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Sunday, 5 June 2011

Science Advice in a Crisis.

Beddington and the science symposium was really disappointing. It was all dubbed in Japanese too so fell victim to certain styles of speech that are misleading and confusing. The Japanese speakers' speeches were true to "danraku" format and kept you waiting for the point which always comes at the end so it is tiring to listen to. In Western speeches the point is made first and then justified in supporting statements so you can get the idea quickly. Yet, I didn't get anything much new from Beddington (UK's chief scientific advisor), he seemed to be under the authoritative eye of the Ambassador beside him and he definitely dodged some questions which made me wonder what was being held back.

There was so much excess time given to speech introductions and the lead up it was very frustrating.
It was also not what I had been hoping for, which was an informed assessment of facts and risks. It was more of a conference in support of nuclear power and how the two countries could link scientific advice and knowledge and learn from mistakes. Nothing at all was said about side effects and the enormous psychological and health impact of this horrific accident. Instead there was an air of snobbery about the whole thing that reminded me of a scene from a  Renaissance painting where the rich are sipping wine and eating cherries and the poor are dieing at their feet with flies crawling on their bodies and mouths agape with thirst :(