Greenwood's old friend, Ron living in Manhattan Beach and Greenwood living in Seven Mile Beach has been exchanging their views on various aspects of the world through email over more than 12 years. With the permission of Ron, a record of mails exchanged in 2011 were compiled in chronological order.
Mails exchanged in the past 4 year have not been compiled yet. But mails exchanged after Fukushima melt down are worth to read it.
What a wonderful word. Especially in English; being very close to our slang word "Bunk" - meaning "absurd, ridiculous, nonsense". Did you invent it with that connection in mind?
The "Two Cultures" are especially clear in Britain and Japan; less so in the USA. Snow's lecture grew from an article of his in the New Statesman in 1956 when I was still in school - and was widely discussed by us. That was a major factor in my moving - first to Canada on graduation, and later to the USA.
In place of the literature, law and economics graduates here we see more influence from business. These people graduated from any or no field of study. They have in common little more than the single-minded pursuit of wealth. They are more aware of the importance of technology than the bunkei - but strictly on a "useful" level - meaning it makes money.
Sadly, the position of science, technology and mathematics has been dropping here too. It's influence peaks slightly whenever a technical disaster occurs - such as the Gulf spill. I'd hoped the rise of computing would have helped, but has only marginally, if at all.
I hope the success of Messrs. Hatoyama and Kan is a good sign there, at last there is a new party in power, which must really have reduced the influence of many established people. I do not remember hearing about their policies with regard to science, but changing parties of government is a step forward. I'm sure their scandals have not helped their agenda.
With the impending exhaustion of most natural resources, perhaps a more permanent increase in technical influence will occur - from dire necessity. On the whole, though, I'm glad I won't be around to "enjoy" it.
May 4, 2011
I am very pleased that you have exact same feeling about people's understanding in science and nuclear power.
I have only asked you to read wiki' "perception management" and NY Times. And in exchange, I've got your thinking about American people. Situation is exactly same here.
I have written an article "Sarphogus in Fukushima", repeating a phrase that Japanese elite have non scientific origin and for them, it is impossible to understand real danger of nuclear power and tend to believe danger could be eliminated by technology. That is not possible when dealing with nuclear power. Power of nuclear is beyond control of human capability.
You have used a phrases "mathematically illiterate", "innumerate" and "Mathematics is something done by uninteresting back-room people of no importance". In my case, I have used a word "bunkei" meaning a humanities or graduate who learned mainly literature, law and economics only. Traditionally, Japanese government leaders were all humanities. Hatoyama and Kan are first generation of non humanities leader but performing badly because of resistance from other politicians and government officials mainly composed of humanities. Charles Percy Snow had defined this situation in a book "The two cultures and a second look".
I found it is an interesting expression calling nuclear village dwellers as "tortured people". Yes, that is an appropriate word even for the people here in Japan. I have seen many of them around me.
Sent: Wednesday, May 04, 2011 7:07 AM
Subject: Re: NEW US POWER PLANTS
Many of the articles on energy are written by people who seem mathematically illiterate. More and more of our population is almost innumerate. All that is of interest is making money. Mathematics is something done by uninteresting back-room people of no importance. Now that the few remaining well-trained engineers are retiring, I'm very concerned that we'll see a rapidly increasing number of engineering catastrophes. I fear that this applies to other countries also.
The revelations in the NYT are all too familiar. Our Nuclear Industry also has a long and murky history of covering up very dangerous situations. They are not alone in that, of course, but the consequences are far worse than for any other industries.
I worked very briefly with some nuclear engineers. What was impressive was their very firm commitment to safety - matched with the almost impossible standards that had to be met for adequate safety. They were tortured people. Fortunately, the circumstances [a new business where there was no established "Perception Management"] were such that they were able to work unhindered. Nevertheless, I was very relieved when the project ran out of money, so I didn't have to work in a nuclear start-up.
While I understand the need for more CO2-free power, I'm very nervous about using Nuclear Power to do so. The oil business, with which I'm very familiar, is no stranger to danger, but the worst possible oil disasters [e.g. the Gulf of Mexico, the Exxon Valdez or blowing up an oil refinery] seem insignificant compared with the danger from the worst nuclear accident. It's very revealing that US law exempts our nuclear plants from liability for serious accidents. Without this exemption I doubt any commercial nuclear plant would ever have been built here.
Sent: Sunday, May 01, 2011 10:28 PM
Subject: Re: NEW US POWER PLANTS
Thank you for your information.
This article is not consistent. What I understand is
in future, PV will be 30% balance
Japan is far behind because of （perception management） by Government.
Please read NY Times Asia Pacific.
Sent: Thursday, April 28, 2011 6:26 AM
Subject: NEW US POWER PLANTS
I thought you'd be interested in this summary of gross total generating capacity of new power plants here. Renewables are becoming significant, especially wind power. The reference is at http://www.renewablesbiz.com/article/11/04/renewables-lead-charge
With best regards,
E-Mails in 1999
E-Mails in 2000
E-Mails in 2001
E-Mails in 2002
E-Mails in 2003
E-Mails in 2004
E-Mails in 2005
May 4, 2011