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Gone in a flash

I'm happy to report that I was able to actually get some sleep earlier today, finally, and so I'm feeling better. I'm still having some Stabby McOwOw issues, but it's amazing how much worse it was when I was also sleep deprived and feeling miserable. I can't be certain that the pain wasn't simply worse during that period but it wouldn't surprise me if it just felt that way. It was like I was being pushed right up to the edge and barely kept from going over. Shelley suggested trying some Ambien the next time something like this happens and it's not a bad idea. It's probably not worth trying to get a perscription on my own, but my grandmother has an excess supply and I could always bogart a few pills from her. I figure if I pop it along with a handful of pain meds it will hopefully keep me from waking up in excessive amounts of agony.

Anyway, I had wanted to post a little about the earthquake in Japan. That night I had woken up after around a hour feeling miserable and was checking facebook when I saw someone's comment about the quake. It didn't seem like that big a deal at the time when I first checked cnn for info about it. At the time, it was being reported as a 7.8 and the written news reports made it seem pretty minor and matter of course. It said that only 10 people had died and that seemed so minor as to not even being worth mentioning. After all, 10 people die in a country that size just from a blackout or similar non-events. Since I don't have a tv, I spent some time searching around online before finding a site that actually streamed CNN live and what I found there was completely different from what I had come to expect.

I'm pretty sure there's no one out there who hasn't seen the images by now and it's pretty horrific. Last I saw I think they're saying it'll top out at around 2000 dead, but what's truly amazing is the property and structural damage. Almost immediately upon watching the CNN feed I realized that any eventual bodycount would only seem to mitigate the actual scale of the disaster. Just think about it. There is probably no country on earth who could suck down an earthquake with less damage than Japan. I certainly wouldn't bet money on the US doing better by any means and we have the added benefit of having more assholes among our population. Say what you will about the Japanese but at least they're civilized. As I was watching the video feed, darkness started to fall in Japan and I couldn't help thinking that if this were the US, the setting of the sun would bring all new horrors unknown to the Japanese at large. By that I mean the looting and rampaging that I know would happen in many US cities if an earthquake of this size had hit. By comparison, as expected, I haven't seen anything to indicate that the people of Japan are engaging in disaster-induced barbarity despite the provocation.

What that basically means is the fact that Japan sucked down what eventually was rated a 8.9 earthquake and only suffered around 2k in fatalities is a a testament to them. If this had hit China or India or Indonesia, we'd be stacking the dead in the hundreds of thousands. Even in most other first world countries I'm willing to bet dollars to donuts that the death toll would be many many times higher. Forget the tsunami that came afterward, just the earthquake itself would have brought down so many more buildings that weren't built with such exacting and demanding building codes as Japan requires. Say what you will, their meticulousness clearly saved thousands of lives.

As with almost any natural disaster in our world today, the true impact and our impression of it will be drawn by the images of the event. It doesn't take long for certain pictures to become iconic and I found a couple that really sketch out the scale of the disaster.



These were all new cars at a porn ready to be shipped out via transport. It almost looks like some sort of art project the way the cars have been pushed on top of one another with such precision. Almost as if some kid were playing with matchbox cars and decided to stack them upon atop the other.



The tsunami that hit the coast of Japan swept everything along with it, even fires. Entire buildings and other objects were swept off of their foundations and pushed along the countryside with those on fire remaining so.



At least you can say that this was a neat split in the road. As long as people stay in their own lane, it's still usable.

It's pretty amazing when you think about it just how quickly everything can change. Whether it's earthquake or meteor strike or volcano or whatever natural disaster. There's no way to prepare for all of it and even our mitigation efforts seem puny in the aftermath. In the end, all you can say is that if it's going to go, it's going to go.

Comments

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(Deleted comment)
henwy
Mar. 15th, 2011 04:34 am (UTC)
People would scream and bitch for good reason. Most of the states isn't very tectonicly active. It'd be a waste of resources to build them to specs like those in Japan. After all, they're sitting on the ring of fire and is the most earthquake prone country in the world probably.

What is really impressive is their nuke reactors are something like 30 years old and were only build to withstand a 8.0 or thereabouts. The fact that they ended up sucking down something 10x stronger is pretty impressive overall. The lack of thought that went into placing diesel generators as a backup in a place where they could flood is another story. If it weren't for that bit of oversight, things would have been fine.
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henwy
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