Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Nature sets its own agenda, so we human beings best consider that fact in our planning.

Recently our news was excitedly describing we were having an astronomical Super Full Moon event. The moon would be closer to Earth so would appear 14% larger and 30% brighter than we customarily see. When I heard about this Super Moon, I thought, “Wonderful! I’ll take a picture for my blog.” No! Non! Nyet!

Nature had other plans as I discovered when I walked outdoors. Looking into the night sky I could see the atmosphere was filled with moisture-filled clouds. Confirming weather reports had said that beginning in the morning’s early hours conditions were set for the unloading of rain, sleet or snow, depending on the elevation level where one lived (which is exactly what happened.) But that night, scanning the sky, I suddenly noted Nature was deliberately teasing by giving me a glimpse of that circular deep yolk-like yellow super moon form, before quickly pulling her cloudy gray scarf across its surface to discreetly cover that exposed naked body. So, I didn’t shoot the planned photo. NASA tells me I won’t have an an opportunity to view such a brilliant Super Moon again until 2029. Perhaps Mother Nature was more accommodating for those living elsewhere and some reading this were treated to the Super Moon view.

Nature was misjudged in Japan, too, as the nuclear energy plants thought to be built to withstand most assaults proved not to be. The 9.0 earthquake was greater than had been anticipated triggering an unexpectedly large tsunami whose waters wrecked far greater havoc than had been considered possible – whole cities washed to sea, thousands of people killed and everything else in the water’s path destroyed. Thousands more Japanese citizens have become displaced and homeless. Tsunami destruction occurred elsewhere, including on Hawaii’s Kona side and in several western mainland California harbors including Crescent City, Santa Cruz and Redondo Beach, but only one life was lost here.

The tsunami took its toll on the Japanese nuclear energy plants ability to withstand the outside forces to which they were subjected. The consequences of mistakes from failure, based on inability to construct indestructible nuclear energy plants, are often terminal for viable life. Their safety systems to contain deadly radiation emissions can become compromised when Nature’s unpredictable actions exceed any limits thought capable by the best scientific minds. Mastering control of Japan’s nuclear plants functions continues to be an evolving proposition.

Known facts about radiation released in Japan are gradually emerging. Affected areas are being expanded. Various foods including tap and sea water, seafood, vegetables, milk have been affected with increasing amounts of radiation present. The radiation plume reached our U.S. West Coast Friday, March 18th with no radioactivity immediately registering. Saturday reports indicated slight “miniscule” radioactivity in Sacramento, CA. Subsequent days’ radiation figures have continued to record minimal amounts that do not jeopardize safety which is of special interest to those of us living in California. A few California individuals have established Independent web sites where they report radiation levels they’re monitoring. Their scientific techniques validity and reliability have not been established, but I’ve heard no reports that their results conflict with official data.

Official radiation reports from Japan and the United States have met with skepticism from some citizens of both countries about whether all facts are being completely revealed by officials in a timely manner. This concern may motivate some of the private individual radiation monitoring on our shores.

United States Environmental Protection Agency provides regular radiation up dates at their site linked here.

Another link is the Radiation Effects Research Foundation, A Cooperative Japan-U.S. Research Foundation. A link to this Foundation’s site for information relating to the accident at the Fukushima Dalichi nuclear power plant reports that the English “Answers to frequently asked questions page is now under construction.”

This Japanese disaster has prompted increased private and professional conversation re-examining the safety of our U.S. nuclear plants – their construction, ability to withstand earthquakes and tsunamis, for those of us living along the Pacific Coast. I was prompted to check the miles between my good friends’ residence and my own with the coastal San Onofre Nuclear Energy Plant located between Los Angeles and San Diego. I’m 50+ miles distant, but my friends are only 18+ miles away from the plant. They report periodically receiving official information about the plant since its initial construction. In fact, the husband had an opportunity to tour there years ago and afterward reported confidence in its safety. I think we all welcome a reexamination of all the factors associated with nuclear plants in our midst to determine if changes are warranted.

Considering the nature factor, I think history shows that nature is unpredictable, given the limitations of human knowledge and despite the efforts of our best scientific minds. Nature clearly has the capability of interfering with our lives, and has, taking a terrible toll on life in this instance. This isn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last for disasters when we consider all the potentially catastrophic weather conditions we experience. We may be inclined to think Nature is interfering with our lives when many catastrophic events are unleashed. Maybe we humans are interfering with Nature.


  1. Many years ago, my mother thought that jets were making our weather change - maybe she had a point and didn't know it. I ten to think the earth is rebelling - although it sounds crazy.

    We live about 25 miles from a nuclear plant. I seldom think about it, but when other plants are affected by weather events, it makes me stop and think about what we would do if there was a problem.

  2. Kenju: Your mother may have been correct, according to NASA:

    "many meteorologists believe increased jet traffic and the contrails it produces have altered the weather."

    You can read about it by scrolling down to "What Clouds Are Made Of" at this Glenn Research Center site:

  3. Interesting. We (obviously) don't have nuclear power plants in Hawaii. There are two supersensitive radiation monitors here that have detected minute amounts of radiation from Japan, but one remains suspicious that it could be worse than we are hearing.
    It really is about the craziest way to produced electricity anyone ever dreamed up.
    I'm glad for our solar hot water and photovoltaics that provide us with all the energy we need to run our household.

  4. It is all too much...Overwhelming in the ESTREME! I find it hard to relate to and it is because it is Soooo huge! The Devistation so unthinkable, etc., etc.,etc.....
    David Letterman keeps talking about the Nuclear plant near where he lives and wanting to shut it down....He is serious, though it is said in a humerous manner---"I could send a guy up there from New Jersey for $300. to take it out tonight...."
    I'm just trying to get from one room to the other while being in horrific physical pain---trying to think about all this other stuff is just too much for my little pea brain these days.

  5. I definitely think we humans are interfering with Nature...and it's escalating and becoming more and more dangerous. The horrible devistation in Japan has frightened and stunned all of us and forced us to look at these issues with a much keener eye...especially when the word 'radiation' is in the mix. It's overwhelming for all of us frankly.

  6. You're right, Joy. I, too, feel overwhelmed. But I fear that all of this will just get put on the back pages and we will proceed as usual.

  7. Hattie: I agree that safe alternative energy generators you have make much more sense. There need to be more such systems. I've explored solar here which is still pretty expensive. My utility bill is much less than the break off point they give to make the installation and conversion cost effective so haven't done it.

    Joy & Hattie: The news reports I'm reading that describe the lack of forthright information revelations out of Japan, even to their own citizens, is distressing. Now I read many of the radiation measuring devices on the U.S. mainland, including right around the West Coast Diablo Nuclear Plant, are not functioning and measuring properly.

    Given viable choices why would we even want to consider anything with even the remote possibility of such potential for devastation.

  8. OldOldLady: I know what you mean about feeling overwhelmed with all that's happening. Anytime we experience persistent pain that pretty much demands our attention. Wish I had a magic potion to relieve you of even some of that discomfort.

    We have to laugh to keep our sanity at times. Letterman can put a humorous spin on some pretty serious issues -- an approach to life that I heartily endorse. Science tells us laughing releases body healing endorphins, so good reason for doing so.

  9. Sometimes humor makes the point much better than statistics. Just look at the impact that Jon Stewart has on politics. So I applaud Letterman for bringing attention to this vital subject. Sometimes I think man is on the way to blowing up the planet Earth.

    I did take photos of the peregee moon and posted them on my previous blog post.