Archive | 3:32 pm

Burning Down East Asia

13 Mar

Burning the Hand That Freed YouThe Liancourt Rocks (Dokdo, in Korean; Takeshima, in Japanese) are about to get a whole lot less remote.

Japan has become the first country to successfully extract methane from frozen reserves under the ocean floor, opening a new potential energy source for the country.

Methane is the primary component of natural gas but methane hydrate offers an even more concentrated source. One cubic foot of hydrate traps about 164 cubic feet of methane gasaccording to the U.S. Geological Survey. The methane in hydrate is frozen within an ice lattice, forming a sherbet-like substance.

To get the methane gas out, Japanese engineers used a depressurization method that turns methane hydrate into methane gas. Extraction began this morning, about 30 miles offshore of Japan’s main island and at a depth of around 1,000 feet below the seabed.

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Who’s Scared Of The Big Bad Bomb?

13 Mar

sk_protestsI keep waiting for my blood pressure to rise, as I read all these out-of-Busan news reports of tension on the Korean peninsula.

Still, North Korea’s anger, and Seoul’s stern rebuttals, is boosting animosity and causing worries on an already tense Korean Peninsula. The rivals this week are also holding dueling military drills.

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Seoul has responded to North Korean threats with tough talk of its own and has placed its troops on high alert.

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Despite the Rodong Sinmun report, U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said the armistice is still valid and still in force because the armistice agreement had been adopted by the U.N. General Assembly and can’t be dissolved unilaterally.

Nesirky added that officials at U.N. headquarters in New York were unaware of any operational changes on the ground on the Korean Peninsula.

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Atomic Lies

13 Mar

atomic energy and plutoNuclear energy excites either crackpot opposition or egghead support. And then, there’s Pinnacle Atomic Hot Vodka.

No one wants a nuclear power plant in his/her neighborhood, but twenty-somethings would drink a beverage that’s “atomic hot”? This is taking the thrill of danger a bit too far. Yet, what’s missing for nuclear power is a visceral, emotional appeal that is also evidence-based. This is not it.

AILEEN MIOKO SMITH: Well, being from the city where the Kyoto Protocol originated, I can tell you very clearly that one of the reasons we did not move forward with work on reducing global warming in Japan is because of nuclear power. Nuclear power was stated as a way of reducing CO2, when the government knew that it won’t happen, new nuclear builds would not happen. And as a result, we lost a decade or more without working on more conservation, efficiency and renewables. So, nuclear power is the biggest block towards making progress on conservation and energy efficiency and renewables. And so, what happens is that, you know, nuclear power is unreliable. It shuts down. Well, what do you have to replace it? Coal-fired plants. And so you spike up the CO2 releases.

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