thanks, Tim, for calling this a "Mum-ish" idea.)
 

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

NY TIMES: "Fragments of nuclear fuel were blown up to one mile from the units"

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     According to a confidential assessment prepared by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, fragments or particles of nuclear fuel from spent fuel pools above the [Fukushima] reactors were blown “up to one mile from the units,” and. . .  pieces of highly radioactive material fell between two units and had to be “bulldozed over,” presumably to protect workers at the site. The ejection of nuclear material, which may have occurred during one of the earlier hydrogen explosions, may indicate more extensive damage to the extremely radioactive pools than previously disclosed. . . 
From NY Times: U.S. Sees Array of New Threats at Japan’s Nuclear Plant By JAMES GLANZ and WILLIAM J. BROAD Published: April 5, 2011
The rest of this extensive, detailed article can probably be accessed online. 

Here is a response to the article from the Nuclear Consultant for the New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution Raymond Shadis yesterday: 
Subject: NYT Spent Fuel Fragments Blown a Mile from Japan Spent Fuel Pools Yes, This could be downtown Vernon, Vermont or downtown Plymouth, Massachusetts or Downtown Toms River, NJ. . .    Environmental and public safety advocates would have been called crazy had the speculated, even tentatively, that solid chunks of nuclear fuel be blasted more than a mile from a BWR spent fuel pool by a hydrogen explosion…yet it appears that is exactly what happened in Japanese reactors with elevated spent fuel pools virtually identical to those at Vermont Yankee, Pilgrim, and Oyster Creek nuclear power stations.  Small wonder NRC’s report detailing this event has so far been held confidential. How can there be any sane response from NRC, Congress, and the Industry other than to abandon license renewal and begin permanent shutdown and decommissioning of these tied, obsolete, and poorly designed reactors now? What excuse can be made for putting our communities at this kind of risk?
Raymond Shadis
Technical advisor
New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution
207-882-7801


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RADIATION: How about--never again?

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     If increases in radiation levels caused by the Fukushima accidents result in addtional cancers here in America, we can know one thing--the Japanese people never intended to cause us the fears and medical suffering that accompany radiation poisoning--
     --any more than we Americans intended to cause those same fears and suffering for the populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and their succeeding generations.
     We only intended to stop the war and our atomic bombs did that. We did not deliberately cause radiation diseases that continued beyond the signing of the peace accord to this present day--not only in members of the Japanese Imperial Forces but in women and children, born and unborn.
     May God grant us everywhere the grace to vow in our common humanity to never again let radiation from nuclear weapon or nuclear reactor hurt anyone else on earth.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011