Monday, January 02, 2012

The Year of the Earthquake

The year of the earthquake and tsunami is how 2011 will be remembered in Japan. No bounen-kai (forget-the-year party) has passed without thoughts of those who lost so much in the triple earthquake-tsunami-nuclear disaster on or after March 11. The powerful 9.0-magnitude earthquake devastated the northeast of Japan and left the country in shock. More than nine months later, some progress has been made on removing rubble and restoring order in Tohoku, but not nearly enough.  The meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, in particular, is a serious concern for everyone in Japan, and abroad. A 20-kilometre no-go zone has become a fact of life. Radiation exposure levels are now a regular topic in all Japanese newspapers. Consumers continue to worry about cesium levels in food products. Cleanup of the area has been slow and not helped by the belated, confused responses from Tokyo Electric Power Co. Few of the hundreds of thousands of people evacuated and displaced have completely returned to their former way of life. Read More

As Climate Change Worsens, Scientists Feel Increasing Pressure to Speak Out 
Factors contributing to climate change are moving faster than predicted and pushing us toward planetary conditions unlike any humans have ever known—this was one of the salient themes to emerge from this month's meeting of the American Geophysical Union, the world's largest gathering of earth and space scientists. Some scientists think we've already crossed that boundary and are, as Jonathan Foley, director of the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment, said, "in a very different world than we have ever seen before."...

Food Concerns for 2012 There are several food concerns in the news.  The following two on corn hopefully will get some people’s attention:...