Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Tsunami in Indonesia

I can't believe the devastation that has recently taken place in Indonesia and other lands in the Indian Ocean coast. Just a few facts before I start: the earthquake was the largest in at least 40 years, registering as 9.0 and originated off of the coast of Sumatra. This earthquake shifted tectonic plates about 10 meters, displacing hundreds of cubic kilometers of water up to speeds of 500 km/hr and creating a massive tsunami with waves 4 stories tall. Seismologists say that after 7.0 earthquake magnitudes increase exponentially. At this time there is an estimated 88,000 dead in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Burma, India, Sri Lanka, and Somalia, but approximations are above 100,000.

People could do nothing but watch as their loved ones were swept away right in front of them. Some may never know what happened to their family and friends as some of bodies have to be burned and buried without being able to identify them. In recent history, last year Dec 26th, 2003 the 6.5 earthquake killed 26,000 in the city of Bam in Iran. The world is still trying to keep up with the needs there, falling well short of the $1 billion promised (only $17m) and with tens of thousands still homeless. People from the Bay Area can remember the 7.2 San Francisco earthquake of 1989 that caused nearly $1 billion in damages, but was limited to 62 deaths. The largest recorded earthquake in history was in Chile on May 22, 1960 registering in at 9.5 and taking less than 2,300 lives.

This should prove to be an eye opener for earthquake research, just like 9-11 was for terrorism. Before 9-11, people thought that the package bombs in New York (I forget which building) threatened our security and caused unwarranted death. But after 9-11, the world saw what terrorism was really capable of and decided to take it seriously. The thing that separates the quakes in Iran and San Francisco from the quake near Indonesia is that they were land-based quakes, while the Indonesian quake took place in the ocean. Land based quakes have devastated populations in the past, but were limited to a single country. The capability of destruction of quakes on the global level comes forth in the form of tsunamis. Maybe the world will know that it's their problem too, not just the countries located in the "ring of fire."

The biggest impact of this event is all of the homeless that now roam the streets. Please donate money and/or time to an earthquake relief organization. Some are Unicef (www.unicef.org), Oxfam (www.oxfam.org), AmeriCares (www.americares.org), and Network for Good (www.networkforgood.org). Many organizations are taking volunteers to help pack and collect food to send abroad. I'm broke as hell, but I still donated. I mailed in my money so that they couldn't keep me on some list to call every month. If anyone knows of a place in the Bay Area where people can donate their time and/or money, please post.

Friday, December 24, 2004

The Hotspot

I'm trying to get some search engine hits, so I'm going to write some words that appeared on AOL's top search list of 2004 and some I think should be there: sex, terrorist, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton video, Janet Jackson nipple, Oprah, Bush, beheadings, hurricanes, Scott Peterson, Iraq, Martha Stewart, Michael Jackson, south beach diet, low-carb, stem-cell, Desperate Housewives, stocks, American Idol, Survivor, Sims, Halo 2, Half-life 2, sale, free, viagra, celebrex, lipitor, zocor, prevacid, win, naked, nude, virus, tsunami, earthquake, Indonesia, and tital wave.

I'm Not a Terrorist

As some of my friends may or may not know, I was recently charged with a misdemeanor at Burbank Airport. My whole experience has been embarrassing, nerve-racking, ridiculous, scary, and angering. What happened is that there was a knife in my carry on bag that I did not know was in there - until airport security found it. For the legal types, it is Penal Code 171.5.b. The law states that I am guilty if I knowingly had the knife in my possession. The thing is that I, of course, did not know.

How the knife got in my bag without my knowledge is that just before the date the knife was discovered (10/11) I had recently moved from Davis, Ca to Pacifica, Ca. The only memory that I have of the knife is taking the knife out from underneath my bed where I stored it and throwing it into some pile of stuff. Somehow, that knife must have fallen into my travel bag that I always take to Burbank to visit my girlfriend. That is the bag that I always use, so I didn’t check the contents of the cosmetics compartment because they never change (let this be a lesson). They did not find the knife on my way down from Oakland (which I wish they did so I wouldn’t have to go to court in Burbank), so I ended up in Burbank’s courthouse.

So, great, I have to show up to court for this misdemeanor. Even better, I can’t afford a lawyer. I get a (80 something yr old) public defender who doesn’t give a crap if I’m innocent or guilty, just as long as she doesn’t have to work too hard. I just got back from trial this week and I’ll post the results of my trial in due time, but I want to first hear the opinions of others. What do you think was the outcome? What do you think should have been the outcome? What would you have done?

I’ll post in a weeks time.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Website Ideas

As mentioned before, the ultimate goal of my blogs is to create a website where people can discuss new and exciting topics and form a community bent on changing laws or ideals. I've tried to reserve a few names which I thought would be good for this website. I tried www.changethelaw.com, www.voiceofthepeople.com, and www.voiceyourself.com but all were taken. Actually, www.voiceyourself.net is available. Any suggestions as to what else I should try? You can go to www.godaddy.com to check availability.

Multi-speed freeways

I figured that for my first REAL post, I have to write some important “shiz.” Actually, I wanted to write “shit”, but I’m not sure if it’s allowed. I guess I’ll find out now. I’d actually be pretty disappointed if it’s not because swearing is a really important part of expressing oneself and keeping with the true mood of the moment. On with the post…I have been ranting to my friends for months now about my idea that freeways should not have a single speed, but instead have multi-speed lanes. Each lane to the left of the previous one should be 5 mph faster than the one to its right, with the maximum speed reaching 80 mph. There are a few major reasons that I have thought of as why this should be so. First, multi-speed lanes will naturally stagger traffic and prevent the dangers and inconveniences of “pacing.” Second, it is an unwritten rule of freeways that the leftmost lanes are the “fast” lanes and the rightmost lanes are the “slow” (aka truck or senior citizen) lanes. Third, the speed limit is realistically to slow for modern times. And lastly, there would be less lane changing by drivers in order to find a lane with their preferred speed.

This post will be modified as I have time to write more. Feel free to comment at any time.

Monday, December 20, 2004

First Post

Hello World! This is my first ever blog. My hope is that I will be able to stimulate minds into thinking about topics below the surface. I really want to elicit a reaction and get feedback on my ramblings and ideas. I want to bring minds together to make a real change in how we think and act. If I receive enough of a response, I’m going to set up a website with forums and a central location where members can read about and comment on new interesting topics. I know that there are others out there that have great ideas about how we should change things, but feel powerless on their own. Don’t be content in telling your friends or writing one letter to your local governor- speak out and share your brilliance with other progressive minds like your own. Together, we can create change.

Some topics that I have in mind for discussion are: traffic laws, morality, terrorism, technology, the job market, women, influential movies, and yo mama. Keep it real.