The 2011 Tōhoku earthquake was Japan's worst of all time, leading to more than 15,000 deaths and meltdowns at three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. But all the footage I'd seen of it was of the subsequent tsunami and flooding that claimed most victims' lives. Here's high-definition footage of the earthquake itself, shot by a traveler in an airport. First, there's the shock and chaos of the quake; then the waters come. I didn't see anyone hurt in this footage, but it's terrifying all the same. Read the rest
Twenty-eight years ago today, an art car was born in an earthquake.
Its owner, Burning Man founder Michael Mikel (aka "Danger Ranger"), shares the story:
On October 17, 1989 at 5:04 PM, the Loma Prieta earthquake struck the San Francisco Bay Area and a brick wall collapsed on the rear half of an Olds Cutlass parked by Clayton and Page streets. Michael Michael saw it there and the creative wheels began to turn. “I bet that will still run”, he mused, and he placed a note on the car offering to buy it.
Within a few days, the car had changed hands, and with the addition of a new paint job and a license plate bearing the exact time of the earthquake, it became a conceptional art piece and a testament to the powerful forces of nature…
In 1991, 5:04 was the first “art car” to make an appearance at Burning Man, beginning a trend that has grown to epic proportions.
This legendary car made an illustrated appearance in John Law's 2013 book, Tales of the San Francisco Cacophony Society:
To show its new football field is sitting on one big earthquake fault line -- the Hayward Fault -- UC Berkeley made a crooked line in the north end zone's grass.
This is what it looks like up close:
The fault line at Memorial Stadium, north end zone pic.twitter.com/nqKA8yIQHh
— Ryan Gorcey (@RGBearTerritory) August 6, 2017
Here's what SBNation: California Golden Bears thinks about the unusual addition:
On one hand, the fault line isn’t too prominently sticking out, so you really have to look for it to find it. On the other, it’s probably best not to draw that too much attention to an active earthquake fault line that forced the university to enact millions in overdue athletic renovations and have left the athletic department mired in debt. Always compromises to be made in the football life.
Here's something you don't see every day: a Hello Kitty earthquake hood. I mean, I know that Sanrio will put Kitty White (her full name) on just about anything but I didn't know that earthquake hoods even existed.
In Japan schoolgirls keep special fire-proof "disaster hoods" at the desks to protect their heads in case a major earthquake strikes. The standard cute bousai zukin just got cuter with this design from Sanrio, the makers of Japan's favorite cat character! Yes, the Hello Kitty Earthquake Hood will make head protection for young girls as sweet as it can be.
Decorated with Kitty-chan and a host of other characters and items from the kawaii world of Sanrio, this pink earthquake hood will not only provide life-saving protection, it will also reassure your child with its fun and cute look.
Behold the Muriwai Monster, a horrifying beast that washed up last weekend on Muriwai Beach in Auckland, New Zealand. It's thought that the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit New Zealand’s South Island, raising the sea bed by two meters, spurred this evil behemoth to surface.
Unfortunately, some non-believers are insisting that the Muriwai Monster is actually a hunk of driftwood covered in gooseneck barnacles. They'll learn, as soon as the Muriwai Monster awakens.
If the “man-made seismic event” reported along the North Korea/China border tonight by the USGS is confirmed to be a new nuclear test, America's next Commander-in-Chief will have complex new Pyongyang problems on their plate. Read the rest
Looks like developers win again. Aw, but what do geologists know about fault lines anyway? Read the rest
[Video Link] Here's a video (well, real audio with some graphics) of the Los Angeles Philharmonic performing Ravel's "Daphnis and Chloé during a 5.1 magnitude earthquake. It's pretty interesting to hear the gasps and murmurs of the audience followed by the lovely music continuing without a hitch.
A couple of things to note here: -Walt Disney Concert Hall was built only 10 years ago and is made to withstand seismic activity.-I work for the LA Phil and had a hand in making this video. Read the rest
Veteran radio journalist and master storyteller Alex Chadwick (who's also a personal friend—he's taught me so much about journalism over the years) hosts a must-listen radio documentary premiering this weekend on public radio stations throughout the US.
BURN: An Energy Journal is a four-hour, four-part broadcast and digital documentary series exploring "the most pressing energy issues of our times."
Part One of the series, titled "Particles: Nuclear Power After Fukushima," coincides with March 11, the first anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. I've listened in entirety, and followed along as the BURN team researched and produced over the past few months, and I can tell you this is truly powerful work. The show also includes PBS Newshour reporter Miles O'Brien, reporting from inside the Fukushima exclusion zone on his recent trip there.
Carve out some time and listen to it on-air, or listen online at this link.
Snip from description:
Included in the riveting premiere episode is an exclusive, first-time-ever interview with an American who was on-site at the Daiichi nuclear plant when the earthquake and tsunami struck. Carl Pillitteri, a maintenance supervisor and one of 40 Americans in Fukushima on that fateful day, describes his terrifying ordeal as he desperately attempted to lead his men to safety through the enormous, shuddering turbine buildings in total darkness.
More about the radio series follows. Read the rest
Japanese photographer Satoru Niwa, whose work I blogged in a previous Boing Boing post, has a new series from Fukushima marking the one-year anniversary of the March 11 disaster: Invisible You. Again, beautiful, evocative work. Above: a shot from the town of Namie, which is some 40 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. View the full gallery here (warning: Flash).
Inside the Fukushima exclusion zone: the photography of Satoru Niwa Read the rest
Among the recent projects of London/Tokyo-based photojournalist Satoru Niwa is this stunning series of images captured near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan, just days after the March 11, 2011 quake, tsunami, and ensuing nuclear disaster.
Above: a policeman wearing protective gear to guard against radiation, 15 miles from the plant, on March 25, 2011. Below, a family's photograph found in the tsunami mud, 5km from the plant in the now-abandoned town of Futaba.
Link to photo gallery: SILENCE/Fukushima.
Related works on his site include this equally powerful series of moonlit photos taken in the tsunami-devastated town of Miyagi, just two weeks after the disaster.
You can follow him on Twitter.
(via Miles O'Brien)
PBS NewsHour's Jenny Marder wrote a really interesting feature about the abandoned pets inside the Fukushima evacuation zone in Japan. I encountered some of them when I traveled to the area with Safecast and PBS NewsHour science correspondent Miles O'Brien (our resulting PBS NewsHour report video is here).
Jenny digs into what happened with the volunteer effort to rescue and adopt the abandoned pets, and talks to scientists about the effect of fallout on animals (including intergenerational and genetic changes, like what the world saw within bird and wild animal populations after Chernobyl). Snip:
At the tail end of Miles O'Brien's latest NewsHour report on radiation in Japan, a golden dog with a thick red collar trots into the street of the abandoned town, Katsurao, and weaves along the center divider.
Miles asks, off camera: "Do we have anything to feed him?"
The piece, which airs tonight, reports on the group Safecast, which has measured, mapped and crowdsourced data on radiation levels in locations throughout Japan, particularly in the hot spots near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The dog was one of several scrawny, undernourished dogs and cats they encountered, most likely abandoned by their owners during rapid evacuation.
Read more: What's the Fallout for Dogs Near Fukushima? (The Rundown News Blog | PBS NewsHour)
Hacking geigers: Safecast crowdsources radiation data in Japan ... Read the rest
I traveled to Japan with PBS NewsHour science correspondent Miles O'Brien to help shoot and produce a series of NewsHour stories about the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disasters. One of these just aired, and is above. It's the story of how a group of hackers and internet folks are working with Japanese volunteers to harness DIY technology to record and share data about radiation hotspots.
We traveled with Safecast on a radiation-data-gathering drive from Tokyo to inside the voluntary evacuation zone, close to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. We monitored readings on the ground and in the air with the Safecast team all along the way. You'll see what those contamination levels were, and what and whom we encountered, in this video.
Some of the voices in this piece are familiar names to regular Boing Boing readers: Joi Ito, Sean Bonner, and others. One DIY/Maker/hacker culture hero we interviewed whose work you see is Bunnie Huang (I was thrilled that this project allowed me to meet Bunnie in person for the first time).
In the NewsHour story, airing exactly eight months to the day after the March 11 disaster, you'll see the geiger counters the Safecast team have developed with Sebastopol, California-based Dan Sythe and International Medcom. The successor to the "B-Geigie" Safecast is using now will be a device Bunnie designed (which looks really elegant, by the way). Oh, and these geiger kits were assembled in the very cool Tokyo Hacker Space, a central site for the Safecast movement. Read the rest
Watch Online "Hacker" Group Crowdsources Radiation Data for Japanese Public on PBS. See more from PBS NEWSHOUR.
On PBS NewsHour tonight, a report I helped the program's science correspondent Miles O'Brien produce about the challenge people in Japan face of finding and sharing reliable data about radiation contamination, after the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Embedded above, a conversation between Miles and NewsHour host Hari Sreenivasan about our report, which focuses on a grassroots group called Safecast that measures, maps, and publishes data on radiation contamination levels throughout the country.
While in Tokyo, Miles spoke to Hari Sreenivasan about his trip with Safecast workers into the voluntary exclusion zone around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, where they detected levels reaching the equivalent of six X-rays per day.
He also filled us in on his conversations with Japanese officials working in evacuated areas and Japanese residents eager for more information about the consequences of the nuclear accident.
I'll post the video for the full feature when it's available online.
Earthquake Prediction: Could We Ever Forecast the Next Big One ... Firsthand from Fukushima: Xeni on The Madeleine Brand Show ... Read the rest
A man carries an injured girl after an earthquake in Tabanli village. REUTERS/Abdurrahman Antakyali/Anadolu Agency.
Turkey's Kandilli Observatory estimates that 1,000 or more people were killed today in a powerful earthquake in southeast Turkey's Van province.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay told reporters some 10 buildings had collapsed in Van city and around 25-30 buildings collapsed in the nearby district of Ercis.
The USGS estimates the quake magnitude at 7.2, with a depth of 20 km (12.4 miles), 17 km (10 miles) NNE (32°) from the city of Van.
Rescue workers try to save people trapped under debris after an earthquake in Tabanli village. REUTERS. Read the rest