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Comment Lost in translation (Score 2) 201

I see that the discussion here is based on a sketchy summary from the originally Japanese press conference. More coherent information is available if you could read Japanese but I know it's too much to ask for...

Here is the latest update of the on-going investigation from the JTSB issued 20 Feb, 2013; this mentions the mis-wiring:


More in-depth information is given at


According to this article, the mis-wiring was in the original specs/design, and the design had been corrected. The aircraft in question was manufactured in accordance to the earlier specs but no modification was made to comply with the new ones. One can infer that the bug was considered insignificant to compromise the safety of the aircraft. The JTSB currently does not think this mis-wiring was the cause of the battery incident although they will keep looking into it as a potential cause of anomalous voltage readings.

Comment Accuracy? (Score 4, Insightful) 335

I might have to call this one bullshit. I briefly checked Asahi, Mainichi and Yomiuri, the three major newspapers in Japan. Only Mainichi has this news. And the reporter, as far as I can gather, seems stationed in the vicinity of the Edwards AFB and seems quite a bit fascinated by the Global Hawk. So, what she reported may not be completely untrue, but can be that some facts are twisted. The report at least does not seem to be based on a press release. So, the US Air Force may, in principle, have agreed to provide the data from the drone, but it could go anywhere.

The operation at the Fukushima 1 plant involves various organization: TEPCO, JSDF, various Fire Departments, some sort of atomic watchdog most likely reporting to some kind of ministry, and probably some organization reporting to the cabinet. I still have not figured out who is ultimately in charge. My vague impression is that the TEPCO plans, _asks_ any of the above organization that they think fit to do that job, and the said organization does the job. Not very efficient. This may be partially the reason why they seem to take so long to perform a next step.

So, the data from the US Air Force may be given to someone in Japan, someone in the government. But I can imagine the person who was (being) given the data might not even know to whom to forward it. It may be being forwarded to the people on the ground and used for planning, assessment, etc., but they may not even think to use the footage in the next press conference; they may want to have a written warrant saying it is OK to release it, and so on. Every morning (Japan time), two organizations (TEPCO and something akin to IAEA but Japan domestic) and the cabinet spokesman are having press conferences to report on the power plant and I have yet to understand who is ultimately responsible for the operation.

What I'm trying to say is that the reason we have not seen the footage from the Global Hawk has more to do with the complexity of the operation than some intention to hide something from the public.

As a postscript, in the past ten days or so, I have learned to read information coming from Japan very carefully. Often even major newspapers make blatant faulty statements, often having the effect of instilling fear in the public. I find it distasteful. Yet I find hope in the Japanese netizens: when they encounter a bald statement, it has become their custom to ask for the source, a la Wikipedia, and when the source cannot be shown, the statement is determined a hoax and not further propagated. They seem to have learned the danger of hoaxes and misinformation...for most part.

Comment Re:exagerated - most Europeans have a holiday (ex. (Score 1) 487

You seem to be correct. But what were we, who live in Germany (I'm not a German by the way), doing today??? I even had a dentist appointment and they were there! All my co-workers were in the office, too... I didn't know it was a holiday till I read your post :-O

Besides, my iPhone 4's alarm went off one hour late. I first thought I slept through the alarm when I woke up on my own...

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 216

What are you talking about? That's in Japan where most popular (admittedly very anecdotal) drinks they buy from those machines is green tea without sugar. The second popular would be water. The video mostly showed different kinds of teas (again no sugar), some waters, a couple of vitamin drinks (somewhat sugary), one or two energy drinks, a couple of canned coffee (pretty sugary, but in small containers), and the infamous Pocari Sweat (Gatorade-like but less sugary). I saw exactly one sugary carbonated water (Mitsuya Cider).


Submission + - Neanderthal DNA found in most humans

Torino10 writes: A recent article in the magazine Science( http://www.sciencemag.org/special/neandertal/ ) and written about on the Ars Technica website http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2010/05/neanderthal-genome-draft-done-indicates-interbreeding-occurred.ars states that the majority of humans found outside of Africa have between 1-4% neandertal DNA. Earlier comparisons of mitochondrial DNA did not show a link.

Submission + - Early Humans and Neanderthals "exchanged" DNA (npr.org) 3

tool462 writes: New research indicates that early humans and neanderthals exchanged genetic information. From the article:

Reich and his Leipzig co-authors are totally sure that Neanderthal genes found their way into modern humans when the two species intersected. They report their findings in the journal Science.
"The simplest possible explanation is that it occurred once," Reich says. "But it very easily could have occurred on multiple occasions. Perhaps it's likely that it occurred on multiple occasions."
Reich says it's hard to pin down exactly how much DNA Neanderthals contributed to modern humans. "We estimate about 1 to 4 percent of the genetic ancestry of non-Africans is from Neanderthals," he says.

Comment The Netherlands (Score 1) 920

There seems to be a consensus that the US offers the best pizza. Being a Japanese, having lived in Philadelphia, Germany and the Netherlands, I agree. The US, especially Philly (hah!) has the best pizza.

Having said that, among the European countries I've been to, and sampled pizzas, the Netherlands offers surprisingly good pizzas. Perhaps it's because they are big cheese eaters?

Now living in Germany, I miss Dutch pizzas... very much.

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