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Tag: Japan

George Takei: Why I love a country that once betrayed me – YouTube

Having grown up as I have in a very conservative environment, and in many ways I’m very grateful for that, I repeatedly find myself struggling with one a few inconsistencies that I find in the fabric of the culture. As human beings are imperfect creatures I think this would be the case wherever one is to have been from. But seeing as how I was raised as I was where I was I find that I can most easily point out hypocrisies, as well as triumphs, in my home culture.

The moral/cultural hypocrisy that I have repeatedly found myself most frustrated with has been reflected in this question: as Christian theology teaches that we are all imperfect how could it be that our nation and it’s history wouldn’t as well be tainted?

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Stephen Colbert wrote a book in 2012 titled America Again: Re-Becoming The Greatness We Never Weren’t, which I firstly assumed was titled nonsensically just because he is funny, and he was intending to be “ridiculous”. However, after I heard him explain the title in an interview it made perfect sense. It is intended to be a “poke” at the conservative historicity of America for being the best that there ever was, and the best there ever will be – while also perpetually being in the process of going straight down the tubes. I could tell some anecdotal stories about trying to talk with some of my very conservative friends about some of the “wrong doings” of our nation in the past, and even the present, and how those conversations didn’t go very well. Rather however, I think it may be a better idea for me to just say if you don’t think that there is revisionist history about how we have treated human beings (not to mention animals or this marvelously inhabitable planet), I ask you to have a conversation with someone who you know has deep rooted conservative ideals about things like the dropping of the Atom Bomb, or reparations for Native Americans and African Americans. I know it’s a difficult conversation, but look into the history of some of our greatest shortcomings, lest we never forget and repeat them.

And for the record, I am most definitely aware that revisionist history and self-pleasing politics are not unique to Oklahoma, The South, or The United States. I know best about Oklahoma, and so that is the narrative from which my opinion is most founded. There is no question that the North had slave/racism, or any number of hot button items may have a partial or blinded perspective. I just hope that you can forgive me if I’ve hurt your feelings by seeming to bully my home – if I am doing that it’s unintentional.

Here is a story about one of our greatest injustices that seems rarely to be told, and fortunately for us it is being told by a very funny and well-liked American, George Takei.

via George Takei: Why I love a country that once betrayed me – YouTube.

Have Recent Geo-Political Issues Spiked Your Interest? How About A Quick Refresher? – WWII

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With all of the news going on in the Ukraine, and people seeming to have a spiked interest in geo-politics it seemed to me to be a good time for a short history lesson. So, let’s start with this one: World War II

The Untold History of the United States: Episode 3, The Bomb

bomb

Do you like hearing truth? I mean, do you want to know what is and isn’t even if it’s going to be uncomfortable? Well, if you are like me and you just want to be leveled with I’ve got a video for you. The show “Oliver Stone’s: Untold History of the United States” is automatically uncomfortable/controversial for several reasons, not least of which is the fact that he is considered a pillar in liberal media. Whether that makes listening to him more or less appealing for you it is probably worth at least learning what he has to say. This episode of “Untold History of the United States” is tough for a few reasons, as it calls in to question the intentions of some of our nations leaders during WWII, and the humanity of some of our foreign policies. The greatest question for many that is addressed in this episode will be whether or not we had to drop the atomic bomb on Japan. I would imagine that this is a question that will be debated for a long time, or at least until the Atomic Bomb kills us all (kind of kidding), and feel that anything that is likely to divide us so needs to be stared in the face.

Many people admire President’s Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman, especially people who were alive during their Presidencies. These 2 men however aren’t necessarily as publicly linked to the atomic bomb in the eye of the public as they maybe should be, as “the bomb” is not as popular as they were/are. FDR was the president when the Manhattan Project  was developed (which was lead by Robert Oppenheimer, and if you’ve read my favorite book “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell you might remember that he tried to kill his professor as a young man…), and Truman made sure that it was not a wasted venture by the United States government. This story is one in particular that I think should be told, and discussed by the public as much as possible. I think that if there is anything that could kill us all, and we get to elect those with the fingers that will be placed on the always spring-loaded trigger we should at least have a conversation about it.

*WARNING: This film is graphic

If you’ve come this far you might as well watch this short clip of people in Honolulu celebrating after the dropping of the bomb.

“VJ Day 1945: The Bravest Generation Celebrates WWII’s End”

To follow up those videos I thought it might be worthwhile to look at some statistics about the bomb and what it actually did.

The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Total Casualties

There has been great difficulty in estimating the total casualties in the Japanese cities as a result of the atomic bombing. The extensive destruction of civil installations (hospitals, fire and police department, and government agencies) the state of utter confusion immediately following the explosion, as well as the uncertainty regarding the actual population before the bombing, contribute to the difficulty of making estimates of casualties. The Japanese periodic censuses are not complete. Finally, the great fires that raged in each city totally consumed many bodies.

The number of total casualties has been estimated at various times since the bombings with wide discrepancies. The Manhattan Engineer District’s best available figures are:

TABLE A: Estimates of Casualties
Hiroshima Nagasaki
Pre-raid population 255,000 195,000
Dead 66,000 39,000
Injured 69,000 25,000
Total Casualties 135,000 64,000

The relation of total casualties to distance from X, the center of damage and point directly under the air-burst explosion of the bomb, is of great importance in evaluating the casualty-producing effect of the bombs. This relationship for the total population of Nagasaki is shown in the table below, based on the first-obtained casualty figures of the District:

TABLE B: Relation of Total Casualties to Distance from X
Distance from X,
feet
Killed Injured Missing Total
Casualties
Killed
per square mile
0 – 1,640 7,505 960 1,127 9,592 24,7OO
1,640 – 3,300 3,688 1,478 1,799 6,965 4,040
3,300 – 4,900 8,678 17,137 3,597 29,412 5,710
4,900 – 6,550 221 11,958 28 12,207 125
6,550 – 9,850 112 9,460 17 9,589 20

No figure for total pre-raid population at these different distances were available. Such figures would be necessary in order to compute per cent mortality. A calculation made by the British Mission to Japan and based on a preliminary analysis of the study of the Joint Medical-Atomic Bomb Investigating Commission gives the following calculated values for per cent mortality at increasing distances from X:

TABLE C: Percent Mortality at Various Distances
Distance from X,
in feet
Percent Mortality
0 – 1000 93.0%
1000 – 2000 92.0
2000 – 3000 86.0
3000 – 4000 69.0
4000 – 5000 49.0
5000 – 6000 31.5
6000 – 7000 12.5
7000 – 8000 1.3
8000 – 9000 0.5
9000 – 10,000 0.0

It seems almost certain from the various reports that the greatest total number of deaths were those occurring immediately after the bombing. The causes of many of the deaths can only be surmised, and of course many persons near the center of explosion suffered fatal injuries from more than one of the bomb effects. The proper order of importance for possible causes of death is: burns, mechanical injury, and gamma radiation. Early estimates by the Japanese are shown in D below:

TABLE D: Cause of Immediate Deaths
Hiroshima
Cause of Death Percent of Total
Burns 60%
Falling debris 30
Other 10
Nagasaki
Cause of Death Percent of Total
Burns 95%
Falling debris 9
Flying glass 7
Other 7

The Not So American Dream: Inequality Associated with Immobility – Steve Rattner

If you are reading this you are to some degree or another and consumer. As we live in a capitalistic society, that is fueled by consumers, measuring citizens ability to consume can largely inspire conversation about the true freedom of the citizenry. For decades, particularly the ones in the mid-20th century, consumption (i.e.: driving the car you want, or even just using the cleaning products you might prefer) could be, and has been tied to our nation (and increasingly our world’s) own personal measuring stick of success. Buying power can be conflated with democracy, and people get what it is that they want, regardless of it’s effects on the overall well-being of society – which can be evidenced by things like Cinnabon, and reality television.

Regardless of the consequences of that our wallet shaped ballots can cause us our nation specifically seems to value it’s ability to participate in a “free-market” oriented economy. We refer to this financially stable citizen paradigm as the “American Dream”, which I believe has shifted measurably. I believe that the values of the American public have shifted, which could be measured by observing how our purchasing trends change, but also I believe that the ability to purchase has shifted enormously, which I don’t find to be a simple conspiracy (it’s complicated). Sure, a lot of people in the United States have less money because they don’t work as hard as the maybe used to, but that is an over-simplification. People in the country in general have less money because they also have jobs that have been made more efficient, while the pay rates are not equally increased – but again this is just a part of the picture. Maybe the most impactful factor in regards to a growing wealth gap has been technology, and the replacement of workers by machines and computers. This last one can very clearly be seen in this chart looking at a splitting in correlation of growth from productivity to wages.

Connecting a shift in wages, and productivity is a very important thing to do, but not necessarily just to blame or point fingers at anyone. We just have to be honest with ourselves. Steve Rattner always has wonderful economic charts to help explain what’s going on in this crazy world. These charts below tell a story of how it seems the American dream doesn’t seem quite as American as it used to.

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20 places that don’t look real (20 pictures)

I am about to head to the hospital for a double hernia surgery, but I thought I’d post something really fun first. I’m probably going to re-look at all of these when I get home on all of those whacky drugs. Hopefully I don’t get the urge to blog… And if I do may the force be with us all.

20 places that don’t look real (20 pictures) |.

This is a post from CavNews.WordPress.Com, and I couldn’t help but repost it. I am surprised how much of this is in China, I didn’t really get to see any of this while I was there. As pictures are worth a thousand words you’ve got a lot ahead of you, so I hope you enjoy it.

1. Bamboo Forest (China)

 Bamboo-Forest-China

Image credits: Yuya Horikawa | Tomoaki Kabe

2. Black Forest (Germany)

Black-Forest-Germany

Image credits: andy linden

3. Fields of Tea (China)

Fields-of-Tea-China

Image credits: unknown

4. Hang Son Doong (Vietnam)

Hang-Son-Doong-Vietnam

Image credits: Carsten Peter

5. Hitachi Seaside Park (Japan)

Hitachi-Seaside-Park-Japan

Image credits: nipomen2 | sename777

6. Lake Hillier (Australia)

Lake-Hillier-Australia

Image credits: Ockert Le Roux

7. Lake Retba (Sengal)

Lake-Retba-Sengal

Image credits: buzzfeed

8. Antelope Canyon (USA)

Antelope-Canyon-USA

Image credits: CSMphotography

9. Lavender Fields (France)

Lavender-Fields-France

Image credits: Antony Spencer | Erasmus T

10. Mendenhall Ice Caves (Alaska)

Mendenhall-Ice-Caves-Alaska

Image credits: Kent Mearig

11. Mount Roraima (South America)

Mount-Roraima-South-America

Image credits: imgur.com | Uwe George

12. Naico Mine (Mexico)

Naico-Mine-Mexico-2

Via: daytraveling | tumblr

13. Red Beach (China)

Red-Beach-China

Image credits: MJiA

14. Solar du Uyuni (Bolivia)

Solar-du-Uyuni-Bolivia

Image credits: dadi360

15. Tianzi Mountains (China)

Tianzi-Mountains-China

Image credits: Richard Janecki

16. Tulip Fields (Netherlands)

Tulip-Fields-Netherlands

Image credits: nicole_denise

17. Tunnel of Love (Ukraine)

Tunnel-of-Love-Ukraine

Image credits: Oleg Gordienko

18. Wisteria Flower Tunnel (Japan)

Wisteria-Flower-Tunnel-Japan2

Image credits: imgur.com | mindphoto.blog.fc2.com

19. Zhangye Danxia Landform (China)

Zhangye-Danxia-Landform-China

Image credits: unbelievableinfo.blogspot.it

20. Zhangye Danxia Landform (China)

Zhangye-Danxia-Landform-China

Steve Rattner: Regulate, Don’t Split Up, Huge Banks

As Steve Rattner is one of my favorite analysts of any stripe I thought that it would be useful to share another one of his blog posts. I didn’t think that I would actually agree with this post at first (and it is rare that I wouldn’t agree with Steve) but it made a heck of a lot of sense to me. I had actually listened to Mr. Weill (mentioned in the article) and thought that he was probably right, that our best fix right now is to reinstate Glass-Steagall, but I now think that I might have been misguided thanks to Steve’s input. Also, his input about the car companies bouncing back is interesting as he was The Car Czar for the auto bailout.

Regulate, Don’t Split Up, Huge Banks

Regulate, Don’t Split Up, Huge Banks

AUGUST 1, 2012

Originally published in the New York Times

LAST week, Sanford I. Weill, the mastermind behind the creation of the colossus now known as Citigroup, shook the New York-Washington axis by calling for the dismantling of megabanks. It was as if John D. Rockefeller had proposed the breakup of Standard Oil.

But Mr. Weill’s musings are an ill-advised distraction. Instead of focusing our attention on the worrisome risks that remain, four years after the financial crisis, he diverted attention to a tiresome debate over whether the Glass-Steagall Act, the 1933 banking law that separated commercial banking from investment banking, should be reinstated.

A bit of recent history: none of the institutions that toppled like dominoes in 2008 — the investment banks Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, the mortgage-finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the insurance company American International Group — were commercial banks.

So the bank merger frenzy that Mr. Weill set off in the late 1990s was not the proximate cause of the financial crisis. Nor was the concentration of our banking system, which is less centralized than those in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Switzerland and many other countries.

What brought our financial system to its knees was old-fashioned poor management that expanded the banks’ portfolios and activities too aggressively without sufficiently robust risk controls, enabled by lax (or nonexistent) oversight by regulators. Many of those excesses were concentrated in the housing sector, where a now legendary bubble formed without regulators or industry leaders recognizing it.

When the bubble inevitably deflated, in 2007, the weakest institutions imploded with it, and systemic risks were exposed. Only with billions of government money — much of it now happily recouped — was the system saved.

Out of that disaster came significant improvements. Balance sheets and risk controls were strengthened. Regulatory scrutiny was beefed up. The Dodd-Frank overhaul of financial regulation became law in 2010. A shaken world exhaled.

But because of flaws in Dodd-Frank, the possibility of future catastrophic failures has not been eliminated, nor would it be by Mr. Weill’s proposal.

Most important, Congress buckled to vested interests and failed to revamp the dizzying and overlapping patchwork of an alphabet soup of agencies that regulate financial institutions. Just one minor agency was eliminated and a new, unwieldy oversight council was placed above the ungainly mess.

Because of pressure from Sheila C. Bair, then the chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the primary responsibility for winding down failing institutions was given to the F.D.I.C., an agency woefully ill equipped to deal with complex global entities. The Federal Reserve Board would have been a far superior choice.

In April 2011, the F.D.I.C. published a hypothetical plan suggesting that it could wind down a global octopus like Lehman in a manner similar to the way in which it routinely takes over small community banks. The report was widely derided.

We need a Dodd-Frank do-over to create the right oversight apparatus for huge banks. Regulators will always be outnumbered by bankers, and they will never find every problem. But, like prison guards, regulators are essential, even if they are outnumbered. In a world of behemoth banks, it is wrong to think we can shrink ours to a size that eliminates the “too big to fail” problem without emasculating one of our most successful industries.

Dodd-Frank did set out some sensible principles for dealing with systemically important banks that are endangered. Bondholders and shareholders would bear severe or even total losses. Management and directors would be replaced. Other concepts, however, need to be clarified and made more flexible. Failing institutions should not necessarily be liquidated; reorganization often preserves more jobs and more value than dissolution, as the reorganizations of General Motors and Chrysler proved. Also, regulators haven’t been sufficiently clear about whether a failing bank’s counterparties — the institutions on the other side of every derivative transaction — would be forced to take losses. If they were, that could risk a panic like that of 2008, when financial institutions fled from doing business with one another.

Good management will always be more effective in avoiding bad outcomes than legislation, as Mr. Weill should know. Citigroup would have been managed soundly and would not have needed a $45 billion bailout if he had not capriciously dismissed his talented protégé Jamie Dimon (who has done an extraordinary job at JPMorgan Chase, notwithstanding its recent trading losses).

Happily, Dodd-Frank includes a rule, proposed by the former Fed chairman Paul A. Volcker, that forbids banks to gamble with insured deposits. We should focus on putting this and other new regulations into effect, and devising better ways to deal with financial giants — not distractions like Mr. Weill’s call for reinstating an outmoded concept like Glass-Steagall.

via Regulate, Don’t Split Up, Huge Banks.

P.S. Steve wrote a book about the automobile bailout (which he was in charge of), and it is next on my reading list, so I thought that I would list it here encase you found this interesting. (just click on the picture to go check it out)

Regulate, Don’t Split Up, Huge Banks

Economic Growth on Earth in the 4th Quarter of 2011

Ok, so on Real Time with Bill Maher last week (Friday, April 13, 2012) he showed this chart of GDP growth around the world in the last quarter of 2011, and it showed that the United States far outperformed many of the other powerful economic powers of the world. He showed this picture to make the connection that Governor Romney has been repeatedly saying that Obama didn’t make the recession, but that he made it much worse, and that this statement doesn’t actually seem to be true. Of course this is just one chart, about one quarter of economic growth, but I would like to know why I shouldn’t believe that Gov. Romney isn’t wrong about this. I am looking for someone who help me figure that out. I made a post recently about an article that compared this current recovery to the one in the 1980’s under President Reagan, and the analysis of the article (and my personal commentary) was that maybe the recovery of the 1980’s was faster than the current one for multiple reasons, including a possibility that it was too fast (click here to read a previous post about the comparing of these recoveries).

I am posting this to go along with my theme as of late that I like a lot of things about Gov. Romney as a governor, but as a campaigner I am repeatedly disappointed… I am trying not to become too closed-minded to things that he says on the campaign trail, but he continually panders… I just think that America deserves a President who will be honest with them whether it feels good or not – whether it will get them elected or not. I know that both sides play games, but Romney has become a different person inorder to get this nomination, and not that he has it I’m ready for him to start being more honest again. Now that he has the nomination locked up I’m hoping that he changes this poor behavior.

Alright, I’m done. Please feel free to comment or respond however you’d like. If I’m wrong please set me straight.

Love,
Grady

Major Historical Events in World History

Historical Events | Famous & Major Historical Events in World History.

This is formatted kind of weird on my page, but it is all still accessible. Enjoy 🙂

Major events in World History. Both Ancient history and World history are included.

Code Of Hammurabi

Belief Of Akhenaten

Founding Of Rome

Dawn Of The Scientific Method

Teachings of buddha

Lao-tze Founds Taoism

Battles Of Salamis And Plataea

Hippocratic Method

Thought of Plato and Aristotle

Conscience Of King Asoka

Battle Of Zama

Julius Caesar Gains Power in Rome

Battle of Actium

Teaching Of Jesus

Vision of St Paul

Constantine The Great Adopts Christianity

Destruction Of The Roman Empire

Founding Of Islam

Coronation Of Charlemagne The Great

Otto the Great Refounds the Holy Roman Empire

Battle Of Hastings

Council Of Clermont

Introduction Of The Jury System

Magna Carta

Model Parliament

Invention Of Gunpowder

Black Death

Joan Of Arc’s Victories And Martyrdom

Johannes Gutenberg’s Movable Type

Sacking Of Constantinople

Columbus Discovers The New World

Sea-Route To India

Cortes Conquers Mexico

Copernicus’s Theory

Martin Luther Inaugurates The Reformation

Founding Of The East India Company

Voyage of the Pilgrim Fathers

Discovery Of The Blood’s Circulation

Science Of Newton

Peace Of Westphalia

Execution Of Charles I

Louis XIV Rules As Absolute Monarch

Habeas Corpus Act

William III becomes King

Battle Of Blenheim

George I, The King Who Spoke No English

Jethro Tull’s “Horse-Hoeing Husbandry”

Fall Of Quebec

Spinning Jenny

Captain Cook Rediscovers Australia And New Zealand

James Watt’s Steam Engine

The Wealth of Nations

War of Independence

Manifesto of Miss Wollstonecraft

French Revolution

Austerlitz

Battle Of Waterloo

Vision of Robert Owen

Stockton And Darlington Railway

Faraday Discovers Electricity

Reform Bill Of 1832

Refrigeration

Durham Report

Invention Of The Camera

Discovery Of Anaesthesia

Ten-Hours’ Day

Year of the Revolutions

Commodore Perry Opens Up Japan

Bessemer Converter

Charles Darwin’s Bombshell

“Das Kapital”

Unification of Germany

Voice in the Wire

Invention Of The Internal Combustion Engine

Match Girls’ Strike

Discovery of X-Rays

Marconi Sends The First Wireless Message

Discovery Of Radium

Freud And The Unconscious Mind

Man’s First Powered Flights

Japan Defeats Russia

Assassination Of The Archduke Franz Ferdinand

Battle Of The Marne

October Revolution

Treaty Of Versailles

Einstein’s Theory Of Relativity

Baird Transmits A Picture Of An Office-Boy’s Face

Rutherford’s Discovery

Penicillin

Statute Of Westminster

New Deal

Hitler Enters The Rhineland

Battle Of Britain

Attack On Pearl Harbour

Battle Of Stalingrad

Hiroshima

Emergence Of Chinese Communism

First Flights Into Space

New Agrarian Revolution

De Gaulle Returns to Power

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