Friday, March 11, 2011

Oh, no! There goes Tokyo!

What makes this earthquake and tsunami such big TV drama is the sheer amount of as-it's-happening footage.

Usually Mother Nature's special effects extravaganzas occur in backward lands full of howling savages, like Haiti or New Zealand. Japan, however, is a modern, technologically-advanced nation; where New Zealand has far more sheep than people, Japan has something like two or three hundred cameras for every human being: In addition to regular old camera-type-cameras, there are traffic-cams, news cams, phone-cams and, knowing the Japanese and their proclivities for both gadgetry and weirdness, you can probably buy an electric loo with a built-in toiletcam. This Argus-eyed array of lenses means that the airwaves and internets are being deluged with dramatic disaster footage that probably caused Jerry Bruckheimer to hurl a brick through his TV screen in a fit of envious pique.

And if it takes a burning oil refinery being hurled through the wreckage of a nuclear power plant to wash Charlie Sheen off the front page, then at least there's an upside.

21 comments:

Stuart the Viking said...

Now all we have to do is wait for Godzilla to come...

s

Paul said...

Small upside. Good point though.

Jim said...

you can probably buy an electric loo with a built-in toiletcam.

You'd probably have to shop carefully to get a loo that doesn't have one.

Jim

Eric said...

To wash Charlie Sheen off the front page.

Nope, the morning news said LAPD was at his home looking for guns.

I think we'll need more than the 5th largest earthquake in the last hundred years to get rid of Charlie.

bluesun said...

Great. Now I have to go and find my Blue Oyster Cult CD's...

Guffaw in AZ said...

"And if it takes a burning oil refinery being hurled through the wreckage of a nuclear power plant to wash Charlie Sheen off the front page, then at least there's an upside."
Now, THAT'S TamSnark(TM) !

Anonymous said...

And if it takes a burning oil refinery being hurled through the wreckage of a nuclear power plant to wash Charlie Sheen off the front page, then at least there's an upside.

Pure comedy gold for a Friday morn, Tam.

Leatherneck

staghounds said...

Bruckeimer would use a flaming Oscar or Emmy award trophy.

Joseph said...

When I heard that Kirstie Alley was on Dancing with the Stars, I wondered what that would be on the Richter scale.

Anonymous said...

Japan sent a rescue team to help after the Christchurch earthquake. I hope we howling savages can return the favor.
Now you'll have to excuse me, I have to go and tend to my flock ;)

Tam said...

Anon 2:29,

I was counting on y'all's famous sense of humor. Or "humour". ;)

Raphmeister said...

History shows again and again how danger points out the folly of men.

Raphmeister said...

Oops! Nature, not danger, points out the folly of man.

Lewis said...

Raphmeister:


Dude, either way would work!

Anonymous said...

So, apparently in this "modern, technologically-advanced nation", old-fashioned, technologically-regressive systems like backup generators and battery banks get low priority.

Not the first time that their focus on the shiny stuff and inattention to safety features and lack of redundancy have contributed to a umm...nuclear emergency as it were.

Hope the results are different this time.

AT

Tam said...

AT,

"Not the first time that their focus on the shiny stuff and inattention to safety features..."

I love you, bro, but maybe you want to rethink that "safety features" comment.

I daresay that most of America only wishes they were as well-prepared for a quake or tsunami as Japan. God knows we gave them lessons in disaster preparedness, and they took them to heart.

Buzz said...

To punctuate Tam's comment about the Japanese: They take preparedness to a whole level beyond what most Americans consider sane or rational.
I've spent quite a bit of time in Japan over the last 15 years. I can tell you they don't take lightly the fact that they're inhabiting a shaker table.

Damned good people, they are. You could drop your wallet and come back 3 days later to find it still full of money. How so many people can live so close together, without killing each other, all the while maintaining a level of civility, respect, and polite behavior not seen within these borders since Eddie Haskell.....is beyond me.

My prayers are with them.
We've only just started to fathom the devastation.

Anonymous said...

Tam: Thanks for the love :), I actually rethunk it before I hit the button and almost didn't...but because I didn't want to seem heartless rather than because the parallel didn't have validity, if a bit fuzzy.

The point is that dazzling tech with singular purpose can blind one to more pedestrian considerations, and if reports are true in this case that both generator and battery backup systems failed to kick in to keep cooling systems pumping, leading to meltdown, it would be a perfect if horrible example of that myopia.

And of course the "safety features" comment went more to hi-po airplanes that could be taken out with a well-placed shot from a Daisy Red Ryder than anything else. History yes, but you know what they say about that.

In many ways modern Japanese are an ersatz us, and I hope for the best for them, for humanitarian reasons as well as for selfish ones...dontcha know certain others are ginning up the anti-nuke propaganda machine as we speak, using Japan's supposedly superior but apparently failed safety net in their decades-in-the-making but totally spontaneous grassroots campaign to say I TOLD YOU SO and deny us what is most certainly our best hope for energy independence, not to mention what keeps us safe from the wolves.

God bless and help Japan and the Japanese. We need them. We ARE them.

AT

Anonymous said...

"God bless and help Japan and the Japanese. We need them. We ARE them." +2

Looking at the pictures, I've seen devastation like this only in war footage of Japan.

Godzilla HAS arrived ... & whacked Japan really badly!

Ulises from CA

Sendarius said...

..if reports are true in this case that both generator and battery backup systems failed to kick in to keep cooling systems pumping, leading to meltdown...

It's kind of hard for backup generators etc to kick in when they are either 5 metres underwater, or currently surfing inland at 50 kilometres per hour with the tsunami.

Anonymous said...

Any cites to indicate that redundant power systems were drowned or dislodged, or just speculation?

Regardless, failure is failure, and multiple systems are intended to survive just such events. Looks like they didn't, whatever the reason.

But nothing is ever completely failsafe, nor should it be; diminishing returns and all that. There is risk to living, and shit happens; businesses deal with that in microcosm every day. Trying to guarantee otherwise beyond reason will ultimately just cripple any enterprise or effort...or nation.

As Tam noted, thanks to us, the Japanese were/are as prepared as any nation anywhere to deal with disaster, and they will survive.

But we're seeing the rumblings already from those who can not - will not - comprehend or accept how "trying to guarantee (safety) beyond reason will ultimately just cripple any enterprise or effort...or nation." Like our nation.

AT