Saturday, March 12, 2011


Since the great earthquake in Japan the term prefecture has been heard many times so I wanted to know about this type of governmental structure.  It is a form of self-governance of an area found in a number of nations and is a democratic term stemming from Roman times.  It plays a large role in Japanese personal identity which explains why the term is used very frequently in pinpointing areas of the country in the present journalistic reporting during this tragedy.

Japan is divided into 47 prefectures, and each is further divided into municipalities. These prefectures and municipalities neither overlap geographically nor leave any area uncovered; all residents of Japan are therefore residents of one municipality and one prefecture. The prefecture plays a sufficiently large role in personal identity that Japanese introducing themselves often mention their prefecture of origin as well as (or instead of) their municipality.
The prefectures and municipalities function as more than just the country’s administrative units: they are incorporated bodies—independent from the national government—that possess their own basic spheres of responsibility and local residents as their constituents, holding administrative authority within their respective geographical boundaries. In Hokkaidō and several other prefectures, subprefectures are used as special administrative units, due to peculiarities of governmental evolution and the difficulty in centrally governing certain geographically large or remote areas.
All but four prefectures are followed with the suffix -ken (県), as in Kanagawa-ken, which is rendered in English as Kanagawa Prefecture. The large-area governing units of Ōsaka and Kyōto are both referred to as -fu (府) (Ōsaka-fu and Kyōto-fu, respectively), but this term is also translated as prefecture. There are two government units that are not technically referred to as prefectures. Tokyo’s prefecture-level government and its area is followed by -to (都, literally, capital). Tokyo's government refers to itself as the "Tōkyō Metropolitan Government" in English. Finally, Hokkaidō’s -dō (道) is a suffix for an ancient region name, even though it was so named in 1869. Hokkaidō’s government calls itself the "Hokkaidō Government" in English.
Below the level of prefecture are -shi (市) cities, -chō or machi (both 町) towns, and -son or mura (both 村) villages. Additionally, cities may be subdivided into -ku (区) wards.
Japan’s current prefectural system was established in the Meiji era after the new Meiji government abolished fiefs run by feudal clans known as han. This change is called the abolition of the han system; see Meiji Restoration in the History of Japan article, and the Meiji era article for more historical details of this event

Friday, March 11, 2011


Thirty minutes after the quake, tall buildings were still swaying in Tokyo and mobile phone networks were not working.

TOKYO – Japan was struck by a magnitude 8.9 earthquake off its northeastern coast Friday, unleashing a 13-foot (4-meter) tsunami that washed away cars and tore away buildings along the coast near the epicenter. There were reports of injuries in Tokyo.
In various locations along Japan's coast, TV footage showed massive damage from the tsunami, with dozens of cars, boats and even buildings being carried along by waters. A large ship swept away by the tsunami rammed directly into a breakwater in Kesennuma city in Miyagi prefecture, according to footage on public broadcaster NHK.
Officials were trying to assess damage, injuries and deaths from the quake but had no immediate details.
The quake that struck at 2:46 p.m. was followed by a series of powerful aftershocks, including a 7.4-magnitude one about 30 minutes later. The U.S. Geological Survey upgraded the strength of the first quake to a magnitude 8.9, while Japan's meteorological agency measured it at 7.9.
The meteorological agency issued a tsunami warning for the entire Pacific coast of Japan. NHK was warning those near the coast to get to safer ground.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii said a tsunami warning was in effect for Japan, Russia, Marcus Island and the Northern Marianas. A tsunami watch has been issued for Guam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia and the U.S. state of Hawaii.
The quake struck at a depth of six miles (10 kilometers), about 80 miles (125 kilometers) off the eastern coast, the agency said. The area is 240 miles (380 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo.
In downtown Tokyo, large buildings shook violently and workers poured into the street for safety. TV footage showed a large building on fire and bellowing smoke in the Odaiba district of Tokyo.
In central Tokyo, trains were stopped and passengers walked along the tracks to platforms.
The ceiling in Kudan Kaikan, a large hall in Tokyo, collapsed, injuring an unknown number of people, NHK said.
Footage on NHK from their Sendai office showed employees stumbling around and books and papers crashing from desks. It also showed a glass shelter at a bus stop in Tokyo completely smashed by the quake and a weeping woman nearby being comforted by another woman.
Several quakes had hit the same region in recent days, including a 7.3 magnitude one on Wednesday.
 Japan's Coast Guard has set up task force and officials are standing by for emergency contingencies, Coast Guard official Yosuke Oi said.
"I'm afraid we'll soon find out about damages, since the quake was so strong," he said.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


The Saskatchewan government has decided not to hold a province-wide vote on whether to change the clocks each spring and fall.
A referendum on daylight saving time is something Saskatchewan Party leader Brad Wall promised to do if he won the 2007 election.
But now, the government says a province-wide vote is not necessary.
According to a recent government poll, 66 per cent of Saskatchewan residents oppose switching to DST, while 27 per cent are in favour. Seven per cent had no opinion.
Saskatchewan is the only province that doesn't move to daylight time in the spring.

Maybe Saskatchewanians are smarter than the average bear because we can avoid the hullaballoo like the following that people go through year after year:

This ritual (DST) can cause disruptions in normal sleep patterns for children and adults. However, the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) says there are steps you can take to minimize the sleep loss and enjoy the benefits of healthy sleep and productive days.

Richard Gelula, NSF's executive director comments:

"Too many people will sacrifice yet another hour of sleep when the clocks change - an hour they cannot afford to lose, particularly on the weekend, when people try to catch up on the sleep they missed during the week."

Yesterday the people in the province of Saskatchewan, Canada, has finally put to rest the unrest over changing to Daylight Savings Time.  There will be no referendum on the subject.  Saskatchewan
By making a few simple lifestyle changes, most people can achieve the sleep that is needed to feel alert, refreshed and ready to take on the day. These steps can help your own transition into Daylight Saving Time:
  • Reset all your clocks on the Saturday before the switch. (Remember the digital clocks in the kitchen and your car.) Many computers automatically adjust to daylight-saving time, but make a note to check.
  • Get a full night's sleep during the switch.
  • Plan on your conventional time for rising on the first day of daylight-saving time.
  • If you've already set your clock ahead by Saturday evening, following your conventional bedtime will ensure you get a full night of sleep. In any event, get a full night's sleep by adjusting the time you hit the pillow.
  • Resist the temptation to catch a nap in the middle of the day on Sunday.
  • Go to bed on Sunday at your conventional bedtime.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Scientists have found that all forms of life have an internal mechanism that controls their 24-hour clock.  The findings were published in the January issue of Nature saying that it could shed important insight into health-related problems to people such as nurses, pilots and other shift workers whose body clocks are disrupted.

The implications for health care are tantalizing because what is known is that disrupted clocks are associated with diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer.  Sleep disruption is also associated with mental illnesses such as depression and bipolar disorder.

A 24-hour clock had been found previously in marine algae, which also lacks DNA, and shows that body clocks are an ancient mechanisms and have been around for a long time.

Andrew Millar of Ediburgh University stated "They must be far more important and sophisticated than we previously realized."   He added that more research was now need to determine how and why these clocks developed in people, and what role they lay in controlling our bodies.

There sure is a lot of 'assuming' in science and certainly many unknowns in the scientific community.  Because almost all scientists depend wholly on a 'theory' is it any wonder they cannot figure out the why's and where fors?  They just cannot swallow the bitter pill that the things they study and desire to understand so desperately had a Designer.  Maybe it's because they would not then have a job as most of the answers would be self evident, the mystery would be gone, they would have a lot less 'figuring out' to do but I dare say a lot of more assuming of responsibility for denying God the glory, the honor and the power by right of His Creatorship.

Humans were never meant to work in jobs that disrupt the circadian rhythm.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Isle of Purbeck and My Grandfather Edmund James Ash

This picture shows a different spelling than the Purbeck of Dorset, England but John C Ash and his brother Edmund and their parents would no doubt have a good knowledge of the type of clay that made it famous, at least for Josiah Wedgewood, called ball clay discussed in the following article.
  I have no proof but if the land they homesteaded on bears any resemblance to Saskatchewan's gumbo clay then it makes perfect sense.  

The Isle of Purbeck, not a true island but a peninsula, is in the county of Dorset, England. It is bordered by the English Channel to the south and east, where steep cliffs fall to the sea; and by the marshy lands of the River Frome and Poole Harbour to the north. Its western boundary is less well defined, with some medieval sources placing it at Flower's Barrow above Worbarrow Bay.[1] The most southerly point is St Aldhelm's or St Alban's Head. It is suffering erosion problems along the coast.
The main concentration of ball clay in Dorset is to the north of the Purbeck Hills centred around Norden. Ball clays are sedimentary in origin.
Purbeck Ball Clay has been used for thousands of years, but large scale commercial extraction began in the middle of the 18th century and continues today. The principal workings were in the area between Corfe Castle and Wareham. Originally the clay was taken by pack horse to wharves on the River Frome and the south side of Poole Harbour.[1]
Large quantities were ordered by Josiah Wedgwood from 1771 and this led to the construction of Dorset's first railway in 1806. This was the Middlebere Plateway, which connected clay workings owned by the London Merchant Benjamin Fayle in the Corfe Castle area, to a wharf on Middlebere Creek in Poole Harbour. Other similar tramways followed, including the Furzebrook Railway (c.1840), the Newton Tramway (1854), and Fayle's Tramway (1907). With the coming of the London and South Western Railway line from Wareham to Swanage in 1885.

The Ash farm at Perbeck, Alberta, Canada.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Robert Probert's Autopsy Advances The Concussion Discussion

Bob Probert knew the fierce pounding he dished out and received over 16 seasons as an NHL enforcer was taking its toll as he got older. That's why he wanted his brain to be analyzed once he died.
Even though heart failure ultimately ended his life last July at age 45, Probert also was living with a damaged brain.
Researchers at Boston University said Thursday that Probert had the degenerative brain disease Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. The disease was found through analysis of brain tissue donated by Probert.
He is the second hockey player from the program at the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy to be diagnosed with the disease after death. Reggie Fleming, a 1960s enforcer who played before helmets became mandatory, also had CTE.
CSTE is a collaboration between Boston University Medical School and the Sports Legacy Institute that is attempting to address what it calls the "concussion crisis" in sports. The group has been at the forefront of research into head trauma in sports, and has received a $1 million gift from the NFL, which it has pushed for better treatment of