March 30, 2011

TOKYO HACKERSPACE mounts a DIY response to the earthquake/tsunami. Reader Brian Hepler writes: “It’s all about adapting to situation of a large scale disaster and how to fend for yourself and your community. Barely anywhere is there a mention of officials or authorities. These guys & gals self-organized across the planet to get useful & necessary technology to those in need. They’ve been making lanterns from cheap solar cells, LEDs, some circuit boards and glass mason jars. They designed & built their own Geiger counters for nog’s sake!”

Plus, from the article, this local color:

The nuclear meltdown was bad enough, but the rolling blackouts added even more uncertainty. You couldn’t be sure if you could make it home at night because the trains could stop at anytime. We had to give ourselves a margin of 2-3 hours for any type of travel because the train schedules were so uncertain.

At the same time, staple items like bottled water and dry goods disappeared from shelves within days of the earthquake. You had to literally race out to check store shelves because you weren’t sure how long the food runs would last. With a gasoline shortage going on at the same time, it was questionable how long shelves could stay stocked. The convenience store underneath my apartment was almost stripped bare of food.

Another reason why self-sufficiency is important, and why trains may not be so great as a substitute for cars.