My Three Jobs

Two days as a full-time employee and I’m falling down tired by 9 p.m.! Gotta say though, I am liking the job so far. Early days.

One happy offshoot of the full-time job is that I travel through a village of some size to get there. That means that I can “pick up” a bag of milk on the way home from work! Tonight I even managed to get to a Canadian Tire store to purchase a new rear windshield wiper for my car, as the old one wore out completely ultimately reducing visibility rather than improving it. Usually it takes weeks or months to find an opportunity to shop at a store stocking such a specialized item. Luxury!

Later this week I begin my new part-time job. I’ve no idea what to expect there, time will tell.

It has been raining, and raining, and raining. We might get thunderstorms tonight and tomorrow, which means my computers at home won’t be plugged into the power lines. Right now the skies are grey, but not threatening.

I don’t really feel free to write about my work experiences, unless they are outside the realm of reasonable. Luckily for me, at the moment, there are no unreasonable situations to deal with!! I’ve waited a very long time to say that!

Attila and I have a few outings planned for the upcoming months. We plan a whole weekend visit to the little house in the city when Attila gets his next Saturday off work. We plan to visit Toronto for a CD release of a talented friend, Derek Currie. We also plan to attend Luna and Janus’ housewarming/birthday party in June (it is Janus’ birthday in June). I think that is about all we will be able to manage over the next months; my three jobs will keep me extremely busy until the end of the summer.

You know, I like saying it, “three jobs”; beautiful ring to that phrase. “My three jobs” sounds pretty good also; fun with words.

Japan Catastrophe

“Medvedev, meeting survivors of Chernobyl clean-up efforts in the Kremlin on Monday, said there must be greater transparency in nuclear emergencies.

“I think that our state must learn the lessons from what happened — from the now-distant Chernobyl incident in 1986 and the recent tragedies in Japan. Perhaps the most important lesson is the need to tell people the truth,” he said.

“Because the world is so fragile and we are all so inter-connected, any attempts to hide the truth — to refrain from talking about something publicly, glossing over a situation, making it more optimistic than it is — these subsequently result in the tragic loss of human lives,” he said”

Worldly Distractions


11 °C
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 100.6 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 11.0°C
Dewpoint: 10.2°C
Humidity: 95 %
Wind: SE 15 km/h


“When a man tells you that he got rich through hard work, ask him: ‘Whose?'”
Don Marquis
1878 – 1937


Don Marquis

“an American humorist, journalist and author. He was variously a novelist, poet, newspaper columnist and playwright.,,

Marquis’s best-known creation was Archy, a fictional cockroach (developed as a character during 1916) who had been a free-verse poet in a previous life, and who supposedly left poems on Marquis’s typewriter by jumping on the keys. Archy usually typed only lower-case letters, without punctuation, because he could not operate the shift key. His supposed writings were a type of social satire, and were used by Marquis as a newspaper column named “archy and mehitabel” (Archy’s best friend was a fictional alley cat named Mehitabel). Other characters developed by Marquis included Pete the Pup, Clarence the ghost, and an egomaniacal toad named Warty Bliggins.”

Beautiful Day

Another beautiful day. The white is retreating rapidly now, the landscape is more brown than white. This morning time was spent collecting fallen branches from the yard. The mature trees are tall and generate a lot of dead wood, which falls to the ground during wind storms. By the time spring arrives there is quite a collection of dead branches on the front lawn. Since that morning gathering, half a dozen crocuses have bloomed where only days ago there was snow; yellow and mauve.

This morning I meant to drive off at dawn, to visit the little house in the city. However, as suspected, I got a call to work for three hours tomorrow, so my plans have been postponed. Perhaps I’ll get away tomorrow or Thursday.

The access is for one month. I am desperately trying to find all the documents I need within that time. It is fatiguing and I wish I were not in such a hurry! Thus far I’ve collected 333 documents relating to my genetic relatives in the USA. It will take approximately 30 minutes to properly transcribe and reference each of these files. This can be done after the paid service expires. This part of the project is going to take some time.

Japan Nuclear Catastrophe

Just because it is unfolding slowly doesn’t meant it isn’t a catastrophe. Chernobyl was sudden, it burst onto the public scene full blown. No false hopes about what was going on there. Japan is another type of catastrophe. It keeps getting worse by increments, slowly unfolding to the public as the situation deteriorates, radiation accumulates. Because there is such general faith in science, it becomes difficult to fathom that there isn’t a quick fix for this problem. There may not be a fix at all. These nuclear areas may become the mythic no-mans lands of the future.

Radiation from Japan plant increasingly dangerous
By Tan Ee Lyn
HONG KONG | Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:27am EDT
(Reuters) – Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has so far leaked around a tenth of the amount of radiation released in the Chernobyl disaster, data showed on Tuesday, leading some experts to warn of serious long-term health risks…

Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) and the Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan estimated cumulative radiation levels at between 370,000 and 630,000 terabecquerels…

“If that is the total radiation so far from the time of first leakage, that amount is very serious. It’s undoubtedly very bad. That is close to one-tenth of Chernobyl’s radiation in a month,” said Lam Ching-wan, a chemical pathologist at the University of Hong Kong and member of the American Board of Toxicology…

Lam said regular cancer screening would be important for people living near the nuclear plant.

“Thyroid cancer is treatable and early detection raises cure rates. Without monitoring, you will lose the golden window of opportunity to early treatment,” Lam said.

Ben Cowling, a public health associate professor at the University of Hong Kong said such long term studies would be very useful for healthcare planning in the future.

“Any information would be useful because there is very limited information on these kinds of incidents,” Cowling said. “It could happen again in another place at another time.”

Fukushima and Chernobyl very different: IAEA
VIENNA | Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:48am EDT
(Reuters) – Japan’s decision to raise the severity level of its Fukushima nuclear accident to the highest notch of 7 does not mean it is comparable to Chernobyl, a senior U.N. atomic agency official said on Tuesday.
“This is a totally different accident,” International Atomic Energy Agency official Denis Flory told a news conference. He said the amount of radiation released at Chernobyl in 1986 was far higher.
[Cumulatively? We have a slow leak in Japan. What type of radiation? Without details this statement is meaningless, although I do agree that they are totally different accidents.]

Worldly Distractions


0 °C
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 0.0°C
Dewpoint: -2.2°C
Humidity: 85 %
Wind: NNW 15 km/h
Wind Chill: -4


“I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy.”
Richard Feynman
1918 – 1988


Richard Feynman

“Richard Phillips Feynman… (May 11, 1918 – February 15, 1988) was an American physicist known for his work in the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics and the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, as well as in particle physics (he proposed the parton model). For his contributions to the development of quantum electrodynamics, Feynman, jointly with Julian Schwinger and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga, received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965. He developed a widely used pictorial representation scheme for the mathematical expressions governing the behavior of subatomic particles, which later became known as Feynman diagrams. During his lifetime, Feynman became one of the best-known scientists in the world…

Feynman (in common with the famous physicists Edward Teller and Albert Einstein) was a late talker; by his third birthday he had yet to utter a single word. The young Feynman was heavily influenced by his father, Melville, who encouraged him to ask questions to challenge orthodox thinking. From his mother, Lucille, he gained the sense of humor that he had throughout his life….

In high school, his IQ was determined to be 125: high, but “merely respectable” according to biographer Gleick.[11] Feynman later scoffed at psychometric testing…

He opposed rote learning or unthinking memorization and other teaching methods that emphasized form over function. He put these opinions into action whenever he could, from a conference on education in Brazil to a State Commission on school textbook selection. Clear thinking and clear presentation were fundamental prerequisites for his attention. It could be perilous even to approach him when unprepared, and he did not forget the fools or pretenders…”


Another quiet day here in the bush. Soon it will be time to throw open the windows and hear the wind in the pines; the birds singing and the whine of traffic on the weekends. Funny how one can almost completely tune out the drone of traffic!

It is a beautiful sunny day today. It was chilly last night, around -8C, perhaps colder. The house is coolish this morning, so that Attila will burn a noon fire in the masonry heater to get things warmed up. That should do it, if the weather forecast is even remotely accurate. By the weekend temperatures should stay well above freezing at night, and go up as high as 20C during the day.

My research is going well, although I find that some of the work done at the end of the day, after 12 or more hours at the keyboard, can be a little dubious. Yesterday’s work on the project is reviewed before moving forward each day with further research.

Our company, Em and Henry, did not arrive yesterday, which wasn’t a problem. The only drawback was that I had baked a coffee cake to serve with tea during their visit. Since they didn’t show up, Attila and I decided to eat the coffee cake ourselves. Decadent. There will be no more baking for the promise of company!

Terra and Luna are off with a few friends on a “girls holiday”, shopping of course. I think they will have a lot of fun. Janus has the grand-babies all to himself for four whole days, hand on to your hat Dad. It sounds like everyone is going to be having fun!

Things aren’t this wonderful everywhere in the world. Right now I am feeling very lucky to be in the here and now.

Japan Nuclear Catastrophe

History is being made in Japan. Eventually we will all be affected by the nuclear catastrophe there, in one way or another; some of us directly as a result of radiation, some others will be affected economically, directly and indirectly. Eventually we will cease to associate these changes with the nuclear catastrophe in Japan, or in Chernobyl or at other nuclear sites; if we ever made the connection in the first place.

The long-term effects will not occur in one lifetime. When we are gone, it won’t matter who was responsible for what, or who became rich as a result of what… those who suffer the future consequences of this catastrophe will likely have no recourse; will probably enjoy no acknowledgement or support in dealing with the issues that arise at an individual level.

My world has a long history of industry and science and government failing public safety and playing down the processes that led to human suffering; Walkerton (water supply), Thalidomide (health issues for babies in utero), asbestos (cancer), these immediately come to mind with no effort. These things are not acceptable just because they “didn’t happen to me”. “Who knew!”, isn’t a good enough public stance on such issues.

“TOKYO | Thu Apr 7, 2011 11:06am EDT
(Reuters) – A strong earthquake of magnitude 7.4 shook northeast and eastern Japan late on Thursday, and a tsunami warning was issued for the northeastern coast of Japan, an area badly hit by the March 11 earthquake.

Japan’s NHK public television repeatedly said those in areas where the tsunami warnings were issued should evacuate to higher ground.”


“Some South Korean schools close over radioactive rain concerns,
By Jack Kim
SEOUL | Wed Apr 6, 2011 11:12pm EDT
Concerns about radiation fallout from Japan’s nuclear disaster prompted some schools in South Korea to shut on Thursday as rain fell over most of the country, but the nuclear safety agency played down immediate health risks.”

Worldly Distractions


3 °C
Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 102.1 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 3.0°C
Dewpoint: -6.4°C
Humidity: 50 %
Wind: 4 km/hr


“”I live on Earth at present, and I don’t know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing — a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process — an integral function of the universe.””
Richard Buckminster Fuller
1895 – 1983


Richard Buckminster Fuller

“Richard Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller (July 12, 1895 – July 1, 1983)[1] was an American engineer, author, designer, inventor, and futurist.
Fuller published more than 30 books, inventing and popularizing terms such as “Spaceship Earth”, ephemeralization, and synergetics. He also developed numerous inventions, mainly architectural designs, the best known of which is the geodesic dome. Carbon molecules known as fullerenes were later named by scientists for their resemblance to geodesic spheres…

Fuller was born on July 12, 1895, in Milton, Massachusetts, the son of Richard Buckminster Fuller and Caroline Wolcott Andrews, and also the grandnephew of the American Transcendentalist Margaret Fuller. He attended Froebelian Kindergarten. Spending much of his youth on Bear Island, in Penobscot Bay off the coast of Maine, he had trouble with geometry, being unable to understand the abstraction necessary to imagine that a chalk dot on the blackboard represented a mathematical point, or that an imperfectly drawn line with an arrow on the end was meant to stretch off to infinity. He often made items from materials he brought home from the woods, and sometimes made his own tools. He experimented with designing a new apparatus for human propulsion of small boats.
Years later, he decided that this sort of experience had provided him with not only an interest in design, but also a habit of being familiar with and knowledgeable about the materials that his later projects would require. Fuller earned a machinist’s certification, and knew how to use the press brake, stretch press, and other tools and equipment used in the sheet metal trade.

Fuller was sent to Milton Academy, in Massachusetts, and after that, began studying at Harvard. He was expelled from Harvard twice: first for spending all his money partying with a vaudeville troupe, and then, after having been readmitted, for his “irresponsibility and lack of interest.” By his own appraisal, he was a non-conforming misfit in the fraternity environment. It was to be many years before he received a Sc.D. from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.

Wartime experience
Between his sessions at Harvard, Fuller worked in Canada as a mechanic in a textile mill, and later as a laborer for the meat-packing industry. He also served in the U.S. Navy in World War I, as a shipboard radio operator, as an editor of a publication, and as a crash-boat commander. After discharge, he worked again for the meat packing industry, thereby acquiring management experience. In 1917, he married Anne Hewlett. During the early 1920s, he and his father-in-law developed the Stockade Building System for producing light-weight, weatherproof, and fireproof housing — although the company would ultimately fail.

Bankruptcy and depression
By age 32, Fuller was bankrupt and jobless, living in public, low-income housing in Chicago, Illinois. In 1922, Fuller’s young daughter Alexandra died from complications from polio and spinal meningitis. Allegedly, he felt responsible and this caused him to drink frequently and to contemplate suicide for a while. He finally chose to embark on “an experiment, to find what a single individual [could] contribute to changing the world and benefiting all humanity”…

Fuller was concerned about sustainability and about human survival under the existing socio-economic system, yet remained optimistic about humanity’s future. Defining wealth in terms of knowledge, as the “technological ability to protect, nurture, support, and accommodate all growth needs of life,” his analysis of the condition of “Spaceship Earth” caused him to conclude that at a certain time during the 1970s, humanity had attained an unprecedented state. He was convinced that the accumulation of relevant knowledge, combined with the quantities of major recyclable resources that had already been extracted from the earth, had attained a critical level, such that competition for necessities was not necessary anymore. Cooperation had become the optimum survival strategy. “Selfishness,” he declared, “is unnecessary and hence-forth unrationalizable…. War is obsolete.” He criticized previous utopian schemes as too exclusive, and thought this was a major source of their failure. To work, he thought that a utopia needed to include everyone.”


Happy Day

A sunny morning. It is beautiful outside my windows, the morning sun is warm and nourishing.

I received news today that my relocation at work has been processed. This will be my last week working in the office with the negative coworker. I may accept an occasional work day at this office, but I won’t work an entire week in such an environment again; unless I’m starving and there are no other options at all. I have four more days to put in! March has been a very long month.

My new boss called me to congratulate me and welcome me to her office. We are off to an excellent start, I can feel it. There isn’t much work at the new office, but all of it will be in a pleasant atmosphere. It is also an atmosphere where quality is appreciated, even expected; things are well run, organized and predictable where they need to be. Oh happy day!

I have only 8 hours of work scheduled for the month of April. We will tighten our belts again. This comes at a wonderful time of year, with spring bursting onto the landscape. I need a bit of a rest; time to become reacquainted with myself, recover from my numbing month of March.

Attila and I have decided that television reception is not worth the annual cost, which is the equivalent of heating the house for most of the winter. We will cancel today, and have to pay for one more month of service. This was a difficult decision, particularly since we already lead a relatively isolated existence. The only channel we have watched since Christmas is The Weather Network, the rest of the programming is either uninteresting, too violent or aired at inconvenient times, so that we are ether away or fast asleep during the broadcast.

< Japan Nuclear Catastrophe >

For those readers who prefer not to read or think about events in Japan, I have encapsulated my comments on the Japan Nuclear Catastrophe so that this section of the journal / blog can be skipped over. The Catastrophe is on my mind constantly, as a conscientious Rural Geographer I am watching the destruction of landscape with horror and concern. My analytical bent is relentless, my training extensive and now ingrained.

I grew up on a farm, love the land, love the landscape and must express my concerns for our planet. If you map all the nuclear plants in the world, it is easy to visualize concerns for the long-term health of the planet. For some, thinking about these things is overwhelming, terrifying, frightening; for me, it is as natural and as necessary as breathing.

Here are the sources I visit every morning to review what is happening in Japan in relation to their nuclear catastrophe. Suffice it to say, there is no definitive source of reliable information available to the public anywhere on planet earth, just my opinion and I’m “just saying”, a common phrase I’ve been hearing a lot lately.

Reuters Japan on Twitter


< /Japan Nuclear Catastrophe >

Worldly Distractions


-4 °C
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 102.3 kPa
Temperature: -4.0°C
Dewpoint: -6.0°C
Humidity: 86 %
Wind: NW 11 km/h
Wind Chill: -8


“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.”
Carl Jung
1875 – 1961

You Can’t See Me

It was very cold here last night. The house is a bit cooler but still comfortable. The sun is shining! This should provide some additional heat, since I’ve opened up the blinds on the south side of the house.

The situation in Japan continues to haunt. Why so more than the situation in Libya? I’m not sure, but I think it is because the makings of war are so far removed from public opinion, in my view, that there is little to be gained by voicing an opinion. In the case of nuclear disaster, well, that is something I do hope is subject to influence by public opinion. This may be a naive fantasy. I’m only human after all. Another factor affecting my focus, is that while the war in Libya is “over there”, the threat of nuclear disaster is everywhere, including “here”, my “here”, and your “here” and the “here” of most other humans and life forms on the planet earth. The factor of time is also relevant to me, my distant descendants most likely will not be affected by the actual conflict in Libya; they may be affected by nuclear waste.

The child who covers their eyes and says “You Can’t See Me” [see Notes] assumes others see the world as they themselves do. In order to see the world as clearly as is possible, we cannot assume that others see the world as we do. We cannot assume that the media sees the world comprehensively or as we see it.

What do we do when our window on the world is coloured by the agenda of those controlling what and how we know of the world? Can we make informed decisions?

There seems relatively little reaction internationally to the nuclear tragedy that continues to unfold in Japan. The natural disaster, the earthquake and tsunami, are an “act of nature”. The “man”-made disaster that is Fukushima is an act of “man”; as a species we didn’t have to go there, we didn’t have to have this experience, the common people of Japan did not have to suffer the consequences of this situation.

Many believe it can never happen again; that it can never happen “here”, “here” being any other nuclear facility in the world that a believer happens to live near. I don’t believe that it could never happen “here”. That doesn’t mean I believe it will happen here, in Ontario, Canada. I just think there is real long-term risk. The risk isn’t to me necessarily, but my grandchildren, great-grandchildren and those who follow, might also be at risk. The risk isn’t just in the here and now, and no scientist in the world denies the long-term challenge of handling nuclear waste. The “magic bullet” [see Notes below] in the gun of nuclear power might be aimed at the distant future.

I know that other people may not agree with me on the topic of nuclear power, and other issues I write about. I read writing based on “other” perspectives on a daily basis, on many topics. Their perspectives interest me, occasionally inform me and inspire me to better understand my own values and views. Because my world view is not zero sum, the “other” need not be a threat to my world view; although it can be a threat to my physical well-being, as we observed in the case of the Walkerton water supply tragedy and nuclear power catastrophe in Japan.

If you are reading this, I can’t see you. You can only see part of me. My agenda, even if I am not conscious of it, determines what I show you of me. I do my best as a human biped.

Worldly Distractions


Condition: Clear
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -10.0°C
Dewpoint: -13.8°C
Humidity: 74 %
Wind: N 9 km/h
Wind Chill: -15


Reuters International Moderated Blog on the Situation in Japan

“@TomB I was down in Osaka for a few days last week and the people there were mostly oblivious to the reactor problems in Fukushima. Knowing this country having lived here for over 20 years, I would offer that if the government was more forthcoming and appealed to the whole nation, a lot more could be done. Volunteer groups around the country would mobilize to take people in and all kinds of creative responses would be found. It is a lack of information and imagination that is stopping necessary and calm evacuation efforts. Instead, the government has decided to sacrifice the lives of its own citizens for what it thinks is the greater good of social order.”
comment by Worried in Tokyo at 5:27 AM [March 24, 2011]

“Without this site there would be almost no information at all coming from other vendors. I believe we are being purposely kept in the dark about this in order to avoid panic and to attempt to rescue the positive sides of nuclear power. If there are any. My sympathy to the people of Japan AND New Zealand, and thanks to Reuters for this invaluable web site.”
comment by ray king at 6:03 AM [March 24. 2011]

“@Reuters_AnujaJaiman I wonder why geothermal energy has caught so little interest so far. If we get 1 MW of geotermal energy for $3.5 million then it’s really cheap compared to new nuclear power plants, e.g. Olkiluoto 3 in Finland. And it would be clean and steady energy with minimal risks.”
comment by jkn at 6:05 AM [March 24, 2011]

@Reuters I found your site through the Calculated Risk blog and have been following (lurking, mostly, since I have little by way of expertise) since March 12. Every morning I see readership numbers are lower and worry that you will pull the plug on this valuable liveblog. Thanks for keeping it up and thanks especially to the consistent commenters helping straighten out and explain facts without injecting rhetoric one way or the other. This has become my first source and I have more than once been able to use this information to help my colleagues with friends and family in the Tokyo region. My opinion of Reuters has increased tremendously over the past weeks and I’ll continue to turn to your site in the future. Thanks again, and please keep this blog going.
comment by Kisa at 6:44 AM [March 24, 2011]

Nuclear disaster hinders search for missing in Fukushima Pref.
comment by NHK Listener at 8:28 AM [March 24, 2011]

Got up this moring and ritually checked my local news. Something I didn’t expect to see – radiation has actually reached my part of the world, Newfoundland. This is the most easterly Canadian province. Apparently it’s coming down the Atlantic from Iceland and hitting our east side – the capital region where I’m located. Of course the levels are very low but it’s fascinating all the same. Weather can really move things around. Never thought we’d experience anything… Even these very minimal levels.
comment by Quiltea at 8:43 AM [March 24, 2011]

Source: Moderated by Reuters


Egocentrism: You Can’t See Me

“Egocentrism is the child’s inability to see other people’s view points. The child at this stage of cognitive development assumes that their view of the world is the same as other peoples, e.g. a little girl covers her eyes and says ‘mummy you can’t see me now, can you?'”



“NIMBY or Nimby is an acronym for the phrase not in my back yard. The term (or the derivative Nimbyism) is used pejoratively to describe opposition by residents to a proposal for a new development close to them. Opposing residents themselves are sometimes called Nimbies. The term was coined in 1980 by Emilie Travel Livezey, and was popularized by British politician Nicholas Ridley, who was Conservative Secretary of State for the Environment.[citation needed]
Projects likely to be opposed include but are not limited to tall buildings, chemical plants, industrial parks, wind turbines, desalination plants, landfills, incinerators, power plants, prisons,[1] mobile telephone network masts, schools, mosques, nuclear waste dumps, landfill dump sites, youth hostels, wind farms, golf courses, housing developments and especially transportation improvement schemes (e.g. new roads, passenger and freight railways, highways, airports, seaports).
NIMBY is also used more generally to describe people who advocate some proposal (for example, austerity measures including budget cuts, tax increases, downsizing), but oppose implementing it in a way that would require sacrifice on their part.”


Magic Bullet

“A substance or therapy capable of destroying pathogenic agents (as bacteria or cancer cells) or providing a remedy for a disease or condition without deleterious side effects”