Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Feeling the earth move

It has come to my attention that some people in, say, California, are rather bemused by all the excitement generated by Great Earthquake of 2011. They seem to feel that Southern California has some sort of "in" in the great seismic sweepstakes and that Easterners are all a bunch of clueless, chickenshit wimps screaming that the sky is falling.

I hate to piss on their smugfest but I feel compelled to disabuse them of that assumption. The fabled "Big One" isn't going to be in SoCA, although the one there will be bad enough. The horror scenario that's been predicted for SoCA pales in comparison to what's going to happen someday in the East:
"It is easier to speculate on the effects that an earthquake the size of the 1811-12 series [New Madrid, MO] would have if it were to occur today than it is to predict when it will happen. In the epicentral area, a repeat of the kind of surficial damage experienced in 1811-12 can expected. However, this would result in a much greater loss of life and property today because of the much larger number of people and man-made structures in the region than were there 162 years ago [writing in 1974]. Even more awesome is the size of the area that would be affected. The dispersion of the surface waves, combined with their low attenuation, would result in a large amplitude, long duration sinusoidal type of motion with periods in the same range as the natural periods of tall buildings. Although damage to buildings located outside of the immediate earthquake zone would be mostly nonstructural in character, the monetary amount should be expected to be very large. The emotional and psychological effects of a large earthquake in the central part of the country would probably also be considerable, particularly if the earthquake had a long aftershock pattern as the 1811-12 sequence did."
Let's compare San Francisco in 1906 to the 1895 earthquake:

My zone is bigger than your zone
That's more "awesome" all right. And the New Madrid quake of 1812 was significantly bigger than the 6.8 one in 1895. It was felt in Ontario. Imagine that happening today. Someday it will. And here's why it will be worse:
"The large difference in felt areas between the Mississippi Valley and San Francisco earthquakes, which had approximately the same magnitude and focal depth, can be explained by differences in attenuation of earthquake waves traveling through the Earth's outer crust. The crust in the Western United States tends to ``soak up'' earthquake energy, whereas in the central and eastern regions of the country the seismic energy experiences a much lower rate of absorption. Quantitative studies of recent earthquakes confirm this explanation."

Sorry SoCA, you're in second place, bitches. We're more doomed than you are. You've actually gone and built shit to withstand earthquakes. There's nothing like that 'round here. Of course you'll all probably die of thirst after your out-of-state water supplies stop working. I can't begin to imagine how much bling will get scuffed. I'm sure the looting on Rodeo Drive will be epic. It'll all make for some great television. I'm sure CNN's ratings will bury that clusterfuck at FNC.

And then, of course, there's all those other "Bob"-forsaken places all over the planet that are vastly more fucked than we are...
"One of the few good things about modern times: If you die horribly on television, you will not have died in vain. You will have entertained us."—Kurt Vonnegut
I'll tell you what... you can have the next terrorist attack, how about that? Are we even now?

You still couldn't pay me to live in SoCA.

(Sorry if this post isn't up to my usual high standards of accuracy and invective. I'm kind-of out of it lately.)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Our Wacky World—8/21/2011

There's a new toilet in your future
"The court, however, made it clear that it was not sanctioning Stoltzfus giving the condom-filled acorns to two women he encountered in Harrisburg, an act he later said was a joke."
Lancaster Online

They think pain is "a gift from God" and advocate that parents spank their children from the age of 18 months on up to five times a day to teach them discipline. They suggest a plastic spatula could be used to hit children as it will "inflict pain, but not break bones or damage skin". The Ezzos also propose that babies should be smacked for poor table manners and should not be fed on demand. Gary Ezzo, a former preacher, said: "You should just lift up the diaper and give them a little swat on the backside."

Notorious threat-spammer "Mabus" has finally been taken into custody for a psych evaluation:
"A strange case of online harassment, complete with the usual police who would do nothing, may finally be coming to a close. A Montreal citizen who went by the online handle of Dave Mabus has been targeting the atheist and skeptic communities with threats and harassment for years.
Glad you noticed
But Mabus' ability to target his threat was pretty limited (he often went after scientific journalists, including me), and that proved to be his downfall. Some clever Twitter users managed to redirect his rage-filled missives, first to a journalist in his home town of Montreal, and ultimately to the Montreal police department."
Ars Technica

To the average Japanese person, the words "adult anime fan," or "otaku," conjure less admiration and more an image of someone who sleeps between a hentai-print body pillow and the decomposing bodies of his parents. When the tsunami caused the cancellation of an anime convention, the Governor of Tokyo said they "deserved it" (he's a big advocate of new laws that restrict the sale of anime to young people). He was then re-elected.
If you move [to Japan] because you dream of working in anime, you'll find that young animators are currently getting paid a whopping average of $11,000 year to work in an industry that's rapidly dying. If you go outside in any non-urban area in Japan while being non-Asian, you're going to be openly pointed to, laughed at and honked at by passing cars as if to say, "You are a foreigner! Let me remind you of this!"
This excellent article is about American expatriates in general. How they assume they'll be loved everywhere they go because they're Americans. (Cracked)

Dude what wrong wit ur eye
Praise "Bob", it's time for the annual Insane Clown Posse Gathering:
"The Drug Bridge is for drugs. It does not really exist to support the Gathering's titty commerce—although close to midnight, a girl begins renting out her cleavage as a surface for cocaine. But the same basic rules apply: The goods come in every form imaginable, and the quality seems to matter less than the fact that it is available at all. The only difference between the titty trade and the drug trade at the Gathering Of The Juggalos is that the drug supply is apparently limitless."

"Human feces making their way through wastewater facilities and into the ocean are passing along a bacteria causing white pox disease that's killing Elkhorn coral near Key West, Florida"

Meanwhile, here in Virginia, it's nerve-munching amoeba time again:
"Health officials say two children and a young man nationwide have died this summer from a fatal infection known as primary amoebic meningoencephalitis stemming from a brain-eating amoeba that lives in water."
Washington Post

"A former Pennsylvania juvenile judge was sentenced to 28 years in prison Thursday after being convicted for a scheme to make millions off unjustly incarcerating young people... Ciavarella was found guilty in February of 12 of 39 racketeering and fraud charges for accepting millions of dollars in bribes from friends who owned detention centers to which he sent juveniles."

For the first time, federal auditors are suggesting that some or all of the cash may have been stolen, not just mislaid in an accounting error. Stuart Bowen, special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, an office created by Congress, said the missing $6.6 billion may be "the largest theft of funds in national history."
LA Times

"For four years, Weiber and eight other Mennonite men allegedly sprayed the chemical through bedroom windows in Manitoba [Bolivia] at night, sedating entire families and raping the females. One of the men is a fugitive, the others have pleaded not guilty. If convicted, each faces a maximum 30-year prison sentence."
This one's a bit sus. It's almost impossible to control the amount of gas the victim is exposed to—Just ask the Russians. (Time)

"A 20-year-old St. Petersburg mother was arrested Wednesday night after she staged pictures of her 1-month-old son in various life-threatening poses, and then sent the pictures via cell phone to the infant's father, with whom she was fighting... Brittany Lester took pictures of herself choking the baby and putting him upside down in a garbage can... There were also pictures taken of the child with a plastic bag over his head"
Tampa Bay Online

1st Amendment lawsuit alert:
"The South Bend Common Council voted 5-4 to spend $1.2 million to buy property that will be transferred to the Catholic Diocese of Ft. Wayne-South Bend for $1."
Secular News Daily

A little Goo-Gone™ would probably fix that.