HADRON’S 72 HEROES
DATING A 56 MENTALIST
UNLOCK YOUR MIND
DIRTY HABIT 84
LION MAN 100
DIGGING UP THE TRUTH ON COAL
LIFE AND DEATH WITH DAVE SALMONI
DECEMBER 2011 SG $8.50 RM 14.95 PHP 250 HK $45 Rest of Asia
AUD $7.90 NZ $9.90 THB 250 IDR 60,000 US$10
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36 NATURE'S FURY From Europe to Australia, South America to New Zealand, Mother Nature has made her presence felt over 2011. We look at the worst disasters, and the science behind what's causing them
46 JAPAN EARTHQUAKE In the space of a day, Japan was struck by three body blows that left the proud nation reeling. We examine one of the worst days in Japan's history
56 THE MENTALIST
Keith Barry may seem like your average cheery Irishman, but he has the power to hack into your brain â€” without you realising it
64 MOZAMBIQUE The beautiful Quirimbas islands are beginning to throw off their shackles from the past, to become an upcoming tourist hotspot
72 HADRON COLLIDER One of science's most ambitious feats, the Large Hadron Collider looks set to answer some of the biggest questions in physics
84 RETURN OF COAL Even in today's renewable energy age, much of the world is powered by a dirty, age-old fossil fuel. Why are we still hooked on coal?
92 PHOTO FEATURE Strap on a helmet and make sure your torch is working, as we uncover a dark secret down the unregulated coal mines of India's Jaintia Hills
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ROBOT ROOST 21
Hong Kong artist Kacey Wong has constructed his take on how to survive the next nuclear disaster — living inside a robot
FAST AND FURIOUS
Get your gross on as we freezeframe a sneeze in all its gooey glory. So what speeds can your nose achieve? THEN AND NOW
HAIRY HISTORY 24
Did you know Ancient Egyptian wigs came in several colours, or that hairpieces are sometimes known as "syrup of figs"? THE MANUAL
HYPNOTISE YOUR BOSS 62 How to hypnotise your boss and ask for a raise. Though as we discuss, try as you might, you may never make her love you
THE BIG PICTURE
DAVE SALMONI 100
Dave Salmoni wrestles tigers, lives with lions and makes other men look bad. He tells us about his life and death experiences
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE WOW 8 WATCH A SLEEK MANTA RAY TAKE FLIGHT IN THE WATER PAIN SCALE 15 ONE MAN'S QUEST TO QUANTIFY INSECT STINGS LAUGHTER 16 IS THE WORLD'S BEST JOKE ACTUALLY FUNNY?
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BUSTED! 22 THE MYTHBUSTERS ENCOUNTER FAST CARS, FASTER BULLETS AND FALLING ICE
GEAR 31 SKATEBOARDING AND ROLLERBLADING ARE PASSÉ, WAKESKATING IS WHERE IT'S AT
WHAT'S ON 103 CATFISHING, MIND CONTROL AND IMMORTALITY ON DISCOVERY CHANNEL THIS MONTH
HOW THINGS WORK 25 X-RAY MACHINES CAN SEE RIGHT THROUGH YOU — HOW ON EARTH DO THEY DO IT?
WOW 34 JUST IN CASE BLACKPOOL, ENGLAND DOESN'T STRIKE YOU AS FUNNY, TAKE A STROLL ON THE COMEDY CARPET
THE IDEA 108 THE ART OF SNEAKILY EDUCATING SOMEONE WHILE THEY THINK THEY'RE JUST HAVING FUN
IMAGES (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP RIGHT): KASEY WONG; GETTY IMAGES; MARK McCORMICK (ILLUSTRATION); DISCOVERY COMMUNICATIONS, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED; CORBIS; GETTY IMAGES
Facts you never knew about one of our most popular fossil fuels, such as how much the Bagger 293 can move in a day
THEN AND NOW
The legendary military commander Hannibal is reportedly a wearer of wigs, with a wardrobe of two. He is said to favour one to make him look good and the other as a disguise, in battle.
1550s ROYAL FLUSH
The shaved head is de rigueur in Egypt, mainly to stop lice infestations. To protect their pates from the sun and for special occasions, most Egyptians sport a wig. Depending on their societal standing, an Egyptian may boast wigs fashioned from human hair, sheep’s wool or plant fibre. Some wigs are even dyed various colours, such as red, blue or green.
In Elizabethan England, wigs are an indispensable part of the wardrobe, for both women and men. Many, especially women, dye their hairpieces red as homage to the natural hair colour of Queen Elizabeth I, who herself owns 80 wigs.
Quite the modern day equivalent of the wig, the toupée is sold throughout the United States, reportedly gracing the pages of the Sears Roebuck catalogue in 1900. It is said that innovations by make-up expert Max Factor (who began his career as an apprentice to a wig-maker) led to the acceptability of this new hairpiece improvement.
HAIRWARE One of mankind’s defining characteristics, hair has always been an important part of our garb. Throughout history many famous names have used elaborate hairpieces in a bid to get ahead
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1800s HEADS UP
The toupée (French for "tuft" or "top"), a more realistic and wearable wig than its powdered predecessors, becomes popular in the United States. Usually favoured by men, the toupée adds another term to the thesaurus of wigs, which includes terms like "hairpieces", "rugs", or in English Cockney rhyming slang, "syrup of figs".
2000s CRANIAL CANDY
Enigmatic pop artist Lady Gaga uses wigs to dramatic effect. Apparently, the provocateur's love for faux hair began when she landed a much-wanted theatre role in her early years — after changing her appearance from brunette to blonde.
PHOTOS: CORBIS (CIRCA 200 BC, 2000S); WEB GALLERY OF ART (1550S)
WALK LIKE AN EGYPTIAN
HOW THINGS WORK
PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
All seeing, the x-ray machine is as important in medical diagnostics as it is in protecting world security, an ingenious bit of kit we all tend to take for granted. By Alison Marshall In most countries, air travellers are usually subjected to a metal detector check, while their baggage goes through an x-ray machine. Baggage x-rays use energetic electromagnetic waves, which can penetrate various objects. Different materials absorb the rays at varying levels and the resulting images are projected on the machine’s monitor, allowing the operator to see what is in your bag. Hospital x-rays use a small burst of radiation, focused on the body part in question. Radiation passes through the body, recording an image on photographic film. As a result, areas of different density show up in various shades, using much the same process as a baggage x-ray, but at higher levels. Typically, patients absorb around one millirem from a dental x-ray (a millirem is a unit of absorbed radiation), a similar amount to a year of TV viewing. Hospital x-rays come with risks, but are still a safer option than surgery, and an invaluable tool for medicine. At many departure gates there is now a very thorough type of security check: the backscatter x-ray, a machine that sees through clothes and can take a full photo. The backscatter system picks up images produced when materials scatter x-ray photons, producing detailed visuals. While some feel these scans are an invasion of privacy, they are less invasive physically than the deeper-reaching hospital x-ray, and are more accurate than traditional security detectors, easily picking up items such as ceramic knives. Since the machines were trialled in the United States in 2007, manufacturers have addressed privacy concerns by tweaking the machine to produce a cartoon-type image,
and to blur private areas. Some worry that these measures could reduce the procedure’s usefulness though. While patients are only x-rayed in the areas causing concern, the backscatter x-ray takes an overall picture. Thankfully,
the Health Physics Society says that a person only receives around 0.005 millirems per backscatter scan. To put that into perspective, it would take 100 such scans per week, every week, for a year, for radiation levels to become dangerous.
CHECK IT OUT Beam me up. According to the American Transportation Security Administration, the amount of radiation from a backscatter x-ray machine is equivalent to about a thousandth of the amount a person receives during a standard hospital chest x-ray.
Surely some mistake? Like most great inventions, the x-ray was discovered by accident. German physicist (and later Nobel Prize-winner) Wilhelm Röntgen made the discovery in 1895 when experimenting with electron beams in a gas discharge tube.
Oh no you don’t. Even the prospect of the all-seeing eye of the x-ray machine has not stopped some travellers trying to get airborne carrying a pet dog, or even a human head, in their suitcase. One even tried convincing staff that their dead relative was only asleep.
Oh yes they did. Thanks to the sophisticated marvel that is the backscatter x-ray machine, in just a week, the American Transportation Security Division confiscated three prohibited items as well as 25 loaded firearms, arresting a total of 53 passengers. 25 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE
SKATING ON WATER PHOTOS BY MARK TEO
Briton Nik Lee, aged 35, is a product designer on weekdays, and an internationally-competitive wakeskater in his spare time. Yet as he explains, this adaptation of skateboarding and wakeboarding is not without its hazards I only started wakeskating when I moved to Singapore. I was feeling a bit old for skateboarding, and found falling in water hurts a lot less than falling on land. The sport is quite popular in Singapore, and there are several schools, plus a cable park that's open seven days a week, even at night. The year-round good weather and warm water are great too. When buying gear, I tend towards the smaller independent brands, especially those run by people who wakeskate; I feel like they put more effort and care into what they do. My profession also influences my gear choices, as I always go for products made from interesting or innovative materials, with unusual styling. Wakeskating can be dangerous though. So far, I have broken both ankles as well as a few fingers and toes, and have made several trips to the hospital to get stitches. Maybe the problem is not the gear, but that I'm just not that good at it!
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INTEGRITY WAKESKATE BOARD: MADE FROM A BLEND OF WOOD AND FOAM. HAS A SANDWICH CONSTRUCTION, WITH A 9-PLY BIRCH WOOD CORE AND URETHANE SIDE WALLS. RIDES AS SMOOTHLY AS A WOODEN BOARD, BUT IS MUCH STRONGER AND WEAR-RESISTENT PROTEC HELMET: SMALLER THAN MOST ON THE MARKET, IT HAS A PEAK LIKE A CAP WHICH HELPS KEEP THE SUN OUT OF THE EYES MASTERCRAFT X-STAR BOAT (6.4 METRES): ALLOWS FOR CONSISTENT, PREDICTABLE DRIVING, MAKING IT IDEAL FOR TOWING A WAKESKATE. 32 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE
DVS MUNITION SANDBAR SERIES WAKESKATE SHOES: DESIGNED SPECIFICALLY FOR WAKESKATING. LIGHTWEIGHT AND MADE OF MESH AND OTHER QUICK-DRYING MATERIALS TO ALLOW THEM TO SHED WATER QUICKLY PULL-IN BOXER SHORTS: MANUFACTURED USING A QUICKDRYING LYCRA MATERIAL. STOPS THE DEVELOPMENT OF RUBBING RASH ON THE LEGS AND HELPS PREVENT ACCIDENTAL FLASHING WHEN LANDING FROM A TRICK TEN-80 METROPOLIS SHORTS: MADE FROM QUICK-DRYING MATERIAL, SO THEY CAN BE WORN
BOTH IN AND OUT OF THE WATER. CUT LIKE REGULAR SHORTS TO ALLOW EASE OF MOVEMENT
TO TELL IF THE PROTECTIVE CREAM HAS BEEN WASHED OFF AND HENCE WHEN TO REAPPLY
WORST GEAR MOMENT?
O’NEILL LIFE VEST: SIMPLE SLIPOVER-THE-HEAD DESIGN. VERY LIGHTWEIGHT. IF NECESSARY, SOME OF THE PADDING CAN BE REMOVED TO ENSURE IT DOES NOT OBSTRUCT MOVEMENT
WATER BOTTLE: HYDRATION IS KEY FOR SPORTS, ESPECIALLY IN THIS HEAT. BEER IS GREAT AFTERWARDS
SHORTS SO THERE HAVE BEEN A COUPLE OF TIMES I’VE LANDED FROM A TRICK AND POPPED MY SHORTS OPEN. THIS IS ALSO WHY WEARING BOXER SHORTS IS A GOOD IDEA. "
CONVERSE T-SHIRT: HELPS PROTECT AGAINST SUNBURN AND STRANGE TAN LINES SUNSCREEN: WATERPROOF AND PROTECTS AGAINST UV RAYS. EASILY SLATHERED ON, AND BRIGHT COLOUR MAKES IT EASY
SUNGLASSES: PROTECTS EYES FROM THE SUN'S GLARE, ESPECIALLY WHEN REFLECTED OFF THE WATER'S SURFACE QUICKSILVER BAG: LARGE ENOUGH TO FIT AN ENTIRE WEEKEND'S WORTH OF GEAR AND SUPPLIES. MADE OF WATERPROOF MATERIAL, WHICH ALLOWS FOR THE STORAGE OF WET GEAR INSIDE
" I DON’T LIKE WEARING A BELT ON MY
THANKS TO: Maxout Hydrosports, Raffles Marina, Singapore (www.maxouthydrosports.com), for the use of their boat and facility Photographic assistant: Jonathan Tan
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ILLNESS Germs which cause the flu can stay alive on surfaces for anywhere from a few minutes to up to 48 hours.
Sneezes begin with an irritation of the mucal linings in the nose. This nerve message is sent to the medulla, the most primitive part of the brain.
A sneeze can produce up to 40,000 droplets of moisture, travelling anywhere from one to 10 metres. Watch your aim!
REFLEX ACTION In an uncontrollable reflex action, the eyes shut (though the MythBusters’ very own Adam Savage managed to keep his eyes open — albeit by using his hands).
CONTENTS The sneeze exits, in all its globular glory, mainly through the mouth. It contains saliva and mucus, and can transmit germs that cause diseases such as measles, meningitis, whooping cough and mumps.
ANATOMY OF A SNEEZE The nose and mouth contort quite ridiculously when a person sneezes, and the faces and sounds made during this paroxysm can at times be nothing short of hilarious
Sneezes can be quite fast and very furious. Be glad you aren't Donna Griffiths, who supposedly holds the record for the longest continuous sneezing fit — 978 days. Gesundheit! Sneezing is an automatic reaction that can be caused by a variety of things, including illness, allergy, photosensitivity, and even what is known as the snatiation reflex (for Sneezing Noncontrollably At a Time of Indulgence of the Appetite — a Trait Inherited and Ordained to be Named), which is triggered by the sensation of fullness of the stomach after a large meal. The fastest recorded velocity of a sneeze is 166 kilometres per hour, while the average nosebuster clocks a respectable 50 to 60 kilometres per hour.
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AIR POWER As all sneezes require an inhalation of air, the brain sends a message to the chest and lungs to begin the breathing-in process.
FAST AND FURIOUS
THE FASTEST RECORDED SNEEZE travelled at 167 kph. In comparison, Usain Bolt’s world record-breaking
100-METRE DASH averaged 38 kph. It is time for a Sneeze Olympics, we think. The world’s
SMALLEST LICENSED CAR is 104 cm high, 130 cm long,
66 CM WIDE and has a maximum speed of 60 kph, which means it could comfortably race alongside
AN AVERAGE SNEEZE. And probably win.
If 978 days is hard to fathom, imagine sneezing for over
OVER 139 weeks. That is 139
MONDAY MORNINGS that start with “Aaah…tchoo!”
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By By Christopher Tim Rock Furlong It took British artist Gordon Young, working with Why Not Associates, five years to complete the art installation known as Comedy Carpet, a massive piece of work immortalising the catchphrases, jokes and sketches of over 1,000 of the United Kingdom's favourite comedians and comic writers. The artwork, which measures 2,200 square metres, is now finished and on display at the Tower Festival Headland in Blackpool, England; it was unveiled by comedian Ken Dodd on October 10. Although the Comedy Carpet looks like it was painted onto the ground, each of its 160,000 letters is made of coloured granite and concrete.
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PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
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The deadliest year for natural disasters in two decades was 2010 — until the curtain lifted on 2011. Is Mother Nature trying to tell us something? Rachel Sullivan writes
THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT? FOR RESIDENTS OF PORT-AU-PRINCE, CAPITAL CITY OF HAITI, IT FELT THAT WAY, AFTER THE DEVASTATING QUAKE STRUCK IN EARLY 2010
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PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
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The year 2010 was a grim one for the world, by any measure. According to the Geneva-based Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, a total of 373 natural disasters killed almost 300,000 people in just one year, affecting 208 million others and costing almost US$110 billion. Topping the most lethal list were the January earthquake in Haiti, which saw the loss of more than 222,500 lives, and the Russian summer heatwave, which caused 56,000 deaths. 38 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE
Of the top 10 death-causing disasters, five occurred in Asia, including an earthquake in China in April, and another in Indonesia in October. Between May and August, there were floods in China, along with mudslides, landslides and rock-falls, triggered by heavy rain. In Pakistan, monumental floods covered a fifth of the region in July and August.
In December 2010, massive flooding inundated northern Australia, first swamping regional cities before overwhelming Queensland's capital, Brisbane, in early January. Many towns
around Brisbane were pulverised too. Over 200,000 people were effected, at a cost of around US$14 billion. In the midst of mopping-up activities by the volunteer “sludge army”, word came that a severe tropical cyclone, which was dubbed Yasi, was bearing down on north Queensland. Bracing for the worst, many counted themselves lucky when the storm crossed the coast in a lightly populated area, minimising damage, though the cost still ran into the millions. Weary emergency workers breathed a sigh of relief. On the other side of the Pacific, their peers were gearing up for action, as mudslides in Brazil saw one of the country’s worst natural disasters.
PHOTOS (FROM LEFT): CORBIS; AFP
LEFT: A WOMAN STANDS IN FRONT OF HER FLOODED HOME IN MANGHAL KHAN BROHI VILLAGE, IN PAKISTAN BELOW: THE CHILEAN EARTHQUAKE IN FEBRUARY 2010 CAUSED SEVERE DAMAGE TO INFRASTRUCTURE
the city of Christchurch to safer ground, the media had barely packed up its gear when the next body blow came. Japan was rocked by a magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami, which killed approximately 20,000 people and caused the Fukishima Dai-ichi nuclear reactor meltdown. At the height of the emergency, much of the Pacific seaboard was on high tsunami alert. Even at press time, the disaster's impact continues to linger, thanks to ongoing concerns over radiation and its effect on the slow process of rebuilding (see page 46 for full coverage). In April, hailstorms in China’s southern Guangdong province destroyed crops and killed at least 18 people. In June, huge tornadoes swept through the infamous tornado alley in the United States, reducing entire communities to matchsticks; while the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers swelled and flooded, in one of the largest and most damaging flood events in a century.
JANUARY 12, 2010
QUAKE SHOCKS RIP THROUGH HAITI. THE DEATH TOLL IT CAUSES IS UNCERTAIN, WITH CASUALTIES NUMBERING BETWEEN 50,000 AND 316,000. MORGUES ARE RAPIDLY OVERWHELMED. RECOVERY IS SLOW: IN OCTOBER, CHOLERA BREAKS OUT IN REFUGEE CAMPS, WITH ROUGHLY 50 NEW DEATHS REPORTED EACH DAY
The floodwaters were still receding along Australia’s ancient drainage routes when the world was rocked by another event: a devastating earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, on February 22, 2011. The magnitude-6.3 earthquake was in fact the much more destructive aftershock of a 7.1 quake that hit the city in September 2010. Yet it caused widespread damage to the city’s buildings and killed 181 people. Its impact was more severe than the September quake, because its epicentre was only five kilometres below the city and right in the middle of a population centre. With parts of the city still off-limits, and talk turning to suggestions of moving
At the time of writing, the southwest United States was in the grips of a devastating drought and massive dust storms, while unseasonal snowstorms paralysed other parts of the country. In Asia, large parts of Bangkok, in Thailand, were under water, afflicted by the worst floods in half a century. Further afield in eastern Turkey, more than 600 people were killed by a magnitude-7.2 earthquake. It all reads like the setting for a Hollywood action film about the end of the world. So are natural disasters really getting worse, driven by climate change or some other forces of nature? Or are we simply more aware of them? “Disasters make for dramatic media coverage and so we are all very aware of what is happening around the globe,” says Dr John McAneney from the Risk Frontiers Natural Hazards Research Centre at Macquarie University, in Australia. “The world is perceived to be an increasingly dangerous place. Disaster losses are increasing, because the world has more people living in harm’s way, with more to lose.” He admits that not all of it is commonplace, however. “What is unusual is the recent clustering of very large earthquakes with magnitudes around 9.0,” he adds. “We are looking to these to see if the patterns are just random coincidences or not.” Whatever the answer is, we will still struggle to answer the million-dollar question of why. “Even if the clustering were not random, at the moment we do not have a physical mechanism that could explain the correlation between these events,” McAneney says.
CENTRAL CHILE IS ROCKED BY AN 8.8-MAGNITUDE EARTHQUAKE. THE COUNTRY IS HIT BY WIDESPREAD BLACKOUTS AND 1.5 MILLION PEOPLE ARE DISPLACED FROM THEIR HOMES. THE QUAKE ALSO TRIGGERS TSUNAMIS THAT HIT AS FAR AWAY AS HAWAII AND JAPAN
HEAVY MONSOON RAINS PUT A FIFTH OF PAKISTAN UNDER WATER. CROPS AND INFRASTRUCTURE ARE RUINED, PLACING THE ECONOMY IN JEOPARDY, AS WELL AS KILLING MORE THAN 1,700 PEOPLE, A LACK OF SUFFICIENT AID MEANS REBUILDING IS SLOW, WITH MANY CAMPS STILL AT RISK OF WATERBORNE DISEASES
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AFTER THE HAITI 2010 QUAKE HIT, US PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA ANNOUNCED A US$100 MILLION AID PACKAGE
FEBRUARY 27, 2010
CENTRE OF ATTENTION
FLIGHTS ARE CANCELLED AND CITIES CHOKE AS A RECORD-BREAKING HEATWAVE STRANGLES RUSSIA. FIREMEN STRUGGLE TO QUENCH FOREST FIRES THAT BELCH SMOG, AND ALMOST 5,000 PEOPLE LOSE THEIR LIVES. PRESIDENT MEDVEDEV ANNOUNCES ON TV THAT “PRACTICALLY EVERYTHING IS BURNING”
UNUSUALLY FRIGID TEMPERATURES IN EUROPE CAUSE CHAOS ACROSS THE CONTINENT. POWER FAILURES, TRANSPORT DISRUPTION AND DEATHS AFFECT COUNTRIES SUCH AS POLAND, WHICH MEASURES RECORD LOW TEMPERATURES OF MINUS 33 DEGREES CELSIUS
THE QUEENSLAND REGION OF NORTHEAST AUSTRALIA SUFFERS A SERIES OF FLOODS THAT AFFECT AT LEAST 70 TOWNS. THREE QUARTERS OF THE REGION IS DECLARED A DISASTER ZONE
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The Asia-Pacific region does have some reason to feel aggrieved. The region experiences over 70 percent of the world’s natural disasters, according to Dr Wei-Sen Li, Deputy Executive Secretary at Taiwan’s National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction. “Most Asia-Pacific countries are located on the edge of a tectonic plate, and there is a higher incidence of earthquakes along the so-called Ring of Fire,” explains Li, who is also Steering Committee Chair of APEC’s Emergency Preparedness Working Group (EPWG). “Between earthquakes and typhoons, Asia-Pacific countries suffer on average between two and four major natural disasters each year.” Population pressures add to the burden, he notes. “There are many densely populated cities in the region, including the megacities of Manila, Bangkok and Shanghai, whose populations exceed 10 million,” he says. “The impact of any disaster that hits these regions is multiplied significantly, and exacerbated by inappropriate land use, deriving from rapid development.” Deforestation can result in landslides, for example, while building on floodplains leaves residents open to inundation when floods hit, as well as vulnerable to the impact of sea level-rise, which is already making its mark in Thailand, Vietnam and many low-lying Pacific Islands, adds Li. What is marked now though, is the domino effect these disasters can have. “While the scale of natural disasters themselves may or may not be any worse than what has gone before, we are now seeing more compound disasters,” he says. “Japan is a classic case. The earthquake caused a tsunami, which caused the nuclear emergency, and has resulted in long-term problems with agriculture and other flow-on economic effects.”
NOT THE WORST
Might 2011 be shaping up to be worse than other years? Not even close, according to Dr Jonathan Nott’s research. A professor of physical geography at Queensland’s James Cook University, in Australia, Nott researches extreme natural events such as tsunamis and tropical cyclones, including the reconstruction of long-term natural records of extreme events. “Extreme events leave footprints in the landscape that persist for thousands of years,” he says. “It is important to remember that the conditions that lead to one extreme weather event, such as a cyclone, also lead to another, such as widespread flooding. But as far as the region goes, it has been far more active in the past,” he adds.
CAUGHT FAST IN THE GRIP OF AN UNUSUALLY LONG, HARSH WINTER, FISH IN SAINT PETERSBURG'S PONDS, IN RUSSIA, BECOME DESPERATE AS DISSOLVED OXYGEN IN THE WATER IS GRADUALLY DEPLETED. THEY CLUSTER IN VAST, THRASHING MASSES AT SHRINKING HOLES IN ICE, GASPING FOR BREATH
DOOMSDAY DEBUNKED Remember the Y2K scare? It came and went without a whimper, due to adequate planning and some measured analysis of the situation. Impressive special effects aside, December 21, 2012, will not be the end of the world as we know it. It will, however, be a winter solstice. Below, NASA senior research scientist Dr Don Yeomans and his colleagues answer several questions that are frequently asked regarding 2012.
What is the origin of the prediction that the world will end in 2012? The story started with claims that Nibiru, a supposed planet discovered by the Sumerians, is headed towards Earth. This catastrophe was initially predicted for May 2003, but when nothing happened the doomsday date was moved forward to December 2012. Then these two fables were linked to the end of one of the cycles in the ancient Mayan calendar, which is at the winter solstice in 2012. Hence the predicted doomsday date of December 21, 2012. Does the Mayan calendar end in December 2012? Just as your calendar at home does not cease to exist after December 31, the Mayan calendar
does not cease to exist on December 21, 2012. This date is the end of the Mayan long-count period. But then, exactly as your calendar begins again on January 1, another long-count period begins for the Mayan calendar. Is the Earth in danger of being hit by a meteor in 2012? Earth has always been subject to impacts by comets and asteroids, though big hits are very rare. Today NASA astronomers are carrying out a survey called the Spaceguard Survey, to find any large near-Earth asteroids long before they hit. We have already determined that there are no threatening asteroids as large as the one that killed the dinosaurs. Source: NASA
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PHOTO: RUSSELL WATKINS/DEPARTMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MILLIONS OF SPIDERS SCRAMBLED UP TREES TO ESCAPE THE FLOODS IN PAKISTAN IN MID-2010, BECAUSE THE WATERS HAVE DRAINED SO SLOWLY, MANY TREES BECAME COCOONED IN WEBS, A NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN PHENOMENON IN PAKISTAN
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FEBRUARY 22, 2011
NEW ZEALAND SUFFERS ITS SECOND-DEADLIEST NATURAL DISASTER IN HISTORY WHEN CHRISTCHURCH IS SHAKEN BY A 6.3-MAGNITUDE QUAKE. AFTERSHOCKS FROM THIS PRIMARY EARTHQUAKE ARE FREQUENT IN THE COMING DAYS AND MONTHS
PHOTOS (FROM TOP): AFP; GETTY IMAGES
MARCH 11, 2011
A TRIPLE-DISASTER RAVAGES JAPAN AFTER ONE OF THE STRONGEST EARTHQUAKES IN RECORDED HISTORY TRIGGERS A TSUNAMI, WHICH IN TURN CAUSES A NUCLEAR EMERGENCY AT THE FUKUSHIMA NUCLEAR POWER PLANT COMPLEX
STORMS AND TORNADOES CUT A SWATHE OF DESTRUCTION THROUGH THE SOUTHERN UNITED STATES. ALABAMA ALONE SUFFERS MORE THAN 100 DEATHS, AND UP TO A MILLION PEOPLE ARE LEFT WITHOUT POWER
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TOP: A CAR IS LEFT ALMOST LITERALLY WRAPPED AROUND A TREE AFTER A TORNADO RIPPED THROUGH EL RENO, IN THE US STATE OF OKLAHOMA BOTTOM: MANY BUILDINGS IN CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND, WERE DAMAGED BY QUAKE TREMORS AND DEEMED UNSAFE
" WHILE THE SCALE OF NATURAL DISASTERS THEMSELVES MAY OR MAY NOT BE ANY WORSE THAN BEFORE, WE ARE NOW SEEING MORE COMPOUND DISASTERS " That might be all about to change, though. The climate changed noticeably in 1977 as a result of the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation, a recently identified phenomenon operating on time scales of two to three decades and causing major shifts in the Pacific Ocean climate, Nott explains. This is different to the Southern Oscillation (El Niño and La Niña), which is a two to seven-year cycle, and is complicated in the northern Pacific by different parts of the region being active at different phases of the oscillation. “We have been in a quiet period for a long time, and are due to come out,” he says.
QUAKES AND STORMS?
Nott has also pondered whether there are any links between earthquakes and tropical cyclones. And he is not alone. “In 1924, a paper was published in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, asking whether there was any link between the great Kantō earthquake that left many Japanese cities in ruins on September 1, 1923, and the typhoon in Tokyo Bay that devastated the city on the same day,” Nott says. Between the two events, as well as the fires and public unrest that followed, the disasters accounted for over 100,000 lives. “I do not know if there is a link, or whether it is just a random coincidence,” says Nott. “There are lots of earthquakes, and at least some cyclones every year.” Whether this link exists or not, proof may be almost as far away as a cure for these disasters. “Any suggestion of a link between events is absolute speculation at this stage,” he adds.
The Christchurch earthquakes were unusual, says McAneney of Risk Frontiers, at Macquarie University in Australia, because the aftershock caused more damage than the original quake. “However, given that it occurred very close to the central business district and the ground motions were high, the building damage
DROUGHT ACROSS THE HORN OF AFRICA LEADS TO A FAMINE THAT CREEPS ACROSS SOMALIA, ETHIOPIA AND KENYA, LEAVING THE REGION CRITICALLY MALNOURISHED AND CHILDREN PARTICULARLY VULNERABLE. ALTOGETHER MORE THAN 13.3 MILLION PEOPLE ARE IN NEED OF ASSISTANCE IN THE AREA
was not unexpected — it was mostly older unreinforced masonry built before the development of modern building codes.” The development of housing on liquefiable soil, which behaves like a liquid when subjected to quake stress, was also a significant factor in the Christchurch losses, he adds. To that end, governments such as Australia’s need to consider risk in their land-use planning decisions, says McAneney. “We have too many people living within fire-prone bushlands and, as we saw recently, on floodplains.” APEC’s Li notes that while governments have an important role in reducing risk through urban planning controls and incentives for changed practices, the private sector is also crucial. “Traditional methods of disaster preparation do not work for compound disasters on this scale,” he notes. “We need more participation from the private sector through business continuity planning and other initiatives that not only protect business operations, but also help keep the community functioning.” “In the long term, private businesses tend to be more flexible than government, which is why APEC is encouraging public-private partnerships for disaster management,” says Li.
“Natural disasters will always occur, but thanks to climate change, weather events are becoming more intense,” says Li. As such, the extremes appear to be confronting us more often. “Once we only read about these worst case scenarios in textbooks. But now, we regularly see record-breaking rains and typhoons. As the region becomes increasingly urbanised, we need to emphasise disaster risk reduction in urban areas,” he adds. This includes modern codes and standards. “We saw in New Zealand that cities that were designed and built 30 to 50 years ago cannot accommodate the current situation,” he says. “We need to look at how we can adapt to changing circumstances.” And keep a disaster kit handy, just in case.
OCTOBER 24, 2011
THE GROUND SHAKES UNDER A POWERFUL SHOCK IN THE TURKISH CITY OF VAN. SHATTERED BUILDINGS TRAP HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE UNDER DEBRIS
DELUGES OF RAIN CAUSES WATER LEVELS TO RISE DRASTICALLY, FLOODING THAILAND’S STREETS, BRINGING CITIES LIKE BANGKOK TO A STANDSTILL AND KILLING MORE THAN 500
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46 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE
THE DAY THAT SHOOK JAPAN PHOTO: AFP
It started as an ordinary day, but ended as one that would change a nation forever. Japan-based writer Eric Talmadge reports
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Silently, the sea before them rose. And rose. It raced at the 970tonne Matsushima, and the ship climbed up and over its crest, thrusting the crew up at such a sharp angle that a deck-top camera recording the event at one point showed mostly sky before the hull slammed back down into the water. The crew of the Matsushima survived. On shore, thousands were about to die. This was the “Big One”, the horrific shattering of the Earth's crust that all Japanese grow up fearing will someday come. In that moment, on an otherwise-normal, forgettable afternoon, a rupture 300 kilometres long and 150 kilometres wide opened up some 24 kilometres beneath the sea floor, 130 kilometres off the eastern coast of Japan. The break was caused by tension building up as the 48 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE
Pacific plate — one of the tectonic slabs that cover the Earth like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle — was slowly forced under the North American plate, a process known as subduction. Over the next 24 hours, Japan, one of the world's most advanced nations, would be brought to its knees. Nearly 20,000 people would die. Buildings in dozens of cities and towns along its rugged northeast coast would collapse and catch fire, only for the settlement to be inundated by the sea. And the nation would face the worst nuclear disaster the world has seen since Chernobyl in 1986, a crisis that will deeply impact Japan for decades to come.
It is hard to describe the energy unleashed when a quake so cataclysmic occurs. “Surreal” is a word that many who survived the quake would choose. “Visceral” is another. For scientists, the measure of the earthquake is done in magnitudes. This one registered a 9.0 on the Richter scale, making it the worst for Japan in recorded history and the fifth worst in the world in the past century. The strongest quake ever measured was a magnitude-9.5 event in Valdivia, Chile, in 1960. For the sake of comparison, Japan's quake was 700 times more powerful than the one that struck Haiti in 2010. What does that mean? The energy released by the quake has been compared to roughly 32 gigatonnes of TNT. One geologist with the United States Geological Survey noted that if the energy
PHOTOS (FROM TOP LEFT): AFP; AP PHOTO
On the afternoon of March 11, 2011, the Japan Coast Guard patrol ship Matsushima was conducting operations about five kilometres off the shores of Soma, a small fishing town. It was a cold, grey day and rain clouds hung low on the horizon. At 2.46pm local time, a massive earthquake hit, a shake almost unimaginable in its power. All aboard knew what was coming next. The captain immediately turned the ship's bow to face the sea, to avoid being capsized. Securing themselves to whatever they could, the crew waited and watched. “Protect yourselves!” an officer yelled.
PREVIOUS SPREAD: FIREFIGHTERS STAND IN FRONT OF A BOAT WASHED ASHORE IN KESENNUMA, MIYAGI PREFECTURE FAR LEFT: HOMES, VEHICLES AND BOATS IN MIYAGI SWEPT BY THE WALL OF WATER CENTRE: A WORRIED CROWD GATHERS OUTSIDE SHINJUKU TRAIN STATION IN TOKYO AS THE TREMORS APPROACH BELOW: UPON HEARING A TSUNAMI WARNING, RESCUE WORKERS RUN FOR HIGHER GROUND
could have been harnessed, it could have powered the metropolis of Los Angeles, in the US state of California, for an entire year. NASA announced that the quake actually pushed the planet ever so slightly off its orbit, shifting its axis by around 17 centimetres, and sped up the Earth's rotation by 1.8 microseconds. Such statistics and explanations pale before the images and footage captured on the ground by surveillance cameras, television crews and countless smartphones. Perhaps no other seismic event has been as well documented as the one that hit Japan in March, a testament to the advances in communications technology that have made the instantaneous posting of photos and videos to be shared over the internet the routine of millions.
It also demonstrated huge strides in science that now make earthquake warning, if not prediction, a feasible reality. Japan has the world's most advanced warning system, which it built at a cost of US$500 million after a 6.9-magnitude quake killed about 6,400 people in the port city of Kobe in 1995. The network monitors primary waves, better known as P-waves: the earliest-arriving fast-moving compression waves that all quakes generate. When a serious threat is detected, television and radio stations go into emergency broadcasting mode. Before the March 11 quake hit, millions of people received five to 40 seconds of warning, depending on how far they were from the epicentre. Tokyo — about 370 kilometres away — was given about
DISASTER BY NUMBERS
DISTANCE THAT HONSHU, JAPAN'S MAIN ISLAND, SHIFTED EASTWARDS
17 CM DISTANCE THE EARTH WAS THROWN OFF ITS AXIS
THE SIZE OF THE EXCLUSION ZONE INITIALLY SET UP AROUND THE FUKUSHIMA DAI-ICHI NUCLEAR POWER STATION
1,650 PEOPLE WERE TESTED FOR RADIOACTIVE CONTAMINATION
NO. OF JAPANESE SOLDIERS SENT TO THE AFFECTED REGION TO ASSIST WITH THE GROWING HUMANITARIAN CRISIS:
AMOUNT OF WARNING TIME THAT RESIDENTS OF SENDAI HAD BEFORE THE TSUNAMI HIT:
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FRIDAY, 11 MARCH 3.46PM
A 9.0 magnitude underwater earthquake strikes off the coast of Honshu island at a depth of about 24 kilometres
The second wave hits the power plant just under 20 minutes later. Later, experts estimate it to be over 10 metres high
Coast guard ship (Matsushima) Shinichi Abe Nuc lear p ower Coast guard shipplant (Matsushima) City Shinichi Abe Epi centre Nuc lear p ower plant City Epi centre
Aomori WORST AFFE CTED AREAS
I WAT E WORST AFFE CTED AREAS
I WAT E Minami Sanriku M I YAG I Sendai Minami Sanriku M I YAG I Soma Sendai Fukushima
J APAN SEA J APAN SEA
Sendai Fukuchi yama Sendai Fukuchi yama
J APAN SEA
J APAN SEA Fukushima plant Fukushima plant
FU KU SH I M A Fukushima Dai-ni Shika Kashiwazaki Kariwa
Ohi Osaka 300K M
FIRST WAVE HITS FUKUSHIMA
Tokyo C H IB A
I B AR AK I Tokyo
Tsuruga HON SH U
I B AR AK I
HON SH U
FU KU SH I M A
Kumamo to Kagoshima
Soma Fukushima Dai-ni Fukushima
C H IB A Hamaoka
PACIFIC OCEAN 300K M
SECOND WAVE HITS FUKUSHIMA
Reactors 1, 2 and 3 are automatically shut down by the tremor. Nuclear reactors 4, 5 and 6 were undergoing routine maintenance and were not in operation. Although the tremor also causes the plant to be cut off from the electricity grid, backup generators soon kick in.
At around 3.46PM a wave that was later estimated to be more than 10 metres-tall easily crests the sea barrier designed to protect the plant, flooding the Fukushima facility and disabling the backup diesel generators by damaging their fuel tanks.
Reac tor 6
Reac tor 6
Reac tor 5 Reac tor 6 Reac tor 5
Reac tor s 1 – 4
Reac tor 5 Reac tor 6
Reac tor s 1 – 4 Chimn ey
Reac tor 5
Spent fuel storage facility
Centralised radiation waste treatment facility
DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE
over-10m wa ves
5m wa ves easi ly blocked by sea wall
Pump/ storage & fuel tanks
Pump/ storage & fuel tanks
5m wa ves easi ly blocked by sea wall
Pump/ storage & fuel tanks
Sea wall and intake canal
Spent fuel storage facility
Sea wall and intake canal
Spent fuel Turbine Centralised radiation storage facility building waste treatment facility
TEPCO, the plant's operator, finds that units 1 and 2 are not operating correctly. 2.52PM Reactor 1's emergency cooling system, which is capable of running without external power, turns on automatically. 3.03PM Reactor 1's emergency cooling system is manually shut down. At 3.27PM the first wave of the tsunami hits the plant. 50
Reac tor s 1 – 4 Chimn ey
Pump/ storage & fuel tanks
Spent fuel Turbine Centralised radiation storage facility building waste treatment facility
Reac tor s 1 – 4
Sea wall and intake canal
Centralised radiation waste treatment facility
over-10m wa ves
Sea wall and intake canal
6.00PM The falling water level in Reactor 1 reaches the top of the radioactive fuel. Core temperature starts to rise. 7.03PM Prime Minister Naoto Kan declares a nuclear emergency. 7.30PM Radioactive fuel in Reactor 1 is fully exposed. 9.00PM An evacuation order is issued by the government to those within three kilometres of the power plant.
ILLUSTRATION: MARK McCORMICK
FRIDAY, 11 MARCH 2.46PM
FRIDAY 11 MARCH - THURSDAY 17 MARCH Japan evacuates people from the 20-kilometre exclusion zone around the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant Sapporo
10 to 30 seconds notice before high-rises swayed. That may sound like a small window of time, but it allowed trains to stop in their tracks without derailing, and alerted residents to turn off gas stoves and seek proper shelter. Experts say this system, coupled with some of the toughest building codes in the world, saved untold lives. But the disaster was just the beginning. In less than an hour, many of the structures that survived the shaking would vanish under the heaving ocean.
Aomori Aomori WORST AFFE CTED AREAS WORST AFFE CTED AREAS J APAN SEA Sendai Fukushima J APAN SEA Sendai Fukushima SOUTH KOREA
Epi centre Epi centre Fukushima Dai-ichi Fukushima Dai-ichi
J APAN Osaka Osaka
Hiroshima Kumamo to Kumamo to Kagoshima
Fukushima Nihonmatsu Fukushima 20–30km Nihonmatsu Dai-ichi evacuation zone Dai-ni 20–30km evacuation Dai-ichi zone Dai-ni Iwaki
30K M Iwaki 300K M
Explosions at reactors 1 to 4. Reactor 1: Hydrogen explosions and partial melting of core. Reactor 2: Building intact but fuel rods were fully exposed for a short time. Reactor 3: Hydrogen explosions and high-level radiation levels. Reactor 4: A fire breaks out. Chimn ey ChimnReac ey tor 6 Reac tor 6
Reac tor 5
Reac tor Reac tor Reac tor Reac tor 4 3 2 1
Reac tor 5
Reac tor Reac tor Reac tor Reac tor 4 3 2 1
Pump/ storage & fuel tanks Pump/ storage & fuel tanks Spent fuel storage facility
Spent fuel storage facility
Turbine Centralised radiation building waste treatment facility Centralised radiation waste treatment facility
Shinichi Abe is reluctant to talk about that day. He was on the rocky coast of his hometown, a scenic hamlet called Minami Sanriku, surveying for a new pier. The jolt nearly knocked him over. The rocks under his feet began to crack and crumble, then he grabbed his things and ran for his life. “I did not even look back.” Abe got into a car with two co-workers and sped towards higher ground, but the roads were jammed. Panicked, they took a wrong turn towards the ocean. Even though the first wave was only about a metre high, it came within 20 metres of swallowing up their car. In desperation, they headed for a hilltop park as quickly as they could. "That is when we saw the huge tsunami, swelling up like a wall, just below us," he recalls. "It was like the entire ocean was closing in." He thought of his diabetic wife, who was alone at home. "I was so worried that I thought I was going to go out of my mind." Townspeople on the hill gasped and screamed as the wave swept in, washing homes off of their foundations, tossing cars about, and bursting fuel tanks, which then exploded into flames. Whole neighborhoods vanished as the water ran brown with rubble and mud. Flames raged unchallenged through the night. In the deep ocean, before being channelled and focused by the terrain of the coastline and sea floor, tsunamis can reach speeds of 800 kilometres per hour. The wave that hit Minami Sanriku was estimated at over 16 metres tall. In the town of Miyako, farther north, it would reach 40.4 metres, according to a study released in May by a nationwide team of Japanese researchers. Minami Sanriku was one of the worst hit. More than half of its 18,000 people were killed or are missing. In a report dated November 2, 2011, Japan's National Police Agency puts the nationwide death toll at 15,829, with 3,679 missing. Pulled out into the vast Pacific, most of the missing bodies will probably never be found. Abe, who is 72, lost his younger brother and sister-inlaw. His wife and daughters were spared. They now live in a temporary shelter. His life will never be the same. "Until recently, I choked up and could not say a word as soon as I started talking about them," he says of the brother and sister-in-law that were taken from him. "It is still difficult for me to accept their deaths as fact."
Fuel tanks Fuel tanks
Radiation scanning centres set up in the affected areas Explosions continue to rock the reactor facility A no-fly zone over Fukushima is imposed Japan's stock market plummets
Yuta Tadano got to the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station bright and early on March 11. He had gotten his job as a pump technician soon after he graduated from high school. With a family consisting of his wife and a fourmonth-old baby to support, it paid the bills. Notoriously poor in energy resources to match demand, Japan began actively pursuing the promise of nuclear power in the 1950s, even while the two cities of (continues page 54) 51 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE
RESILIENT JAPAN Mother Nature hit Japan with everything she had in March. How did such a vibrant country, justifiably proud of its sense of calmness and ability to maintain order, react? During and after, the nation countered the untold misery with a sense of unified strength. Food shortages meant queues for food, gasoline and supplies for up to 12 hours, and left people hungry and fatigued. Yet a pervasive sense of politeness and an adherence to etiquette remained. Hiroko Yamashita, an elderly woman, was trapped under a heavy bookshelf which fell on her, splintering her ankle. When rescue crews finally reached her, she apologised profusely for the inconvenience and asked if anyone needed help before her. Dave Bamford, a New Zealander in Tokyo on business, was on one of the cityâ€™s bullet trains at the moment the quake hit. Despite a wait of more than 10 hours, he told Discovery Channel Magazine that he was moved by people's kindness and patience. "Sitting in the top deck of a train, above a long drop, as the train seriously rattles and rolls for a full 30 minutes does make you think, what if ? Yet everyone was so very well behaved." "The Japanese show amazing resilience and politeness in the face of adversity. I will not forget it. Even when such serious stuff is going on around them, and amid concerns over family and friends, they showed such a positive spirit and sincere kindness," Bamford adds. Though clearing the up to 25 million tonnes of debris that litter streets could take years, life is slowly returning to normal. To help those who have lost their homes, the government has constructed over 30,000 pre-fabricated temporary houses, furnished with TV sets, refrigerators and other modern appliances. 32 52 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE
WORKERS BATTLING THE CRISIS AT THE FUKUSHIMA NUCLEAR POWER PLANT TAKE TIME OUT FOR SOME WELL EARNED REST
53 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE
(continued from page 51) Hiroshima and Nagasaki were recovering from the atomic bombings that killed hundreds of thousands and hastened the country's World War II surrender in 1945. For Fukushima, a largely rural prefecture along the Pacific coast, around 200 kilometres northeast of Japan's capital city of Tokyo, the policy was an economic godsend, a golden goose of tax revenue and a major employer. But for an archipelago along the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, a nation famous for its seismic vulnerability, the nuclear policy was a Faustian choice. The word “tsunami” is, after all, Japanese. When the quake hit, Tadano was taking a break at the on-site headquarters of one of the subcontractors that farm out work on the plant, run by the giant Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO. His first reaction was to duck for cover. From under a desk, he watched as tiles crashed to the floor and shelves toppled over. He heard shouting, and women crying. When the shaking subsided, his boss ordered everyone to get outside. Frightened and confused, he looked down the hill toward the plant's reactor buildings, which stand in a line behind a sea wall. A steady flow of workers dressed in their white hazmat suits began to make their way out of the buildings. "They were calm,” he recalls. “They walked.” A quick headcount was held in the parking lot. Everyone wanted to get home to check on their loved ones and, Tadano says, their boss reluctantly told them they could leave. “But he said he expected us back for work on Monday,” Tadano recalled. That would prove to be wildly optimistic. As the workers hurried for their cars, the tsunami was racing toward the plant. According to an operator's log, released by TEPCO months after the disaster, the first wave hit the plant at 3.27pm. At four metres, it was blocked by the plant's breakwater, which stands almost six metres above sea level. But the second tsunami eight minutes later flowed up and over the barrier, overwhelming it easily. Some experts say the wave may have been as high as 10 metres above the sea’s surface. Experts had not planned for this. Electric power is the lifeblood of a nuclear plant, but the tsunami compromised both primary and backup power generators needed to keep the plant functioning and under control. Heat from decaying radioactive elements in the fuel rods was not dispersed, cores overheated, and heated coolant water generated steam. The uranium pellets inside the rods melted through their zirconium casings. When the zirconium reached a critical temperature of 1,200 degrees Celsius, it reacted with water to produce hydrogen gas. To avert a complete meltdown and explosions that would spread radioactive contamination far and wide, TEPCO had to flood the cores with seawater and open valves to release pressure. Workers scrambled frantically through the night to accomplish these tasks.
The incident may very well have been Japan's own Three Mile Island moment. Just as no new nuclear power facilities have been built in the United States since that 1979 disaster, what happened at Fukushima's power plant has generated deep concerns across the country over whether it should pursue a nuclear-powered future. Japan's new prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, has voiced his opinion, stating that the country should end its dependence on nuclear power as soon as possible. The worst is apparently over. Most of the radiation leaks occurred within the first weeks of the crisis, and TEPCO now says it expects to bring the plant to a cold shutdown by the end of 2011. Still, the exclusion zone around Fukushima may be uninhabitable for decades. In the meantime, Japanese officials hope to soon begin a massive health survey of some 360,000 people who were under the age of 18 when the nuclear crisis began. It will provide follow-ups throughout their lifetimes. Japan’s day of natural reckoning may take that long to recover from, and to fully assess.
LEAKAGE AND FALLOUT
Japan, and the world, watched anxiously. In Tokyo, then-Prime Minister Naoto Kan declared an unprecedented nuclear emergency, setting up evacuation zones that would lead to the mass exodus of more than 80,000 people. But the work at the plant was only partially successful. Within days, three of the six reactor cores at the Fukushima power plant went into meltdown, and hydrogen explosions destroyed the structures around several of the reactors. The exact amount of radiation leaked may never be known because of damage to monitoring stations. The Japanese government says the accident released 15,000 terabecquerels of radioactive caesium-137, which lingers for decades and can cause cancer. Put another way, the caesium leaked was equivalent to 168 Hiroshima bombs, according to Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency. A more recent study led by Dr Andreas Stohl of the Norwegian Institute for Air Research, based in Norway, puts it much higher, at about 36,000 terabecquerels — or 42 percent of the estimated release from Chernobyl. 54 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE
MEGAQUAKE MAGNITUDES Richter Scale
*most powerful recorded quake in history
8.0 Tibet 1950
NO. OF BUILDINGS DAMAGED
NO. OF BUILDINGS COMPLETELY DESTROYED
NO. OF POINTS THE NIKKEI-225 STOCK MARKET FELL ON THE FIRST FULL DAY OF TRADING SINCE THE QUAKE AND TSUNAMI — WHICH IS A
DROP IN THE MARKET
NO. OF MICROSECONDS AN EARTH DAY IS NOW SHORTER DUE TO THE EARTHQUAKE’S EFFECT ON THE PLANET’S SPIN
NO. OF COUNTRIES WHICH OFFERED ASSISTANCE TO JAPAN FOLLOWING THE QUAKE AND TSUNAMI
NUMBER OF CONFIRMED AFTERSHOCKS IN THREE DAYS FOLLOWING THE MAIN QUAKE 55 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE
SEISMICALLY ACTIVE JAPAN EXPERIENCES OVER 1,500 EARTHQUAKES EACH YEAR
PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
BELOW: DURING THE QUAKE AND TSUNAMI, ENTIRE BUILDINGS WERE TORN FROM THEIR FOUNDATIONS AND WASHED HUNDREDS OF METRES AWAY. THIS TEMPLE WAS ONE SUCH CASUALTY
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HE KNOWS WHAT YOU ARE THINKING (AND IT'S VERY WRONG) HE MAY ANALYSE, HYPNOTISE OR EVEN REPROGRAM YOU. BUT AS LUKE CLARK WRITES, IT WILL LIKELY BE KEITH BARRY’S DATING ADVICE WHICH CONVERTS YOU TO THE INTRIGUING WORLD OF MENTALISM
57 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE
PHOTO: DISCOVERY CHANNEL
Halfway through a lengthy discussion with the bubbly and distinctive Irish voice from Dublin, Keith Barry, mentalist, reveals a personal bugbear of his: psychics. “They are the people I would love to meet, and whose brains I would love to hack into. Just to figure out why they are pretending to be psychics.” Barry is adamant that socalled psychics or mystics are simply mentalists in disguise. “Basically, what they are doing is using the same techniques as I am, except pretending that they are actually reading people’s minds, or contacting the dead. Whereas really they are just reading body language, the same as me,” he says. Psychics, it turns out, and the Pope. “I would love to hack into the brain of the Pope, to find out what he is really thinking.” Steering back to the safer waters of mystics, the star of Discovery Channel’s new four-part series, Deception With Keith Barry, says that for him, it was an early brush with magic that started him on the road to mentalism. “When I was five or six, I got a magic set for Christmas. I became obsessed with magic." A burning interest was lit, which would stay with him for life. At university in Gaul, in Ireland, he majored in chemistry, yet along the way, began to take a strong sideline interest in the field of psychology — thanks to another burning interest of Barry's, his girlfriend. 58 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE
Stealing time away from his chemistry experiments, he would read the psychology texts belonging to Mairead, who he would later go on to marry. Barry began figuring out the links between the study of the human mind, and the magic tricks he had so loved as a kid. “That is when I started mixing hypnosis, psychology and magic together, which essentially is what mentalism is.” As a discipline, mentalism employs the techniques of neurolinguistic programming, the science of how our brains process information. The field was pioneered by renowned hypnotist and psychologist, Richard Bandler (see sidebar). An inherently inquisitive mind led Barry to a common theme in his work, both on stage in Las Vegas, and onscreen — the debunking, investigating, unlocking or rewiring of a person's preconceived notions and fears, often adding a scientific method to what was previously presented as a channelling of higher powers. “As a scientist myself, I am a sceptic, albeit an open-minded sceptic. I love examining what appears to be a completely paranormal and mysterious phenomenon, and trying to put a logical explanation to it,” he says. For Barry, revealing the “tricks” of his trade is not about reducing the wonder of what he does. Instead, it helps redirect the spotlight away from crystal balls and ouija boards, and onto the scientific wonders of the
I love you
human mind, and its secret language of sometimes-miniscule signals that we all unconsciously broadcast in our day to day contact with each other. “When I appear to be hacking into somebody’s mind, really what I am doing is reading their body language — their eye movements, trying to figure out what direction the neurons in their brain work.” Thus, his perceived “sixth sense” on stage or TV is actually the product of careful study and analysis of human behaviours. In 2009, Barry was awarded the prestigious Merlin Award for "Mentalist of the Year 2009" from the International Magicians Society. In the same year, he adapted work by leading hypnotists on the treatment of the fear of flying, successfully curing 10 individuals with chronic fear of flying, by taking them on a plane and treating their condition. One subject had not flown in 22 years since being in a plane accident, while another had lost a loved one in the 9/11 attacks. He explains that the techniques involved in “reprogramming” a person’s brain utilise hypnosis to help them alleviate their fear.
I already knew that
As proven by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, a fear or phobia causes the neurons in our brains to move in one of four directions: clockwise, anti-clockwise, forward or backwards. This differs for each person, and what is most important is to measure this neural movement at the exact moment that their fear levels rise. “Then what you need to teach somebody is how to ‘shrink down’ that fear, move it off into the distance and replace it with a good image, reversing those neurons in their brain. If you do that, it releases pleasure endorphins into their body, so actually they end up enjoying flying rather than being fearful of it.” While a very complex technique, he says that for someone with suitable experience, the process can be performed within the space of a day.
Such powerful techniques are sadly not confined to positive actions. Mind control is an especially useful tool for those in power, and Barry says that both Hitler and Stalin once employed personal hypnotists. Today, he is certain many world leaders are trained in mind-control techniques. In one episode of the upcoming series, entitled Cops and Robbers, Barry uses his mind-reading techniques at a crime scene. Yet in some countries, these techniques are even used for crime. In the Philippines, Barry says there have been recorded incidents of people being hypnotised, then robbed. In another episode, Black Ops, Barry tests his own ability to do something potentially harmful, programming ordinary people to be spies, and creating sleeper agents. The work disturbed him, he says. “I came out of the show knowing that you can actually get anybody to do anything, under the right circumstances.” The idea is not science fiction. The United States government had a project in the 1950s, known as MK-ULTRA, whereby it attempted to hypnotise people to become sleeper agents — in other words, assassins-in-waiting. The official word is that the project was shut down.
THE DARK ART OF PERSUASION RICHARD BANDLER
Co-inventor of Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) in the 1970s, Richard Bandler has earned fame and fortune as a self-help guru. One of his teachings is that based on a person’s choice of words, you can understand how they view the world. As in, someone who says, "I see what you mean," is of a visual bent. Mirror their choice of visual imagery (such as "I get the picture"), says Bandler, and you can establish a sense of instant rapport, whether as a salesman or a seducer. By using "modelling" techniques, observing experts in their elements, NLP can also be used to teach an amateur to be proficient at a task. Bandler recounts the story of successfully training a 10-year-old boy to be a world-class sniper, by modelling a special forces marksman.
Separating the fact from the fiction of this infamous American military program is practically impossible, but we do know that this top secret experiment actually existed. At the height of the Cold War in the 1950s, the CIA was playing with various forms of mind control, in an attempt to create super-soldiers. Everything from hypnosis to shock therapy and cocktails of drugs like LSD, sodium pentothal (the truth drug) and ketamine were administered to subjects. Needless to say, volunteers were quickly hard to come by and the CIA turned to drugging unwitting subjects to monitor the effects.
Derren Brown is another mentalist, TV host and stage magician. One of his routines, known as the Russian Scam, involved approaching people on the street and asking for directions. He ended up walking off not just with directions, but with their wallets, too. Using techniques designed to subdue and bewilder a person's subconscious, such as body mirroring and coded suggestions embedded in sentences ("You don't mind helping me? OK, you're happy to give me that"), he then nonchalantly asked the strangers for their watches, phones and money, which they compliantly handed over. Only several seconds later did the hapless victims snap out of the trance and realise they had been bamboozled. Gotcha. 59 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE
PHOTOS: DISCOVERY CHANNEL
"MESMERISE" COMES FROM THE NAME OF AUSTRIAN PHYSICIAN FRANZ MESMER, WHOSE WORK LED TO SCIENTIFIC STUDIES ON THE EFFECTS OF SUGGESTION ON HEALTH
“My personal belief is that MK-ULTRA was never shut down. I believe that governments are programming sleeper agents to in essence be assassins — a crazy, scary thought.”
Perhaps Barry’s most public campaign actually had nothing to do with a TV show. The 2009 murder of his grandfather, Paddy Barry, aged 82, drove Keith to take public action over the safety of the elderly. In an incident almost reminiscent of a scene from The Dark Knight, Barry threatened in a public statement to “bring the country to a halt”, unless the government did more to protect people in their homes. He reflects on the time: “I suppose initially I was just lashing out. But certainly here in Ireland, if somebody breaks into your house, if you push the burglar or intruder down the stairs, he has every right to sue you.” “These guys, who are assaulting elderly people and are burgling houses, they are in and out of jail like a revolving door here," he says. "So I just got very angry when it happened to my granddad. Basically he was sitting down having a beer on a Friday night at 9 o’clock. And then having been in the coma for five days, he was dead.“ Ultimately, his public campaign had a positive effect, with the country more clearly defining the law. “It is a huge step forward. They clarified that if somebody comes over the boundary of your wall or whatever and into your garden or your house, that you have the right to defend yourself adequately.”
ART OF SEDUCTION
The most popular Deception episode though, is likely be Dating and Daring, which explores ideas around how and why people connect with one another, delving into the mentalist techniques people might use to be more attractive to their target. The first, says Barry, is important when you meet somebody in a bar or at a party. “One of the techniques you should definitely use is a mirroring technique. In other words, when you meet somebody for the first time, you mirror their actions 60 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE
unbeknownst to them.” The technique, which many parents will confirm their children innately use in new situations, is easy. “If they scratch their chin, you wait a moment or two and then you scratch your chin. If they cross their legs, you cross your legs,” he suggests. “When you mirror somebody, you become like them. And they automatically start to like you, completely subconsciously.” He mentions another technique, which men might find very useful. “I also teach guys that when they meet a girl, when they shake her hand, there is a pressure point between your thumb and your first finger that, if you press your thumb on that pressure point, it releases pleasure endorphins into the girl’s brain. Which immediately starts you off on the right foot.” However, maintaining this happiness is some magic you will have to learn for yourself.
ABOVE: IN COPS AND ROBBERS, BARRY USES MENTALISM TO PERFORM POLICE WORK RIGHT: MENTALIST, STAGE MAGICIAN AND TV HOST, KEITH BARRY IS ALSO A PARENT WITH A CHEEKY SENSE OF HUMOUR
RUGBY PREDICTOR Given it was Rugby World Cup season when we spoke to Barry, we thought we would test his behaviour reading skills, in terms of who he most fancied to win the Cup. The results, sadly, speak less of his fortune telling than his mentalism. Barry spoke with Discovery Channel Magazine editor, and New Zealand All Blacks fan, Luke Clark:
" I BELIEVE THAT GOVERNMENTS ARE PROGRAMMING SLEEPER AGENTS TO IN ESSENCE BE ASSASSINS — A CRAZY, SCARY THOUGHT "
Are you a rugby fan? Yes, absolutely, I am obsessed. Which team do you think has got their head most together in mental terms? Crazily enough, I think Ireland, I really do. Have you been watching the World Cup yourself? Yes. But I'm a Kiwi, so you are speaking to the wrong person. But that's okay. Well, the Kiwis are playing fantastic rugby. But the reason I say Ireland — obviously I am biased — is if you look at the Irish pack, they come out of their scrums happy, as opposed to any other teams. They are actually laughing and smiling on the television broadcast. They're all patting each other on the back and having fun. They are very bonded. By the way, I would not have said that about Ireland four games ago. They were simply not in the right place. You haven’t done any work on them, have you? I might have, but I can't comment on that! Let us just say and I am dead serious about this; you might not like this, and I know this is crazy and stupid and most rugby experts would say it cannot happen, but I put a bet last night on Ireland to win the World Cup against New Zealand in the final. That is my prediction to DCM, Ireland to win the World Cup against New Zealand. I will be very happy to put that into the story. And what if you are wrong? But I don't mind being wrong. I enjoy failure as much as I enjoy success. Either way it's been a great World Cup this year. Footnote: Ireland lost its next game, to Wales, with the score 10–7. New Zealand went on to narrowly win the World Cup final against France, 8-7. 61 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE
NUMBER 082 / BY DANIEL SEIFERT
HOW TO HYPNOTISE YOUR BOSS Hypnosis can help someone quit smoking, lose weight, sleep better, gain confidence, and control pain during child birth or chemotherapy. What it can't achieve is making people fall in love with you, making them tell the truth, or transforming them into your zombie-like slave. But how about making someone give you a raise? Read on to find out, though don't actually hypnotise your boss afterwards
Resist the temptation to put on a Transylvanian accent.
Project relaxation and confidence, and in a calm, soothing voice, tell the subject to take slow, deep breaths.
ENSURE YOUR SUPERIOR IS RELAXED AND SEATED COMFORTABLY
MIRROR THE PHYSICAL STATE YOU WOULD LIKE YOUR SUBJECT TO BE IN
Tell the subject to focus their gaze on something within their field of vision. It could be your finger, a crack in the wall or even your business card.
Instruct the subject to count down from 10, and tell them that they will feel 10 times more relaxed with each number, with their eyelids becoming heavier and heavier, closing by the time they reach one.
5 ILLUSTRATION: MARK McCORMICK
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Make use of repetition and elaborate imagery to influence the subject. For example: “Just let your neck relax, and your eyes, ears and lips relax. Your shoulders are relaxing now, and a warm, thick feeling of relaxation is flowing over your entire body like honey.”
IMAGINE A SCENE
Constructing an imaginary scene is very effective at getting a message across: “You are in a field at sunset, the temperature is perfect and a soft breeze tickles your skin. Birds sing in the background, and the smell of flowers puts you completely at peace.”
BITE YOUR LIP
Do not laugh at your imagery. This will break the mood.
USE PHYSICAL STIMULI TO REINFORCE FEELINGS
For example, “As I tap your arm you will feel that sensation of calm and relaxation increasing a hundredfold, banishing any tension instantly.” Then tap gently, do not punch.
Before you end the subject's trance, you can insert some positive self-fulfilling prophecies to benefit him or her, such as “you are feeling healthy, confident and generous, and this feeling will remain with you for the rest of the day.”
Count from one to 10, saying “with each number you will feel more refreshed, and when I snap my fingers you will be completely awake.” Then remember to ask your boss for a raise.
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WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY DANIEL ALLEN
QUIRIMBAS COMEBACK AIDED BY THEIR EVERGREEN DHOW BOATS, THE PEOPLE OF MOZAMBIQUE’S STUNNING QUIRIMBAS ARCHIPELAGO HAVE TAKEN A JOURNEY FROM SLAVERY AND CONFLICT, TO WHAT IS HOPED WILL BE A BRIGHTER FUTURE
From the battlements of Ibo Island’s Fortaleza de São João Baptista, the distant sea is an azure line, trapped between the shimmering foreshore and sun-drenched sky. Closer in, a receding tide has already released the mangrove forest from its salty embrace. Crowned with restless egrets, stranded trees resemble stiltwalkers, their spindly legs suspending top-heavy bodies above the naked littoral mud. Erected by the Portuguese in 1791, Ibo’s five-sided stronghold guards a dark secret. It was here, in northern Mozambique, that huge numbers of slaves once lived for days and weeks, shackled together in terrible squalor. Transported from the East African hinterland, some were destined for French plantations in Mauritius, Reunion and Indochina, others for Brazil, Cuba and North America. Many were destined for a premature death. Until the 16th century, the northern coast of Mozambique was largely controlled by Arabs. Later, after the Arabs stubbornly refused to trade with the empire-building Portuguese, the latter attacked and drove the Arabs out. As Mozambique developed into one of the world’s major slave-trading centres, hundreds of thousands of Africans, many passing through Fortaleza de São João Baptista, were dispatched overseas. Today an idyllic tourist haven in the heart of the beautiful Quirimbas archipelago, Ibo Island’s sleepy demeanour belies a past speckled with violence, greed and suffering. Ibo was, at its commercial zenith, a vital Portuguese trading centre for trading in amber, jet, ivory and human cargo.
THE DURABLE DHOW
Bock. Bock. Bock. The brisk strokes of a chisel interrupt the early afternoon quiet, as rotting wood is peeled from the hull of a beached dhow, or boat. It is siesta time on Ibo Island — time 65 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE
TOP LEFT: TO PROTECT THEMSELVES AGAINST SUNBURN, THE LOCALS APPLY A PASTE MADE FROM PLANT EXTRACTS TO THEIR SKIN LEFT: COLONIAL-ERA ARCHITECTURE IS FAIRLY COMMON ON IBO ISLAND RIGHT: FROM ABOVE, THE CRISP WHITE LATEEN OF A DHOW CONTRASTS SHARPLY WITH THE RICH BLUE-GREEN OF THE OCEAN AS IT TRAVERSES A SHALLOW CHANNEL BETWEEN ISLANDS
for an afternoon nap — and a stifling blanket of heat has driven residents into the shade, except for a goat or two meandering along the decayed pathway. Three local carpenters are still hard at work though, their mahogany skin flecked with perspiration as they tend to the weatherworn vessel together. Far beyond the impromptu repair yard, out on the water, another fishing dhow tacks against the tide. Propelled by a brisk southerly trade wind that the locals call the kuzi, its triangle of sail moves a cargo of fish across the horizon at a good clip. The shallow-bottomed craft sideslips 66 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE
easily through a channel that was once cut through the mangroves by Ibo’s transient population of slaves. Inextricably linked to the history and culture of the Quirimbas archipelago, the design of the traditional dhow boat has changed very little since it first sailed the waters of the Indian Ocean over a thousand years ago. In the present, Ibo fishermen continue to navigate the area's many winding channels and placid lagoons in dhow made from local mangrove wood, ropes of coconut husk, a handful of nails and a triangular sail usually made of rough cloth or plastic sheeting.
Indigenous to the coasts of the Arabian peninsula, India and East Africa, the earliest dhow were simple dugouts with teak planks attached to their sides with fibres or chords. Larger vessels gradually evolved, employing a keel, to which the planking was sewn. Nails were only used in dhow construction after Portuguese caravels and other European ships entered the region in the early 16th century. “It takes about a month to make a small fishing dhow,” explains Ali Madu, a fisherman-turned-guide based on Ibo. “The most obvious feature is the triangular sail, known as a lateen. We tie this to a long
yard hoisted up at right angles to the mast. The lateen is a really efficient sail for small and medium-sized vessels. It provides great maneuverability, and is still useful in winds too light for a square sail.” Robust, easy to construct and able to navigate water of all depths, the dhow is ideally suited to Indian Ocean travel. Today, bigger boats still carry cargo between the Persian Gulf and East Africa, and dhowmaking remains a viable industry on Zanzibar island, where a large teak vessel may cost around US$10,000. Over 100 years after the last slaves left the shores of Mozambique, the dhow is still going strong.
" WITHOUT THESE WINDS, THE HISTORY OF MOZAMBIQUE AND THE QUIRIMBAS WOULD HAVE BEEN DRASTICALLY DIFFERENT "
The region's annual weather systems also aided boat travel and hence, trade. “Every year, from October to April, monsoon winds known in Swahili as the kazkazi would blow dhow from Persia and Arabia down the East African coast, carrying textiles, beads and iron tools,” explains Causemore Dzvene, another Ibo guide. “The winds would then switch direction, becoming the kuzi, which would carry dhow laden with gold, ivory, and eventually slaves back home." "Without these winds the history of Mozambique and the Quirimbas would have been dramatically different,” he adds. 67 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE
AGRICULTURE AND ARTESANAL FISHING ACCOUNT FOR OVER 50 PERCENT OF THE PROVINCIAL ECONOMY IN THE QNP
TRADE AND TRIBULATION
It was after the Portuguese annexed Mozambique in 1752 that the country’s slave industry took off. By the first half of the 19th century, humans had replaced ivory as the most important item of trade. Along the coast, the demand for slaves steadily mounted, as Arabs, Brazilians, French, Spanish slavers from Cuba and Americans discovered East Africa in the wake of the British anti-slave campaign in West Africa. In 1818, at least 10,000 Africans were reportedly transported to Mozambique from the interior, often by dhow from farther up the coast, for sale to Brazilian slavers. Only half of that number made it to the shores of South America alive. Slaves were also carried by Arab and Swahili dhow to the nearby Comoros Islands for onward transport to the French colonies of Mauritius and Reunion. Ibo Island was particularly important for French slave traders. More than a half century later, with British warships patrolling the Indian Ocean in ever greater numbers, the Portuguese abolished slavery in 1869. The island’s shallow waters then meant large-scale trade in other goods also gradually moved to the mainland, and the Quirimbas archipelago slipped into a gentle decline. The fishing dhow remained, but little else. Economically, things progressively slipped further for the islands. “When the Portuguese finally pulled out of Mozambique in 1975 after a vicious, 10-year war of independence, they left the Quirimbas virtually overnight,” says Rob McKenzie, general manager of the Ibo Island Lodge. “What was left of the local economy went into freefall — and was finished off by another 15 years of civil war.” By this point in time, the region’s once profitable tourist industry had progressively become as lifeless as Ibo’s boarded up colonial villas.
Hugging the Mozambique coast, the Quirimbas archipelago’s clutch of 31 pristine coral islands and islets stretches for 322 kilometres right up to the Tanzanian border. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the area is stunningly beautiful. Offshore lie some of the richest reefs in the world, while deeper channels are home to dolphins, whales, turtles and a bountiful array of other marine life. Mangroves straddle the divide between sea and freshwater, and support an ecosystem of their own. In 2002, the southernmost 11 islands, including Ibo, were declared a national park. Given their spectacular scenery, it was perhaps inevitable that one day the Quirimbas would play a major role in breathing new life into Mozambique’s defunct tourist industry. On Ibo Island, where the population plummeted from 37,000 in the early 1900s, to 3,500 in 2006, attempts to stimulate the local economy with holidaymakers’ dollars have been greeted enthusiastically. Kevin Record is a Zimbabwean businessman who fell in love with Ibo when he first visited in 1994. In 1999, he and his wife began to buy beachfront properties and land, and a heavily renovated colonial mansion was opened as Ibo Island Lodge in late 2006. It has quickly become the anchor tourism investment on the island, keeping 40 Ibo islanders in full-time jobs. He says the investment has been well received. “We estimate that our day-to-day operations benefit half the population.” Margaret Rose, a programme director for TechnoServe, a non-governmental organisation that carried out a socioeconomic study on Ibo in 2006, says tourism has become critical for local employment. “Apart from fishing, there really is not much else that Quirimbas islanders can do. There are very few public sector jobs. The recent growth of the tourism industry offers many people a way of rising above subsistence for the first time.” Yet the archipelago's population remains overly reliant on marine resources. “The people of this region need more visitors,” says guide Dzvene. “We welcome them. South Africans, 68 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE
INEXTRICABLY LINKED TO THE HISTORY AND CULTURE OF THE QUIRIMBAS, THE DESIGN OF THE TRADITIONAL DHOW HAS CHANGED LITTLE SINCE OVER A THOUSAND YEARS AG0
BELOW: A YOUNG WOMAN CARRIES A BUCKET FULL OF SHELLFISH BACK HOME RIGHT: CHILDREN PLAY ON THE BEACH AND OFTEN COLLECT SOUVENIRS OF THE SEA
THE AVERAGE LIFE EXPECTANCY IN CABO DELGADO PROVINCE (CDP)
INFANT MORTALITY RATE
Americans, Europeans. Even the Portuguese. There is no antipathy here. We must look ahead, not back.” The growing numbers of tourists visiting Ibo today discover an island charmingly suspended between the past and future. “The legacy of Arab and Portuguese rule is everywhere,” says Sean Nazerali, an employee of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). “Most people are Muslim and speak Kimwani, which is very similar to Swahili. There are ancient mosques. And coffee shrubs grow wild, descended from plants brought by Arab traders centuries ago.” The most striking reminder of Ibo’s chequered history is its architecture. Dilapidated Portuguese mansions in pastel shades sandwich renovated properties, their sun-bleached shutters swinging in the ocean breeze. Magnificent bougainvillea blooms decorate crumbling walls, while stubborn scabs of paint cling to heavily rusted ironwork. In places, entire roofs have collapsed, the tops of fig trees emerging between rotting trusses. The main congregation of the Nossa Senhora do Rosário church is its colony of fruit bats.
US$140 4,400 GDP PER CAPITA IN CDP
NO. OF MOSQUITO NETS RECENTLY DISTRIBUTED IN QNP
GIRLS MARRIED BEFORE AGED 15
NO. OF TOURISTS VISITING QNP ANNUALLY
7,500 KM2 QUIRIMBAS NATIONAL PARK (QNP) AREA
100,000 PEOPLE LIVING IN QNP
“The philosophy of the Quirimbas National Park (QNP) is conservation for productive use,” explains WWF’s Nazerali, over a glass of Mozambique’s popular 2M beer. “Do not forget there are 100,000 people living in the park — this is not Yellowstone. These people need to see the tangible benefits of both tourism and environmental protection.” With so many people reliant on fishing for a living, many of the park’s conservation efforts involve managing marine resources. “We have already established 10 notake zones,” says Nazerali. “This has a spillover effect into neighbouring areas, and fishermen have actually reported increased catches. We have also cracked down on 69 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE
migrant Tanzanian and Mozambican fishermen who come into the park illegally and denude whole areas of fish.” Tourism in the QNP also needs to be selective. “We cannot support mass market holidaymaking here, nor do we want to,” says Nazerali. “What we want is to bring in visitors who spend a lot, but have a limited environmental footprint.” In addition to direct employment, several lodges now oversee initiatives aimed at improving living conditions, providing islanders with opportunities in education and the workplace, and protecting biodiversity. Guludo Lodge, situated on the QNP mainland, was opened by Amy Carter-James and her husband in 2006 with the specific objective of helping local villages. The lodge operates using fair trade principles, and its associated charity, the Nema Foundation, works with 16 local settlements to implement projects in healthcare, education, childcare, agriculture and cultural revival. “Sustainable tourism is one way to achieve development in the Quirimbas archipelago, if carried out transparently and with intelligent projects,” says Carter-James with conviction. “Of course 70 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE
some lodges and resorts are more sustainable than others, and everyone has different problems. For us, food security remains a big issue. We are really concentrating on child malnutrition.” Over on Vamizi, another island within the QNP, the focus is on community and ecology. The local lodge has recently finished building a school, while a small clinic and cultural centre have been erected for public use. Vamizi is an important site for the endangered green turtle (Chelonia mydas), with an estimated 100 active nests per season. The island’s turtles now have eight fulltime rangers and a marine biologist looking after them. “Sustainability is of primary importance to us,” says Community Project Manager Anne Broocks of Cabo Delgado Biodiversity and Tourism. “We joined forces with the WWF early in 2011 to ensure the long term viability of the marine, terrestrial and social environments of Vamizi.” Such initiatives bode well for the national park, yet major challenges remain. “It is always a balancing act between the environment and the needs of the people,” says Nazerali.
LEFT: FISHERMEN IN THE QUIRIMBAS RELY MOSTLY ON JUST STRING AND SKILL — AND PROBABLY SOME LUCK AS WELL TOP LEFT: THE IBO LODGE EXUDES AN OLD-SCHOOL COLONIAL CHARM TOP RIGHT: IBO'S MULTIETHNIC GRAVEYARD HINTS AT A COSMOPOLITAN PAST RIGHT: THOUGH FISHING IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF DAILY LIFE, SO IS FORAGING ALONG THE SHORELINE
“Education levels and self-governance need to be drastically improved. Exploitation, especially illegal resource use, needs to be controlled. In some areas, particularly the mainland area of the park, goodwill towards us (the park management) is not increasing. This needs to be changed.”
SAILING INTO THE FUTURE
Borne across the rolling swell by a stiff breeze, a square-sterned dhow moves steadily towards a sliver of beach. Vagabundu is the vessel’s name, its ropes of coconut fibre protesting as they take up the strain of her taut lateen. With beams and a keel hewn from the stoutest mangrove wood, Vagabundu makes the perfect mode of transport for adventurous tourists as they ply the sheltered channels of the Quirimbas. With bright eyes and a four-day-old beard, Juma “Papa” Chande is Vagabundu’s grizzled captain. An Ibo Island Lodge cap covers salt-matted hair. “I was a fisherman for many years,” he explains in
limited Portugese, before pointing out dolphins criss-crossing the dhow's bow wave. “Now I work for the lodge. I am happy because I can stay on the water, but I do not have to go out in storms. It is easier just being a captain — I can order the youngsters around.” Ibo Island Lodge’s recently launched dhow safaris, which ferry guests between various islands across the archipelago, have been a huge hit. Such is the demand, another two boats are on order. “The beauty of these safaris is that the passengers get to decide where they want to go,” says the lodge's general manager, McKenzie. “If they want to move, the team simply packs up camp and they sail to another island. And of course, relying on the wind is also a very green way to get around.” The Vagabundu and her crew embody a profound knowledge of the ocean that still unites the seafaring people of this East African coast, a coast that has seen more than its fair share of heartache and hardship. As the buds of a more balanced future begin to bear fruit across the Quirimbas, many hope the evergreen dhow can lead its local population into smoother waters. 71 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE
OVER 800 CHILDREN RECEIVE SCHOOL MEALS AROUND GULUDO LODGE
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One of the most advanced machines on the planet, the Large Hadron Collider is helping physics answer its most important questions. Just how close are we to unlocking the secrets of the universe?
IT WOULD TAKE 398,110 FULL MOONS TO EQUAL THE BRIGHTNESS OF THE SUN
DANIEL SEIFERT INVESTIGATES
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"Me, easily," he says confidently. "I am from a small town near Manchester called Wigan — where it is very important that you are good at arm wrestling." While amusing, this hypothetical brawl is also an apt metaphor for the state of theoretical physics today. Research currently underway at CERN could turn our entire understanding of the universe, and of Einstein, on its head. The baby of this advanced super-lab facility is the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), though “baby” 74 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE
is an understatement for this 27 kilometre-long behemoth lurking hundreds of metres below peaceful Swiss soil. What exactly is the LHC? Besides being the world's largest particle accelerator, and one of the most advanced engineering feats on the planet, the answer depends on whom you ask. For naysayers and conspiracy theorists, it is a possible doomsday device, which might even create a wormhole that destroys the universe. For others, it is a colossal expense and drain of resources. Yet for scientists like Forshaw, the LHC is a
game-changer which could reshape the field of physics, by confirming the existence of the building blocks of the universe, while helping to fight cancer and protect the environment along the way. “We built the Collider because we want to push the frontiers of science,” he says. “We want to understand what the universe is made of and how the tiny particles that build all things interact with each other.” Currently, scientists and science-watchers everywhere are wondering if the LHC may have also shaken up our thinking about physics for good.
PHOTOS (FROM LEFT): CORBIS; CERN
There is a pregnant pause on the other end of the phone line. Dr Jeff Forshaw, who has a PhD in theoretical physics and is professor of particle physics at the University of Manchester, in the UK, and a scientific associate at CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, is considering the answer to a very important question on the state of physics. Who would win in an arm wrestle between him and Albert Einstein?
WORLD DESTROYER? When the LHC was first launched, some outside the scientific community speculated on the ways this mysterious machine might act as a doomsday device, such as manifesting a black hole that ate the entire galaxy; creating a runaway fusion reaction; or tipping the universe into a “vacuum bubble”. Many of these hypotheses proved unfounded, illogical and factually flawed. Physicist Dr Jeff Forshaw notes: “It is like being afraid to get into your car because of Chernobyl, when the science of a car is completely different to a nuclear reactor.”
LEFT: THE CMS DETECTOR WAS SO LARGE IT HAD TO BE LOWERED TO THE ACCELERATOR RING IN PIECES
FASTER THAN LIGHT?
Until now, the greatest physics minds on the planet would have said that speeds faster than light were impossible. Albert Einstein's special theory of relativity states that you simply cannot go any quicker. Yet in September this year, CERN seemingly did just that. Using protons which were intended for the LHC, and would otherwise have been thrown away, scientists in Switzerland fired the protons at a target in Italy, creating neutrinos. The result, according to the research team behind the project, was that the neutrinos
10,080 TONNES OF LIQUID NITROGEN IS USED TO PRE-COOL THE MAGNETS IN THE LHC BEFORE THEY ARE COOLED EVEN FURTHER
MEET THE DETECTORS There are six detectors attached to the ring of the LHC. Two are very small, specialised detectors used for intricate research. The main four are: ATLAS: One of two general-purpose detectors, this is also the largest of the detectors. It weighs 7,000 tonnes, cost US$490 million to construct, and will lead the search for the Higgs boson. CMS: Another general-purpose detector, and the heaviest at 12,500 tonnes, it is also designed to snoop for the Higgs particle. ALICE: This detector will fire up when lead atoms are collided, rather than protons, creating a plasma soup of smaller quark and gluon particles similar to the Big Bang aftermath. LHCB: By studying the interactions of B mesons, this, the smallest of the LHC’s primary detectors, aims to discover why there is more matter than antimatter in the universe.
were clocked travelling at 1.000025 times the speed of light. In physics terms, this was akin to stating that objects can fall upwards. Furthermore, if you can travel faster than light, you could even, theoretically, travel through time. Of course, the scientific community is being very, very cautious about what the results mean. Right now, the focus is on making sure that the results are reliable and can be replicated. To that end, the experiment will be extensively redone in a myriad of ways to ensure the observation was not a freak anomaly, 75 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE
says Forshaw. “For something this significant, you want to check it with a completely different experiment.” Yet he would love it if the results proved correct. “I think you would be hard pressed to find a scientist who is not hoping it is true. It would be wonderfully exciting.” As this issue of Discovery Channel Magazine went to press, the results were still being debated and rechecked. But one thing the experiment conclusively demonstrated was that the stodgy old field of physics can still deliver the world a sucker punch every now and then. As Einstein himself said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” And the findings of this experiment have certainly captured the world’s imagination.
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ABOVE: SOMETIMES FIGURING OUT WHAT DATA FROM PARTICLE COLLISION EXPERIMENTS MEAN REQUIRES A LOT OF STARING AND SQUINTING
One of our two interviewees, Dr Steve Myers, is the Director of Accelerators and Technology at CERN, having worked there since 1972, initially as its Engineer-in-Charge of the Intersecting Storage Rings Collider. Recently, in 2010, Myers received the ACFA/IPAC Achievement Prize for outstanding work in the accelerator field.
the size of a cathedral, says Forshaw. To collect useable data from 600 million proton collisions per second, CERN’s detectors can measure the passage time of a particle, to within billionths of a second. What is the point of headbutting particles together at 299,762,479 metres per second? When the protons smash, they recreate the intense conditions similar to moments after the Big Bang, the event which many scientists think first created the universe. When the LHC
PHOTOS: CORBIS (MAIN); CERN (DR STEVE MYERS); JEFF FORSHAW (PENGUIN PRESS)
CRASH INTO ME
To better understand how the LHC works, a crash course in physics is necessary. A particle accelerator literally speeds up particles, at a rate once deemed impossible. The Collider comprises a 27 kilometre-long ring-shaped tunnel. Within this, two beams of protons (the positive parts of atoms) are fired at 99.99 percent the speed of light in opposing directions — to eventually crash together in the middle. “When they collide, the protons break into bits. And by examining what comes out, we can learn what things are made of and how they behave,” explains Forshaw. While the scale and complexity of the operation is massive, its principles are quite simple. He compares it to an oldschool TV set, where electrons were “boiled” off a wire and accelerated by an electric field towards the screen, while simultaneously being bent by a magnetic field, producing a spot on the screen. Only with the LHC, the particles are protons, not electrons. The detectors observing the particle collision are not unlike those in a digital camera, albeit
BIG AND SMALL TALK DR JEFF FORSHAW DISCUSSES EINSTEIN, POWER, AND BEING IN TWO PLACES AT ONCE The LHC deals with both the tiny and the massive. Do you ever wish the field was more tactile and you could hold a proton in your hand? No [laughs]. It is the fact that it is not tactile or like everyday life that makes it so sublime. The wildest imagination of science fiction would not come up with quantum theory, which deals with subatomic particles. And that is how the world works: these tiny little elemental things that we cannot perceive with our senses, but which we can perceive with the help of the LHC and other machines. The fact that things behave in a quantum way means we can construct microprocessors and chips, and have all the technology we have. So it is completely real, but completely counter-intuitive. And I would not change that for anything.
generates temperatures 100,000 times hotter than the sun’s core, it allows researchers to depict the conditions of the earth some 13.7 billion years ago, and to try and understand how everything began.
Plunging their metaphorical hands into this primordial soup of matter, CERN’s scientists are searching with bated breath for one particular particle, as yet theoretical: the Higgs boson. If found, it could answer so many deep questions about the universe that it has has been dubbed “The God Particle”. Its discovery has the potential to unlock some of the secrets of physics, such as, why does matter have mass? Where does mass come from? And why do some particles have no mass at all?
Why did you and Dr Brian Cox decide to write The Quantum Universe, and Why Does E=mc2? Brian and I love physics, and we feel strongly that the ideas in fundamental physics should not be enjoyed by a small bunch of elite scientists. These ideas shed light on our place in the universe and should be a big part of our cultural heritage. We also share the belief that the best way to enjoy and appreciate the physics is to actually learn it, and not just read about it. That is why we wrote a book which aims to explain Einstein’s theory. The LHC is currently running at half power. Why is this, and what can we expect when it finally switches to full power? It is operating at half the maximum energy in order to make sure that it is not being stretched to the engineering limit. Like any
machine, if it is pushed to the limit, then the risk of something breaking is greater. The machine will shut down for a period of time at the end of 2012, to tune it up and get ready for running at full speed. By going to full power, the machine will be able to examine matter at even shorter distances. The power of the machine is rather like the magnification power of a microscope — so more power means more zoom. How does quantum theory work in counter-intuitive ways? The most shocking aspect, especially to laymen, is that things can be in two places at once. Every particle in the universe is, in a sense, continuously jumping to all other places in the universe at the same time. It is not secretly here or there, it is everywhere at once, and that is true for every particle in your body. The concrete realities that we experience are an emergent phenomenon; that is to say, it came out because everything can be in two places at once. The tangible world in which we live is in a sense illusory, because it is micro-physics that makes that illusion. It involves embracing the idea that particles are in two places at once. Dr Jeff Forshaw is a professor at the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Manchester in England, as well as a scientific associate at CERN. He has coauthored two popular science books with fellow physicist Dr Brian Cox: Why does E=mc2? (And Why Should We Care) and The Quantum Universe: Everything that can Happen Does Happen. In 1999, he was awarded the Institute of Physics' Maxwell Medal and Prize, for outstanding contribution to theoretical physics. 32 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE
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AT FULL POWER, PROTONS WILL RACE AROUND THE LHC ACCELERATOR RING 11,245 TIMES A SECOND
If this were a murder mystery, CERN’s scientists would be the shrewd detective, and the LHC, their magnifying glass. They have a suspect for the crime — the Higgs boson — and a superb theory about the crime. But the suspect has yet to be confirmed. As yet, Mr Boson is little more than a shadowy figure. The Higgs boson is the missing piece in a critical theoretical puzzle. Currently, the best theory scientists have for explaining the structure of the universe combines elements from Einstein’s theory of relativity with quantum theory. With these theories, three of the four basic forces of the universe can be justified, namely strong nuclear force, weak nuclear force and electromagnetic force. The problem? “The one thing we cannot fit into this framework is gravity,” says Forshaw. Find the Higgs boson, and physics may finally be able to explain all four basic forces. “The Higgs particle itself, if it exists, has a very important job in the universe,” Forshaw explains in simple terms. “It is supposed to populate empty space in such a way that when things move through empty space, they ‘bang into’ the Higgs particles and get slowed down as a result. This slowing down is what we perceive as inertia or mass.” “We are sharpening our theoretical tools in time for when we see the Higgs particle. And we are well down that path,” he says. The physics world is on tenterhooks, because this missing ingredient could be uncovered very soon. Already, sister processes similar to the Higgs boson have been spotted thanks to the LHC’s experiments, says Forshaw. “It is just a waiting game. It could be in the next month, or it could be a couple of years yet. But something is going to turn up.”
THE RABBIT HOLE
One person awaiting the outcome more eagerly than most is the man overseeing the LHC’s operations. Yet Dr Steve Myers, Director of Accelerators and Technology at CERN, emphasises that what eventually shows up may also be completely unexpected. Indeed, Myers finds the prospect of confirming the lack of the Higgs boson as exciting as actually finding it. “If there is no Higgs particle, then there has to be something instead of the Higgs boson. This ‘something’ could be even more interesting.” It could even be something that the greatest minds of science, including Albert Einstein, never imagined. “We might well find that the things we currently think of as the basic building blocks of everything, from star matter, to radio waves to humans, are actually made up of something smaller,” says Forshaw. Whatever the answer, it is highly possible that physics textbooks will be substantially rewritten. Down the rabbit hole we go. As a laboratory to test physics theory, CERN is the leading institute in the world, and is constantly being used for experiments of various types. Myers says that while staff members number about 2,250, universities around the world utilise the LHC's detectors too, which leads to approximately 10,000 academics and researchers in total. For Myers, a typical day in this hive of activity is a long and gruelling one, where the devil is in the details. Every morning at 8.30am, he and his team meet, discussing all the technical minutiae necessary to keep the facility running smoothly. 79 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE
PREVIOUS: DR VINCENT VUILLEMIN, WHO IS BOTH PHYSICIST AND ZEN BUDDHIST, HEADS THE ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT AT CERN RIGHT: IN A TRAINING EXERCISE, MEMBERS OF CERN'S FIRE BRIGADE RAPPEL DOWN A 100METRE SHAFT, IN ORDER TO REACH THE LHC'S ACCELERATOR RING
One of the LHC's most important facets is its superconducting magnets. These steer the protons and are super-cooled, so they can operate effectively, without any electrical resistance. “We currently operate at minus 271 degrees Celsius,” says Myers. This temperature, colder than outer space, is maintained with superfluid helium. “If it goes up by a couple of degrees, then very large currents will blow through the resistance, which can cause problems.” If there is a whiff of trouble during operations, Myers and team will dump energy from the magnetic coils. The amount is mind-boggling. “It is 10 gigajoules. That is the same energy as a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier when it goes into full battle speed.” They can dump this king-sized amount of energy in 40 to 50 seconds. As for the beam itself, the energy density is up to 360 megajoules, enough to heat up and evaporate 500 kilograms of copper. If the beam is not properly controlled and dumped in a safe way, it could rip through the magnets and vacuum chamber, causing immense damage.
NAME THE LHC! Asked if the Large Hadron Collider had acquired any nicknames, Dr Steve Myers, who oversees the LHC's operations, said, “No, but you are welcome to suggest one!” Challenge accepted. Our stabs so far: 1) THE RING (from J.R.R Tolkien’s Lord of the
Rings: “One ring to rule them all.”)
2) THOR’S RACETRACK 3) OUR FAVOURITE: Deep Thought. In
Douglas Adams’ sci-fi comic novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Deep Thought is the name given to one of the most powerful computers in the universe. Its answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything? After 7.5 million years, its mysterious reply was “42”. 4) Render ours redundant by emailing yours (list subject as “Editor LHC”) to firstname.lastname@example.org 80 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE
Critics complain that the LHC costs a fortune, which might be better spent elsewhere. Yet Forshaw is quick to disagree, noting that dozens of institutions and governments bear the expense of the machine. “The cost of CERN is about the same as a medium-sized university. The UK spends more on peanuts each year than we do on CERN.” Even without the chance of discovering the Higgs boson, the materials and technology poured into the accelerators have advanced scientific practice a great deal. “Almost everything we built is unique to the LHC,” says Myers, a trace of pride in his Irish brogue. “The twin-bore superconducting magnets, the diagnostics, the instrumentation, the way we control the machine and the measurements we make are all brand new.” The same particle physics research which led to the LHC has generated a host of other spinoffs. Take magnetic resonance imagers, or MRIs, for instance. Superconductive magnets, initially developed for use in particle physics, have been utilised in MRIs for incredibly accurate medical diagnostics in hospitals. Myers says the LHC may also help in cancer treatment. The way scientists measure the effect of a beam hitting a stationary target could potentially be used to target tumours far more effectively than current technology allows. At the moment, radiology successfully destroys cancer cells, but demolishes everything in its path, including healthy cells.
As he explains, proton-beam therapy is more like a samurai sword. “Protons inflict much less collateral damage, in that they lose a lot of their energy. By impacting only on the tumour itself, you do not hurt healthy tissue.” Significantly more accurate than current methods, this could be a potential godsend for treating tumours lodged deep in the body, especially those close to critical areas like the spine or brain. Myers cites a 97 percent success rate in treating eye tumours, for example. Other spinoff could include developing cleaner technology. The LHC’s vacuum chambers now being studied to improve the efficiency of solar panels. If you construct a panel in an ultra-cold vacuum, there is no heat loss, leading to better energy savings.
So fervently has the LHC captured the world’s attention, it seems remarkable that it has never yet run at full power. Since beginning operations on September 10, 2008, the LHC has only been run at a maximum of half its power, carefully checking its systems. In 2014, it will finally run at full energy, with each beam carrying an immense seven trillion volts. This huge power injection will be achieved by replacing all 10,000 magnetic connectors, which link one magnet to another. The new, safer components can operate more effectively at the highest energies the machine can release. At that point, the LHC will truly hit its stride, performing at the level it was designed for. Myers thinks the machine will soon be proving its worth. He believes its findings up until now are merely the tip of the iceberg. “The LHC has been built for 20 years of operations, and we have only been operating for about two years. We have gotten off to a flying start.” So what answers might we have found in 50 years, thanks to the LHC? Forshaw pauses. “Perhaps we will have discovered the theory of everything. Or maybe we will discover that, like the layers of an onion, the laws of the universe reveal new things at each micro-level. Only one thing can be certain — it will be an exciting journey.” In the meantime, each advancement gives mankind more momentum in its quest to deconstruct the world. “The wonderful thing is that the more we understand about these things, the simpler the universe seems to be,” says Forshaw. Describing his passion for physics, Forshaw’s words adopt a poetic note. “It is as if there is some beautiful mathematical machinery guiding the way the universe works. Curiosity-driven science without any obvious application is the bedrock of technological progress. Never forget that.”
SCIENCE WONDERLAND Working in the press department for a scientific facility that makes daily headlines is no easy task. However, James Gillies, CERN’s spokesperson, says, “I would not want to be anywhere else.” His highlight moments at CERN include:
NAME THE LHC Asked if the Large Hadron Collider had acquired any nicknames from the legions of scientists who work on it every day, Myers said, “No, but you are welcome to suggest one!” Challenge accepted. Our stabs so far: 1) The Ring (from J.R.R Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings: “One ring to rule them all.”) 2) Thor’s Racetrack 3) Our favourite: Deep Thought. In Douglas Adams’ sci-fi comic novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Deep Thought is the name given to one of the most powerful computers in the universe. Its answer to Life, the Universe and Everything? After 7.5 million years, its mysterious reply was “42.” 4) Render ours redundant by emailing yours (list subject as “Editor LHC”) to email@example.com
“We have seen many famous faces here, from artists to film stars to CEOs. With Angels & Demons being partly filmed here, we had visits from Ron Howard, Tom Hanks and Ayelet Zurer.” SCIENCE AND BEAUTY:
“A German photographer wanted us to suspend a Hadron Collider magnet from a crane at the entrance to a facility building at dusk, with the Jura mountains as a backdrop and an all-female string quartet composed entirely of physicists playing below. And we did it.”
MORE WEIRD REQUESTS:
“Perhaps the oddest I can think of is that someone wanted us to dispose of their cremated ashes, when the time came, by having them accelerated in the LHC.” 81 DISCOVERY CHANNEL MAGAZINE