Monthly Archives: June 2012 - Page 2

Wall Street Journal Japan Real Time: nuke scaremongering

I know it’s not the real newspaper, but I would expect some degree of reporting integrity from them even on their blogs, although given that their comment section seems to attract the usual tinfoil hat anti-nuke crowd, as it would appear that they have decided hits are more valuable than accuracy:

Now, let’s look at their story on radioactive tuna.

Soon after the accident, scientists were pointing out that it’s hard to say where the tuna on your sashimi plate has come from. Even if fish do pass through contaminated waters off the coast of Fukushima, it’s unlikely they would stick around long enough for much radioactive cesium to build up in their bodies, they said.

OK, let’s note that scientific opinion, presented in a manner suggesting that scientists were dismissing the risk.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration notes in a bulletin that radioactive iodine, which has a short half-life, would be gone by the time migratory fish arrive in U.S. waters, and that radioactive cesium hasn’t been detected in any tuna imported from Japan.

That’s facts, not opinion.

Many fisheries have been even more dismissive about the chances of contamination.

The Oregon Albacore Commission said Albacore tuna caught by the U.S. troll and pole fleet were expected to be "completely unaffected" since the tuna are migratory warm water fish.

"Ten years of tagging data show that these fish do not come anywhere close to the cold waters of Japan at this time of year and it is believed that these albacore tuna stocks are currently many hundreds if not thousands of miles away from Japan at this time," the commission said on its website after the accident.

That doesn’t sound dismissive, it is a solid evidence-based viewpoint.

To be sure, the commission may be absolutely right, and the albacore that make their way to Oregon may travel very different routes to the contaminated bluefins caught off the shores of Southern California.

The WSJ is suggesting that the commission is lying about their ten years of tagging data. :facepalm:

It also should be noted that the amounts of radioactive cesium found in the bluefins were only 3% higher than normal, and probably safe to eat, according to the Stanford scientists.

An extra 3% is reported as "probably" safe to eat. :roll: Just like the scientists said at the top of the article, "it’s unlikely they would stick around long enough for much radioactive cesium to build up".

So sushi lovers may still be able to enjoy their maguro for now. Until, that is, Fukushima Daiichi teaches us our next lesson about how much we don’t know.

"may"? "for now"? "until"? :roll: The unchanging levels of mercury are a more real, quantifiable (indeed quantified for pregnant women) risk.

Japologism’s manifesto

Oh look, it’s another new blog about Japan!

Over at Tepido.org, I feel I managed to create a space for a group of people who, despite its flaws, call Japan their home. However, Hikosaemon opened my eyes to Tepido.org being not much more than a virtual todger-waving contest, so I decided enough was enough for that domain.

Since that event, I’ve had a few emails from members of Notorious 12, I’ve had a think, and I feel there is a definite gap in the market for a blog that:

  1. Highlights both overly gushy and overly doom-laden articles in the foreign and local English-language press (I’ll try to stay away from personal blogs) with a fact-based response. People like Shisaku and Ampontan, for instance, have a very obvious political bias in their spin, making it easier to discount their views with an "Of course, they would say that!"
  2. Criticises the use of lazy stereotypes in the press.
  3. Is science-based, not emotion-based, especially with regards to the ongoing nuclear issues, stripping the tinfoil hat off sites like EneNews.
  4. And, of course, has a good laugh at stupid stuff like the Gaijin Gulag Guy.

There is of course other reasons for launching a new blog despite appealing to a similar readership as Tepido.org; Japologism.com will strive to avoid being involved in schlong-measuring, trolling, slamming and of course the completely overused and abused stalking. You’ll note that this would appear to contradict point 4 above, and you’d be right.

The old Tepido.org commenting rules will be basically retained but tightened a little, although The Wall will probably not.

Oh, and this seems rather appropriate:

You’re no fun any more