Daily Archives: March 22, 2011

Isabel Behncke: Evolution’s gift of play, from bonobo apes to humans

With never-before-seen video, primatologist Isabel Behncke Izquierdo (a TED Fellow) shows how bonobo ape society learns from constantly playing — solo, with friends, even as a prelude to sex. Indeed, play appears to be the bonobos’ key to problem-solving and avoiding conflict. If it works for our close cousins, why not for us?

Continue reading Isabel Behncke: Evolution’s gift of play, from bonobo apes to humans

I know where I’m eating lunch tomorrow! (Fund Raiser for Japan)

And maybe dinner, too. This will mainly affect our local Twin Cities folk:

Thom Pham and the staffs of Wondrous Azian Kitchen and Thanh Do Restaurant with support from World Class Wines and Joto Sake will host two fundraisers to support the people affected by the Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami.
On Wednesday, March 23rd at Thanh Do and on Thursday, March 24th at Wondrous Azian Kitchen 100% of the sales proceeds for the entire day will be donated to the American Red Cross in support of its disaster relief efforts to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan and Tsunami throughout the Pacific.

Continue reading I know where I’m eating lunch tomorrow! (Fund Raiser for Japan)

Nuclear Fuel Mining in Niger

In one of the poorest countries in the world, ranking last in the Human Development Index of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), where more than 40% of children are underweight for their age, water and access to improved water sources is scarce and almost three quarters of the population are illiterate, the French nuclear giant AREVA extracts precious–and deadly–natural resources, earning billions for its Fortune 5002 corporation, and leaving little behind but centuries of environmental pollution and health risks for the citizens of Niger.

From this (PDF) report.

Continue reading Nuclear Fuel Mining in Niger

Reconsidering Nuclear Energy

Risk, Trust, and the Arrogance of Numbers

…The coal and biofuel safety numbers don’t come with a disclaimer that the greatest number of additional deaths from these fuels are due to indoor use for cooking, not from industrial energy production. Wind and solar energy numbers don’t reflect that these are developing industries, without decades of safety standards behind them. (Including development numbers for nuclear would drastically change the picture there, given that it was a technology born out of war.) None of these numbers include the costs of destruction of ecosystems, displacement, and unrest caused by the exploitation of resources required….

Read an interesting commentary about the numbers

Taiwan: The Reassurance of Nuclear Safety is Not Convincing

Following the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan, there are calls now for a review of Taiwan’s nuclear energy policy, particularly as a fourth nuclear power plant is now under construction.

Lin Tsung-yao (æ??å®?å ¯), member of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant Safety Monitoring Committee, has called upon [zh] the Taiwan Power company to do a thorough reevaluation of construction of its fourth nuclear power plant…


Calif. panel weighs nuclear safety after quake

State senators are reviewing whether California’s nuclear power plants and gas pipelines are safe from earthquakes as Japan’s scramble to control its damaged reactors brings up uncomfortable similarities to the nuclear plants on America’s seismically active West Coast.

“Japan has always been a leader in preparedness,” said Sen. Ellen Corbett, the San Leandro Democrat who chairs the Senate Select Committee on Earthquake and Disaster Preparedness, Response and Recovery. “It’s time to revisit the safety of these plants in light of what we have learned from Japan,” she said at a hearing Monday…..


IAEA concerned, lacks info on Japan nuclear plant

VIENNA – The UN atomic agency said on Tuesday it was concerned that it had not received some information from Japan about its stricken nuclear plant, saying the overall situation remained “very serious.”

“We have not received validated information for some time related to the containment integrity of unit 1. So we are concerned that we do not know its exact status,” Graham Andrew, a senior official of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told a news conference.


Community Owned Wind Power

From communities demanding more wind turbines to a Government-backed plan to spread income from renewables to surrounding residents, we’ve seen a lot of stories lately about harnessing renewables not just to create clean energy, but to also build wealth in our communities. Yet the idea is not new–and I’ve just come across a great video profiling a pioneering example of cooperative, community-based renewable energy. If only there were more like it.


And here’s the video:
Continue reading Community Owned Wind Power

If Chernobyl is as bad as it gets, then GIVE ME MORE! The Annotated Version

With the current nuclear power plant kerfuffle1 in Japan, people are making comparisons with a TMI-Chernobyl scale, with TMI being a nuclear accident that is not bad at all2 and Chernobyl being the worst case scenario.3 This is actually very reassuring, because Chernobyl was really no big deal.4
Continue reading If Chernobyl is as bad as it gets, then GIVE ME MORE! The Annotated Version

Japan quake, tsunami, nuke news 07

Ana’s Feed Starting March 21 3PM

Radioactive iodine 126.7 times higher detected in seawater near nuke plant – kyodo news

Radioactive cesium 24.8 times higher detected in seawater near nuke plant – kyodo news

Too early to assess contaminated seawater’s impact on fishery product: TEPCO – kyodo news

Gov’t orders 4 prefectures to suspend some food shipments

Tidbits from NHK’s morning broadcast:

  • Spraying of reactor buildings and restoration of power remain suspended – all workers remain evacuated form the area
  • Grey smoke from reactor no.3 and white vapor from no.2 are being investigated – both are thought to involve the spent fuel areas
  • Radiation readings jumped to 1,932microsievert/hr. “because of wind direction and time of day” – safety agency
  • TEPCO apologizes “sincerely”
  • Samples of contaminated seawater were taken 100 meters offshore
  • 60% of Tokyo market’s leafy produce comes from the now prohibited areas

â??”A radiation level of 100,000 counts per minute will be introduced as a new standard for decontamination, up from 6,000 counts per minute, the government said, adding that raising the bar will not endanger health.”

(Ana’s Feed is a collection of Analiese Miller’s facebook status entries posted as she takes in the news live in Japan.)

News and blog Links:
Continue reading Japan quake, tsunami, nuke news 07