|Thanks for all the support! And what's coming up||| Print ||
|Written by Akiba|
|Wednesday, 16 March 2011|
I just wanted to write a post thanking everyone for all the support. I received a lot of great feedback and Tokyo Hackerspace received enough donations to buy another 100 solar cells for the solar lanterns. The solar cells and the PCBs are the most important because they can't be sourced locally. That brings us up to 150 lanterns that will get produced once all the parts arrive. I'm going to turn the hackerspace into a sweat shop. Definitely a good way for people to learn how to solder.
I'll be trying to get back to some semblance of normal life tomorrow. The news feeds should hopefully resume tomorrow as well.
Things were so crazy the past few days that it took a lot of mental and emotional stamina just to stay sane. I was luckily able to overcome the initial shock of the earthquake, tsunami, and then hearing that multiple reactors were melting down just around the corner. There was also the race to get emergency supplies since all bottled water and dry goods were selling out quickly on Saturday. One thing they don't tell you is that the reason you need to stock up on emergency supplies is because mass hysteria will create a shortage very quickly. On top of that, people were freaking out right and left (mostly outside of Japan) and needed to be calmed down.
In the hackerspace, we got together last night and decided on the upcoming projects to deal with the events that have unfolded. We'll be assembling the lanterns which will probably be needed for some time. The northern region of Japan will probably not get properly wired up for electricity for quite some time so many people that stay in the region will be spending their nights in the dark. We're also going to start testing out long distance Wi-Fi connections to see if we can spread and distribute basic internet access for people to communicate. Hopefully we can get Asterisk and SIP phones going so that people can communicate easily, even if they don't have phone service. I've already stockpiled six wireless routers and made sure that they can be flashed with DD-WRT.
To deal with the nuclear situation, we ordered two Geiger counters that were thankfully supplied by Reuseum. There is worldwide hysteria at the moment on radiation clouds and just about all commercial geiger counter outlets are sold out. He stepped in and sold us two nuclear facility grade geiger counters out of his stock and is having them FedEx'd to Japan. That will help us calm people down, both in the hackerspace, and Tokyo in general. We'll be UStreaming the geiger counters so that people can see the live readings in the short term.
In the long term, I've ordered ten geiger tubes and we'll be assembling prototype geiger counters based on the Arduino. Once we get them working, we'll be distributing them among members in the hackerspace and set up a distributed radiation sensor network around Tokyo. We'll hopefully be working with Geigercrowd which just sprang up after this whole crisis happened. The real worry of many people here is the lingering effects of radiation and the public does not trust the government numbers very much at the moment. So setting up an open, independent, and distributed network of radiation monitors should come in very useful. There are already many people in the hackerspace that have volunteered their services for this project. There's a lot of enthusiasm because this project benefits all volunteers and pretty much anyone that falls in range of the network. Once we get the Tokyo sensor network stable, then we'll be rolling it out to the more stricken areas. I'll definitely keep everyone posted on that.
We also had some members at the meeting that volunteered for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. They said that now is not the time to go to Northern Japan since only people trained in Search and Rescue, ie: first responders should be there now. Volunteers just consume resource that might be used to save people's lives. The most dangerous time is a few weeks to months after the event when the newsvans leave, search and rescue moves on, and people forget about the crisis. Interestingly enough, one of the things that was really needed during Katrina were coloring and activity books for children since they were largely neglected amid the stress at the shelters. Small things like that are often forgotten, but the stress on children must be enormous right now. Anyways, we're setting our eyes on that timeframe when the glory is gone but the victims are still suffering. Now, we're trying to plan and prep for projects that start about 1-2 months out.
All in all, that's pretty much how things are at the moment. Just wanted to let everyone know that I'm still sane, Tokyo is not an apocalyptic hell-hole that the news makes it out to be, and I'm glad there are groups out there like Tokyo Hackerspace that can turn a string of horrific catastrophes into a chance to geek out and save lives.
P.S. I have some good stuff for the shop that I was planning to roll out, but this week kind of crushed my plans. Should hopefully have some fun things in the near future. Stay tuned and stay safe :)
written by Frantisek Algoldor Apfelbeck, March 17, 2011
written by BenBE, March 18, 2011
written by Harry, March 19, 2011
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