Japanese Earthquake Map

Japanese Earthquake Map to March 12th

Japanese Earthquake Map to March 12th

And the only reason this isn’t worse is, the power is out all over Northern Japan, so they haven’t gotten the latest data yet.

Fukushima Explosion and Aftermath

Fukushima Explosion
Fukushima Explosion

The worst, at least the worst I can imagine, has happened. After some 22 hours of trying to regain control of the overheating Fukushima No 1 nuclear reactor power station in Futuba, there has been an uncontrolled explosion and reports of injuries.

Background on the Japanese earthquake and tsunamis here. After the incidents, the regular electrical grid went down and the backup power at the Fukushima plant failed, resulting in an inability to pump coolant around the heated nuclear material, a function which is absolutely essential to safety. Since then, temperatures have risen at the plant even as intrepid workers have struggled to pump in cooling water via other means. Not long ago, they lost the battle.

There are reports of at least four workers injured; none of the injuries appears life-threatening, according to sources.

From the Guardian earlier today, prior to the expolosion:

Japanese media said officials had detected caesium, one of the elements released when overheating causes core damage, around the reactor at Fukushima No 1 plant in Futuba, 150 miles north of Tokyo.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company said it did not believe a meltdown was underway but Ryohei Shiomi, an official with Japan’s nuclear safety commission, said that it was possible.

Experts and authorities played down the dangers of a Chernobyl-style disaster, saying they believed a partial meltdown was controllable. The government urged people to remain calm.

Officials had earlier evacuated 20,000 residents living within 10km on the plant on the orders of the prime minister, Naoto Kan, who had inspected it via helicopter. Experts told Associated Press that the risk area was 6km….

Earlier in the day a Japanese nuclear safety panel said radiation levels were 1,000 times higher than normal in a control room and eight times normal just outside the plant. Workers were frequently changing shifts.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company has also reported problems with a second reactor at the plant and declared an emergency at the Fukushima No 2 plant.

And now, from the BBC:


Fukushima explosion before and after

Fukushima explosion before and after

Japan’s NHK TV showed before and after pictures of the plant. They appeared to show that the outer structure of one of four buildings at the plant had collapsed after the explosion.

The Tokyo Electric Power Co, the plant’s operator, said several workers had been injured.

Cooling systems inside several reactors at both the Fukushima plants stopped working after Friday’s earthquake cut the power supply.

Japan’s nuclear agency said on Saturday that radioactive caesium and iodine had been detected near the number one reactor of the Fukushima 1 plant.

The agency said this may indicate that containers of uranium fuel inside the reactor may have begun melting.

Air has been released from several of the reactors at both plants in an effort to relieve the huge amount of pressure building up inside.

Mr Kan said the amount of radiation released was “tiny”.

Thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate the area near the plants. BBC correspondent Nick Ravenscroft said police stopped him 60km from the Fukushima 1 plant.

Analysts say a meltdown would not necessarily lead to a major disaster because light-water reactors would not explode even if they overheated.


UPDATE: here is more scientific background on the nature of the risk, via Dave MacDonald.

Nuclear experts across countries have warned that the situation could become grave if the fault at the Fukushima plant was not fixed soon. Cham Dallas, a professor of disaster management at the University of Georgia, has told CNN that the plants were likely to get “both thermally hot and radioactively hot” since the reactors had to be shut down.

Another nuclear physicist Dr Walt Patterson told The Sun: “It is the sort of thing that nuclear engineers have nightmares about…If the core is uncovered, then those rods at the top may get hot enough to melt themselves.”

Which would be what you call a “worst-case scenario.”

My faint hope is, there’s nothing more to report by tomorrow morning. My somewhat less faint hope is that eventually this becomes a coastal version of the Land of the Wolves.


UPDATE: Bloomberg has the best roundup of information at this point. It was a hydrogen leak, not a steam explosion, which caused the event.

Winds in the area of the Fukushima plant are blowing at less than 18 kilometers per hour mostly in an offshore direction, according to a 4 p.m. update from the Japan Meteorological Agency.

The government earlier today widened the evacuation zone around the reactor to 10 kilometers from 3 kilometers, affecting thousands of people. The evacuation zone will be maintained at 10 kilometers from Dai-Ni plant and will be extended to 20 kilometers from Dai-Ichi plant, said Toshihiro Murakami, spokesman for the Fukushima prefecture government.

“When the pressure starts building up, the emergency procedure is to start venting,” Dave Lochbaum, director of the nuclear safety project at the Union for Concerned Scientists, said in a telephone interview. “They’ve essentially entered a beat the clock game. As long as there is no fuel damage, there will be radioactivity, but it will be very low.”

The plant’s operators need to connect to the electricity grid, fix emergency diesel generators or bring in more batteries to power a backup system that pumps the water needed to cool the reactor, said Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer who has worked at nuclear power plants for 17 years.

Nuclear Meltdown

The air cooling system in the containment building probably failed due to the power loss, allowing pressure to increase inside, Lochbaum said.

Lack of adequate cooling for a reactor may cause a core meltdown, the most dangerous kind of nuclear power accident, according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

A meltdown could potentially breach a reactor’s containment building, releasing massive amounts of radiation, according to information on the agency’s website. The 1979 accident at the Three Mile Island reactor in Pennsylvania resulted in a partial meltdown, without a breach in the containment building, according to the commission.


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Hawaiian Earthquakes!

Hawaiian Earthquake Epicenter

Hawaiian Earthquake Epicenter

First Japanese Earthquakes (two in two days) and a ten foot metre tsunami; now, six Hawaiian earthquakes in the course of an hour. These ones were located just south of the Big Island, and at a maximum of 4.5 they aren’t too bad (I’ve been through that, and it was like the entire house went over the railway tracks on a bike, nothing major) but six???


People in Waikiki are being evacuated because of the expected tsunami from Japan. The airport is closed. And my friend in Hawaii is calmly emailing me over some abstruse WordPress embedding code.

I’ve tried the gigya shortcode in about every configuration I can come up with and I can get the player, but not the video itself. Their embed code is strange compared to others. Have you tried vodpod?

Panos is the undisputed gigya guru, so you might post in the forums. I don’t see a contact form on his blog.

Funny they had warning sirens at 8pm here, but I did not hear them. I did hear the ones about 9:20pm though.

I felt “compelled” to go grocery shopping this afternoon. I could have waited a few more days, but it was a strong urging. Glad I did now.

And we just had a 4.5 earthquake followed shortly after by a 3.3.

Fasten your seatbelts.


TO which my response is an understandable:

You mean you JUST had one? Just now?

And the calm reply:

Yup, just a few minutes before I sent the previous emails, we had two earthquakes.


And my un-calm reply:

Jesus Christ GET OFF THE INTERNET! Step away from power sources, dude! Priorities! You have to live long enough to have me over for merlot!

Although now I need a Martini!

UPDATE: oh wait, there’s more!

I’m up on the hill and safe. I’m off grid on solar and we had a bright sunny day so I have plenty of juice. My hand crank/solar radio is right here tuned to a radio station that plays a song and then does an update, then plays another song, then another update.

Wave heights for Kona, down the hill from me, are expected at a meter high, but they could be 5 to 15 minutes in length so they could push a good ways inland…

Ten earthquakes in the last hour +/-. Most 1 to 2.

When Kilauea was cranked up earlier this week we were getting 25 or so per day. Most barely felt where I am.


Yeah. Make that Martini a double. How am I supposed to sleep when my friends are calmly prepared for the Apocalypse. I bet he could take the Four Horsemen single-handed, and recycle the evidence.

Additionally: stuck in Twitter jail because I’ve tweeted too much this past hour about the Japanese quake and tsunami. Thanks, impersonal, automated ceiling on server loads.

Seriously, has anyone seen a woman answering to “Whore of Babylon?” BE PREPARED.


You may be measured and found wanting

You may be measured and found wanting

Win a Date with raincoaster

Shakespeare Got to Get Paid, Son

Only your taste (or is that “tastes”?) can say whether a date with raincoaster is a prize or booby prize. As you know, we’re all about the boobies lately around these parts. These specific parts, that is.

My parts are superfine, if somewhat bruised lately, just ask anyone who’s seen them, which includes you if you clicked on the link (you just went back and did that, didn’t you?). And they and the rest of me will be going (thanks to an invite from the generous and omnipotent Rebecca Coleman, publicist to…productions successful at getting pimped out on raincoaster.com and Twitter) to the West Coast premiere of Eugene Stickland‘s play Queen Lear at Presentation House Theatre. Want to come as my date? It’s easy (unlike me).

All it takes to win is to post the comment that I think contains the funniest literary joke. Tasteless is extra points, Shakespeare is extra points, King Lear is extra extra points, tasteless King Lear jokes posted by Kenneth Branagh are an automatic win. Sorry, boys, I have a weakness for blustery Irishmen.

Queen Lear at Presentation House

Queen Lear at Presentation House

Life Lessons and Sh8kspeare: Queen Lear

NORTH VANCOUVER, BC: Presentation House Theatre, in association with Western Gold, are pleased to present the West Coast premiere of Eugene Stickland’s Queen Lear. The older generation has much to teach the younger generation about theatre… and life. Or is it the other way around? Queen Lear runs March 25-April 10 at Presentation House Theatre.

An accomplished aging actress, suffering a dearth of decent roles for older women, is cast in the title role in an all-female production of King Lear and, terrified that her memory will fail her, employs a young girl to help her memorize her lines. Text messaging meets iambic pentameter in this amusing and touching story about courage and the strength of spirit. Both women struggle with fear, loss and challenge, illustrating how time and experience both separate and unite them. This new play, featuring celebrated actor Shirley Broderick, newcomer Jennifer McPhee, and acclaimed cellist Peggy Lee, is not to be missed.

Western Gold Theatre produces outstanding professional theatre that expands horizons and enriches the lives of mature artists and their audiences. The company offers powerful role-modeling, creative opportunity and active engagement to a rapidly growing senior population and provides inspiration to diverse generations of theatre lovers. Artistic Director Colleen Winton is particularly interested in creating mentorships between senior artists and emerging artists and sees this play as a wonderful opportunity to celebrate what the generations have to teach each other.

Queen Lear is part of The Third Street Theatre series. Founded in 2005 by Artistic Director Brenda Leadlay, The Third Street Series is the banner under which Presentation House Theatre (PHT) presents and produces a professional season of plays. The vision for the series entails a fusion of accessibility and artistic risk, in order to achieve a season that is appealing and marketable but challenges and educates our audiences about new artistic practices.

Queen Lear previews Thursday, March 25, and opens Friday, March 26 at 8 pm. It then runs nightly (Sunday evenings and Mondays dark) through until April 10. There will be weekend matinees on Saturdays at 4, and Sundays at 2. All performances are at Presentation House Theatre, 333 Chesterfield, North Vancouver (3 blocks from the Seabus). Tickets are $24 for Adults, $22 for Students/Seniors. All tickets are $2 more at the door, and $2 more on Friday and Saturday evenings. All seats for the preview are $12.

For tickets or more information, please call 604.990.3474 or email boxoffice AT phtheatre.org.


We’ve done this sort of thing before, so you know how it works: no complaining that it’s arbitrary because…well…this is a dictatorship, and when in the history of the known universe have I ever hesitated to be arbitrary? Deadline is noon Friday, and don’t expect me to phone you: mah Jeebusphone has gone AWOL. I’ll hit you up on email or Twitter.

You know what to do, so do it in the comments. And for god’s sake, clean up after yourselves when you’re finished!

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Andrew Koenig Update

I posted about the finding of Andrew Koenig’s body over on True/Slant. Have you seen the press conference with his parents? Tragic. His father is completely broken up over it, but he and his wife still found the time and the strength to counsel others who have depressed relatives.

His parents

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Police Statement and Parents’ Address to Others

Vodpod videos no longer available.

And here’s an online depression screening from the Mayo Clinic that Pete Quily passed along.

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