"As safety officials sought desperately to avert catastrophe, the government said radioactive material leaking from reactors was enough to "impact human health" and the risk of more leaks was "very high."
In a nationally televised statement, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said that radiation has spread from four reactors of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Fukushima province that was one of the hardest-hit in Friday's 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the ensuing tsunami.
He urged anyone within 19 miles (30 kilometers) of the plant to stay indoors or risk getting radiation sickness.
"The level seems very high, and there is still a very high risk of more radiation coming out," Kan said."
It is very poignant to me how very prepared the Japanese people and government were for this earthquake. The tremor was updated to a 9 (1,000 times the power of the New Zealand earthquake) and yet even small wooden structures still stood. All reports agree that there is no destruction to be seen outside the coastal towns hit by the tsunami but within those towns everything is smashed to pieces and covered in mud. It's floods and landslides that killed thousands of people not collapsing buildings.
Japanese society tried to protect their coastal citizens from a tsunami with seawalls, well equipped warning systems, and clearly marked routes to higher ground. Above all they trained them. The Japanese people are the most earthquake educated people in the world. Every Sept. first the entire country mobilizes to educate themselves on earthquake and tsunami safety. (The Seattle area with our vulnerability to earthquakes, tsunami, lahars and Volcanoes is no where near as well educated or prepared. Most people myself included have no idea what is the fastest clearest route in the event of a tsunami or lahar.)
But when there is so little time to flee what happens to the elderly, the sick, the disabled or those burdened with young children. How likely will those people make it to higher ground? A hospital far from the coast was swamped to the third floor. How many of the sick and injured made it to the safe floors?
We learn from the thousands of dead that somethings can not be protected against, but how many more thousands dead would there be if they hadn't tried?
We should learn from this.
(I've tagged this earthquake and politics. In the end it seems that everything is politics. Scientists tell us that a citizen of Seattle who lives an entire life in the area will be guaranteed to experience an earthquake of this magnitude. Yet no one wants to prepare.)
Julia Mancuso took Silver in the Woman's Super G, the first race of the Alpine Skiing World Championships. Now the US is entering the championships with a medal in its pocket despite their star Lindsey Vonn being hampered by a concussion. (She came in an uncharacteristic 7th.)
I love Mancuso. She's a fighter. A small woman she often comes in 4th through 7th because she doesn't have the weight, strength or power to compete with the much larger women, but she's brave. This was a scary, icy, bumpy course, but as she did in the Olympics she powered through and won where others were intimidated.
Here's her run in English on Universal sports . The comments are great, but Universal is behind the times and won't allow its videos to be embeded. Not wanting free publicity I guess.
Here it is from Eurosport:
Elizabeth Goergl of powerhouse team Austria won. Germany's Maria Riesch, who is currently first in the World Cup standings, took bronze.
"What's interesting about our country, if you study history, is that there are some 'isms' that occasionally pop up. One is isolationism and its evil twin protectionism and its evil triplet nativism. So if you study the '20s, for example, there was an American-first policy that said, 'Who cares what happens in Europe?'" Bush said. "And there was an immigration policy that I think during this period argued we had too many Jews and too many Italians, therefore we should have no immigrants. And my point is that we've been through this kind of period of isolationism, protectionism and nativism. I'm a little concerned that we may be going through the same period. I hope that these 'isms' pass."
Sorry I screwed up my link on the post I made last night for those who wanted to join springtime_gen . I bet the mods might let some last minute people sign up if you asked nicely enough. I've been very distracted lately. Sorry.
A final reminder -- there's only a few hours left to sign up for <ljuser=springtime_gen>. Just hit the LJ link; the signup post is the most recent post. If you are at all considering this, take the leap. I'm sure you won't regret it. This is a marvelous fest well run with supportive and well organized mods. The stories are always of high quality and the readers are supportive. Some of the best fic I've ever read was written for this fest.
I'm sure if you post after the midnight deadline they will still smile on your sign-up.
After the terrible bombing at the Moscow airport I started thinking about the Black Widows again. Chenchen Suicide Bombers called Black Widows by Russians because they are recruited after a husband or brother is killed in the war with Russia. The girl in this picture, Dzhennet Abdurakhmanova, blew herself up along with another young widow last year at a Moscow subway station brutally killing forty people and injuring 90. She met her husband, pictured here, on the internet when she was 16. It has been reported that he kidnapped her from her home. He was killed by the Russians during a fight and was considered a terrorist leader. Her suicide appears to have been unforced.
This picture, taken before the death of her husband and her own violent suicide, is obviously unforced as well. I find it haunting. Look at the expression on Dzhennet's face. It reminds me of pictures of Patty Hearst and the Symbionese liberation movement. Was this girl brain-washed? Was this a kind of extreme form of Stockholm Syndrome? Or was the talk of kidnapping a blind to protect her family making her links to this man and his fight entirely her own choice (as much as that is possible for any 16 year old?)
This image brings to mind old rock album covers and magazine photos of kids wanting to look tough and cool. The two are showing off like a 60's kid with a joint, a peace sign and long hair, except these two had guns and wanted you to know they meant to use them. Despite the girl's modest clothes, her pose has a sexual aggressiveness . She looks like the girl who got to go home with Jim Morrison.
I just signed up for springtime_gen! Thanks author_by_night for the push. There are a lot of people on my friends list that I would love to see join the fest.
I love gen-fic best and there is so little of it. Come help change that. Please rush over here to do it. There are only a few days of sign-ups left. Midnight (your time) on Jan. 27th will be your last chance.