Monthly Archives: March 2011

The Orange and Black Market

The illegal trade in wildlife parts is now worth 10 billion dollars a year, making it the third most valuable illegal commodity in the world, following drugs and weapons. On the Chinese calendar, the next Year of the Tiger is 2022, which is ironic for the country who uses the tiger as a cultural symbol, because it may be the year in which the feline becomes extinct.

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After the dust settles, the BS appears

I intended to write lots on this blog about pseudoscience, but people like me who have been living in North-Eastern Japan have been busy, among other things, with getting used to the idea of living with constant blackouts, avoiding certain food, and reducing the frequency of drinking tap water. As I was searching for information germane to my last few articles, I realized that there was a lot of nonsense being spread around the world, regarding the current situation in Japan. A piece I wrote has been published on the JREF (James Randi Educational Foundation) blog, where I talk about the hoaxes, scams, and pseudoscience that I discovered through my research.

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Living in a Radioactive Japan

Since yesterday morning, the situation in Japan has become much more serious, which is hard to believe considering the damage already done. The Fukushima Daiichi (#1) nuclear power plant suffered a third hydrogen explosion, followed by a serious fire that resulted in the release of more radioactive materials into the atmosphere. This is in the wake of an update on the death toll: Over 3600 confirmed, with thousands more unaccounted for. This is already the most loss of life Japan has faced in a national disaster since WWII, but the death toll is still on the rise. No country in the world is more prepared for earthquakes than Japan, but the Great Tōhoku Earthquake set off a cascade of catastrophes that are still unfolding beyond our most imaginative nightmares.

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Second Wave of Tōhoku Crisis

The first wave of earthquakes in and around Japan was unbelievable. One massive earthquake of magnitude 9 (it was recently upgraded), making it the 4th biggest earthquake since 1900; with around 200 aftershocks of magnitude 5 or greater, and a tsunami that levelled entire towns. The death toll, according to Miyagi police, will definitely be above 10,000.

Many prefectures are left literally in the dark. Since earlier in the day (Japan time) seven prefectures have not been able to receive TV signals, and many cities around the quakes are struggling without power. Many people in Northern Tohoku are just starting to get their power back since the crisis began. Meanwhile, the tsunami has been doing damage in other countries.

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The Great 2011 Tōhoku Quake

I was well aware of the Great Kantō Quake of 1923, which killed 140,000 people in and around Tokyo. I was also well aware that there is a roughly 80-year cycle, and that there was an extremely good chance that it would happen while I was here. But it still felt completely out of the blue today. I don’t want to make a habit of “personal blogging,” but I consider this news worthy.

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Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous – Korean Slave Edition

Two years ago to this day, at 15:30, Jang Ja-yeon complained in a phone call with her sister that she was overwhelmed by stress and wanted to end it all. The sisters (along with their brother) had been living together since a decade prior, after car accident claimed the lives of their parents. You can imagine the depression and stress of a massive celebrity in the public limelight, but this 26 year-old Korean beauty was not simply pressured by the media. What happened behind the scenes was what pushed her off the edge. Her sister could not get a hold of Jang for the rest of the afternoon, so she finally decided to go home to check on her. Four hours after their last phone call, Jang’s sister came home to find her body hanging from the stairway banister. It is suspected that she committed suicide only an hour after they spoke.

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