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Tag "Japan"

Flows of people and cars, full streets and walkways, platforms and crossings represent a dynamic urban metropolis in flux. Tokyo the 24 hour city is the ultimate density symbol and reference for flow representation.

Through out the clip the individuals find shelter, escape the rush and break out, rest and jump back in. Opportunities are multiple. There is a group of friends chatting in between a large body of pedestrians staying as the mass shifts by. Or the individuals that find shelter from the flow in the shadow of some pillars dividing the mass of people streaming by.

Interesting how architecture suddenly plays a different role in this context of temporal representation in the form of a timeLapse. Corners, bends or obstacles turn into havens for a timeout. All this is beautifully framed by Joe Wiecha. The images are shot before the earthquake earlier this month and we hope that the metropolis and the whole of Japan soon finds back to its routines. Tokyo time lapse feature also HERE and HERE earlier.

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The dramatic events of the last few days unfolding in Japan have definitely also had an impact on how we assess safety risk and stability. As the rescue and stabilisation operations are still in progress the full extend of the disaster is not as of yet to conclude. The scale of the destruction is massive, especially through the tsunami that followed the earthquake and which has basically washed away the whole North East coast.

Mappings are under way, from Google to open source projects. ABC news has put together, similar to the version of the Australian flooding, a before and after documentation. Etire villages and towns are flattened, the buildings simply gone. The force of the water can be seen in videos pushing houses down the road. An incredible force, something not imaginable and certainly not expected.

Japan 2011 tsunami
Image taken from Ann Fischer / Japan flag as a red ball with the tsunami wave rendered in 3d onto it. Data used from the NOAA image showing the expected wave hight.

The events have jumped out of scale very early on. The earth quake was the larges in Japan’s recorded history. But in many other ways, is has also shifted scales. The dimensions with the multiplication of the earthquake and the tsunami and now, as a result the looming nuclear emergency.

On a very spatial scale the earthquake had shifted the whole of the Japanese coast line by some 2.4 meters. Who said the land is a constantly stable entity? It is unclear what the impact of this movement and remapping and redrawing the coast lines might be the simplest task. Infrastructure has definitely been hit hardest, the rigid installations of roads, train lines, bridges, pipes and cables. To what extend there will bean impact on navigation both on land and in the air is not as of yet clear. “At this point, we know that one GPS station moved (8 feet), and we have seen a map from GSI (Geospatial Information Authority) in Japan showing the pattern of shift over a large area is consistent with about that much shift of the land mass,” said Kenneth Hudnut, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Japan is located on the Ring of Fire, the falt line around the Pacific Ocean where constant earth movement result in hundreds of earthquakes a year. However this scale is ver unusual and the 2011-03-11 earthquake was the strongest ever recorded in the history of the country.
Because of the location Japan is putting in a lot of effort to be prepared, probably Japan is the best prepared nation on earth for the case of an earthquake. At this scale however things are a bit different, it is simply overwhelming and complications pile in.

This event of course also draws attempts to compare to earlier events and history is once more unrolled. There is a lot to uncover and the Japanese disaster history is long and the society pretty battered with events, in this sense a very strong nation always has been able to cope with the most dramatic of events.

Kobe earthquake 1995
Image taken from Wikipedia / The Great Hanshin earthquake, or Kobe earthquake, was an earthquake that occurred on Tuesday, January 17, 1995, at 05:46 JST (16 January at 20:46 UTC) in the southern part of Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan. It measured 6.8 on the moment magnitude scale (USGS),[1] and Mj7.3 (adjusted from 7.2) on JMA magnitude scale.[2] The tremors lasted for approximately 20 seconds. The focus of the earthquake was located 16 km beneath its epicenter,[2] on the northern end of Awaji Island, 20 km away from the city of Kobe.

There are definitely two, that immediately draw up to this most recent one. The first one is the Kobe earthquake that destroyed the central part of Japan around Kobe on January 17 in 1995. The vast devastation included around 200’000 buildings the port of Kobe and large sections of an express way. The nation was unprepared and the disaster coincided with a economical down period making it even the more difficult to get the recovery on track.

The second event, also in relation to the unfolding nuclear aftermath of the distaster is the much older, but nevertheless very present, nuclear attack on Nagasaki and Hiroshima on August 9, 1945 and Monday, August 6, 1945 respectively. The attack not only destroyed with devastating impact the whole area, but contaminated the wider region. The impact reached far beyond structural damage and with long term effect through the radiation had vast social and psychological effects.

Japan 2011 and Nagasaki
Image taken from News Flick / Above: A destroyed landscape in Otsuchi village, Iwate Prefecture in northern Japan. Below: Nagasaki following the August 9, 1945 dropping of the atomic bomb “Fat Man”.

All these events drag through parallels of disaster and trauma mix up the times and pull these events closer together ignoring the usually in linear fashion imagined timeline. Are we going in circles.

Of corse int his context another event is very present, the Chernobyl nuclear accident on the 26 of April 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Ukrainian SSR. With Japan now struggling to bring the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that was badly damaged during the earthquake under controle these memories and experiences come back to live. In fact telling from the government reactions through out the world, especially Germany and Switzerland, but also Russia and the EU, nuclear energy was considered save and sound. Probably it was secretly being promoted as the solution for many countries to the global warming and sustainability programs. No one really was in the game with a large majority to lobby against the very powerful nuclear energy consortiums. Many countries have only recently revoken legislations to abandonne nuclear energy, such as Germany or Italy in 2008. Most countries are now however, revising and revisiting their active plants and plans for new ones. The recent events in this sense were a sudden wake up call with a good stirrup of settled perspectives and believes.

Clearly this goes way beyond just Japan. The impact on many levels from economy to energy are global. Technology is save and well developed but only to some extend. Nuclear energy production has changed since and because of the Chernobyl disaster, but still a large number of reactors currently running are dated, were built in the seventies and eighties. The earthquake has also, according to calculations by the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Italy shifted the planet on its axis by nearly 10 centimeters. Similar movement was reported also from the 2004 Chilenian earthquake in a National Geographic article. “should have shortened an Earth day by 1.26 millionths of a second, according to new computer-model calculations by geophysicist Richard Gross of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. For comparison, the same model estimated that the magnitude 9 Sumatra earthquake in December 2004 shortened the length of a day by 6.8 millionths of a second.” The Japan earthquake should be in about the same league. Even though this sounds very dramatic experts point out that such changes are part of the constant movement and changes of the planet. These measurements are based on mathematical models and not actual measurements. The changes are presumed to be much too small even for satellites to pick up.

Nevertheless, the fact and especially the idea of the ground moving and with it changing the duration of the day as our basic rhythmic unit is really disturbing. It again points out that there are more interconnections apparent with each event than we usually are capable of perceiving and willing to take into account. In this sense the ongoing development of the disaster in Japan is definitely active on many scales with the power to shift these scales. Rigid structures are moved, ground is shifted, areas contaminated, towns erased. More over, security is destroyed, routines buried and safety washed away. A lot of lives have been lost bringing with it great human tragedies. Whole towns are destroyed and large urban areas such as Tokyo with around 35 million people at risk from the nuclear fall out of the badly damaged power plant.

This sudden dimension shift on spatial but definitely also temporal scales are are considerable part of the extend of the disaster for the individual as much as society, the town as much as the city and the nation as much as the world.

For support and donations Google has installed a central webpage for Japan 2011 support as one of many ways to help.

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The devastating earthquake that hit Japan earlier on 2011-03-11 was with around 8.9 magnitude the biggest in the recent history. Even though Japan is probably the best prepared country on the world this is a dramatic shock for the nation and the whole region.

The earthquake hit at 02:46:23 PM local time and was probably a aftershock of an smaller quake on March 9th that increased the tension in this already unstable region. The epicentre of the earth quake was located of the east cost of Japan about 200 km in the pacific. The closest metropolitan region is Sendai, but also Tokyo is only just over 300km away.

Image taken from mapLarge / The dots show the earthquakes logges on March 11 2011 surrounding the devastating 8.9 magnitude quake. Colour indicate time of report with dark being old, bright is new.

The movement of the pacific plate was described by experts on BBC news as several meters causing a massive tsunami wave rippling out through the pacific, of course first hitting Japan, but threatening all countries on its shore. Mainly Haiti was directly in line with the main force of the tsunami.

tsunami 2011
Image taken from BBC News / Direction and expected height of the tsunami caused by the 8.9 magnitude earthquake in Japan. The dotted line indicates expected times for the wave to travel.

Rescue and suport team around the world are on standby to be flown in if requested by the Japanese Government. Aid is being prepared and numerous charities. Online help and aid systems are coming up or are already running. Google has put up a platform for finding or reporting a missing person and the ushahidi open source mapping platform has released a specific platform for Japan. USGS is providing them maps and details on the earthquakes. For details see the list. NOAA provides the information on the tsunami in the pacific region. A live kml for Google Earth can be downloaded HERE, provided by USGS. Also earth quake related app for the iPhone or iPad are trending HERE.

Image taken from ushahidi / Ushahidi platform for the 2011 Japan earthquake in March 11th. The red dots show the number of logged messages, informations and requests. The open source mapping intends to help by enabling to log info directly from the ground.

Even though Japan is well prepared and equipped the extend of this combination of tsunami and earthquake is devastating. In terms of architecture the regulations are very strict and buildings dealt well with the impact. Nevertheless, some serious damage has been reporte on infrastructure, most prominently issues with nuclear power plants, most of which have been shut down preventive.

In a sense all of these map conveys the temporal aspect as discussed in an earlier post. All that counts at the moment is time for Japan. The sooner they can get a hand on things the better. It is about evacuating injured and trapped individuals, secure and maintain infrastructure, supporting people in need and then it is also about rebuilding. Of course these are different time scales but things are running in parallel at the moment. This disaster is likely to have a long term impact, leaving scars in the public memory. Very similar to the also devastating Kobe earthquake.

With the recent natural disasters in Haiti (earthquake), Pakistan (flood), Christchurch (earthquake), Indian Ocean Tsunami (tsunami) having grabbed large scale medi attention this time will be no different not least because Japan is very well connected both politically and in terms of media. Mahups and especially social networking platform will be, actually already are, flooded with related content.

If you are interested in how you can help Good is running a good list that they intend to update as news come in.

Links via BBC, Map Room Blog, Good, Google Maps Mania

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Turning lifeless objects into tweeting, talking nodes of interaction is the new internet promis. A sweet thing to do, and probably not that far of. It is definitely not new and the importance of everyday object we surround us with has long been neglected.

It is definitely one of the ver important sources of identity and the creation of self. This is in how we can reflect upon these aids of persona, but also in the way this collection of things portraits us to the outside world. This creation of identity involves memories, conception, but also peer group and cultural values.

What you have and what you do represents your persona in the context and places one in the right spot on the picture, towards friends and family, neighbours and business partner, or strangers.

barcode KANOJO
Image taken from leetneet / One of the Kanojos, Girlfriends at BarcodeKanojo.

So why not project some personality into these objects and treat them nicely. This is what Barcode KANOJO has institutionalised as a barcode hunting game, were every barcode turns into a sweet manga girl an could be your girlfriend.

This is unless she is already someone else’s girlfriend. To snatch her requires quite a bit of stamina, you have got enough to start, but be advised to use it wisely. The Internet of Things is about as unforgiving a the rest of your social landscape, including any other networking media. But never mind you can always just make friends with the manga on your screen.

Any barcode can be scanned and will be interpreted via the camera of our smart phone, the iPhone app can be downloaded HERE. How to play can be found HERE.

at the time of writing the scans today have been at 1,689, the total number of Kanojos generated was at 1,021,672 and the total number of scanned barcodes using this app was at 1,769,288. Its not such a small niche thing after all.

The developer describe the game as: “The Barcode KANOJO brings you a new encounter with virtual girlfriends called ‘KANOJO’ on your iPhone. To find her, you just need to scan the barcode attached to any kinds of goods using your iPhone.
Once you have your own KANOJO, you can take care of her to increase her love, find another KANOJO, or steal a new one from other users.”

barcode battler
Image taken from digitalwellbeinglab / The original Barcode Battler to read barcodes in the local supermarket own the road.

Of course there are very close similarities to earlier 80is games such as Barcode Battler for example, but I guess back then guys were heros and monster killers, today they are softies and girlfriend snatchers.

The developer claim there are 7 trillion possible combinations of female to create. Not only that, but depending on where in the world you are, the girls appearance should be more ‘traditional’ to your area.

I guess its the Internet of Things going bonkers, but never mind people seem to like creating a mental projection of their objects they interact with frequently.

barcode girlfriend
Image taken from japanator / Guess this would be a good barcode to start scanning for girlfriends. App is downloaded HERE. But then you might want to try and start with a more unusual barcode for a less stamina intensive start.

“While this barcode may be but a dry symbol, beyond it lies another world.”

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