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What's new at the crossroads of culture, technology and science
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How the Shinkansen bullet train made Tokyo into the monster it is today

How the Shinkansen bullet train made Tokyo into the monster it is today | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
At 10am on 1 October 1964, with less than a week and a half to go before the start of the Tokyo Olympic Games, the two inaugural Hikari Super Express Shinkansen, or “bullet trains,” arrived at their destinations, Tokyo and Osaka. They were precisely on time. Hundreds of people had waited overnight in each terminal to witness this historic event, which, like the Olympics, heralded not just Japan’s recovery from the destruction of the second world war, but the beginning of what would be Japan’s stratospheric rise as an economic superpower. The journey between Japan’s two biggest cities by train had previously taken close to seven hours. The Shinkansen had made the trip in four.

The world’s first high-speed commercial train line, which celebrates its 50th anniversary on Wednesday, was built along the Tokaido, one of the five routes that connected the Japanese hinterland to Edo, the city that in the mid-1800s became Tokyo. Though train lines crisscrossed the country, they were inadequate to postwar Japan’s newborn ambitions. The term “shinkansen” literally means “new trunk line”: symbolically, it lay at the very centre of the huge reconstruction effort. All previous railways were designed to serve regions. The purpose of the Tokaido Shinkansen, true to its name, was to bring people to the capital.
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At 10am on 1 October 1964, with less than a week and a half to go before the start of the Tokyo Olympic Games, the two inaugural Hikari Super Express Shinkansen, or “bullet trains,” arrived at their destinations, Tokyo and Osaka. They were precisely on time. Hundreds of people had waited overnight in each terminal to witness this historic event, which, like the Olympics, heralded not just Japan’s recovery from the destruction of the second world war, but the beginning of what would be Japan’s stratospheric rise as an economic superpower. The journey between Japan’s two biggest cities by train had previously taken close to seven hours. The Shinkansen had made the trip in four.

The world’s first high-speed commercial train line, which celebrates its 50th anniversary on Wednesday, was built along the Tokaido, one of the five routes that connected the Japanese hinterland to Edo, the city that in the mid-1800s became Tokyo. Though train lines crisscrossed the country, they were inadequate to postwar Japan’s newborn ambitions. The term “shinkansen” literally means “new trunk line”: symbolically, it lay at the very centre of the huge reconstruction effort. All previous railways were designed to serve regions. The purpose of the Tokaido Shinkansen, true to its name, was to bring people to the capital.

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From Fukushima to Hinkley Point | openDemocracy

From Fukushima to Hinkley Point | openDemocracy | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it

"Climate change is a major security threat, but it can’t be solved with the 20th century’s nuclear technologies. On her return from meeting people trying to revive abandoned villages left contaminated by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Rebecca Johnson raises concerns about plans for a new generation of nuclear power reactors in Britain, starting with Hinkley C."

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Japan as the new normal: Living in a constrained economy

If the end of economic growth is approaching, Japan can offer insight into the new forms of economic and societal behaviour required.

Via Willy De Backer
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Willy De Backer's curator insight, January 6, 2013 5:51 AM

Very good article by Brendan Barrett of the United Nations University. Could Japan become the model for the difficult transition to a post-growth society?

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Japanese Company Aims for Space Elevator by 2050

Japanese Company Aims for Space Elevator by 2050 | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Tokyo-based Obayashi Corp. says carbon nanotubes can help make this technology a reality.
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