Japan ponders recycling Fukushima soil for public parks & green areas
Soil from the Fukushima prefecture may be used as landfill for the creation of “green areas” in Japan, a government panel has proposed, facing potential public backlash over fears of exposure to residual radiation from the decontaminated earth.
The advisory panel of the Environment Ministry on Monday proposed reusing soil that was contaminated during the Fukushima nuclear meltdown of 2011 as part of future landfills designated for public use, Kyodo news reported.
In its proposal, the environmental panel avoided openly using the word “park” and instead said “green space,” apparently to avoid a premature public outcry, Mainichi Shimbun reported.
Following an inquiry from the news outlet, the Ministry of the Environment clarified that “parks are included in the green space.”
In addition to decontaminating and recycling the tainted earth for new parks, the ministry also stressed the need to create a new organization that will be tasked with gaining public trust about the prospects of such modes of recycling.
To calm immediate public concerns, the panel said the decontaminated soil will be used away from residential areas and will be covered with a separate level of vegetation to meet government guidelines approved last year.
In June last year, the Ministry of the Environment decided to reuse contaminated soil with radioactive cesium concentration between 5,000 to 8,000 becquerels per kilogram for public works such as nationwide roads and tidal banks.
Under these guidelines, which can now be extended to be used for the parks, the tainted soil shall be covered with clean earth, concrete or other materials.
Such a landfill, the government said at the time, will not cause harm to nearby residents as they will suffer exposure less than 0.01 mSv a year after the construction is completed.
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant suffered a blackout and subsequent failure of its cooling systems in March 2011, when it was hit by an earthquake and a killer tsunami that knocked out the facility, spewing radiation and forcing 160,000 people to flee their homes. Three of the plant’s six reactors were hit by meltdowns, making the Fukushima nuclear disaster the worst since the Chernobyl catastrophe in 1986.
I have the right to remain silent (2017). Oil on canvas by Albert Barqué-Duran.
Hypotheticals, fantastical beings, and a fictional omnibus: legal reasoning is made supple by its use of the imagination
Maksymilian Del Mar is a reader in legal theory at the School of Law at Queen Mary University of London. He is the co-editor of Legal Fictions in Theory and Practice (2015). He lives in London.
The legal world is wonderfully strange. Pull down a dusty volume of case law from a barrister’s bookshelf, and you’ll discover a parade of fantastical beings that could have been lifted from the pages of Jorge Luis Borges or Dr Seuss. In the law, constitutions behave like living trees, the island of Minorca is treated as a suburb of London, immobile houses suddenly zoom along beltways, Clapham omnibuses are packed with reasonable men, and spectral officious bystanders routinely spy on contractual negotiations. The legal realm is full of unlikely and improbable possibilities, as well as paths not taken, counterfactuals, mights, perhapses and maybes.
All of this draws on the faculty of the imagination. You’d be forgiven for thinking of a judge as someone who spends all day shoehorning ‘the facts’ into pre-fabricated principles, and laying down determinative rulings like geological strata. In fact, legal reasoning is a much more supple exercise. Individual judges must resolve knotty questions under conditions of uncertainty, and in a context in which there’s usually profound disagreement about both what has happened and what ought to be done about it.
In these circumstances, imagination performs many salutary functions. Indeed, legal reasoning would be impossible without it. Imagination allows judges to explore what might be at stake in any particular dispute, and to provide a set of resources for future decision-makers. It lets them communicate doubt and express hesitation. And it brings the language of law alive, moving us and inviting us to imagine further – and so enables a thriving, interactive community of enquiry.
Of course, imagination also carries certain dangers. It might encourage bias, or signal a departure from common sense. But overall it should be celebrated – in law and, perhaps, in other domains where people must engage in the messy business of public reasoning.
Legal reasoning has at least four imaginative abilities at its disposal. The first is supposing: pretending that something is the case when you know or suspect that it’s not. Judges have been doing this sort of ‘as-if’ style of imagining for thousands of years. Courts in ancient Rome frequently used a mechanism known as fictio civitatis, the fiction of citizenship, which let authorities rule on the behaviour of ‘aliens’ as if they were Romans. As Gaius, a celebrated jurist in the second century CE, said:
If it appears that a golden cup has been stolen from Lucius Titius by Dio the son of Hermaeus or by his aid and counsel, on which account, if he were a Roman citizen, he would be bound to compound for the wrong as a thief.
Fictions are not just the preserve of the West. In 17th-century China, clans of villagers set up ‘companies’ that collected and distributed capital to their members, who were supposedly united by kinship with common ancestors. But as the legal scholar Teemu Ruskola at Emory University in Atlanta argues in Legal Orientalism (2013), ‘the idiom of the family was frequently only a legal fiction used to recruit members, many of whom were not even related by blood to the clan they joined’. Needless to say, this fiction often proved useful in raising revenue for the company.
However, I will focus on the common law – a tradition that comes from Britain, and in which the authority for a principle is settled through the slow accretion of case law and custom, rather than by setting out everything in statutes or codes. This mode of thought involves its fair share of judge-invented fictions. In the 18th-century case of Mostyn v Fabrigas, for example, a resident of Minorca – an island off the coast of Spain that was under British rule – claimed that he had been falsely imprisoned by the British government. To gain jurisdiction, the British court treated the territory as if it were a suburb of London.
Legal scholars usually dislike such judicial inventiveness. ‘[T]he pestilential breath of Fiction poisons the sense of every instrument it comes near,’ wrote the jurist and philosopher Jeremy Bentham in 1776. He said that imagination had infected the law like syphilis, ‘begotten in the bed of metaphor’ – something of an irony, given his own turn of phrase. Bentham claimed that legal language would reflect the truth of affairs only if it were direct and free of ornament, and accused lawyers of deliberately mystifying the law so as to retain sole guardianship over its mysteries – and thereby enrich themselves…
Female employment rose from 10.2% in 2005 to 13.6 by 2015, with around 2 million Algerian women now in work, alongside just under nine million men. The number of divorces almost doubled from 34,000 in 2007 to around 60,000 in 2014.
Benbraham said financial disputes, particularly over control of wives’ salaries, are behind the rise. “The tendency to divorce has increased in recent years. Money is the main cause of marital breakdowns,” she added.
Women say they face financial blackmail. If a wife refuses to let her husband control her wages, she is forced to stay at home or even face divorce proceedings – a source of shame in the conservative country.
Algerian husbands are traditionally responsible for providing for their wives and children, while a wife’s money is reserved for her own use. But as they head to work, women have little choice but to hand their cash over to their husbands or risk their families falling apart.
The debate on the right of women to control their salaries was recently revived by Mounia Meslem, minister for the family and the status of women.
She provoked a wave of criticism on social media when she called on women to give their wages to the state to help it cope with financial difficulties arising from a fall in the price of oil, the country’s main resource.
“We can help our country,” she told the private television channel El Bilad. “It is not our income that gives us a livelihood, but rather our husbands who take care of us.”
Critics said her comment represented a step backwards for women’s rights.
Dudes gotta dude, but must you dude like this… to the other half of the population?
Men who date, marry and love women sometimes have a funny way of showing it. This week gave evidence to some strangely misguided approaches for how men coexist with the other half the population, even when they ostensibly love and care about them.
Your Stalker Is Calling
Men in India, Morocco and other places where gender segregation still reigns supreme have found an ingenious yet deeply alarming way to try to meet women: Calling random numbers until someone answers, hoping to strike up a conversation,TheNew York Timesreported. They are called “Phone Romeos,” and it’s literally what it sounds like. They call up random women and attempt to woo them with the kind of lines that only the most hard-up would swoon for.
“Among them are overeager suitors (‘Can I recharge your mobile?’), tremulous supplicants (‘I am talking to you, madam, but my body is shaking’) and the occasional heavy breather (‘I want to do the illegal things with you’),” the Times wrote.
The men are extremely persistent, buying rosters of numbers in bulk, using multiple SIM cards and false names to avoid being identified, or keep pestering women who aren’t interested (which would be most of them). One police call center in India said they get some 700 calls a day from women complaining about these total weirdos. “Sometimes they call and say, ‘I love you,’” a woman told the Times. “Sometimes they call and say, ‘I want to talk to Sonia,’ and I would say, ‘I am not Sonia,’ and they would say, ‘Okay, can I talk to you?’”
Weirder still is that sometimes the scam actually works — one woman in the story has been talking with her gentleman caller for 11 months, though they still haven’t met in person. Hey, even a stopped clock is right twice a day, no matter how much it wants to do the illegal things with you.
When Talking Points Memo reporter Alice Ollstein asked Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) if he was in favor of the Republican healthcare plan meant to replace Obamacare cutting essential health benefits like breast cancer screenings, he was a big old dick to her:
He later apologized, CNN reported, saying he knew mammograms were essential to women’s health, but they noted he’d also previously said to CNN he wouldn’t need mammograms personally since he’s a dude anyway — a funny comment from a man with a wife and two daughters. Two shitty comments and one dick apology make a visual dick and pair of balls of dickness.
52 Percent Stupid
A nonpartisan poll found that while the majority of Americans are cool with reproductive rights, 52 percent of men don’t think they personally have benefited from women in their lives having easy or affordable access to birth control, ThinkProgressreported. That is weird because unplanned pregnancy is very expensive. Perhaps these men inadvertently revealed they are, in fact, the precise percentage of the population that never gets laid.
From ‘pink slime’ to bug burgers, a look at the quintessential American meal
For most of the world, the symbol most associated with America isn’t the bald eagle, George Washington or even the stars and stripes—it’s the hamburger and fries. But how much has this simple meal — a ground-beef sandwich with fried potatoes — changed since its glory days of the 1950s? Let’s find out.
1950s: According to Andrew Smith, author of The Encyclopedia of Junk Food and Fast Food, the quality of hamburger meat was so bad in the early 20th century that by the 1950s, customers needed reassuring that what they were getting was actual meat. “Heading into the ‘50s, White Castle had beef slabs delivered to each outlet a couple times a day,” Smith says. “It was ground up in front of any customers in the store to assure everyone that their beef did come from a cow, as opposed to a variety of meat and other products from other slaughtered animals.”
So during the burger’s heyday, most people could feel confident that they were, in fact, getting 100 percent ground beef, while the fries were exactly as advertised: Potatoes, sliced in the restaurant and fried in animal oil.
Today: In 2008, a study by Brigid Prayson of the Cleveland Clinical Foundation tried to find out whether it was even possible for America to produce as much beef as was apparently being consumed — an interesting question, considering that there are fewer cattle being raised now than in the 1970s, and yet we’re eating more beef than we were then. The answers weren’t encouraging, and a test of a variety of fast-food burgers found that the amount of real meat in burgers ranged from just 2 to 14 percent. The rest was made up of what has become known as “pink slime,” or in the words of the study, “a mash of connective tissue, blood vessels, peripheral nerve, plant material, cartilage and bone.”
This nauseating goop was then doused in ammonium hydroxide, an antimicrobial agent once classified by the Department of Agriculture as “generally recognized as safe,” though the practice is banned in the European Union. McDonald’s and other chains have since claimed that they no longer use the stuff, but after a brief public backlash, it has crept back into grocery stores, with a 2014 study claiming that up to 70 percent of the ground beef sold in stores contains the dreaded pink slime.
The meat isn’t the only thing chock-full of chemicals now, either. A quick look at the fry ingredients listed on McDonald’s website reveals not just potatoes but rather a dozen different things, including chemicals with such appetizing names as sodium acid pyrophosphate (that’s the one that maintains their friendly yellow color). Essentially, most of the water in the fries has been replaced with fat, and a bunch of chemicals are added to make them taste like they were fried in animal fat, rather than the mix of corn and soybean oil they’re actually fried in.
1950s: “The combo of french fries and burgers as a meal became solidified during World War II, since meat was rationed and you needed to bolster what small amount of it you had with something else,” says Smith. How small exactly were the burgers? In 1950, the average burger weighed just 3.9 ounces—not so much bigger than a modern-day White Castle slider, at 2.2 ounces, according to the Centers for Disease Control. For their part, an average order of fries weighed roughly 2.4 ounces.
Today: As rationing came to an end, burgers began to fatten up. “Chains like Burger King came along offering bigger burgers with more meat, and the increased competition led to an arms race of the sizes and the styles of burgers,” Smith says. As a result, the average fast-food burger has quadrupled in size since the 1950s and now stands at a gut-busting 12 ounces. Fries, meanwhile, have nearly doubled in size, weighing in at 6.7 ounces (again according to the CDC)…
Labourers in Vidharbha region in Maharashtra, India. Photo by Sanjit Das/Panos
image edited by Web Investigator
It is everywhere illegal yet slavery persists in many corners of the global economy. How do its beneficiaries justify it?
by Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick is a professor of sociology at the University of San Diego. His latest book is What Slaveholders Think (2017).
I liked Aanan as soon as I met him. My field notes read: ‘What a nice guy, you can just see from his face.’ Open-faced and conversational, he was enthusiastic about the explosive growth in his quarry operations and excited to show me around. Together, we toured the open mines where his workers carve into the earth, producing boulders that are broken down into gravel by smaller labourers, often women and children. Together with his workers, Aanan laughed at my efforts to repeat the process for myself, the sledge held high over my head before arcing down, momentarily disappearing into shards and dust.
He showed me the crushing equipment that transformed gravel into silica powder, proudly explaining that the Indian multinational company, Tata, which makes generous donations to Harvard’s renowned business school, was the exclusive buyer of his materials. I had met Aanan through a friend of his, a reference that considerably eased his concerns about speaking with an outsider regarding his operations. The fact that I was most interested in challenging bonded labour – a contemporary form of slavery – didn’t matter.
Around half of the world’s slaves are held in debt bondage in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Debt bondage is a very old form of slavery in which radically marginalised members of society, often from India’s ‘untouchable’ caste, must trade all their labour for single small infusions of cash. Broader social and economic systems ensure that they do not understand the terms of such loans, and that the time required to repay them is interminable. Lack of other work, lack of credit, and the need to pay for schooling and marriages effectively guarantee that there is no single contractual debt between the landlord and labourer but rather a string of interconnected informal loans.
Workers are often promised that their debt will be repaid within a certain period of time, only to be told that they have somehow incurred new debts. Running debts are occasionally sold to other slaveholders, and in this way a worker can change hands several times. Local officials are more likely to turn a blind eye than to enforce a remote law.
The days of owning people are over, yet slavery still persists in dark pockets of the global economy. All forms of slavery are now illegal in every country on Earth,yet the practice still festers in unreformed nests of feudalism, where threats and violence can suppress or eliminate pay for work. Where slavery is verboten, psychological control through deception and fear is the new coin of the realm. In the case of debt bondage, it is the caste system – with Brahmin at the head and ‘untouchable’ beneath – that does the delicate work of stitching debts together into a seamless, infinite coercive system that leaves labourers feeling trapped.
Despite the abuse, the caste-based worldview frames these exploitative labour relations in familial terms. ‘You have to understand the mentality of labourers, and you should know how to make them work,’ says Aanan, who views himself as the caring parent and his workers as children. ‘To manage a group of labourers is like managing a group of primary-school children. They have to be provided with food or clothes, and they are taught how to behave … sometimes they start drinking alcohol; sometimes they indulge in feasts. So we have to pay them with caution. We divide them into small groups because larger numbers of workers tend to form a union and sometimes engage in mass holidays or strikes.’
Aanan says the happiness of his worker is paramount, even though his business model depends on entrapping the vulnerable and working them to the bone as they crush rock from dusk to dawn. He couldn’t come out and say this to me or to his workers – or perhaps even to himself.
Withholding pay and limiting opportunities to mobilise are important strategies for controlling workers. But all of this is done for the workers’ own good, Aanan insists. Though landlords complain about alcohol, such indulgences are also tactics for increasing debt. Rowdy festivals allow workers to blow off steam, effectively directing frustration away from their abusers. These events also allow workers to spend what little money they have, increasing the likelihood that they will remain dependent on the landlord’s line of credit.
To the erstwhile slaveholder, leisure activities – talking, idling, drinking – are vices, tangible manifestations of social decline
When asked if he needs the workers or the workers need him, Aanan explains that: ‘The worker is my cash machine, my fate.’ In this one statement, he has captured a central contradiction inherent in most human-rights violations worldwide: exploitation takes place at the intersection of culture and capital, in the overlap between relationship and extraction, at the moment where care and exploitation intersect…
Imagine you arrive home after work to discover a new microwave antenna tower stationed at the edge of your backyard fence? How would you respond?
If you’d had non-existent mobile phone reception for years prior (or if you were a techie ‘hooked on faster downloads’) then you might find reason to celebrate!
You might respond as an ambivalent disempowered citizen, “I really wonder about those things but there isn’t much I can do about this anyway.”
You may be in the growing group of empowered action-takers. You’ve either experienced microwave radiation sickness attributable to exposure or you’ve read books and articles on the topic which resonate with your own truth
Out of Sight Does Not Equal Out of Mind
Now forget the antennas in the backyard. Rather, that same day you arrived home from work telcos had erected a microwave antenna tower 300 metres from your residence. They paid someone rent to place it in a stealth location, a church steeple, behind a shop rooftop façade or on a water tower tucked out of public view behind parkland. Or it might have been located entirely visible, say next to a highway. We are already seeing so many of these towers that they no longer register. Our innate sensibility has often numbed to them in the same way we can numb to catastrophe or violence through a constant diet of Hollywood and TV news.
Telcos seeks to irradiate a large area (coverage) and increase data rate by:
Multiple waveforms emitted (a variety of microwave frequencies generated and sent out through the ether via the antennas) – for instance the 700 MHz (0.7 GHz) band is highly penetrating (including through buildings) and is therefore especially effective used in conjunction with the 2600 MHz (2.6 GHz) band which has a high data rate (PENETRATION + HIGH DATA = HAPPY TELCO and customers). Keep in mind these frequencies are used to cook flesh. The microwave oven you dropped off at the recovery area of the rubbish tip the other week runs at 2.45 GHz.
Turning up the ‘volume’ or microwave power density on the antenna array – in the same way we turn up the volume of our stereo. This is the same ‘invisible stuff’ emitted by your mobile device and WiFi. In the above example when the antenna tower was at the edge of your back fence (say 100 metres from your bedroom), you’d likely complain, “Not In My Back Yard!” When it is located 300 metres away and out of sight in council bushland there is no way for you to complain as you do not even know about it! Even if it is located on the side of a road you might not consider taking action, such is the distorted form of information passed on to the public (more on this later).
Distance is an important consideration per the Inverse Square Law for distance from source (of microwave radiation) – Intensity α 1/distance.2
If the antenna was at 100 metres distance then was moved to 300 metres, the intensity will be 1/9th that at 100 metres. However, what if the telco turned up the ‘volume’ of the antenna array at 300 metres to be 90 times higher than the antennas at 100 metres? Intensity would then = 1/9 x 90 = 10 times higher at 300 metres than at 100 metres. Most of us do not spend our evenings searching data on local antenna emission levels.
The Inverse Square Law applies similarly to devices. Many years ago I had a wireless emitting Telstra modem located underneath a couch I enjoyed lying on in the evening to read – not clever. I wondered why my sleep was so chaotic during that phase. I correlated to show the pre-bed ritual of a book on the couch was a contributor. I’ve since hardwired my Internet.
Transform your brain health by simply stretching out to arms-length and putting your phone on ‘speaker’ rather than pressing it to your ear and literally ‘cooking’ parts of your brain.
Working with trajectory and strategic location – there is an overlay strategy to eliminate ‘black spots’. One element that can assist (and hinder) this strategy is trajectory. If in the above example the tower 100 metres from your bedroom is at 50 metres elevation per Figure 1 (note this is indicative software only) and you happen to live in a tenth floor apartment, then you could well be in the direct line of fire. If you were in a house on the ground floor the power density (or exposure levels) would not be as high. However, consider the ‘side lobes’ that are the diagonal high intensity lobes dependent on antenna design/type. There is a myth that you are ‘protected’ directly beneath an antenna array. Because of side lobes this is not the case, though you are less exposed than if you were directly in front of it.
Faster Data Rates PLEASE MR TELCO
The telcos suggest the market is requesting faster data rates and ‘eradication’ of mobile black spots. The suggestion is we want high-speed coverage everywhere.
Telcos tell us the public is demanding faster rates on their devices and that is why they need to build more towers and turn up the power density. Do you want to download ten videos simultaneously rather than just one? We are a misinformed public with minds etched by PR and advertising. We are told of the benefits of a wireless world such as convenient communications, improved work efficiency, and safety devices.
The law of polarity holds that wherever there are benefits we find shortcomings. We do not hear that in 2009 over 300,000 Swedes indicated they are detrimentally affected by electromagnetic radiation. We are not presented the stories of thousands of Australians experiencing anxiety, headaches, brain fog and even heart palpitations, lost in an unreceptive, outdated and often derisive medical system. We aren’t informed of the snake-oil industries that have sprung up to ‘service’ the desperate.
Presently ‘we’ as powerful individuals are not demanding faster downloads. There is a collective entity influencing and it can be difficult to create space to ‘see’. I switch on my phone for around 10-20 minutes per day. Not everyone can do this, and I may have a work-lifestyle that requires more connectivity in the future. Why not experiment? The act of experimenting is an act of questioning the status quo. How low can you go?
Am I Being Rattled by Microwaves?
For those who have been feeling ‘off’ for no apparent reason, with headaches, anxiety, a general ‘jitteriness’ and irritation, insomnia and perhaps more extreme symptoms such as tingling in the extremities, brain fog and palpitations, the answer may be YES.Microwave radiation exposure is not the only contributor, however it’s one of multiple environmental factors…
About the Author
BENJAMIN NOWLAND (Honours Mechanical Engineer, Grad. Cert. Environmental Management, Cert. IV Training and Assessment, Certified Health Practitioner and Yoga Teacher) shares original perspectives on health and spirituality. Ben is the best-selling author of Playing GOD Biological and Spiritual Effects of Electromagnetic Radiation – a book created to stretch perceptions whilst easily digested by the householder. He has spent two decades exploring human potential, the infinite and eternal. Connect with Ben at: email@example.com.