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Things Are Good: LED Farms Could be the Growing Fields of the Future

As humans flock to cities and the surround them with suburban sprawl we have covered some of the most arable lands in concrete. This has caused problems of food security, access, and sustainability. Urban farming is nothing new and will continue to spread, but what about industrial-scale farming in cities?

A farmer in Japan has taken an old warehouse and modified it into an enamours and efficient farming operation using specialized low-powered LEDs.

The farm is nearly half the size of a football field (25,000 square feet). It opened on July and it is already producing 10,000 heads of lettuce (Read more…)

Things Are Good: High Speed Rail Coming to……Texas?

Texas is an American state best known for its gun-loving, big truck driving, cowboy, remember the Alamo culture. It is the last place I’d expect high speed rail infrastructure to actually get support in the USA. The good news here is that not only are Texans in favour of high speed rail – the private sector is going to fund.

This is a great contrast to other states where governments are even apprehensive to do feasibility studies. The private company will use Japanese technology and pay for building the infrastructure. With luck, this Texas push for rail will spread further (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Japan Ordered to Stop Whaling and Complies

Japan has long been criticized for its “scientific” whaling and now the UN has asked them to stop. Japan defended itself by saying that their ships who were slaughtering whales were doing so in the name of science – a defence nobody believed.

In a lengthy ruling, the presiding judge in the Hague, Peter Tomka, said Japan had failed to prove that its pursuit of hundreds of mainly minke whales in Antarctic waters every winter – under a programme known as Jarpa II – was for scientific purposes.

“The evidence does not establish that the programme’s design and implementation are (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: No, This Can’t Be Possible. Could Japan Actually Rescind Its Apology to Wartime ‘Comfort Women’?

One of several dark stains on the honour of Japan was its practice, during WWII, of impressing foreign women, mainly Korean, into sex slavery to serve Japanese soldiers.  They were called ‘Comfort Women’ or, in Japanese, Kanji.  Somewhere between 20,000 to 400,000 Korean, Chinese and Philippino women were subjected to sexual slavery.

For the past two decades, Japan has officially recognised its role in coercing the women into sexual slavery. But last week, the conservative administration of Shinzo Abe said it would re-examine an apology issued to former sex slaves in 1993 by the then chief cabinet secretary, (Read more…)

LeDaro: Harsh weather strikes accross the Globe

Severe weather is making news from record snowfall in Japan to devastating floods in the U.K.

Following video says it all:

Eclectic Lip: Back from Happy Hawaii

Synchronized phoning, coming soon to a summer Olympics near you…

Trivia note: Swedish supergroup Abba’s “Why did it have to be me” was originally titled (and lyricized) as “Happy Hawaii”. But those of you who also secretly bought the 4-CD ABBA box set without admitting it to your friends, already knew that!

We recently returned from Hawaii where we met up with most of Aya’s family. And wow, if their plan was to leave Japan behind, was that ever a bad choice. There was so much Japanese signage in the tourist-area stores, that I felt like a (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: U.S. feeds Japanese militarism

China, with its paltry aid to the Philippines and its announcement of a new air-defense zone over the East China sea, has not been making friends in its region these days. But the country to worry about in the Far East is not China. It is Japan.

Countries such as China and South Korea that have suffered the horrors of Japanese imperialism must feel chills up their spines as they take note of

Writings of J. Todd Ring: Fukushima still spreading deadly radiation across northern hemisphere: one food can help protect you

Seaweed is a true super-food, high in essential nutrients, low carb, low calorie, and also, naturally high in iodine – and it helps protects the body from radiation. It is a staple in Japan and many other maritime regions. Considering the rising levels of radiation across North America due to the Fukushima disaster, we had all best […]

Writings of J. Todd Ring: Say sayonara to seafood – the oceans are no longer safe to eat from in the wake of Fukushima

It looks like sushi time is over – seafood is no longer safe to eat after the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Fukushima continues to dump 300-400 tons of radioactive contaminated water into the Pacific every hour. Japanese experts estimate Fukushima’s fallout at 20-30 times as high as the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombings in 1945. Polar […]

Eclectic Lip: Passing Gas – EV’s now outnumber gas stations, in America

My latest piece is up on GreenCarReports, here. It’s where I sourced the photo from.

And yes, putting “Passing Gas” in the title was deliberate. Hey, it’s catchy!

From what I can tell, electric vehicles also outnumber gas stations in Japan as well. Alas, Canadians are somewhat behind our American and Japanese (and no doubt, Norwegian) friends in this regard – from the data I’ve been able to collect in my database, we only have about 2000 plug-in electric vehicles versus about 13,000 gas stations. You can’t win ‘em all.

…but as long as you can win Olympic (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Fukushima Keeps Staying The Worst

It’s always been /worse/. And it just keeps staying tragically the same. It’s remained a global crisis with hemispheric deadly consequences. Japan could still wind up largely uninhabitable (if it isn’t already). Canada could suffer directly a great deal.

Steam and non-water vapour has been off-gassed since the beginning.

The supporters of nuclear power have always been wrong about the extent of the damage to our environment. We have hundreds of tons of highly dangerous waste water piling up by the day at Fukushima, with no way to stop it. Can research and a better plan come soon enough to (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Learning to Live Within Your Own Skin – Japan’s Grand Experiment

The Japanese have become perhaps the greyest of the greying nations of the developed world.   This is discussed in The World Today, the public journal of Chatham House, perhaps the world’s most venerable and certainly most prestigious think tank.

Everybody knows that Japan is ground zero for global ageing. The youngest of the developed countries as recently as the mid-1970s, it is now the oldest – and its age wave will continue to roll in for decades to come.

By 2050, the proportion of Japanese who are 65 or older is on track to reach 39 per (Read more…) up from 23 per cent in 2010 and only 9 per cent in 1980, when Japan Inc seemed poised to conquer the global economy. Japan’s total population, which is already contracting, will enter a precipitous decline, shrinking by over a half by the end of the century.

To those of . . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: Learning to Live Within Your Own Skin – Japan’s Grand Experiment

350 or bust: Saturday At The Movies

I sure hope they used recycled paper!

The Disaffected Lib: It’s Still Fossil Fuel

The Japanese have successfully tapped seabed methane clathrates, also known as “flammable ice.”   Deposits of compressed and frozen methane are fairly common in northern waters.  British Columbia has looked at exploiting them.

The gas field is about 50km away from Japan’s main island, in the Nankai Trough.

Researchers say it could provide an alternative energy source for Japan which imports all its energy needs.

Offshore deposits present a potentially enormous source of methane but also some environmental concern, because the underwater geology containing them is unstable in many places.

 A Japanese study estimated that at least 1.

The Disaffected Lib: Sea Shepherd Piratical? Hardly.

Japanese whale “researchers” have persuaded a U.S. judge to declare the Sea Shepherd organization piratical.

 The ruling was issued on Wednesday by chief judge Alex Kozinski of the 9th US circuit court of appeals.

In his 18-page opinion, he wrote: “You don’t need a peg leg or an eye patch. When you ram ships; hurl containers of acid; drag metal-reinforced ropes in the water to damage propellers and rudders; launch smoke bombs and flares with hooks; and point high-powered lasers at other ships, you are, without a doubt, a pirate, no matter how high-minded you believe your

. . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: Sea Shepherd Piratical? Hardly.

The Disaffected Lib: Achieving a Steady State Economy for Canada

What if the way forward isn’t?   What if it’s time for us to turn around, to go back?

James Lovelock said the future of mankind, if there is to be one, will require that we accept, not sustainable growth, but sustainable retreat.   We need to grow smaller.  It’s not a matter of choice either.

There are too damned many of us, each demanding an ever-greater amount of resources, and we’re far exceeding our planet’s ability to regenerate the natural resources we need.   According to research by the Global Footprint Network, we’re already using up an

. . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: Achieving a Steady State Economy for Canada

The Disaffected Lib: Arms Race Update – India Warns Kashmiris to Prepare for Nuclear War

Indian officials are warning residents in their part of Kashmir to dig bomb shelters and gather a two week supply of food and water in preparation for a possible nuclear exchange.

The notice, published Monday by the Kashmir police in the Greater Kashmir newspaper, advised people to build toilet-equipped basements large enough to house the entire family for two weeks. If there is no basement, residents should construct bunkers in their front yards, the notice advised.

The shelters should be stocked with candles, battery-operated lights and radios and nonperishable food and water that is regularly replaced to ensure it is

. . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: Arms Race Update – India Warns Kashmiris to Prepare for Nuclear War

Eclectic Lip: Whatever foresight is, it’s not 20/20…

(originally written Jan 3, 2012. Part of my Great Upload of 2013.)

Come December’s end, the nervy among us like to review what they got right in the past year. The nervier like to predict what’ll happen in the New Year. Ever the blithe contrarian, I figured I’d visit the Ghost of Predictions Past and see where I got things wrong.**

I do this taking comfort that Great Men, like me, make mistakes sometimes. (Oh, it was tempting to “forget” those commas…!)

Take the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius — he almost ruined his reputation as

. . . → Read More: Eclectic Lip: Whatever foresight is, it’s not 20/20…

The Canadian Progressive: For #IdleNoMore, support and prayer from Kobe, Japan (PHOTO)

From Kobe, Japan, an expression of support and solidarity for hunger striker Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence and the phenomenal #IdleNoMore grassroots movement for Aboriginal rights and sovereignty: This photo: Photo via Facebook And these words: Today , we gathered together to pray in Kobe Japan. We hope this prayer can reach to Chief Theresa Spence and also to our READ MORE

The Disaffected Lib: One Fish. One Point Seven Million Dollars. Adios, Blue Fin.

It’s a record.  A 222kg blue fin tuna was sold for $1.7-million (155m yen) at Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market.

 High bids traditionally mark the year’s first auction at Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market. Even the buyer, sushi chain owner Kiyoshi Kimura, who also paid out the record price last year, said the cost was “a bit high”. The sale came amid continued warnings from environmentalists that tuna stocks are dwindling and overfished. ‘Encourage Japan’ This year’s record-breaking fish was caught off north-eastern Japan and weighed in at 222kg (489lbs), some 47kg lighter than last year’s prize-winner, which fetched

CuriosityCat: Japan, China & Those Islands: Dueling flotillas increase tensions

A potentially deadly game of tit-for-tatis taking place at the two islands that are the centre of the dispute between China and Japan, both of whom claim ownership of the islands. Smaller numbers of fishing boats were sent to the islands by China and then by Japan, but this week China upped the ante by dispatching 1,000 fishing boats to the islands:

On Monday, a flotilla of around 1,000 Chinese fishing boats was sailing for the islands. Japan’s prime minister warned that this could take things to a new level: The Asahi Shimbun newspaper quoted an aide . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Japan, China & Those Islands: Dueling flotillas increase tensions

Things Are Good: A Zero-Waste Town in Japan

In Japan the town of Kamikatsu people there create zero-waste while living a modern life. The community has taken the idea of a plastic bag ban to the next level and have banned garbage outright.

The crazy part? Most locals actually seem to like the extreme recycling process. Kikue Nii, one resident, claims that the town’s no-waste policy makes her more mindful of what she’s using, and helps her to take advantage of every last scrap. “I think I produce less waste because I have to compost it,” she told BBC News.

“When I can’t use the whole vegetable or

CuriosityCat: Chinese state newspaper: Japan has been wolfishly pushing its luck on the islands

China Daily, the Hong Kong based English language newspaper owned by the Chinese state,  and regarded as the window into China, has a few choice words to describe the conflict between China and Japan over the two disputed islands in an article headed Time for Tough Measures:

China should forget about forging Sino-Japanese economic integration and fight against Japan’s resurging militarism. The Japanese government claims to have “purchased” China’s Diaoyu Island and Nanxiao and Beixiao islands for 2.05 billion yen ($26.15 million) from the Kurihara family, the so-called private owner of the Diaoyu Islands, and . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Chinese state newspaper: Japan has been wolfishly pushing its luck on the islands

CuriosityCat: China & Japan: Just where are those islands in the sun?

Turmoil still bubbling up in China with the USA voicing concern and trying to avoid taking sides: Islands in the Rising Sun

On Sunday, hundreds of Chinese protesters again faced off against riot police at the Japanese embassy in Beijing.

In Shenzhen, police fired tear gas to disperse a demonstration, while in the nearby city of Guanghzhou angry crowds burned Japanese flags.

One eyewitness in the city of Xi’an described to the BBC on Saturday how his camera was snatched from him and damaged because it was a Japanese brand.

“Japanese-made cars were randomly stopped, their drivers grabbed and thrown

. . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: China & Japan: Just where are those islands in the sun?

CuriosityCat: China & Japan: Keep your eyes on these islands – there are more than goats at stake

There is a good chance that we will see violence erupt between a bellicose China and equally bellicose Japan over two small islands – known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China – that could lead to very strained relations between these two countries. Chinese ships at the islands Barren islands, inhabited by goats, leading to war between China and Japan? How could that be? Because of past wounds:

Japan has claimed the islands since 1895. The US took jurisdiction after the second world war and turned them over to Japan in 1972. But Beijing sees the purchase

. . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: China & Japan: Keep your eyes on these islands – there are more than goats at stake