Sunday, March 13, 2011

Japan - Priorities

I simply need to know what I can DO, sensibly, in the UK, to help.

I have near given up on our media.

Streaming footage from helicopters trawling about showing SOS signs atop buildings, having evidently made a call on what they might mean, yesterday pushed me to irony overload.

Meanwhile endless 'experts' guessing what 'could' have happened and 'may' yet, across a variety of issues.

The time for such self-serving ratings-driven analysis or, worse, tribal issue debating, is not now.
[Addendum - at risk of becoming part of the blame culture I criticise, this nonetheless is an interesting tally to show what has so disappointed me]

I am not sure if money is what is needed, but if it is, convince me that it goes to where it will do most good, and will get deployed fast, and the online DD is created.

But what I do have in the loft is stuff 'for a rainy day' or my kids' futures. These I can buy again in my own sweet time.

Blankets, tents... if these can be got to an airfield and arrive in Japan to do some good in 24hrs, just let me know.

But spare me the utter horse manure disaster porn I am currently getting from near all of our sorry media.

Day 4 - I am today trying to put together a newsletter to inspire folk into doing something productive locally, as I am trying to do via our local paper. One thing is trying to assess what best defines 'humanitarian needs'. It seems tents may not be it. OK. Food is mentioned more. I am not sure about the logistical wisdom of sending a can from here, so one does need to be guided by those more experienced. However the international/national media remain less than helpful in this regard.

Maybe money to a charity is best. But choose, and invest, with care.


Well, it has almost been a week now, and while things have certainly not settled down (anything but) it may soon be time to move on. I'll be moving this to the home page for a while, and leave the blogs free for, well new blogs.

Some have asked me why I have not indulged in the ongoing 'discussions' regarding the nuclear situation. I have actually addressed it on twitter, but even there gave up. There is no point in endless speculation. Something very bad happened the other side of the globe and, with luck, no worse to follow. All I know is that the Japanese are a generous nation, and have never stinted in helping others. Now it's their turn. May we find the best way(s) to do this.


STOP PRESS - 20/03/11

The author of the piece above, who lives in Japan, has kindly responded to an invitation of mine to share what he thinks is needed most, and when, with most reasonable explanations as to why....

I'm waiting for things to clear enough to allow me to go north and participate in the clean-up effort. In the meantime, I have donated to Second Harvest Japan, who are getting supplies to stricken areas.

What I like about Second Harvest, is that because their supplies are given by donation, the money is used for transportation and such, meaning that 1000 Yen (about $10USD) can supply (by their estimate, admittedly) 10 times that in supplies.

Supplies are important because, as I understand it, the main post-quake cause of death is looking to by hypothermia (due to lack of fuel) and lack of medicine.

For the more conservative, the Japanese Red Cross is also a good bet. People can donate through the link provided by Google:

That page also contains good advice on how to help (Google has a presence in Japan, so they're not just blowing smoke).


ADDENDA - (as I get 'em, I'll add 'em - feel free to suggest any more).

Disaster Japan

Google Home Page

Google Search

More Google resources

Gear diary


Red Cross - specific URL kindly provided by a fellow commenter - - Note: not vetted, but has been passed on

Quakebook - I'm a bit dubious about 'arty'-based donation efforts, as the %ages that come in vs. get passed on can be variable, but some interesting new aspects are presented, esp. in comments, to make this piece worth sharing.

Not saying I agree with it, but a rather off the wall view

A bit of, necessary, light(er) relief.

Does Japan even NEED donations? Another left field post to digest My head aches.

A graphic indication of the scale of the problem.

Not really into disaster porn, but this shows the scale of what took place. This wave was out to sea. Imagine it when making landfall.

Graphic art
in support. Nor all great, but some genius.

All a bit circular, but the latest (after a year's absence) Junkk Newsletter has now gone out. I am hoping to at least inspire/be part of any efforts locally that can be made.

Speaking of priorities, in case you were thinking the world has gone a bit mad....

Dear BBC blog contributor,

Thank you for contributing to a BBC blog. Unfortunately we've had to edit your comment below because it contravened one of our House Rules.

Comments on the BBC blogs will be removed if they contain links to other websites which break our Editorial Guidelines. The URL(s) which failed were: For more information, please visit

BBC Central Communities team

URL of content (now edited):

'...our Science editor, will update us on the situation at the Japanese quake-stricken nuclear plant where radiation levels are now at a level harmful to human health.'

So.... still studiously not worrying too much about that earthquake/tsunami thing that was also involved. Had a bit of an impact too.

Not sure if its the best, but many have told me it's up there: [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator - the Red Cross one... unsuitable?????]

Meanwhile, it's nice to know the BBC is sending as many folk as possible over there to fill rooms and consumer resources, mainly to talk to folk they just left back here.

Guessing the carbon-saving thing is on hold too.

ps: Unverified, but credible, bearing in mind a disaster relief URL was 'unsuitable' whilst their pet fun run one was being pushed 24/7:

@OldHoborn -
Remember, without £119,946 donated by YOU to #comicrelief, the "Black Association of Women" would struggle for funds

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Trying to discipline myself to blog more.

This seems as good a hop back on the horse as any.

It's not the first, and won't be the last, of a bunch of reactions to a less than stellar interviewee from the EU high command rather showing up some key gaps in her knowledge, and one presumes the overall scheme of things she represents.

Readers of this blog will know I have rather studiously steered clear of matters (A)GW. Too many unknowns; too much contention. Vast amounts of heat and little light.

I tend to restrict myself to areas I have more confidence with, such as reducing waste or improving efficiencies.

However, with some science and engineering in the educational background, and communications experience throughout my ad career, I still crank an eyebrow when things don't add up, and especially when such poor arithmetic is either poorly sold or, worse, wilfully misrepresented.

Hence I was transfixed by this exchange. It can be heard verbatim via the link above (though actually the whole segment is worth a listen), and even transcribed here.

Often all you need is the words, unadorned, and especially not 'interpreted' as too often happens with some 'reporting' media, to get a pretty good idea of what calibre of thinking can be deployed in the name of our kids' futures.

I was moved to comment recently on an uncritical puff piece about the future of electric hybrid cars, citing a Rolls Royce variant.

Perhaps the future does lie in such technologies, but with luck also gets its head around more immediate aspects of physics such as the energy required to propel a 4 person car that weighs twice as much as necessary.

Those in charge really seem to have no clue on the basics.