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Welcome to navalgazing. If you have already signed in but keep seeing this page, it is because I need to review your registration. Please send me an email if your registration does not give you full access. This blog is about a military family with a mother serving on active duty in the Navy JAG Corps, a civilian husband — it’s the toughest job in the Navy — and our children. Please register and sign in for access to the site and nearly 800 posts since 2008. Registration is free and easy.
By Jessica Dickler, staff writer March 18, 2011: 11:29 AM ET NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- News of the earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan has been widespread, but donations have lagged way, way behind. Seven days after the 9.0 quake, donations to nonprofit organizations have reached about $87 million, according to a tally by the Chronicle of Philanthropy , a newspaper covering nonprofits. In comparison, one week after the earthquake in Haiti, donations totaled about $275 million. In the case of Hurricane Katrina, it was over $522 million.
HIGASHIMATSUSHIMA, Miyagi Pref. — Where do you even start?
Photo/Video Credits: Damir Sagolj, Chang-Ran Kim March 24, 2011 It was a few days into my assignment reporting on the aftermath of the magnitude-9.0 earthquake off Japan’s eastern coast and the tsunami it triggered on March 11. Driving past piles of splintered wood, uprooted houses, and boats deposited in the middle of Kamaishi, I had a hard time imagining that this harbour town in northeastern Japan had once been a fishing community of 40,000 residents. The streets were coated with a film of dirt, evoking images of urban warfare in some distant land.
Tatsuhiro Karino paused at the top of the muddy hill, took his wife, Masako, by the hand and led her slowly down to the ruins of the elementary school that entombed the body of their daughter, Misaki. Dwarfed by four mammoth cranes digging into the wreckage, the 40ish construction worker gently pulled a veil over his wife's face to shield her from the dust and whiff of death. But he couldn't protect her from this: the grim task of locating the body of their 8-year-old child, among the 94 students and teachers killed when their school was leveled March 11 in nature's twin strike of shaking ground and torrential wave. The couple, who also lost their 11-year-old son, Tetsuya, in the devastation, Tuesday joined a clutch of fellow parents asking the same maddening question: How could so many children among the 108 at the school have perished when they followed all the safety rules for a natural disaster?
Nuclear Gypsies – The subcontractors who do the dirty work As the six reactors at Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima power complex have burned out of control over the past week, both the foreign and Japanese press have been full of stories about the “Fukushima 50″ – the several hundred workers who have valiantly, in shifts of 50, struggled to contain the fires and in the process exposed themselves to serious risks of radiation. They have been rightly hailed as the unsung heroes of Japan’s earthquake, tsunami and nuclear catastrophe, as noted by the London Guardian : [In Fukushima], plant workers, emergency services personnel and scientists have been battling for the past week to restore the pumping of water to the Fukushima nuclear plant and to prevent a meltdown at one of the reactors.
With some 30,000-50,000 dead, half a million evacuees, and the gravest nuclear crisis in decades (albeit one that Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK government, Sir John Beddington, has I think rightly characterized as a “sideshow”), the events of 3/11 are in many ways an order of magnitude greater than the Kobe earthquake of 1995 and in all probability the worst natural catastrophe ever to strike a developed nation. But Japan has bounced back swiftly from natural disasters before—is there any reason to expect this time to be any different? Here I explore one reason to be less than sanguine, the loss of power generation capacity at Tokyo Electric Power, more familiarly known as TEPCO, the hapless operator of the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
This composite image compares observations after the earthquake to images of lights observed in 2010. Yellow indicates lights that were functioning in both 2010 and 2011, and includes Tokyo and areas to the south and west. Red indicates power outages detected on March 12, 2011, compared to data from 2010.
The situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear powerplant in Japan, badly damaged during the extremely severe earthquake and tsunami there a week ago, continues to stabilise. It is becoming more probable by the day that public health consequences will be zero and radiation health effects among workers at the site will be so minor as to be hard to measure. Nuclear experts are beginning to condemn the international hysteria which has followed the incident in increasingly blunt terms.
By NORIHIKO SHIROUZU , PHRED DVORAK , YUKA HAYASHI and ANDREW MORSE Yumiko Ono has the latest from Japan where officials are making modest progress in containing that country's nuclear crisis, including using firetrucks to spray water on the damaged reactors. TOKYO—Crucial efforts to tame Japan's crippled nuclear plant were delayed by concerns over damaging valuable power assets and by initial passivity on the part of the government, people familiar with the situation said, offering new insight into the management of the crisis.
The devastating impact of the Japanese earthquake on the country's ageing population was exposed on Thursday as dozens of elderly people were confirmed dead in hospitals and residential homes as heating fuel and medicine ran out. In one particularly shocking incident, Japan 's self-defence force discovered 128 elderly people abandoned by medical staff at a hospital six miles from the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant. Most of them were comatose and 14 died shortly afterwards. Eleven others were reported dead at a retirement home in Kesennuma because of freezing temperatures, six days after 47 of their fellow residents were killed in the tsunami.
[日本の方へ：読者が日本語版を翻訳してくださいました。 ご参照してください 。] I run a small software business in central Japan.
This post is part of our special coverage on the Japan Earthquake 2011 . The all too familiar sound of Japan's Earthquake Early Warning system (緊急地震速報 Kinkyū Jishin Sokuhō) has become stuck in people's heads after being regularly broadcast on television and via mobile phone alerts, as aftershocks continue in the days following the major earthquake on March 11, 2011. The regular warning tone is played a few seconds before each tremor:
Caleb Scharf is the director of Columbia University's multidisciplinary Astrobiology Center. He has worked in the fields of observational cosmology, X-ray astronomy, and more recently exoplanetary science. His latest book is 'Gravity's Engines: How Bubble-Blowing Black Holes Rule Galaxies, Stars, and Life in the Cosmos', and he is working on 'The Copernicus Complex' (both from Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux.) Follow on Twitter @caleb_scharf . <p style="text-align:right;color:#A8A8A8"></p>