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Comment Re:Some inside info... (Score 1) 139

There was an unspoken rule at the time that Japanese employees had to go buy new consumer products when they're released. Kind of like the ultimate corporate Ponzi scheme - tens of thousands of people buying their own products with the salary from sales of the products they're buying. Or something like that . . . ;)

Comment Some inside info... (Score 3, Informative) 139

I was a consultant for Panasonic in Japan about 20 years ago and I can tell you that after Matsushita Konosuke (the founder) died, it has been run by idiots.

I was doing a walk through at a (now bankrupt) subsidiary that was the darling of the company at the time. I asked about trading data backup between locations in western Japan, since all of their designs and corporate history was on PCs. The vice president I was with was perplexed by the question. I asked an engineer beside us at his desk about back up, and he smugly pulled a CD-R out of his desk drawer and showed it to me with a smile.

I took the CD, then the lighter on his desk and started melting it.

Anyway, I remember the spirited discussions as they said the "Internet Refrigerator" was going to be the hit product for a decade. A housewife would look in the refrigerator, them make a shopping list on the computer built into the door of the refrigerator, then keep the list on the internet because it was the internet!

I was a heretic who said it would never replace the paper, pencil and magnet. They spent GDP of small nation on that piece of crap.

That engineer is probably a top executive now...

Comment Re:As someone who lives near the Fukushima plant: (Score 1) 167

(seppuku) was originally a samurai ritual and there aren't any samurai left. Japan still has a very high suicide rate, but big businessmen, bankers and government minions are much more westernized now - they've turned into self-centered weasels.

No bankers are throwing themselves off of buildings. Those would be people in financial trouble, bullied kids, rejected lovers, lonely singles and people who were left with nothing. They lost their homes and livelihoods after having to evacuate from the plant area, but got virtually nothing from TEPCO.

Comment As someone who lives near the Fukushima plant: (Score 5, Interesting) 167

Here are photos and an article in National Geographic from the massive quake and tsunami in the same area in 1896. Almost 27,000 people were killed and a tsunami was reported as high as 50 feet.

http://ngm.nationalgeographic....

The excuse that the tsunami was unprecedented and a "once in a 1,000- year event" is false.

The take away for me after five years is that it was criminally incompetent to not have planned for the possibility of a similar event so recent that there are photographs of it.

The engineers involved in the construction and operation should be in prison.

Disclaimer: I have a BSME with a Nuclear option, and I should be in prison if I had anything to do with the plant. I also live within 90 miles of the plant and remember thinking that I was in serious jeopardy when I saw a helicopter dropping water onto the stored fuel rods on TV. When the helicopters come out, it's the last straw.

Comment Another reason... (Score 1) 267

Japanese universities are already partners in technology development with Japanese companies, as universities around the world are partners with companies in their country.

Japan will lose a quarter of its population in about a generation from now, so the country must transform from the traditional economic engines of growth (manufacturing, services, etc.) to offset the inevitable decline that will occur in those engines.

Japan, with encouragment from the US, sees defense technology R&D, manufacturing, licensing and export as a growth industry it hasn't been a part of.

The US has encouraged Japan to do this, since the US depends on funding from Japan to maintain the large military presence it has in Japan. The US can't afford the bases in Japan by itself.

The US wants Japan to become a more "normal" nation, as the US calls it, by being proactive in the US-Japan alliance, instead of being only a self defense entity, because the US may be forced to reduce its presence in the future from US political/budget problems.

The executive summary is:

War is big business.

Comment Re:Hyperbolic Stories About Laser Illumination Inc (Score 2) 161

So, it has to cause permanent blindness before it passes the Anonymous Idiot test?

How can anyone be so wrong about "not one single person..." in this age of Google?

http://www.kob.com/article/sto...
http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news...
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/he...

The list goes on and on.

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