Posts Tagged With: earthquake

From disaster springs innovation…

A view of the Solar Techno Park's HyperHelios near Yokohama.

About a year ago, Japan was struck by a giant earthquake and subsequent tsunami.  One of the ‘fall-outs’ of this natural event was the shut down of several nuclear reactors.  Eventually, the Japanese government shut down around 50 of its reactor plants, which I think was close to all of them.  Some of these were shut down for maintenance and may come back online at some point; others are being retired permanently.  The consequence, at least from an energy perspective, is that a major source of domestically produced energy has evaporated as Japan generated about one-third of its power from nuclear.

I recall a history course I once took which outlined how one of the greatest periods of innovation and invention in history was during World War Two.  A period of turmoil, war and strife generated massive innovation as governments were forced to come up with quick solutions to production, automation and energy supply.  I’m not saying that every innovation was a step forward but that out of the crucible of difficult times came a remarkable period of human ingenuity and invention.

It appears as though the same is happening in Japan.  With much of their nuclear power offline (and more reactors ready for shutdown), the Japanese have accelerated their development of alternate energy, particularly geothermal and solar.  One of the largest pioneers in their solar industry is a steel company!  With massive amounts of energy required for the production of steel, this company recognizes that they can dramatically improve their bottom line and thereby shareholder returns by investing in large-scale solar power generation.

It’ll be interesting to see how things pan out in Japan over the next few years.  Similarly, I wonder if we will examine our own energy usage domestically, from both a consumption and source perspective, and see what direction we’ll follow.

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Categories: General interest | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Tsunami – world videos II (unbelieveable)

I couldn’t sleep tonight so I spent some time surfing a few non-North American news sites for fresh video of the situation in Japan.  I must admit there is a morbid curiosity – rarely do we see such devastation captured in HD video.  The tsunami and subsequent surge of water still boggles my mind.  It’s interesting to see that many non-American media sources seem interested in telling the story as best they can as it unfolds whereas after the cursory ‘lead story’ byline on CBS, Fox et al, the talking heads seem eager to return to the latest Charlie Sheen antics – a sad but perhaps telling commentary on our state of affairs.

The videos below are stunning and while I am obviously concerned for those in the flood zone, I can’t help but be amazed by the awesome power of the ocean.  Sources: Russia Today, NHK, ANN, CNN Japan, ITN.  To share these videos, click whatever share button you want at the bottom of the post.

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Japan et al…

To my friends and business acquaintances in Japan and the Far East – hope you are all OK.  We’re thinking and praying for you right now. Sounds like Hawaii is now expecting tsunami waves in the next few hours; hopefully they won’t be too strong or devastating.  I remember the December 2006 tsunami and how incredibly forceful it was – inexorable is probably the right word.  Makes me realize how really powerless we are despite our best delusional efforts to make believe we are in control!

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Categories: Commentary | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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