Japan

West Coast of North America to be Slammed by 2016 with 80% As Much Fukushima Radiation As Japan

June 11, 2015

A professor from Japan’s Fukushima University Institute of Environmental Radioactivity (Michio Aoyama) told Kyodo in April that the West Coast of North America will be hit with around 800 terabecquerels of Cesium- 137 by 2016. EneNews notes that this is 80% of the cesium-137 deposited in Japan by Fukushima, according to the company which runs Fukushima, Tepco: (a petabequeral or “PBq” equals 1,000 terabecquerels.) This is not news for those who have been paying attention.  For example, we noted 2 days after the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami that the West Coast of North America could be slammed with radiation from Fukushima. We pointed out the next year that a previously-secret 1955 U.S. government report concluded that the ocean may not adequately dilute radiation from nuclear accidents, and there could be “pockets” and “streams” of highly-concentrated radiation. The same year, we noted that 15 out of 15 bluefin tuna tested in California waters were contaminated with Fukushima radiation. Read

Oil Markets Could Be In For A Shock From China Soon By Nick Cunningham

June 11, 2015

Oil analysts and commodity traders watch the price of crude swing down and up, and are trying to figure out when and to what extent the OPEC “price war” will force supply reductions from US shale. Any insight into this development can clarify the trajectory of oil prices. But, of course, oil market dynamics are complex and fluid. US shale supply is hugely important for oil prices, but one of the more underreported factors influencing the price of oil is the pace of demand growth coming from China. Consumption of oil in China has climbed rapidly and consistently since it took off in 1990, accelerating into overdrive in the 2000s. The inexorable surge in demand caused oil markets to tighten in the lead up to the financial crisis, and then again in subsequent years as the global economy recovered. Read

Collapsing Global Economy, Imploding Financial System: China Has Only One Option – Bill Holter

June 1, 2015

The title is of course a little misleading because China has many options, none of which except one in my opinion will actually work.  Options to what exactly you ask?  Options to a collapsing global economy and an imploding financial system which will surely affect China as much as anywhere else, but with one caveat.  I take these events as a given, others do not but betting against an outright panic and global bankruptcy is betting against pure mathematics itself. Let’s back up a little bit and look at where China is currently.  They are the second largest economy in the world (maybe the largest, we can’t really know because the numbers here, there, and everywhere are made up).  China is by far THE largest manufacturer in the world and also an enormous exporter.  China is also in a three horse race as to who owns the most U.S. Treasuries with Japan and unbelievably the Federal Reserve itself.  They have an oversized shadow banking system which has already been shown as fraudulent in several cases regarding copper, zinc and lead as “collateral” (or not). The Chinese also have a stock market bubble boiling that makes the tulip craze look tame.  Because of sheer

Monsanto Wants to Move to Switzerland. Why Is Obama Doing It Favors? – Ben Lilliston, Gary Ruskin

May 28, 2015

The longstanding principal goal of U.S. trade policy is to advance U.S. economic interests. So, why is the Obama administration fighting so hard to help Monsanto – a company that is openly trying to slash its taxes by moving its headquarters from St. Louis to Switzerland? “Monsanto, in seeking a tax inversion, shows that it has no loyalty to the United States. So, why is the U.S. government showing so much loyalty to it?” Earlier this month, Monsanto made an initial offer to purchase the Swiss-based Syngenta. The deal, if completed, would allow Monsanto to move its headquarters from outside St. Louis to Switzerland, thereby reducing U.S. corporate tax payments. According to financial analysts at the investment firm Piper Jaffray, Monsanto would gain – and U.S. taxpayers would lose – about $500 million per year in tax revenues. It would also create the largest seed and crop chemical company in the world. At this moment, the Obama administration is undertaking a high profile effort to knock down global resistance to genetically engineered (GE) food and crops. It is advancing trade treaties both for Europe (TTIP) and Asia (TPP) to accomplish this goal. Monsanto is the world’s largest producer of seeds, many

Fukushima’s “Caldrons of Hell”: More than 300 Tons of Highly Radioactive Water Generated Daily

May 5, 2015

Asahi Shimbun, May 1, 2015 (emphasis added): Yauemon Sato, the ninth-generation chief of a sake brewery operating here since 1790 [and president of electric power company Aizu Denryoku] likens the crippled reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to “caldrons of hell.” In a recent interview with The Asahi Shimbun, Sato said the nuclear disaster “continues to recur every day”… Excerpts from the interview follow: Question: What drives you to be so active, including in the use of renewable energy? — Sato: You know the caldron of hell? You will be sent to hell and will be boiled in that caldron if you do evil. And there are four such caldrons in Fukushima… Andthe disaster has yet to end. It continues to recur every day. More than 300 tons of water, contaminated with intense levels of radioactive substances, are being generated every day… 11:30 – The Prime Minister [said Fukushima] had been brought to a close. My reaction on hearing his words was, ‘Stop kidding.’ Reality is, though 4 years have passed, the accident has not yet been brought to a close at all. 15:15 – What is the situation within the core? How much has melted? Where is the fuel exactly? We do not know… This is an accident

Obama Bribes Abe to Support the TPP by Unleashing Japanese Military – Yves Smith

May 5, 2015

Great minds seem to be working alike. Our resident Japan expert, Clive, had pointed out that the US Trade Representative, Michael Froman, had nothing to offer Japan to change its indifference to the proposed TransPacific Partnership. Only the State Department could serve up the needed inducements, and they were missing in action. But that changed as Obama became more eager about pushing his toxic, traitorous deal over the line. We pinged Clive Wednesday evening: I heard from a Congressional staffer today that Japan has changed its position on the TPP from being cool to being keen about it You pointed out early on that Froman couldn’t deliver a deal, that State needed to get involved. Apparently that happened. I noticed the defense pact and wondered if it had anything to do with the TPP. Apparently it did. The understanding with the “defense” agreement is that the US will let Japan go offensive. Of course, I have no idea how that squares with the Japanese constitution. Read

Move Over Shale, Solar Is Shining Brighter With Each Passing Day – Jon Queally

April 27, 2015

Move over dirty fossil fuels, the solar revolution is coming. That, at least, is the buried headline contained in new reporting from Reuters on Sunday which looks at the ability of the solar industry to upend the world’s energy system in ways similar to recent innovations which allowed oil and gas companies to squeeze previously unattainable deposits from underground shale formations. With a focus on Japan, Reuters catalogs how the rising capacity and falling prices of solar energy—even as it currently survives without contributions from a fleet of dormant nuclear plants —has led the country to turn off its “giant oil-fired power plants” one after another. The news agency reports: Japan is retiring nearly 2.4 gigawatts of expensive and polluting oil-fired energy plants by March next year and switching to alternative fuels. Japan’s 43 nuclear reactors have been closed in the wake of the 2011 meltdown at the Fukushima power plant after an earthquake and a tsunami – since then, renewable energy capacity has tripled to 25 gigawatts, with solar accounting for more than 80 percent of that. Once Japan reaches cost-revenue parity in solar energy, it will mean the technology is commercially viable in all G7 countries and 14 of the G20 economies, according to

The “Fight for $15″ and the Return of the Vanishing Worker – Richard Eskow

April 17, 2015

On April 15, perhaps as you’re reading these words, working people in 200 American cities will rally for a $15 base wage and the right to form a union. Solidarity demonstrations are planned in more than 30 cities on six continents, and have already taken place in Switzerland, the Philippines, South Korea, New Zealand, and Japan. The “fight for $15” matters – because the lives of working people matter, and because the success of this effort will help strengthen the American economy for everyone. But the significance of April 15’s action runs even deeper than that. The Worker Vanishes There were times in recent history when observers of our political and economic debates might have been forgiven for thinking that America’s working men and women – the teeming millions who built this country and were the engines of its economy during its most prosperous years – had vanished from the face of the earth. Read

One Lethal Loophole in the TPP

April 13, 2015

After spending five long years negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, the Obama administration is now pushing for the fast-track authority from Congress that would make it easier to get the final deal approved. One serious problem is that the TPP is not likely to include rules on currency, which is leading lawmakers from both parties to consider opposing the agreement. They are right to be concerned. A good deal, from the American perspective, would have rules preventing countries from strategically depressing the value of their currency. Japan, Malaysia and South Korea have all been identified as engaging in such manipulation. While this point may seem obscure, the cost of the dollar relative to other currencies is hugely important in determining the size of our trade deficit, which is in turn a major obstacle to growth and employment. To understand the relationships at work here, imagine that the dollar suddenly rose in value by 20% against the Vietnamese dong and the Japanese yen. Since we sell our goods and services in dollars, people living in Vietnam and Japan would then need 20% more of their currency to buy products from the United States. This means that a Ford or General Motors

Mysterious desert fairy circles share pattern with skin cells

April 9, 2015

“The distribution of fairy circles throughout the desert may look random, but turns out to have a pattern that very closely matches the distribution pattern of skin cells. A pattern spanning such drastically different size scales — microscopic skin cells and the desert landscape — is almost unheard of in nature.” Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University Patterns appearing on both the very large and very small scale are extremely rare, but researchers at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) in Japan have found a similar pattern in two apparently unrelated systems — skin cells and fairy circles in the Namibian desert. “It’s a completely amazing, strange match,” said Prof. Robert Sinclair, who heads the Mathematical Biology Unit at OIST. Desert fairy circles are considered one of nature’s greatest mysteries because no one knows how they form. Different from mushroom rings, these fairy circles are large barren patches of earth ringed by short grass dotting the desert like craters on the moon or big freckles. Several groups are racing to figure out this bizarre phenomenon. Sinclair and his collaborator, Haozhe Zhang, believe they have identified a small, but vital piece of the puzzle. The
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