Johannes Weber's past comments

  • 3

    Johannes Weber

    While it is sensible to charge an entrance fee for access to a heritage site - the fact that people's litter on the mountain slopes reflects very poorly on the climbers' manners. For most hikers and climbers around the world, taking Your litter back home comes natural.

    Posted in: What do you think about the proposed plan to charge Mount Fuji climbers a fee to help pay for the costs of cleaning up garbage left on the mountain?

  • 4

    Johannes Weber

    Actually, 50 m isn't really high for a wind turbine. I mean, honestly, 120 m is the current limit. And they (German researchers) are experimenting with a wooden construction basis which can reach almost 200 m in height. Furthermore, 12 years is quite an old age in a branch of technology evolving this fast as wind turbines are. Modern machines can be expected to be far more resilient.

    When the steel column snaps this is similar to some failure of some exterior part of any other large industrial facility. No one got hurt and the cost of the accident is - well the cost of a new column and a new wind turbine. They might actually even have an insurance to cover the cost of the accident. And they still made a decent profit out of the turbine in these 12 years. Nevertheless, why do they mention the Dutch turbine before the Japanese steel column?

    Posted in: Huge wind farm turbine snaps near Kyoto

  • 1

    Johannes Weber

    Sounds like the kind of robber for whom rehabilitation might still work well.

    Posted in: Woman attempting to rob convenience store asks clerk to call police

  • 1

    Johannes Weber

    They'll set a long term decontamination goal and pat their shoulders when they can say that cesium contamination went down by a factor 4 or 5 in 30 years. Realistic decontamination takes at least a decade, needs lots of storage and will be only partly successful. Animals will more or less decontaminate themselves as far as possible through the biological half-life of most of the stuff. The problem decreases by itself - serious decontamination efforts can only speed up the process somewhat. Maybe a factor of ten is a best-case scenario. So back to normal life in Fukushima in thirty years is an optimistic, but realistic estimate.

    Posted in: This isn’t decontamination — it’s sweeping up dirt and leaves and is absolutely irresponsible.

  • 0

    Johannes Weber

    It makes me get mad at the media that blew the Fukushima accident way out of proportion, and was incapable of communicating the real implications (more interested in sensationalist news). It makes me mad because blowhard environmentalist deliberately spread lies about the effects of radiation that have zero scientific basis, and they get a huge audience because their nonsense sounds 'sexy' to the media.

    You miss the nail's head completely. Shunning people who have been affected by trouble has a long standing tradition in Japan.The victims of the nuclear bombs or those from various kinds of industrial accidents - mercury poisoning, dust-filled lung afflictions with coal miners and other issues - the victims seem to have always been shunned. KUSAI MONO NI FUTA WO SURU is the source of the problem. People try to avoid the hibakusha because they would have to admit that the consequences of the accident reach into their normal lives. People do not want to face the fundamental flaws of their way of life or of their culture - like the corruption of the nuclear industry, which makes the cleanup and decommisioning even more difficult than it would be just by itself.

    People get hurt 1000 times more because of the media, radical environmentalists and lack of education than from the residual radionuclides from the Fukushima accident. But mental scars can't be detected with a radiation monitor, while the detector is able to detect one single radioactive atom among billions of stable ones - and cause panic even if there is absolutely no reason for that.

    I don't know where you get this, but as a physicist I'd prefer not having people spread such nonsense. One single radioactive nucleus isn't detected easily. You need significant contaminations for most measurement techniques, especially those which have become common in contemporary Japan like Geiger counters. 4pi Germanium detectors or the like are an exception of course. And if you are contaminated with alpha emitters, then even surface contamination detectors (those which are normally used in environments where contamination is expected) will not be triggered if you have plutonium or uranium stuck to your clothes or skin. And the closer environment of the stricken plant has plenty of alpha emitters lying around which do not register on the radiation maps which are only looking for gamma and beta sources. Therefore there is a non-negligible risk of carrying around undetected contaminants if safety protocols are not applied properly. And I have strong doubts that they are applied thoroughly in the corrupt business at work in and around Fukushima Daiichi.

    The problem is not that people are afraid of radiation. The problem is that society shuns away from the problem as it is. The problem for people does not originate in the workers, it originates in the corrupt culture that is the semi-criminal nuclear industry. People should demand the heads of those who are responsible for avoidable worker exposure. But they should support the workers at the plant since they put their lives in danger every day for meager wages. Even though not everything they do is extremely dangerous and even though the majority of them will probably never have any severe and detrimental effects to their health due to their work at the stricken plant - if you're a worker with little to no knowledge about the scientific details and the local radiation distribution and your boss is an idiot or an a$$hole and sends you to the wrong corner of the facility - then you can face lasting damage without any hope of salvation.

    Posted in: Workers at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have been turned down by landlords when they tried to rent apartments, some have had plastic bottles thrown at them, others have had papers pinned on their apartment door saying "Get out TEPCO." What do you think about this reaction by the public?

  • 1

    Johannes Weber

    Taking risks is the essence of living. Why do we practice sports in ways which could potentially kill us? Because life is worth living intensely. Something which can be lost has true merit. Without the risk of loss, there is no real merit.

    And yes - climbers should pay the full costs for their rescue, if they had taken the risks consciously. After all, it's a free choice which you should not take without proper awareness.

    Posted in: Why do people climb mountains in the middle of winter when there are blizzards, high risk of avalanches and poor visibility?

  • 7

    Johannes Weber

    "New reactors will be totally different "

    Totally different... Yeah. Go back to high school and study basic science, AbeSan! The same working principle (water kettle) and the same problems (decay heat) with all kinds of nuclear reactors. Solve one or two small problems and there are still a few dozens of the old ones. With the same kind of quake, tsunami and loss of cooling pumps, reactors of every possible design would have failed similarly.

    Posted in: Abe supports building new nuclear reactors

  • 0

    Johannes Weber

    How could a small groups of "so-called" experts conclude in the past that there is no fault line? No matter how you put it, the typical conclusion of "sufficient safety" is normally based on unscientific and biased approaches as experience tells us time and again. Real scientists would never claim that there is no fault line - they would claim that they do not have any clear indications of a fault line.

    Posted in: How can this small group of experts make such a significant decision so quickly?

  • 1

    Johannes Weber

    There's another aspect, which the article neglects: field of expertise. The typical fields of expertise which generate new paths of substantial growth in industrialised countries are engineering and science. In these fields, the typical quota of female students are significantly lower than those of male students (e.g. physics in many universities has typical female quotas of some 20% - after subtracting asipiring teachers, the quota drops to some 15% - going to phd level, the quota drops to less than 10% in many fields of research). Those women who walk this way till the end do perfectly fine (with rare exceptions to the rule). There is a clear lack of women trying to enter these fields. With less masters or phds, lower-ranking positions and less pay is a natural consequence.

    Thus, hiring more women will not necessarily create an influx of large numbers of skilled workers and thinkers. Young women also have to enter these traditionally "male" fields in greater numbers to put their own mark on society. A change of hiring procedures (like gender neutral contracts which change the special treatment of women due to "maternity" to an (optional) general treatment of "parenthood") or a general gender quota on corporate boards are only one half of the solution. And they are the easier part, because they can be enforced by laws. Changing the mindset of people - their willingness to tackle hard challenges, swimming upstream for many years, overcoming gender-related prejudices (e.g. women are better with people and men are better with science, both of which is nonsense) - cannot be done by law. This is the hard part of the problem.

    And a high level of education might even help securing a job where both parents have the option of working at home on some days of the week. Not to mention that their postions more often than not are far more flexible concerning working hours. A father can take care of a child just as well as a mother. And will do so quite often, if the mother earns substantially more. Which is far more probable with a scientific or technical degree.

    Posted in: Japan's secret economic weapon: women

  • 0

    Johannes Weber

    The ranking of top-selling imported cars shows rather clear trends. The columns are (2011 sales, 2011 share, 2010 sales, ratio of sales 2011 to 2010)

    1 VW Golf 26,125 12.8% 26,075 100.2% 2 VW Polo 15,171 7.4% 14,507 104.6% 3 BMW MINI MINI 14,350 7.0% 11,338 126.6% 4 Toyota Townace 12,437 - 9,533 130.5% 5 Mercedes-Benz C-class 11,710 5.7% 9,206 127.2% 6 BMW 5 series 9,257 4.5% 6,049 153.0% 7 BMW 3 series 8,912 4.4% 11,664 76.4% 8 Mercedes-Benz E-class 8,411 4.1% 10,850 77.5% 9 Volvo 60 6,032 3.0% no-data - 10 BMW X1 5,874 2.9% 3,829 153.4% 11 BMW 1 series 5,279 2.6% 5,856 90.1% 12 Audi A4 5,220 2.6% 5,660 92.2% 13 Fiat 500 4,501 2.2% 4,280 105.2% 14 Audi A1 4,206 2.1% no-data - 15 Audi A3 3,739 1.8% 4,506 83.0% 16 VW Passat 3,513 1.7% no-data - 17 Volvo 50 3,336 1.6% 2,808 118.8% 18 Mercedes-Benz B-class 3,062 1.5% 3,665 83.5% 19 VW Sharan 2,728 1.3% no-data - 20 Peugeot 207 2,354 1.2% 3,076 76.5%

    15 out of 20 top-selling imported cars in Japan are German models. There are no particular FTAs or tariffs between Germany and Japan (as for the USA), there is no smaller cultural difference than between the USA and Japan and the corporate culture faces the same issues. Obviously, the failure of US automakers must have a different reason and thus, King's statement is proved false.

    Posted in: We don't see any way that you can have fair trade with Japan because of all of the non-tariff barriers, Japanese culture, tight integration of the government policies and the companies. We don't see a way to overcome that.

  • 7

    Johannes Weber

    Anything which helps children in such a situation is good and deserves support - anyone who helps such children is a true hero. And most of all - these children bear the unbearable - more than anyone else ever did. They have strength beyond the imagination of us "healthy" people. The way how society treats its troubled and ill children is the best measure to judge its worth. Seeing past the "ill" up to the "child's heart" is the ideal we all should aspire to.

    A cousin of mine had been terminally ill with mucovisicdosis from the day he was born. His parents were completely open with him about his disease from the start. And even though he knew that he would need luck to turn twenty and would stand almost no chance to reach 30 - he was the kindest, most positive and optimistic person I've ever known. His parents made all efforts to allow him a childhood as normal as possible, despite being in hospital more often than not during some years.

    Reading this, I pay again tributes to him, who died two days before his 21st birthday, in his first year at university, just a month before an organ transplantation, which might have granted him a few more years. What else can I do than remember, carry on in his spirit and live my life for both of us?

    Posted in: Hospice for terminally ill children - playing right until the end

  • 0

    Johannes Weber

    One on Ken's best articles I've ever read. I can agree with it almost completely. However, only people with an upbringing in monolithic blocks of monolingualism really tend to think about fluency. Other people simply know that given practice, it will happen someday. Fluency has happened when you don't worry anymore about whether the language you speak is foreign or native.

    Posted in: Does fluency matter?

  • 0

    Johannes Weber

    Probably some problems with a wrong documentation or something. Maybe there was some verbal misunderstanding - who knows? Similar things could happen in other countries as well, if there is a language barrier. It seems unwise to judge as long as the whole affair is not settled yet. But people love to scream bloody murder if it's against someone from one's own country. I'd assume these guys are just going by the book. Any such case is just sad and stupid, but I can't see any evil in it.

    Posted in: German customs demand $475,000 for Japanese musician's violin

  • 0

    Johannes Weber

    Not only in Japan. People in industrialised countries tend to become less scientifically interested the more its applications pervade their daily lives. Sad fact from all countries...

    Posted in: An international survey said that Japanese students have been moving away from science and our results support that.

  • 1

    Johannes Weber

    There is one thing about cancers induced by ionising radiation, which gets lost (or omitted?) by pseudoscientific arguments of nuclear proponents. Victims of ionising radiation are typically in a closely monitored test group. They get regular medical checkups and lots of provisional health care for cancers. Therefore, in their case, cancers are quite simple to cure, since the discovery of the cancer happens in the early stages. But all these statistics about the danger are concerned with "fatality rates". Here we have the cheat. The atomic bomb victims were closely monitored and received significant medical assistance paid for by the Japanese government. Therefore, the sample has a very strong bias.

    If I generate an ensemble, where I know that I have a higher occurence of some stochastic event (like cancer) and I take regular measurements and alter the sample (in case of cancer detection medical treatment thereof), I can naturally produce a sample with artificially lower occurence rates of a secondary stage (like fatality rates from cancer) in comparison to what I would normally get (without close monitoring and treatment). The cancer fatality rates do not reflect the cancer occurence rates. There is a significant bias between these two rates and the fatality rates gravely underestimate the occurence rates.

    This bias is something true scientists call a systematic error. True science requires understanding and removal of the systematic errors from the result. Something, that is never been done in this pseudoscience. Which is why these "cancer studies" are not worth to be called science.

    Posted in: A-bomb survivors warn against nuclear power

  • 2

    Johannes Weber

    About nuclear arms in foreign countries. There are a lot of nukes (a few dozen or so), which belong to the US armed forces, which are stationed in Germany since the good old days of MAD in the Cold War. As far as I know, the German military can in principle trigger them - however, no one (since the end of the Cold War) wants to have them. Thus, there were some serious diplomatic incidents, when German politicians tried to get the US to take back their nukes - because we don't want nukes.

    In Japan, the situation is probably more or less the same. Japanese military forces probably share the command of US nukes on the Japanese archipelago with the US forces. However, it might be the case that they are not considered as reliable or mentally stable by the US military command. Judging from Japanese right-wing rhethoric, it's not hard to guess why.

    Something which I always start to think about in terms of Japan and nukes is - where the hell do they want to do the test explosions? Japan doesn't have any remote places which are far away from any inhabited areas except some islands a few hundreds of kilometers away from the archipelago. Still, radioactive debris would waft over to mainland Japan. A sure way to get the public on the barricades - even the docile Japanese public. And no way is such a test or the preparations of it staying secret. The diplomatic fallout would be even worse than any real factual result of such a test.

    Posted in: Japan's pro-nuclear weapon voices grow louder amid debate

  • 3

    Johannes Weber

    It is much easier to track the death toll due to coal. However, the death toll due to nukes is far more stochastical in nature. If a cancer occurs after 20 years, it is nearly impossible to track it down to some extent of ionizing radiation which had happened in the past without a proper protocol. Naturally, it is much easier if grill a plant worker with loads of gamma rays, because that can be easily checked on his dosimeter. Coal has much more immediate health effects.

    Naturally, one can attribute the deaths of dumb people falling down from a dam to hydro plants. Nevertheless, such statistics doesn't make very much sense due to the limited time scale. If there is a significant death rate due to an incident with nuclear devices, this death rate must be integrated over a few millenia to get a realistic rate. Simply put, it is much easier to measure poinsoning from coal exhaust fumes in contrast to genetic defects and cancers due to ionizing radiation.

    Finally, the death rate is not the major cost factor (see India or China or Japan's nuclear gypsies). But cost is the most powerful argument against nuclear power. Nuke plants are expensive.

    Posted in: Fukushima residents say 'no' to nuclear energy

  • 2

    Johannes Weber

    @basroil:

    While coal plants have severe detrimental health effects, nuke plants are not harmless either. The exact number of causalities for each of the accidents will be very hard to calculate on a sound scientific basis, but I'd bet my right hand that any result will be skewed by the bias of those who created the study. Nuclear engineering is not science, but quasi-religion.

    However, nuclear power is not cheap. There is very nice statement from about 40 years ago, uttered by the German minister for economy and energy, that nuclear power will never, ever be capable of competing with coal in terms of its price. And that is a long time before any severe accident became to be known (which shifts the price tag of nuclear power). A long time, before nuclear safety issues were even considered. A long time, before people considered the danger of nuke plants being used in terrorist attackls. It is not safe. It is neither cheap. Including mining, enrichment and decommisioning, it doesn't make any sense concerning the carbon balance.

    Furthermore, the typical decades old risk analysis is wrong. Just google "Global risk of radioactive fallout after major nuclear reactor accidents" by Lelieveld, Kunkel and Lawrence, which is the most recent SOTA risk analysis of nuclear disasters. You'll be easily convinced why the former risk analysis is almost complete nonsense and the true risk exceeds the official numbers by a few orders of magnitude.

    Posted in: Fukushima residents say 'no' to nuclear energy

  • 4

    Johannes Weber

    @CrazyJoe: In fact, if You handle tritium properly and collect it, it is not such a big issue. The half-life is less than two weeks, the decay product is non-radioactive (Helium 3) and also very important for scientific and engineering applications (low temperature applications - mixture of Helium 3 and Helium 4 is the most powerful known coolant). If You fumble around with tritium - well, India showed clearly what I mean - workers get irradiated. Deuterium on the other hand is completely harmless, since it is neither radioactive nor anyhow toxic. In fact it is present at the ppm level in normal water and even massive emissions won't change anything about that.

    If Onagawa could be restarted or not really has to be seen (if it makes sense is an independent, quasi-religious question). Even during completely ordinary operations of a nuclear plant, there are radiation spikes (e.g. from exchanges of fuel elements, where the containment vessel has to be partly opened). As long as the IAEA report can exactly describe what happened in Onagawa and which part of the plant is responsible for the radiation leak, I don't see it any more critical than any report about another plant. However, I don't believe that they will disclose the investigation results. Transparency and nuclear power industry don't fit together somehow.

    Posted in: IAEA group inspects nuclear plant at Onagawa

  • 4

    Johannes Weber

    Yep, Romney in Europe would be very much fun. Or imagine Mitt in Japan or China. Basically, guys like him can only lose outside of the USA. Me personally, I love the Republicans before elections, because they are the most entertaining (and embarassing) bunch in politics. At least the Italians got rid of Berlusconi when they realised that their government and country were nothing but ridiculous to the rest of the planet. The American right wingers, however, shoved Bush into office a second time. And they are even trying to dwarf their best entertainment successes from the past. Who will be the next Palin? Does Mitt need another funny sidekick, or is he good enough for 24/7 on the comedy channel all of his own?

    Posted in: Romney angers Palestinians with pro-Israel comments

  • 営業/建設機械  

    営業/建設機械  
    MB Japan 株式会社、埼玉県
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    スクールスタッフ | School Staff
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    The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan / 在日米国商工会議所 (ACCJ)、東京都
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    リサ―チ アナリスト
    Promar Consulting / プロマーコンサルティング、東京都
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