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Agent Orange's blue water victims

http://hamptonroads.com/2015/08/straw-agent-oranges-blue-water-victims

Straw: Agent Orange's blue water victims

By Ed Straw

© August 16, 2015

<snip>

Agent Orange found its way into streams, rivers, harbors, bays and the South China Sea where it was ingested by U.S. Navy ships. Warships would suck up this contamination during the shipboard water-purification process conducted while operating just offshore - as it would be ingested by our aircraft carriers operating farther out at sea.

Wind-blown Agent Orange contamination also entered the ventilation systems on our ships - just as wind-blown radioactive particles from the damaged Fukushima nuclear reactor covered the USS Ronald Reagan Battle Group operating 60 miles off the coast of Japan following the earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

<snip>

However in 2002, without medical or scientific basis to do so, the VA changed the criteria for presumption of exposure from afflicted personnel holding a Vietnam Service Medal to only those veterans who served ashore with "boots on the ground" or who served in the "brown water Navy" (on patrol boats or smaller ships operating on inland waterways).

<snip>

The House and Senate have bills pending before them to re-establish the intent specified in the Agent Orange Act of 1991; however VA Secretary Robert McDonald can right this injustice immediately with the stroke of his pen.

<snip>

Ed Straw is a retired vice admiral and former president of global operations at Estee Lauder. He lives in New York.


Disappointment, anger over Olympic logo 'embarrassment'

Source: Kyodo

Many people reacted with disappointment and anger after the logo for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics was scrapped amid accusations of plagiarism.

<snip>

The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games decided Tuesday to scrap the logo, designed by Kenjiro Sano, just over a month after it was unveiled.

<snip>

The incident is a second blow for Japan over the 2020 Olympics, as the government and organizers last month were forced to ditch the initial plan for the main stadium due to snowballing cost estimates.

<snip>

Sports journalist Gentaro Taniguchi said, “The double collapses of the Olympics’ two symbols — the stadium and the logo — have significantly damaged the Tokyo Olympics and Japan has lost the confidence of international society.”

<snip>

Read more: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/09/01/national/disappointment-anger-olympic-logo-embarrassment/

Ex-Fukushima No. 1 worker sues Tepco over cancer

Source: Jiji

A former worker at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant has filed a damages suit against Tokyo Electric Power Co. and others, claiming that he developed cancer due to exposure to radiation after the March 2011 nuclear disaster.

His lawyers said Tuesday the suit, filed in the Sapporo District Court, is the first litigation on causal relations between cancer and work to deal with the crisis.

The 57-year-old man is seeking a total of ¥65 million in damages from Tepco, contractor Taisei Corp. and its subcontractor.

According to his complaint, cancer was detected in his bladder in June 2012, in his stomach in March 2013 and in his sigmoid colon in May 2013 after he worked as a heavy equipment operator at Fukushima No. 1 between July and October 2011.

<snip>

Read more: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/09/01/national/ex-fukushima-no-1-worker-sues-tepco-cancer/

IAEA's final report on Fukushima disaster slams safety myth, downplays thyroid cancer fears

Source: Asahi Shimbun

The International Atomic Energy Agency says a primary factor behind the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster was a mistaken “assumption” among plant operators about the safety of reactors.

The IAEA released its final report Aug. 31 on the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant that spewed out vast amounts of radiation, leading to fears that cases of thyroid cancer in children would soar.

However, the report downplayed those fears, stating: “Because the reported thyroid doses attributable to the accident were generally low, an increase in childhood thyroid cancer attributable to the accident is unlikely.”

The 200-page report, compiled by 180 experts from 42 IAEA member countries, was released along with five technical volumes totaling 1,000 pages, and is to be presented at the IAEA’s general meeting scheduled to start on Sept. 14.

<snip>

Read more: http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201509010052

Russian Nuclear-Energy Official Pleads Guilty in Uranium Bribery Case

http://www.wsj.com/articles/nuclear-energy-official-pleads-guilty-in-russian-uranium-sales-bribery-case-1441058147

Nuclear-Energy Official Pleads Guilty in Russian Uranium Sales Bribery Case

Vadim Mikerin scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 8

By Maria Armental
Aug. 31, 2015 5:55 p.m. ET

A Russian nuclear-energy official pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to conspiracy to commit money laundering for arranging more than $2 million in bribes to help U.S. companies do business with the Russian state-owned nuclear-energy corporation.

Vadim Mikerin, 56 years old, of Chevy Chase, Md., is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 8.

As president of Tenam Corp. and director of the Pan American Department of JSC Techsnabexport (Tenex), Mr. Mikerin oversaw Russian uranium sales to the U.S.

<snip>

Boris Rubizhevsky, 64, of Closter, N.J., and Daren Condrey, 50, of Glenwood, Md., pleaded guilty in June in connection to the probe.

<snip>

Japan nuclear power outlook bleak despite first reactor restart

Source: Reuters

The number of Japanese nuclear reactors likely to restart in the next few years has halved, hit by legal challenges and worries about meeting tougher safety standards imposed in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, a Reuters analysis shows.

The country has been inching back to nuclear energy, turning on its first reactor in mid-August after a two-year blackout, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and many in industry looking to cut fuel bills despite widespread public opposition to atomic power.

But the analysis shows that of the other 42 operable reactors remaining in the country, just seven are likely to be turned on in the next few years, down from the 14 predicted in a similar survey last year.

The findings are based on reactor inspection data from industry watchdog the Nuclear Regulation Authority, court rulings and interviews with local authorities, utilities and energy experts. They also show that nine reactors are unlikely to ever restart and that the fate of the remaining 26 looks uncertain.

<snip>

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/01/us-japan-nuclear-restarts-analysis-idUSKCN0R022Q20150901

120,000 rally against Japanese security bill



120,000 rally against Japanese security bill
CCTV America
Published on Aug 30, 2015

Tens of thousands of protesters spent the day in Tokyo.They want Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to stop pushing through legislation that would allow the Japanese to provide military aid to their allies.The protests come as China, Japan and other nations mark the end of World War II.

Self-management support system eases chronic depression

Source: UPI

A test program pairing self-management techniques with traditional care helped chronic depression patients cope with their symptoms and live "a life worth living" better than therapy or pharmaceuticals alone, according to a new study by researchers in Seattle.

The program added a behavioral and self-management aspect to standard depression treatment methods, finding more it to be more effective -- at least partially because many depression patients have had experiences seeking treatment that offered no help.

"What makes this program unique is that it combines a traditional mental health model aiming to reduce symptoms with a recovery model focused on achieving life goals despite symptoms," Dr. Evette J. Ludman, a research associate at Group Health Research Institute, said in a press release.

<snip>

The additional treatment continued for 18 months, and included depression self-management training, recovery coaching in person and via phone and care coordination. Participants in this group also had access to mental health services in a structured group therapy program based on cognitive behavioral therapy and behavioral activation training.

<snip>

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2015/08/31/Self-management-support-system-eases-chronic-depression/9241441053950/

Researchers show that an iron bar is capable of decision-making

http://phys.org/news/2015-08-iron-bar-capable-decision-making.html

Researchers show that an iron bar is capable of decision-making

August 24, 2015 by Lisa Zyga

Decision-making—the ability to choose one path out of several options—is generally considered a cognitive ability possessed by biological systems, but not by physical objects. Now in a new study, researchers have shown that any rigid physical (i.e., non-living) object, such as an iron bar, is capable of decision-making by gaining information from its surroundings accompanied by physical fluctuations.

<snip>

"The most important implication that we wish to claim is that the proposed scheme will provide a new perspective for understanding the information-processing principles of certain lower forms of life," Kim, from the International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics' National Institute for Materials Science in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan, told Phys.org. "These lower lifeforms exploit their underlying physics without needing any sophisticated neural systems."

As the researchers explain in their study, the only requirement for a physical object to exhibit an efficient decision-making ability is that the object must be "volume-conserving." Any rigid object, such as an iron bar, meets this requirement and therefore is subject to a volume conservation law. This means that, when exposed to fluctuations, the object may move slightly to the right or left, but its total volume is always conserved. Because this displacement resembles a tug-of-war game with a rigid object, the researchers call the method "tug-of-war (TOW) dynamics."

<snip>

By showing that decision-making is not limited to biological systems, the new method has potential applications in artificial intelligence.

<snip>

More information: Song-Ju Kim, et al. "Efficient decision-making by volume-conserving physical object." New Journal of Physics. DOI: 10.1088/1367-2630/17/8/083023


Ashley Madison CEO Resigns in Wake of Hack, News of Affairs

Source: Wired

<snip>

Today, following stories that Biderman may have engaged in a number of extramarital affairs, as revealed in those emails—ALM announced that Biderman is stepping down as head of the company.

<snip>

The statement didn’t indicate the sudden reason for Biderman’s departure, but it comes days after revelations of Biderman’s alleged infidelities.

<snip>

Biderman, a married father with two young children, had long insisted that he had never cheated on his wife, nor did he want to.

<snip>

It’s not clear why Biderman would engage so boldly in revealing conversations through his work email account—instead of using a private account. Any system administrator working for the company would have been able to access his emails and view the conversations.

Read more: http://www.wired.com/2015/08/ashley-madison-ceo-resigns-wake-hack-news-affairs/
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