|Best of luck, fellas. We're all pulling for you. |
Photo credit: Tokyo Electric Power/AP/cbc.ca
A problem unit is "on the skyline." This expression comes from the way Marines are trained to climb over an obstacle. They are taught to keep a low profile: being on the skyline, absent cover and concealment, is wrong and could get a person killed.This blog is more about the scientist than about the science. So it probably comes as no surprise that I find myself in extreme sympathy with the people trying to stop whatever incident may be occurring at these plants. Of course, the engineers and operators at Fukushima Daiichi are skylined through no fault of their own; they were the men and women who happened to be there (or happened to work there) when this very awful double natural disaster hit.
No unit wants to be on the skyline. Their commanders closely scrutinize them to decipher the exact reason behind their flawed performance...
Every Marine spends at least some time as a boot. Every unit -- from squads to regiments -- spends at least a few days on the skyline. The test of the individual Marine and unit leader comes when they are the boots or outcasts or their units are on the skyline. Can they bounce back? Can they fix themselves? Nobody asks these questions unless the unit or Marine is skylined.
But the fact of the matter is that a small group of people (less than 150?) are trying desperately to stop some very dangerous things from happening. Within this group of people, there undoubtedly must be some people who have gone without sleep for days, who are on the verge of breaking but have summoned all their strength and self-discipline to carry on. Outside of this group is a small cottage industry of people who are kibitizing, Monday-morning quarterbacking and doomsaying. 'Twas always thus; if it happens to you and your group (whatever it might be), you just have to work the problem, ignore everything else and suck it up.
All I can say is: fellas, best of wishes. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.