Tsumani debris may strike the West Coast for years

This massive dock that landed in Oregon is the likely the tip of the debris maelstrom to hit the West Coast for years to come

Seven feet tall, nineteen feet wide and 66 feet long, the concrete and metal dock that washed ashore in Newport, Oregon is a stunning residual remnant of last year’s Fukushima disaster. An awesome sight, the derelict dock that made the more than 6,500 mile trek from Minamisoma, Japan is a harbinger of serious debris yet to come.

Continue reading

Power shortages in Japan lead to innovative air conditioned clothes

This battery operated jacket keeps you cool no matter what the temperature

In the wake of the devastating disasters that rocked Japan earlier this year, power shortages have abounded. With summer’s sweltering heat, one entrepreneur has seized the opportunity to have his quirky invention take hold.

Created by Hiroshi Ichigaya, a former Sony technician, Kuchofuku or air-conditioned clothing –  jackets and clothes with built-in electric fans – may not be high fashion, but they definitely make a difference in beating the heat.

Continue reading

Natural ways to combat potential radiation from Japan

Brown seaweed has been shown to help absorb radiation and produce a compound the body can easily eliminate

Even with the latest news that the threat of radiation from Japan’s nuclear plants is significantly less than first feared. there has been a rush on internet and over-the-counter sales of potassium iodide pills. There are some reports that consumers are hoarding these pills, creating shortages in some parts of the U.S.

There is, however, a more natural remedy – although less well-known in the Western world – that has been shown to be effective .

Continue reading

Free phone calls to and from Japan on netTalk

In the aftermath of the devastating double whammy in Japan of the earthquake and tsunami, communication is very difficult both in and outside the country.

netTALK.COM Inc. announced that it is offering free calls to and from Japan using the netTALK DUO starting March 15th at 12:00 PM EST until March 21st at 12:00 PM EST.

netTALK – a leader in Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) – will also allow individuals in Japan to use the netTALK Smartphone App to make free phone calls back to the United States and Canada over WiFi. This easily accessible phone app lets you make calls over 3G and WiFi without utilizing your cell phone minutes. The company stresses that this is for personal use only.

Another great example of people – and companies – pulling together to help others during times of crisis. Way to go, netTALK.

Toshiba technology introduces copier that produces erasable documents

Long known for top quality photocopiers, Toshiba  is set to introduce a green copier from their subsidiary Toshiba Tec that creates erasable reusable documents.

Continue reading

Are you eating endangerd tuna?

Sushi 1Seafood tracability is becoming an important factor for consumers, particularly with the steady rise in mercury and other harmful pollutants in our oceans.

Knowing where you fish came from – and how much mercury it contains – has just gotten a little easier.

DNA barcoding research conducted by the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics at the American Museum of Natural History has shown that sushi purchased in supermarkets might actually be healthier than that from restaurants, where it’s likely you’ll end up eating endangered species of tuna.

The new research revealed that one-fourth of the tuna served on sushi menus is bluefin, while some was escolar, a waxy, buttery fish often labeled “white tuna” that’s banned for sale in Japan and Italy because it can cause gastrointestinal distress. 

Bluefin tunaNew DNA barcoading allows consumers to know what kind of tuna they’re really getting.

Jacob Lowenstein – a graduate student affiliated with the Museum and Columbia University – and colleagues used DNA barcoding to identify the kind of fishes labeled “tuna” in one Denver and 30 New York City restaurants. Almost half the restaurants did not accurately label the kind of tuna sold, and only 14 of the samples used for this study were listed on the menu by a specific name like bigeye tuna, albacore, or bluefin.

The results of the investigation showed how misled consumers have been when ordering their favorite sushi.

  • The most prevalent tuna found in sushi is bigeye (30, or almost half, of the 68 samples collected for this study). 
  • Nearly a third of the tuna was bluefin.
  • Only eight of the 22 bluefin samples were labeled “bluefin” on menus, and nine restaurants that sold the bluefin didn’t label it as such on the menu, although restaurants that did, did so accurately and charged more for the sushi.
  • Five of the nine samples labeled in restaurants as “white tuna” were not albacore but escola.

“It is very difficult to get reliable information about the species you are eating, especially since the FDA’s approved market name for all eight species of Thunnusis simply ‘tuna’,” says Lowenstein. New requirements that would market each species under its own name would help to clarify cases of economic fraud and allow conservation-minded consumers to avoid bluefin.

Like anychange, it has to start with consumer demand. Speaking up and asking questions are the first steps to really knowing what you eat and how safe it is for you and the environment.

Japan says no to bluefin tuna ban

Bluefin -TunaOnce again Japan’s in the news for their negative stance on marine life, this time the seriously endangered bluefin tuna.

Japan eats an estimated three-quarters of the world’s annual bluefin tuna catch. Over the past 50 years, the adult population of eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin has plunged 74 percent, most of this in the past decade. In the western Atlantic, the population has fallen a whopping 82 percent.

Late last year Monaco proposed the bluefin ban . This year the U.S. governmenet said it supports a proposed ban on international trade of Atlantic bluefin tuna because the species is at risk of extinction. The European Commission has asked that member governments go along with the ban.The ban needs a two-thirds majority to pass.

Bluefin -Tuna.2The proposed ban will be considered in mid-March when representatives from 175 countries meet in Doha, Qatar, to vote on measures to protect bluefin tuna and other at-risk species under CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

It seems that the issues comes down to tradition and money versus purdent stewardship and protection of a species, posturing versus scienfitic evidence. And when the fish are gone, what will Japan say then?