Japan

Try Our Famous Meltdown Special

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They need to add a callout pointing at the burning buildings that reads "Japanese suffering from earthquake and tsunami," or people might not get it.

Panic time has arrived for the potential meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. It is not yet clear that any reactor has experienced a partial core meltdown: Some say yea, some say nay. The Christian Science Monitor's Mark Clayton reports on efforts "to avert Chernobyl- or Three Mile Island-like core meltdowns."

Lethal releases of political grandstanding and elevated levels of op-eds are among the terrible results of any large-scale disaster, so it's not surprising that Republicans have turned out to be responsible not only for the meltdown but for the earthquake itself. But we should keep in mind how broadly phrased the easy "Three Mile Island or Chernobyl" reference really is.

The 1979 accident at Three Mile Island resulted in no deaths and small releases of dangerous radiation into the environment. (One of the things I appreciate about nuclear emergencies is the way they force us all to brush up on the relative dangers posed by cesium-134, iodine-131, noble gases and other subdivisions of the periodic table.) The 14-year cleanup cost just under $1 billion and the most generous estimate of compensation payouts (many related to retail business losses and evacuation expenses rather than health claims) is that they totaled $82 million. Monitoring of local farms and communities by the EPA found radiation "far below the protective action level."

The greater Harrisburg area only looks like it got this much radiation.

The Chernobyl accident in 1986 killed 70 people directly, and the radiation the plant emitted may have contributed to another 4,000 deaths. More than 300,000 people had to be evacuated permanently, and the town of Chernobyl remains abandoned.

This may be too nice a distinction to make in this savage nightmare world where "meltown" can mean anything from a fall in the price of real estate to Charlie Sheen's brief kidnapping of the American mind. But it's worth remembering. The damage that has already been inflicted on Japan includes refinery fires and broad destruction of both human and natural areas. None of those are good for your health either.  

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  1. The Japan situation really has me worried. Not just for the residents there but I have several friends there. The ones I’ve talked to seem pretty relaxed about the whole thing but I just want them to get home. This sucks.

    1. I’m the same. If they’re in Tokyo, it really wasn’t affected that much. Buildings shook — definitely more than they normally do, FWIW — but I think only one person’s died so far in Tokyo. Tokyoites should all have food, shelter, water, gas, internet access, and transportation operating fully. Electricity will be being rationed in Setagaya, Adachi, Nerima, Meguro, and a few other of Tokyo’s 23 wards, but businesses are operating as normal.

      The nearest damaged reactor is 150 miles away, and Tokyo’s upwind anyway. So the only worry is aftershocks, but most buildings in Tokyo aren’t damaged. I haven’t seen any structural damage in my area.

      I’m currently helping a friend move out of Tochigi, which will be subject to scheduled blackouts starting today (somewhere between 4-7 hours per day).

      You might want to forward this list of blackout areas (Japanese only) to your friends, though. Affected prefectures are Tochigi, Miyagi, Gunma, Chiba, Kanagawa, Tokyo, Saitama, Yamanashi and Shizuoka. The Fukushima reactors are responsible for a lot of power in eastern Japan.

      1. Also, why does the noble Gojira have cacti on his back?

        1. Also, why does the noble Gojira have cacti on his back?

          Maybe a Latin American country has picked up where Toho, known far and wide for their excellent attention to detail, left off.

        2. Gojira is the Statue of Liberty of Japan to editorial cartoonists.

        3. It’s probably subconscious. I know the artist, I work at the same newspaper. We’re in Tucson, Arizona, surrounded by cacti of all sorts. They permeate your very being, sometimes literally, even through your toughest jeans. It’s hell to get a cholla arm out of your ass. You gotta use vice grips.

          1. Also to be fair, in some of the Gojira movies, his back spines did look similar to those in the cartoon. Also, what a comedown for Takashi Shimura. No offense to Gojira, but it wasn’t exactly Ikiru or Seven Samurai.

            More seriously, best wishes for all those in Japan. I hope the casualty estimates are high and they contain the nuclear plants soon…

            1. Now that I see the footage, it looks like Fitz got the likeness of that “Jurrasic monster” dead-on, prickly pear pads and all.

      2. The nearest damaged reactor is 150 miles away, and Tokyo’s upwind anyway. So the only worry is aftershocks, but most buildings in Tokyo aren’t damaged. I haven’t seen any structural damage in my area.

        I’m currently helping a friend move out of Tochigi, which will be subject to scheduled blackouts starting today (somewhere between 4-7 hours per day).

        It’s almost like they anticipated earthquakes and designed the architecture appropriately. Unfortunately, the only way to truly test the statics and strengths of the designs is apply destructive testing. I wish you well, Amukdari. Do keep us posted on the goings on.

        1. The earthquake wasn’t the problem it was the tsunami.

          1. No, it’s the waste storage at the station

          2. The earthquake wasn’t the problem it was the tsunami.

            Attempting to account for all the variables of a tsunami would be at best a daunting task. How would one mitigate the anticipated damage resultant from a tsunami and design appropriate defensive measures?

            1. A couple of things I can think of:

              Design of the substations and lines leading into the plants could probably have taken into better account the potential destruction of a tsunami. Design and placement of the emergency generators and their fuel supplies should have been undertaken with tsunamis in mind.

              I’m very much looking forward to reading the JST reports on this…especially what design flaws may have contributed to the loss of so many cooling systems.

              1. Design of the substations and lines leading into the plants could probably have taken into better account the potential destruction of a tsunami. Design and placement of the emergency generators and their fuel supplies should have been undertaken with tsunamis in mind.

                Interesting; from what you can ascertain thus far, would a different design with more incarcerated generators and lines have a major impact on efficiency? And how would you have designed it? Hindsight…20/20.

                1. Ah, I just read your post here.

      3. The last count I saw had six dead in Tokyo.

        1. I haven’t kept up with Tokyo that much, but I think it’s still safe to say that the human toll should be comforting. I was sure “one person” was a low estimate when I said it, but even at a dozen or so it comes as a relief. The quake was still strong enough here that buildings that weren’t designed to withstand a quake should have fallen, and the only major one I know of there was an old theater in Kudanshita during some ceremony (again, there may be more, but Tokyo has around 35 million people and millions of buildings).

          1. Hey amakudari, where are you exactly? I lived for five years in the Shonan area, in Kanagawa, in Hiratsuka-shi. I lived within two km of the coast, so I know tsunami warnings…

            1. Dunno if you’ll see this, but in Bunky?-ku, pretty near Tokyo Dome. I’m considering moving to the south or west of Tokyo within the next year or so, though.

      4. I remember looking at beautiful cartography and being alarmed that there were four nuclear reactor complexes in a row in fukui prefecture. That’s truly an accident waiting to happen.

  2. My view of the Libertarian philosophy to disasters
    here

  3. Calling back on data from my NukE classes 20 years ago — statistically, the radiation released from TMI led to 0.5 deaths. Stress from freaking out over it, on the other hand, had a real death toll. Like the standard sticks and stones, I dont hold the power company responsible for those deaths, that was the fault of the individuals who chose to stress out.

    Anyway, point is Chernobyl was nothing like TMI, which you already pointed out.

    Also, the radiation released at TMI was much less than expected, the concrete in the containment vessel absorbed way more Iodine than expected, so not as much was released. New science was discovered in the aftermath.

    1. Yes. TMI actually worked as it was supposed to. There’s too much noise in the signal to know whether the steel containment vessels are still working in the reactor where the free hydrogen blew up the concrete containment walls. I expect we will find that refinery fires were more damaging. In any case, fingef pointing should be saved until after the accute crises have passed.

      1. Brett,

        You are expecting a lot of the media if you think they are going to know wait until they know what happened before they start blaming people and using this to confirm all of their pre concieved biases. You really have a lot of faith.

        1. ABC News was running this subtle title on this morning’s Amanpour propaganda show: NUCLEAR TIME BOMB, when they weren’t running this one: NUCLEAR NIGHTMARE.

          Scum.

          1. CNN is continuing to report on “another nuclear blast”.
            They’ve officially given up their right to ever say anything about Fox being “sensationalist” again.

            1. Thousands of actual humans dead and they focus on the possibility of a handful more if the reactors ultimately can’t survive the 5th-worse earthquake in recorded history and a tsunami of epic proportions. The ignorant media equate “meltdown” with atomic bombs, which Japan has some history with. I’m surprised I haven’t yet heard a Hiroshima reference.

              1. Um well the news networks are running what I call Disaster Porn, 24-hour punditizing with little to no actual information. Clearly they understand how easily I am distracted by shiny objects. As IF I could watch that shit for more than a few minutes.

              2. Um well the news networks are running what I call Disaster Porn, 24-hour punditizing with little to no actual information. Clearly they understand how easily I am distracted by shiny objects. As IF I could watch that shit for more than a few minutes.

      2. One thing is for sure: the JST will most likely have an excellent analysis on the failures when all is said and done.

        http://shippai.jst.go.jp/en/Search

        Have a read through the “100 selected cases.” I used some of these in developing a training class in root cause analysis for a former employer.

        1. A diagram of a primary coolant loop in a reactor similar to the Fukushima plant’s:

          http://shippai.jst.go.jp/en/Co…..1024&idx=2

          Note that there were previous instances of stress corrosion cracking and improper inspections at the Fukushima reactors:
          http://shippai.jst.go.jp/en/De…..CB1011024&

  4. Clearly we must abandon a proven source of energy since we can’t be sure whether or not nuclear reactors can withstand a FREAKIN’ 8.9 earthquake! Those are just so common that it’s not worth investing in nuclear any further.

    I’m sorry, but shouldn’t we LEARN how to build a better, more secure type of reactor after a disaster like this? God forbid we continue to innovate if the Puffington Host and the Left say we shouldn’t. Guess we’ll just have to rely on corn and ethanol.

    1. And windmills. Don’t forget windmills.

      1. And windmills. Don’t forget windmills.

        Yes, that investment worked so well for T. Boone Pickens. However, he is ramping up investment in natural gas, which is an excellent compliment to our sources of energy. Oh shoot, I forgot, it’s combustible and requires drilling.

        1. It has worked so well for him that he had to go on TV in the last election cycle and beg people to vote for politicians who would give him subsidies to build them.

          1. I was being sarcastic about his wind and solar projects, Bill. Even he has come to the conclusion that they are a stinker. Unlike Wesley Clarke and his indefensible eco-theological corn subsidy scam, but Clarke is symptomatic of a much larger problem, as you astutely point out: taxpayer subsidies.

            1. No sarcasam allowed here.

            2. IIRC, T Boone Pickens’ wind farm was just a front to get a ROW for a water pipeline. You can’t get a ROW through FERC eminent domain for a water line.

              1. IIRC, T Boone Pickens’ wind farm was just a front to get a ROW for a water pipeline. You can’t get a ROW through FERC eminent domain for a water line.

                That’s partially correct: T. Boone donated a ton of cash to his alma mater with the provision that is be spent directly on alternative energy and natural gas research. As part of that deal, he got his ROW.

              2. Nice work SIV, now i have two acronyms I have to go look up. Impressive, for such a short post. *golf clap*

      2. But not off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard ya bastards.

      3. Windmills could fall over and slice you up in an earthquake or tsunami, so they’re out. Biofuel farms would be destroyed by a tsunami, so they’re out. Solar panels would get covered in mud and be rendered useless, so they’re out.

        1. So we need to get our power directly from tsunamis?

    2. Pebble Bed technology shows a lot of promise, except we can’t get one built here, naturally.

  5. The cartoon also needs a little illustration, inset in the lower right corner, of the cartoonist himself at his drawing board, head in hands, weeping.

    1. With a head-bandaged Gabrielle Giffords consoling him.

    2. With a head-bandaged Gabrielle Giffords consoling him.

      1. And the girl from 4e

        1. Can ah git a hot tub?!

          1. But’s hottah, inna hotub…OWWWWWWWWWW!

      2. Now that’s a lethal cartoon.

    1. Not only are you a blogwhore, you’re an incredibly lazy blogwhore. Or is that just the Seroquel making you fatigued?

      1. epi, we don’t want to google your drugs-make your reply lazier

        1. What?! What?

          Candidly, r, all evidence points to your drug use. I mean, the incomprehensible sentences, the switch between “types OK/can’t type” – can’t even type your own handle consistently.

          I hope you’re enjoying the trip, at least. Frankly, for the rest of us? Your trips are not so much fun to watch…

          1. I don’t even drink alcohol

  6. Hey now, we wouldn’t want politicians and other assorted pundit like creatures to miss a chance to demogogue on top of a bunch of dead bodies and tragedy would we?

    I didn’t think so.

    1. You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.

      1. Rahm and I went to the same school.

  7. fun even the Reason browser incifed me. The jerk circle must not be broken. LOL

    I love that you let the spoofer post my name hundreds of times but you can’t take dissent. Reminds me of?

    1. I someone posting here? I just see a blank spot.

  8. you won’t even be seeing that soon. First woman to be bandhammered from Reason!

    Little boys couldn’t take the heat and kicked the girl out of the kitchen clubhouse

    1. What is it with all of these blank spots on the thread? Damn server squirels. I really think Reason hired a 15 year old who smokes dope to run their IT.

    2. If by ‘heat’ you mean boring dipshittery, then, yes, it appears we could not take the heat.

      1. LoneWacko at least had a few entertaining moments

        1. You aren’t very smart TeamBarstool

    3. First woman to be bandhammered from Reason!

      Don’t flatter yourself, sweetie. Jennifer got banned for awhile a number of years ago.

      1. so Reason bans women only-lawsuit

        1. I think I’ll use the alt-text for exhibit A

        2. Yes, Lonewhacko and joe were the very essence of femininity.

          1. So was TAO.

          2. Yes, Lonewhacko and joe were the very essence of femininity.

            Joe?! Joe got banned? I thought he just left of his own accord because he take the heat around here anymore – especially after his beloved Obama turned out to be as big an asshole as Bush.

            1. Joe wasn’t banned; a Reason urban legend

      2. Jennifer got banned

        I’d donate if it was permanent.

        1. SIV, who loves and hates women at the same time-interesting

    4. Rectal sat at her computer, digging huge chunks of hardened mucus out of her nose and then eating them. “Those tiny-dicked libtards aren’t following the links to my blog!” she keened, while pounding out insipid responses to nearly every comment on the thread. “I’ll make them pay attention to me by being more annoying than Kathy Griffin on speed!” she thought.

      Suddenly, she realized that many commenters didn’t seem to be reading her posts. Those bastards were incifing her! In her diseased mind, this immediately became the same as being banned.

      “I’ll be the first female banned from H&R”, she boasted, apparently not realizing the irony of posting…about being banned, which one could not do if one were actually banned. However, such subtleties were not for her.

      Rectal realized that she had mined about all the “gold” she was going to get out of her nose, so she made another post on her blog that no one would read, posted a link to it on H&R, and started digging into her belly button for some more snacks.

      1. about 200 hits today on my poor little blog

        find these bitch #2181532.
        -https://reason.com/blog/2011/03/13/try-our-famous-meltdown-specia#comment_2181499
        My view of the Libertarian philosophy to disasters
        here

          1. So rectal, do you count your own hits to your blog in your totals? That would explain a lot.

        1. Friendly advice from the real First Female Banned From Hit and Run: bragging “My blog got 200 hits today” is like bragging “I’m so rich, I have five bucks of disposable income left over after paying my bills each month.” It might impress the desperately impoverished denizens of someplace like North Korea, but ordinary middle-class Americans just feel sorry for you.

          1. “I’m so rich, I have five bucks of disposable income left over after paying my bills each month.”

            We can fix that for ya, honey – hand it over.

          2. I’m so disappointed with you Jen. You’re like a former sex-worker criticizing women for faker nails-I still love the irony of your words. It’s in my novel

            1. Sweetheart, I paid for college by working as a stripper, and kick-started my journalism career by working on a phone sex line. In other words, I am a former sex worker. Now look for a better metaphor, and next time you brag about the success of your link-whoring attempts, pick a number actually worth bragging about. Two hundred readers is pathetic.

              1. Whoops! HTML goof-up. Would’ve been worse if I were one of those pathetic fingernail-munchers wearing two-inch-long fakes, though.

                1. Oh Jen, you completely missed the ‘faker nails’ remark. Now I’m lamenting wasting my time-I had thought you clever once.

                  1. That was a joke? I thought it was another typo. Is the missing period after the word “novel” another joke, or your clever way of telling people you’re knocked up?

              2. Oh snap!

                1. LOL, another OCD case
                  I think I won’t use any periods in my novel either-a homage

                2. Another OCD case. I think I won’t use periods in my novel either-an homage

                  1. DIAF please. kthxbai!

                    1. STFU little boy-go read someone else

                    2. Make me! kthnxbai, bitch!

                    3. Send me your email coward

                    4. TGFO…..this is 4chan, rieeght?

      2. That is as horrifying as it is humorous.

  9. The weeping Statue of Liberty needs to give Godzilla a hug.

  10. I kan haz baconmeltdown?

  11. This is an interesting website of a Russian woman riding thru the Chernobyl district on a motorcycle.

    http://www.kiddofspeed.com/

    … Hobbit

    1. It was shown later that the author engaged in some ‘poetic license,’ but those are still good pix
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elena_Filatova

  12. The New York Times story that you linked to may have overstated the data.

    If you look at UNSCEAR’s data, only 28 people died from radiation exposure in the first three months after Chernobyl. And they were among the 600 workers exposed the morning of the disaster. Later, 19 additional people would die, but not all the causes were related to radiation exposure.

    After that, there were 4,000 to 6,000 cases of thyroid cancer attributable to radiation exposure. However, those cancers were almost certainly papillary thyroid cancer which has a 92% – 95% survivability rate. (I’m a thyroid cancer survivor myself.)

    Meanwhile, the radiation levels in Japan haven’t even come close to matching Chernobyl. Even if a meltdown occurs, the plant was designed to contain the radiation.

    While any death at all is a tragedy, the fears in the media are completely overstated. The human body can and does tolerate radiation exposure on a daily basis.

    1. Meanwhile, the radiation levels in Japan haven’t even come close to matching Chernobyl. Even if a meltdown occurs, the plant was designed to contain the radiation.

      This cannot be repeated enough.

      I wish you continued remission, Nathania.

      More on Papillary Thyroid Cancer,” if anyone is interested.

  13. Worry not; Joe Lieberman is on the case.

  14. Germany has an especially strong anti nuclear power protest movement, but even there the reality is starting to set in, without nuclear power there is no future. The western world can reject nuclear power, but the rest of the world will not be that stupid. Funny enough France absolutely loves nuclear power, it is also is a big favourite by the same people who usually oppose nuclear power.

    It really is a cheap trick to use some disaster to score political points.

    1. Don’t be too sure about that. The socialist, green and social democratic parties each began capitalizing on the disaster as soon as they could. Support for nuclear power in the general populace has been pretty low (like 1/3 vs 2/3) during the last years and Japan will be having some further impact. I expect changes in nuclear policies.

      1. Obviously the greens are going to milk a non existing nuclear disaster (because there really is none), thats just what they do. Forming human chains in Stuttgart is all very well, however the tide of opinion in Germany against nuclear, is not what it used to be. I am optimistic about the future, Germany will go nuclear, the nuclear taboo is weakening.

        1. We’ll see. I remain skeptical.

        2. It’s not just the Greens. I listened to the audio podcast of the news from one of the main broadcast channels, and the anti-nuke propagandizing was something to behold.

  15. Who are the ones demagoguing here? The people expressing legitimate concern over nuke plants’ ability to withstand devastating though not unprecedented natural disasters, who worry about the reported malfunctioning of reactors at four separate nuke plants? Or Reason magazine and the market-creeps whose first concern is for the PR of the nuclear industry?

    As Larry Kudlow so eloquently explained on CNBC, the human toll appears to be greater than the economic toll, and we can be grateful for that. Let us pray for the continued profits of the nuclear industry.

    SIDEBAR: the Japanese gov’t caught the Tokyo nuclear utility, TEPCO, falsifying more than two hundred safety records over three decades. I’d love for someone to explain why the market was acting rationally in that case or why the falsified records are ultimately the fault of the government. (TEPCO is privately owned so don’t bother with that angle.) I’m sure someone here can show me how less gov’t regulation would have made things better.

    1. The real issue aging stations and nuclear storage waste.

    2. “the market-creeps whose first concern is for the PR of the nuclear industry?”

      Strawmen should only be used with adult supervision. Someone of your mental age could easily be harmed.

    3. Who is “demagoguing”, read your post for an excellent example.

      Which country had a nuclear disaster, an evil libertarian one ??? As for Japan, those nuclear power plants are holding up fine despite those evil privately run Japanese power companies. As much as you pray for a nuclear disaster to lend legitimacy to your green faith, its not going to happen.

    4. For someone who hates markets so much, you sure seem to enjoy posting moronic screeds on one of the most unregulated markets in the world–the interwebz.

      Riddle me this, King Tut: what good would more regulation do if the Japanese government can’t seem to regulate what it has now–and that’s according to you?

      1. The Internet is unregulated? Are you even aware that it was created by the US government and Europe’s state-run CERN?

        1. Sure; it started as ARPANET. Now explain to me how its origin has fuck-all to do with regulation. In fact, tell me about all the regulation there is on the internet. Be specific and show your work.

        2. Hey moron, please enlighten all of us how CERN is regulating the Internet.

          1. So we have established that the Internet was created by governments, and by private entities contracted by governments. Let us see how it is regulated by governments.

            ICANN (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Corporation_for_Assigned_Names_and_Numbers) operates on a gov’t mandate and contains a government advisory board. In important ways it is a private-public partnership.

            I’ll leave aside the government’s role in creating broadband networks and utilities that carry Internet traffic.

            Given that the Internet was government-created and supported by state utility infrastructure, your argument that I’m a hypocrite for using the Internet is significantly less compelling than that which calls libertarians hypocrites for relying on the fire department in emergencies.

            1. That’s like saying Pizza Hut is a government creation because they deliver pizza using government-built roads.

              1. No, it would be like saying that Pizza is a government creation because it was created by the government (CERN, the Defense Department, etc) and because its infrastructure (broadband cables, utilities, etc) is maintained by the government.

                1. In the US, very little of the Internet’s physical infrastructure is maintained by the govt.

            2. You still did not answer the question, how is CERN regulating the Internet ???

    5. Pseudo is right about one thing: the “Money” News Networks look like a bunch of ugly whores when they talk about natural disaster like it was a profit opportunity in the same sentence. It is not even thinly veiled on the Tv today.

  16. I’m sure someone here can show me how less gov’t regulation would have made things better.

    Chernobyl. It doesn’t get much more government regulated than that. Using that disaster as an analogy, it’s hard to see how more government intrusion would have led to a better outcome. Because nationalization of industry always leads to better outcomes.

    1. There is no logic in your citing Chernobyl. Certainly it was state-run, but it does not follow that deregulation of privately run nuclear plants would lead to better safety standards. And yet a purist libertarian approach would call for little to no regulation of TEPCO.

      1. There is no logic in your citing Chernobyl. Certainly it was state-run, but it does not follow that deregulation of privately run nuclear plants would lead to better safety standards. And yet a purist libertarian approach would call for little to no regulation of TEPCO.

        How does it not follow? We have here two examples of government regulation, one total regulation and moderate regulation, one a demonstrable, miserable failure and the other ineffectual in lieu of a natural disaster, the scope of which would be difficult, if not impossible to predict. The fallacy here you are trying to employ is more government == controlling the ocean via regulation of plate tectonics, while implying that the “reported malfunctioning” is the prime mover. And yes, I would call for less regulation of TEPCO.

        1. You support less regulation of TEPCO. you have not explained how this would improve matters. Neither have you explained how TEPCO was acting rationally, in a market, when it falsified 200+ safety records.

          How could more gov’t regulation have mitigated the aftermath in Japan? It might have behooved all partied involves to regulate the diesel enervators that ultimately failed at the plants. How might they have been better protected against massive earthquakes and/or tsunamis? Moreover, why were there not more back-up battery-powered generators to run the coolant system when failsafes failed?

          And to Chernobyl. If you’re argument is that state-owned nuclear utilities are MORE prone to failure, your argument is absurd for two reasons. One, because a single failure is not a representative sample. And two, because the largest nuclear utility in the world, EDF in France, was established under state-ownership over five decades and only became a heavily regulated limited liability company in 2004. There has never been a significant nuclear disaster in France.

          Let me clarify that I am not opposed to nuclear power. But I’m opposed to those who would completely deregulate it, and who rush to the industry’s when environmentalists – with whom I do not always agree – question the safety and viability of nuclear plants in a world prone to natural catastrophes.

          1. (Apologies for typos in above post. I’m typing on a mobile.)

            1. (Apologies for typos in above post. I’m typing on a mobile.)

              That’s some dedication you have to sharing your stupid arguments with us.

          2. You support less regulation of TEPCO. you have not explained how this would improve matters. Neither have you explained how TEPCO was acting rationally, in a market, when it falsified 200+ safety records.

            You have failed to explain how it would. I look forward to the report that the JST files. db’s links show that concern was there, but we don’t know that the stress corrosion was the cause here or that an absence of such stress corrosion would have mattered one way or the other.

            There has never been a significant nuclear disaster in France.

            France has not been ravaged by a major earthquake or a tsunami. When France is ravaged by an equivalent natural disaster (and I hope it doesn’t) then those decades of state run power management will be put to the test.

          3. “You support less regulation of TEPCO. you have not explained how this would improve matters. Neither have you explained how TEPCO was acting rationally, in a market, when it falsified 200+ safety records.”

            This proves that regulation can have little impact since people are prone to lying.

            “How might they have been better protected against massive earthquakes and/or tsunamis? Moreover, why were there not more back-up battery-powered generators to run the coolant system when failsafes failed?”

            Yes, it is really easy to swoop in after a disaster and point out how a bunch of regulation, if they had been properly implemented, could have averted disaster. However, hindsight is always 20/20. Notice how it is often the regulators that get caught with their pants down.

            I agree with you about Chernobyl, except for one thing:

            The issue isn’t so much, which system builds better reactors, but which system handles a crisis better.

            In the completely top down world of the Soviet System, everyone spent their efforts protecting themselves politically instead of trying to get the problem solved. This is pretty typical of what happens when government regulation takes the place of private liability. Under private liability, the corporation must protect anybody that might be harmed by anything that it does. Under regulation, all they have to do is comply (wink wink nudge nudge) with regulations as they are written.

            1. Your argument is full of wholes and contradictions. First you say that TEPCO’s safety falsifications and violations disprove the effectiveness of regulation because “people are prone to lying”. Later you say that corporate systems are safer because corporations are responsible to everyone (here you are eliding the basic economic principle of negative externalities, but nevermind). Say, if corporations like TEPCO felt a market-driven need o processor people’s short-term and long-term safety, why would they lie about safety at their plants.

              What’s more, without regulators, what mechanism would uncover the nuclear industry’s lies in a pure market? Substandard safety does not necessarily translate into consumer flight – it might actually lead lower prices, which would make an unsafe utility more popular with consumers and more profitable. Anyway, no consumer has the capacity to inspect a clear facility and make determinations about safety before purchasing power from said utility.

              Presumably, in a pure unregulated market, TEPCO’s safety lies would have come to light only through disaster, by which time it is a moot point anyway.

              1. (here you are eliding the basic economic principle of negative externalities, but nevermind)

                Externalities are a problem of ill-defined property rights, as it has been explained here ad infinitum. If Mises Nuclear Power started dumping its excess waste into the Mississippi River, the M.R. Corporation would just sue Mises Nuclear Power for damages. This is not the case with publicly-owned land, as it creates a tragedy of the commons scenario, and thus externalities.

                “Substandard safety does not necessarily translate into consumer flight – it might actually lead lower prices, which would make an unsafe utility more popular with consumers and more profitable. ”

                I imagine that consumer reports would exist in Libertopia. And I don’t know how you can’t see the potential financial fallout (no pun intended) from maintaining a poorly kept up nuclear power plant and then having it explode.

                “Anyway, no consumer has the capacity to inspect a clear facility and make determinations about safety before purchasing power from said utility.”

                Consumer reports, industry analysts, independent Amazon.com-esq reviews, so on. I imagine environmental organizations which also award or bring notice to power companies which operate in a cleaner and more efficient way, bringing prominence to the firms and attracting more customers for them.

                1. I’ll go thru your post point by point.

                  First, to externalities. If I were Mises power plant I would simply buy the Mississippi river, or whatever length of it was sufficient to my purposes, and commence dumping. But put that aside. If MR corporation sued, I could tie them down in litigation – this would be especially true if the plaintiffs were mere residents of the dumping area. In the end, the government would have to arbitrate a solution, which has the same effect as government regulation, only the problem is solved after some amount of waste has been dumped, the process has been more taxing, the liabilities are perhaps incalculable or impossible to cover and the Mississippi has been polluted. More to the point, regulation might prevent dumping in the first place. But once there has been dumping, can the courts put a price on the devastation of the MIssissippi and nuclear waste that will persist for a thousand years; and would the damages incurred and paid to one litigant reflect the untold damages to the overall region? Could the court order damages paid to all those effected? All in all, your scenario with Mises Corporation proves nothing if not the necessity of regulation.

                  1. I am assuming anarcho-capitalism; there would be no government in this situation. But regardless, here I go.

                    “If I were Mises power plant I would simply buy the Mississippi river, or whatever length of it was sufficient to my purposes, and commence dumping.”

                    The Mississippi River Corporation would have to be willing to sell part of its property to you.

                    “But put that aside. If MR corporation sued, I could tie them down in litigation – this would be especially true if the plaintiffs were mere residents of the dumping area.”

                    Legal loopholes that allow for endless litigation are problems with our current legal system. If Mises Nuclear Power wanted to keep appealing to courts over and over again, their fees to said private court would increase. The more likely scenario is that the two parties will agree to let the court arbitrate and will agree to respect the decision that is delivered.

                    “only the problem is solved after some amount of waste has been dumped, the process has been more taxing, the liabilities are perhaps incalculable or impossible to cover and the Mississippi has been polluted.”

                    So clearly with all the unbearable costs in mind the firm will dump its waste anyways. That makes sense.

                    “But once there has been dumping, can the courts put a price on the devastation of the MIssissippi and nuclear waste that will persist for a thousand years;”

                    Value is subjective. But in this scenario it would be quite high. No doubt the firm would go under.

                    “and would the damages incurred and paid to one litigant reflect the untold damages to the overall region?”

                    They would have to compensate anyone whose property was damaged, yes.

                    “Could the court order damages paid to all those effected?”

                    Yes.

                    “All in all, your scenario with Mises Corporation proves nothing if not the necessity of regulation.”

                    So you’re just going to declare victory after you completely failed to disprove the illegitimacy of my scenario?

                    1. You say are assuming anarcho-capitalism- no government. So what are these courts arbitrating disputes?

                      You say the MR corporation would have to sell me the river so I could dump in it. And if they did? Then I would be free to dump, and your anarcho-capitalist alternate “reality” (I hesitate to call it that since it could have no basis in any reality) would permit he catastrophic dumping of nuclear waste.

                      Assuming the lawsuit went ahead, you admit the damages of dumping would be subjective and high and would likely bankrupt the dumper. Bankruptcy is defined as an inability to meet liabilities, in this case damages. So externalities, by your own admission, are likely not to be fully covered. By dint of this fact alone your solution for externalities – total privatization of all land – fails.

                    2. “So what are these courts arbitrating disputes?”

                      They’re privately-owned. For the record, I’m just going to splice out all of your ad hominems.

                      “You say the MR corporation would have to sell me the river so I could dump in it. And if they did?”

                      Then you would own the river.

                      “Then I would be free to dump”

                      As long as the destruction was limited to the property you owned, sure.

                      “So externalities, by your own admission, are likely not to be fully covered.”

                      If they could not cover the costs in immediate funds, then they’d have to pay it off over time.

                      “So externalities, by your own admission, are likely not to be fully covered.”

                      Not all upfront, no. Most costly lawsuits aren’t, even under the current system.

                      “By dint of this fact alone your solution for externalities – total privatization of all land – fails.”

                      I declare victory without having achieved it! A winrar is me!

                2. Moving on from externalities to nuclear power. 

                  Your supposition is that in a pure market Consumer Reports would enforce safety at nuclear plants by exposing lapses and deterring consumers from subscribing to ramshackle utilities.

                  You raise plenty of questions that must be answered. One, how would consumer reports access facilities that refused them access? Two, since consumer reports would have no legal ability to enforce safety standards a plant could meltdown before enough consumers flee, assuming consumers would flee. Which brings me to the next question: how do you know everyone would read consumer reports? And might the cost of electricity from an unsafe plant be lower, making it more attractive to consumers? You are presupposing a perfectly rational consumer who understands that the long-term and highly abstract risk of meltdown outweighs the short-term benefits of cheap electricity, a rationality that we know not to exist in humans; and you are presupposing that consumer reports would be widely and closely read by millions of people – by enough people to cripple an unsafe plant’s market share and ultimately force its shutdown. You know as well as I that these presuppositions are not only utopian but deeply tenuous- in my opinion they are ridiculous, as is the whole notion of entrusting nuclear safety to Consumer Reports.

                  (another question: how would a magazine like consumer reports assume the massive expense of inspecting all nuclear facilities, every inch of them, on a regular basis.)

                  And I have already addressed the issue of liabilities. Holding corporations liable for the whole cost of a nuclear accident is impoosible because those costs are icalculable and accrue over decades and centuries. Even if liabilities were imposed imperfectly, they would be so large as to either deter the construction of nuclear plants, or plants would be built but accidents would never fully or satisfactorily be remunerated.

                  There is one more reality that definitively refutes your libertarian fantasy. You say the cost of meltdown would scare any corporation into practicing safety. Yet we already know this not to be the case in practice. TEPCO falsified safety records. It showed clear disregard for safety and evident indifference to the risk of meltdown or imprisonment Regulators uncovered these crimes, fixed the problems and charged the executives. In a pure market, not only could this lying still occur, but the executives would face even less risk for lying, since in the absence of laws regulating nuclear safety they could never be charged with crimes. 

            2. One more point. Because o the inherent dangers of nuclear power, there is no way to enforce safety simply by holding corporations liable for potential disasters. In the worst-case scenario of a meltdown, a corporation no matter how big would never be able to cover the cost of uninhabitable regions, mass evacuations, and unknown health efface which would emerge over years or decades, not days or months. So, first, the liability would never be met in the event of total meltdown. And two, facing duh impossible liabilties, energy prices would either skyrocket or, more likely, plants would never be built.

              The only way nuke plants are built is with the understanding that governments will assist in disaster management if the corporation accedes to regulation.

              1. The only way nuke plants are built is with the understanding that governments will assist in disaster management if the corporation accedes to regulation.

                Limiting liability is an excellent idea. What could possibly go wrong?

                1. Red herring here, though I’ll note that Republicans tended to favor liabiltu caps.

                  I do not favor them and did not suggest them. My point is that a nuclear power plant entails such monumental and necessarily incalculable risks that they would never be built if corporations were responsible for all the damages of an accident. The reason being that those damages could never be paid and the cost of disaster insurance would make nuclear energy prices prohibitive and uncompetitive.

                  Hence, if you support total deregulation of nuclear energy in exchange for total liability for the corporations, you are dissolving the viability of nuclear power. Greenpeace might want to adopt your logic.

                  Logic hold that you should subject such corporations to relation so that disasters may be reduced and averted and nuclear energy made competitive in the market.

                  1. I do not favor them and did not suggest them

                    That’s exactly what you suggested. The fact that you don’t realize it isn’t too surprising.

                    Hence, if you support total deregulation of nuclear energy in exchange for total liability for the corporations, you are dissolving the viability of nuclear power.

                    [citation please]

          4. Japanese law provides for criminal prosecution of executives of corporations in cases of negligence. Not necessarily a bad idea, but it *is* impacting the flow of information from TEPCO at the moment. Everything is carefully considered because it could end up leading to prosecution later. Unintended consequences?

    2. I think it may be a mistake to conclude that because the USSR was a command economy that they had stringent environmental regulation and regulatory standards…One doesn’t necessarily follow from the other…

      1. I think it may be a mistake to conclude that because the USSR was a command economy that they had stringent environmental regulation and regulatory standards…One doesn’t necessarily follow from the other…

        That is true, MNG; it does not. But that doesn’t seem to stop the command economy proponents. Instead, the counterbalance has swung the other way and stifled growth with over-regulation with respect to environmental concerns. It should be pointed out that fossil fuels do not have the radiation risk associated with nuclear energy. Are you suggesting a Western command economy would get better results?

    3. how opportune you use a pseudo argument to claim regulations aren’t effective. Comparing the Ukrainian SSR to any democratic government is cozener logic

  17. Ironically, lefty environmentalists should be loudly advocating for MORE nuclear power plants to be built, the unsafer the better. Not only would more Chernobyl type incidents kill off some of the humans they despise, but the wildlife around Chernobyl is thriving, since no human hunters to thin the herds.

    1. If you count radscorpions and centaurs as “wildlife,” sure.

      1. I would think centaurs would be big in the dating scene. If you scored with one you would always have a ride home.

        1. I would think centaurs would be big in the dating scene.

          Not the ones db is referring to.

    2. Labeling those you disagree with as genocidal human haters, classy move there prole.

      1. I have talked with environmentalists who have talked about how much nicer it would be if the population of the earth dropped suddenly by 90%, and they were one of the remaining 10%.

        So, accurately describing the views of some people who I have talked to is verboten if it reveals an ugly side that belies PC-ness?

        1. Did these people want he human population to drop from mass killings or by people choosing to reproduce less? Cuz they ain’t the same thing, you know?

          I mean, talk about dishonest, sheesh.

          1. They weren’t specific about the causes of that sudden population drop, MNG, but they did want it to happen soon enough so they could personally enjoy their illusory imaginings of how that would work, so “reproducing less” was not on the table — it would take something much worse than the bubonic plague to take out the human race.

            I got the impression they were thinking of some bloodless kind of disappearance, sort of like a non-Christian rapture. They seemed uninterested in elaborating on the details.

            But, yes, please go on defending that kind of mindset, MNG.

            1. Because, you know, if someone put a big red button in front of my hand and told me that if I pressed it, 90% of the human race would bloodlessly just vanish, and I would be one of the 10% survivors, not only would I not press the button, but I would consider anyone who was inclined to press that button someone who I would want to defriend off Facebook, no matter how “nice” the killing / vanishing was. Wanting 90% of humanity to suddenly no longer exist isn’t going to put one in the running for Humanitarian of the Year.

              1. I’d press it, twice to be sure.

            2. The 1918 flu pandemic worked out nicely, wouldn’t you say? Too bad AIDS wasn’t as effective, and continues to linger.

            3. MNG’s favorite character in Watchmen was Ozymandias. That’s all you need to know.

              1. MNG’s favorite character in Watchmen was Ozymandias. That’s all you need to know.

                It’s this dry wit, Mr. Tulpa, that makes you one of my favorite commenters.

  18. People with a kneejerk opposition to nuclear power bother me, especially when they drone on about how we need alternatives to carbon based energy and then denounce nuclear power. But of course I don’t care much for quick dismissals of many opponents of nuclear power either, and this kind of thing or Chernobyl is the reason. Everybody is really worried about this power plant, and that worry would be considerably less if it were not a nuclear one.

    Isn’t there a principle in contractarian philosophy or game theory where when the results of a certain outcome are very disasterous it can override a very small probability of the event happening when making decisions? I guess that is what’s going on with the (more rational) anti-nukes I’ve met…

    1. You multiply the outcome of the disaster by the probability of it occurring, if you’re being rational about accounting for all scenarios.

      Something that kills one million people, but only has a one in a million chance of occurring in any given year in the entire U.S., should be ignored, since that works out to an average of one death / year in the entire U.S.

  19. I love it when journalist in the news outlets try to write about science and you clearly see that they not even read the related wikipedia articles.
    Perhaps this stems from the fact that unlike magazine authors, news feed writers have to be quick and may not have the time to read up on the subjects they report (which makes everything they write a bit less credible).

    However, there is no way that we see a “Chernobyl”-kind of explosion in Japan, because they are BWR reactors. More likely the melt-down could burn its way into the soil and then contaminate the water reserves there.

    The RBMK soviet reactors that were responsible for Chernobyl were luckily never adapted by western companies, because they had several design flaws and didn’t even tackle many of the risks modern nuclear reactors do.

    And while the air in the pressurized inner unit has been let out, it contained mostly elements with very short half-life times, which means that their radioactive properties were already gone when they were released in the environment.

    The only smaller issue was the hydrogen explosion resulting from releaseing the air, but even that was outside the boiler casing.

    However, I think we will have to wait for at least several weeks before we know quite well what happened and all that guessing from half-educated news reporters will not help much, but makes matters worse by scaring gullible people…

  20. One last addendum, the nuclear reactors were built to withstand earthquakes up to 7.9 on the Richterskala. The Earthquake is now said to have been a 9.
    This means that it was 12 times stronger than the structures were designed for (keep in mind that the Richterskala is decadal lograthimic).

    It is astonishing that nothing worse has happened and that the plant itself still stands!

    1. The Earthquake is now said to have been a 9.

      That was at the epicenter, 100 miles off the coast, or something. It wasn’t 9 at the reactor site.

    2. @max

      Even though it’s impossible to ignore the catastrophic damage and loss, this is huge for seismic engineering.

      Earthquakes this big are rare, such that their occurrence rapidly confirm or correct all sort of calculations for future design. The volumes of information for probabilistic seismic hazard, site amplification, and structural design will be immense. Tsunami effects are at the bleeding edge of my field and we will learn how to mitigate it’s effect. This is a tiny silver lining to a massive dark cloud, but I am watching.

      The PR slam and volleys of ignorant analysis will be intense. But that’s worth watching too.

  21. A more interesting issue than the nuclear one to me is that of building codes. I imagine libertarians oppose them (of course unless they are voluntarily adopted). In Deadwood while they rightly showed the scummy side of government coming to the territories in many scenes they also showed how government also comes in as a necessary evil at worst and a benefit in some areas at best when they showed the inception of building codes and the need for them in a neat scene.

    1. So, you’re saying that without government-mandated building codes, people would build massive amounts of unsafe buildings and other people would buy those buildings without insisting on some private scrutiny of what building techniques were used?

      You’re engaging in the fallacy of “if the government doesn’t do some necessary function, it won’t get done at all. If no unionized public firefighters, then people will just helplessly stand around, time after time, watching the town burn down around them.

      1. Exactly! Look how well virtually unregulated building practices worked in Haiti!

        1. Of course! It has nothing to do with the fact that Haiti is run by a socialist government which is known for seizing private property, thus reducing the incentive to maintain adequate buildings; it’s the lack of building codes!

          Christ, the idiocy of progressives continues to astonish me. Can’t all of you just go to RevLeft and leave us alone?

          1. This reminds me of an idiot I was arguing with who said that the free market would impoverish people, as it had done in the Congo and Brazil.

            Sometimes, when you meet a certain level of ignorance, there just no point in talking anymore.

          2. There were almost no building codes in Haiti.

            “The catastrophic earthquake in Haiti was in many ways a perfect storm: A strong, shallow temblor beneath a densely populated area with few building codes.” – LA Times

            In a libertarian paradise, there would be none whatsoever.

            1. Haiti also has little to no brick, mortar, steel/rebar, education on how to build a sound building…

              But, you know, it just has to be the lack of building codes.

              Here’s a hint, “Pseudonym”: regulations are the luxuries of wealthy societies, not the necessities of poor ones. Jesus you are like some bizarre form of a Cargo Cultist, you know?

              1. He doesn’t care. Progressives don’t care about reality. It is how they want it to be.

        2. Haiti is far too poor to afford building codes.

        3. The two earthquakes aren’t equivalent either. Imagine if this earthquake had hit in Tokyo Bay; that would be a closer equivalent.

  22. A crying Godzirra being hugged by a crying Statue of Liberty, as crying people in a small boat marked “Haiti” pass by in the water, pushed along by a crying, bandaged-head Saint Gabby Giffords, while in the background, a spewing volacano marked “Iceland” has a face, and is crying, as a Plane Marked “Lockerbie” flies overhead (with a crying smiley face drawn on the side), all overseen by a giant, bearded, western-white-guy God-type being in the background, crying.

    And at the bottom is says, “Made in Japan.”

    On black velvet.

    THAT cartoon would RULE.

    1. Put me down for a pre-order

  23. CHINA PASSES US AS #1 GOODS PRODUCER,

    US Not #1 for First Time Since 1895

    China has become the world’s top manufacturing country by output, returning the country to the position it occupied in the early 19th century and ending the US’s 110-year run as the largest goods producer.

    The change is revealed in a study released on Monday by IHS Global Insight, a US-based economics consultancy, which estimates that China last year accounted for 19.8 per cent of world manufacturing output, fractionally ahead of the US with 19.4 per cent.

    Please respect FT.com’s ts&cs; and copyright policy which allow you to: share links; copy content for personal use; & redistribute limited extracts. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights or use this link to reference the article – http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/002f…..z1GWQsD5pf

    China’s reversion to the top position marked the “closing of a 500-year cycle in economic history”, said Robert Allen of Nuffield College, Oxford, a leading economic historian.

    Deborah Wince-Smith, chief executive of the Council on Competitiveness, a Washington-based business group, said the US “should be worried” by China taking over a position that the country had occupied since about 1895.

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/002f…..z1GWQFf4KV

    1. Well that is good news, a richer China is better for China and for everyone else as well.

      1. They did it with–gasp!!–central planning.

        Suck on that for a while.

        1. So a country with 4 times the population of the United States is able to barely surpass the US in manufacturing output?

          Oh no. Not that. Please, help, someone save us.

        2. So under Mao with his great leaps the economy was prospering, the facts show it right ? Then under Peng, when he decided to free the economy the economy stagnated, the facts also clearly show that !

          Your post was really about your dislike about China being bigger than the USA, how is the USA supposed to remain bigger than China by converting it to a command economy anyway ? China can only get bigger than USA and so will India, they have simply more people.

          1. China in 1976 was a better place, and much, much more powerful country, than China in 1949.

            1. Sadly I do not know if this is the real guy or it is a spoof. In case it is the real guy, you are a genocidal cunt, nobody knows how many died, but it goes anywhere from 30 to 70 million. And China was not a powerful country in 1976 it was a living hell and an utter disaster zone. Honestly I wish you could somehow reincarnate as a Chinese peasant under the Mao days, and see how wonderful it was to see how powerful your country was becoming.

              1. Sure, China as a big and powerful country in 1949 and Mao just ruined it!

                1. You sound exactly like the hard core CCP nationalists one sometimes comes across in Chinese forums, if you see no problem with praising the biggest mass murderer in all human history, then there is nothing more to say.

                2. South Korea and Japan weren’t in great shape in 1949 either. How are they doing?

                  1. Japan

                    At the moment? Nippon has hit a little snag. More of a glitch, actually.

                    1. The area seriously affected by the tsunami represents about 8% of the economic output of Japan.

                    2. The area seriously affected by the tsunami represents about 8% of the economic output of Japan.

                      I’m aware of that, Dr. Killjoy. I was referring to some of their monetary policies though, particularly their penchant for propping up the yen by monetizing debt.

            2. Yes, because Mao died in 1976, and his chosen successor was soon pushed aside by Deng “I don’t care if the mouse is black or white as long as it catches mice” Xiaoping, paving the way for a more free market economy.

        3. Bullshit! Central planning went out the window in China in the late seventies. Since then, they have allowed free exchange and are only a step or two away from the system that the US has now.

          They did it with central planning… I’m pretty sure that a dirt low wage rate had something to do with China’s growth.

          This is exactly the same mindset that surrounded the Japanese when they went through their growth period, and what happened to them? They reached a point at which their income level grew too high to support an export led economy, and everything came to a crashing halt.

          1. Bullshit! Central planning went out the window in China in the late seventies.

            AHAHAHAHAHAHA! They still have official Five Year Plans and state-run industries you fucking moron!

            This is exactly the same mindset that surrounded the Japanese when they went through their growth period, and what happened to them?

            The “lost decades” is pretty much western media myth:

            http://www.theatlantic.com/int…..des/71741/

            1. “AHAHAHAHAHAHA! They still have official Five Year Plans and state-run industries you fucking moron!”

              Let’s ignore the fact that the largest growth in standard of living in China has occurred in the Special Economic Zones, which essentially are tax havens with ultra-low business regulation. I haven’t heard of any foreign capital flowing into western China, which is still managed by central planners.

              Your fetish for Marxism is completely unfounded.

            2. The “lost decades” is pretty much western media myth:

              And Chad reveals his true identity.

          2. Let me now fast-forward to our own time and try some questions that will probably prove almost equally perplexing. They concern the Japanese economy, that erstwhile juggernaut of world trade of the late 1980s, which, we are told, has been mired in stagnation ever since.

            Question 1: Given that Japan’s current account surplus (the widest and most meaningful measure of its trade) totaled $36 billion in 1990, what was it in 2010: (a) $18 billion; (b) $41 billion; or (c) $194 billion?

            Question 2: How has the yen fared on balance against the dollar in the 20 years up to 2010: (a) fallen 11 percent; (b) risen 24 percent; (c) risen 65 percent?

            The answer in each case is (c). Yes, all talk about “stagnation” and “malaise” to the contrary, Japan’s surplus is up more than five-fold since 1990. And, yes, far from falling against the dollar, the Japanese yen has actually boasted the strongest rise of any major currency in the last two decades.

            How can such facts be reconciled with the “two lost decades” story? I don’t think they can. There is clearly a contradiction here, and after studying the facts on the ground in Tokyo for decades I find it hard to avoid the conclusion that the story of Japan’s stagnation is a media myth.

            Certainly anyone who visits Japan these days is struck by the obvious affluence even among average citizens. The cars on the roads, for instance, are generally much larger and better equipped than in the 1980s (indeed state of the art navigation devices, for instance, are more or less standard on many models). Overseas vacation travel has more than doubled since the 1980s. The Japanese boast the world’s most advanced cell phones, and the biggest and best high-definition television screens. Japan’s already long life expectancy has increased by nearly two years. Its Internet connections are some of the world’s fastest — something like ten times faster on average than American speeds.

            STAGNATION!

            1. Of course! Because the Japanese government is running a mild surplus and the yen has appreciated against the USD (which, by the way, is being printed like there’s no tomorrow, but I doubt there’s a connection), they have achieved Utopia! Let’s ignore the fact that real estate and stock prices have fallen for the past two decades, they’re facing a Baby Boomer retirement problem even worse than our own, and their banks can’t survive without constant interjections of credit from the central government, their economy is just chugging along on the path to prosperity!

              Also, CHINA!!!

              1. At least those “low real estate prices” mean a normal person can buy a decent house from a middle class wage, unlike here even POST crash.

                And they’re deliberately lying about their GDP, as my link makes clear. They’re making it look worse than it is so they won’t be pressured over their giant trade surplus anymore.

                Toyota is the largest automaker in the world.

                GM is a bankrupt ward of the American govt.

                ‘Nuff said.

                1. “At least those ‘low real estate prices’ mean a normal person can buy a decent house from a middle class wage, unlike here even POST crash.”

                  Falling real estate and stock prices are also a sign of the huge malinvestments that went on during the boom period. The fact that they’re showing no signs of slowing down is just a testament to the follies of credit expansion.

                  “And they’re deliberately lying about their GDP, as my link makes clear. They’re making it look worse than it is so they won’t be pressured over their giant trade surplus anymore.”

                  I misread your previous comment, then; I thought you were talking about the a budget surplus in the Japanese government, which as it turns out owes something like 200% of its GDP in foreign debt. A trade surplus just means they’re exporting more than they’re importing. When I bought lunch from a local diner today, since they never bought anything from me, I have a “trade deficit” with them. But am I somehow poorer because of it?

                  1. If the diner is also lending you money that you then use to eat at the diner, then I’d say it’s kind of a problem.

                    1. “If the diner is also lending you money that you then use to eat at the diner, then I’d say it’s kind of a problem.”

                      How is it a problem? If I pay him back the money (with interest, I presume), what’s the big deal?

                    2. He’s getting wealthier at your expense.

                      Especially if this diner is using the interest he earns to buy a tank and park it on your front lawn.

                    3. The Truth|3.13.11 @ 8:14PM|#
                      “He’s getting wealthier at your expense.”

                      Nope. Given that you’re an econ-ignoramus, you’re probably losing money.
                      I’m not.

                    4. “He’s getting wealthier at your expense.”

                      So you say. I voluntarily entered the agreement, and I am benefiting from it.

                      “Especially if this diner is using the interest he earns to buy a tank and park it on your front lawn.”

                      That’s quite the leap in logic there, The Truth. But I imagine that the owner of the diner would be sued or arrested if he tried to threaten me with any weapon, let alone a tank.

                      I’m going to let this metaphor die now.

                    5. If the diner is also lending you money that you then use to eat at the diner, then I’d say it’s kind of a problem.

                      Yep. Maybe you should convince the Left that we need to stop spending so much so we can stop borrowing.

                2. Toyota is the largest automaker in the world

                  Toyoto manufactures in the US, to avoid our Mercantile policies on trade restrictions and tariffs.

            2. First, the bubble burst in the early Nineties, so I don’t know why you are comparing Japan’s wealth today with the Eighties rather than 1991 immediately before the bubble burst. Second, the cars MUST be better equipped. It’s a NASTY law called “shaken” where after five years you start to pay extremely exhorbitant taxes on cars the older they get. Like starting at about 5000 USD (including the required repairs.) Here’s an example that happened to a friend of mine. he tricked out his car with bling and accessories, lowered it, etc. When he went to get hos shaken after five years, he wasn’t allowed to get it unless HE RETURNED THE CAR TO THE ORIGINAL MANUFACTURER’S SPECS. Yeah,tha’s right, any after market changes made must be reversed to be able to get shaken. And it doesn’t matter if you sell it. The new owner has to pay the inspection and shaken taxes. Ask any Aussie about the proliferation of five year old Japanese cars in Oz (left side drive imperial country)—shaken is so expensive that people buy new cars–which is the purpose of shaken—to support the jaapnese car industry. of course, anyone “on the ground” with any passing knowledge of Japan would know that. Also, anyone on the ground in Japan would know that Japanese travel overseas because in-country vacations are sooo expensive, and frankly, Japan’s tourist industry SUCKS. Do a net search for “five star Japanese hotels” and your search will turn up—nothing. NOTHING. (Unless the new Park Hyatt has reached that level, but having been there, I doubt it) No resorts to speak of, unless you like communal style Japanese onsen (hot spring) resorts. even then, the best resorts wouldn’t even be considered as 3 stars in the US. No really– no nice resorts in the WHOLE of the country, and the crap they have is outrageously expensive. That’s why they go international. US gov’t regs have held back cell phones in this country, which are very backwards compared to Japan. BTW, have you EVER made cell phone calls in Japan? Depending on your plan, you’re looking at 20 cents a minute. That means no one talks on the phone in Japan, all they do is text and play games why stuck in a crowded train. japan has TERRIBLE internet infrastructure and very backwards internet commerce and information. Why? Because land lines are expensive and you pay per minute for even local calls. That means while in the US during the dial-up days, companies were developing websites and ecommerce and the population were becoming proficient and reliant on the net, the Japanese would log on to antiquated email sites and logging off while they wrote the mail and then logging back on to send. That means they didn’t just waste time “surfing” and thereby sites never developped. So yeah, they have great broadband now because they by-passed the development from dial-up to instituing high speed in one fell swoop…And obvious affluence–if you consider uninsulated, terribly built 1000 square foot houses for five people, then yeah, theyre affluent. Lots of young people have disposable income because they don’t move out of their parents’ houses til they get married. But in an island country where even the richest doctors can never even hope to own a second home, much less a little fishing boat, I wouldn’t call it “affluenet” when compared to the US standard of living.

        4. Not really.

          China’s farmers decollectivized spontaneously from below. They created their own “contract responsibility system,” initially at risk of severe punishment. There were no leaders; there were no face-to-face confrontations. It just happened. As agricultural production soared, Deng Xiaoping and his party realized they could not resist and could take advantage of something that was working. By 1982, more than 90 percent of rural dwellers were engaged in the household production system.

          http://www.hoover.org/publicat…..ticle/5469

        5. Truth, promise you’ll come back on here after the Chinese bubble bursts and admit how horrible wrong you were about everything, OK?

    2. “world’s top manufacturing country by output”

      Well, of course. You need to consume and produce lots of steel, concrete, and cement if you want to build massive ghost cities that no one will inhabit, making our housing bubble look like a cakewalk in comparison.

      China is my generation’s Japan. They’re forcing interest rates down to 0%, engaging in massive government spending, buying lots of foreign debt to make their currency appreciate, and scaring every God-fearing American out of their skull. But when that bubble pops, as it inevitably will lest they suffer hyperinflation, they can enjoy two decades of negative economic growth as all of their massive malinvestments are liquidated. Maybe they’ll learn from Japan and let their financial institutions die and their resources get relocated, but probably not.

      And when that day comes, everyone on here will be laughing at you, even more then they already are.

  24. I am going to play match maker, “The Truth” and “Rather” would make a stunning couple, they really would be happy with each other. And it would be all thanks to me !

      1. Someone needs to photoshop a Che shirt onto that to make it complete.

      2. I never noticed it before, but centaurs have some nice abs, don’t they?

        1. I didn’t notice, but her abs were blocked in a lot of the shots…

  25. Fun fact:

    The country that held the title of #1 goods producer before the US took it?

    Great Britain. Scary, huh?

    1. And when was that? Shortly after WWII? Gee, I wonder how that happened?

      1. No, it was 1895 as I said above.

        Reading: it’s fundamental!

        1. Didn’t see it. You were automatically blocked by my browser add-on. I didn’t unignore you until I got here.

    2. “Fun fact:
      The country that held the title of #1 buggy whip producer before the US took it?
      Great Britain. Scary, huh?”

      Only to ignoramuses.

      1. And wouldn’t China’s growing economy also mean that they’ll be making more goods and services for Americans and other foreigners to consume, raising the global standard of living?

        We should be welcoming economic growth in India and China, not disparaging it.

        1. Just don’t be under any delusions that this will lead to democracy in China, or less central planning.

          The thought of an authoritarian country that’s also incredibly wealthy (if not more wealthy and powerful some day than any western democracy) should leave you shitting bricks.

          1. The Truth|3.13.11 @ 8:08PM|#
            “Just don’t be under any delusions that this will lead to democracy in China, or less central planning.”

            Yep, take this to, well, the trash can. Predictions from ignoramuses are NWS.

          2. “Just don’t be under any delusions that this will lead to democracy in China, or less central planning.”

            I don’t care if it leads to democracy in China. It has led to less central planning, though. Only a fool would deny this.

            “The thought of an authoritarian country that’s also incredibly wealthy (if not more wealthy and powerful some day than any western democracy) should leave you shitting bricks.”

            Right, because GDP is all that matters. Not real wage rates, not per capita PPP, just GDP. It’s all that matters, people.

            So why don’t we, like, have the government spend $100 googleplex and then our GDP will be WAY higher then China’s.

            Economics. Please, for the love of God, read up on it.

            1. I don’t care if it leads to democracy in China.

              Good, cause it won’t. If anything, the US in 50 years will end up adopting the Chinese political system.

              1. “Good, cause it won’t.”

                Are you claiming that you possess clairvoyance now, The Truth? Esteemed political economists like Paul Samuelson were predicting that the Soviet Union would not only last, but thrive, well into the 21st century. Its collapse caught them all with their pants down.

                “If anything, the US in 50 years will end up adopting the Chinese political system.”

                Corporatism is certainly the system we live under now. Neither you nor I can say whether or not it will stay that way for another two years, let alone fifty.

              2. The Truth|3.13.11 @ 8:15PM|#
                I don’t care if it leads to democracy in China.

                Good, cause it won’t. If anything, the US in 50 years will end up adopting the Chinese political system.”

                Only if assholes like you have something to say about it.

              3. If anything, the US in 50 years will end up adopting the Chinese political system.

                Yup. Retards like yourself are making sure we’re going down that road right now. Vote RED/BLUE ’12!! Moar PATRIOT AKT! MOAR POLICE STATE!! WOOT!

          3. The thought of an authoritarian country that’s also incredibly wealthy (if not more wealthy and powerful some day than any western democracy) should leave you shitting bricks.

            I do not fear freedom. I fear assholes, like you, who try to justify manipulations of the markets for your own personal gain. I really don’t give a shit if the US is #1, or not. Only douchebag statists care about that shit.

        2. Tncm|3.13.11 @ 7:59PM|#
          “And wouldn’t China’s growing economy also mean that they’ll be making more goods and services for Americans and other foreigners to consume, raising the global standard of living?
          We should be welcoming economic growth in India and China, not disparaging it.”

          Agreed. Every Chinese that isn’t starving from government policies is a gain for humanity.
          Which, of course, isn’t Das Spoof’s point; Das Spoof doesn’t care about the people there. Das Spoof is cherry-picking and lying to support a dead economic system.

    3. Great Britain. Scary, huh?

      Yep. Those are the perils of letting unions run your government.

    4. Here’s your thought process:

      1) China is surpassing the US on arbitrary metric #357! Let’s not look at the proximate causes of this, or the aspects of both countries that might explain this, and give all glory to the hypnotoad SuperState!!

      2) This proves that the US needs to adopt China’s system, because China is Teh Awsum, all aspects of its system are translatable to ours, and freedom is irrelevant!!

      3) Strangely, our version of China’s system looks a lot like the western European system of more taxes/regulation/centralization. The fact that Europe’s growth rates have always been sclerotic as a result of these policies is irrelevant… somehow.

  26. … to Charlie Sheen’s brief kidnapping of the American mind.

    Proud to say that I have no idea what Charlie Sheen has been up to, other than a general sense that he’s been saying some wacky things. And even that small bit of knowledge of his existence I wish I could wipe from my brain.

    1. Well, you’re clearly not #winning! Where’s your #tigerblood and #adonisDNA, man?

  27. The Truth|3.13.11 @ 7:39PM|#
    “At least those “low real estate prices” mean a normal person can buy a decent house from a middle class wage, unlike here even POST crash.”

    You really are ignorant, aren’t you?
    Chinese annual income, US$:
    “2004 rural+urban 4,325”
    http://www.worldsalaries.org/china.shtml

    “Taking Beijing for example, the square meter price for apartments in the urban area exceeded 5,100 U.S. dollars in January, more than 10 times the monthly income of an average Beijing resident.”
    http://www.cncworld.tv/news/v_…..rket.shtml

    Add to that, you cannot *own* the land; you lease it from the government.
    Now, Das Spoof, what was that?

    1. I was talking about the Japanese. I know they must all look alike to you though.

      Again: Reading, it’s fundamental!

      1. The Truth|3.13.11 @ 8:13PM|#
        “I was talking about the Japanese. I know they must all look alike to you though.”

        Sorry, all that arm waving was confusing:
        “Most people choose to rent rather than own since home ownership in Japan is one of the most costly in the world.”
        http://www.expatforum.com/arti…..japan.html
        So you’re an ignoramus in two eastern langusges rather than just one.

  28. Threadjack.

    I just got this from FB from the Institute for Justice. Eminent domain, in the extreme, in San Diego.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..r_embedded

    1. I must have missed the constitutional right to sell your property for more than market value.

      Those people will get paid well. There’s plenty of room in the city for them to move to.

      1. Yeah, and there’s plenty of room up your ass for my fist.

        1. For those that might not know the difference, that was not a threat, it was a metaphor.

          1. You’re wrong anyway. It’s pretty full with that platter of burritos I just ate.

            1. Look, I’ll pay ya for it, what the fuck?

              I must have missed the constitutional right to sell your property [get fist fucked up the ass] for more than market value.

            2. It’s pretty full with that platter of burritos I just ate.

              I think you are confusing your rectum, with your skull.

              1. It’s the same thing.

        2. I thought libertarians opposed the initiation of force.

          1. We favor the killing of all politicians and cops, but just the very worst teachers, because we’re humanitarians. Where have you been?

      2. Hobie Hanson|3.13.11 @ 8:38PM|#
        “I must have missed the constitutional right to sell your property for more than market value.”

        Actually, what you’ve missed is a second brain cell.
        Are you truly ignorant enough to think that “rights” are *granted* by a piece of paper?

        1. The property is not going to be a youth boxing dungeon forever, so clearly the guy is going to sell it anyway at some point. He might as well sell it while the community has a need for it.

          1. Hobie Hanson|3.13.11 @ 8:52PM|#
            “The property is not going to be a youth boxing dungeon forever, so clearly the guy is going to sell it anyway at some point.”

            Which, of course, is none of your business.
            You might check K-mart; I understand they offer specials on brain cells now and then.

      3. They do not want to sell it, you are probably too stupid to understand this, but the right to sell ones property is normally the right of the owner to decide not the right the buyer, no matter how much he wants to pay for it.

        1. Yeah, but you know how much the liberals hate contact sports. So, it’s a two-for.

      4. Uh, jackloaf, if you can sell it at ANY price, that IS market value by definition. Now kindly have your freshman econ professor shoot me a check for doing the job he should have done.

  29. Are Hit’n’Run’s gaggle of trolls the most viciously stupid set of rejects on the planet, or have I been couped up in Vault 13 for too long, and their type is actually quite common?

    1. Common.

    2. actually, they’re smarter than leftist commenters

    3. They would look like intellectual heavyweights at Kos or Balloon Juice.

  30. Our Earth can be a cruel Mother.
    May she sleep for one thousand years.

  31. Why not? Let’s add more numbers your ‘ignorance score’:
    The Truth|3.13.11 @ 8:13PM|#
    “I was talking about the Japanese. I know they must all look alike to you though.”

    Surprise! Unless the people come from the far north and look at those from the far south, neither can the Chinese or Japanese.
    If you’d have read anything about WWII, you’d have known this. But since your reading seems to be limited to comic books, you haven’t a clue.

  32. This disaster obviously should not be a reason to avoid nuclear. OMG if a massive earthquake ruined it then WE CAN’T HAVE IT EVER.

    Nuclear is still bad. It is and always has been a massive subsidy whore. Well before the crazy hyper-regulation of it by the government.

    1. Well, part of the rationale for nuclear in Japan has always been energy diversification, which I do think is legitimate from a national security perspective. They’ll demagogue the hell out of national security here (c.f. a completely closed rice market that brings the total cost of rice to several times the market-clearing prices), but the country does depend heavily on oil from the Middle East — both in current import terms and ability to replace it with domestic drilling — that’s traded through a handful of bottlenecks like the Strait of Hormuz.

      Japan has few energy reserves and no capacity for wind or hydroelectric energy (some geothermal, but that’s always been limited), so imports account for something like 80% of energy. And for all of Japan’s reputation of heavy nuclear energy usage, nuclear accounts for only about 15% (double the US) of energy needs here.

      1. I actually agree about demagoguery of national security being a problem here but nuclear really isn’t the way to do it. Just build a pipeline to Canada and we’ll ship all the oil and gas you want!

  33. Nuclear accounts for about 20% of all energy generated in the U.S.

    http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf41.html

  34. On top of the nuclear power squawking by the eco-socialist wackos, they are trying for a daily double by blaming the earthquake on “global warming”>

    http://holycoast.blogspot.com/…..japan.html

    1. F’in plate tectonics, how do they work?

  35. In news that should surprise no one, Congressman Ed Markey (Obstructionist, MA) is calling for a moratorium on new nuclear plants. Just to make sure they are 100% “safe.” For the children and the windmills.

  36. Quakes are rare, are we going to sacrifice our energy needs just because there might be a quake once in a while? You’re more likely to get killed on the highway or riding your bike than you are by even a small leak of radiation.

    Remember the three mile island “disaster?” It didn’t kill nobody, so how the hell was that a disaster?

    The only disaster is the one tree huggers bring us with their refusal to grant permits for the building of refineries, coal plants, nuclear, and even wind mills if they “ruin the view” as that Kennedy congressman bastard said.

    Soros’ Pseudo-Christian Group wants Real Christians to Give Up Beck for Lent.
    http://libertarians4freedom.bl…..-real.html

  37. Nice bait and switch!

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