By TARA PARKER-POPE and FELICITY BARRINGER
A World Health Organization panel put cellphones in the same category as dry cleaning chemicals and pesticides.
A World Health Organization panel put cellphones in the same category as dry cleaning chemicals and pesticides.
台大醫學院 榮譽 教授王正一
大腸裡邊的內容物東西，大家都熟悉，非常不討人喜歡。但是， 能夠維持大腸暢通無阻，卻是很重要的。每個人幾乎一天、 二天就要去上洗手間，做這個必須的動作。如果你沒有良好的排便習
我的營養是來自血管，我的腸壁周圍都有很豐富的血管。如果血管不 暢通，我的外表就會受到傷害，就會出血。這就是所謂「 缺血性結腸炎」〈Ischemic colitis〉。粘膜表面是很嬌嫩、脆弱，最容易因缺氧， 缺血出血。
而就在 2007 年，大腸癌的發生率已經突破一萬例。 肝癌是第一個突破一萬例的癌症，大腸癌是第二個，
我要呼籲大家，多吃蔬菜、水果，少吃油炸的食物，少吃肉類， 要多運動、多喝水、多吃素，絕對可以「腸」保健康。請每天至少有 一餐，每一週至少有一整天吃素。親愛的人類，您如果愛護自己的大腸，就請吃素吧！
A farmer crushes vegetables earmarked for disposal in a hothouse in Nihonmatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, on March 23. (Jun Kaneko)
Potatoes may be more liable to be contaminated by radioactive materials released by the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant than other types of fruits and vegetables, according to a study by Japan's agriculture ministry.
Researchers looked at the absorption rates of 17 types of vegetables and four fruits and found that sweet potatoes and potatoes were significantly more likely to take in radioactive materials than other fruits and leafy vegetables.
The maximum absorption rate of a sweet potato was 17 times higher than that for a lettuce, for instance.
"If potatoes are grown in farmlands where high concentration levels of cesium have been detected in the soil, they could contain more (radioactive material) at the time of harvesting than safety standards," a ministry official said.
The research, released by the government on May 27, was based on data drawn from foreign countries with a similar climate to Japan.
The absorption rate was calculated as the proportion of the cesium present in the soil that finds its way into a fruit or vegetable's edible portions at harvest.
For example, if sweet potatoes with a maximum absorption rate of 0.36 were grown in soil with 5,000 becquerels of cesium per kilogram, the agriculture ministry researchers would project about 1,800 becquerels of radioactive material per kilogram in the vegetable itself if the maximum rate was applied.
The study gave three different absorption figures for each foodstuff: a maximum ratio, a minimum ratio, and an average ratio.
According to the data, the average absorption rate of sweet potatoes was 0.033. The maximum and minimum rates were 0.36 and 0.0020, respectively. The corresponding figures for Irish potatoes were 0.011 (average), 0.13 (maximum) and 0.00047 (minimum).
Other fruits and vegetables had considerably lower absorption ratios. The average rate for a lettuce was 0.0067, with a maximum rate of 0.021 and a minimum of 0.0015.
Apples showed a 0.0010 average absorption rate and a 0.0030 maximum.
Under the Food Sanitation Law, the maximum permissible level of cesium in a kilogram of vegetables is 500 becquerels.
In April, the agriculture ministry and the Fukushima prefectural government jointly conducted a soil survey in farmland beyond a 30-kilometer radius of the Fukushima plant.
They found about 5,000 becquerels of cesium per kilogram of soil in Iitate village, Kawamata town, Otama village, Nihonmatsu city and Motomiya city. Residents of Iitate village and part of Kawamata town have already been told to leave their homes.
The ministry decided to look at contamination levels to about 15 centimeters below the surface because cesium leaked from the plant is likely to be mixed into the soil when farmers prepare the land before planting.
It gathered overseas data on soil contaminated by cesium-137, which has a half-life of about 30 years, to a depth of 10 to 20 cm.
"The amount of data is limited, so the absorption rates are just for reference. We want each local government or farmer to decide which agricultural products to plant," a ministry official said.
The ministry has already banned rice planting in some areas, but has no plans for similar embargoes on the planting of vegetables and fruits.
Instead, it plans to stop shipments if agricultural products are found to exceed safety standards for radioactive materials when they are harvested.
An official of JA Michinoku Adachi, an agricultural cooperative in Nihonmatsu, said: "The absorption rates released by the agricultural ministry are just a guide. But in areas where high concentrations of radioactive materials are detected, we could change to products which have low absorption rates."
(This article was written by Satoshi Otani and Keishi Nishimura.)
Nuclear fuel at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi power plant began melting just five hours after Japan’s March 11 earthquake, a Japanese nuclear engineer told a panel of U.S. scientists Thursday.
About 11 hours later, all of the uranium fuel in the facility’s unit 1 reactor had slumped to the bottom of its inner containment vessel, boring a hole through a thick steel lining, the University of Tokyo’s Naoto Sekimura told a committee of the National Academy of Sciences.
Sekimura’s assessment further damages the credibility of the plant’s operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco). This week, the company admitted for the first time that nuclear fuel in three of the plant’s reactors had melted — a conclusion that independent scientists had reached long ago.
And in a rare insight into internal deliberations at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which oversees U.S. power plants, Commissioner George Apostolakis said that NRC staff members “thought the cores were melting” early in the Daiichi crisis. This conclusion — and the lack of information from Japanese authorities — drove the commission’s controversial recommendation to evacuate Americans within 50-mile radius of the facility, an area far larger than the 12.5-mile evacuation zone then enforced by the Japanese government.
“The 50 miles was very conservative,” Apostolakis told the academy scientists. “You can’t say someone was right or wrong in this situation.”
The six-reactor complex on Japan’s northeastern coast continues emitting radiation into the air and water, and Tepco has said that it will not be able to bring the three heavily damaged reactors under control until late this year or early next year.
The radioactive material already spewed by the plant could cause 120 cases of leukemia in Japanese children over the next 10 years, scientists from the National Cancer Institute said at the meeting.
“You can see there might be considerable number of leukemia cases,” said NCI’s Kiyohiko Mabuchi. He added that the estimate was very rough, based on the assumption that the non-evacuated population of Fukushima prefecture — nearly 2 million people — stays put for the next decade. The case figure was derived from scientists’ understanding of radiation’s dangers gleaned from studies of Japanese atomic bomb survivors.
At a second meeting Thursday related to the Fukushima Daiichi crisis, a U.S. Energy Department official warned that the nuclear facility still faces grave danger.
John E. Kelly, deputy assistant secretary for nuclear reactor technologies, said that protective components at the facility could crack because of high salt levels. There “is still a concern about more massive failure” of steel in the “lower head,” an important part of the containment system, Kelly told an NRC advisory committee. About 100 to 200 tons of salt left by the emergency pumping of salt water to cool the reactors are probably corroding the containment components.
Kelly also stressed that Tepco would have to continue pumping water into the damaged reactor units and venting radioactive steam for a year or more.
Tepco has built a low-level waste storage facility on the site but has no plans to move the waste elsewhere, he added. “It could be almost 30 years before they could use the site, so it’s almost permanent.”
Kelly made his comments during a hearing of the NRC’s advisory committee on reactor safety, which is drawing lessons from the disaster for the U.S. nuclear industry.
Kelly said an enormous number of unknowns, including the cause of an explosion at the unit 4 reactor, the safety of pools of used nuclear fuel and the condition of key protective components, remain.
More damaging revelations emerged earlier Thursday in Tokyo, where Tepco told reporters that a new leak in a storage container had dumped an additional 60 tons of radioactive water into the environment.
A high-level team of investigators from the International Atomic Energy Agency arrived in Japan this week to begin a 10-day investigation of the crisis.
In the United States, the NRC is in the midst of a wide-ranging 90-day review of U.S. nuclear power plant safety regulations in light of Japan’s crisis, the worst nuclear accident since the 1986 explosion at the Chernobyl power plant in Ukraine.
塑 化劑者是一種工業用塑膠軟化劑，不能當飲料的添加物。吃多了會男性雌化，女性早熟、危害孕婦並且致癌。那麼那些黑心的製造商為什麼要添加這種害人的毒物？ 因為在飲品中添加的棕櫚油配方很貴，黑心業者就以廉價的塑化劑替代。以前嘲笑中國黑心食品全球亂賣，還自以為清高，現在台灣的塑化劑飲料也在全球大出風 頭，兩岸接軌快得超出馬總統的想像。台海兩岸聯手毒遍全世界，報八國聯軍之仇，兩岸憤青、憤老們肯定相擁大笑。
黑心加臉皮奇厚，完全符合政黨的求才條 件，兩黨不是大嘆人才求之不易嗎？趕快吸收賴桑參選立委或總統，保證他是全球頂尖的刺客，還是用毒高手。他比陳肇敏等冤殺江國慶的狗官們還狠；陳等只是對 付一個倒楣鬼；可是俊傑兄不針對個人，而是一視同仁，統統下毒。地不分東南西北，人不分男女老幼，一概毒之。
The pilots of an Air France jet that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean two years ago apparently became distracted with faulty airspeed indicators and failed to properly deal with other vital systems, including adjusting engine thrust, according to people familiar with preliminary findings from the plane's recorders.
The final moments inside the cockpit of the twin-engine Airbus A330, these people said, indicate the pilots seemingly were confused by alarms they received from various automated flight-control systems as the plane passed through some turbulence typical on the route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. They also faced unexpectedly heavy icing at 35,000 feet. Such icing is renowned for making airspeed-indicators and other external sensors unreliable.
Workers unload debris from Air France flight 447 in June 2009.
Slated to be disclosed by investigators on Friday, the sequence of events captured on the recorders is expected to highlight that the jet slowed dangerously shortly after the autopilot disconnected. The pilots almost immediately faced the beginning of what became a series of automation failures or disconnects related to problems with the plane's airspeed sensors, these people said.
The crew methodically tried to respond to the warnings, according to people familiar with the probe, but apparently had difficulty sorting out the warning messages, chimes and other cues while also keeping close track of essential displays showing engine power and aircraft trajectory.
Spokesmen for Air France, a unit of Air France-KLM, and Airbus, a unit of European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co., have declined to comment on any details of the investigation. Airbus last week, however, issued a bulletin reassuring airlines that the preliminary readout of the recorders hasn't prompted any "immediate recommendation" regarding the safety of the global A330 fleet. French investigators, who gave the green light for that statement, also have said their preliminary findings don't highlight any major system failures or malfunctions that could have caused the fatal dive.
The Air France pilots were never trained to handle precisely such an emergency, according to safety experts and a previous report by France's Bureau d'Enquetes et d'Analyses, which is heading up the investigation. All 228 people aboard Flight 447 died in the accident.
The senior captain, Marc Dubois, appears to have been on a routine rest break in the cabin when the fatal chain of events started, according to safety experts familiar with the details, but the cockpit-voice recorder suggests he may have rushed back to the cockpit to join the other two Flight 447 pilots.
Though Friday's announcement won't provide final conclusions or specific causes, investigators believe Air France didn't train its pilots to cope with such automation problems in conjunction with a high-altitude aerodynamic stall, an emergency when the wings lose lift and the plane quickly becomes uncontrollable. Since the crash, Airbus and a number carriers, including Air France, have emphasized such training.
According to a report issued by French investigators in November 2009, Airbus identified 32 instances involving similar model jetliners between 2003 and 2009 in which external speed probes, known as pitot tubes, suffered ice buildup at high altitude and caused "erroneous air speed indications." Over the years, the same models also suffered numerous failures of external temperature-sensors because of icing. Both issues were known to Air France.
Most of the incidents with speed sensors involved probes similar to those on the A330 that crashed. Many were on Air France planes, according to the BEA report.
Friday's update follows sniping between senior officials of Air France and Airbus, usually close corporate allies, who in this case have tried to shift the blame for the accident to each other.
Air France began addressing problems with its pitot tubes almost a year before the crash. Amid several incidents in which air crews lost speed indication at high altitude during 2008, Air France reported the icing problems to Airbus. The two companies discussed solutions and Airbus talked to its supplier.
In April 2009, roughly 45 days before the crash, Airbus proposed that Air France swap out its pitot tubes for a different model believed to be less prone to icing, according to the BEA report. Air France began the work on April 27, 2009, and it received the first batch of new pitot tubes six days before the crash. The plane that crashed hadn't yet received the new equipment.
According to the 2009 report published by investigators after the crash, experts examined 13 other incidents of airspeed-sensor malfunctions on Airbus widebody jets at cruise altitudes. During most of those global incidents—none of which resulted in a crash—both the autopilots and automated engine-thrust systems disconnected on their own, and it took many of the flight crews up to a minute to manually adjust engine thrust.
The earlier report found that pilots in nine of those 13 events received warnings of an impending stall. And in a finding that may have particular relevance to the upcoming update, accident investigators in 2009 also concluded that when airspeed-sensor malfunctions kick off automated thrust controls, "the absence of appropriate manual adjustments" to engines "can present a risk" of a mismatch between power settings and the jet's orientation in the air.
Investigators began focusing on pitot problems from the start, because Flight 447's automated maintenance system broadcast 21 separate messages related to such malfunctions during roughly the last four minutes of the fatal flight. But the final report, which may not be released until 2012, also is expected to delve deeper into how European air-safety regulators dealt with persistent reports of pitot-tube icing prior to the crash.
The previous interim report indicated that in late March 2009, less than three months before the crash, European aviation regulators decided that the string of pitot-icing problems on widebody Airbus models wasn't serious enough to require mandatory replacement of pitot tubes.
BY SOPHIE KNIGHT STAFF WRITER
Shoppers stop to rest on green benches centered around a "satoyama" unit in Tokyo's Marunouchi district (Provided by 5 x Midori)After three years, a house in Tokyo's Kami-Meguro district is transformed (Provided by 5 x Midori)A road is brightened up by a string of "satoyama" units by Kashiwanoha campus station in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture (Provided by 5 x Midori)
Tokyo office thermostats will be set to 28 degrees this summer, meaning that workers in the big city face a sweltering few months. While a relaxed dress code of sandals and Hawaiian shirts might help, there's a more colorful way to beat the heat: plant more greenery.
That's what 5 x Midori, a company seeking to return seasonal and native plants to Japan's cities, has been doing since 2004. Reducing the urban "heat island" effect, caused by a concentration of concrete, asphalt and other man-made materials, was just one of founder Fumi Miyata's objectives when she set out to "green" the capital.
"More plants are the answer to a lot of problems--not only dwindling botanical diversity, but also global warming and climate change," explains Miyata. A study at the University of Tokyo showed that having foliage around a building provides more oxygen and reduces the ambient temperature by up to 1.5 degrees.
Unfortunately, beyond its larger parks, Tokyo lacks open green space, with playgrounds and sports fields covered with sand.
Miyata conceived the idea for 5 x Midori when her plans for a garden were thwarted because the land around her house was filled in with concrete. Although she admits that many people get around this problem by placing collections of pot plants on their balconies or porches and squeezing trailing plants wherever they can, she wanted more.
"There's practically no soil in Tokyo," she says. "Wherever you walk, the ground is always covered in concrete. I thought there must be people out there like me who want more greenery, but have no idea how to go about creating it."
Michio Tase, an ecologically-minded architect, helped Miyata design the simple system of interlocking wire mesh boxes that gave the company its name, which means "five times more greenery." When the boxes are filled with soil, plants can grow out of any of the five sides that don't touch the ground.
"The beauty is that you can put them anywhere and make structures or shapes to fit any environment," says Miyata. "We also used a highly absorbent soil, so they don't need frequent watering."
The boxes, which can be used to create hedgerows, benches and even steps, are called "satoyama" units, a reference to the botanically diverse woodlands that once covered Japan. Today much satoyama has been swallowed by industrial and urban sprawl. Up to 25 percent of Japan's indigenous plant species face extinction.
"People don't realize that many Japanese species are dying out," says Miyata. "People are really shocked to hear that "kikyo" (Chinese bellflower), one of the seven flowers of autumn, is on the brink of extinction. So we're trying to bring them back."
One way 5 x Midori is doing this is working with the people of Batto, Tochigi Prefecture, which is surrounded by woodlands. Miyata explains that people used to clear weeds and undergrowth from the forest floor to encourage diversity by preventing stronger plants from dominating and allowing buried seeds to sprout.
Although the practice has largely died out, it has been revived in Batto by 5 x Midori, who use some of the sprouted plants in boxes in the city. Some profits from the sale of boxes are sent back to Batto to fund the next clearing session.
"We can increase botanical diversity while greening the city--it's a symbiotic relationship," says Miyata.
Increased greenery can also have an emotional effect, as Miyata points out: "Plants and flowers make people feel better in spirit and body. One study found that hospital patients who could see greenery through their window had a shorter stay and got better faster than those who didn't."
The boxes have spread through the city extremely fast, with satoyama units visible on roofs, walls, and even carparks. Miyata thinks this is proof of Tokyo's experimental attitude.
"This city is always in flux, and cutting-edge models are always being tested out," she says. "I think more people are realizing how ncessary greenery is in the city. This is just the beginning."
Preparing for a natural disaster like a hurricane is critical in minimizing damage, but what motivates individuals to listen to warnings and act is largely unexplored territory.
The question intrigued Wharton marketing professor Robert Meyer, co-director of the Risk Management and Decision Processes Center. Over the past five years, Meyer has worked to develop an interactive simulation to study how such factors as news media reports, storm warnings and the level of concern expressed by friends and neighbors prompt people to take steps such as installing shutters to protect windows ahead of a hurricane. That model is described in a working paper titled, "Development and Pilot Testing of a Dynamic Hurricane Simulator for the Laboratory Study of Hurricane Preparedness and Mitigation Decisions."
By surveying residents impacted by Hurricane Earl in 2010, Meyer was able to validate that the lab simulation accurately reproduced many of the key aspects of real storm responses. "Those surveys produced the same information we got from the simulation. The two were mirror images of each other," Meyer says. "You can really study how people behave in these extreme events in the virtual world."
His hurricane laboratory is based on a methodology known as information acceleration (IA). Instead of using surveys to get a sense of consumer behavior, IA uses computers to simulate the learning that individuals go through before making a choice on a product -- whether it is reading newspaper stories or talking to friends. First developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the mid-1990s, IA was useful in figuring out how consumers would adopt new technologies. Meyer saw an opportunity to use a similar approach to learn how external sources of information drove people to prepare -- or not prepare -- for a hurricane.
Taking on the Role of Meteorologist
Understanding what would prompt people to more effectively get ready for a natural disaster is critical in improving overall disaster preparedness, Meyer says. "We know very little about what triggers decisions" on disaster preparedness and what role different media play in forming risk perceptions. "The National Hurricane Center, for example, wants to be sure it uses the right graphics in giving warnings. And it worries that if people are instead getting their information from friends and family, then our efforts [to convey information about an impending storm] will be wasted."
Meyer's first simulation was set up to resemble a game. First, participants were given reading information to catch them up on the scenario: It is September 2012, and they are living in Pompano Beach, Fla., which is facing a looming hurricane named Gabrielle. In the game, participants had a choice as to how to spend their time: They could either go to work, enjoy leisure activities or take steps to protect themselves and their home from the hurricane. The hurricane preparation work included precautions like stocking up on food and water or installing shutters on windows ahead of the storm. Those preparation measures, however, did not earn any points for participants but rather protected a portion of the utility points they had earned through the work and play activities.
The final stage of the simulation described what happened when the hurricane hit. If it was a direct hit, the protection points came in handy. But if it was a miss, participants found they wasted time on precautions they didn't need. The goal was to have as many points as possible after the hurricane -- something that required participants to balance racking up utility points versus spending time earning protection for those points.
To keep it interesting, Meyer designed the model so that precaution activities varied in how much time they consumed. "We had a roulette thing," he notes. "So if you wanted to put up shutters, the time that took varied. We wanted to make it as realistic as possible because you can't perfectly predict the amount of time it takes to do something." Meyer also varied the outcome of the storm -- whether it mounted a devastating direct hit on a participant's home or left it largely unscathed.
Among the challenges of building the system was creating the content to set the scene. Meyer needed to film a series of television spots with a meteorologist reporting on the severity and path of the storm. Originally, he tried to tap a real meteorologist in Florida but found that the local stations were unwilling to let their people film spots about a fake hurricane. So Meyer himself stepped into the role. "It's okay," he says of his performance. "But I think I should keep my day job."
The original pilot was done with 32 staff employees and graduate students at the University of Miami. It was intended to study two questions: how the variation in television graphics impacted preparedness, and how formal storm warnings by the National Hurricane Center translated into action by viewers. When it came to the graphics question, Meyer was interested in whether the preparation by participants changed depending on the use of two different images showing the storm's likely future path. One image was a simple "cone of uncertainty" that showed a range of areas where the storm might make landfall, without highlighting any one particular location. The second was a "track forecast" where forecasters' best guess as to where the storm would hit was superimposed on the cone. In addition, he wanted to find out what impact the timing of formal warnings by the National Hurricane Center had on preparation.
In the initial pilot, preparation activities peaked before the formal watches and warnings were issued -- an indication that South Floridians were prone to take action well before the onset of a storm. At the same time, the pilot found that the presence of a track forecast on the weather map, which in the simulator ran above Pompano Beach where fictitious the homes stood, caused participants on average to spend less time on preparation. The possible reason: People were less inclined to prepare for the storm once they saw their town was unlikely to get the brunt of it.
Testing It Out on Hurricane Earl
Whether the results of Meyer's simulation would match what is found in a real storm was unclear. But Meyer had the chance to test this out with regard to one element of his pilot study when Hurricane Earl was threatening the eastern United States in 2010. A telephone survey of 195 North Carolina residents three days before Earl was expected to make landfall found that, just as the model predicted, residents took some precautions well before the storm drew close and formal warnings were posted. The residents had levels of concern that far exceeded what was warranted by the technical forecasts from the National Hurricane Center. But as the storm drew closer, their concern level fell even as the government forecasts grew more worrisome. (Meyer could not test the validity of the finding about how the type of graphic used affected preparation since all residents in North Carolina were exposed to the same graphic.)
Meyer was not completely satisfied with this original version of the simulation. His concern was that the game mindset might induce people to behave a bit differently -- perhaps to take more risk to rack up more points than they would in real life. So the latest generation of the simulation dispenses with the game approach and creates a virtual world where someone moves around his or her home to gather information on the storm or make preparations. Not only does the immersion approach more accurately reflect real life, but participants can also move through the experiment in 20 minutes versus 90 minutes for the game model.
In April of 2011, the new simulation was tested out by 387 Florida residents and produced some interesting findings. First, the new simulation found that people did not rely very much on the opinions of friends and neighbors when making preparation decisions. That finding was reinforced by the telephone surveys of residents impacted by Hurricane Earl. Second, Meyer also found that "storm fatigue" has a real impact on how people respond to a new threat. So with one group, he had participants read a series of stories about very destructive storms earlier in the hurricane season, while a second group read clippings about less destructive storms. The group that was bombarded with news about very bad storms actually prepared less in the simulation that followed than the other group. "You have a crowding out effect with disasters," according to Meyer. "As you have one after another, people care less about the next one."
The new immersion approach did turn up one finding that conflicted with the original approach. In the immersion model, the group that viewed a graphic showing the most likely path of the hurricane along with a "cone of uncertainty" prepared more -- not less -- than the group that was only shown the uncertainty cone. Meyer says in this case, the group that lived in the area of that likely path line prepared more than others, but the preparation of those outside the likely path zone didn't fall. Hence, the overall net effect was that including a center-line forecast helped increase mean levels of preparation over the entire threatened region.
That information could be extremely valuable to the National Hurricane Center as it decides how to convey information on future storms. The simulation approach, Meyer notes, is also of value in upping preparation for other natural disasters. With earthquakes, for example, while there is no advance warning, people still have to make decisions about building a home designed to withstand an earthquake or making improvements to an existing home that would limit damage in an earthquake. So the model could be used to determine what kinds of messages motivate people to make those investments. The U.S. Geological Survey, meanwhile, has inquired about using the model to help it figure out the optimal way to provide warnings and calls for evacuations in southern California in the event of mudslides and debris flows from heavy rains. In addition, a New York utility is looking into using the simulation to train its own employees on how to handle power outages following a storm.
Meyer has plans to hone his simulation further. He wants to study how emotions drive decisions in the event of a disaster. "There is a difference between someone describing a hypothetical situation [of a looming storm] and looking out the window and seeing the real thing," Meyer points out. "You need to make it realistic and capture the emotions." He plans to use tools to measure the physiological reaction people have when they are going through the simulation. When people see loops of the satellite images of a storm on television, "we want to know what that does to them physiologically. The emotional reaction to disasters is important."
Formosa may defer May/June naphtha shipments to July
* Shutdown of 700,000 tpy No. 1 cracker unclear
* Two other crackers running at 100 pct capacity
SINGAPORE, May 13 (Reuters) - Taiwan's Formosa Petrochemical Corp could delay some shipments of naphtha feedstock after it shut its No. 1 cracker following a fire that hit a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) pipeline, traders said on Friday.
This could snap the strong sentiment in the naphtha market since second-half April due to a drop in European barrels to Asia. [ID:nL3E7FQ0WN]
"Formosa will likely delay some naphtha shipments, and the market is reacting to that with paper spreads seen weaker," said a Singapore trader.
June/July paper spreads fell $1.88 on Friday, the biggest one-day decline since January, to a more than one-month low of $3.38 a tonne.
How much Formosa will defer and for how long were not immediately clear, although some traders expect May/June cargoes to be rolled over to July.
The No. 1 cracker -- with a total capacity of 700,000 tonnes per year (tpy) -- uses nearly 43,000 tonnes of naphtha a week if it is not using any LPG.
Formosa Petrochemical, Asia's top naphtha buyer, operates three naphtha crackers at its 2.93 million tonnes-per-year (tpy) ethylene facility in Mailiao, and uses LPG to replace about 15 percent of its naphtha raw material.
Its two larger crackers are operating at full capacity, traders added.
IMPACT TO BE LESS SEVERE VS LAST JULY
The No. 1 cracker was the same unit that was closed for a prolonged period from July to October last year due to a fire sparked by a leakage at a distillation tower. [ID:nSGE6660GD]
Back then, the market slumped shortly after the No. 1 unit was shut on July 7. Asian naphtha margins sunk to a 14-month low on July 19 at $50.60 a tonne premium.
Cracks as of Thursday were at a $156.60 a tonne premium.
"If the shutdown of the cracker is limited to a week, the impact is not that big," said a North Asian trader.
Formosa had also shut a No. 1 line that produces more than 440,000 tonnes of aromatics operated by Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corp .
A spokesman said the fire at the pipe was put out around 5:45 a.m. on Friday after breaking out on Thursday evening.
Because of the damage to the pipeline, the ethylene and aromatics units were shut, although they were not damaged by the fire, the spokesman said.
While traders estimated that the aromatics unit may be able to restart from next week, they were unsure when the cracker could resume.
"But I think the cracker should be able to restart shortly, because production was halted for safety reasons and not because it was damaged," said a third trader.
The Mailiao complex was hit by two fires in a month last July, raising concern over its safety record. (Reporting by Seng Li Peng and Jasmin Choo in SINGAPORE and Jeanny Kao and Jonathan Standing in TAIPEI; Editing by Michael Urquhart)
Chubu Electric Power Co. decided on May 9 to halt, for the time being, operations of all reactors at its Hamaoka nuclear power plant, which is located right above what seismologists say will be the focus of an expected Tokai earthquake.
The company made the decision in an emergency board meeting in response to Prime Minister Naoto Kan's unusual request for the action.
The March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake has triggered a disastrous accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co., shattering the myth of the safety of nuclear power generation.
There is clearly a compelling case for shutting down the nuclear power plant in Shizuoka Prefecture, which is considered the most dangerous in Japan, and taking fresh measures to bolster the safety of the plant.
One troubling element in the move is that the suspension of reactor operations requested by Kan is limited to the period until medium- to long-term safety measures, like the construction of levees, have been implemented at the plant.
This raises the question of whether the plant is strong enough to withstand the violent shaking of the ground caused by powerful seismic waves in the first place.
The medium- to long-term safety measures have been called for by the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency in light of the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 plant. They are aimed at enhancing defenses against massive tsunami and potential losses of power sources.
Besides building levees, Chubu Electric says that it will also install watertight doors, a backup reactor cooling system and additional power sources for emergencies.
But the blueprint doesn't contain measures for checking and enhancing the safety of the plant against quakes themselves.
The principal concern about the Hamaoka plant has been whether it can withstand the force of the expected Tokai earthquake, a mega-quake that occurs at the boundaries of tectonic plates.
In response to the concern, Chubu Electric announced in 2005 plans to strengthen the quake resistance of the plant. Other electric power companies have followed suit.
But NISA's assessment of the quake resistance of the Hamaoka plant based on the new quake safety standards adopted in 2006 is not yet over.
The assessment has been delayed by the safety implications of some recent seismic events, including the 2007 Niigata Chuetsu-oki Earthquake, which shook the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture with a far stronger intensity than TEPCO had expected.
It is also necessary to glean lessons from the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Regarding the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 plant, attention has been focused on the height of the tsunami that struck the facilities.
But it is possible that the piping of the reactors might have been seriously damaged by the intense shaking before the tsunami hit.
The March 11 earthquake was marked not just by its strong peak ground acceleration but also by the unusual length of the shaking.
What is crucial in taking safety precautions is not to focus too much on a single aspect.
The Fukushima No. 1 plant suffered unexpectedly serious damage from a tsunami, a factor that had not been given much attention in preparations for a natural disaster.
But it would be foolish to go to the opposite extreme and concentrate only on the danger of tsunami in taking precautionary measures to make the Hamaoka plant safer.
Let us not forget the destructive force of the shaking of a mammoth quake.
New important discoveries have been made almost annually about the mechanisms and risks of earthquakes that occur in areas surrounding the Japanese archipelago.
Such new knowledge should be used for the sake of making more informed decisions on whether to keep or stop operating specific reactors.
A greater dose of flexibility is needed for the government's nuclear power policy.
--The Asahi Shimbun, May 10
Vox Populi, Vox Dei is a daily column that runs on Page 1 of the vernacular Asahi Shimbun.
In the novel "Botchan" by Soseki Natsume (1867-1916), there is a scene where the protagonist and his colleague, Yama-arashi, dine together on sukiyaki. The beef needs to be simmered in the pot at the table, but the protagonist, being a typical impatient Edokko (Tokyoite), starts digging in before the meat is fully cooked. Yama-arashi, who is from Aizu (present-day western Fukushima Prefecture) and more laid back, admonishes him: "Hey, that meat isn't done yet. You're going to get a tapeworm from that."
Whether his ominous pronouncement was justified or not, it is a fact that there were no refrigerators in Soseki's time. When it came to eating perishables, people must have been much more careful than we are today. In fact, there were all sorts of sayings back then--now practically obsolete--that warned people to watch out for food spoilage. For instance, "saba no ikigusare" (literally "live, rotting mackerel") and "natsu no iwashi" (summer sardine) implied that fish spoiled faster than people thought.
I was reminded of these expressions as well as the scene from Soseki's novel by the recent string of food poisoning cases at a chain of yakiniku restaurants. Four people have died from eating "yukhoe" or seasoned raw beef, and more than 20 taken violently ill. With police now investigating the restaurants, the public’s faith in the safety of this popular delicacy has been badly shaken.
Restaurants are allowed to serve raw meat so long as they prepare it according to the government’s sanitation standards. And the government merely "instructs" restaurants to follow these standards, and there are no penalties for noncompliance. Since what goes on in the kitchen is unknown to customers and health authorities, some restaurants have apparently become lax with the standards.
Although government regulations alone do not ensure food safety, the food poisoning cases are another sobering reminder that we should never take safety of any kind for granted.
Traditionally, "fugu" (pufferfish) has topped the list of food one eats at one's own risk. Considered a great delicacy, many gourmets find it irresistible, even though it contains deadly tetrodotoxins that must be carefully removed before contaminating the meat. A haiku by Sojo Hino (1901-1956) goes: "I'm a boy/ I bet my life on fugu."
But yakiniku is something people enjoy with family and friends, and nobody's "courage" should be tested by it.
Back to the sukiyaki scene in Soseki's novel. The protagonist shrugs aside Yama-arashi's caution and replies, "It's probably going to be all right."
That's his decision, and I'm fine with that. But it's not fine if a restaurant or the government makes that decision for me. The government must take the "probably" out of the equation at once.
--The Asahi Shimbun, May 7
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Vox Populi, Vox Dei is a popular daily column that takes up a wide range of topics, including culture, arts and social trends and developments. Written by veteran Asahi Shimbun writers, the column provides useful perspectives on and insights into contemporary Japan and its culture.
Environmental Ethics by Holmes Rolston III《環境倫理學：對...
The surprising benefits of lemon!
I remain perplexed!
Institute of Health Sciences, 819 N. L.L.C. Charles Street Baltimore , MD 1201.
This is the latest in medicine, effective for cancer!
Read carefully & you be the judge.
Lemon (Citrus) is a miraculous product to kill cancer cells. It is 10,000 times stronger than chemotherapy.
Why do we not know about that? Because there are laboratories interested in making a synthetic version that will bring them huge profits. You can now help a friend in need by letting him/her know that lemon juice is beneficial in preventing the disease. Its taste is pleasant and it does not produce the horrific effects of chemotherapy. How many people will die while this closely guarded secret is kept, so as not to jeopardize the beneficial multimillionaires large corporations? As you know, the lemon tree is known for its varieties of lemons and limes. You can eat the fruit in different ways: you can eat the pulp, juice press, prepare drinks, sorbets, pastries, etc... It is credited with many virtues, but the most interesting is the effect it produces on cysts and tumors. This plant is a proven remedy against cancers of all types. Some say it is very useful in all variants of cancer. It is considered also as an antimicrobial spectrum against bacterial infections and fungi, effective against internal parasites and worms, it regulates blood pressure which is too high and an antidepressant, combats stress and nervous disorders.
The source of this information is fascinating: it comes from one of the largest drug manufacturers in the world, says that after more than 20 laboratory tests since 1970, the extracts revealed that: It destroys the malignant cells in 12 cancers, including colon, breast, prostate, lung and pancreas ... The compounds of this tree showed 10,000 times better than the product Adriamycin, a drug normally used chemotherapeutic in the world, slowing the growth of cancer cells. And what is even more astonishing: this type of therapy with lemon extract only destroys malignant cancer cells and it does not affect healthy cells.