Links – March 13, 2011 (Japanese tsunami edition)

Why I am not worried about Japan’s nuclear reactors and Nuclear energy 101: inside the “black box” of power plants. Two accounts of what may have happened at Fukushima, as well as explanations of how nuclear reactors work and the safety mechanisms in place to prevent the escape of radioactive isotopes. I suggest reading these with a critical eye, since nobody really knows what happened and what failed when.

Japan: earthquake aftermath. The Big Picture blog post of hi-res photos from the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami. How do you even begin to search for survivors after such large scale destruction?

Saturday evening rant, iodine edition. PalMD explains thyroid function and the physiology of radioactive iodine.

Japan tsunami survivor Hiromitsu Shinkawa found 10 miles out at sea. This elderly man floated out to sea on the roof of his destroyed home. Fortunately he was spotted by a rescue mission, but his wife is still missing.

The essential lesson from the Japan earthquake for the U.S. Scientific American Guest Blog post by Richard Allen, explaining how the U.S. needs to learn from Japan’s disaster readiness. While no one could have predicted the material destruction, thousands of lives were saved by the Japanese culture of earthquake preparedness. The U.S. also has many major cities on fault lines on the west coast that could learn a thing or two from Japan.

ETA: Japan earthquake: before and after. Incredibly striking before and after photography of some of the destruction. It is interesting to see which buildings survived and which did not. In most of these pictures the water boundaries have receded to normal, but there is one particularly striking image that shows an entire community now underwater.

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