Archive

Archive for the ‘Top Stories’ Category

Hong Kong billionaires in hot water

October 14, 2012 Leave a comment

Big News Network.com Saturday 13th October, 2012


In Hong Kong, the billionaire Kwok brothers have been given an adjournment in their high profile corruption trial.

The tycoons, Thomas and Raymond Kwok, were arrested in march by the Independent Commission Against Corruption which had been given the go-ahead to deal with widespread corruption.

The adjournment came when the prosecution called for more time to gather evidence.

The Kwok’s run Sun Hung Kai Properties which is listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange. It is the world’s second-largest property developer by stock-market value.

The brothers are charged with a total of eight offences including conspiracy to offer advantages to a public servant.

A top government official, Rafael Hui, has also been charged along with two other people, Thomas Chan, an executive in charge of land acquisition at Sun Hung Kai, and Francis Kwan, a former banker.

It has been alleged payments and unsecured loans totalling around US$5 million were made.

 

NaturalNews exclusive: UNITED-Continental airline pilots forced to fly with as little as 3 hours’ sleep, ‘worked until we drop’

August 12, 2012 Leave a comment

 

(NaturalNews) Whistleblower pilots flying for United / Continental airlines warn that they are being “worked until we drop,” forced to pilot consecutive long-distance flights with as little as three hours’ sleep. In a series of secret meetings with NaturalNews, three United / Continental pilots described the “utter hell” they are being put through:

“We are being worked until we drop,” one pilot to me in a recent face-to-face meeting in Texas. “United-Continental is flying us in violation of FAA legal requirements. Pilot fatigue is at red alert levels. This is an accident waiting to happen.”

The FAA requires pilots to have at least 8 hours of rest in any given 24-hour period. From the FAA’s website:

…a pilot is not allowed to accept, nor is an airline allowed to assign, a flight if the pilot has not has at least eight continuous hours of rest during the 24-hour period. In other words, the pilot needs to be able to look back in any preceding 24-hour period and find that he/she has had an opportunity for at least eight hours of rest. If a pilot’s actual rest is less than nine hours in the 24-hour period, the next rest period must be lengthened to provide for the appropriate compensatory rest.

But NaturalNews was told that United-Continental is operating in blatant violation of this rule. One pilot explained to me, in detail:

“The airline often schedules us with only nine hours of time from arrival of one flight to the departure of the next. They claim this is supposed to give us nine hours of rest, but on a recent turnaround in [city withheld for privacy], our flight had more handicapped customers than was recorded in the manifest, and we had to wait for more wheelchairs to arrive, which took an extra 45 minutes. Then we were over an hour on transportation to the hotel, and another hour for check-in and getting to the room. I had exactly 2 hours and 49 minutes of sleep before I was required to get up, shower, dress, check out, get back on the transportation van, get through the airport, and back on the flight deck for preflight. I then flew a long-duration trans-continental flight, managed to catch six hours of sleep after that, and was piloting yet another flight.”

The cost of pilot fatigue: Injury, death and lost planes

The cost of pilot fatigue can be catastrophic. Earlier this year, an Air Canada pilot awoke from an in-flight nap disoriented. He thought the planet Venus (which can appear as a bright “star” on the horizon) was an approaching plane, so he nose-dived the airliner to avoid what he thought was a potential collision.

The result? A 400-foot altitude plunge, 7 people in the hospital and 16 injured passengers and crew. As reported in the DailyMail: (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2130799/Pilot-fatigue-blamed-…)

Jon Lee, chief investigator, said the incident shows the problems airline crews face when dealing with being sleepy. He said: ‘This occurrence underscores the challenge of managing fatigue on the flight deck.’

Pilots have even died from fatigue, even while piloting flights carrying hundreds of passengers.

Did pilot fatigue kill Continental pilot Craig Lenell?

“One of our own had a heart attack and died a few weeks ago, in-flight,” the United-Continental pilots told me. The story checks out. The pilot’s name was Craig Lenell. He was described as being in “perfect health” and was piloting a Boeing 777 from Brussels to Newark. As Fox News reports:

Lenell died of a suspected heart attack midway through Continental Airlines Flight 61 on Thursday. Two co-pilots took over the controls. Passengers didn’t know anything was wrong until they landed and were met by fire trucks, emergency vehicles and dozens of clamoring reporters. (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,527465,00.html)

“If something doesn’t change soon, you’re going to see more pilots dying in-flight,” I was told. “Or worse, you’re going to see a fatal mistake, and 150-plus customers could be falling out of the sky.”

Pilot fatigue is even more critical when flying into difficult airports. Many airports served by United and Continental are surrounded by volcanoes and mountains. Localized weather patterns and storm cells make navigation very complex, even for experienced pilots. “The way we’re being flown with these lapses in sleep, it’s only a matter of time before we lose a flight,” one of the pilots told me. “[United / Continental] is rolling the dice with the lives of its customers.”

Pilot fatigue being pushed to its limits by airline company management

United-Continental is currently in a back-wages battle with its pilots. I was told that pilots have had their pensions stolen by the company. They’re owed back-wages dating back several years, the pilots told me, and the company is refusing to pay. As a result, pilots are staging a “work slowdown” that has caused the airline’s on-time flight record to plummet in recent months.

Over 1,400 pilots have been laid off by the company (http://crewroom.alpa.org/ual/DesktopModules/ViewDocument.aspx?Documen…), even at a time when remaining pilots are being stretched so thin that they’re often flying in a sleep-deprived state.

“Retired Continental Airline pilots alleged that Continental had breached the retirees’ pension plan by improperly calculating their salaries when determining their pension benefits,” reports Corporate Financial Weekly Digest (http://www.corporatefinancialweeklydigest.com/2012/02/articles/litiga…). “The retirees received an adverse ruling from the System Board, and, as they were expressly permitted to do both by the CBA and the System Board’s decision, commenced an action in federal court under ERISA challenging the ruling. The federal district court for the Southern District of Texas dismissed the action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and the Fifth Circuit affirmed..”

The pilots got screwed, in other words. Their pensions have been raided, looted by the usual suspects. This, on top of the insane sleep schedules being forced upon the pilots, is a recipe for disaster.

Bottom line? Don’t fly United / Continental until the pilots get paid and well-rested

Personally, I won’t fly United-Continental until I get word that their pilots are having their pensions restored and sleep requirements honored. To get on an airplane piloted by a sleepy-headed, angry pilot being screwed over by the company he works for is not my idea of a safe flight experience.

Although pilots are among the most psychologically balanced people in any profession (they undergo routine psych evaluations and physical exams), even they have a breaking point. What the airline is doing to these pilots amounts to a type of work torture. Sleep deprivation, after all, is a commonly-practiced torture technique. While not all the pilots are sleep-deprived on all flights, getting on one of these airplanes right now is a bit of a “Russian roulette” game in that you have no idea which pilot is awake and alert versus which pilot is suffering from dangerous sleep deprivation.

Steer clear of United-Continental until further notice.

And to the management of United-Continental, remember this: The pilots make or break an airline. If you piss off the pilots, they will drive your company into the dirt. If you keep the pilots happy, they will deliver a remarkable record of on-time flights, efficient turnarounds and happy experiences for customers. And as a bonus, they won’t accidentally fly your precious hardware into a mountain or scatter passengers across a field somewhere, which is always a messy scene with lots of TV news coverage.

 

The Freeh Report and Joe Paterno, Part One


July 18th, 2012 |

Part One: The Philadelphia Inquirer Mangles the Flawed Freeh Report

What do you do when reporters from a major metropolitan daily newspaper—in this case, The Philadelphia Inquirer—demonstrate that they are completely incapable of reading a published report—in this case The Freeh Report—and providing their readers with a coherent summary of its contents? What do you do when the egregious misreading of that report by these reporters presents its readers a very false picture of how officials at Penn State handled Mike McQueary’s allegations of child molestation by Jerry Sandusky in February 2001? Perhaps you would recommend that the Philadelphia Inquirer receive the “death penalty” and not be permitted to publish its sludge for a full year!

Readers of my website might recall that, on 9 February 2012, I wrote a scathing critique titled “Incompetent Journalists at the Philadelphia Inquirer Slandered Joe Paterno”. Especially outrageous was the Inquirer’s 4 December 2011 editorial, which asserted: “Instead of alerting authorities, university officials and staff participated in what has all the markings of a cover-up. Their dismissal of the reported rape of a boy in a locker-room shower as mere ‘horsing around’ was an outrageous example of a mind-set that the university must now eradicate…”

As we now know, thanks to my investigation into that “reported rape,” the Editorial Board’s outrage was misplaced, directed at a pseudo-event created by the person who falsely summarized McQueary’s testimony in the grand jury presentment. As I made very clear in my article, “Three False Assertions by the Grand Jury turned the Press and Public against Joe Paterno and Penn State,” McQueary’s first-hand sworn testimony contradicted the summary of his testimony found in the widely reported grand jury report.

McQueary’s first-hand testimony contained his assertion that he “did not see insertion,” He also insisted that he never used the words “anal” or “rape”– since day one. Finally, McQueary testified that he never used the words “anal intercourse,” “anal sex,” or “rape” when reporting what he saw to Paterno, Curley and Schultz. In fact, the jurors who convicted Sandusky multiple times found him not guilty of the charge of anal rape of Victim 2.

The Philadelphia Inquirer never took any steps to correct the record, notwithstanding my repeated emails to its reporters, columnists and editors.

Nevertheless, one longs for the abysmally poor journalism practiced by the Inquirer then, especially after reading the garbage that is found under the Inquirer’s front page headline for Sunday, 15 July 2012: “The Penn State Paper Trail.”

Consider the first two paragraphs of that article: “Three days after Mike McQueary saw Jerry Sandusky molesting a boy in a shower in 2001, two top administrators at Pennsylvania State University had begun to craft a plan.”

“They would not notify authorities.”

The reporters who reached this conclusion—Jeremy Roebuck and Craig R. McCoy—cited a memo dated 2/12/2001, written by Penn State Vice President Gary Schulz as proof. The memo states: “Talked with TMC [Athletic Director Tim Curley] reviewed 1998 history.
– agreed TMC will discuss with JVP [Joe Paterno] + advise we think TMC should meet w JS [Jerry Sandusky] on Friday.
– unless he ‘confesses’ to having a problem, TMC will indicate we need to have DPW [Dept. of Public Welfare] review the matter as an independent agency concerned w child welfare
– TMC will keep me posted.”

If this memo supposedly proves that “They would not notify authorities,” my first questions for Messrs. Roebuck and McCoy are these:

1. What were the chances of Jerry Sandusky actually confessing?

2. Has Sandusky ever confessed?

3. If the probability of gaining his confession was extremely low, doesn’t that mean (according to the very memo you cite) that the next step would be to tell Sandusky that this matter will be turned over to the Department of Public Welfare?

4. Is there any evidence in the memo to indicate that Schulz and Curley had no intention of carrying out their threat?”

5. If the Schultz’s 12 February 2001 memo proves, as you allege, that “They would not notify authorities,” why did Schultz call the University’s outside legal counsel on 11 February 2001 to discuss “Reporting of Suspected Child Abuse? Why waste the time, if you have no intention of reporting the abuse?

Here’s another set of questions:

1. When you wrote, “The decision not to contact authorities was made final two weeks later in a flurry of e-mails among Curley, Schultz and then university president Graham B. Spanier,” did you actually read those e-mails before you went off the deep accusatory end?

After all, Schultz’s hand written notes for a meeting on 2/25/01 include the steps that are to be taken concerning Sandusky: “3) Tell chair of Board of Second Mile 2) Report to Dept. of Welfare. 1) Tell JS to avoid bringing children alone into Lasch Bldg who’s the chair??”

2. Is there anything in those notes that indicates Schultz, Curley and Spanier decided not to report to the Department of Welfare?

The next day’s e-mail from Schultz to Curley says: “Tim, I’m assuming that you’ve got the ball to 1) talk with the subject ASAP regarding the future appropriate use of the University facility; 2) contacting the chair of the Charitable Organization; and 3) contacting the Dept. of Welfare.”

3. Is there anything in that e-mail, which indicates that Schultz, Curley, and Spanier had made the decision not to report to authorities?

4. Again, I ask, did you actually read the material you reported on?

Readers who actually think about what they are reading will have noticed that Schultz’s notes for 2/25/01 and his e-mail of 2/26/01 contain no reference to any confession by Jerry Sandusky. They simply state a plan of action, which includes reporting to the Department of Welfare—as Pennsylvania State law requires. To that extent, these notes and e-mail actually sever the link that Messrs. Roebuck and McCoy attempt to create between Schultz’s notes of 2/12/01 and the “flurry of e-mails” two weeks later which “made final” their decision not to report Sandusky to the authorities.

In fact, it’s Curley’s e-mail to Schultz and Spanier on 2/27/01 which reintroduces the idea of a confession by Sandusky. As will be shown below, Curley is uncomfortable about going to everyone but Sandusky, “the person involved.” Here’s the relevant portion of Curley’s e-mail:

“After giving it more thought and talking it over with Joe yesterday—I am uncomfortable with what we agreed were the next steps. I am having trouble with going to everyone, but the person involved. I think I would be more comfortable meeting with the person and tell him about the information we received. I would plan to tell him we are aware of the first situation. I would indicate we feel there is a problem and we want to assist the individual to get professional help. Also, we feel the responsibility at some point soon to inform his organization and [sic] maybe the other one about the situation. If he is cooperative we would work with him to handle informing the organization. If not, we do not have a choice and will inform the two groups. Additionally, I will let him know that his guests are not permitted to use our facilities. I need some help on this one. What do you think about this approach?”

Curley’s e-mail not only reintroduces the idea of a confession by Sandusky, but also implies that if Sandusky agrees to get professional help the Department of Welfare would not be notified. Spanier and Schultz not only agree with Curley’s proposal, but also praise it for being “humane.”

Thus, all three seemed prepared to violate Pennsylvania’s law to report allegations of sexual abuse if Sandusky admitted his problem and agreed to seek professional help. Presumably, that plan was designed to prevent more “incidents” like those of ’98 and ’01 while rescuing a friend. (I condemn this approach, but understand it.)

In fact, Spanier admits: “The only downside for us is if the message isn’t ‘heard’ and acted upon, and we become vulnerable for not having reported it. But that can be assessed down the road.”

But, again, I must ask: What is the probability that Sandusky will confess and agree to professional help. I believe that it was a lead pipe cinch that Sandusky would not confess.

Consequently, if Messrs. Spanier, Curley and Schultz stick to Curley’s revised plan, , these officials must report McQueary’s allegation to the Department of Welfare when Sandusky fails to confess.

Yet, that’s not the conclusion reached by the authors of the Freeh Report. In its grotesquely erroneous “gotcha” moment, the report asserts: “A reasonable conclusion from Spanier’s email statement that “[t]he only downside for us is if the message isn’t ‘heard’ and acted upon, and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it” is that Spanier, Schultz and Curley were agreeing not to report Sandusky’s activity.”

No, that’s not a reasonable conclusion! Absolutely not! It totally ignores that part of Curley’s plan to report to the Department of Welfare in the extremely probable event that Sandusky refuses to confess and seek treatment.

Clearly, the Freeh Report has overreached. And I can’t avoid the suspicion that this overreach led to another—the barely supported conclusion that the need “to avoid the consequences of bad publicity” explains the cover up.

Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that the Freeh Report’s erroneous “gotcha” moment—which specifically identifies the day when the cover-up by Spanier, Schultz and Curley commenced—excludes Joe Paterno.

Perhaps as a silver lining in its dark cloud of journalistic malpractice, Messrs. Roebuck and McCoy also have little to say about Joe Paterno. Appropriately so. Nevertheless, they appear to not only have swallowed the unreasonable gotcha conclusion reached by the Freeh Report, but also to have attempted to work backward from that false conclusion in order to demonstrate that the decision not to report actually can be traced back to Schultz’s notes dated 2/12/01. It’s shoddy journalism at its worst!

An unbiased reading of the sketchy evidence would indicate that the decision not to report McQueary’s allegations to the Department of Welfare occurred after 7 March 2001, the day Curley actually met with Sandusky.

The available evidence suggests that Curley never confronted Sandusky and Sandusky confessed to nothing. Worse, Sandusky (brazenly?) offered to give Curley the name of the boy who was in the Lasch building shower with him that night—and Curley refused to take it.

If this information is correct (a very big “if”), then, according to the plan all three agreed to, one of them was obligated to report Sandusky to the Department of Welfare. But that didn’t happen and we still do not know why—even after the publication of the Freeh Report.

In the Freeh Report [p. 77], Spanier claims that Curley subsequently told him that Sandusky had confessed and agreed to get professional help. But, we know that didn’t happen, so somebody’s lying.

Moreover, in that same Freeh Report [p. 78], the lawyer representing the Director of the Second Mile charity claims that Curley told his client that “nothing inappropriate occurred.” That’s the story being told by Spanier, Schultz and Curley today – and they’re sticking to it.

(Personally, I find it difficult to believe that both Curley and Schultz came to the conclusion that “nothing inappropriate occurred,” especially after Joe Paterno reported to them McQueary’s allegations of something sexual between Sandusky and a young boy, and especially given the fact that both of them knew about the investigation of Sandusky in 1998. Paterno’s report, alone, should have triggered an automatic message to the Department of Welfare.)

Let’s hope that the trial of Curley and Schultz brings resolution to that assertion.

Source article:
http://www.walter-c-uhler.com/?p=541

BACK to margotbworldnews.com

Colorado Springs under threat as 32,000 flee Waldo fire


27 June 2012 Last updated at 21:31 ET

media images

Gov John Hickenlooper said “there is nothing firefighters could do when you get this kind of weather”

More than 32,000 people have fled Colorado‘s second-biggest city because of raging wildfires that have hit six other US states.

Traffic and smoke choked the streets as people left Colorado Springs and a nearby US Air Force Academy.

Evacuation orders were issued for much of the city as the fire doubled in size to over 24 sq miles (62 sq km). Some 800 firefighters have been deployed.

President Barack Obama is to tour the affected areas on Friday.

Just weeks into the annual wildfire season, there are also fires in Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, California and Utah.

In Utah, a body was found in the ashes of a fast-moving wildfire to the south of Salt Lake City.

‘Epic firestorm’

At a press briefing on Wednesday morning, officials in Colorado said fire crews had worked through the night. But the blaze was only 5% contained.

Continue reading the main story

“Start Quote

As we were driving, the ash was falling out of the sky”

Hillory Davis Colorado Springs resident

Weather conditions were not favourable.

Dry, hot temperatures are expected to continue across much of the US this week, with little chance of rain.

“We do expect all of our lines to be challenged today,” incident commander Richard Harvey said, adding that erratic winds could make their job harder.

One Colorado Springs hospital said it had treated about 20 patients in the last 24 hours for respiratory-related illnesses, a local newspaper reported.

The Waldo Canyon Fire, which began on Saturday, has been fanned towards Colorado Springs by winds of up to 65mph (104km/h).

A helicopter drops water on the Waldo Canyon fire burning behind the US Air Force Academy, west of Colorado Springs, 27 June 2012

A helicopter drops water on the Waldo Canyon fire burning behind the US Air Force Academy

“It was like looking at the worst movie set you could imagine,” Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said after surveying the fire from the air on Tuesday.

“It’s almost surreal. You look at that, and it’s like nothing I’ve seen before.”

Heavy ash and smoke was billowing from the hillsides west of Colorado Springs and southbound traffic was temporarily closed on Interstate 25, which runs through the city.

Fleeing residents covered their faces with T-shirts to breathe through the smoke.

Smoke from the Waldo Canyon fire drapes the foothills on 27 June 2012 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The fire is threatening many homes in the densely populated Colorado Springs area

“It took us an hour to drive a mile because of the traffic. It was really tense. As we were driving, the ash was falling out of the sky. We couldn’t see the street because of the smoke,” Colorado Springs resident Hillory Davis, 22, told the BBC.

Meanwhile, Richard Brown, the Colorado Springs fire chief, described the blaze as a “firestorm of epic proportions”.

The city of 419,000 people is Colorado’s second largest, situated just off the main north-south highway.

It is home to the sprawling campus of the US Air Force Academy, the top school for cadets joining the Air Force.

On Wednesday afternoon, academy officials said the fire had spread to about 10 acres of the campus. Some 2,100 people were evacuated from base housing overnight.

Firefighters from the Air Force and local crews were trying to stop the blaze reaching the academy.

Elsewhere in Colorado, the High Park fire in the west of the state has been burning for weeks and remains barely half contained, although fewer homes are under imminent threat.

In pictures: Colorado wildfires

27 JUNE 2012, US & CANADA

BACK to margotbworldnews.com

Categories: Top Stories, U.S., US News

“Black Dust” in Tokyo? With 243,000 Bq/Kg of Radioactive Cesium


Freelance journalist Rei Shiva [Shiba] writing for Nikkan Spa, a daily tabloid in Japan (part; 5/15/2012):

福島県南相馬市内で発見された超強力な放射能を持つ謎の“黒い粉”が話題になったのは今年2月のこと。

It was this February when the super-radioactive and mysterious “black dust” found in Minami Soma City in Fukushima Prefecture was in the news.

1kgあたり108万ベクレル」というケタ違いの線量は衝撃的なものの、「南相馬での特殊な事例」として受け止められていた。ところが、その「黒い粉」は東京都内の至るところに存在しているという。

Although 1.08 million Bq/kg was shocking, it was considered to be specific only to Minami Soma. However, I’ve been told that “black dust” exists everywhere in Tokyo.

「放射線検知器を近づけてみると、明らかに反応があるので、汚染度が高いのかなとは思っていたのですが、まさ かここまでとは……」「黒い粉」を都内で発見した、市民団体「NO!放射能 江東こども守る会」の石川あや子代表は驚きを隠せない。「江戸川区のJR平井駅周辺で『黒い粉』らしきものを見つけ、採取したサンプルを神戸大学の山内知 也教授に検査してもらったところ、最大で1kgあたり24万3000Bqという数値が出たんです」。

“When I brought the radiation detector closer, it visibly responded. So I knew it might be highly contaminated, but didn’t know it was this contaminated…”, says Ayako Ishikawa incredulously. Ishikawa is the head of the citizens’ group “No! to Radiation, Protect Children in Koto”. [Koto-ku is one of the eastern Special Wards of Tokyo]. She says, “We found something that looked like “black dust” near the Hirai JR station in Edogawa-ku. We collected the sample and and asked Professor Tomoya Yamauchi of Kobe University to measure the radiation. The result was that it had the maximum 243,000 Bq/kg [of radioactive cesium].”

これは原子炉等規制法で定められた「安全基準(クリアランスレベル)」の約2430倍という、途方もない数値だ。

It is 2,430 times the clearance level [100 Bq/kg] specified by the Nuclear Reactor Regulation Law.

「注意して見ると、『黒い粉』は都内の至るところにあります」と石川さんは言う。そんなにあちこちに高汚染の物質が転がっているのだろうか? という疑問を抱えつつ、「黒い粉」の調査に本誌記者も同行した。

“If you look carefully, “black dusts” are everywhere in Tokyo”, says Ishikawa. Such highly contaminated materials are everywhere? I decided to accompany her to look for “black dusts”.

まずは、JR平井駅から徒歩10分ほど。公営団地そばの運動場で「黒い粉」を発見した。フェンス近くで何か所にもわたって吹き溜まっていた「黒い粉」は、一見すると黒い土のように見える。近づいてよく見てみると、乾燥して干からびたコケやカビのようなものであるとわかる。

First, [to a location] about 10-minute walk from the JR Hirai Station. We found the “black dust” on the playground near the public housing. There were several drifts near the fence, and they looked like just “black soil”. When I took a closer look, they were revealed to be something like a dried moss or mold.

「この前来たときと微妙に場所が変わっていますね。風雨で移動したのかもしれません」と石川さん。ガイガーカ ウンターよりも信頼性の高い、国産のシンチレーション式放射線検知器を「黒い粉」に近づけてみた。すると数値が急上昇し、毎時2μSvを超えた。東京都の 平均的な空間線量(地上1m)の約20倍だ。山内教授は「一般的に携帯式の放射線検知器は周囲の放射線量の平均値を表示します。つまり、少量の物質に検知 器を向けて数値が急上昇するならば、その物質が極めて強い放射線を出している可能性があります」という。

Ishikawa said, “They are at slightly different locations. Rain and wind may have moved them.” We measured the radiation with the scintillation survey meter made by a domestic manufacturer because it is more reliable than a geiger counter. The number shot up quickly, and exceeded 2 microsieverts/hour. That is twenty times more than the average air radiation level (at 1 meter off the ground) in Tokyo. Professor Yamauchi says, “In general, a scintillation survey meter shows the average radiation level. If the number rises rapidly when the survey meter is directed toward a small amount of substance, it is possible that the substance is emitting extremely strong radiation.”

果たして、「黒い粉」の正体とは何なのか? そして、「黒い粉」の性質を利用した効率良い除染方法とは? 5月15日発売の週刊SPA!「首都圏を襲う[放射能の黒い粉]」では、「黒い粉」の元になる物質の怖さのみならず有用性もまた報じている。

What is this “black dust”? What is the efficient decontamination method using the unique properties of the “black dust”? Shukan Spa [weekly magazine] that will go on sale on May 15 has the article “Radioactive black dust striking the Tokyo Metropolitan area”, which will report on the danger of the substance that makes up the “black dust” as well as its usefulness.

I don’t see much point in comparing it to the clearance level of 100 Bq/kg which is applicable only to enclosed nuclear facilities. After the Fukushima nuclear accident, it’s a whole new ballgame where the disaster debris exceeding that clearance level is being shipped to Kyushu to be burned in a regular incinerator and the soil samples in Kanto and Tohoku easily exceed that level in many locations.

Even though I have reported on the “black dusts” in Minami Soma City (most recently, here), I am not completely convinced that this “black” substance is any different from a drift of dirt that one often saw on the road surface or near the drains even before the Fukushima nuclear accident. Cyanobacteria that supposedly make up the “black dust” are ubiquitous.

Professor Yukio Hayakawa of Gunma University says if the top 1 millimeter of the soil is taken the radioactivity can be extremely high, though he seems to think that “black dust” is a very good indicator of urban contamination.

No matter what it is or how it came about, it is clearly highly radioactive, and it’d better be removed to avoid contact. No municipalities are doing that, as they should.

Just don’t go multiply that number (243,000 Bq/kg) by 65 and exclaim “Look, Tokyo is more contaminated than Chernobyl exclusion zone!” The multiplier of 65 only applies to soil samples that are taken from the surface to 5 centimeters deep, and whose specific gravity is about 1.3g/cm3. If Tokyo’s “black dust” has the same weight as Minami Soma’s “black dust”, it would be less than 0.5g/cm3.

Source: http://ex-skf.blogspot.ca/2012/05/black-dust-in-tokyo-with-243000-bqkg-of.html

Categories: Asia, Environment, Top Stories

Bageant Moves On

April 1, 2011 4 comments

We don’t last, and there’s no warranty

Joe Bageant and Fred Reed in Ajijic, Mexico, 2008

By Fred Reed
http://www.fredoneverything.net

Jocotepec, Mexico — Joe lived awhile down the lake. We would visit him of an afternoon, Vi and I, and find him, a bear of a man, bearded mountain Buddha, writing on the porch of his one-room place in Ajijic. Always he wore his old fishing vest, in which I suspect he was born, and sometimes he carried a small laptop in one of its pockets. Usually we adjourned to the living room, which was also the bedroom, dining room, and salon. He would fetch bottles of local red, or make the jalapeño martinis he invented — there was a bit of mad chemist in him — and we would talk for hours of art, music, the news, politics, and people. Especially people. Sometimes he grabbed one of the guitars from the wall and sang blues, at which he was good. I guess growing up dirt poor in West Virginia puts that kind of music in you.

Joe could fool you. He talked slow and Southern, lacked pretensions, and you could talk to him for weeks without realizing how very damned smart he was.
 One day we dropped in and he said he had just found that he had cancer. It went fast. He died Saturday.

Most who have heard of him have done so through his books, Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America’s Class War, and Rainbow Pie: A Redneck Memoir. Deer Hunting is a curious work, a sleeper, that you can read the first time without noticing that it deserves a high place in American letters. He tells of that huge class of unnoticed people in America, the white underclass of a thousand small towns and countryscapes, of Winchester, Virginia where he lived and by implication to Waldorf, Maryland and King George, Virginia and, well, all over the Carolinas and the Cumberland Plateau and … everywhere. America thinks it is a middle-class country. It isn’t. Joe knew.

You wouldn’t see it at first as sociology. Sociology is supposed to be written in drab, repetitive, half-literate, numbingly narcotic prose that would make an anvil beg for mercy. Joe was more Twain. Never eat cocktail weenies out of the urinal, he said, no matter how high the betting gets, while talking of people working whole lives in jobs without benefits or retirement and generally getting screwed. He had no patience for smug commentators in Washington who talked at half a million bucks a year of how America was a land of opportunity if only you worked hard. It isn’t. He knew it. So did I, having grown up in rural King George County, Virginia, where the same people lived. He was exactly right.

He lived largely, coming out of the mountains and spending a year at the Corcoran School of Art, and drifting west where his immense talent had him spending a lot of time with Hunter Thompson and the giants of the era and writing for all manner of publications. He believed deeply in booze and recreational drugs, which in those years was perhaps not a view unique to him. Shortly before his death he told Vi and me about having met some local Mexican folk here of Indian antecedents and going up in the hills one night to do mushrooms, and lying out half the night watching the stars swirl and dance. He lived for years on an Indian reservation without electricity, worked as an editor for Military History magazine, likewise for an agribusiness magazine flogging pesticides, and told horrendous stories about what we actually eat. He was miserable at Military History, but needed to live.

He went to the internet, driven to write for whatever reasons drive people to write, and got found by Dan Greenberg, the literary agent. Agents, and publishing houses in New York, are generally characterized by a lack of knowledge of writing, writers, America, and books, but Greenberg was lax in observing the traditions of his trade. He asked Joe to write a book. Which Joe did.

The consequences were odd. Deer Hunting became immensely popular in … Australia. It sold well in … England. It was translated into Spanish, twice, in Spain and … Argentina. Argentina? Joe was invited to 10 Downing Street, did countless radio interviews in Australia, a book tour in Italy. Rainbow Pie would go into German and Italian. It was by comparison ignored in America. Something is very wrong somewhere. I’m not sure what.

Maybe New York just doesn’t like rural people, or doesn’t know that there are any. And there was certainly a rural flavor to the man. Seeing a young woman with piercings in her nose and ears and God knows whereall, he commented that she seemed to have fallen face-first into a tackle box. His politics may have confused the chattering classes. Joe was the least racist guy who ever lived, but he wrote about the white poor, whose very existence runs against hallowed doctrine. He was also explicitly in favor of the Second Amendment, noting that ninety pounds of dressed venison matters a whole lot to many families. These are families that reviewers of books have never heard of.

Joe described himself as a redneck socialist, and he was. He was profoundly concerned with the fate of the people he wrote about, those who worked hard all their lives and ended up with nothing. Funny: I’ve never met a socialist who didn’t care about others, or a capitalist who did. The truth is that a great many decent people are on the wrong side of the intelligence curve, don’t come from families that send their young to university, and can’t protect themselves from the corporate lawyers and bought legislatures.

It wasn’t a pose. He really and truly, honestly, demonstrably and implausibly, had no interest in money. He lived for some time in Hopkins Village in Belize, a seaside community of black, downscale Garifuna and, when some money began to come in from Deer Hunting, regularly gave it away to help the locals. He didn’t have a sainthood complex. He just didn’t care. He wanted books, a guitar, friends, internet, wine, and occasional substances not approved of by DEA. No pretenses. Drop acid, not names.

When he had to choose between horrible surgery of dubious prospect, and just saying, “Nah,” he said “Nah.” Joe was going to start Spanish lessons with Vi once he got past the paperwork of Rainbow Pie, but I guess that’s not going to happen. We’ll miss the throaty blues and mountain ballads, the discovery that Edward Hopper was our favorite painter, the jalapeño martinis barely drinkable though they were, and swapping tales of wild times and odd places. And the sheer good-hearted intelligence of the man.

It was great, brother. Hope to see you again in a few years.

Categories: Social Media, Top Stories

Hydrogen, Zirconium, Flashbulbs — and Nuclear Craziness


By Karl Grossman

The explosion at the Fukushima nuclear power plant is being described as caused by a “hydrogen build-up”.   The situation harks back to the “hydrogen bubble” that was feared would explode when the Three Mile Island plant in 1979 underwent a partial meltdown.

The hydrogen explosion problem at nuclear power plants involves a story as crazy as can be. As nuts as using nuclear fission to boil water to generate electricity is, the hydrogen problem and its cause cap the lunacy.

Read Full Article Here

BACK to margotbworldnews.com