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Sunday, March 10, 2013


Some surprising information this Sunday:

1.  The percentage of American households with guns has declined over the past 40 years, especially in the South and Western mountain states!!!  In the 1970's around half of homes had at least one gun.  In 2012 this ownership fraction dropped to around one-third.  However, we remain #1 in the world in guns/person with .88, as compared to #2 Yemen at .55 and #3 Switzerland at .46.  South Africa is #50 with .127, Russia #68 .09, Israel #79 .07, China #102 .05, Cuba #104 .05, Vietnam #128 .02 and Japan #164 0.006.  Thus, the USA has more than 4 times as many domestic guns than all of China.

2.  Angelo Scola (left, Italy) has replaced Peter Turkson (right, Ghana) as the current betting favorite to become Pope.  Tarcisio Bertone (Italy) is #3.  My posting of 18February13 entitled, "Will the next Pope be Black?," showed Turkson as #1.  The surprise is that the current second choice is Black, even though his hopes are diminishing.  The odds are high that white smoke will emanate from the Sistine Chapel by Saturday, as no conclave has exceeded 5 days, and they meet on Tuesday.  Seventy-seven out of the 115 votes are required to be selected.

3.  Tomorrow is the second anniversary of the Fukushima earthquake, tsunami and nuclear cataclysm.  Not particularly surprising, but sadly, 160,000 remain dislocated.  I landed at Narita only a few hours after the earthquake.  Read about my agony, which was nothing compared to what is happening to the people of this region today.  The economic future of Japan remains precarious, the whole region continues to be in disarray, and, while the World Health Organization has predicted an increase in various cancers, the mental toll on residents might be the most depressing of all.  Psychologically serious stress levels are five times  higher than the Japan average.  Twenty-one percent have some form of post-traumatic disorder.  Families are separated.  Those who relocated can't even tell people where they came from as there is a form of discrimination towards those from that radiated area.  The Mayor of Futaba, where Fukushima No.1 nuclear plant is located, gave his constituency some good news in January.  They will be able to return home in 30 years.  Up to half a million households and companies will be eligible for compensation.  Tokyo Electric Power Company will probably pay half a trillion dollars just for the two-period that ends tomorrow.  Then what?  Want more?  Click on MCEER.  I've returned to the general area at least twice, and will be in Sendai (36 miles from Fukushima) next month.  While I can only sympathize with the people of Fukushima, I have through a HuffPo offered a solution for the country of Japan:  The Blue Revolution is the Optimal Solution for Japan.  (Both photos are from National Geographic.)

Tropical Cyclone Sandra is at 125 MPH, and will further strengthen into a Category 4 storm before brushing the west coastline of New Caledonia.  The capital city of Noumea appears to be sufficiently east that it might be spared:


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