Editor’s Note: This article was based on a conversation with Mr Fujita, a former at Brookline High student and currently a local Apple Store trainer.It must have been the day of the earthquake, and it was all over the news and I was at the Apple store. Between my wife and I, one of us was always plugged into the news. We heard about the earthquake, and then waited for the wave.No one was prepared, in any way, for a wave of this size.I was completely unaware. What really impacted me were the first images and the actual video of the tsunami coming into the coast of Sendai.It was unbelievable in the sense of its mass, its obvious power.People were making references to Hollywood movies and their special effects. A wave that tremendous, that out of scale, was so far removed from what we had seen or heard in real life.The power plants were not on my mind.The first problem was: can we communicate? Are the phones working, can people reply to emails?It took a while to appreciate that other danger.My grandfather in California was in touch, my wife finally got a very short text from her brother- everything was OK.[There was] panic, because [officials] didn’t think they could control it- a lot of “if,” still plenty of “if” though now we seem further away from a serious melt down.Radiation is coming out but but the levels, beyond the plant, are not as dangerous as first imagined. [Officials] say they are within normal “background” levels of radiation at a distance- something like the equivalent of a CT scan.We talked about Chernobyl at Brookline High School. We all had awareness; we’re not that far away from Three Mile Island.I learned about the importance of power but I did not learn about the direct effects … we knew about radiation- it’s pretty nasty stuff.But in Japan, Tokyo if you’ve been there, you can see the lights, you can see the power being used.Why haven’t we collaborated in finding better sources of energy? It highlights the point that our priorities are mixed up, at least globally.The problem in Japan wasn’t due to a war, it was a natural disaster combined with an insecure plant.There’s considerable blame now, [because people feel] someone has to take responsibility.There’s not enough responsible information. Japanese people have to get their accurate information about the energy crisis, comprised nuclear power stations, data about the reactors, emergency cooling, the dumping of radioactive gasses or water. Important, long-term issues, have not been discussed.Young people in Japan? Scared.Many now realize all this could happen again. Not the natural disaster, but nuclear power, how dangerous it can be and how crucial [it is that] all the complicated elements be monitored much more carefully and made more public.It brings an instability people didn’t realize before.Perhaps not so much instability as a sense that someone was watching over, taking care as much as possible. We are all trying to get over the little fears … that the air, the food we eat and water we drink could kill us, if not now, in the future.All said if I could go back to Japan, I would go again this year.]]>
Down a long, winding road, a bleak building squats on the edge of the ocean. A tall fence prevents anyone who does not have previously granted access to enter. Security guards patrol the area, armed with guns. They are guarding the Pilgrim Nuclear Plant in Plymouth, Massachusetts. A 38 mile trip from Boston, this plant uses an isotope of uranium to supply the heat that transforms water to steam, in turn revolving a turbine that spins a generator, eventually causing the generator to work.This method, unlike the one used by plants with fossil fuels, has the advantage of creating less pollution and thus damaging to the environment less. But it has one very big disadvantage: it creates radiation. This factor is of great worry to some, especially following the turmoil in Japan, and many will be glad when the plant’s operating license expires in 2012.The energy produced there is not used locally, according to a security guard at the plant. Instead, it is sold to National Grid, which distributes it to places like New York. Many do not understand why the plant was chosen to be stationed here and not in some less populated area of the country. “It’s mostly geography,” the security guard said. “There’s water, and then the demand was high.”The company Entergy sponsors the Pilgrim Plant, which has the same General Electric reactor as the Fukushima plant in Japan.In recent months, the company has proposed cutting down training funds, money supplied to the plant that is used to practice safety procedures and evacuation in case of an emergency. One person who is worried is Becky Deming, who graduated from Newton South in 1987. When first deciding where to move with her husband, the nuclear plant made her unsure about living in Plymouth.In the end, although she did move to Plymouth, she admits she is still apprehensive about the proximity of the plant. Some, though, are not so concerned.“I’m sure that there are people that worry, but not me … you can’t worry about things you can’t control,” the manager at Kiskadee Coffee Company in Plymouth said. For an attendant at a Tourist Center near the station, the conflict over the safety of Pilgrim is indeed beneficial for the tourism business.“I don’t give it a second thought,” she said. “At least they’re paying [Plymouth] more attention.”In fact, the uproar over the safety of the plant has caused people to pay it significantly more consideration, so much so that the plant security has been increased.In Boston, while there is some unease, it is minimal. Most believe that Boston is too far away for harm. The manager of Kiskadee does not. “If we’re worried, you should be too,” he said.]]>
Denebola: How is it you were in the area of the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor? Sue Welch: I lived in central Pennsylvania near Three Mile Island. I was teaching preschool. It was my first year out of college and that was my first job.I was teaching preschoolers, and we were within ten miles of the plant.Denebola: What did you know about nuclear reactors and nuclear power before the incident?Sue Welch: Not very much. I knew that there was a plant in the area. I knew that there were cooling towers because I could see them, but beyond that I really didn’t know very much.Denebola: Were you ever worried?Sue Welch: Living around there? No. I had no concerns because I really didn’t know much about it. I assumed it was safe and went about my business, before the incident happened.Denebola: What attitude did other, older teachers you worked with have before the incident?Sue Welch: It was not something we really talked about so I don’t know that they had any concerns one way or the other. The plant was there and I hadn’t encountered anybody in the time that I was there … who had any concerns.Denebola: What happened the day of the incident? What did you do?Sue Welch: The kids didn’t really know anything about what was going on; you know when you’re with little kids, you tend to not share scary information.The morning of the incident, it was the second day [of the accident] so it was March 30, I think the initial incident happened on the 29, we were at work. The adults were concerned because we had been hearing about it on the news the night before and were following things on the radio.It’s similar to how things have evolved in Japan; every couple hours you hear something different and not everything supports what you’ve heard before. Sometime that morning, maybe around ten or 11 o’clock, is when the governor asked for an evacuation or suggested people within ten miles, either pregnant woman or preschool children, to leave the area.At that point we didn’t know what to do because we weren’t aware of any evacuation plans that we should follow.It wasn’t like the people in the area as far as I knew were educated about what to do with their residence and how to plan, so we didn’t quite know what to do.We got a directive from the main headquarters of the preschool that I was at, we were like a chain of preschools, that we should go this evacuation site that was a designated evacuation site for floods and other emergencies that we had had in the area over the years.In retrospect we shouldn’t have left the building; we should have stayed inside, but we were thinking we had to get farther away from the plant, so we evacuated. It was like a big exposition center where they were setting up for a circus.So the kids thought we were going on a field trip and they were entertained by watching people bring in animals and props for the show that was going to be happening there; however, [the adults] didn’t really know what to do.Parents who had kids in the center got notification of where we were. There was certainly anxiety about what was going on but I don’t know that the kids were- as I recall they weren’t scared, they were more intrigued that there was a different routine to the day.One of our staff members was pregnant. And so by about 1:30 or 2:00 in the afternoon I was the only one left in the center because I didn’t have any dependence of any kind and I stayed until the last kid was picked up.Denebola: How old were you then?Sue Welch: I was 21.Denebola: Did anything prepare you for this?Sue Welch: No. I think the closest thing that I would have had would have been … fire drills and things like that to prepare for an emergency kind of thing.There had been floods in that area; pretty significant floods of different kinds, so we knew about packing up things and leaving because we had to leave our house. But as far as really being prepared, no.Denebola: Were you told to evacuate the area?Sue Welch: I think if you do any research about this you’ll see that the communication around this disaster was very jumbled and the public got different information from different sources.I think that people at the plant and the government were trying to figure out what to do. You know, how bad was it there, and was there anything to be concerned about or not?A search showed there was an incident: a hydrogen bubble developed inside the plant and they were concerned that it was going to explode. So they were inspecting things as the hours went by to figure out what to do and it was after Jimmy Carter came up from Washington DC with some of the [Nuclear Regulatory Commission] people, and they looked at things at the plant and discussed it with the governor and that’s when the decision was made to evacuate the reactor.It wasn’t a mandatory evacuation. It was just suggested that you should leave if you were concerned within 10 or 20 miles from the plant (I don’t remember exactly). So that was the first day and then Friday and Monday schools in the whole area were closed and a lot of people left the area.But I think with any kind of emergency like this you always hear different things and until they really sort out what’s going on you won’t really have clear information, and it wasn’t for years after the plant disaster that they actually were able to go inside the reactor and see that things had taken damage as significantly as they had.Denebola: When was it “over”, did you go back to your job?Sue Welch: I left work, it would have been a Thursday, and I was back at work I think the following Tuesday. Not all the kids’ families were back in the area yet but that’s when we reopened the center and I went back to my normal life.I think one of the things that struck me as I was leaving the area to go back to where I went to college was that if things did go very badly I would not be able to go back to that area in my lifetime.It wasn’t a matter of if it was a fire and I could rebuild, or if it was a flood and I could clean up and go back, but if it were a bad incident like Chernobyl, [I knew I couldn’t go back].So I was driving away in my car and anything that was part of my life I [thought I] might not ever see again. You know, it’s not only possessions but where I went to school and everything, so that was pretty traumatic.When I came back for good it was interesting to see what kind of things the kids did with the information that they may have heard at home because families could have had their televisions on, so there were all kinds of stories and some adventures.A few kids drew pictures of cooling towers or nuclear plants because that’s what they were hearing about and what they had seen. The bubble had gone away, so that was no longer a concern, and the plant was shut down, so at that point it was a matter of assessing what exactly had happened: how much radiation had been released and what they were going to need to do to clean up, but there were no more concerns that things were dangerous for people living in the area.Denebola: Years have passed; you’ve had a chance to think about Three Mile Island. How do your feelings toward nuclear power now compare to your feelings before the incident?Sue Welch: I guess I’d say I’m not really in favor of [it] because [it raises] too many questions about what to do with the waste and how to securely throw it out, and certainly the impacts that an accident would have on an area are so dramatic that it’s not something I’m really comfortable with. I wouldn’t want to live right near one, I mean we’re fairly near but not as I had before. I’m not in favor of [how much fossil fuel we use], but I’m not sure that nuclear is something I would prefer.Denebola: How has your life changed now that you realize the gravity of the incident?Sue Welch: One of the things that I have always made sure I do is that whatever school I’m working at I want to be on what’s called the Crisis Team, and each school has a Crisis Team to deal with any kind of incident that may happen and so I just want to know what plans there are for emergencies.So that’s really important for me. Just really being aware of what kind of emergency information I could get hold of is something that reassures my mind.Denebola: Hearing about the Japanese situation today must make you remember that melt down. What do you think about the nuclear power plants here in Massachusetts?Sue Welch: The Japan incident has reminded me about how annoying traversing that kind of thing can be, especially if you’re living in the area and are very concerned.I actually have a cousin who is in the service and has been serving and now he and his wife are coming back home to the states. I … just hope that people that live near [the Pilgrim Plant] know about an evacuation plan and that there are emergency procedures in place. I guess I feel that I’m thinking about my own sense of security.Do I think it should be shut down tomorrow? No, but I certainly think the United States government should be concerned about their plants especially now that they’re aging, and that they should be making sure that the people who live near them are safe.I have a colleague at my school who lives in Provincetown and she pointed out to me that where she lives is actually closer to Pilgrim than some of the people, you know, who are on the South Shore and that the people on the South Shore have iodine and other things to prepare them for an emergency but on the other coast they don’t and they’d be very stuck trying to evacuate from there.]]>
On the West coast of South Africa, the city of Durban lies on the edge of the Indian Ocean. Until a while ago, Durban’s white sands and blue waters were home to Bronwynn Dehrmann, who is now a senior at South. In October of this year, Dehrmann’s plane landed in Boston. A few days later, she was a member of the South community. Although she came to a new school much bigger than her South African one, she was ready to meet new people, but found it harder than she had thought. “People aren’t that friendly here,” Dehrmann said. “Whereas in South Africa, people are the nicest people ever.” The kindness of strangers and acquaintances in South Africa is something Dehrmann longs for. Dehrmann found that people in Newton, although more diverse than people in Durban, were at first reluctant to introduce themselves. This is not because she is different; in fact, the “melting pot” of people is her favorite part of South. “I enjoy [the diversity],” Dehrmann said. “In South Africa, it’s not that [diverse] and there’s a lot of separation with the different races. [At Newton South], there’s no one around that’s ever going to judge you.” As a matter of fact, one of Dehrmann’s best friends, Olga Rapaport, was born in a different country as well. When Rapaport first met Dehrmann, she did not make any negative judgments based on where Dehrmann came from. “When you come from a different country, it’s hard to adjust to things,” Rapaport said. “I came to the United States when I was seven; I came from Russia.” Although Rapaport was not born in America either, she notices a few differences in her experiences compared to Dehrmann’s. “She calls certain things [a different name], like her cell phone she calls ‘mobile’,” Rapaport said. “I understand her, but sometimes it’s funny how she talks in her own way.” The way Dehrmann speaks is actually what first attracted Rapaport, who liked Dehrmann’s accent. Since the first day they were introduced each other, they have talked more and more, and are now very good friends. In fact, Dehrmann has found many places and friends here that she loves, even though her friends from South Africa are what she misses the most. “My favorite thing here would be Starbucks,” Dehrmann said. “I’m just a social butterfly, so hanging out with people makes me happy.” Acting and singing make Dehrmann happy as well. Her future and move to America are centered on those passions. “I originally was thinking about studying acting and singing,” Dehrmann said. “It’s great in America, whereas in South Africa if you wanted to do something like that you wouldn’t get very far.” Going along with her daughter’s interests, Dehrmann’s mother began looking around for job opportunities in the United States. When she found one, she had a work transfer, and Dehrmann followed her mother to the U.S. where Dehrmann could pursue her ambitions. Once at South, she quickly enrolled in acting class. “Bronwynn fit into the advanced acting class quickly and easily, contributing opinions and being accepted almost automatically by the other students,” Jim Honeyman, her acting teacher, said. “She has adjusted extremely well, and it has been a pleasure teaching and getting to know her.” Now, at the point in senior year where students are beginning to decide what they will do next year, Dehrmann has found a place at the New York Film Academy, where she will be able to pursue her love for singing and acting. Dehrmann did not have to take the SAT to get accepted. “I actually haven’t taken the SAT yet because it wasn’t required,” Dehrmann said. “But I think I’m going to take them now.” Although there is nothing like the SAT in South Africa, Dehrmann is ready to try more “American” activities while stillholding on to her South African identity. “She likes South Africa,” Rapaport said. “I think she’s proud of who she is.”]]>
Clementi, a freshman at Rutgers University, had gone to his RA complaining of his roommate, Dharun Ravi, who had used his webcam to record Clementi’s intimate activity with another man days prior to the suicide. Ravi and another Rutgers student, Molly Wei, watched the encounter from another room.
Ravi reportedly frequently updated gossip about Clementi via Twitter, including an invitation to “anyone with iChat to videochat him regarding a second public streaming of Clementi’s romantic engagement: “Yes it’s happening again, he Tweeted.
Then, the next day, police found Clementi’s wallet and cell phone on the George Washington Bridge. The day after that, a body washed up near the Columbia University boathouse and was identified as Tyler Clementi.
Gay rights activists, friends of Ravi and Wei, law enforcement officials, and University spokespeople all assessed the tragedy slightly differently. But for those of us who didn’t know Clementi, who maybe don’t belong to any of these groups’€how are we affected?
There’s an aspect of the story that connects us all, regardless of where our sympathies lie: technology. How is new media culture transforming us? Is the ability to, say, secretly video someone and then broadcast the footage on the Internet, destroying our moral compass?
Many people enthusiastically shout YES, with the fear that if we don’t do something soon, generations that grew up with this technology will begin to use it for evil. Others pin youths’ unethical behavior on human flaw’€technology is powerful, and we have the choice to use it either as a helpful tool or as a vicious weapon.
Here at South, students’ witness cyber bullying all across the web.
More specifically, kids use Facebook as a tool to create an unsafe environment with cruel comments and untruthful claims. According to senior Joe Step, childish jokes online can be misinterpreted and lead to hurt feelings. “[Poking fun] can often be misconstrued and people can get offended, Step said.
“People are targeted by statuses, senior Kirby Howell said. “I’ve seen full out fights on [Facebook] photos.
According to research company Pear Analytics, “pointless babble and “conversational Tweets make up almost 80% of all Tweets originating from the United States, or written in English. Among those is Ravi’s string of Tweets about his roommate.
This begs the question: How many other Tweets out there are as potentially harmful as Ravi’s were? It’s a free country; there is no limit to what can be revealed over the Internet.
But if some things, like Ravi’s Tweets and his webcam footage, cause so much harm, it becomes difficult to confidently support the original intention of sites like Twitter, applications like iChat, or inventions like the webcam.
New Jersey officials are investigating the nature of the incident; privacy charges against Ravi and Wei carry up to five years in jail, and the case still remains to be classified as a hate crime.
Regardless, the events leading up to Clementi’s death have shed light on some uses of modern technology that have yet to be managed.
If nothing else, Clementi taught us a lesson when he died. Just hours prior to his suicide, Clementi updated his Facebook status: “jumping off the gw bridge sorry.]]>