Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Chilean Volcano Deserves Headlines

The eruption as it was seen FROM SPACE!
While much of the top stories as of late have focused on political scandal involving a politician with a humorous last name and a homicide trial in Florida involving a mother being accused of murdering her child, I find myself enamored by other stories. As you might guess, they involve natural disasters.

There is a volcano that is erupting right now in Chile. Of course, is this a major surprise? Not really. The country is littered with active volcanoes (five less than a 1000 km from each other), all of which are a part of the scariest ring since the one dropped in the fires of Mordor, The Pacific Ring of Fire.

The Puyehue volcano is taking advantage of its turn to erupt in this region, though some aren’t even sure if it’s Puyehue or Cordon Caulle erupting (that’s how many active volcanic features there are in the region). The volcano has shot enough ash in the atmosphere that it is disrupting air travel on the other side of the world in Australia!

The ash mean downed airplanes, but it also means
Aussies get a sweet view of a lunar eclipse
A country 11,078 km east of Australia, South Africa has even seen some of the ash. Also, it’s possible that the ash could continue to spew from the volcano for the next few days (it’s already been erupting for 11 days!).

This is a disaster that ranks high on the scale of one we’ve seen in the past few years, between the devastation caused by the ash falling in the region and sheer scale of the eruption’s effects around the world. However, much of the US News is focused on events like political scandal and murder which occur daily.

I’ll be the first one to argue that natural disasters are imminent and more common than people think, but there are disasters that transcend your typical flood along a major river or tornado in the Midwest. This is definitely one of them.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Prepare for the Worst! Erosion

This is what happens when you don't Prepare for the Worst!
Welcome back to the only Pacific Northwest blog series about natural disasters that can kill you (and your little dog too), Prepare for the Worst! This installment of everyone’s favorite natural disaster series focuses on nature’s silent killer, Erosion!

But first a quick explanation for why there was such a long break between posts. Given the Great East Japan Earthquake recently, coupled with the odd timing of my most recent post about tsunamis, (just two weeks prior) I felt it best to take a bit of time off from Prepare for the Worst. Plus, I was lazy and busy with other life events, but that's certainly no excuse for not preparing for the worst!

So, without further ado and before the desk under my keyboard washes away! Erosion!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Prepare for the Worst! Tsunamis

"Hmm... did I leave the water running?"
I now present to you the return of my series on natural disasters, Prepare for the Worst! This installment focuses on another one of nature’s many threats to the Pacific Northwest, tsunamis.

Despite having a superfluous ‘T’ in its spelling that is ignored when pronounced, tsunamis are one disaster should not be ignored. They are definitely one of the worst disasters that an area can face given their long term effects beyond initial destruction. This can include lack of clean drinking water, sediment deposits, destruction of local agriculture and marine life, and, of course, flooding.

I don’t know about you, but something about tsunamis don’t exactly make me want to grab my swim trunks, snorkel, water wings, and jump in.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cellular Phones and The Illusion of Self Importance

What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny?
People are funny sometimes.

Not, "Haha, do I look like a clown to you?" funny, but rather in a hypothesis-generating,  "Why do people act the way they do?" funny. There are times where these are the same, and depending on your perspective, the following examples I present could be both. Regardless, people's actions never cease to astound me, as does the ignorance of their own behavior.

Even if we can never figure out why people do the things they do, there are some things about which we can be certain. One of these is that cell phones have fundamentally changed our social protocols and created an illusion of self importance. Now, that's funny.