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Re: [tlug] silicon cash eater

Raymond Wan writes:

 > I'm somewhat late to this discussion...but all this talk about
 > Fukushima and Tepco's management failure and we rarely talk about the
 > successes.  Perhaps I'm mistaken as it's been a while, but wasn't
 > Ibaraki-ken's Tokaimura reactor affected by the earthquake as well?

Tokaimura was not affected by the tsunami, which is what was the
proximate agent of the Fukushima accident.  Tokaimura, however, is (a)
not operated by TEPCO (it's a government research facility), and (b)
has had a series of serious near-critical accidents (two fatalities in
1999, severe burns last week, I think), and a related facility (same
operator) had a radiation accident due to unsafe practices last month.

Look it up: at least in 1999 accident, management had an "ura-manual".
The victims were carrying a kilo of fissionables around in an open
steel bucket, violating official policy in a half-dozen ways, but
conforming to the "ura-manual".

Where the earthquake mattered at Fukushima was that it cut the
connection to the power grid.  This was again yen-wise and
one-coin-foolish.  The power cable was straight cable laid with little
more than usual slack.  In California, which similarly has ~10-year
intervals between major earthquakes, those cables are (a) laid in
coils, costing about three times as much, and (b) with two or more
connections to the grid in different directions.

 > But when things go right, we (as a society) don't give it the
 > attention it deserves.

I've been making this point for three decades: if you want really
dense news about what goes right, look no farther than the stock
market listings.

So where do you stop?  If we tried to always give credit where credit
is deserved, we'd spend one year working and six on sabbatical,
celebrating the successes.

AFAICS, the real problem is that we frequently praise people for
successful coverups of screwups, while failing to find the people
actually responsible for the successes when we do praise them.  In
Japan, this is institutionalized in politics and the bureaucracy.  If
heads must roll, it's never the people who actually were responsible.
It's some figurehead who never heard of the activity because he was
junior in a different department at the time, who then gets
amakudaried (even today when that's illegal).  In the same way, people
who happen to be sitting in the right chair when a project comes to
fruition tend to get the credit and the rewards.

As in the financial meltdown of 2008, I admit that there's a serious
problem with automatically firing the parties responsible for
disasters: usually they're the ones with the knowledge and skills
required to right the ship.  I tend to favor the Lee Iococca solution:
salary is 1 yen until the organization recovers -- even if they change
jobs to a different employer. :-|


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