Well, now that I’ve got my tournament selections posted, I can get back to my normal fare. Throughout the tournament, I’ll provide updates on the dismantling of my meticulously designed brackets.
So what now? Well, lie everyone else, I’ve been watching helplessly as the people of Japan try to cope with what seem to be a cascading series of catastrophes. A magnitude 9 earthquake is plenty to be dealing with, although a friend who is in Japan said that no buildings fell down in the quake. That’s a phenomenal testament to the value of strict building codes. She also described how Japan’s Earthquake Warning System gave about two minutes warning. People were able to prepare. Trains slowed down. Utilities were able to brace themselves. Clearly, lives were saved.
Even with the number of fatalities heading north of 10,000 as a result of the tsunami, it could have been a lot worse. That’s little consolation to those who lost loved ones, but how many more would have been lost without the level of preparedness that the Japanese have achieved?
Fukushima is another story. Clearly, the quake was too much for the nuclear plant. It’s also clear that the situation is still fluid and dangerous. What has been particularly striking today is the report given by the head of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Gregory Jaczko in which he stated that the spent fuel pond at the number 4 reactor is out of water. This is arguably a more dangerous situation than an meltdown because the spent rods could catch fire, releasing large amounts of radiation directly into the atmosphere. It was after this testimony was released that there seeemed to be a divergence between the Japanese assessment of the situation and the U.S. government’s, which is much worse. I’m not sure exactly what’s going on here, but I don’t see any real reason for us to contradict the Japanese position.
That being said, I have to credit the Japanese officials for trying to deal with this series of catastrophes, and the strength of the Japanese people in trying to cope with shattered infrastructure, dwindling supplies, and nerves that must be frayed to the breaking point.
That’s all for now, but please, say a prayer for Japan and give something if you can.