Giant Earthquake Will Shake Japan and Could Kill 320,000

(Reuters) - An earthquake as big as the one that jolted northern Japan last year could kill more than 320,000 people if it happened off central and western Japan, though the probability of such an occurrence is extremely low, the government said on Wednesday.

The report, compiled by a government panel of experts to help devise a new disaster response policy, was commissioned following the March 2011 magnitude 9 earthquake off northern Japan. The official toll from that calamity stands at the moment at 15,869 dead and 2,847 missing.

In the worst case scenario, in which a magnitude 9 earthquake hits in the middle of the night in winter, up to 323,000 people would likely be killed, with the tsunami accounting for 71 percent of the deaths, the report said.

It generally takes more time for residents to flee from a tsunami in the night. And some heating devices, such as kerosene stoves, increase the number of casualties through the risk of fire.

The projected death toll compares to 24,700 in a 2003 estimate based on an 8.7 earthquake happening in the same area, near major industrial cities, including Nagoya and Hamamatsu.

A magnitude 9 quake is about three times as big as a magnitude 8.7 tremor in terms of the amount of energy it vents.

The government plans to map out next year new earthquake response steps, including how many military personnel and firefighters need to be mobilized to handle the aftermath of a major earthquake, a Cabinet Office official said.

A lot of people couldn't figure out Armstrong

"A lot of people couldn't figure out Armstrong."
With those words Tom Wolfe introduced Neil Armstrong, the astronaut hero of his nonfiction masterpiece, "The Right Stuff." Armstrong, of course, was a masterpiece himself: the commander of the 1969 Apollo 11 mission and the first man ever to walk on the moon. Armstrong died Saturday from complications relating to heart surgery. He was 82.
All these decades, Armstrong, the lunar Adam, has represented a code his admirers knew better than to try to crack. Not that, early on, great literary minds—besotted by the baby-faced genius—didn't try.
Wolfe continued: "You'd ask him a question, and he would just stare at you with those pale-blue eyes of his, and you'd start to ask the question again, figuring he hadn't understood, and— click —out of his mouth would come forth a sequence of long, quiet, perfectly formed, precisely thought-out sentences."
So Wolfe warned against understanding Armstrong in "The Right Stuff." And that warning was more or less heeded, somewhat miraculously, until Armstrong's dying day. Profilers kept their mitts off him. Hollywood starlets didn't swoop in to wreck his family. And, most mercifully of all, Carson and Merv Griffin and Dinah Shore and Ali G and Oprah didn't demand that he couch-surf with them.
This is astounding. In the 1960s and '70s , the national pastime was psychologizing postwar celebrities—John F. Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Muhammad Ali. And once a hero is cracked open by one Vanity Fair profile, the pile-on never ends. This one had a sex addiction; this one had a chip on her shoulder; this one could never live up to his big brother.
Let's not do that to Armstrong, Wolfe pleaded. In any case, the great man simply would not succumb. Armstrong was simply, at heart, not homo psychologico. He was homo machinatorhomo ingeniator. The engineering man.
In an era when everyone was expected to evince the adolescent emotionality of Marlon Brando or Allen Ginsberg, Armstrong was resolutely adult and elegantly square. He was a Navy pilot from a small town who married a home-ec major at Purdue whom he had no recollection of courting or even proposing to. (Janet Armstrong, with whom he had three children, evidently didn't remember any courtship either.)
Though astronauts in the time were represented as hard-partying matinee idols, Armstrong always described himself as a "white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer." He wasn't boasting, though engineers are, of course, the hotshots of today: the hackers and technologists who keep pushing into the new breach—the postfinal frontiers of cyberspace.
Once in 1969, Norman Mailer bullied Armstrong into saying something—anything—romantic about going to the moon. (Armstrong would have to cough up the romance, Mailer wrote, or be considered "a spiritual neuter.") Armstrong stood his ground like a Buddha. "I think we're going to the moon because it's in the nature of the human being to face challenges," he said, defying Mailer. "It's by the nature of his deep inner soul ... We're required to do these things just as salmon swim upstream."
Those words are perhaps the most gorgeous words the press-shy astronaut ever said, including his famous scripted line about the giant leap.
Michael Collins, an Apollo 11 crewmate, wrote that Armstrong "never transmits anything but the surface layer, and that only sparingly ... I like him, but I don't know what to make of him, or how to get to know him better."
Maybe we weren't meant to fully understand Armstrong. Only to hold him in awe. Like the moon itself.

Manchester United complete Robin van Persie signing

The Netherlands international is finally confirmed as a Red Devil after months of speculation over his future, and could make his debut in their Premier League opener at Everton

van persie move completed official
Manchester United have signed Robin van Persie from Arsenal on a four-year deal for a fee of £24 million.

The club confirmed the acquisition of the 29-year-old striker on Friday morning after the Netherlands international completed a medical on Thursday night.

Van Persie will go straight into the United squad for their Premier League opener away to Everton on Monday night.

"Robin is a world-class striker with a proven record in England and in European football," manager Sir Alex Ferguson said in a press conference.

"His talents need no introduction to our fans – he has scored a number of goals against us in some classic battles with his former club. His movement, finishing and all-round ability are outstanding."

The new Red Devils striker, who scored 30 top flight goals last season, spoke of his delight in putting pen to paper at Old Trafford and is ready to kick off the campaign with his new club.

"It's an honour to sign for Manchester United," said Van Persie.

"I am looking forward to following in the footsteps of so many great strikers, bringing my experience and playing my part to help the team compete for the biggest trophies in the game. I can't wait to get started."

Van Persie: The little boy inside me screamed 'Manchester United!'

The 29 year-old Dutch striker completed his move to Old Trafford and spoke glowingly about the club's history and the opportunity to play for the side

Robin Van Persie
Manchester United striker Robin van Persie insisted that there were no hard feelings between him and former club Arsenal after completing his move between the two sides.

At his press conference unveiling, it was revealed that Van Persie would be taking the No.20 shirt for the coming campaign, after Fabio vacated it after he moved to QPR on a season-long loan deal this summer.

The Dutch international and current PFA Player of the Year was keen to explain his reasoning behind the controversial switch, insisting that there was no ill will between Arsenal and himself, but that he simply couldn't turn the chance down.

From my side and Arsenal's side, there is no hard feeling. No one is angry with me and I'm not angry with them," Van Persie told reporters.

Arsenal are part of my life. They've been great to me. We didn't agree on the future - that's life.
"When I have to make tough decisions in my life I listen to the little boy inside me. That little boy was screaming 'Manchester United'"

"Manchester United breathes football. This club is the perfect match for me."
After seeing the club pipped to the title last term by local rivals Manchester City, Van Persie indicated that he was keen to rise to the challenge of playing for the club alongside players that he's admired from afar for years.
"For me it's a big challenge to do it together with the players here. Every single one is very helpful. It's like a family club.

"This is the biggest challenge for me In my football life.

""Wayne Rooney is a world class player. Scholes & Giggs are world class and have proved it for 20 years. They had a big impact.

"This is a big challenge for me, which I'm looking forward to. I am proud to be here & look forward to achieving big things."

Penis Size: It May Be Written in the Length of His Fingers

Photo-Illustration by Alexander Ho for TIME; Getty Images
The ratio of the length of a man’s index finger to that of his ring finger may seem like a strange thing to measure, but new research suggests that it’s linked with penis size. The lower the ratio, the longer the penis.
The new study was conducted on 144 Korean men who were hospitalized for urological surgery. A researcher measured the patients’ penile length — flaccid and stretched — just after they went under anesthesia for their operations. A different researcher measured the men’s finger lengths, in order to prevent knowledge of one measurement unconsciously affecting the other.
They data suggested that those with a lower ratio, whose index finger (or second finger, 2D) was shorter than the ring finger (or fourth finger, 4D), had a longer stretched penis length, which is well correlated with erect size.
“Based on this evidence, we suggest that digit ratio can predict adult penile size,” the researchers, led by Dr. Tae Beom Kim of Gachon University in Incheon, Korea, wrote.
Previous studies have linked the so-called 2D:4D ratio of finger length with exposure to the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone in the womb. So it’s plausible that the same exposure may affect penis length.
Higher testosterone levels during fetal development are associated with a lower 2D:4D ratio, while higher estrogen levels are connected with a higher one. Most men have index fingers that are shorter (low ratio) than their ring fingers, while most women’s index fingers are the same size or longer (high ratio) than their ring fingers. Research has shown, however, that lesbians and female-to-male transgendered people are more likely to have more “male” ratios.
Finger-length ratios have been linked previously with a variety of other characteristics: in both males and females, lower ratios are associated with better athletic performance. In men, one study found that a lower ratio was connected with more success at high-frequency financial trading, while another study associated it with better performance on medical school entrance exams; women were not included in those studies.
Men with lower 2D:4D ratios were also more likely to have more “masculine” features, to have more symmetrical faces, and to be considered attractive by women, according to another study.
Yet other research links low 2D:4D ratios with higher rates of alcohol consumption and alcoholism itself. Some data suggest that a more “female” finger-length ratio in men is associated with increased risk for oral cancer but reduced risk for prostate cancer.
In both boys and girls, lower and more “male” 2D:4D ratios have also been repeatedly connected with autism; interestingly, a recent study also found that female-to-male transgendered people are more likely to have autistic traits.
Of course, it remains to be seen whether the correlation between penis size and 2D:4D ratio holds true in non-Korean men or in Korean men who aren’t having some type of urological surgery.
But if so, digit ratio could be good for more than just a pick-up line at a bar. An easy and non-invasive measurement, it could give doctors a quick way to gauge how much testosterone their patients were exposed to in the womb, wrote Dr. Denise Brooks McQuade of Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., in an editorial accompanying the study.
The study was published in the Asian Journal of Andrology.

Mutant Butterflies Found Near Fukushima

No matter how you cut it, finding mutant butterflies is hard to spin as a positive result. But the knowledge gained from the pale grass blue butterfly, a.k.a. Zizeeria maha, could potentially help down the road as the country recovers from one of the world’s worst nuclear power disasters.
Scientific Reports
According to a study published by Scientific Reports, researchers started looking at butterflies near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant two months after the March 2011 tsunami damaged the reactors, causing a potential radiation leak. Of the initial 100 butterflies studied, 12% had mutations. But as the butterflies mated, the rate of mutation in successive generations increased to 34%, showing that the mutating genes were easily passed along to offspring.
The problems were widespread, with abnormalities found including broken or wrinkled wings, changes in wing size, problems with legs, antennae, abdomen and eyes and even shifts in color pattern. Intrigued by the initial findings, researchers took a look at 200 butterflies in September and found that the mutation rate was increasing in the latest generation of butterflies — the ones that were likely larvae around the time of the disaster — with more than half of new butterflies showing some kind of mutation.
The news is obviously troublesome for the entire region, raising concerns about the harmful long-term effects of the Fukushima disaster — the largest since Chernobyl in 1986 — but it also underscores the important role of early-warning signs stemming from radiation leaks.
But butterflies can be particularly susceptible to radiation; not all animals will suffer a similar fate, which is exactly why researchers want more tests done on different species. “Sensitivity [to irradiation] varies between species, so research should be conducted on other animals,” Joji Otaki, an associate professor at the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, told the Japan Times.
Fortunately for humans, they generally fare better than butterflies when it comes to handling radiation. Hopefully much better.

Special Raya for twins’ family

KEMAMAN: Almost a year after they were born, Siamese twins Nur Shazwanie Zulkifli and Nur Shazrinie are finally healthy enough to leave hospital and just in time for Hari Raya.
The 11-month-old girls, who are joined on their chests and share both a heart and liver, have been undergoing constant treatment at both Sultanah Nur Zahirah Hospital in Kuala Terengganu and Kuala Lumpur Hospital since they were born on Sept 22 last year.
Their mother Noraini Mohamad, 32, and father, fishmonger Zulkifli Ngah, 41, are looking forward to finally having the girls at home with the rest of the family.
“Our lives involve constant travelling between Kuala Terengganu and Kuala Lumpur due to the medical tests and treatment. Despite all the hardship, I'm grateful the girls are home where they belong,” said Noraini.
Caring sister: The twins’ elder sister Nor Sabrina, six, looking after them at their home.Caring sister: The twins’ elder sister Nor Sabrina, six, looking after them at their home.
Noraini, who has two other daughters, aged six and seven, said this Hari Raya would be the most special.
“The best Hari Raya for me will be to celebrate it with all my daughters,” she said.
The road back home for the twins has not exactly been smooth either after the family's old low-cost house in Kemaman was found to be unsuitable for the girls due to its cramped and unhygienic conditions, which could lead to bacteria infections.
With assistance from the state government, the family moved to a new house in Bukit Bauk here in May, which was also equipped with modern facilities.
“I was heartbroken at first when I discovered that our home was small and not conducive enough for the girls. But the state government stepped in and helped us even footing the medical bill for the girls,” she said.
Although surgery to separate the twins is considered too dangerous for now, Noraini hopes that some day, they can live normal lives.

McGyver the Nasi Goreng draws crowd

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians can be really creative when it comes to attracting customers.
Teh Saadiah Adila Md Sani's “Roti Goreng McGyver” is an example of this. Passers-by at the Kampung Baru Ramadan bazaar wonder what connection the deep-fried buns have with the popular 80s television character MacGyver.
“Many people, including tourists, have stopped by my stall to ask why my roti goreng is called McGyver'. It is a catchy name that creates curiosity,” said Saadiah, who is fondly known as Deela.
Deela said that when she started selling deep-fried buns in 1992 outside her mother's Kampung Baru house, she did not have a name for her fare.
Hot and crispy: Deela preparing the deep-fried buns at her Roti Goreng McGyver stall along Jalan Raja Muda Musa in Kampung Baru.Hot and crispy: Deela preparing the deep-fried buns at her Roti Goreng McGyver stall along Jalan Raja Muda Musa in Kampung Baru.
“A villager named Pak Samad suggested that I name it Roti Goreng McGyver'. The show MacGyver was very popular at that time,” said the 50-year-old.
“The name has stuck ever since. I thought of changing the name but my regular customers advised me not to as they would have difficulty finding my stall if I did that.”
Roti Goreng McGyver is a bun stuffed with meat, wrapped with popiah skin and then deep fried in a pan of hot oil until it is crispy.
“It is like Roti John but deep fried. However, we use more meat than what is usually found in Roti John, so that the taste is more wholesome,” she said.
Customers have several stuffings to choose from ... chicken or beef curry, black pepper chicken or beef and sardine sambal.
“The black pepper flavour was only introduced later but it became the most popular flavour,” said Deela, adding that she sells over 800 buns a day.
Assisted by two nieces, Deela starts cooking the meat at home at 11am every day, before opening her stall at 2pm.
One serving costs RM3.50 but Deela sells three buns at only RM10.
Deela only sells Roti McGyver during Ramadan, but the mother of three said she hopes to make the Roti Goreng McGyver business permanent.
“My dream is to see Roti Goreng McGyver become a popular franchise, like McDonalds or Kentucky Fried Chicken,” said Deela.
The Roti Goreng McGyver stall is located along Jalan Raja Muda Musa in Kampung Baru.

Mystery panties found in Brazilian Congress

A pair of women's underwear that fell out of a Brazilian legislator's briefcase on the floor of Congress has been incinerated.

A group of five legislators was rushing into the Chamber of Deputies to vote on a cybercrimes-related bill on the evening of May 15, when one of them apparently dropped the offending red and white panties.
Security guards quickly, but discreetly, swooped in to pick up the panties and turn them over to the chamber's lost and found office.

O Globo newspaper said security staff then decided to incinerate the underwear late on Wednesday - shortly after a story about the incident went viral on Brazilian social media.

Legislators told the daily they were aware of the incident, but sought to play it down.

"It must have been a trick they played on somebody," said Marco Maia, the ruling Workers Party's leader in the chamber.

"I was in the coffee shop and two colleagues called me in to show me the panties," said Francisco Everardo Oliveira Silva, a professional clown known as "Tiririca" who won a seat in Brazil's Congress in 2010 as a kind of protest candidate.

"We have a suspicion as to who the owner is," Oliveira said, "but we're not going to turn him in."
Source: Reuters

Lin Dan defender blasts Namewee with rock video

A video capture from Namewee's clip in which he lamented Chong Wei's loss and threatened Lin Dan with a punch-up.
A video capture from Namewee's clip in which he lamented Chong Wei's loss and threatened Lin Dan with a punch-up.
Namewee just can't get a break, can he? The unfolding drama and fallout after his YouTube rant against world number one badminton superstar and two-time Olympic gold medallist Lin Dan, who defeated Lee Chong Wei at the London Games, continues unabated even after two weeks.
In a case of tit for tat, a former journalist from China has posted his own video on the Internet, taking the music from a rock song made popular by the double act Phoenix Legend, and writing his own lyrics to it—albeit in a more satirical and humorous manner, minus the profanities found in Namewee's video.
Liu Dongdong—a name that would make anyone smile—produced the clip that's translated as I Come From The Prairie, and which has been viewed close to a million times since it was posted on last Friday 10th August. A YouTube version has attracted almost 50,000 hits as of Monday 13th August.
A loose translation of the lyrics reads:
"Heard you're very cocky/ Use songs to pour out indignations/ Open the video clip/ Cluttered with foul odour/ Why the scolding?/ Idol lost in competition/ You're very narrow-minded/ Take thing too hard."
"Take part in Olympic games/ There's victory, there's failure/ Chong Wei hadn't express anything/ And you're there talking nonsense/ See Lin Dan win/ The world cheers for him/ Urge you to delete the clip/ Don't mess around."
"Last time you boycotted the outside world/ A small countryman's mindset/ Now you’re stepping in chaos/ Selling your dignity/ Your little talent/ Better don't show off/ Otherwise if I hit/ Tens of thousands of peach blossoms bloom."
"I acknowledge your talent/ The music is not bad/ But you shouldn't insult other people/ Your vulgarities blown into the sea by wind/ Many fishes died of poisoning/ If you know your mistake and correct it/ You're considered a good person."
Chinese and Malaysia netizens have given the thumbs up to Dongdong's little ditty, while Namewee's video continues to draw backfire from both groups.
In an effort to stem the tide of vitriol aimed at him, Namewee posted an apology on Facebook, saying, "I'm just letting off my dissatisfaction as a fan. It's normal when the person you supported lost in a match."
Responding to calls by the people to boycott his new movie, Hantu Gangster, with opened last week to good reviews, Namewee said: "They're just netizens, not the government. Netizens can boycott anything."

Scientists: Fukushima caused mutant butterflies

TOKYO: Genetic mutations have been found in three generations of butterflies from near Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, scientists said Tuesday, raising fears radiation could affect other species.
Around 12 percent of pale grass blue butterflies that were exposed to nuclear fallout as larvae immediately after the tsunami-sparked disaster had abnormalities, including smaller wings and damaged eyes, researchers said.
The insects were mated in a laboratory well outside the fallout zone and 18 percent of their offspring displayed similar problems, said Joji Otaki, associate professor at Ryukyu University in Okinawa, southwestern Japan.
That figure rose to 34 percent in the third generation of butterflies, he said, even though one parent from each coupling was from an unaffected population.
The researchers also collected another 240 butterflies in Fukushima in September last year, six months after the disaster. Abnormalities were recorded in 52 percent, which was "a dominantly high ratio", Otaki told AFP.
An undated handout photograph released by Joji Otaki, an associate professor of biology at the University of the Ryukyus on 14 August 2012, shows a mutated adult pale grass blue (Zizeeria maha) butterfly from Fukushima prefecture, Japan. -EPA/Joji OtakiAn undated handout photograph released by Joji Otaki, an associate professor of biology at the University of the Ryukyus on 14 August 2012, shows a mutated adult pale grass blue (Zizeeria maha) butterfly from Fukushima prefecture, Japan. -EPA/Joji Otaki
Otaki said the high ratio could result from both external and internal exposure to radiation from the atmosphere and in contaminated foodstuffs.
The results of the study were published in Scientific Reports, an online research journal from the publishers of Nature.
Otaki later carried out a comparison test in Okinawa exposing unaffected butterflies to low levels of radiation, with the results showing similar rates of abnormality, he said.
"We have reached the firm conclusion that radiation released from the Fukushima Daiichi plant damaged the genes of the butterflies," Otaki said.
The quake-sparked tsunami of March 2011 knocked out cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, causing three reactors to go into meltdown in the world's worst atomic disaster for 25 years.
The findings will raise fears over the long-term effects of the leaks on people who were exposed in the days and weeks after the accident, as radiation spread over a large area and forced thousands to evacuate.
There are claims that the effects of nuclear exposure have been observed on successive generations of descendants of people living in Hiroshima and Nagasaki when the US dropped atomic bombs in the final days of World War II.
But Otaki warned it was too soon to jump to conclusions, saying his team's results on the Fukushima butterflies could not be directly applied to other species, including humans.
He added he and his colleagues would conduct follow-up studies including similar tests on other animals.
Kunikazu Noguchi, associate professor in radiological protection at Nihon University School of Dentistry, also said more data was needed to determine the impact of the Fukushima accident on animals in general.
"This is just one study," Noguchi said. "We need more studies to verify the entire picture of the impact on animals."
Researchers and medical doctors have so far denied that the accident at Fukushima would cause an elevated incidence of cancer or leukaemia, diseases that are often associated with radiation exposure.
But they also noted that long-term medical examination is needed especially due to concerns over thyroid cancer among young people - a particular problem for people following the Chernobyl catastrophe.
"There are a number of unknown factors surrounding the genetic impact of radiation," said Makoto Yamada, a medical doctor who examines Fukushima residents. "We still cannot 100 percent deny that the impact may come out in the future."
No one is officially recorded as having died as a direct result of the Fukushima disaster, but many who fled the area and those who remain, including workers decommissioning the crippled plant, worry about the long-term effects.
Scientists have warned it could be decades before it is safe for some people to return to their homes.
"Even if there is no impact now, we have to live with fear," said Sachiko Sato, a mother of two, who temporarily fled from Fukushima. "And concerns will be handed down to my children and grandchildren." -AFP


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