Posted by: bkivey | 6 August 2012


Hibakusha is a Japanese word meaning ‘explosion-affected person’. The word was originally used to designate people that had survived the nuking of Hiroshima and/or Nagasaki. Although some 160 people were known to have survived both bombings, Tsutomo Yamaguchi was the only person officially recognized by the Japanese government.

Mr. Yamaguchi was only 3 km from  Hiroshima ground zero. At that distance structural damage would be light from the 15 kt blast, but humans aren’t as well built as structures, and Mr. Yamaguchi suffered extensive burns, ruptured eardrums, and temporary blindness.  After spending the night with a couple of co-workers in an air raid shelter, they returned to Nagasaki the next day.

After treatment for his injuries, he returned to work on 9 August (!). Let us reflect on this. Here is a man who survived a nuclear attack, and three days afterward goes back to work. Think about that the next time you want to call in sick. While he was at work, the US dropped their only other operational nuclear weapon on the city. Because Mr. Yamaguchi was inside an apparently sturdy building, he escaped this attach unscathed.

Mr. Yamaguchi suffered a series of radiation-related maladies during his life, as did his wife, and he died of stomach cancer in 2010 at the age of 93.

Another Hibakusha

You don’t have to be extremely unlucky to be an ‘explosion-affected person’: sometimes, you just have to be incredibly stupid.

Meet Adam Smith. No, not that one. This Adam Smith was until recently the CFO/Treasurer of medical device manufacturer Vante. Mr. Smith had the bright idea to film himself harassing a Chick-fil-A employee over statements her company’s president made. Then, because abusing innocent people just isn’t validating unless the world can see you doing it, he uploaded the video.

The video went viral, and word got back to Mr. Smith’s boss, who promptly canned him. There is justice in the world. Mr. Smith did make an apology video, but he’s still unemployed, and there are many copies of the original video available for viewing by prospective employers.  His attempt at grass-roots activism blew up in his face in a big way.

I’m amazed that people would do things like this. Not the harassment, although actions like that are way out of line, but to film yourself doing something that five seconds reflection should reveal is a Really Bad Idea. The first thing I do before hiring someone is run their name through a search engine to see what comes up. Many, if not most, employers do the same thing. There have been a number of stories about people losing job opportunities because those drunken frat party pictures they thought were oh-so-cool are still up on Facebook. You can’t stop other people from posting embarrassing images, but you sure as hell shouldn’t throw fuel on the fire.

Today In History

1181 – Supernova observed by Chinese & Japanese astronomers

1890 – Denton True “Cy” Young pitched his 1st major league baseball game

1930 – Supreme Court Justice John Force Crater disappears in NYC

1948 – Bob Mathias, US, wins decathlon at London Olympics

1952 – Satchel Paige, 47, becomes oldest pitcher to win a complete shutout

1986 – Record 3 grand slams hit in game Tx vs Balt (Harrah, Sheets & Dwyer)

1997 – Microsoft announces it will invest $150 million in Apple Computer Inc



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