Sunday, March 15, 2015

Cyclone Pam Likely To Become "Biggest Disaster In Decades.."

Tropical cyclone Pam struck the island nation of Vanuatu dead on, only a few hours ago, and it is shaping up to be one of the biggest journalistic disasters in many years.

" 'Six known dead' - that's been the headline for over 24 hours!  Where are the bodies?  How can we keep the paying audience interested in a dead headline- where the photos of lines of body bags- turn out to be lines of sleeping bags, not corpses?!?" said "Katastrophe Kate", the globe-trotting specialist for Rooters SNews Service. (http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/13/asia/cyclone-pam-vanuatu/)

"It's really horrifying- we managed to milk a couple of "OMG it's all gone!" statements from  a few NGO nerds huddled in hotels; but all the photos and video feeds are showing exactly the opposite!  It's looking like a minor thunderstorm passed through.   We just don't know how long we can keep up the pretense that this is a big deal.

"Luckily, very few of our viewers know that original local architecture is designed - from thousands of years of experience- to blow over in heavy winds, and then be rebuilt from the same materials, in a matter of days.  And Vanuatu is one of the few places left where the local people still have the skills to do this.  Sure, there will be a few deaths; but nothing like the 6,000 dead from Typhoon Whatsit in the Philippines a while back.  And we're getting a few pics of "halfway" buildings that look messy- homes that are part native design, with "modern" bits that blew down tacked on; but the darn people keep smiling; and it's just a bit hard to sell "this poor man now has nowhere to live!" - when he's sitting on a bench under a nice roof...

"Pam is just not generating the bodies and images we need- waving palm fronds are great for a couple hours, but then we need some really good smashed up stuff; and so far, we're not getting it.  The downtown areas- were pretty clearly actually built to survive typhoon winds- a couple broken windows and one piece of roofing blowing around is just not - enough.

"Thank god we can depend on the John Frum guys for really good quotes designed to bring in "relief" flights.  But, there is a limit to how far that can stretch.  It's a word no one wants to hear- but we're becoming seriously afraid that this disaster is just going to prove- unsustainable.

"As of today, this is shaping up to be one of the biggest disaster failures in recent history.  Thank god- our audience is easily distracted from reality collapses- all we need is one good new cat video; and they'll forget the whole thing.  Kat-ass Kate, reporting too live, from Port Vila; most of which is still here, dammit."


-------------------------------------------

(Ok, not trying to make fun of Vanuatu, in any way, or be skeptical about their need for help after what was definitely a bad cyclone.  But.  My guess is, once the information comes in from the "remote" islands- yes, their houses may have blown down- as they are designed to do; but I'm betting their elders- who are still in place- probably got most of the people into a safe place, known to them for centuries at least, to wait out the wind.  We'll see.  Fingers crossed, and I'm betting on the elders.  And meanwhile; Tuvalu and Kiribati- nations with no mountains to provide rainwater streams and shelter- have also been hit by Pam.  Harm there could be much, much larger.  We hope and pray not.)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Zombie Snacks.


I have an idea for a new, prize-winning, TV Reality show.  The need is certainly dire.  "Dirt Dynasty" and "Game Of Dregs" seem to be fading.

"Snack Spotters!" perhaps would be the title.  A bright group of "Big Bang Theory" watchers will get together every week; go out for a stroll through any neighborhood; and point out, for our joint amusement the groups of individuals - who will be the first to die, WTSHTF.

"Zombie Snacks", is how I think of them; and spotting Snacks is not a pastime I would have chosen; it's simply grown to be an inescapable compulsion.  I can't help myself.

"Wow.  No skills or talents of any kind, beyond Twitter.  Non-survivors, for sure."

One would rate the various discoveries, based on the estimates of survival times.  "Not gonna last a week."  will quickly by trumped by "I give these guys about 2 hours."

Then there's the "Five minutes.  If they're lucky."  That would apparently be the entire Minneapolis suburb of Anoka; where a local petty thief, with no brains of his own, hit the same houses, over and over- finding that the doors remain unlocked and welcoming; no matter how often the cops had been called.

After 30 attempted robberies, though; the Anoka cops finally managed this difficult capture.

So I'm guessing, WTSHTF, Anoka is going to be "harvested", top to bottom, in a few hours, cops and all.  So you can mark that area as "Vacant" on your TEOTWAWKI maps.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Any "No Fridge!" Folks Near New York?


My old, old post here, on "No Refrigerator- for 30 Years" - (38, now...) continues to be one that gets very high attention, every day.

Today it's the BBC that's interested; and looking for a little help from you:

Chloe Hadjimatheou has left a new comment on your post "No Refrigerator- for 30 years...":

Hi there,
I am a BBC journalist working on a radio documentary about how fridges change people's lives around the world. We are in New York this week and looking to meet someone who has chosen to live without a fridge. Can you help? Please contact me either via FB (chloehadj@hotmail.com) or else via email chloe.hadjimatheou@bbc.co.uk or phone +447974105829.
Many thanks!!
Chloe

It would be a good thing for the BBC to get a little of the other side of the story!  If you are, or know someone who might be- able to meet up with Chloe and team- please do.

And share this on your other communications outlets; we should be able to find someone somewhere.

Chloe- 2 things to keep in mind on this subject; which the refrigerator manufacturers won't point out:

100 years ago- no one had one.  If it weren't possible to do without- your grandparents wouldn't have had any children, and no one alive today would - be alive today.  Sure, there may have been a few more cases of food poisoning- but those cases were mostly due to poverty and ignorance; just as they are still.  And;

100 years ago- the global obesity epidemic was not yet happening.  If you check - you will find that obesity tends to follow the advent of refrigerators...

Seriously.  You could do hard statistics on that point, with info on the internet.  I don't think it's been done.  Yet.

And, Chloe- if you don't wind up with anyone in the New York area who works out; you're more than welcome to just pop over to Minnesota.  :-)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

No category for this one.


There's an abundance of human drama in the world right now; no shortage for us human watchers.

But the one that struck me, so much I wanted to share it with you; is this one, from the BBC.

Man In Africa Kills Crocodile That Killed His Wife.

Seriously; read the story.  The crocodile was huge; a proven threat to the village- and the man armed only with his humanity.

Good?  Bad?  Mostly good, I think; but most of all - very, very, human.

This is who we are, and there are plenty of upsides, and downsides.  I was stunned to find such a primal story - making it all the way to the effete (really) pages of the BBC.  Apparently this is still salable to modern urbanites.   Sure, we consume this kind of thing constantly in our video games and movies; but in reality?  Freaky.

I confess I find this man admirable.  At arm's length.

We're a tough species; when we have to be.  Just something to keep in mind.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Help- The Herald Angels "Sing"...

My particular little corner of Purgatory has been enhanced this year; resulting in even less brain function available for positive uses.

Smidgen- now to my horror 9 years old - has become an enthusiastic singer.  This is much my doing, since I have worked for multiple years to teach her "how".  She was not a "natural".  That doesn't bother me; many "non-natural" singers can and do learn, and sing beautifully.

I, unfortunately was a natural.  One of those sometimes despised individuals who learn new long melodies almost instantly; and correctly.  And my sense of pitch, inherited from my mother; was such that our very meticulous high school band director - would have the oboe give the A to tune the band- and use my ear to indicate flat/sharp - for the entire band.  Thank god I never thought that was anything to be snooty about; I'd have been killed quickly.  Just physics and dumb genetic chance.

Smidgen, to my very great joy as a parent, has reached the point where she enjoys her music.  And she loves learning new songs.  She now sings- constantly.  And only semi-conciously; yesterday was "Silent Night".  All day.  Erupting repeatedly in inattentive moments; being suppressed, then re-erupting.  Even the periodic "Look, kid!  Go outside and sing to the dogs and cats for the next half hour, ok?", once performed; does not result in any decrease in the internal pressures driving the eruptions.

Many of you know what comes next; there are multiple aspects of "music" that she has not mastered- or even noticed, yet.  Her internal sense of relative pitch is ok; but what ever key you are singing in, when she joins in she will bring her own key with her.  She'll stay in a key, once found; but her sense of melody is unique, in my experience.  She learns melodies ( like phrases and variations in Silent Night) - not sequentially, but by gestalt.  She knows, truly, the entire gestalt of the entire Silent Night.  When she sings; she reproduces the gestalt accurately - and completely at random.

The outcome for the onlooker is jarring.  It works ok if she's singing the same song (in the same key this time) with 2-3 other people, then you're likely at the end to hear "My, Smidgen; you sing harmony beautifully!  However did you learn?" which will result in a baffled, and growling, Smidgen.

Oh, the sanity!

Happy Everything; Anyway.

:-)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Ah, the news.


Wanna talk about the news?   You're crazy.  Ick.  Wow.  I don't think I'm imagining it- my impression is that the news, in particular the "Big News" has gotten just astonishingly horrifyingly worse in the past few months.  Not one thing after another; but 10 things, after another, all life-threatening for the planet and/or our species, and/or any remaining shreds of what we used to call "civilization".

So; I want to share this with you; I'd encourage you to go to YouTube, see it full screen, and maybe turn your screen brightness up a bit, as this clip is a little dim (it's supposed to be dusk in the movie, for one thing.)  I've sworn that one day - I'm going to DO this.  On a crowded street.  The time is ripe.



I think- it would be good to start a movement of THOUSANDS of people DOING this - around the world.  The world is revolting yes?  This would fit right in.

And it is by far the most cogent comment on the world and news I know of.  And Steve Martin had it nailed in 1987.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ebola- keep your fingers crossed.

Thank goodness- the worst did not happen in the USA.  Or a lot of other places.

But as this sound and really pretty hopeful article keeps repeating- now is not the time to relax.  Rather it's the time try to get ahead of the virus.

Ebola cases are currently stabilizing in Guinea and Liberia; but accelerating (after a drop) in Sierra Leone.  "The exact causes of the lull are unclear." The perpetual frustration of epidemiologists; pathogens can surge, and recede- without any obvious reasons.  In this case one factor may be burial customs- the people in the epidemic areas have actually changed the practices, because of education on the risks.  People apparently can be taught.  That's hopeful, all on its own.

The long range risks are still there, alas.  With thousands still sick, and thousands of survivors sent home but possibly still infectious via semen or breast milk, the virus still has the largest chance it has ever had to get out of Africa- and into India; China; Europe...

So; fingers crossed.  Yes, we could actually get lucky.  But- I'd rather not rely on luck, when a virus is involved.