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Net Sees Earthquake Damage, Routes Around It

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the we-are-borg dept.

Japan 177

davidwr writes "Japanese internet outages mostly healed themselves within hours. While some cables remain out, most computers that lost connectivity have it again. From James Cowie's blog: 'The engineers who built Japan's Internet created a dense web of domestic and international connectivity that is among the richest and most diverse on earth, as befits a critical gateway for global connectivity in and out of East Asia. At this point, it looks like their work may have allowed the Internet to do what it does best: route around catastrophic damage and keep the packets flowing, despite terrible chaos and uncertainty.' Let's hear it for redundancy and good planning." Reader Spy Handler points out another article about how redundancy and good planning are preventing disaster at Japan's troubled nuclear reactors, despite media-fueled speculation and panic to the contrary.

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Redundancy and good planning. (0, Troll)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485204)

These are two characteristics America is not known for.

Re:Redundancy and good planning. (3, Informative)

FauxPasIII (75900) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485218)

These are two characteristics America is not known for.

That's because both redundancy and planning are properties of Communism. Please make a note of it.

Re:Redundancy and good planning. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35485240)

accurate sig is accurate

Re:Redundancy and good planning. (1)

anarkhos (209172) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485348)

That's a laugh!

Under Communism there is one system with zero redundancies. That's why our socialist power grid is as fragile as it is: central planning!

Re:Redundancy and good planning. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35485432)

That's why our socialist power grid is as fragile as it is: central planning!

Under capitalism you get the cheapest power grid built with the cheapest labor and the cheapest materials. You would have had an alternative, but the guy with the best power grid built with the best materials, redundancy and capacity went out of business.

It's still centrally planned, only now the central planners are ignoring you while sipping martinis in Bermuda instead of ignoring you while sitting behind the capitol's doors.

Re:Redundancy and good planning. (-1)

anarkhos (209172) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485700)

Under capitalism there would be no national power grid or agency. Power would be sold on the open market and if it couldn't be transported reliably, then both buyers and suppliers would lose. We would all have an interest in reliability.

The bureaucrat on the other hand is only interested in making it as expensive and labour-intensive as possible

Re:Redundancy and good planning. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35485890)

We would all have an interest in reliability.

Your interest in reliability is trumped by the Unwashed Masses' interest in cheap. Under communism you get to buy whatever the government dictates is produced. Under capitalism, you get to buy whatever the market dictates is produced, and the unwashed masses won't pay for redundancy and reliability.

Just ask your neighbors how many of them have bought a generator.

Re:Redundancy and good planning. (0)

anarkhos (209172) | more than 3 years ago | (#35486362)

I don't need to, I have my own

Re:Redundancy and good planning. (2)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485954)

"The bureaucrat on the other hand is only interested in making it as expensive and labour-intensive as possible"

Until we transition our economy to some better balance between subsistence/gift/planned/exchange/theft more appropriate for a high-tech civilization.

See also my comments here:
http://peswiki.com/index.php/OS:Economic_Transformation [peswiki.com]

Re:Redundancy and good planning. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35485382)

As illustrated by Chernobyl ?

Communism irradiated everyone on the planet, including a number of locals lethally, and produced the largest nuclear disaster in history because ... politicians wanted to save a few bucks in the plant's construction. Malformed children were born because of this communist cost reduction for almost a dozen years.

Additionally, communist leaders did not see fit to warn rescue workers adequately of the dangers of the site. This was not through incompetence, but through malice. Better to kill a few workers and have a cheaper cleanup.

Of course, "communist" is an American word. Russians, or Chinese, use "socialist" for that concept. So do Americans, except that half of them still deny it.

Re:Redundancy and good planning. (0)

Lazareth (1756336) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485666)

Chernobyl was the largest nuclear disaster in history? Sorry, I reserve that for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As for irradiating everyone on the planet, would you please give me an accurate list of who've been doing the most nuclear bomb testing since it was invented?

Re:Redundancy and good planning. (4, Insightful)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485634)

Everyone loves to blame somebody else for problems with America. I do agree that corporate American, and our government, to a large extent are responsible for many of our problems. If faced with a possible meltdown an American company, marketing idiots would decide, "releasing information makes us look bad" and would keep it secret until things had gotten totally out of control. But long before that point, the idiots with business degrees would have decided it was too expensive to do things the right way and would have skimped during construction.

But as I've said, it isn't just the fault of corporations and government. The American people are also at fault. If you haven't been to Japan you don't know what work ethic is. Has anyone seen the footage inside the supermarkets during the earthquake? The first thing store employees did when it was over was make sure the products were secure and started cleaning the place up. In the US, they'd run for the doors and probably wouldn't go back to work. If there was a mess on the floor they'd say it was someone else's responsibility. Japanese are dedicated to their jobs on a level many Americans can't imagine.

How about the people waiting in lines to be able to buy food and supplies? Everyone's respectful, courteous and follows the rules. In America there would have been a mad rush with everyone grabbing what they could. Worse than that, there would be looting.

Too many Americans have this obnoxious sense of self-righteousness and an obsession with being iconoclasts. No sense of pride and no sense of respect or responsibility.

And the thing is that these attributes aren't unique to Japan, although it's definitely much more concentrated there. Travel to South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore or even China and you'll see this. Walk into any convenience store, and there are hundreds of them in any Asian city and the aisles are nearly stocked and the store always clean. I've been to malls where employees were on their hands and knees scrubbing the threshold of an entrance to the mall. I don't recall ever being in a bathroom in a shopping center that wasn't pristine. Good luck seeing that in an American mall.

Employees are almost always courteous and do a consistently good job. They don't need managers breathing down their necks, but they also know that management isn't going to tolerate bullshit. Walk into a supermarket in the States and employees are routinely whining that they've had to work 5 minutes late. Or they're chatting with friends. Or moping. Or simply jerks. Then there are the patrons who don't have a respect for anyone, including employees who do work hard to keep things clean and organized. The problems are everywhere.

I didn't really appreciate any of this until I lived in Asia. And now I find it frustrating to no end; at times I question why I continue to live in the States. The problems exist at every level. But then you can't feel self-righteous if you acknowledge your own part in all this.

Re:Redundancy and good planning. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35485948)

Most Asian cultures are collectivist, they tend to look out for the group as a whole. Most western cultures are individualist. They only care about themselves.

Frankly you sure did a lot of whining in that post yourself. Good job being western. BTW go take a sociology course, like the one that was a pre req in my community college. You might learn a little bit about the world without having to travel there and return as a pretentious asshole.

Re:Redundancy and good planning. (1)

Bo'Bob'O (95398) | more than 3 years ago | (#35486050)

Posted at 4:05 PM

Get back to work.

Re:Redundancy and good planning. (2)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | more than 3 years ago | (#35486070)

See also my comment here that got modded "troll". :-)
    "Mother Nature can still really kick ass... (Score:2, Troll)"
    http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2033910&cid=35464554 [slashdot.org]
"Like with Hurricane Katrina where the USA lost a city, this event will be a test of the Japanese character. The good news is, you can see in Japan aspects of what a healthy society looks like (unlike the USA during Katrina or before). Japan prepared a lot for this (good building codes, to begin with). Their leadership has responded immediately. People are helping each other. News is being posted right away through their advanced social networks. (Many individuals wanted to help with Katrina, and were turned back, and parts of the New Orleans area descended into violence and fear...) You can be sure, as a society, Japan will come through this even stronger and healthier and better prepared for the next event. I wish I could say stuff like that about the USA these days? I don't know, even as I have a lot of faith in US individuals in a crisis. But in the USA, government is painted as the enemy. We don't know what good government would feel like anymore, sadly -- government that is accountable, or plans well, or prioritizes human needs over short-term profits to a few."

Although, with that said, there was stuff in the news about the towns around the nuclear plants not having planned for this specific sort of nuclear incident, so we'll see what future reports say about all that. And no doubt one can point to incidents of corruption in any government.
   

Re:Redundancy and good planning. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35486954)

if Japan had as many niggers as NOLA there would have been looting there too

Re:Redundancy and good planning. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35486280)

What you're describing is the difference between humans and the Borg.

Re:Redundancy and good planning. (3, Insightful)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485246)

These are two characteristics the human race is not known for.

Fixed.

Narcissism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35485260)

There is one thing we're known for: narcissism. Your post was a case on point.

Re:Redundancy and good planning. (4, Insightful)

al0ha (1262684) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485276)

I'd amend that to say two characteristics Corporate America is often not know for; as for America and Americans, they get the job done. From rescuing Chilean miners to landing on the moon, if American ingenuity is unencumbered, then let's rock and roll. I'm not saying America is perfect everyone, but the parent post is a ridiculous marginalization of a people and country unless it was meant in jest - hard to determine on the 'net.

Re:Redundancy and good planning. (0)

vampirbg (1092525) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485418)

I don't mean to rain on your parade but the whole American space program is the work of German Nazi scientists who developed rockets and were scooped up after the war... But you've got to hand it to them when it comes to business... That's one of their biggest strengths.... Scientist can always be bought and imported...

Re:Redundancy and good planning. (1)

Schemat1c (464768) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485718)

I don't mean to rain on your parade but the whole American space program is the work of German Nazi scientists who developed rockets and were scooped up after the war... But you've got to hand it to them when it comes to business... That's one of their biggest strengths.... Scientist can always be bought and imported...

Robert Goddard [wikipedia.org] was a Nazi?!?

Re:Redundancy and good planning. (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485620)

if human ingenuity is unencumbered, then let's rock and roll

FTFY. Not sure what all the nationalistic bullshit was meant to say.. perhaps that the people of other countries somehow are less intelligent, and don't get their jobs done?

Re:Redundancy and good planning. (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 3 years ago | (#35486064)

if human ingenuity is unencumbered, then let's rock and roll

FTFY. Not sure what all the nationalistic bullshit was meant to say.. perhaps that the people of other countries somehow are less intelligent, and don't get their jobs done?

Yeah my dad makes the same, um, mistake when communicating. I've yet to train him properly...

Re:Redundancy and good planning. (1)

z0idberg (888892) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485826)

rescuing Chilean miners

Are you referring to Americans as in USA here (rather than Nth+Sth Americans together)? I was under the understanding the rescue was overseen by Chilean government and mining representatives with multiple international governments and companies assisting. Are you claiming the rescue as a success for USA alone? American (USA) ingenuity has provided a lot of things over the years but that seems a very strange example.

Re:Redundancy and good planning. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35485416)

Except when, you know, inventing things people tout as having redundancy and good planning.

Cool but, (1)

j1r3 (586944) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485230)

I didn't RTFA, I think it's mostly redundant.

What does this have to with the reactors? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35485248)

Good job as always, /. editors. If you wanted another nuke article, why not just post one? :/

This Was The Whole Point of the Internet (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35485314)

Before it was commercialized, the whole point of the internet was to create a communications system that could survive a nuclear war. Now, for whatever reasons, most countries have singular backbones and connection, and when that one is taken out, the com system designed to survive a nuclear war can disconnect an entire country because of a single boat anchor.

Looks like another thing that Japan took from the US, and maintains it to higher standards.

Re:This Was The Whole Point of the Internet (1)

Noughmad (1044096) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485532)

Looks like another thing that Japan took from the US, and maintains it to higher standards.

So the first two E's are already done, if I were you I'd watch out for the third sometime soon.

Damage has been done, hello oil and coal... (3, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485346)

Even though the Japanese reactors did their job to contain against a meltdown, it looks like nuclear power progress will be set back another 20-30 years due to the fearmongers pointing to this.

The loss of life can't be ignored. For people that were not affected by loved ones killed by it, the rest of the world will also be feeling this disaster in Japan for generations to come. Especially the fact that the anti-nuke crowd now possesses another "kill point" to keep nuclear power dead. This essentially clinches the fact that our kids and grandkids will still be having their lights powered by coal, and their cars by oil.

Re:Damage has been done, hello oil and coal... (0)

spud603 (832173) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485424)

What about all the other power sources? It's not simply between petro and nuclear. Even if this kills nuclear there's still hydro, solar, wind, biofuels and good old conservation.

Re:Damage has been done, hello oil and coal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35485574)

Those bring up other environmental issues including the sourcing of those wonder rare-earth metals that make high-tech solutions work.

Re:Damage has been done, hello oil and coal... (2, Insightful)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485578)

hydro is one of the most environmentally destructive forms of power, with burning forests being worse. It utterly devastates river ecology, floods vast tracts of otherwise useful and fertile land and is currently leading to the extinction of most of the planets major migratory fresh water fish.

Biofuel is one of the most socially destructive forms of power. Just to replace the US motor vehicle transportation costs, you would need to sacrifice nearly 100% of our food producing farmland. Note that the US provides roughly 1/3 of the worlds food supply. This is also not sustainable because of aquifer depletion.

wind is unreliable with bursts capable of damaging power transmission and occasional lulls that cover vast regions at a time.

Conservation is at best a tiny sliver of the issue. 85% of the world is striving to match our standard of living, no amount of conservation by the 15% or so with western standards of living will make up for that growth when it comes.

Nuclear and solar power are our only real options moving forward.

Re:Damage has been done, hello oil and coal... (2)

MavenW (839198) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485798)

hydro is one of the most environmentally destructive forms of power, with burning forests being worse. It utterly devastates river ecology, floods vast tracts of otherwise useful and fertile land and is currently leading to the extinction of most of the planets major migratory fresh water fish.

Not necessarily. Only if there is a big dam with a reservoir behind it. Hydro can be done without the dam, and it's just as efficient. It doesn't have the bonus of evening out the annual flow fluctuations, but it solves the flooding and migratory fish issues.

Close to where I grew up there was a small hydroelectric power plant of this type. Some water was diverted into a pipeline a few miles upstream. The pipe roughly followed the bank of the river, and the water gushed back into the river after turning the turbines at the actual power plant. The ecological effect on the river was less flow for a few miles.

I don't know why there aren't more of this type of power plant around.

Re:Damage has been done, hello oil and coal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35485922)

Under the Hydro label are also wave based reactors. Harder to work on perhaps being underwater, but Japan is a heavily coastal nation, so it could work almost anywhere. If a plant stops working, just another anchor for reefs to form at worst.

Re:Damage has been done, hello oil and coal... (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 3 years ago | (#35486114)

Agreed. I just did a thought experiment with putting lots of little waterwheels on Niagara Falls. I searched and see that they're already doing it [niagarafrontier.com] (well, using the river for power, that is; I didn't see whether there were any actually in line of the falling water, which I think would make sense, suck that gravity well as much as possible!). Still, I think a lot of power could be generated with far less environmental impact than, say, Boulder Dam et al. We just need to mine the waterfalls!

Re:Damage has been done, hello oil and coal... (1)

Your.Master (1088569) | more than 3 years ago | (#35486454)

You'd have a hard time putting them on the falls itself because it recedes 1' / year. Your little waterwheels would have to be similarly mobile. There are things we can do to reduce that a bit but it's still a barrier to any major permanent undertaking.

Plus, it's kind of a tourist attraction without the waterwheels. The power plants are a fair ways upstream, and because of the tourism aspect they don't run at the full possible capacity to maintain the impressiveness of the falls.

Re:Damage has been done, hello oil and coal... (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 3 years ago | (#35486540)

Interesting. So, tourism dollars versus electricity dollars. I wonder if something could be designed at the bottom that absorbs the load of the falling water without turning a wheel, like with springs. (Yeah, the idea just germinated, hasn't taken root.)

Re:Damage has been done, hello oil and coal... (1)

Demonantis (1340557) | more than 3 years ago | (#35486658)

St. Jacobs near Waterloo has something like this, but on a smaller scale for old a mill. There weren't any good drops anywhere for the water wheel so they split the river and diked it around the town so when they met up again the drop was more reasonable. It doesn't wreck the environment at all from what I can tell and rivers don't stop flowing. It is a technology that has been applied for a long time.

Re:Damage has been done, hello oil and coal... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35486718)

Niagara Falls hydro works like this -- water taken above the falls goes through huge aqueducts over to the power stations. There is an artificial lake that fills at night (no tourists looking at the Falls!) and is drained through the turbines in daytime. Not very many migratory fish make it up Niagara Falls from Lake Ontario into Lake Erie...admittedly a fairly unique hydro site.

Re:Damage has been done, hello oil and coal... (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485872)

"wind is unreliable with bursts capable of damaging power transmission and occasional lulls that cover vast regions at a time."

Wind can be used in large offshore chains with high guarantees of predictable amounts of energy. Wind energy can also be used to produce hydrogen (nd hydrogen can in turn be used to produce carbonaceous liquid fuels using CO2 from the air). Wind energy can also be used intermittenlty to crush rock for fertilizer (see remineralize.org). Wind energy can also be used to compress air in salt caves. Wind energy can also be used to molten salt as a form of energy storage. Wind energy can be used to cool masses intermittently. Wind can lift weights which are later lowered to produce energy. And so on.

That said, I think solar will win out because it will be easiest to produce and useful just about anywhere, probably backed by some kind of superbatteries or using hydrogen stored in metal hydrides. (Short of cold fusion, maybe from Rossi from Italy with Nickel?)

I also agree next geenration nuclear (like Hyperion) is interesting. But big central nuclear reprocessing plants may still be at risk of earthquakes, terrorism, etc.

Re:Damage has been done, hello oil and coal... (1)

Binky_the_Zakalwe (1986486) | more than 3 years ago | (#35486806)

That's a lot of examples of what wind energy can potentially do. Do you have any links, citations or specific examples you can provide to back up those claims? Or are you referirng to what we can do with energy generally and infering that we can generate energy from wind?

Re:Damage has been done, hello oil and coal... (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485934)

And what of geothermal energy?

Re:Damage has been done, hello oil and coal... (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 3 years ago | (#35486334)

Geothermal doesn't scale. IIRC, geothermal power per square meter is about 1/10000th of solar power (averaged over the surface of the Earth, ovbiously it's not evenly distributed in practice). Nice in a few areas where it's easy, but no substitute ofr base load. Most "alternative" energy sources trip over the same hurdle: 1TW is a lot of power.

Solar scales very well (and you don't need rare high-efficiency photoelectric cells, just a black pipe and a mirrored trench), but isn't reliable. Until we get a magic battery, it can't be base load. The financial reward for a magic battery is so amazingly high, however, that I expect we'll see an obvious-in-hindsight breakthrough in a decade or two, and solar will begin taking over the world.

Re:Damage has been done, hello oil and coal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35486570)

What about tidal? there are areas in the world that have regular 20m tides.

Re:Damage has been done, hello oil and coal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35485960)

All of which have a poor return in energy compared to nuclear and fossil fuels, solar and wind power cost more to deploy and maintain than you get back in return, only makes sense in remote areas.

Re:Damage has been done, hello oil and coal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35485438)

To be honest, I don't think anyone with half a brain TRULY believes nuclear power is dangerous. The real problem is what to do with all the waste?

Yes, modern reactors produce less waste. Yes, there are facilities that can reprocess waste. But at the end of the day, you're still left with a boat load of radioactive waste that you have to store somewhere.

Re:Damage has been done, hello oil and coal... (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485596)

Only if you cancel funding for next generation nuclear plants that are capable of fully using nuclear fuel instead of having it pass through once and leaving >95% unused. Oh yes, Carter and Reagan did that (much to my disappointment Clinton didn't fix it either).

Re:Damage has been done, hello oil and coal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35485640)

Could just put it back in the earth where we got it?

Re:Damage has been done, hello oil and coal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35485784)

To be honest, I don't think anyone with half a brain TRULY believes nuclear power is dangerous.

The question is not if it is dangerous, the question is if it is worth the risk. Just compute the costs:
P(nofail)*PowerCorpProfit = 0.999 * X
P(fail)*CostOfManyPeopleDyeingAndTheWorldBeingUninhabitableForAeons = 0.001 * Y

a) Compute X and Y.
b) What is the unit of X?
c) What is the unit of Y?
d) Do we get anything from X?

Re:Damage has been done, hello oil and coal... (2, Insightful)

Lazareth (1756336) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485842)

The problem is that even people with reasonably functioning reasoning abilities are being feed believable nonsense from the media. Even if you're a smart guy you will still be able to draw the wrong conclusions under the sheer weight of information sources, who're presenting bogus or twisted information as "fact". Yes, anyone with half a brain who cares to do some research into the advancements and facts around nuclear power should be able to see that many of the risks are wildly exaggerated or just plain false, but you could say this about a lot of other topics. Simply put nobody is able to do the research to create well-informed opinions about everything that's going on in the world. The problem is the credibility lent to the news media of the world, no matter how much of a "critical thinker" one claims to be. News, in the broad sense, is simply not being handled in the right way today and this cascades to a lot of other issues because we're being fed sensationalist and lobbyist information.

In short: the news media worldwide is corrupt. Their function of distilling information truthfully, for the masses to consume, is being twisted either by capitalistic thought or political agenda. Much of the time it is hard to distinguish which is which. No one is truly immune to this.

/rant

Re:Damage has been done, hello oil and coal... (1)

baker_tony (621742) | more than 3 years ago | (#35486204)

But at the end of the day, you're still left with a boat load of radioactive waste that you have to store somewhere.

"Whether used fuel is reprocessed or not, the volume of high-level waste is modest, - about 3 cubic metres per year of vitrified waste, or 25-30 tonnes of used fuel for a typical large nuclear reactor. The relatively small amount involved allows it to be effectively and economically isolated."

And at least you CAN store the waste, unlike coal and gas...
http://www.world-nuclear.org/education/wast.htm [world-nuclear.org]

Re:Damage has been done, hello oil and coal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35485460)

which is strange considering that a 40 year old plant hit with a quake 7 times its design limit and then a sunami is holding up pretty good and as far as I can read isn't likely to really have a catastrophic outcome

Re:Damage has been done, hello oil and coal... (1)

j1r3 (586944) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485462)

I agree with you. I was also wondering how this will impact the future of nuclear energy. Not looking good, but it always depends on how the media will handle this.

Re:Damage has been done, hello oil and coal... (1)

arunce (1934350) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485570)

That's right. It happened before and will happen again. And the lies are more or less the same.

Re:Damage has been done, hello oil and coal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35485632)

I would rather have my kids and grandkids live in caves than in the Fallout^TM world.

Re:Damage has been done, hello oil and coal... (1)

Fractal Dice (696349) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485796)

The Hindenburg feels your pain. The world can adapt and continue to progress, even if we choose to kill random technologies.

Re:Damage has been done, hello oil and coal... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35486288)

This is different. Nuclear energy is a useful tool, the air ships in contrast were already in the process of being replaced at that point. The main reason why they were being used is that planes hadn't yet gotten to the point where they could reliably cross an ocean, let alone with enough passengers to make it worthwhile.

I wasn't aware that Japan had nuclear reactors, it was a really dumb idea for them to do. In the US the few nuclear reactors we have are designed so that if power is lost to the core the control rods fall into the core and the fuel rods fall out and the reaction stops. The problem is that if a reactor like that suffers and earthquake you can end up in a position where the rods get jammed and the assurance of an automatic shutdown disappears.

From what I've gathered it's a bit of a moot point as these reactors were apparently built upside down such that they have to have constant power to keep the reactor offline.

But, the result will largely be the same, we'll be deprived of a safe source of base power to augment with solar and wind because of the fear mongering that's certain to result by people who have little knowledge of how a nuclear reactor works.

Re:Damage has been done, hello oil and coal... (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 3 years ago | (#35486456)

Keeping the reactor usable after an earthquake is a much more expensive prospect than merely preventing an uncontrolled reaction leading to too much waste heat. There are several modern fail-safe ideas, from pebble-bed reactors where nuggets of fissile material are encased in a coating with a temperature-sensitive neutron cross-section (so if it gets hot, the reaction is stopped), to simple meltable housings that flood the reactor chamber with a neutron absorber if a temperature threshhol is passed (think sprinkler system on steroids).

It's a shame we're not building plants to new designs, as the difference in safety is remarkable (not that older designs were all that bad, outside of communist countries).

Re:Damage has been done, hello oil and coal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35486762)

I wasn't aware that Japan had nuclear reactors, it was a really dumb idea for them to do. In the US the few nuclear reactors we have are designed so that if power is lost to the core the control rods fall into the core and the fuel rods fall out and the reaction stops. The problem is that if a reactor like that suffers and earthquake you can end up in a position where the rods get jammed and the assurance of an automatic shutdown disappears.

You have no idea what you're talking about. That is exactly what happened in Japans' reactors. The problem is not the control rods. The control rods automatically inserted within seconds of the earthquake, stopping the reaction.

The real problem is cooling. Just because the reaction stops doesn't mean the core is any less hot. It typically takes days to fully cool down a reactor under good circumstances. The cooling system is just water, but it requires pumps to keep it circulating through the reactor core. The earthquake knocked out power, so the emergency disel generators kicked in. Unfortunately a few hours later, the tsunami knocked out the generators, so the backup batteries kicked in. Those only last about 8 hours though, so they had to truck in new generators, but apparently they had the wrong plug. Oops.

None the less, all of this has been planned for. No radioactivity has been released in a way that will harm people, nor will it. The core remains contained.

You can find a full rundown here: http://bravenewclimate.com/2011/03/13/fukushima-simple-explanation/

Re:Damage has been done, hello oil and coal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35486788)

Funny, nothing I've read has indicated that the Japanese plants had such an asinine design. There are plenty of articles explaining that the control rods were dropped immediately after the quake, and the issue they're having is with residual heat. As a nuclear skeptic, I'm actually rather impressed that these plants have withstood absolute catastrophe without laying waste to the surrounding area. I'm really looking forward to seeing the 'final results' months down the line and hoping it will show us that the anti-nuke rhetoric was just fear mongering after all.

Re:Damage has been done, hello oil and coal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35486874)

What you've gathered is completely wrong. The rods automatically damped the reaction immediately the quake hit. The cooling problems they are having are from the by products of the reaction (radioactive cesium etc) still generating heat and the failure of the backup cooling systems.

these reactors were apparently built upside down such that they have to have constant power to keep the reactor offline.

*facepalm* Where do people get these ideas from?

Re:Damage has been done, hello oil and coal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35486106)

Try posting on a thread relevant to your post. Did you not even RTFA's title?

Damage has been done, hello present and future. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35486736)

Nuclear will still be around in Japan for the same reasons it started to begin with. As for nuclear the main thing about it is that a major failure has a much bigger scope and scale than any other power source say except large scale hydro. A wind farm goes down. A coal or oil plant burns up. My grandchildren will read about it, not be living it, like nuclear.

Re:Damage has been done, hello oil and coal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35486802)

Even though the Japanese reactors did their job to contain against a meltdown

Actually, there may yet be a meltdown: http://bravenewclimate.com/2011/03/13/fukushima-simple-explanation/

A meltdown isn't a disaster (except for the reactor and the people who own it, as it will be out of commission for years while it's repaired). The Japanese reactors a fully capable of containing a meltdown. No radiation will be released in a way that will harm anyone.

anthropomorphizing (2)

spud603 (832173) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485400)

"Net Sees Earthquake Damage"; "[internet] routes around it"; "outages mostly healed themselves"
Why do we insist on speaking of the internet as some mythical being with the ability to observe, act and heal? It's true that there is a remarkable robustness to the network, as shown in this case, but why do we need to attribute it to anything beyond simple 'redundancy and good planning'? It's a network of electronics and fiber-optics, maintained by people --- infrastructure and connections.
The internet doesn't 'see' anything, and information doesn't 'want' anything.

Re:anthropomorphizing (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485470)

Why do we insist on speaking of the internet as some mythical being with the ability to observe, act and heal?

Its sounds nicer and we are just thinking of Skynet and the Matrix. We are simply the worker cells. :)

Re:anthropomorphizing (1)

spud603 (832173) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485510)

I guess that's a good point. How are we going to organize a resistance against it if we can't say that it's plotting our demise?

Re:anthropomorphizing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35486722)

It isnt plotting. It is just making us redundant, and routing the energy flows around us instead of through us.

Re:anthropomorphizing (5, Insightful)

mcavic (2007672) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485494)

The internet doesn't 'see' anything

Routers do. They can see a loss of connectivity and alter their routes accordingly.

why do we need to attribute it to anything beyond simple 'redundancy and good planning'?

A redundant route doesn't do any good without the intelligence (either human or machine) to determine which routes are up and send traffic through them only.

Re:anthropomorphizing (1)

spud603 (832173) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485610)

A redundant route doesn't do any good without the intelligence (either human or machine) to determine which routes are up and send traffic through them only.

I guess tend to think of the software that makes redundancy act like redundancy as just a component of the redundancy (nobody says they have redundancy to their data just because they installed a second drive---the redundancy comes from the RAID implementation).
But you're right, there needs to be some algorithmic intelligence there. But the language used in the headline here almost suggests some sort of hyper-consciousness to the internet. I think it's a lot more amazing to think of it as a crazy-complex system of interdependent parts than as some unified being.

Re:anthropomorphizing (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35485880)

I think it's a lot more amazing to think of it as a crazy-complex system of interdependent parts than as some unified being.

Strange, I think of the human brain as a crazy-complex system of interdependent parts. But then again, I do not consider all humans to be intelligent.

Re:anthropomorphizing (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485840)

"Routers do. They can see a loss of connectivity and alter their routes accordingly."

It's anthropomorphizing to say "they see" a loss of connectivity. Routers don't have eyes or cameras. They do have mechanisms to detect the loss of connectivity, though.

"A redundant route doesn't do any good without the intelligence..."

Again, it's anthropomorphizing to attribute a change in routes to "intelligence." Routers aren't intelligent - they blindly follow a well defined set of rules. Order all routes by their defined costs/metrics, when a route goes away, use the next best one, etc.

To the OP, networks are often described in anthropomorphic terms because that's what what humans naturally understand. It's easier, quicker, and aids understanding to use such terms when explaining things to other humans. The same thing with computers - do you really think your computer understands what trash is, and what it means to empty it? OTOH, some cars think a door is a jar.

Re:anthropomorphizing (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35485562)

It's a modification of a famous quote by John Gilmore [wikipedia.org] : "The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it."

Know your Internet heroes. (Everybody recognizes that Zuckerberg twerp, but the net was fostered by people with beards!)

Re:anthropomorphizing (2)

alt236_ftw (2007300) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485686)

Its not a matter of considering the net a live entity, but it is a complex mesh of devices, each of which has a specialised function and the sum of those devices makes information flow based on certain decisions.

As large amount of decision making on routing, load-balancing, reflowing and path finding is automated and based on certain stimuli (broken links, bandwidth thresholds, lack of net neutrality, etc.) then the system in question -the internet- exhibits a behaviour which is dependant on those stimuli. Routers do have the ability to "observe" a break, "act" on it by trying to discover new routes and attempt "heal" the damage by choosing to route around the break without any human interaction.

So essentially, automated systems do exhibit behaviour patterns and you can say that "the interned routed around the problem", same way that you can say that an emergency generator "went on" by itself or that "my alarm did not ring today".

Re:anthropomorphizing (1)

Lazareth (1756336) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485914)

Because what is being described is an automatic function, carried out autonomously by the infrastructure of the net? We've programmed and built it to react to input in a certain way. In short: in sees damage to its infrastructure, it automatically routes around it and thus it "heals" that damage.

It has the ability to observe, because we've given it ways to receive input. It has the ability to act, because we've programmed it to do so. Being able to 'heal' is a consequence of this instance of acting. It is doing what we want it to do.

According to AFP (3, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485404)

Network traffic has moved 8 feet to the east.

Re:According to AFP (1)

chill (34294) | more than 3 years ago | (#35486128)

Hmmm...lower ping to servers in Japan! Woot!

"Mostly"? (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485412)

I don't know about Mostly. Getting to websites outside of Korea has been a very slow and arduous process since the quake hit. It's 3 days in and a good number of sites are still crawling.

How do other countries compare (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485448)

Does anyone know how other countries compare in this regards? I imagine certain countries have certain clear points of failure.

Re:How do other countries compare (1)

j1r3 (586944) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485658)

I think china might be more vulnerable, with all their internal network choking to a few single "heavily" monitored connection points to the outside world.

It's not just the network architecture (5, Informative)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485526)

The network architecture isn't the only reason why we are still able to *mostly* communicate(I live about 60 km north of Tokyo, still no water though they haven't implemented the rolling blackouts....yet...), the advances in distributed systems also have made a huge impact. Simply put the amount of information to is essentially automatically mirrored(it's not really mirrored, but its easier to think of it like that) in Japan has really cut down on the amount of bandwidth necessary to communicate with the outside world.

I have noticed that for things that almost certainly aren't mirrored and require a direct connection to the US the bandwidth is probably 1/10 of what it usually is. While some of that may be due to increased traffic, I cannot help but think given the location of the quake that some of the cables between the US and Japan have been damaged. However services like Facebook and Google are as fast as they ever were. The reason for this is simple, both Google and Facebook have data centers in Japan that are designed to be eventually consistent. Instead of each individual request being routed to the states and back almost all the requests are routed to local data centers with only the updates coming from elsewhere being pushed through the cables. This obviously saves tons of bandwidth and allows for much better communication with the outside world. Now if you'll excuse me I gotta throw out most of my stuff and get the hell out of here. Tata!

Re:It's not just the network architecture (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 3 years ago | (#35486404)

News reports say a couple of undersea cables between Japan and China are out, but nothing on the US side. Most of your international bandwidth problems are probably caused by the upsurge in people watching NHK online.

PUHLEASE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35485606)

hype
hype?
HYPE???
WHENEVER YOU HAVE PEOPLE COVERING THEIR FACES WITH WET TOWELS AT THE withholding GOVERNMENTS REQUEST, THERE IS A huge DISASTER.

3 PLANTS MELT DOWN?

THEY HAVE TO HOSE DOWN HELICOPTERS 60 MILES OFFSHORE.... IT IS GOING TO GO EVERYWHERE...

the HYPE comes from those sociopathic sucicide cult nuclear power supporters.

Yaay! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35485654)

I was afraid I'd lost all hope of seeing tentacle pr0n again in my lifetime!

Three Mile Island Cancer "Extremely High" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35485724)

http://www.albionmonitor.com/9703a/3milecancer.html

Let's hear it for redundancy and good planning. (4, Funny)

gratuitous_arp (1650741) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485958)

Let's hear it for redundancy and good planning.

Let's hear it for redundancy and good planning.

Re:Let's hear it for redundancy and good planning. (1)

Bill Wong (583178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35486624)

Let's hear it for redundancy and good planning.

Let's hear it for redundancy and good planning.

Let's hear it for redundancy and good planning.

Re:Let's hear it for redundancy and good planning. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35486656)

Let's hear it for good planning and ... D'OH!

Re:Let's hear it for redundancy and good planning. (0)

antdude (79039) | more than 3 years ago | (#35487030)

Let's hear it for redundancy and good planning.

Reaction to the reactors (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 3 years ago | (#35486056)

I don't watch the more hyperbolic networks but from what I've seen and read so far, all the statements seem to be along the lines that the threat of a dangerous radioactive leak is fairly small. However it ain't what you say it's the way that you say it. The tone of some headlines would make you think the world was about to blow up. Channel 4 News (UK) which is renowned for good quality reporting even succumbed to it in their headlines at the weekend, referring to a "nuclear emergency" which has a nice dramatically terrifying ring to it, but vague enough to be almost meaningless.

Re:Reaction to the reactors (1)

murdocj (543661) | more than 3 years ago | (#35486690)

As usual, the truth is somewhere in between the extremes. The reactors aren't going to have nuclear explosions... but the whole "nothing bad could happen, we've got a containment vessel around it" is bullshit. If nothing bad couldn't happen, the Japanese wouldn't be working like beavers pumping seawater into the reactor. Pumping seawater means they've completely written off the reactor. It's the "nuke the site from orbit" approach. You don't do that unless the situation is pretty dire. So yeah, thinking and rethinking nuclear and thinking about how to do it better and what to do with the leftovers is good thing, not a bad thing.

Ugh (1, Insightful)

clyde_cadiddlehopper (1052112) | more than 3 years ago | (#35486160)

My heart sunk when I clicked on the second link ... it lead to a junk engineering article in the Wall Street Journal. Where would I go for an unbiased engineering assessment of "redundancy and good planning"? Technology Review, New Scientist, even Wired ... anywhere but the homepage of Rupert Murdoch's cadre of shills for corporate interests. He makes such brilliant observations as "water doesn't burn." No, it evaportates. Next, it dissociates in the presence of heat and certain catalysts like the zirconium cladding of fuel rods ... and then it EXPLODES.

A Clear Explanation about the Lack of Danger (1)

Takuryu (759826) | more than 3 years ago | (#35486446)

There is a very clear, well-written article explaining about why we shouldn't be worried about the Fukushima Reactors. I live about 150km from the plant and have grown tired of the fear-mongering I see in most of the media back home. The article can be found here [mitnse.com] .

Re:Ugh (1)

WoOS (28173) | more than 3 years ago | (#35486500)

What he was saying is that you need the temperature and ashes of a "real" fire (and not just a comparably "small" hydrogen explosion) to carry nuclear waste around the world. Chernobyl will not be easily matched without something to burn, preferably something very close to the nuclear fuel.

EJECT THE CORE !! EJECT THE CORE !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35486214)

Dammit !! Eject The Core !!

Another blast at Fukushima reactor (3rd blast) (1)

jasax (1728312) | more than 3 years ago | (#35486526)

Well, despite optimism about how the Japan officials are handling the failures at the reactors, it seems a 3rd and more serious blast occurred in reactor II less than an hour from now... It seems melting down is ongoing. The issue here is that many things were overlooked, even if we take into account the huge magnitude of the event. For instance, the massive anti-tsunami barriers in Japan coast were no effective at all. Also, it seems many people didn't took the tsunami warning seriously and didn't go to high places. That is one explanation for the probably serious death toll. More problems for engineers tackle in the next few years... Google aggregation of news about the 3rd blast in this link: http://www.google.com/#q=3rd+blast+fukushima&hl=en&prmd=ivnsu&source=univ&tbs=nws:1&tbo=u&sa=X&ei=W7N-TfbJIMGEOorbzesK&sqi=2&ved=0CDIQqAI&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=9856b7f95556a9fa [google.com]

US event, recovery, and Net Neutrality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35486998)

Reading how well the Japanesse infrastructure reacted to the earthquake, I have to wonder how such an event would play out in the US, and whether Net Neutrality, implemented or not, would effect such a situation.

Yes this is an intellectual exercise, but say every connection crossing the Mississippi River, buried or microwave, was severered due to earthquake, hurricane, or $something else. Would all the telcos bring it all back up a.s.a.p? All of this comes down to line-sharing, right? In the face of massive tragedy and wide-scale infrastructure damage, has anyone really asked how the 'Net Neutrality' fiasco would effect our infrastructure? I'd like to think that everyone would play fair, but this is American telcos we're talking about here. They'd file the insurance claims first, toss the existing infrastructure, working or not, in the bin and start over, or declare bankruptcy and get outta dodge.

I'm not asking this to detract from the present state and emergencies going on in Japan, but I have to wonder just how we'd fare given an equivalent event against our information infrastructure. Does the extent of Corporate greed extend into unimaginable scenarios, when information communication and dissemenation will literally save or costs lives?

The optimist in me thinks, even at our worst, those who have nothing to gain will still lend a helping hand. The cynic in me knows the truth, and remembers Katrina quite vividly.

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