Saturday, July 12, 2014

Of tsunamis and human earthquake victims

Minor tsunami hit Fukushima coast after strong quake


Minor tsunami hit Tohoku’s coastline early Saturday, including in a city near the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, after a strong 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck off the Pacific coast.
There were no immediate reports of damage, however, and authorities lifted all advisories roughly two hours later.
The manager of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant said no abnormal activity was reported after the quake, which a Meteorological Agency official said appeared to be an aftershock of the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011.
According to the United States Geological Survey, the quake struck around 129 km (79 miles) east southeast of Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, at 4.22 a.m.
Many of the communities along the coastline covered by Saturday’s advisories are still recovering from the March 2011 quake and tsunami, which killed more than 18,000 people and triggered a triple core meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.
Minor tsunami as high as 20 cm (7.8 inches) were observed in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, and Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture, the Meteorological Agency said.
Tidal waves of 10 cm were also logged in the city of Soma, about 40 km (25 miles) north of the Fukushima No. 1 plant, the agency said. Soma was severely damaged by the natural and man-made disasters.
At least three people were injured by the quake in Fukushima, said NHK, including a 68-year-old woman who suffered a broken leg.
The tsunami advisories for Miyagi, Fukushima and Iwate prefectures warned that waves of up to 1 meter (3.3 feet) were possible.
“We have lifted the tsunami advisory, but do not approach coastlines for now as there may be a change in sea levels,” an agency official said.
Fukushima No. 1 manager Tokyo Electric Power Co. said there were no reports of abnormal activity at the plant early Saturday, but the sea levels near it cannot be gauged because the tsunami monitoring system was destroyed on 3/11.
“We have not seen any damage or any change in radiation gauges after the quake,” Tepco spokesman Masahiro Asaoka said.
“Today’s operations have yet to start but we ordered workers to evacuate to high places,” he said. “Our temporary breakwater that was newly built is high enough to block a 1-meter tsunami.”
The tsunami that hit the poorly protected plant in March 2011 measured about 14 meters, overwhelming its seawall, which was only about 10 meters high at the time.
The city of Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture, issued an evacuation advisory to some 12,000 residents, as did other authorities in the region, officials said. All were later lifted.
The Fukushima No. 1 plant lost all electrical power after the quake and tsunami three years ago. After the waves swamped its cooling systems, three reactor cores melted, tainting much of the area with radiation in the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
Tens of thousands of people were evacuated from around the plant and the decommissioning process is expected to take decades.
In the meantime, the utility is struggling to handle a huge — and growing — volume of radiation-contaminated water that poses the next stage in the crisis.
On Friday, the crippled plant was skirted by tropical storm Neoguri, which had been a typhoon until wading through west Japan. Workers had scrambled to secure the plant from the storm, but Neoguri had little impact after heading into the Pacific.

Reflections of a "Human Earthquake" Victim

Meet Marvin X

   I’m sure we all have those teachers from our past who have impacted our lives. Some have encouraged us to dig deep within and unleash untapped potential. Some have inspired us to think beyond our little world and reach new heights. I can’t remember, though, very many teachers who have shocked me into a dizzying stupor, made me laugh, then ultimately made me love them for their unbridled “Hootspa” (or as we were fond of saying in my hometown….“Huevos”)
Meet Marvin X
   I believe it was the fall semester of 1982 when I walked into the first day of my English class. I was attending Kings River Community College in the small, heavily Mennonite town of Reedley, CA. Our quaint little town was your typical white-bread, very conservative, farming community. So when we all took our seats and noticed that our instructor was not your typical white, middle-aged teacher with patches on his jacket sleeves, but was in fact an african american man, staring us down, we were all a bit off of our game.
   “Hello, welcome to my English class. My name is Marvin X. My legal name is Marvin Jackmon, but I don’t use that name because that was given to me by some white slave owner”! The classroom did a collective head scratching, while some more disturbed students got up and walked into the wall several times, then returned to their seats and joined the head scratching asking panically “Um…your just a sub, right??”
   Everyday in Marvin X’s class was like a field trip though a box of Cracker Jacks. There was always some prize waiting for our small town J.C. minds to grapple with. Mr. X always encouraged lively conversation and I took full advantage of that, because we all know that asking a thousand questions equals a passionate interest in the subject which equals a passing grade!!!!
   The thing I love most about him was that he loved…no, he fed on tossing little “shock and awe” bombshells our way. Which was always followed by that jubilant grin and sparkle in his eye’s. He kept taunting us that some day he would share some of his poetry with us. But he warned us, “My poetry is really “street” …so I’m not sure your ready for it”.
   Several more weeks passed, full of lively conversations, debate and complete pandemonium swirling through our young impressionable little minds. Finally, one day he came to class and announced that we were now officially ready for one of his poems. Once again, he reiterated that his poetry was pretty “street” and not for the faint of heart. We did a collective gulp and nodded our heads.
This poem is called…
(wait for it)
Confession of a Rapist”
(Oh dear Lord!!….um…uh…OK,, I can handle this! I can be street…or at least avenue)
He looked up with that sly grin and glimmer in his eyes, then proceeded with the opening line…
I took the P***Y”
(we’re not talking about sweet little kittens here, folks.)
   He just piloted his Enola Gay B-29 and dropped a bomb (a “P” bomb at that) amongst us citizens of Hiroshima Junior College!
   Visualize those old black & white films of Atomic bomb testing somewhere in the deserts of Nevada. The “Shock Wave” was so insanely intense, our faces were wobbling and contorting to the massive G-forces, that I’m pretty positive not one person heard another line from that poem. Outside, after class, we quickly and hastily put together an emergency Triage unit to asses the damages and re-attach any limbs or brain matter that may have needed attending to.
   Some fellow Christian students from the class were discussing the possibility of assembling a mob with torches and pitch forks, the likes of your typical Frankenstein movie. We soon realized that we were all fine. A little shaken, but fine.
   Oddly enough, there was maybe one complaint in class from a student, and he very patiently and lovingly discussed it with us. In the end, we all came through it like old trench buddies. Mr. X helped lift, perhaps rather firmly, us out of our little comfort zones.
   In the last few remaining weeks of class, we had several more great conversations and debates. One sunny day he even held class outside under a tree and we studied the book of Job from the Bible. I believe he said he loved it because it read like a screenplay. He had lots of great insight and challenged us daily.
   There are only a handful of teachers from my two and a half years of college (and no degree to show for it) that I have maybe a millisecond of memory of them. Mr. X, however, made such an impact on me that his memory is burned into the synapses of my brain. Was he shocking? Yes! However, even more, he loved reaching through to us. He made us think….really think!
Before I began writing this, I Googled him. Sure enough, there he was…
with that sly grin and glimmer in his eyes!
Thank you, Mr. X!

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