Al Jazeera is a fine source of international news and cover stuff that is too imortant to get much attention from American sources, occupied with Anthony Weiner's goofiness and an election that's a year in the future. The big Japanese nuclear catastrophe appears forgotten in the face of these more current happenings, but it's still out there and will be for a long time.
"Fukushima is the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind," Arnold Gundersen, a former nuclear industry senior vice president, told Al Jazeera.
Japan's 9.0 earthquake on March 11 caused a massive tsunami that crippled the cooling systems at the Tokyo Electric Power Company's (TEPCO) nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan. It also led to hydrogen explosions and reactor meltdowns that forced evacuations of those living within a 20km radius of the plant.
Read all that here and put Al Jazeera English in your news bookmarks.
Then on an immediate level of catastrophe, the bad news that we may be at peak coffee. This is really tragic.
In the face of strong demand, coffee inventories have fallen to their lowest levels on record. A decade ago, coffee-making countries had stored some 55.1 million 60-kilogram bags. Last year, stocks fell to 13 million bags. The industry’s supply-demand balance is so bleak, in fact, that a scientist rocked trade forums last year by warning that the world is veering toward “peak coffee” – the point at which producers can no longer increase production to meet the world’s rising taste for the drink.
Read it here in The Globe and Mail of Toronto.
Nobody will write a crying-in-your-beer song about Fukushima, but without coffee to get our hearts pumping in the morning, all civilization may grind to a somnolent halt.