Egregious Waste In The Name Of…. well, I’m not quite sure
Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl,
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 78 mm — 1/350 sec, f/2.8, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos

These signs popped up at intersections in my area of Kyoto a month or so ago. They read:

June 26 (Thursday) 〜 June 27 (Friday)
Summit Foreign Ministers' Meeting

Due to traffic controls, etc., traffic congestion is expected.
Please exercise restraint on driving into Kyoto.

As I mentioned the other day, the G8 Summit meeting of foreign ministers was recently held in Kyoto, which entailed a lot of hubbub.

There was a massive police presence everywhere. I snapped a couple of pictures from my scooter while waiting at red lights. Mostly, there were congregations of police at intersections, looking bored....

Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl,
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 86 mm — 1/40 sec, f/9, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Well-Guarded Trees -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl,
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm — 1/125 sec, f/3.5, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
Well-Guarded Trees

There was an incessant buzzing of helicopters the whole time, and while killing a few minutes one of the days, I practiced manual-focus tracking on one of them...

Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl,
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm — 1/500 sec, f/9, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos

As in the Watching a Helicopter Take Off post, I'm surprised how slow the helicopter blades move. The shot above is 1/500th of a second, almost freezing the blades. I'd have thought that I would have needed a much shorter shutter to do that.

Anyway, with all these police, I wondered how much was being spent. It wasn't nearly the hubbub of a presidential visit, but it all – every last yen – seems to be a waste. If these 8 foreign ministers want to have a chat, why not pick up a friggin' phone? Or, if they really need to do it in person, why not meet at a place that's already secure (e.g. Camp David or the like) and do so without telling the world's crazies in advance?

Even worse, last week's meeting in Kyoto was just one of nine sub-meetings building up to the main meeting in Hokkaido next week.

So how much does it cost for the G8 to meet in person instead of using a phone? Today the Japan Times (major English daily in Japan) reports that it's 60 billion yen, or about $575 MILLION DOLLARS.

This quote from the Japan-Times article – particularly the last line – pretty much sums everything up:

The ministry budgeted around ¥5 billion ($48 million) for the media center, which is constructed on a parking lot in a ski resort and will accommodate around 3,000 people from the press and governments.

Inside and outside the center, cutting-edge environmental technology, including fuel cells and heat pumps, will be exhibited.

The center itself boasts eco-friendly features, including solar panels, “green” walls and a snow cooling system.

Once the summit is over, however, the building will be demolished.


All 2 comments so far, oldest first...

Good morning. Thank you for yesterday.

My family stays at this hotel in skiing every year. As for this story, it was made to hear from the person at the hotel last year. It is a foolish story at all.

The purpose to do the foreign ministerial meeting in Kyoto is to save “Kyoto” face that was not able to take place G8 summit. So to speak, Japanese country paid Kyoto compensation money.

— comment by Yoko's Daddy on July 2nd, 2008 at 9:33am JST (13 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Helicopter blade speeds are pretty easy to calculate! They need to stay under the speed of sound at the tips, else bad things happen. So, say they’re limited to 1000 ft/s, about 90% of the typical speed of sound. The distance the blade travels in one rotation is pi*diameter.

A copter with 2 x 20 ft blades would then be limited to
1000 ft/s / (pi*40 ft /revolution) = 8 revolutions/s

At 8 rps, in 1/500 s, the blade only rotates 6 degrees, which is also what your picture appears to show!

You’ll need around a 1/16 s exposure (pi*bladelength/speedofsound/#blades) to get the full blade circle into your photo.

— comment by Andrew S on July 6th, 2008 at 6:03pm JST (13 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink
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