Update 2: Another great real time radiation map has emerged. Must see for reference.
Update 1: Some first person raw footage from just a few feet from reactor #3. Great video.
What a difference a week plus a weekend makes when it comes to headline news. Just ten days ago, nearly every TV channel, newspaper and media outlet was covering every grain of radioactive sand found on the beaches from Okinawa to Kinki - today it seems as if there is some sort of media blackout. Indeed, a quick glance at today's headlines from one popular search engine's main page produces March Madness coverage, a death in sports, Tiger Woods' new fling and two popular actresses wearing (gasp!), the same dress! Buried a page or two over under a pile of Charlie Sheen videos, you'll find that radiation levels in food in Japan is much higher than first thought. Ok, so not a total blackout of coverage per se, but it does show how quickly news, no matter how significant, becomes stale. Therefore, out of respect, no mention of the radiation emergency will be mentioned in this post... until at least the 6th paragraph or Charlie Sheen is noted 3 times, whichever comes first.
Warren Buffet today told a group of people in South Korea that the situation in Japan is a "buying opportunity" and this crisis "will not change its economic future." Reading this statement like a Philadelphia lawyer, one could interpret this as "Japan has been in an economic slump for the past 20 years and this won't change that." However, considering his otherwise bullish sentiment about this crisis presenting a buying opportunity, it's very unlikely he meant for you to read between the lines like Charlie Sheen does.
We'll see in the coming months how this all plays out, but I'm going to stick with this a being what it really was/is - a black swan event. Over the next few months, keep in mind the term "multiplier effect." Remember, like a double edged sword, it cuts both ways and as reported here last week, the supply chain disruptions will be difficult to overcome no matter how much money is thrown at this event. Following their logic that this event is bullish, then perhaps they should all hope for more tsunamis. Remember, since that faithful day in 2008, bad news is now good news for the markets. Especially war. War has typically produced gains in the markets. In fact, the markets love wars - during the past 5 major wars, the markets have rallied an average of 14.2% within the year after a war was started and each war since WWII has seen an ever larger percentage gain following the start of the war. Well, maybe they are all on to something (on they are all on something like Charlie Sheen) about this Libya thing?
Since the recovery officially began in, (cough) June 2009, we have had nothing but positive economic news, similar to today's report on housing which showed sales of existing homes sharply fell (surprise, surprise) while prices dropped to the lowest level in 9 years. At least people living in the tri-state area saw some stabilization, so there's a good excuse to rally the markets.
Not to forget the other good economic news, the EU debt crisis over the weekend once again grabbed the attention as Portugal stepped across the handout line, as the Portuguese gov't is about to disintegrate over the economic situation. One step forward, and three steps back seems to be the way they make progress.
In other financial news, Israel bombed Gaza in retaliation of Gaza launching 50 mortars into Israel. But have no fear, this is no doubt bullish for the economy. Any destruction of homes, businesses, land, resources and even human life means all the more "stuff" that will need to be bought with even more fiat money. More fiat money equals more inflation. More inflation means higher stock prices. There is no further explanation necessary. At this point, even Charlie Sheen knows how this works.
And last but certainly not least, news and links about developments in Japan.
Got s'mores? First, from ZeroHedge - thermal images of the nuclear reactors showing a fairly hot 264 degrees Fahrenheit around reactor 3. This could indicate serious trouble if that is the temp on the outside of the containment vessel.
Next, a newer Geiger counter in Tokyo, updated every 10 minutes is showing some big spikes of radiation coming that way. Could be the wind carrying particles. Nevertheless, long term exposure of these levels can be harmful. A radiation map around the Fukushima plant is showing extremely high levels of radiation over 20 miles from the epicenter. As quoted from a Reuters update - "MP32 is reading 90uSv/h. It has been above 100 for a few days now, with a max of 170uSv/h. Since the Japanese media seem to like the chest x-ray comparison (50uSv each time), you can do the quick math yourself." In other words, right now 20 miles away from the reactors, an individual just standing around (in the "safe to remain indoor zone") could be getting two chest X-rays every hour, on a daily basis. It doesn't take a nuclear scientist to know that can't be good for one's health.
Ever since radioactive rain began falling in Japan, the official levels of what are considered safe have been raised. From Kyodo, "A radiation level of 100,000 counts per minute will be introduced as a new standard for decontamination, up from 6,000 counts per minute, the government said, adding that raising the bar will not endanger health." Feel better now? The next time you drink a whole bottle of NyQuil, call of the FDA and ask them if they could raise the legal safe dosage so you won't need your stomach pumped. That will do the trick.
Further, since "you are what you eat," it goes without saying then, eating radioactive Spinach, drinking Cesium laced water isn't good either. Or is it?
Thank you Banzai7 of ZeroHedge for that picture worth 14.237 Trillion words. Who knew that radiation was good for you? Thank you Ann, you're aglow with keen knowledge of radiation. Now, let me stick my head in the microwave and see if my IQ goes up. I'll be sure to report back tomorrow after a few healthy doses.