Tuesday, December 28, 2010

End of the Year Lists 2010

Some people say that this is the most wonderful time of the year. It isn't. However, that doesn't mean it isn't in contention or worth discussing. It's a great time because it's the end of the year. It's also the end of everything good and bad about the previous year with hope for the best and less of the worst in the coming year.

There are plenty of great things about this time of year, including the marathon of holidays (three in less than six weeks). These holidays bring together families and those we care about. Then, each of us all try to summarize what we've done in the past year and explain where we're going in the coming year to the harshest critics out there: extended family members.

Summarizing the events of three hundred and sixty-five days is no easy task, but there are ways to do it. My favorite way is with End of the Year Lists. They're concise, judgmental, and most of all they're fun to make and discuss. After the jump, is my attempt to summarize the year with my End of the Year Lists for 2010.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Prepare For The Worst! Volcanoes

This bridge stood no chance against the power of a lahar!

I now present to you the next part in my series, Prepare For The Worst! This part includes my favorite (and most feared) natural disaster of the Pacific Northwest, volcanoes.
Volcanic eruptions present numerous disasters and hazards. Kind of like a disaster smoothie, except instead of bananas, oranges, and a hint of pineapple, the recipe calls for ash, volcanic rock, and an excessive amount of lahars (or volcanic mud flows).

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Prepare For The Worst! Winter Storms

Next up in my “Prepare for the Worst!” series is Winter Storms. Winter Storms are those bills that you know are coming put you still put off paying until the last minute. Then, when the time comes to pay it you realized that you blew all your money on beer and ceramic eggs. Then, you have to choose between groceries or having electricity in your home for the next month. Every year, winter rolls around and people suddenly forget how to drive in icy conditions, have dressers full of swimsuits but no hats or gloves, and a half empty cooler taking up all the space in their trunk where their tire chains used to be stored.

So, before you’re stuck in your freezing home or on the side of the road in your board shorts and wicked cool shades, you should read on and learn what you can do to Prepare for the Worst!

If you want to read up on Part 1 of this series focusing on Power Outages, click here

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Prepare For The Worst! Power Outages

"A little to the left Jim!" Image: historylink.org
            Like any sensible human being with half a brain, I fear natural disasters and hazards. Maybe I’m paranoid, but it makes no sense to me why no one in their spare time would think about possible natural disaster scenarios in their area and devise some sort of plan (even a half-baked one) about what to do in case of disaster.

While it is each individual's responsibility to prepare for the worst, it is upon the local government to inform people of what they should fear, what people need to do to prepare, and do everything in it’s power to make sure their citizens are able to stay out of harms way, stay safe, and have necessary resources available to them.

Of course, even with all the planning and preparation a city can do, there are still going to be people who are completely unprepared, or stand around twiddling their thumbs while the rest of us are running in the opposite direction. These people make me wonder how they haven’t fallen into an open manhole, into the tiger pit at the zoo, off a cliff, or opened the emergency door mid-flight and fallen to the earth below (I assume these people fall down often). While natural selection does it’s work eliminating some of these people from our species, there are still plenty out there and many of them have access to video cameras (as evidenced by spending five minutes on YouTube).

Out of curiosity and boredom, I took a look at advisories regarding preparation and response plans should a natural disaster hit my area, the wonderful, majestic Pacific Northwest. The first thing you should know about the Pacific Northwest is that we are at risk by just about every natural disaster known to man. On one side of us, we have the expansive, forever blue Pacific Ocean and on the other side we have the majestic Cascade Mountains. While these are wonderful sights to behold, they are also reminders that they can destroy us all. Sure, that ocean is pretty, but it’s not so pretty when it swells into a 100 foot tall wall of death. Oh yea, that mountain is gorgeous, until it blows out on one side and a molten river of mud and debris swallows your house (not to mention your whole town and any and all living things in a fifty mile radius). Just for good measure, let me remind you that all the main cities in the Pacific Northwest were built along one of the most active fault lines on the planet, our good friend, the San Andreas Fault.

All in all, I hope that in reading this you feel a bit more prepared and educated in the event that you are caught in some sort of natural disaster. Ideally, after reading this, you won’t doom yourself or those around you with actions that make no sense in critical situations. After the jump is part one in my series on natural disasters: Power Outages.