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Successful removal of rods from #4 SFP now up to 48%

R4_FuelTransfer_748jSuccessful removal of rods from Fukushima’s #4 SFP now up to 48%. Spent fuel rods 726 (out of 1331); new (unused) fuel rods 22/202. 34 trips.

This is a crucial and tricky operation. A lot of things have to work properly for it to be successful, despite the fact that under normal situations it is a routine operation that has been conducted many times before. But this situation is not normal. Every week that goes by with the goal of complete transfer coming closer without a hitch is something to celebrate.  Another big earthquake before this operation is completed could have serious consequences. I breathe a sigh of relief for every day that passes with more fuel rods successfuly transferred, and no serious earthquake or other problem.

So far, they’ve taken out all the easy ones. I understand there are fuel rods in there which are twisted. How the hell TEPCO will get those out I have no idea.

BTW, EX-SKF, my first stop for reliable information about what is happening at Fukushima’s NPP, has a very good article about Reactor #3 and the Main Steam IsolationValve.


移送燃料の種類(使用済:726体/1331体、新燃料:22体/202体) キャスクの輸送回数 34回更新日:2014年4月28日

via 福島第一原子力発電所4号機からの燃料取り出しの進捗状況|東京電力.


Successful removal of rods from #4 SFP coming up to halfway






via 福島第一原子力発電所4号機からの燃料取り出しの進捗状況|東京電力.


Eventually the U.S. taxpayers will be asked to make “free-of-risk” bail-outs of “private” enterprises

Eventually the U.S. taxpayers will be asked to make “free-of-risk” bail-outs of “private” enterprises

—Buckminster Fuller, p.87  “Critical Path”, 1983).

via Critical Path book – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Cherry blossom roundup


I’m always a little bit crazy about sakura. This year I went to several places to see the blossoms. What you see below are some of the photos I took in Tokyo, Boso peninsula in Chiba prefecture, Kobe, and Yoshino in Nara prefecture.

via Through the Sapphire Sky: 2014 Sakura, cherry blossoms.

I did not go anywhere special to see cherry blossoms this year, but enjoyed the ones where I live and work, and all the ones in between.

Whether you went cherry-blossom-viewing or not, I hope you will enjoy Sapphire Sky’s beautiful photos and info on some of the many kinds of cherry blossoms in Japan. 

And here are some more “sakura” photos by my favourite lady-bloggers living in the Nara area:


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2011.03.11 – 3rd anniversary of Great East Japan Earthquake 東北大震災

Three years ago today, at 2:46 p.m, the northeast of Japan suffered a 9.0-magnitude earthquake — one of the most powerful temblors on record — forcing the evacuation of up to about 470,000 people. The earthquake triggered a huge tsunami which in turn shut off power to Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant which suffered 3 core meltdowns as a result. This disaster is called in Japanese the Tohoku Daishinsai 東北大震災.

I was visiting the Turner exhibition at the Kobe City museum (last day – April 6th) today, and at 2:46 the museum PA announced a 1-minute silence 黙とう (literally “silent prayer”) in memory of the tragedy and those who perished in it.

I know I will never forget the images I saw on the TV that day as the tsunami surged in while people tried desperately to escape in cars or on foot. (Click here for YouTube search results for “Touhoku Daishinsai 東北大震災.)

It seems just the other day Japan was remembering the Great Hanshin Earthquake (阪神神戸大震災 Hanshin Kobe Daishinsai), a 6.8 Richter-scale earthquake (7.2 on the Japanese scale) which struck at 05:46 JST on the morning of January 17, 1995, killing about 6,434 people, many by the fires which raged shortly afterwards (there was no tsunami). Five of my friends by great good fortune survived; their houses were ruined.

The major English-language news outlets of course cover the anniversary of the March 2011 earthquake and its aftermath . Here are some extracts I have selected from the Nikkei Asian Review, the Japan Times, the Mainichi Daily News and the Asahi Shimbun (English).


02-19-2014 – [DocumentSnap] How I Read Books

I read a lot, and I’ve been implementing Evernote Ambassador and paperless mentor Jamie Rubin’s method for making digital notes of real books. He takes a photo of the text in the book, then underlines it by editing the photo with

Paperless guru Brooks Duncan also recently blogged about his new method, which involves using a mind-mapping technique.


When I start a new book, I create a mind map. As I am going through the book, I build out the mind map with any key points, things I want to remember, and action items.

There are many ways to create a mind map, but I have been using MindNode on my iPhone and iPad. I like how it syncs via iCloud, so I can add to the map on whatever device I have with me, or with MindNode Pro on the Mac. On Android, I hear that SimpleMind is good.

When the book is done, I will have the key information in a visual form that I can review later, and I can pull out the action items to start implementing them.

via 02-19-2014 – [DocumentSnap] How I Read Books.


If 3 Little Girls Did This To My House…

Oh, how cute! Some men designed this complex Rube Goldberg structure then got 3 cute little girls to act in their video! Or did they?

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Fewer than 3 in 10 graduates in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are women. And barely 1 in 10 actual engineers are women. Early in a girl’s life, the toys marketed to her are usually things that don’t encourage her to enter those fields. GoldieBlox intends to change that by teaching them while they are young that these fields can be fun — and apparently epic, by the looks of this super-genius 2-minute video. Watch and learn.

via If 3 Little Girls Did This To My House, I’d Do Everything I Could To Get Them Full Rides To Stanford.


The Unthinkable Risks of the Cloud | CFO

On an article on the risks of cloud computing, someone cleverly commented:

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now

your data’s “safe” but still somehow

it’s past abuses I recall

I really don’t trust clouds, at all.

via The Unthinkable Risks of the Cloud | CFO.

It’s been more than 30 years since I heard this song, but it still gives me goosebumps. Here’s the inimitable Joni Mitchell. The song is the last of a 1970 performance in London, and you can see the whole concert below. Below that is Joni singing “Both Sides Now” in 2000. That lovely soprano voice has gone, but the magic is still there. Some say it’s due to her smoking habit, tho she denies it.

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Bitcoin Slammed As Baidu Suspends Payments Due To “Fluctuations” | Zero Hedge

Oh dear oh dear. Bitcoin is as of this writing, at let me see… $728.

Bitcoin is being sold aggressively on heavy volume as this headline hits: BAIDU SUSPENDS BITCOIN PAYMENT ACCEPTANCE ON VALUE FLUCTUATION


It appears Mt.Gox has crashed trying to handle a very large sell order.

via Bitcoin Slammed As Baidu Suspends Payments Due To “Fluctuations” | Zero Hedge.


This is a game I’m playing: this would be a very different future

In Ayn Rand‘s novel, “Atlas Shrugged“, America crumbles socially and technologically because of increasing government intervention in business and the economy, all in the name of “the people” or “the social welfare” or “the common good”. The results are that the “common good” kinda get it in the shorts, as prices rises, food becomes scarce (because government fixed prices, ostensibly to ensure cheap supply), wages stagnate, jobs disappear (because job creating entrepreneurs and industrialists are hounded or taxed out of existence, or until they go on strike, which is the basic theme of the novel), and vital commodities become scarce – things like copper for electric conductors, and oil  – and trains that run on oil are forced to use coal-powered locomotives (and then coal runs out, again because of government interference which prevents businesses from making a profit and so they go bankrupt, and they are forced to use wood, if they can find it).

Of course, this is fiction and anyway it was written over 50 years ago and clearly has no relevance to the world of today.

So I really have no idea why it came to mind when I read that Tepco is planning to install 2 coal-powered plants at Fukushima.

We read the news every day, we hear it and see it on TV, the Internet, the radio. The news tends to be negative (as Prince Charles once famously complained), and this in turn must inevitably have an effect on us, on our imaginations and our hopes for the future.

So how about imagining the kind of future we would like to have and to see? Here’s a game I’ve been playing recently.

“This is a game. I’m playing. This would be a very different future.” Say those words out loud, or write them down, and then see what pops into your mind. Write it down, or say it aloud. Keep writing, Keep speaking.

You can imagine several future realities, one after the other, or just focus on one and describe it in detail, or switch back and forth between those two.

I don’t know if this will have any effect on future realities. But whether it does or not, it definitely affects your own imagination and energy in positive ways.

(I got this exercise from a workshop given by Jon Rappoport. Visit his website for more details. He writes regularly on his blog on a number of related topics. I’m not affiliated with Rappoport in any way.)

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