Japan Times lets politics get in the way of a good story

This nice story by Michael Hoffman in the Media ( :roll: ) section of the Japan Times takes a look at a hamlet that went solar. The main story is that an 11 household hamlet in Hyogo found 21 million yen in their 町内会 account, so decided to buy enough panels to produce the equivalent of the electricity consumption of these 11 homes. The writer is translating (and embellishing it here and there) the contents of an article in Josei Seven (thus the Media section) where is says:

Sanno is the first municipality in Japan to produce all its own electricity from renewable energy — a splendid declaration of independence while the nation wallows in nuclear angst, indecision and inertia.

Are 11 houses a municipality? It’s not a declaration of independence as they are still on the grid – if anything it’s a declaration of dependence on the solar subsidy. As far as I am aware, the current 21 yen per kilowatt over retail price is guaranteed for the full 20 years for installations of this type (domestic have a 10 year guarantee), so they are, I suppose, independent from government fiddling with the solar subsidy, as they surely will have to do in a few years.

Interestingly enough, though, the solar initiative originally had little to do with nuclear fears.

The intention was not to protest the government’s dull unresponsiveness in the wake of one of the world’s worst peacetime catastrophes of modern times, but, intentional or not, the protest sounds loud and clear.

So which is it? Little to do or nothing to do with nuclear fears? How is it a protest? It seems just like a cold, calculated business move, and I salute the old codgers for taking advantage of the over-generous buy-back scheme.

The writer then goes on to express his own anti-nuclear opinion:

The report appeared within days of Kepco’s dubious reactivation of Reactor No. 3 at Oi.

What’s a "dubious reactivation"? If there is dubiousness, it came from the government decision, Kepco were just following the order they had hoped to receive.

BTW, next year I am on our apartment block’s union committee, and I’ll be suggesting we bung up a few solar panels on our roof by investing our management fees for a few years in that rather than buying the reliable but boring savings bonds we currently do.

  1. What a deceitful little article. Typical of the lying crap that comes from solar propagandists.

    They are expected to generate 40,000 kwh annually. Given that the average household consumes 3,400 kwh in a year, that’s enough for 12 households. Sanno has 11. The power produced doesn’t go directly to the households; the arrangement is that Kansai Electric Power Co. (Kepco) purchases it for ¥1.8 million a year and redistributes it. But in effect, Sanno has made itself energy self-sufficient. And all this was accomplished, from first inspiration to final fulfillment, in a year.

    “in effect self-sufficient?” My big fat spotty hairy gaijin arse.

    “In effect” means you could go without the help of others, and they can’t.

    How much shit does apparently-amateur-yet-probably-paid-journalist Michael Hoffman have in his cranium? To be fair he’s not alone, but the question is really simple:

    If you generate all your energy only between 10am and 3pm, and you have no feasible way to store enough of it outside those hours, how in God’s name are you supposed to live off it?

    I’d love to see that as an A-level question.

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  2. one of the world’s worst peacetime catastrophes of modern times

    Get the man a Pulitzer. And the website address of wikipedia, where he will find hundreds more catastrophes in “modern times’ peacetime” more fatal than this one. One of them (cough) is the tsunami that happened right before. Michael “tsunami not so important” Hoffman.”

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  3. @Ken

    Sorry for so many posts, but the last two forced me onto the JT site, where I noticed the latest scientifically designed poll:

    Police are investigating the suicide of a 13-year-old boy who was bullied by classmates and ignored by teachers before his death. What should be done to stop this kind of bullying? (It seems you must choose one)
    0 Parents must teach their children better behavior.
    0 We should expect teachers to be more vigilant.
    0 It’s school boards and high-level officials who aren’t doing enough to combat this.
    0 Anti-bullying messages and support needs to come from kids’ peers.
    0 We shouldn’t assume that the bullying caused the suicide.

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a survey on such a serious issue where I could say “yes” to all of the answers. If we’re not allowed to slag Voldemort, can we at least have a tag for Bad Social Science(TM)?

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  4. @VK:
    The JT polls have long been a favorite of mine. I’ve yet to see one where the answers didn’t all overlap each other, leave massive unaddressed gaps, or both.

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  5. @Sublight:

    I know they’re awful, but this one seems to have a Full House. Usually there’s at least one that I can disagree with. (And you’re right about those gaps.)

    Meanwhile, the NYT’s top hack Martin Fackler sneaks in this odd comment about the floods in Kyushu:

    Not surprisingly in this rapidly aging nation, many of the victims were older people, the authorities said.

    :facepalm:

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  6. @Sublight:

    The similarity with certain other :roll: website’s polls is kind of funny. Either the same person is writing them, or just the same (non) thought process.

    How to make a poll:

    Draw a conclusion.
    “Jeopardize” that conclusion and turn it into the form of a question.
    Write down all your answer(s)
    Write down the bad answers you think the stupid-heads on the other side would say.
    To be extra-sciencey, leave a “none of the above” option to cover people who had better ideas than you could think of.
    Put a poll on a website only your friends read.
    Adjust results as necessary, if there are too many stupidhead votes, they obviously intended to vote for the item above or below on the list and just clicked the wrong box. After all, I think psychic determination of voter intent is good enough for elections back home, so why not my poll?

    Voila! Your perfectly random poll, just like a real scientician would make! Now you can put that opinion piece in the “news” pages!

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  7. Interesting and somewhat related news from the UK (Warning: Daily Mail article so may be wrong or made up):

    Wind Farm Pylons will cost every home GBP88

    The scheme is part of a £200billion programme to switch to ‘green’ energy and build nuclear power stations( :shock: ) to meet targets to cut carbon emissions.

    This wider scheme will also be funded by higher bills for families and businesses.

    The pylon programme will be carried out by the National Grid, which had wanted even bigger rises in bills to pay for the work and enable it to make a profit. :roll:

    The company said the budget should have been £31billion, which would have meant £124 more per home over eight years.

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  8. @iago:

    Typical Daily Mail garbage. It’s £11 a year extra, which seems quite reasonable. It has a quote which might be made up:

    [A consumer spokesperson] said: ‘The average household energy bill today is £1,252 a year so it’s not hard to see why an £11 increase will hurt consumers’ pockets.

    A 0.9% increase will “hurt” people? 11 pounds is less than three weeks worth of Daily Mails.

    Of course not using fossil fuels is going to cost more. If it didn’t, we’d not be using them in the first place. :headdesk:

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