Japan from a far: Information ≠ knowledge

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LONDON — We have learned not to be impatient.  Which is an odd thing.

We know that real knowledge of the disaster in Japan won’t emerge for days.  In the place of that knowledge we have lots of information.

This is in a world where we used to wait weeks to hear about the Normandy landings or the sinking of the Titanic.  And with all our ‘live’ media, days later, we still don’t really know what has happened in Japan.  Do we?

Estimates say that 10,000 people have died in Japan.  Many people report that that will climb.  And that is a lot of people.  But with an estimated population of 127,000,000 it is not ALL of the people.  By looking at pictures and reading headlines here, you would think it was.

I have watched nuclear scientists over the past few days and read about the reactors (which is not something you’d say every day).  And, as far as I can understand, these incredibly cautious people are sounding quite optimistic about the plants in Japan.

I have worked on nuclear programmes.  There is no in sugar-coating anything.

I read today too that Japan’s “industrial heartland” has been largely unaffected.  Is that good?

Well, not necessarily, because manufacturing may be shut down to help deal with disasters elsewhere, reports say.

We don’t know.

To be clear there is no doubt that something unbelievably horrible has happened in Japan.

What is unclear is what to believe about it all.

Information ≠ knowledge.


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