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Fukushima’s Tritium Disaster Dwarf’s The Titanic by Yoichi Shimatsu

Fukushima’s Tritium Disaster Dwarfs The Titanic

By Yoichi Shimatsu
Exclusive to Rense

In blatant disregard and denial of the ill effects of tritium on human health and the global ecosystem, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) is preparing to dump nearly a million short tons of tritiated wastewater from its storage tanks at Fukushima directly into the Pacific Ocean. The massive release of radioactive wastewater is casting the Pacific Rim and Arctic nations adrift onto the uncharted waters of a planetary catastrophe.

This premeditated crime stands in direct violation of the 1972 London Convention on Prevention of Marine Pollution and subsequent treaties, to which Japan is a signatory, forbidding ocean disposal of nuclear waste. Instead of building new storage tanks to replace the current units, which are past the 5-year expiry date, TEPCO in its drive for profitability can get away with gross violations of international law because the Japanese ministries of foreign affairs, fisheries, education and economic development aid have bribed the leaders of Pacific Basin nations, an open secret well known in the International Whaling Commission.

During the Fukushima meltdowns, Tokyo permitted and even encouraged TEPCO to release unprecedented amounts of radioactive isotopes in water and solid waste into the ocean. During the crucial years 2011-2014, the Tribunal of the UN Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) was under the thumb of its president Shunji Yanai, a diplomat and key supporter of Japan’s nuclear-weapons armament. No legal complaints were brought against Japan’s sea disposal, in notable disregard of the secret sea-dumping of weapons-grade plutonium. Not a whisper of objection was voiced by the top politicians of those “ banana republics of the north”, the U.S. and Canada, suppliers of reactors and uranium respectively for Japanese nuclear-energy companies.

In parallel to the despicable political cowardice and avarice, not a single research laboratory or scientific institute has ever issued a letter of protest over the geophysical impact of cumulative radioactive dumping along the tectonic subduction zones and volcanic vents on the seafloor. The institutions responsible for protecting public health and the marine environment from a nuclear disaster, including the IAEA, Japan’s Economy Ministry, the U.S. Department of Energy, NOAA and the WHO, have no clue about how to stop the continuing disaster spewing out of Fukushima and lack an iota of political will to stop this madness.

Their sole emergency response has been resounding silence and occasional disinformation to conceal the extent of the crisis. The scientific chicanery and lack of concern for public health is an ethical calamity in a certain sense more sordid than the mass murder now being perpetrated by the nuclear industry. Make no mistake about it: we are heading, amid this environmental and moral catastrophe, toward a day of reckoning when the perpetrators, collaborators and beneficiaries behind this monumental crime against humanity will face stern swift justice without a glimmer of mercy.

Q&A: Way Down Below the Ocean

Here, this segmented article in my ongoing series of reports on the Fukushima crisis focuses on just one of the emerging threats: the role of tritium and deuterium, or heavy water, in detonating nuclear fusion blasts at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. The Fukushima crisis is not over yet, it’s just starting to get interesting.

A titanic force is gathering at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, a powerful cocktail of radioactive isotopes and pure plutonium out of Fukushima and from other nuclear power plants since even before the 2011 reactor meltdowns.

Far from being a “lesser” threat as compared with cesium, strontium or particles of uranium, the heavy water elements of tritium and deuterium pose the potential danger of combining in a fusion reaction powerful enough to trigger earthquakes, tsunami and volcanic eruptions along The Ring of Fire. Contrary to the mistaken belief that seawater only quells nuclear reactions, the seabed is a natural test site for detonating fusion reactions. The Q&A is followed by a backgrounder discussion of the curious phenomenon called “muon-catalyzed cold fusion”.

– The starter question is: Does tritium dumping on this grand scale hold hidden dangers besides the radioactive poisoning of seawater, clouds and drinking water?

– The short answer: If released in large volume, tritium and its companion deuterium dumped into the ocean can fuse together in an uncontrolled chain reaction called muon-catalyzed cold fusion, which releases gamma rays and explosive energy.

In contrast to thermonuclear fission of enriched uranium or plutonium, which requires an enormous energy boost, muon-catalyzed cold fusion can start spontaneously at or below room temperature. Three components are needed to trigger this type of nuclear reaction: tritium and deuterium along with a muon, which is a subatomic particle derived from cosmic rays called neutrinos.

While laboratory experiments have been conducted since 1956, the potential for an uncontrolled fusion reaction outdoors in nature was inconceivable until TEPCO decided to dump its heavy water into the sea. Hence, we are playing catch-up with reality, if for no other reason than not to suffer the shock of ignorance like the civilians in Hiroshima when the bomb dropped. It’s all-important to know what’s hitting us.

– Q: Can muons occurring in nature trigger a large-scale fusion reaction between tritium and deuterium in the Pacific Ocean?

– A: Thus far in the Nuclear Era, the amount of tritium released from nuclear power plants and nuclear-powered war vessels has been insufficient for fusion by muon catalysis. A relatively short half-life of 12 years has also limited long-term build-up of tritium in the sea.

What makes seafloor fusion possible in the near future is the sheer volume of tritium and deuterium in the 777,000 metric tons of wastewater soon to be released from Fukushima. That’s of a different order entirely from heavy water releases of the past. All of a sudden, the threat dimension of tritium-deuterium fusion has emerged.

– Q: Won’t tritium and deuterium be dispersed across the Pacific and become too diluted to pose any threat?

– A: The hoax of dispersal and dilution of radioactive isotopes is shameless nonsense and part of a disinformation campaign by the nuclear industry, its supporters in government and publicity agents. Research studies have shown that heavy water, as its descriptor suggests, is denser than ordinary “light” water and seawater, and therefore sinks, especially in the colder waters off northeast Japan and the northern tier of the Pacific as well as the Arctic Ocean.

Along the seafloor, tritium and deuterium collect in depressions in the rock or keep moving along currents until reaching deep trenches. What is worrisome is the proximity of Fukushima to major subduction zones as well as other risk factors, including the high-grade plutonium secretly dumped into the ocean in the year following the 2011 meltdowns.

A fusion reaction can act as a trigger to unleash seismic forces or to initiate a powerful fission explosion by uranium-derived radioactive materials. If the tritium-deuterium mixture happens to settle over containers of high-grade plutonium, especially along an undersea fault or volcanic vent, that’s a problem much more serious than a deep-sea submersible vessel can handle. The Japanese Natural Resource Agency operates undersea mining vessels, but it will be difficult to convince the culprit government to admit that it did something as reckless as dumping war-grade plutonium off the coast. Another problems is extreme difficulty for a salvage operation to vacuum-pump heavy water from a great depth.

Temperature makes a great difference between the planned release of cold tritiated water and the earlier hot escape in 2011. The earliest tritium flows during the reactor meltdowns escaped containment as steam, rising in a heat column up to the jetstream across the Pacific and settled on colder places, including the mountains of North America, volcanic peaks in Hawaii (where mutated flowers were discovered in the following year) and across the Arctic region. Due to emission of heat energy and its different melting point, the tritium fallout fragmented the Arctic ice sheet and frozen lakes in northern regions. The Obama administration did absolutely nothing about the Arctic tritium crisis, and so the ball’s now in the court of the Trump team, which has also donned a blindfold even as the polar bears and walruses die off.

Q: Can muon particles reach the tritium and deuterium that’s concentrated on the seafloor?

A: Now for the bad news. Muons don’t just descend from the sky above the waves. Muons are created by neutrinos penetrating Earth from all directions, including the antipodes, meaning the opposite end of the planet. Neutrino collisions with minerals in the bedrock create muons. The deep water above the seafloor is constantly being bombarded by muons coming from all directions. Arguably, the deep sea is an optimal “lens” for fusion reactions.

Hardly anything is known about these undersea threats because the funding from NOAA and other agencies for benthic research is allocated to the “gold rush” to strip minerals from the seafloor or to study organisms inside volcanic vents. Instead of get-rich schemes or pondering how life began, it would have been better to invest in studies of how life on Earth could end. The world’s navies have dumped their nuclear reactors and depleted uranium into the ocean, so undersea radioactivity research has never been encouraged by governments.

As an example, one strange factor that could radically increase the efficiency of muon-catalysis are the vast layers of methyl hydrate, a type of frozen hydrogen interlaced with ice, called “fire ice”. This crystal matrix could provide a stable structure for efficient muon interactions with strategically placed tritium and deuterium, resulting in massive releases of neutrons and high energy. However, fire-ice has been researched solely as an alternative fuel and never for these sorts of risk factors. As a consequence of greed, environmental irresponsibility and neglect of risk, practically no attention is paid to explosives and toxic chemicals piled on the seabed. It’s a situation of waiting for an accident to happen.

Q: Can a fusion reaction trigger secondary explosions?

A: In an idyllic natural world, no, but this mangled planet is anything but idyllic or natural. There is a huge amount of radioactive material from nuclear plants dumped off the coast of Japan (3,000 containers prior to Fukushima 2011), South Korea and the United States. Besides that, the world’s seabeds contain an estimated 4 billion tons of natural uranium of unknown purity. During the year after the 2011 disaster, the Japanese nuclear authority removed weapons-grade plutonium from several secret sites in the greater Fukushima complex and dumped the highly reactive fissile material into the Pacific Ocean. Without maps or other public information about where those plutonium piles are located, it’s not advisable to dispatch a salvage vessel because it will end up as another Lucky Dragon No.5, the trawler irradiated near Bikini Atoll.

If muon-catalysis occurs near any of those dump sites, the fusion reaction could trigger a standard fission explosion. Note: the cold temperature of deep seawater should tend to suppress and quell a fission reaction, that is, if there are no mineral sources of oxygen nearby. One thing is certain: the sea is full of surprises.

If an explosion occurs near a seismic fault or volcanic vent, the initial shock wave alone could trigger tectonic forces or even tilt the Earth off its axis, as happened during the March 14, 2011 explosion of Reactor 3. The sun doesn’t set where it used to pre-Fukushima. The Earth is similar to a spinning top, and if the undersea blasts are strong enough, the planet will wobble wildly and might even topple over, and there goes all the air and water flung out into deep space.

Q: Can a fusion reaction by itself or in combination with a fission blast cause an undersea earthquake or an volcanic eruption?

A: If the initial explosion occurs at a build-up point of seismic tension, an undersea quake could ensue. The San Andreas Fault is patrolled by a security force to prevent just such a terrorist attempt to artificially trigger an earthquake. Japan is at the convergence point of three major subduction zones between four huge tectonic plates, meaning huge pressures are brought to bear on a relatively small geographic area. Therefore a fusion blast could indeed trigger a series of earthquakes, tsunami and volcanoes, any of which have the potential to destroy an onshore nuclear reactor as happened on 311.

Q: Can this series of catastrophes threaten the human future on this planet?

A: In London and Las Vegas, bookies are not giving odds on the end of life on Earth, if only because there won’t be anyone left to collect their winnings. A nuclear disaster is one of few possible catastrophes (others include a gigantic meteor strike and death rays from a supernova) that can eliminate the vast majority of species on this planet. Fukushima has probably done more harm to a greater number of species than any threat since the Ice Age and possibly, before this crisis is over, even more than the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs.

The full extent of damage from Fukushima is yet to be seen, much less assessed, and undetected factors including radioactivity-caused DNA mutations in the human gene pool, may have already doomed our fragile genome. It’s not helpful that the nuclear regulators and scientific institutions remain in denial, or that there exists no civil defense system to protect the public while the Fukushima effects worsen.

Q: What can we do to stop this ongoing catastrophe?

A: – Learn to protect your health from radioactivity in food, water and the environment.
– Get involved with a local anti-nuclear movement, and if none exists start one.
– Order a dosimeter or geiger counter to monitor radioactivity threats, and report your findings in a blog or by posting to anti-nuclear groups and online media like .
– Confront your congressman and senator about their voting record on nuclear issues.
– Be creative and use your skills to promote a nuclear-free society.

Following the Q&A section, the following essay touches on various aspects of muon-catalyzed cold fusion and the need for a much tougher stance on science, policy, public health and ethical issues. Since the scientific controversy related to cold fusion is a vast field in itself, it’s discussed here only briefly. The challenge is always, of course, to be accurate as possible while keeping things interesting and sometimes humorous as an essay rather than a research paper.

The Basics of Heavy Water

The health risk from tritium arises from its simple atomic structure similar to hydrogen, a component of the water molecule, which of course is the basis for life. Tritium and deuterium are nuclear-boosted variants of hydrogen.

The nucleus of hydrogen, the simplest of all atoms, is a single positive-charged proton, whereas the deuterium nucleus hosts an added neutron (a particle without a charge), which like hydrogen can assume the form of a gas or a component of water.

Aside from a small quantity of tritium and deuterium naturally produced by cosmic rays passing through the water in dams or lakes located at high altitude, the greater amount of heavy water on Earth is created inside nuclear reactors.

The tritium nucleus contains two added neutrons. Having double neutrons in a small light atom is inherently unstable, and during the 12-year half-life one tritium, one of those neutrons is likely to escape. The surplus energy, which held that neutron in place, will be released as a beta ray, which is energetic enough to cause skin burns or damage cells inside one’s body. (Beta burns are a widespread and serious problem in Japan in the Fukushima region and even at the 2020 Olympic sports venues in Tokyo Bay, with sores resembling melanoma.)

Due to the failure to accurately monitor and issue reports on water released from nuclear reactors, the amount of tritium and deuterium in the water supply has been steadily increasing over the decades. Despite the absurdly high levels of tritium permitted in drinking water by government agencies under pressure from the nuclear industry, tritium-contaminated water should be avoided to prevent beta-ray exposure to internal organs.

Deuterium is a lesser threat to health but it is not entirely safe. An estimated 30 percent deuterium content in your body’s water will bring on death. Nearly all space water (in ice asteroids) is deuterium due to cosmic-ray bombardment, dooming space colonization, which is something Branson and Musk is not telling prospective settlers. Just think of Conestoga wagons around pools of alkali water in the deserts of the western USA littered with skeletons.

A Cold Shot from Outer Space

Now let’s venture into the exotic science of muon-catalyzed cold fusion. Any physics professor or lab researcher who scoffs at cold fusion and attempts to deny its possibility is nowhere in the same league as the late Luis Alvarez, the champion of Catastrophism who overcame a mocking chorus of lesser minds to prove that the extinction of dinosaurs was caused by a meteor from outer space.

The concept of muon fusion was earlier proposed by Andrei Sakharov, the Nobel laureate and top nuclear-weapons designer in the Soviet Union. Alvarez and Sakharov, are there any tag-team challengers? After gaining the endorsement from that pair of brilliant minds, why then is cold fusion treated with disdain by the science fraternity and relegated to snake oil and unethical delusions?

Just take a look around to see whether anyone from that high priesthood has dared to criticize Fukushima. Not a peep from the peanut gallery. Here’s a tautology worthy of the DOE: Cold fusion with its great promise is a fraud but nuclear fission as demonstrated at Fukushima is great stuff.

Inside the liquid hydrogen chamber at his Berkeley laboratory in 1956, Alvarez detected a collision involving an incoming lepton particle, which his team’s calculations later showed to be a muon. The muon triggered fusion of proton and deuterium nucleus to create helium, which in the process released a gamma ray and 5.5 MeV (mega-electron-volts of energy). In contrast to nuclear fission, Alvarez eagerly noted, cold fusion required no external energy input.

To diagram how this remarkable cold fusion process worked, Alvarez and his research team suggested that a negative-charged muon, which has 500 times more mass-energy (momentum) than an electron, sometimes will hijack the electron shells of tritium and deuterium, creating a temporary cluster. The heavyweight muon squeezes these nuclei together, forcing the reaction.

The consequent merger of two nuclei (involving a total of 2 protons and 3 neutrons) creates an unstable helium atom. Only with the ejection of one of the neutrons, a gamma ray and 5.5 MeV (mega-electron volts, mega standing for million), does the newly formed helium atom achieve stability.

The muon can move on to repeat this process on another pair, but in most cases does not. The tendency of muons is to simply fly off, to the great disappointment of cold-fusion researchers. Commercial cold fusion energy production would require each muon to perform 200 such bondings during their brief existence of only 2.2 milliseconds.

Alvarez’s real-world experiments with fusion reactions, which produce far more energy that they consume, became the Holy Grail of nuclear physics in the quest for an energy source more efficient and less risky than the fire-breathing dragon of nuclear fission. That is until the Fleishman-Pons scandal put the brakes on research.

In the 1980s, taunting criticism from conservative physicists forced fusion research to stall after the media “witch trials” against the Fleishman-Pons claims of room-temperature fusion. Unfortunately, the more meticulous cold fusion research done by Steven Earl Jones at Brigham Young University was conveniently ignored by the press. (Jones later came into the media spotlight as the main expert critic of the official cover story about the 911 World Trade Center collapse and was persecuted in academia for his evidence-based analysis of a controlled demolition inside the WTC.)

It is to his lasting credit that Jones stood up against the philistine fraternity of fake science and stood by cold fusion as well as for the truth about 911 being an inside job. Science ethics did not win him subsequent research grants or a chair professorship. Instead Jones was ostracized and banned from his university. In its unethical essential character as a social club, science has not progressed since the trial of Galileo, who was found guilty of suggesting the Earth circles the Sun rather than vice versa. The persecution of truth-telling, sound familiar?

More recently, a younger less-biased generation of researchers have conducted laboratory trials inspired by the Alvarez findings. A team at the RIKEN institute in Tokyo developed techniques to focus muon beams to achieve increasingly strong energy releases of more than 3.0 MeVs with relatively simple equipment. Despite the gains, cold fusion is still relegated to fringe research.

It is ironic then that untrammeled greed and ethical duplicity at TEPCO are about to unleash cold fusion on a titanic scale, with the entire Pacific Ocean at a nuclear test site. Before long, instead of taunting cold-fusion theory as unworkable, the scientific authorities may soon be denouncing muon catalysis for releasing too much energy. If Godzilla rises out of the Pacific Trench to storm into Tokyo Bay, shout a cheer for cold fusion.

Finding NEMO       

The bottom of the ocean is an environment favorable for muon-catalyzed fusion due to several factors, including intense pressure in the deep, the tendency of tritium and deuterium to sink in seawater, cold temperatures that retart the chaotic motion of free atoms, and an abundance of newly created muons.

An undersea research project of tangential significance is an Italian-sponsored project called NEMO Phase-2, a neutrino and muon detector placed face-down at a depth of 3,500 meters in the Mediterranean Sea off Cape Passero, near Syracuse, Sicily. NEMO stands for Neutrino Mediterranean Observatory. The research objective is to measure the muons that are created inside the Earth, below the seabed, by neutrinos from space angling in around the antipodes, the opposite side of the Earth, which for Italy is the Tasman Sea between New Zealand and eastern Australia

A Race Against the Speed of Light

Created inside stars, cosmic rays known as neutrinos are elementary particles without an electric charge that move at astonishing speed along straight paths. The neutrino speed controversy is a fascinating issue since these particles arrive to Earth from distant supernovae much earlier than light. The orthodox defenders of Einstein’s theory of relativity attribute the lag to the curvature of space as traveled by photons whereas neutrinos move in a straight line.
This face-saving ploy is like saying at the racetrack: “My horse is faster than yours even though yours won the race.” Lies, damned lies and statistics are also a matter of relativity, or call it fake science.

The vast majority of neutrinos zip through the Earth unharmed and keep heading toward some distant rendezvous with . . . something or the other, or maybe nothing. However, some of those neutrinos crossing our planet’s path collide with atoms in the Earth or dust in the atmosphere, releasing a negative-charged muon. Following birth, the majority of muons continue on their merry way. (Please, no questions about where muons go in the afterlife.)

When There’s No There There

Muon collisions sometimes occur only because there are so darned many of the little critters, although a lot of muons have so far been undetectable and therefore labeled “dark matter” (which is ridiculous) or as “flavors”. Scent is perhaps a better description that taste, since one might get a whiff of something passing by, like a heady perfume that triggers your wildest imagination but you never get to meet or even see the woman you’ve just fallen in love with. Well, an attachment like romantic love is delusional, and as Buddhist philosophy puts it, there’s only Emptiness.

Never feel alone because your lonesome body is the Holland Tunnel for ghostly commuter muons. According to a high-energy researcher at the University of Tokyo:
“One muon passes through the palm of your hand every second, or one muon per minute through a fingertip. In the space of a single night, a million muons pass through the human body.”

How can it be that you’ve never felt a single muon penetrate your vital organs, not even your private parts, and yet your body is being constantly invaded? Well, it’s like two ships passing in the night. You cannot feel, hear or see those million of tiny bullets zipping through your skin and bones, and they don’t know you are there. As a revisit to hometown Oakland was for Gertrude Stein: “there is no there there.”

Even if one or another muon happens to zap an atom in your urinary tract nobody will ever know, not even you in the morning.. It’s like the tree falling in the forest that nobody is around to hear.

The shyness of the muon is a huge problem. The solution to this nagging problem could be, thanks to TEPCO’s gross irresponsibility, in the crystal matrix of frozen hydrogen on the seafloor. Time for an analogy.

Bowling Pins and Nitro Frozen Cocktails

Muon catalysis is like bowling in the 1940s. That big heavy ball is the muon moving close to light speed down the bowling lane. The pin boy, however, is in a bad mood because he was stood up on date with a girl for the matinee movie, and so he places the pins here and there absentmindedly in no particular order, and then goes out to smoke a cigarette. As the bowler, you grit your teeth because your score is going to be awful, meaning you get to buy the next round of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Then the manager comes over to tell you that a new-fangled pin-setting machine has just been installed in the next lane, and he wants you to try it out. To your amazement, after the machine is done clanking and groaning, the bowling pins are there in a perfect triangle. You kiss that ball, and feel the gravity of the moment, and let it roll. Boom! Clatter. Strike! Suddenly, for the first time in your life, you are a pro-level bowler.

As for cold beer, you just earned one, but what’s bowling have to do with cold fusion? Everything. Instead of trying to get the straight-shooting muon to hit dancing atoms inside a gas chamber, what if the tritium and deuterium atoms were to be aligned, in perfect formation inside a geometric matrix, a bowling alley made of ice.

The muon slams into one t-d pair, and then whichever way it’s deflected the muon will head straight into another pair, and so on ad infinitum for 200-plus hits. That’s like a score of 300 in bowling. Have a Pabst on Lawrence Berkeley, or nowadays a Corona. Actually, class, instead of a pop quiz, your assignment is to make a frozen margarita out of methyl hydrate . . . .

Unfortunately, that’s just the silver lining. The bowling pins are tritium and deuterium from Fukushima, and that next lucky strike is going to trigger a massive quake along the Nankai Trough and blow the lid off Mount Fuji, covering Tokyo and its environs with fire and brimstone, before the cataclysm moves on to the continents for a clean sweep. No beer or margaritas, bowling cancelled.

Before drifting off like muon, what’s methyl hydrate? Nobody knows for sure  how the methyl hydrate got to the sea bottom. Japanese researchers suggest the hydrogen was extracted from ancient plant matter, whereas one American research team argue that undersea hydrogen is a byproduct of the mineral chemistry in the formation of serpentine rock. With the clock running down in overtime, too bad there’s not a minute left to find the answer.

Space Cannibals

If governments do not act to stop TEPCO, should you space cowboys try to escape to outlandish asteroids? Stephen Hawking’s advise is to get off this doomed planet ASAP. The self-centered tycoons plan to evade the coming planetary disaster by reserving a seat on an aerospace liner operated by Richard Branson or Elon Musk and leave the rest of us behind in the Earth Apocalypse. It’s not space tourist, it’s an escape plan.

Their problem, tut-tut, will be resupply after the death of this garden planet. Don’t expect another carton of Mars bars after the warehouse crew sees the huge tsunami heading inland and sweeping away cargo rockets like minicars in that foaming black tide during the 311 tsunami.

Soon thereafter, the space colonists will have to resort to cannibalism, those selfish swine in spacesuits. How delicious that will be! Hi, I’m Neil Hamstrung, your server for tonight. Which of you would like to meet our charcuterie chef on a private tour of our galley?

Final Reckoning

So it’s better to die with your feet on the ground or under sixty meters of water than to dangle in zero-gravity like a side of beef inside SpaceX Falcon Heavy. The Millennium Falcon, it’s not. Right, Chewy?

The stars are not all they’re cracked up to be. On the next clear moonless night, step outdoors to look at the glory of billions of sparkling stars and realize that the overwhelming majority of those solar systems cannot host life and are fatal to your health.

In this deathly galaxy, our living planet is amazingly rare, yet we, or they, are nearly done destroying it. How stupid is that? How utterly ungrateful for the gift of life. Sodom and Gomorrah was child’s play compared with the sins of our grotesquely demented elites.

Be thankful for life and discover inside yourself the joy to be one of the last men standing because you have an ultimate task ahead. The environmental crimes of TEPCO along with the rest of the deceitful nuclear industry are about to turn our garden planet into a molten orb spinning erratically in a death dance. The executives with the nuclear industry, their lackeys in politics, agents in regulatory agencies and the cult priesthood of physicists are homicidal criminals who must be rounded up and fitted into straitjackets until genocide trials can be hastily arranged and last-minute ecocide laws enacted and implemented.

Hawking’s wrong about off-planet escape but he’s right about the final hour approaching. When the death knell starts to toll, we must act to save whatever little is left of human dignity by laughing out loud. Life is the greatest gift, it’s glorious, especially when we’re about to lose it.

Yoichi Shimatsu is a science journalist who has conducted field research on both sides of the Pacific, in the Fukushima exclusion zone and radioactive sites in the U.S.

Why Didn’t the US Shoot Down That North Korean Missile?

Why Didn’t the US Shoot Down That North Korean Missile?


This image made from video aired by North Korea's KRT on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017 shows a photo of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspecting soldiers during what Korean Central News Agency called a "target=striking contest" in North Korea.

The military’s record of hitting intermediate-range missiles is less than perfect. That makes the decision to attempt an intercept much harder.

This story has been updated to reflect recent developments overnight.

North Korea launched another medium-range missile on Monday, this one right over Japan. Despite Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ threats to shoot down missiles aimed at Guam and President Donald Trump’s Pyongyang-aimed bluster, the United States and Japan let it fly. Why?

After the test, Trump on Tuesday said that “all options are on the table,” as every president has said for decades. But the Pentagon is still reluctant to use some of the most obvious options, such as shooting down a missile above the earth’s atmosphere with another missile fired from a ship.

The United States has 33 Aegis warships (three more are slated to arrive next year) that can launch an interceptor to hit a mid- or intermediate-range missile like the Hwasong-12 that North Korea sent over Hokkaido. Sixteen of those warships are currently in the Pacific.


Pacific Command, in Honolulu did not respond to questions about why they didn’t attempt to down Monday’s missile. The command did issue a statement: “North American Aerospace Defense Command, NORAD, determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America,”

Mattis said earlier this month that any North Korean missile headed toward U.S. land, including Guam and other territories, would be shot down and considered war against the United States. But, he added, if the missile were tracking to land in the sea, it would be the president’s call what to do about it.

See also: As Missile Defense Technology Improves, So Do Odds of an Arms Race in the Pacific

And: The Technology Race to Build — or Stop — North Korea’s Nuclear Missiles

Tom Karako, senior fellow and missile defense expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that if the missile launched Monday were really a threat to the United States or even Japan “then presumably we may well have attempted to engage it.”

But what are the costs and what are the benefits in attempting such an intercept? Anti-missile interceptors like the ones on U.S. warships are designed to hit enemy missiles as they reach peak altitude — in the case of the Hwasong-12, that’s above 3,500 kilometers. The United States has demonstrated that it can intercept mid-range and slightly higher intermediate-range missile. But the test record includes embarrassing and recent failures.

Between January 2002 and August 14 of this year, the Defense Department attempted 37 interceptsof a mid-range missile and hit the target 29 times with an SM-3. There are many reasons for this, but the biggest, according to the Pentagon’s Office of the Director of Operational Testing and Engineering, is that realistic testing of interceptors is very expensive and requires a lot of lead time and support.


Update: On Wednesday morning, MDA conducted another successful intercept test using an SM-6 aboard a warship against a medium-range ballistic missile target. “The USS John Paul Jones detected and tracked a target missile launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii with its onboard AN/SPY-1 radar,” the agency said in a press statement.

In February, MDA showed that their newest version of the standard missile, the SM-3 IIAcould hit a mid-range missile. But a second test in June was a failure. The Navy later attributed that to human error. But 50 percent is not a good record for the most advanced intermediate-range interceptor in the U.S. arsenal.

The Obama administration pushed hard for a ship-based defense against mid-range North Korean missiles aimed at Japan or Guam but found that the military has much better chance of hitting missiles that don’t fly so high.

Shooting down an enemy missile aimed at U.S.territory may be good defense, but shooting down a missile test aimed at the sea would be an act of war. Or so argued North Korea.

“Taking a shot at a North Korean missile is not something the U.S. military would do lightly or without a directive to do so,” said Karako. “if we are going to shoot at something, we will do it like we mean it. But there has to be a good reason to do it. That reason might be if there is an actual threat to the U.S., its forces, or our allies. Or it might be if the U.S. or Japan adopts a policy to intercept certain types of missiles or those on certain kinds of trajectory.  But that would have to be a deliberate policy choice.”

The highest probability of success would be to hit the enemy missile closer to the ground, during the so-called boost phase. That’s what MDA is aiming for in the future with laser-armed drones. In July, the agency put out a request for information for a high-altitude long endurance aircraft. Read that to mean a drone that can fly above 63,000 feet for a long time. According to the request, the drone should have enough power for a 140-kw laser. But that program won’t even begin testing until 2023. Until then, and likely even after, every time a missile heads toward Japan, Guam, or anywhere else, military leaders will have to decide whether attempting to shoot down North Korean missiles is worth the costs of possibly missing — or starting a war.

GOP Senator: Time ‘Running Out’ to Pass Trump Agenda

GOP senators hold a news conference in the Capitol to encourage the Senate to work through the August recess on July 11, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

WASHINGTON – Republican senators who successfully lobbied Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to truncate lawmakers’ summer break said today that with limited working days left between now and the end of the fiscal year they have to tackle multiple items on President Trump’s agenda.

“The president basically said at the first of the year that there were four major priorities this year. One was healthcare, one was regulation, one was tax and one was the Supreme Court,” Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) said during a press conference with a group of GOP senators.

“We’re moving on most of those, but right now even if we get through healthcare in the next week or two, between now and the end of the fiscal year, we only have 31 working days left and we have the debt ceiling to get through, the budget for 2018, the reconciliation that goes with that and the appropriations process to fund the government before September 30,” he added.

Perdue said not taking the traditional August recess is “much bigger” than repealing and replacing Obamacare.

“We need to get to this tax bill. This bill is the final chapter in getting this economy going that the president laid out earlier this year,” Perdue said. “We just want to make sure we have plenty of time to get all of that done.”

Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) compared Congress to struggling college students.

“We’ve got healthcare. We’ve got budgets. We’ve only got 31 scheduled days in the Senate between now and the end of our fiscal year, Sept. 30, to get a budget passed. This past year we were 7 months into the fiscal year before we finally passed a budget,” Daines said.

“So I don’t see any reason why we need to be leaving this town in August. We should be here doing the people’s business. If you were going to school and you were getting failing grades in your spring semester, you better stay in school for the summer and go to summer school, not take a recess,” he added.

Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) agreed with Daines.

“What we don’t have is time. What we are running out of is time … so what do we do? We can create more time. We can do that,” Sullivan said.

After the senators’ presser, McConnell announced he would trim the five-week break by two weeks, letting lawmakers go home the third week of August.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) said there’s an “enormous amount” of work for Congress to do and that the Senate’s “artificially imposed” deadlines do not “serve the interest” of the American people.

“Whether you are on the left end of the political spectrum or the right end or somewhere in between, it’s difficult to dispute the fact that there’s a lot that needs to be done,” Lee said.

China’s Role in Hollywood Grows With Bison Takeover of Cinedigm

China’s Role in Hollywood Grows With Bison Takeover of Cinedigm

Bison Capital, a Hong Kong-based investor in film and TV production, agreed to acquire a majority stake in Cinedigm Corp., which creates programs for Netflix Inc. and other online outlets

Bison will buy 20 million newly issued shares of Cinedigm for up to $30 million and provide as much as $10 million in working capital, according to a statement Thursday. Los Angeles-based Cinedigm is also in talks to exchange its 5.5 percent convertible notes due in 2035.

The takeover of Cinedigm, which got its start helping smaller theater chains convert to digital projection, highlights the growing interest Chinese investors have in owning the films and TV shows that play in their fast-growing domestic market.

“Despite its rapid growth, China remains greatly under-served in terms of content quality and diversity,” Peixin Xu, founder of Bison Capital, said in the statement. “We will leverage Cinedigm’s content access and distribution capabilities to bring more premium, independent content into the China market.”

Bison could also “launch Chinese content channels in the North American market,” he said.

Cinedigm has remade itself into an online distributor of niche programs such as art-house films, documentaries and older TV shows like “Hart to Hart” and has online channels including CONtv, for the Comic Con Network. The company had been evaluating takeover approaches over the past couple years, people familiar with the situation said previously.

Bison Capital already has stakes in entertainment-related assets such as Bona Film, according to the statement. It will also work with Cinedigm to refinance and retire its debt. The company had $149 million in long-term obligations as of Dec. 31.