Kyodo reports that 300 tons of radioactive water have leaked from a 1,000 ton tank at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. That led Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority to consider raising the incident from a Level 1 nuclear event to a Level 3 (a “serious incident” with radioactive exposure 10 times the limit for workers) on the International Nuclear Event Scale, the first time an incident has been serious enough to be reported on the INES scale. The most extreme nuclear events on the scale are considered Level 7, a level only reached by Fukushima in 2011 and Chernobyl.
The latest incident is the worst (at least, so far) of a long list of mishaps this month in the cooling system, from rats chewing through exposed wires causing a blackout of the cooling system to Tepco, the company in charge of the cleanup, failing to stop leaks of contaminated water from flowing into the Pacific Ocean. Earlier this month Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered the government to assist Tepco with the cleanup, not that it seems to be helping yet.
Tokyo (CNN) — The operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant has said they need help from outside Japan to stabilize and safely decommission damaged reactors at the facility.
This follows the news that regulators are poised to declare a fresh toxic water leak at Fukushima a level 3 “serious incident,” the gravest warning since the massive 2011 earthquake and tsunami that sent three reactors into meltdown.
The Open Tree of Life project culls years’ worth of segmented scientific research in an effort to create a current, open source version of our knowledge on thousands of plant and animal species. Tiffani Williams, a computer scientist at Texas A&M University who is working on the project, said the Open Tree of Life will eventually be a Wikipedia-like living document for scientists and the community to edit and use for research.
I spoke recently with Williams about the segmented nature of the tree of life, the challenges of the project and how an open tree of life could impact science in schools. Below are excerpts from our interview.
What is the tree of life and why should people care about it?
One way I explain the tree of life is to think about it from the human perspective. A lot of us are interested in understanding our family tree. We want to know about our grandparents and great-great grandparents and down the line. Part of that is this whole notion of where we fit in the world. Who are we? That’s certainly one aspect of a family tree. But there’s another aspect too. For example, when you go to the doctor, they’ll ask you about your family history. High blood pressure and heart disease [in your family] can be signs that you might be impacted, as well. We as human beings have this notion of appreciating our family history. All the tree of life does is take that to another level. Instead of thinking of a family in terms of your human ancestors, the tree of life is the world’s ancestry, which includes all of the world’s organisms. It’s still thought of as a family tree, but the context is a lot more broad.
A new study of global wealth says prosperity peaked around 1978, and we’ve been heading downhill ever since. New Scientist reports.
Governments have tended to build economic policies around gross domestic product (GDP), the sum of all monetary transactions in an economy. GDP has risen fairly steadily — and often dramatically — since the second world war, implying the world has become more prosperous. Critics point out, however, that GDP only tells part of the story.
For a more comprehensive measure — one that accounts for social factors and environmental costs — economists started using the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI). It adjusts expenditure in 26 ways to account for costs like pollution, crime and inequality, and for beneficial activities where no money changes hands, such as housework and volunteering.