Doug Lerner reports from Tokyo and St. Louis, and points beyond…

Archive for January, 2012

Mon is up to 7 eggs again!


Earthquake predictions and statistics: A 98 percent chance within 30 years and a 70 percent chance within four years mean the same thing

This puts the recent news that there is a 70% chance of a magnitude 7 earthquake hitting Tokyo within the next 4 years into perspective.

(parts from Mainichi Japan)

Last week Tokyoites were shocked by news indicating there was a 70 percent chance of a magnitude 7-level earthquake hitting the capital within four years.
The news caused a stir because it was based on projections by the authoritative Earthquake Research Institute (ERI) at the University of Tokyo. The facts behind the report are very interesting.

The initial report on the likelihood of a major quake appeared in The Yomiuri Shimbun’s Jan. 23 morning editions. In a front-page exclusive, the daily reported the news with the banner headline: “70% chance of magnitude-7 level Tokyo earthquake within 4 yrs.” The Nikkei, The Tokyo Shimbun and the Mainichi Shimbun followed suit in their evening editions and The Asahi Shimbun and The Sankei Shimbun caught up with them in their Jan. 24 editions. All trailing dailies had almost identical headlines.

TV stations quickly reported the news through their news departments as well as in other programs. Overwhelmed by a barrage of reports by news organizations, the ERI published a special explanation online to account for the reasons behind the Yomiuri report.

The fact is, the ERI’s study team had reported its predictions at an open forum last fall, and they were covered by the mass media. Looking back, the Mainichi Shimbun reported in its Sept. 17, 2011 editions that there was a 98 percent chance of a magnitude 7-level earthquake striking the metropolitan region within 30 years.

According to the ERI, a 98 percent chance within 30 years and a 70 percent chance within four years mean the same thing. But human beings, as they are, take the 30-year span lightly and are surprised by the four-year timeline. The Yomiuri keenly restructured the publicized data and emphasized the period “within four years,” causing a big public reaction and forcing other news outlets to follow suit.

Currently there is a run on earthquake preparedness goods.

Also, it should be pointed out that a magnitude-7 quake’s energy is one thousandth of the magnitude-9 Great East Japan Earthquake last March 11.

Info from:

Film theme music for a nostalgic mood – To Kill a Mockingbird


Last year’s 3/11 earthquake – video that very closely shows what it was like for me

This YouTube video from 3/11/2011 at 2:46 pm is silent, but interesting.
It is taken in a 5th floor office in Koto-ku, which is right next to the ward I live in, less than 2 mi from my house. So the degree of shaking and the amount of things falling over is almost exactly the same as what I experienced here in Shinkoiwa.

Note how it builds up over the 2 minutes of the video.


Woken up by earthquakes

I tried to sleep in this morning, but got woken up by earthquakes. Two were within a few minutes of each other and the 2nd one was especially strong in my house.

doug@9:55 am


Mon started laying eggs again today

It’s just been a few days since I removed Mon’s last batch of 7 unfertilized eggs, and she’s laid another one this morning. She lays eggs more frequently than monthly over the last 6 months.

There doesn’t seem to be anything to do about it. She won’t lay eggs as long as there are 6 or 7 there. But then she’s spending all her time taking care of the eggs, which must be exhausting.

And if I remove the eggs she just lays more.

It doesn’t matter if she’s by herself in her own cage or living with Hao in his cage, or if there is a nest or not, or nesting materials or not. She just lays eggs.


New ‘Big One’ forecast: four years – Japan Times


The risk of the southern Kanto region including Tokyo being hit by a major temblor within the next four years could be as high as about 70 percent, according to a study compiled by Monday by a team of researchers at the University of Tokyo’s Earthquake Research Institute.

The figure is the same as the 70 percent forecast given for a magnitude 7.0 temblor hitting the region in the ambiguous “next 30 years” that has been repeatedly issued by the government’s Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion on the basis of intervals between large quakes in the past.

Naoshi Hirata, a professor at the institute and a member of the team, said the risk of a big quake may have risen due to the 9.0-magnitude earthquake that hit in March 2011 off the Tohoku region, spawning tsunami that wiped out wide stretches of the coast.

Since the March disaster, seismic activity has been intensifying in the southern Kanto region and quakes with a magnitude of more than 3.0 have occurred about five times more frequently than in usual years.

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