Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On!

 

I live to the West of Washington DC, near the mountains. So we got a pretty good jolt a few hours ago, as a 5.9 earthquake struck…

At first I thought it was caused by thousands of conservatives heads literally hitting the wall after figuring out Obama’s Libya strategy was a resounding success.

 

Third Reactor at Fukuchima Dai-ichi Goes Into Meltdown

There has been another explosion at the stricken Japanese Nuclear Power Plant in the last hour or two. This is the third explosion in the reactor complex since the earthquake. The complex is made up of 8 reactors. By some reports, this one is by far the most serious explosion – with the fuel rods exposed, releasing highly radioactive material.

This video is from the second explosion -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dytttMoivoQ&feature=player_embedded#at=155

New Explosion Rocks Japanese Nuclear Plant

An explosion that released radioactive material occurred in reactor No. 2 at the nuclear center at Fukushima, in northeastern Japan, on Monday.

The blast damaged part of the primary container surrounding the reactor’s core and caused an escape of an undetermined quantity of radioactive material, the Nuclear Security Agency said.

The Kyodo news agency reported that radiation levels in the vicinity “exceeded the legal limit” after the explosion, which occurred at 6:10 a.m. on Tuesday local time (2110 GMT on Monday), shortly after the Japanese government admitted that the reactor continued to be unstable after it suffered damage in Friday’s magnitude-9.0 earthquake.

The operating crew at the plant worked all night to inject seawater into the secondary containment structure in an attempt to cool down the core and prevent a meltdown that could emit radioactive material, but that did not have the desired effect and the reactor was not able to be stabilized.

If the nuclear fuel in the core begins to melt down, that would constitute an emergency situation of the highest order because of the potential for a severe radioactive leak that could contaminate the area.

Reactor No. 2 at Fukushima on Monday suffered a failure of one of the 10 valves associated with its cooling system, something similar to what occurred before reactors 1 and 3 at the same center exploded after the quake.

 

Japanese Reactor Goes Into Meltdown in Japan After Quake

This one is going to meltdown. The big question is whether they can cool the core off fast enough to prevent any (additional) major release of radiation… Hopefully, they can prevent another Chernobyl. Apparently, they have already lost some workers, either badly injured or killed courageously trying to get this back under control.

This is despite the best building codes and system in the world to prevent just the sort of damage we are seeing from an earthquake or natural disaster. Because earthquakes are so common in Japan, major structures and buildings are designed to extremely high standards – higher than the US California Standards, which are the best in the US and generally accepted in much of the world. The fact that (possibly) only a few thousand people have been killed in an earthquake an order of magnitude stronger than that which hit Haiti is due to that. Most of the victims are likely from the Tsunami, despite the fact that a number of the towns and villages in the area have 10-30′ seawalls designed to protect them from just such an occurance.

To understand how violent this earthquake was, geographic sources are now reporting that the coastline of Japan was actually moved 8 feet! And shifted the entire planet on it’s axis by 4 inhces!

25 Years ago, a reactor outside of Detroit, Michigan had an “incident”…

 

Huge Earthquake, Tsunami Strike Japan

Our prayers go out to the Japanese people.  The scenes of devastation are incredible… The 10 Meter waves sweeping inland they are talking about are as high as 3 story building…

 

 

Haiti – “A Real Motha For Ya!”

Don’t know if Mr Nicholas D. Kristof over at the NY Times will ever read this – but here goes…

Haiti, Nearly a Year Later

Ultimately what Haiti most needs isn’t so much aid, but trade. Aid accounts for half of Haiti’s economy, and remittances for another quarter — and that’s a path to nowhere.

The United States has approved trade preferences that have already created 6,000 jobs in the garment sector in Haiti, and several big South Korean companies are now planning to open their own factories, creating perhaps another 130,000 jobs.

“Sweatshops,” Americans may be thinking. “Jobs,” Haitians are thinking, and nothing would be more transformative for the country.

Let’s send in doctors to save people from cholera. Let’s send in aid workers to build sustainable sanitation and water systems to help people help themselves. Let’s help educate Haitian children and improve the port so that it can become an exporter. But, above all, let’s send in business investors to create jobs.

Mr. Kristof  - I have been working on various projects in, and for Haiti now for 10 months. I have been there a number of times to meet and work with Haitian officials. By and large I have had the same experience with the Haitian people as one of your commenters, CK (#46), who said:

These are an entrepreneurial, industrious people. However, I can tell you that individuals can’t clear the rubble in any reasonable time frame. I spent 4 hours with 200 people trying to clear out the rubble in one large, collapsed building. We were in lines of 4 passing down the bricks and stones. We didn’t finish. An excavator and dump truck could have done the job in 30 minutes. No one was being paid for that work, and given the workload of day-to-day survival, I think that most people can understand that clearing by hand for nothing that brings clean water and food to families isn’t particularly viable. Though plenty of people are trying…

To be honest – seeing the Haitian people’s perspicacity on my first trip there reduced me to tears.

Your idea to “send in investors” is a good idea…

Except for one little thing.

To create any sort of modern business in Haiti (or anywhere else in the world today) you need functional infrastructure. I mean in terms of the United States and other first world countries it isn’t asking for much to have reliable electricity, clean water, high speed communications, passable roads, specialized facilities, and a large cadre of educated people.

Haiti has none of those in adequate supply. Which means few investors.

You are right that simply sending in doctors, food, and aid isn’t going to ultimately result in creating a better country…

But it keeps people alive until those of us working on building the infrastructure can get the core stuff done from which some sort of economy can be leveraged. And no, Mr. Kristof – you don’t build a septic plant handling 2.5 million people in two months… Or even 12 months. Or power plants, or an electric grid, or an internet backbone, or marine ports, or airports. Some of these projects are on the scale of years.

You don’t train 5 million illiterate people to be Rocket Scientists in 6 months.

Ain’t that a “Real Motha For Ya!

It’s going to take 5-10 years… Maybe more.

Haiti on the Edge

Been to Haiti several times now, working on various projects. Never seen anything like this, short of walking through a war zone. The Haitian people are an amazingly resilient group. Unfortunately, after 300 years of failure, much of it induced by larger, more powerful countries – there just aren’t any easy fixes.

The Cholera issue has been a disaster waiting to happen – sans any human malefactor, the tent cities are unsustainable. The earthquake which destroyed so many buildings didn’t do the creaky, antiquated, already overwhelmed infrastructure any favors. If you know what to look for driving down the street (not recommended for the faint of heart!) you will notice huge chunks of the core infrastructure are just…

Gone.

Whether storm drains, septic line, water mains, telecom facilities, or electric lines there are just huge missing chunks – some of which have been patched over with makeshift fixes which would make McGuyver proud by ever-inventive Haitians. The good news is that work crews are steadily removing the rubble. The bad news is that there isn’t anywhere to put it, and the roads system, designed for light commuter traffic now have potholes the size of Grand Canyon everywhere you go from the heavy trucks. Getting from place A to B is an adventure in spinal readjustment.

The even worse news is that sans the myriad of other problems – to fix these core infrastructure components takes years. Building a new septic plant, water treatment facility, underground distributions system, power plant(s), etc. aren’t things that, even if all the other problems went away and you could start tomorrow…

Could be done in a few months. Projects on that scale tend to take YEARS.

Did the Earth Move For You?

Geez – BTx3 was jolted awake by an earthquake this morning  at 5 AM. This stuff may be old hat to you Californians – but in this part of the country it’s fairly rare. Only lasted a few seconds, but it sounded like a 747 was landing on top of the house. with things vibrating and shaking. Reports this morning say that it was 3.6 magnitude, centered just northeast of where I live across the border in Maryland. No damage, except to a few nerves…

Shaken not stirred… Indeed!

Sean Penn Lays it on the Line About Haiti Aid

There is a huge stinking dead elephant in the room right now concerning Haiti. BTx3 has been working on this since shortly after the quake in January – so I’m fairly well versed on the problems (an there are a mess of them).

The issue here is that after committing nearly $10 billion to a 10 year recovery plan for Haiti, things hit a roadblock. The inborn corruption which has dominated Haiti’s serial failure for the past 80 years showed no sign of abatement in the face of the country’s most terrible catastrophe. Indeed – by some estimates over $150 million worth of the delivered $850 million in AID so far has been “disappeared” either by street “pirates” or by a group of corrupt Government officials (who by no means represent anything but a portion of the Government officials in the country)…

Resulting in the promised AID being suspended. There was a meeting at the United Nations back on April 30th where the 22 Nations which are footing the $10 billion laid down the law. There would be no more money as long as the corrupt officials held power. The donor nations KNOW WHO THEY ARE. The crooks got to keep what they stole, as long as they just left…

The problem is – the corrupt officials are sitting on lots of ill gotten gains. They are not the ones living under blankets strung out over the mud in the massive refugee “cities” which have sprung up full of people displaced by the quake damage. They also know that under current conditions an additional 200,000 or more could die due to typhoid or some other epidemic embarrassing the first world countries into acquiescence.

Business as usual in Haiti.

In the meantime, some basic shit isn’t happening. The 1.3 million folks living under blankets in “tent” cities aren’t seeing much hope of getting out of those cities, they aren’t getting enough food, and the medical support is strained to the limit. Violent criminal gangs are again roaming the streets, while the police – who lost 2,000 of their 8,000 man force and nearly half their equipment are struggling just to provide basic law enforcement, against at leat one, and possibly two “super gangs” who now outnumber the police force.

more about “Sean Penn Lays It OnThe Line About Ha…“, posted with vodpod

Comparing Haiti and Chile Earthquakes

Despite the size of the earthquake in Chile being two orders of magnitude worse than that of Haiti’s – the damage is going to be substantially different for a number of reasons. First, the Chilean quake epicenter was along the coastline in Chile, which is sparsely populated. Second, because Chile has had numerous earthquakes, with the most active geological fault in the world running down the center of the country, they have extensive knowledge (and building codes) in the area of building earthquake resistant structures. Coastal Chile has a history of deadly earthquakes, with 13 temblors of magnitude 7.0 or higher since 1973 – as a result, newer buildings are constructed to help withstand the shocks.

Most of the serious damage in Chile will be a long the coastline and the major highway running North-South, although damage in Santiago is reported to be substantial.

Saturday’s quake was 700 to 800 times stronger than the 7.0-magnitude quake that struck Haiti in January, leaving 212,000 people dead and more than a million homeless.

However, it occurred at a greater depth — 21.7 miles — compared to the shallow 8.1-mile depth of the Haiti quake, which contributed to much of the damage there. As such, the basic infrastructure damage (hospitals, fire, police) hopefully is far, far less than the total destruction we saw in Haiti.

With that said, the people of Chile will still need international support, to get food and materials on the ground until the Chilean Government can put things back together. Unlike Haiti, Chile has a strong, stable government, and the most stable economy in South America.

more about “Difference Between Earthquake IN Chil…“, posted with vodpod

Drug Use in Venezuela

What is Chavez smoking?

Boy needs to come up here and join the Republican Party…

To be with the rest of the fruitcakes like Robertson, Beck and Limbaugh.

Guys – I’ve been to Venezuela. They have the finest women in the world. They win the International Beauty contests like the US Basketball Team wins in the Olympics.

Hugo needs to spend a few days on one of their gorgeous beaches, preferably out of the sun…

And get back to reality.

Miracles Continue in Haiti

This video shot on an IPhone by Representative Kendrick Meek,  D-FL and a member of the CBC, shows a 2 year old baby being pulled from the rubble 5 days after being buried by the earthquake.

Kendrick Meek represents more Haitian Americans than any other member of Congress. He has been a long-time in Congress on issues related to Haiti and has traveled to the country more than 15 times.

more about “Miracles Continue in Haiti“, posted with vodpod

Wyclef’s Personal Statement on the accusations against Yele Haiti

This is Wyclef Jeans personal statement on Yele Haiti, the charity he founded for his country refuting criticism that his foundation is feeding his own pockets…

Google Has Satellie Images of Haiti Earthquake

Relief agencies has requested that Google provide satellite imagery of pre – and post earthquake Haiti to assist in relief efforts.  This imagery can help in a number of ways, not the least in determining the areas of significant damage, the location and passability of routes to move people and materials, and the identification and tracking of hazardous materials spills – to aid in determining evacuation areas.

It was just for the last reason that the Bushit Administration shut down commercial satellite imagery in the early aftermath of Katrina, blocking access by civilian relief agencies – and hiding the numerous oil and chemical spills. Those images were why non-federal government relief workers and commercial news teams were able to determine which highways were open, and get people into the affected area – and the loss of that imagery – probably contributed to why FEMA couldn’t – and massively hampered recovery and rescue efforts.

Google Offers Satellite Images of Haiti, Post-Earthquake

How to Help Haiti – Red Cross

CNN is reporting as many as 100,000 dead.

Images from Reuters -

Pat Robertson Claims Haitians Had “Pact With the Devil”

This one is singularly stunning.

Pat Robertson: Haiti “Cursed” After “Pact to the Devil”

Pat Robertson, the American Christian televangelist and host of “The 700 Club,” said that Haitians need to have a “great turning to god” while he was reporting on the devastating 7.0 earthquake that shook the island nation — the most powerful to hit the country in a century.

As Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive said “well over” 100,000 people may have died in the national disaster, Robertson took to the airwaves Wednesday on his show and said that the country has been “cursed by one thing after another” since they “swore a pact to the devil.”

“Something happened a long time ago in Haiti and people might not want to talk about,” Robertson said Tuesday.

Photo: Pat Robertson.

“They were under the heel of the French, you know Napoleon the third and whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said ‘We will serve you if you will get us free from the prince.’ True story. And so the devil said, ‘Ok it’s a deal.’ And they kicked the French out. The Haitians revolted and got something themselves free. But ever since they have been cursed by one thing after another,” Robertson said.

About 80-85% of Haitians are practicing Catholics, and 10 -15% are Protestant.

So THAT’s what he means…

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