Tag Archive for 'Japanese earthquake'

Facts Whisper Fear Screams: Lessons From The Japan Earthquake

If you’ve been transfixed by the catastrophic events in Japan, you’ve seen and heard the media’s insatiable appetite for fear mongering.

I heard a quote ” Facts Whisper, Fear Screams” that I thought was appropriate and timely.

I am staging my Killer Kopywriting Workshop this weekend in Sydney – if you want to attend, give us a call on 0421 516 689.

Anyway, as I prepare my content for the workshop, I am going to include examples from the Japanese tragedy because so many lessons can be learned.

First, the misinformation and need for NEGATIVE propaganda prevails all media – we know that “STORM WARNING” gets more attention than “ANOTHER NICE DAY”…

But the fear mongering has reached a climax in recent times. Whenever there is doubt, a extreme, provocative word will be used rather than its more realistic, subdued alternative.

Why this is important is because with your business marketing , you need to do the same – using your own ethical and moral compass to guide you.

Example #1: Japanese Radiation Fears

We’ve recently heard or read the headlines that are a variation of this: “Radioactive traces have been found in Japanese milk“.

What about this headline…? ”

Radioactive Milk Only A Danger After 58,000 Glasses

I prefer the second one – don’t you?

Have a read of the article for an outstanding example of Killer Kopywriting.

Example #2: Nuclear Reactor Explosion and Vaseline

William Tucker published a book called Terrestrial Energy: How Nuclear Power Will Lead the Green Revolution and End America’s Long Energy Odyssey.

In it, he adroitly explains nuclear power with a brilliant analogy to Vaseline?

“Nuclear Power is it prohibitively dangerous? Is a nuclear reactor an atomic bomb waiting to explode? And the perennial question — what are we going to do with all that horrible nuclear waste?


Let’s start with the idea that a reactor can explode. The next time someone asks you this, answer them, “Do you have a jar of Vaseline athome in your medicine cabinet? And if so, do you lie awake at night worrying that it’s going to explode like a jar of napalm and set your house on fire?”

Look on the side of the Vaseline jar. It says “petroleum jelly.” It’s made out from oil. What is napalm? It is jellied gasoline. Can’t Vaseline blow up like napalm? Obviously not. But why? Because they contain different fractions of petroleum with different volatilities.

It’s the same with uranium. There are two types of uranium — “isotopes,” as we say. (They have different numbers of neutrons.) U-238 (238 neutrons) makes up 99.3 percent of the natural ore. It sheds a couple of protons occasionally but its half-life is 5 billion years and it’s relatively harmless. (The longer the half-life, the less “radioactive” an element is.) Uranium-235 is the powerhouse. It can split in half — “fission” — releasing huge amounts of energy. But U-235 constitutes only 0.7 percent of the natural ore. It’s so sparse it can’t undergo the “chain reaction” that leads one breakdown of an atom to produce others.

As a result, in order to set of a chain reaction you have to “enrich” the U-235 to a higher percentage than the natural ore. This is extremely difficult because it can’t be done chemically — they both have the same chemical properties. Instead, you have to build a factory the size of a Ford plant and separate them by various techniques such as running them through magnetic fields or whipping them around in centrifuges. That’s what we did in the Manhattan Project.

But there are different degrees of enrichment. In order to produce the nice calm chain reaction you get in a nuclear reactor — enough heat to boil water — you enrich the U-235 from 0.7 to 3 percent. That’s reasonably doable. In order to enrich up to bomb-grade material, however, you have to enrich to — can you guess? — 90 percent. That takes a long, long time and a lot of work. The Iranians have been trying to do it for years and haven’t gotten very far.

But that’s the reason a nuclear power plant can’t blow up like a bomb. It’s like the jar of Vaseline in your medicine cabinet — there’s not nearly enough of the key ingredient in there to explode.

It’s also the reason why it’s much more difficult to build a nuclear weapon than most people imagine.”

Now if you can communicate with the same level of clarity as Mr Tucker has demonstrated you’re set!

If not, you should seriously consider attending our Killer Kopywriting Workshop – your business’ future depends on it whether you want to admit it to yourself or not.