Earth Watch Earthquakes, floods, hurricanes... all that moves <![CDATA[ One of The Largest in Over One Hundred Seventy Five Years in the Northeast]]> States building from 50MPH to daytime gusts of 89MPH by Tuesday,
October 30, 2012. In the northeast, mandatory evacuations are planned
on the New Jersey shore, Nassau County, Fire Island,  parts of
Connecticut and other areas of the northeast.  Residents are being
advised to prepare with sufficient water, food, clothing and a myriad
of other basic supplies listed below. Some homeowners are beginning
to board up windows and secure the external part of the home to
prevent or lessen the likelihood of flying objects.

The storm is expected to slam into an arctic cold front bringing up to a
10 foot storm surge.  After Sunday, there will be no time to prepare for the
hurricane. "We're looking at an impact of greater than 50 to 60 million people,"
said Louis Uccellini, head of environmental prediction for the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration.

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) advises to store
up to a three day supply of non-perishable food. Foods like salt-free
crackers, whole grain cereals and canned foods with a high liquid
content should be chosen. Even baby food may be considered.

Fema advises to store enough water. Sufficient water is one
gallon of water per person per day. Keep at least a three day
supply of water per person.

Fema advises to maintain adequate supplies. The supply kit should
include a battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather
Radio with tone alert and extra batteries , a flashlight and extra batteries,
a first aid kit, a whistle to signal for help, a dust mask to help filter
contaminated air, moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for
personal sanitation, a wrench or pliers to turn off utilities, a manual can
opener for food, local maps and a cell phone with chargers, inverter or
solar charger. The cell phone, as well as netbook computers should be
charged fully before the storm hits. For general website or tools support,
contact a Technical Support Specialist by calling 1-877-FEMA-MAP.
FEMA has disaster survivor assistance and special grants explained on
its website.

Once the basic supply kit is assembled, there are other things to consider
securing. Examples of these things are prescription medications and glasses,
infant formula and diapers, pet food and extra water for your pet, cash or traveler's
checks and change and important family documents; such as,
copies of insurance policies, first aid kit and book, a fire extinguisher,
a sleeping bag and blanket for each person, a complete change of clothing
for each person, household chlorine bleach and a medicine dropper,
paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils.

Once the storm begins to phase in on Sunday, October 28, 2012,
residents should listen to local news for further instruction on how
the state, county and municipal officials advise to deal with the storm.
i.e. school closings, transit restrictions, local shelters, designated
emergency sites and evacuation routes for areas near major water
bodies and dams.




Article first published as <a href=''>Preparations for Hurricane Sandy</a> on Blogcritics.]]> Tue, 30 Oct 2012 02:22:27 +0000
<![CDATA[Aurora Borealis Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
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<![CDATA[2011 East Coast Earthquake Quick Tip by Count_Orlok_22]]> Fri, 26 Aug 2011 18:30:50 +0000 <![CDATA[ New Technologies to Save the Earth Are On the Horizon]]> 1/2011)The "Artificial Sun," Fusion and Cold Fusion Power
DateJan 27, 2011                Credits: First Published on Basil and Spice on Jan 27, 2011

By Dr. Joseph S. Maresca

The EAST project or "Artificial Sun"  relies on complex theories and requires advanced technologies because exceedingly high temperatures are reached in the nuclear fusion reactions. This process is similar to reactions that take place in the sun itself . Scientists are assembling a device to withstand the extremely high temperatures of the sun together with the deuterium-tritium fusion reaction itself. 

Commercialization is aimed at supplying a stable and continuous output of energy generated by a fusion reaction. The result is an "artificial sun" which produces a safe, clean, and virtually unlimited energy source.  In essence, the fusion of the hydrogen isotopes deuterium and tritium  results in a tiny loss of mass coupled with a huge release of energy. This is a huge undertaking in a number of fields; namely, theoretical physics, materials science/structure of matter, thermodynamics and electrical power generation.

Scientists everywhere have worked hard to build a device to meet such exacting specifications. Various experiments have shown that a Tokamak is likely to be the best solution. By the mid- 1990s, nearly 100 laboratories equipped with experimental Tokamak devices were in existence globally.

After years of theoretical study and numerous experiments, Wan Yuanxi and his colleagues believed that a non-circular Tokamak device might perform better for the deuterium-tritium fusion reaction.     In 1997, Wan together with a group of scientific colleagues, conceptualized an idea to build a non-circular experimental superconducting Tokamak.

Basing his work on known scientific principles, Wan Yuanxi formulated a complete research plan to minimize the potential risks. After years of research, Wan Yuanxi and the EAST project team have made a major breakthrough in Tokamak study.

From the conceptual formulation through to the final stage of generating an electric current, the EAST project team took only a decade and 300 million yuan (US $40 million) in monetary resources. Compared to similar projects elsewhere, China's EAST project team managed to complete their research cheaply and in record time. (1)

The wiring which carries the electric current is another research challenge. Graphene is a material recently developed for use in electronics.  Graphene is the name given to a flat monolayer of carbon atoms that are tightly packed into a 2D honeycomb lattice; like a molecular window screen that is one atom thick.

Graphene is the thinnest possible material and its strength is about 200 times stronger than steel. Graphene conducts electricity better than any material known in the engineering art at room temperature. Researchers at Columbia University's Fu Foundation School of Engineering explained that graphene is the strongest material ever measured .  Essentially, "It would take an elephant, balanced on a pencil, to break through a sheet of graphene the thickness of Saran Wrap."   The next research challenge is to insulate the graphene at extremely high temperatures.  (2) 

Achieving fusion at room temperature was considered impossible until 1989 when Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons at the University of Utah (US) startled scientists with a simple experiment.

The scientists connected a battery to a pair of palladium electrodes immersed in a jar of water containing deuterium (a heavier form of hydrogen) .  The electrolytic cell produced heat energy in excess of what was consumed. Both claimed that the origin of the energy was nuclear and that deuterium nuclei were being packed into the palladium’s molecular lattice in such a way that fusion could take place.

Later, it was shown by other groups and Srinivasan’s experiments at BARC in the early 1990s that the reaction produced tritium as well as helium, indicating that cold fusion was real. (3)

A fusion reactor simply can not melt down. Unlike fission, the fusion reaction requires an enormous input of energy to sustain itself. In practice, a fusion reactor consumes a large fraction of its own output in order to create the conditions necessary for the fusion reaction.  Any system failure would cut the power to the reactor; thereby allowing it to cool down.

Furthermore, where fission reactors create large quantities of highly radioactive waste, a fusion reactor creates simply helium. Although the conditions for fusion are extreme, fusion is a far safer technology than fission. Even a catastrophic failure (the reactor physically disintegrates) would impact the immediate area only.  There might be a charred building devoid of the radioactivity associated with fission reactions.

Fusion, the merging of two small atoms into one with an extensive release of energy, is the process that powers the sun.  This is seen as a potential long-term solution to the world’s energy needs.  The reason is that vast amounts of energy would be produced without the greenhouse gas emissions. The practical harnessing and commercialization of this powerhouse is thought to be decades away. The technology is well worth pursuing due to the high stakes involved.

Achieving ignition would represent an important and long-sought step toward implementation. One research problem for the researchers and engineers  is that the actual reactions would be taking place inside a 2-mm diameter fuel capsule whose temperature and pressure, as it implodes to 1/40 its initial diameter, become much greater than those at the center of the sun. That’s not an easy environment for taking measurements in order to modulate the system to achieve the desired outcome . The research challenge involves developing research tools to trace the reaction inside an imploding pellet with temperatures of 200 million degrees Kelvin or higher. An operable ignition might require an ideal spherical shape at the center of a hohlraum cavity achievable through more advanced measurements in fractal geometry. Fractal geometry deals with objects in non-integer dimensions which can be achieved through complex algorithms.(4)

In a test facility at the University of Rochester, scientists were able to learn important details about the nature of the electric and magnetic fields in and around this tiny capsule.  With the system they devised, “we’re taking a snapshot of what these electric and magnetic fields look like,” Petrasso says. “This is information that is very difficult if not impossible to obtain any other way.”

National Ignition Facility (NIF)  uses an approach called indirect drive inertial fusion, in which the tiny capsule of heavy hydrogen fuel is centered inside a cavity called a hohlraum. Laser beams bombard the inside walls of the hohlraum, heating it and generating x-rays that cause the capsule to implode. Ignition, the goal of the NIF, means the point at which the energy released by some fusing atoms at the center of the capsule provides the “sparkplug” that causes other surrounding super-dense atoms to fuse, and so on, in a chain reaction. (5)

To achieve ignition, diagnostic tools are needed to reveal the details of what actually happens inside the imploding pellet. Temperatures reach 200 million degrees Kelvin and the pressure can reach a trillion times atmospheric pressure. In order for the ignition to work, the capsule of deuterium and tritium  (heavy forms of the element hydrogen)  must be ideally spherical, strategically placed at the center of the hohlraum cavity, and set to implode with good symmetry.  The room for error in this process is unknown now.

In experiments at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics in Rochester, a second capsule was placed nearby and hit by another set of laser beams. A flash of protons was produced and the first capsule was illuminated inside a hohlraum.  

Nelson Hoffman, a plasma physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, says the MIT team has developed “several very effective ways” of measuring important aspects of what goes on inside the fusion capsules, which he says are essential to know “as an indicator of how close they are to the ignition goal.” He adds that as a result, the MIT team has already found surprising phenomena in the way the electric and magnetic fields are distributed. (6)








Joseph S. Maresca Ph.D., CPA, CISA, MBA: His significant writings include over 10 copyrights in the name of the author (Joseph S. Maresca) and a patent in the earthquake sciences. He holds membership in the prestigious Delta Mu Delta National Honor Society and Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society.   Joseph S. Maresca Writer's Page.

]]> Wed, 15 Jun 2011 02:14:00 +0000
<![CDATA[2011 Eruptions of Grímsvötn Volcano in Iceland Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>

]]> Wed, 25 May 2011 15:44:34 +0000
<![CDATA[Supervolcano Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> Mon, 9 May 2011 04:19:17 +0000 <![CDATA[ Be very afraid!]]> If we are able to survive a supervolcano eruption, then it'll be a marvel to watch it! Otherwise, God save us all!

In the meantime, if you don't know this already, there are 6 in the world that's due to erupt, 3 of them are in the U.S.!
  1. The Yellowstone (The most dangerous of them all)
  2. Long Valley (Eastern California, adjacent to Mammoth Mountain)
  3. Valles Caldera (Northern New Mexico)

 The other 3 are in Japan, Indonesia and New Zealand respectively.
  1. Kagoshima
  2. Lake Toba (The last one to erupt 74000 years ago!)
  3. Lake Taupo

 There are a total of 40 known supervolcanoes in the world. Most of them are dormant.

There was a documentary some 5 or 6 years ago by Discovery Channel on this matter. If you haven't seen it already, it's worth your time!

It's going to erupt, one of these supervolcanoes. No one knows when or which of the 6. However, when it happens, it might just be the end of civilization!

 I'm rating these supervolcanoes as a +5 instead of -5 because these are truly beautiful places. It's the eruption that's going to be real bad. Otherwise, I've been to 4 of them and survived the visits. Just hope that we won't see them erupt in our lifetime!]]> Mon, 9 May 2011 04:14:32 +0000
<![CDATA[ A Continent of Plastics in the Pacific Ocean]]> The Continent of Plasticsis
By: Dr. Joseph S. Maresca

There is a zone between California and Asia which has a patch of  plastics
and other garbage the size of the United States or larger. Our challenge during
this century is to decide how to recycle this mess and stop the accumulation
from getting even larger. The various remedies are discussed in the body of this
article. The author believes that we can clean up this mess utilizing
existing patents in the chemical composition arts , as well as other remedies.
Ocean dumping was finally banned by the Ocean Dumping Reform Act of 1988.
The recycling of plastics is a high priority since the world population will grow
to 9 billion people by 2050.

There has been much success with plastic soda bottle recycling as evidenced by
the recycle machinery in virtually every food store. Customers line up with
bags of plastic bottles in exchange for a nickel credit per bottle. These recycling
processes need to continue and expand into industrial plastics, polymers and
other inorganic chemical materials. Generally, organic materials are the stuff of
every living thing on this earth. Inorganic materials are manufactured in a lab.
The production of inorganic materials creates the greatest problem in
decomposing and disposing of the residuals.

Virtually all ocean dumping that occurs today is dredged material - sediments removed
from the bottom of water bodies in order to maintain navigation channels.
The Corps of Engineers issues permits for ocean dumping of dredged material,
the bulk of which results from maintenance dredging by the Corps itself or its contractors.

According to EPA, more than 400 million cubic yards of sediment is dredged annually from
U.S. waterways, and each year approximately 60 million cubic yards of this material is disposed
of in the ocean at designated sites. Before sediments can be permitted to be dumped in the ocean,
they are evaluated to ensure that the dumping will not cause significant harmful effects to human
health or the marine environment.

EPA is responsible for developing criteria to ensure that the
ocean disposal of dredge spoils does not cause environmental harm. Permits for ocean disposal of
dredged material are to be based on the same criteria utilized by EPA under other provisions of the
act, and to the extent possible, EPA-recommended dumping sites are used. Where the only feasible
disposition of dredged material would violate the dumping criteria, the Corps can request an
EPA waiver. Amendments enacted in 1992 expanded EPA’s role in permitting of dredged material
by authorizing EPA to impose permit conditions or even deny a permit, if necessary to prevent
environmental problems.   1)

EPA has had a modicum of success with limiting the toxins poured into the
continental  waters of the United States. The more practical problem is the mound
of plastics and outright garbage in a continental patch which stretches from
California to Japan. This material just sits in the water and impacts plant
and animal life for miles under the sea.

Ocean dumping involves non-biodegradable plastics, bottles, oil rig matter
and industrial waste/pollutants which find their way into the oceans over the passage of time.

It's hard to know what to do about it. Plastic doesn't biodegrade and ends up
just breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces. This plastic dust now greatly
outnumbers plankton found in the area and causes massive damage to sea life
when they eat it. On top of the microscopic pieces of plastic, the water is also
filled with shopping bags, old flip flops, soda bottles and discarded fishing equipment.
How do you clean up something on that scale? We can't, at least with current technology.   2)

Thermal depolymerization (TDP) or non-biodegradable plastic waste will convert low-value
plastic wastes to a higher order or refinable crude oil with separable gas components.
A process being commercialized by Vadose Research & Development LLC of Akron , Ohio
consumes a variety of organic wastes including a number of non-standardized and contaminated
resins recovered from industrial and municipal solid waste streams. These waste streams
include plastics and other inorganic chemical materials that have no other market
today except for utilization in landfills .

Crude oil produced by the Vadose process is olefinic, containing valuable petrochemical fractions.
An olefin is an unsaturated or open-chain hydrocarbon containing at least one double
bond , chemically speaking. Classically, the olefin  belongs to a collection of long-chain
synthetic polymers like ethylene or propylene used in textile fibers or cordage. 3)

The remaining fraction (balance) of this oil is upgradable and can be refined using traditional processes
of upgrading and refining crude oil produced from existing wells.  In the meantime,
an alternate solution would be to invest in an infrastructure which facilitates recycling.

Practically speaking, the technology must facilitate ease of curb disposal for recyclables,
recycling centers, and financial compensation for recycled waste. The aluminum can industry has
done an excellent job of using post consumer recycled cans for their main production and
this model should be expanded to include various types of plastics and inorganics as well.

Gas produced by this process is separable into pipeline-quality natural gas and larger molecules.
Separation is accomplished using standard technology employed in traditional natural gas fields.
The fraction of gas not sold into the pipeline network contains additional recoverable
petrochemicals and high-BTU gas with process value.

Major concerns about TDP include the unintended creation of air pollutants ranging from
carbon dioxide to dioxins. Any successful commercial TDP process must incorporate
the solution to this potential problem into the core business model.
Vadose has learned how to avoid this undesireable and unintended result via process and
raw material controls.  TDP- Thermal-depolymerization

Plastic may be used for building in the 3rd world.   Plastics that cannot be burned could
be heated and moulded into bricks, very much like lego toys. This new use would result in less plastic
waste and more housing materials . This chemical process technology deserves attention
and investors should begin looking to commercialize inventions that accomplish re-use tasks.
One such invention is the plastic brick with high surface hardness.
The patent abstract is reproduced below.

A plastic brick with a high surface hardness is mainly includes a bottom layer that is
a semi-finished plastic brick, and a protecting layer composed of a UV cured resin layer
uniformly spread with a rigid material. With the rigid material combined in the UV
cured resin layer, the plastic brick can obtain a hard surface with excellent resistance to
abrasion and compression. 
Investment in Plastic Recovery Technology
As the statement of the problem clearly indicates, one of the difficulties inherent in
the reuse of plastic waste is the continued production of plastic. While
sporadic recycling efforts help, we need to institutionalize the process and
develop cottage industries to continue this new re-use technology at an increasing rate
far into the future.

The production of plastic bricks is described in the above patent. There are a plethora
of uses for plastic bricks in housing, industrial wall construction, man-made islands
and applications yet to be conceived. The use of plastics continues to benefit the
auto industry. Lighter cars are easier to navigate and cheaper to run.

Ultimately, the United Nations must embrace a tougher international protocol for
plastics disposal , clean-up and re-use. The current protocols don't seem to be
working given the enormity of the growing problem in the Pacific Ocean.   5)

(2) The 8th Continent-Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch  , Mother Nature Network
(3) Vadose Research & Development, LLC
will manufacture synthetic crude oil, gas and activated carbon using selected organic wastes
as raw materials, including scrap tires and waste automotive/industrial oils.
Vadose’s patented process of thermal depolymerization (TDP) uses heat to break down mixtures
of waste polymer solids and heavy oils to yield light synthetic crude oil which will, in turn,
be used by petroleum refiners to make gasoline, diesel fuel, home heating oils, lubricants and

(4)  Plastic Brick:  United States Patent  20090117368


First Printed on Basil and Spice and Supercontents Sites]]> Thu, 5 May 2011 18:01:24 +0000
<![CDATA[ Japan Earthquake]]> By Dr. Joseph S. Maresca

8.9 Earthquake in Japan and Asian Tsunami Across the Pacific

An 8.9 earthquake (Richter scale) hit Honshu, Japan just hours ago. There was tremendous devastation everywhere.  The last major event of this size in Asia was on 12-16-1920 in Gansu, China.  200,000 people died in the Gansu earthquake. The actual loss of life in Japan may not be known for weeks.  The biggest concern in Japan right now is the impact on nuclear power plants in the country. Reactors have been shut down. 

The objective is to evacuate personnel from the nuclear power plants. The concern is that the core heats up and explodes causing a Chernobyl or 3-Mile Island type disaster.  Incidents range from a Class 1 to a Class 9 incident like a core melt down or explosion. 

The Chernobyl accident in 1986 was the result of a flawed reactor design that was operated with inadequately trained personnel.  The resulting steam explosion and fires released at least 5% of the radioactive reactor core into the atmosphere and downwind.

Two Chernobyl plant workers died on the night of the accident.   28 people died within a few weeks as a result of acute radiation poisoning. Increased thyroid cancers appeared later in the population.  Resettlement of areas from which people were relocated is ongoing. (1)

The Red Cross in Geneva warned that the tsunami waves could be higher than some Pacific islands.  Coastal areas in the Philippines, Hawaii and other Pacific islands were evacuated ahead of the tsunami's expected arrival. Strong waves hit Japan's Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures damaging many coastal communities.

"The United States stands ready to help the Japanese people in this time of great trial," President Obama said in a statement. "We will continue to closely monitor tsunamis around Japan and the Pacific going forward and we are asking all our citizens in the affected region to listen to their state and local officials as I have instructed FEMA to be ready to assist Hawaii and the rest of the US states and territories that could be affected."

The next concern is a massive Tsunami crossing the Pacific and scheduled to arrive at Hawaii at about 9AM Eastern time and California about 11AM Eastern Time. The Tsunami Warning Area encompasses Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington State.  There are two types of Tsunami evacuations.  A horizontal evacuation is aimed at moving people to higher ground.  A vertical evacuation moves people to higher floors of major buildings.  Additionally, people may be moved to specially designated Emergency Centers which are stocked with food supplies and water.

The objectives of Tsunami planning are to do the following:

o building use may be retrofitted to take Tsunamis into consideration

o building rehabilitation

o vacate older structures if they cannot be rehabilitated

o reinforce essential service facilities  (2)

The DJIA (DOW) is expected to open lower due to uncertainties in the Middle East and the ongoing uncertainty in Japan due to the earthquake and Tsunami.  




Haitian Earthquake 2010: Scientists Theorize Likelihood Of Atlantic Tsunami

The Icelandic Volcano 2010: Hot Spot Under The Island

Shallow-Focus Quake Forces Hawaii Tsunami Warning (2/27/2010)

Joseph S. Maresca Ph.D., CPA, CISA, MBA: His significant writings include over 10 copyrights in the name of the author (Joseph S. Maresca) and a patent in the earthquake sciences. He holds membership in the prestigious Delta Mu Delta National Honor Society and Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society.  In addition, he blogs and reviews many books for Basil & Spice. Visit the Joseph S. Maresca Writer's Page.

]]> Tue, 3 May 2011 15:32:05 +0000
<![CDATA[Yann Arthus-Bertrand Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>

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<![CDATA[ Nature can be cruel... Do NOT F^@k With It!]]> How does hurricane form? This film was made after the last disastrous hurricane, Katrina, hits New Orleans. It attempts to explain the way environment had been changed (more or less manhandled) so significantly that the natural protection being removed over the last 5 decades had left the South (USA) totally naked. The wetlands act as speed bums when the storm surged so much so every foot of wetland would slows down every 3 miles of the storm from Atlantic. 

Storms and hurricanes formed in the Summer when the wind blows over the hot air in Africa's Sahara desert westward into the Atlantic Ocean. These wind ignites with ocean heat sending moist air up towards the colder atmosphere. Twisters then formed when the warm and cold air overlaps. Hmm, I hope I got that right! I was truly a total failure when it comes to Geography, Literature and the Arts! I was great in Mathematics though, so, God is reasonably fair on that count ;-)

Anyhow, the Luc (correct spelling?) current formed when the temperature is high and it blows into New Orleans but with the wetlands buffer gone, New Orleans is vulnerable. A Category 5 hurricane is disastrous for the city.And we know now what happened thereafter. However, will we see history repeats itself and how human's interference with the environment will translates to our own death sentence? The last few days have showned that the nature is protesting ever so loudly about its plight!
Which reminds me of a movie I once saw on the plane. A science fiction. The plants and trees were turning hostile and "attacks" humans by injecting some kind of chemicals into the air and thereby kills hordes of people as those chemicals attack their consciousness and made them suicidal! What's the name of that movie, anyone? A reasonably thought provoking movie!

Anyhow, the way we humans pollute the air, the sea and the land... one day we are sure to suffer at our own hands. If not us, the next generation and the next. That's how life works. You cannot get away where the environment is concerned, unless we managed to migrate to another planet, that is. What goes around comes around. Interestingly how humans still fail to remember that. We are all linked, either financially or environmentally. 
Katrina caused the worst flood and is the worst natural disaster in US history. But does that mean we'll not see something worse? Nope. For all we know, a new disaster is in the works and again, it had killed some 300+ americans over 6 states. Weather forecast is warning of more impending danger. Staying in the South has too much risks; Katrina, Gulf Spills and endless hurricanes every Summer. Many still choose to live here though. They are courageous and it's up to them to save the wetlands and be the steward of their (and our) environment. If we all do our part and be the steward of our environment, then perhaps mankind will survive in the long term. Otherwise, it'll be a dreadful ending for us all!
]]> Sat, 30 Apr 2011 06:12:19 +0000
<![CDATA[ Storm Surge!]]> Death toll totals more than 300 people.

It is grim and it is not over yet. I've just read that the South is expecting some of the worst floods since 1927 in coming weeks and months. So, brace yourself if you're living in this area. It seems not long ago that the South recovered from the Gulf Spill and now this. I am worried for my friend Ann who just moved to Florida not long ago from L.A. and also few friends who live in the South. I hope no calamity will hit them! 

I can't help but noticed the unpredictable and disastrous weather we have had recently. The hurricane season hasn't even begun yet! In Guangzhou it was recently reported about hail and a storm which flooded the city. We are referring to a time when the temperature is some 80 deg F and we've hail! That's news to me. Global warming has certainly created havocs in our weather system! I dread to know what more is in store for us all in the future!

Like inflation, no denials about it can stop you from noticing it and stop it from escalating. Our weather is getting more and more disruptive and destroying lives and assets. Even going green may have been a little too late. Granted, we don't really know the facts nor do we know what's at stake really. We do know that there's an underlying law in the natural and business world. That once you crossed a certain equilibrium, things escalate until it stabilize on another equilibrium point. It works as with our body weight too. You maintain it at a certain level, it hovers around the band. Once it goes over, it speeds up until it reaches another band. I suspect that's how it is with inflation, currencies as well as the weather! Hence, brace yourself for more uncertainties and more undesirable disruptions!

]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2011 06:36:35 +0000
<![CDATA[ Excellent, Accessible Account of the Destructive Power of the Oceans]]>
Contents: Introduction: When the Seas Turn Against Us; The Earliest Predictions for the Sea; The Moon, the Sun, and the Sea; The Sea's Greatest Killer; Defending Our Coasts; Stormy Seas; "Holes" in the Surface of the Sea; The Sea's Response to an Unpredictable Earth; December 26, 2004 (Part I); December 26, 2004 (Part II); Predicting the Future-And Saving Lives; Acknowledgements; About the Author; Notes; Index

Parker begins his investigation of the oceans with something "simple:" the tide. The tide is important to everything that Parker describes in later chapters; if the tide is rising, falling, at the highest high or lowest low, will play a direct part in the amount of devastation from other ocean activities, such as storm surge. Parker describes the history of tide prediction, which, interestingly, didn't really get accurate until World War II when the Allies needed extremely good predictions until they planned the landings at Normandy and in the Pacific. Because I am not familiar with extreme high and low tides, it was fascinating to read of places on the Earth where these extremes are used by the local populace. However, those not familiar with these extremes find themselves in harm's way quickly, which is well documented in The Power of the Seas.

Once provided with the science and effects of the tide, Parker builds upon the knowledge by introducing storm surges, what Parker calls "the sea's greatest killer." He includes plenty of examples of destructive and deadly storm surges, including the one created by Hurricane Katrina. With better models and prediction capabilities, scientists were off by only 15 miles from the actual landfall of the hurricane. They were also extremely accurate with storm surge predictions along the Gulf Coast. Parker takes his time effectively explaining how scientists were able to be so specific with an intense natural disaster. It is fascinating reading.

However, that is not the best aspect of The Power of the Sea. That honor is reserved for the two chapters Parker uses to detail the earthquake and resulting tsunami on December 26, 2004 in the Indian Ocean, which resulted in the loss of nearly 300,000 lives and whose effects were felt around the world. Vividly recreated, it is both amazing and heart wrenching. Amazing because there are old civilizations within the area. Those people pass their history down orally. As soon as the water receded, their elders led the people to higher ground. Meanwhile, modern people ran onto the newly exposed sea bed. I think you know who lived and who died. As the resulting tsunami traveled through the Indian Ocean, Parker graphically describes the effects. It makes for some difficult reading.

The Power of the Sea is an accessible, entertaining, harrowing examination of some of the most powerful forces in nature. Parker writes in manner that makes the complex science of the oceans easily understood by everyone. He includes many anecdotes, livening up the text, which drive his points home. This is an excellent book for anyone interested in the oceans, looking for an understanding of tsunamis, storm surges, tides, and more. If you live near the sea, or play in it, this is a must read.

Obtained from: Library
Payment: Borrowed]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2011 00:59:47 +0000
<![CDATA[ August Status]]> By Dr. Joseph S. Maresca

April 2010 BP Gulf Oil Spill- Mid-August Status

The Skytruth Oil Spill Tracker showed the following improvements from a visual inspection of a map depicting the major areas of the spill with both small and large red dots. During May 2010, there were 3 large red dots on the map in the New Orleans area, 1 large red dot in Sarasota, Florida and a smaller dot just North of Havana.

By August, the initial 3 large dots in the New Orleans area were reduced to much smaller red Padre Island National Seashore - Kemps Ridley Sea Turtle (Wikipedia)dots. The large red dot in Sarasota, Florida was reduced to a smaller one and the small dot just above Havana disappeared. There are still some scattered smaller dots throughout the Gulf region.

John Amos of Skytruth indicated that 1 subsurface of oil washed ashore on Alabama beaches 8-12-2010 nearly 1 month after the well was capped. Currently, BP continues work to finish the relief wells in order to seal the gusher for good.

Scientists from NOAA’s Damage Assessment Remediation and Restoration Program (DARRP) mobilized resources quickly in the Gulf.  The NOAA team collected data from pre-oiled and oiled natural resources. This information is critical to the natural resource damage assessment (NRDA) process.

Data collected in the Gulf will help determine whether or not natural resources have been injured and what human uses have been impaired. Once the injuries and losses have been quantified, NOAA and its partners will work to compensate the public by restoring, rehabilitating, or replacing the natural resources damaged by the oil spill.

Work by federal and state partners under the Oil Pollution Act is currently in the preassessment phase to determine whether or not injury to public natural resources has occurred and the extent of the same.

Species with essential fish habitat near the oil spill include: scalloped hammerhead, shortfin mako,  silky, whale, bigeye thresher, longfin mako, and oceanic whitetip sharks; swordfish, white marlin, blue marlin, yellowfin tuna, bluefin tuna, longbill spearfish, and sailfish.  Other important fish in the Gulf include red snapper, grouper, gray triggerfish, red drum, vermilion snapper, greater amberjack, black drum, cobia and dolphin (mahi-mahi), coastal migratory pelagic (open water) species, such as king and Spanish mackerel, and pelagic sharks. Shellfish in the Gulf include oysters and several species of shrimp and crabs.  Of the 28 species of marine mammals known to live in the Gulf of Mexico, all are protected and six (sperm, sei, fin, blue, humpback and North Atlantic right whales) are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

At least four species of threatened/endangered sea turtles (Kemp’s Ridley, green, leatherback, and loggerhead) are residents of the northern Gulf of Mexico and are represented by all life stages. A fifth species, the hawksbill turtle, can be found in the southern Gulf. The only nesting beaches in the world for Kemp’s Ridley turtles are in the western Gulf of Mexico.

Marshes in the Gulf of Mexico provide extremely important habitat for feeding and nesting of several species that can be found in offshore waters, such as royal terns and gulls.  Species of concern include near shore and marsh birds: brown pelican, diving ducks, wading birds, piping plover (a threatened species) and pelagic (open water) birds such as shearwaters, northern gannets, and frigate birds.  Marine mammals, fish, and birds depend on clean, healthy habitats to provide food, shelter, and breeding grounds. These habitats include salt and fresh water marshes, mangroves, mudflats, beaches, coral and shellfish reefs, water column and bottom sediments.  (ADAPTED FROM DARRP, NOAA)

Currently, BP claims that they are doing everything possible. "We continue to seal the Macondo well permanently, clean up the environment, and make sure that people are compensated for legitimate claims." BP Completed a Well Pressure Test with results under review right now.  More than 23k people, 3k vessels & 800 skimmers are at work responding to the oil spill.  Following comprehensive FDA testing, the Louisiana Dept of Wildlife & Fisheries reopened some state waters to fishing.

Offshore Drilling, Disaster Planning Response

After The Cleanup: Future Clean Energy Sources

2011 And Beyond: Contingency Oil Rig Disaster Operations

Oil Spill 2010: Disaster Recovery Plan Needed

Oil Spill 2010: Planning For Hurricanes, Tsunamis, Cleanup

Oil Spill 2010: Clean Up And Recovery Patented Ideas

Joseph S. Maresca Ph.D., CPA, CISA, MBA: His significant writings include over 10 copyrights in the name of the author (Joseph S. Maresca) and a patent in the earthquake sciences. He holds membership in the prestigious Delta Mu Delta National Honor Society and Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society. 

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Notify me of follow-up comments via email.

  ]]> Mon, 11 Apr 2011 14:36:21 +0000
<![CDATA[Earthquake Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> Mon, 11 Apr 2011 12:12:31 +0000 <![CDATA[ Carnival of Life]]>

To see another world beyond ours, one needs some form of transportation and skill. I believe I need to take up snorkeling and diving immediately! Despite that I’ve had nightmares about being drowned in water the temptation of another world is so great that perhaps I’m willing to tempt death.

Colorful, living corals from a gigantic reef in the Pacific are under scrutiny. Partnership between the species are examined by scientists. The location? Great Barrier Reef. Yes, I’ve been there as well. Yet, I didn’t see as much as I ought to have! It’s regrettable, I know. In some ways, this film made up for all that.

From Australia to Fiji to French Polynesia, seascapes and landscapes so beautiful that made you want to pack up instantly and go! And I guarantee you won’t regret it either, I’ve been there, I can attest to that. If you’ve never been anywhere near these places, you’d get to see the beauty of the area on film, perhaps even better views than what I personally saw when I was there. Ah, take me back to Bora Bora again anytime, it’s a paradise!
Ocean warming is beginning to kill the reef in many parts of ocean around Fiji. Stresses like over fishing and siltation also contributed to the deaths of the coral reefs. The sea is part of our food chain and that’s a great concern for the scientists. Corals as beautiful as flowers in bloom are also beneficial to humans in medical terms. There’s more to coral reef than that which meets the eyes. Researchers and scientists go down to the bottom of the sea and explore the reef at some 350 ft below and took us viewers with them on this magical journey. Ever wonder what species of sea life forms live there? The intense water pressure down there poses life risks for divers. But they venture on... we need to know about the unknown!

In areas around Bora Bora, the divers also found a school of (around) 300 reef sharks! That was a scary as well as majestic sight and one that divers are all too excited to see! It’s like stumbling onto a miracle. What magnifique! Even seeing on film makes one real excited about the sea. Awesome!
For those of you with children, this is certainly the film to see at the IMAX. I thoroughly enjoyed the well choreographed music and movements of the corals and wish they had made this film when I was just a kid! I’d certainly have been more excited about learning to swim! ]]> Fri, 8 Apr 2011 07:38:27 +0000
<![CDATA[IMAX Coral Reef Adventure (Blu-ray) Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> Fri, 8 Apr 2011 07:07:59 +0000 <![CDATA[ Hunger Pangs]]>  
Now, in the animal kingdom, the hunt for food is basic. It means survival. And in nature, there’s no negotiation where survival of the fittest rules and when that's the basic law.
This series of BBC Earth production investigates how the animals stay in groups and safety in numbers to decrease their chances of being attacked by predators. It shows how they do so and why the predators choose to attack them when it’s sometimes against their natural habits and food sources. The common thread behind these series is that these animals “migrate” in massive herds and groups. That in itself is an astounding sight to see on films.

5 episodes:
  1. The Deep

The film follows the African sardines and demonstrates the entire food chain whereby the sardines hunt for their food while the birds and dolphins hunt for the sardines. The shark then hunts the seals and birds. The video of 100 millions of sardines are awesome to watch. To capture the entire shore of sardines in motion is just totally mind-boggling! The feeding behavioral patterns of the predators are equally stunning! To each his (or rather its) own; the predators attacking from all sides, sharks below, dolphins on the side and birds from the top. The sardines have no chance of escaping!

Whales too join in the feast, 10000 sardines in a single gulp!

       2.  The Trap

A million flamingos congregate in East Africa. This is the battleground with predators setting “the stage for violent confrontation”.
Global warming has made the lands and lakes arid . Eagles, baboons are their predators due to the lack of food and hunger has changed their habits of a lifetime by hunting on birds instead of fish.

Do you know flamingo fly at night and lives for up to 40 years? Do you know how flamingo feed itself and what do they feed on? You'll find out the answers in this episode.

       3.  The Crossing

Wildebeest is the feature in this series. You'll see crocodiles and lions on the side waiting to attack.

       4.  The Falls

The story of the Alaskan salmons vs some of its predators (sharks, grizzly bears, eagles) waiting on the sideline for the ambush. Salmons mating and dying thereafter. This is where "sex is the ultimate killer"!

       5.  The Edge

Penguins and the leopard seals, the penguins’ nightmare under water. The penguins’ movement across Antarctica is quite a fun sight to watch. These penguins return to where they were first hatched to lay their eggs. Nest building activities are filmed as well as fights. It’s wonderful to see the maternal and paternal instinct of these penguins.
The leopard seal is brutal and the way it kills is quite a horror sight to watch. 

       6.  The Exodus

40 millions Mexican bats leave its cave in mass exodus every summer. Snakes and hawks are the “partners in crime” in this episode. This is my least favorite episode. It’s gross to see the large numbers of bats and snakes. They thrive in dark places and I hate dark places! However, I must admit the producer took great pain in showing the details of the bats and the caves where they reproduce. Even the young were filmed as they were being fed in the caves.

While each episode has something new and exciting to offer, it can be tedious to watch the discs all at one go. Despite the fact I'm not an animal "lover", I still find this series of videos exceptional and enligthening. The educational value of it is tremendous and if you are interested in nature and animals, this is a definite must for you. The photography aspect is totally out of this world. The crew must have taken hours and hours of waiting to shoot the predatory behaviors of these animals! Well done!

Tip: You can watch this documentary here.

]]> Thu, 7 Apr 2011 12:36:57 +0000
<![CDATA[ Aftershocks!]]> nd largest economy in the world for the majority of the last few decades, until recently overtaken by China.
Japanese have a great deal of investments (direct or indirect) in the world. Japanese also holds a lot of treasury bills. This has the world at large trembling with fears as to what the Japanese would do in order to save their very own economy.
Will the Japanese:
  • Issue government bonds? Who will they sell it to? Internally or externally?
  • Dilute their foreign holding of investments and assets?
  • Raise taxes (esp. consumption since it is quite low as compared to major developed countries in the world. A mere 5% compared to Singapore’s 7%)?
  • Rebuild their infra-structure as quickly as they did the Kobe’s earthquake in 1995?

Interestingly, major hotels in Hong Kong are no longer supplying fresh fish used in sashimi and sushi in their restaurants. People from all over the world whose babies are feeding on Japanese milk powder are stocking up old stocks or simply refused to buy Japanese milk powder unless it’s certified free of radiation while some are crazy enough to buy all those powder in the supermarkets for their unborn babies! So, even if they didn't get hit directly from the tsunami, some Japanese encounter the tsunami in their businesses. Exporters see their orders cancelled overnight and can't do anything about it!
What’s the direct impact for you and me?
Well, if you’re interested in buying the iPad 2, you better make it to the shop quick. Apparently, Japanese’s supply chain would be affected and part of iPad’s components are actually manufactured in Japan. As with some components on the Boeing 787!

In terms of logistic, with some ports and airports closed in Japan, some flows are affected where transportation sector is involved.  With less power, many plants and manufacturing plants are also closed for business. So, yes, the full impact from all areas has not been measured and discounted. The aftershocks are tremendous in the business arena. No one clearly knows what the future would bring. It's too mind-boggling! One silver lining is that the Japanese people are very resourceful and resilient. So, have confident that they will come back in no time!

(A Lunch Featured Review)]]> Sun, 20 Mar 2011 14:48:16 +0000
<![CDATA[ The Panic Sets In]]>

So, the potential danger? Radiation! Yes, we heard of it on the news for the last few days. Everyone is afraid of getting cancer as a result of exposure to radiation! Even the Chinese in China have now wiped out all the iodized salt from the shelves in the supermarkets! How ridiculous that is! But in times of panic, people do weird things. Just like those Singaporeans who hoarded rice back then during the Iraq attack of Kuwait! Granted, salt is not that costly to hoard but to think it's going to save you from cancer?! Ha! If only the solution is that simple, Japanese leaders won't be cracking their heads now!

I kept reading about those who are sacrificing their lives to work around the clock at the sites where radiation might ultimately kill them. In some ways, I feel disconnected. It's like something that's so far away and yet I marvel at their sense of duty and professionalism. These are people who are trying to help while there are others who think nothing but themselves. For many, life goes on as per normal. If you are living far from Japan and are not directly affected by it in any way, like those in Libya, the pressing issue is more local. So, while the White House is planning to help the Japanese, it is also planning for air strikes?! Interesting, isn't it? I don't know what to make of the world nowadays. 

From the economic standpoint, these 2 pressures are not good for the world though. While the foreigners are leaving Japan, Japanese are liquidating their portfolios and investments abroad to bring back funds to save themselves. The Yen has soared to historical new highs while the USD tumbles. Now, you can only get some 76 yen for a $! You heard me right, the country is having problems but the Yen is not dropping. Instead, it is skyrocketing! Instability in Libya and the whole of Middle East, recently reported Bahrain is also turning into a hot spot, will pressurize the prices of gas to new high. So, those in New York are speculating like crazy in the financial arena. Interesting, isn't it?

Well, if you're driving to work, you can no longer feel disconnected from the world events, can you? Clearly, if our country decide to ration our use of electricity, we would be more inclined to see how the Japanese are doing, aren't we? Granted, there are times when we are tempted to look away because it's a depressing situation and we do feel helpless in many ways. Reading about someone's plight can be hard especially if you feel deeply for poor souls. And many, as I sometime do, take the easy way out... by not looking and thinking too much about it! That is one of the way we deal with stresses in life.

So, what can we do really? Yes, life goes on for majority of us and even for the Japanese. But, life should not go on as if nothing had happened. It's not how we can help (with donations or whatever contributions) the Japanese with that should be sufficient but rather what we take out of this event that should matter. How we should treat the environment, the world and the people in it, that should be the lessons of the day, isn't it? Panic is natural, but panic without even using our brain and create more distress in the world we live in... we can do without!

Going to Japan for the next few months is not a viable solution. It is not good for the Japanese who have problems of their own to cope with and also not good for someone who doesn't speak their language and end up a burden during this difficult period. Granted, the Japanese will need help in rebuilding and those who can truly help, by all means, help! As for the other people, staying put and staying sane are the best option :-)]]> Sun, 20 Mar 2011 08:50:52 +0000
<![CDATA[ The Future is Grim! Running out of Time!]]>
A production by ABC, it can be forgiven for thinking that New York still exists in 2071 and not engulfed by the high sea levels. United States is still being portrayed as the richest country in the world (which is anyone's guess) and the leader in controlling the situation. Although the producer claimed that it's the worst case scenarios, personally, I do't think it has actually dealt with the worst case scenarios fast enough. 

With last week's tsunami in Japan, the game plan has changed and consequences had been understated. The world has not contemplated the worst that could happened. Even in countries which are well prepared, it turned out they are not. In addition, the human panic button hasn't been pushed in the most populated cities. The pulse of each country is still functioning normally. The last two tsunamis have only affected areas that are not considered overly populated. For most, life goes on as per normal.

Global leaders have not quite faced the reality of the world that we are now living in. Natural elements and destructions are deemed to be unforeseen circumstances. No government in the world is ready to deal with a huge or unexpected storm that will eventually hit one of the most populated cities in the world. Many are merely keeping their fingers crossed. That it won't happened while they are in office!!! Their negotiating "game" is not quite expecting "doom-day" scenarios. Things going terribly wrong are just not appropriately evaluated, imho. True, I may be a pessimist when it comes to the nature but if there is 1% chance of it happening in our lifetime, what would you do when faced with such a deadly circumstance? Japan showed a glimpse of it last week, how much you intend to prepare or your government had prepared is something interesting to be contemplated, isn't it? We tend to believe that we humans as a species is able to control the world elements. We are the master of our destinies. Are we really?!?!?!

2100? I think we'd be lucky if we can survived 2050 without much upheavals and mega-disasters! Granted, some will survive, but a major part of the world population might be obliterated without realizing how close we are to the dark ages! Yes, the film warns of it, not fast enough though. Who'd care what happen in 2100? Most of us would be gone by then! May be even before 2050!

Yes, the film attempts to unravel the future... yet, not fast enough! No, the clock is clicking!

Yes, to give credit to the film, it also attempts to show what could be done if humans figure out how to solve the problems. U.S. needs to take the initiative, according to the script. No one else will. All these based on imaginations of a few individuals who are dedicated to make the world more green and sustainable. How successful will they be? Well, we'll have to wait and see and hope and pray that whatever they can envision will be in time to reverse the adversity of the world. Faith alone is not going to change the world, actions will. Take action, people!]]> Sun, 20 Mar 2011 08:33:02 +0000
<![CDATA[2011 Yunnan (China) Earthquake Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> Mon, 14 Mar 2011 01:59:41 +0000 <![CDATA[ An emergency of epic can I help?]]> 8.9 magnitude earthquake and a 23 foot tsunami were not enough the people of Japan now have to deal with the potential fallout from a massive explosion that has rocked the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant. It is not yet clear whether massive levels of radiation have been released into the atmosphere. This powerful blast has the potential to exacerbate the problem many times over and put millions more people at risk.  Please join me in praying that this turns out not to be the case.  What I thought was a -3 or -4 situation has just morphed into a -5 for sure!  It is incumbant upon each and every one of us who has the wherewithall to assist our Japanese brothers and sisters in their time of need.  I urge everyone in the Lunch community to take a few moments to make a donation to assist those on the ground in Japan who are struggling to cope with the death and devastation all around them.  There are lots of quick and easy ways for you to make a donation. Here are a few to consider:

Several groups are accepting text donations:

•American Red Cross, text REDCROSS to 90999
•Salvation Army, text JAPAN to 80888
•Convoy of Hope, text TSUNAMI to 50555
•GlobalGiving, text JAPAN to 50555
•World Relief, text WAVE to 50555

Or if you prefer you can make an online donation by visting one of the following websites:

American Red Cross
Save The Children    
Global Giving              www.globalgiving.orgAmerican

In addition, a number of religious organizations including The Salvation Army and Catholic Relief Services are also accepting donations.  I cannot stress how important it is that we all respond as quickly as possible.  It is going to take a Herculean effort by governments around the world to help the Japanese people cope with the devastating hand that they have been dealt.   But government cannot do it alone.  It is going to be up to individuals from all over the world to step up and make up the difference.  The amount of damage is simply incalcuable.  In times of trouble, the American people have always proven to the the most generous people in the world.  So let's not let our Japanese brothers and sisters down.   NO AMOUNT IS TOO SMALL....PLEASE MAKE YOUR DONATION NOW!!!   ]]> Sat, 12 Mar 2011 14:01:36 +0000
<![CDATA[ What You Simply Must Know About Today's 8.9 Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan]]> Across the Pacific  By: Dr. Joseph S. Maresca

An 8.9 earthquake ( Richter scale) hit Honshu, Japan earlier today  . There was tremendous
devastation everywhere.  The last major event of this size in Asia was on
12-16- 1920 in Gansu , China.  200,000 people died in the Gansu earthquake.
The actual loss of life in Japan may not be known for weeks.  The biggest
concern in Japan right now is the impact on nuclear power plants in the country.
Reactors have been shut down. 

The objective is to evacuate personnel from the nuclear power plants
The concern is that the core heats up and explodes causing a Chernobyl or
 3-Mile Island type disaster.  Incidents range from a Class 1 to a Class 9
incident like a core melt down or explosion.

The Chernobyl accident in 1986 was the result of a flawed reactor design that was
operated with inadequately trained personnel.     The resulting steam explosion and fires
released at least 5% of the radioactive reactor core into the atmosphere and downwind.
Two Chernobyl plant workers died on the night of the accident   28 people
died within a few weeks as a result of acute radiation poisoning. Increased thyroid cancers
appeared later in the population.  Resettlement of areas from which people were relocated
is ongoing.     1)

The Red Cross in Geneva warned that the tsunami waves could be higher than some Pacific islands.
Coastal areas in the Philippines, Hawaii and other Pacific islands were evacuated ahead of the
tsunami's expected arrival.   Strong waves hit Japan's Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures
damaging many coastal communities

"The United States stands ready to help the Japanese people in this time of great trial,"
President Obama said in a statement. "We will continue to closely monitor tsunamis around
Japan and the Pacific going forward and we are asking all our citizens in the affected region
to listen to their state and local officials as I have instructed FEMA to be ready to assist
Hawaii and the rest of the US states and territories that could be affected."

The next concern is a massive Tsunami crossing the Pacific and scheduled to
arrive at Hawaii at about 9AM Eastern time and California about 11AM Eastern Time.
The Tsunami Warning Area encompasses Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and
Washington State.  There are two types of Tsunami evacuations.  A horizontal evacuation
is aimed at moving people to higher ground.  A vertical evacuation moves
people to higher floors of major buildings.  Additionally, people may be moved
to specially designated Emergency Centers which are stocked with food
supplies and water.

The objectives of Tsunami planning are to do the following:
o building use may be retrofitted to take Tsunamis into consideration
o building rehabilitation
o vacate older structures if they cannot be rehabilitated
o reinforce essential service facilities        2)

The DJIA (DOW) is expected to open lower due to uncertainties in the Middle East
and the ongoing uncertainty in Japan due to the earthquake and Tsunami.


]]> Fri, 11 Mar 2011 21:06:18 +0000
<![CDATA[ May God Help The Japanese!]]> THE SINKING OF JAPAN came to mind. Yes, I spent an afternoon following the news and images. Clearly, seeing it on the news is a vast difference from experiencing it live. The one time I felt earthquake was when I was in L.A. some 2 decades ago or before. Even that time, I was in bed and I managed to feel giddy for a few minutes!

Ok, Hollywood 'glorifies' disaster. These scenes are not from Hollywood but a reasonably scene from Japanese movie "Sinking of Japan". They are not news clips from today's tsunami that hits Japanese coasts. Instead, they are what could have been and if indeed that day come, the world will certainly feel its ripples, one way or another. Until that day come, let's take a look at what's going on right now, this very moment.

Japan is one of the countries (if not the only one) in the world best equipped to handle a crisis like a tsunami and earthquake. The Japanese have a system intact which they trained their toddlers to follow whenever something of this extent happens. So, if you've to be in an earthquake zone, Japan is probably the country you'd like to be in. That is, IF you've to be there! Now, right at this moment, a lot of people don't want to be in Japan. Airports and public transports are all halted. People have no way to go home after work. Thank God it's friday too, they can at least go out drinking, if they have the mood, that is. Look, I'm not taking things lightly, just that if there is nothing much you can do other than worry, then the next best thing is to get the most out of a difficult situation, is it not?

The biggest earthquake to hit Japan in 140 years, a 10-m tsunami and 50 countries are feared to be affected. As it is still ongoing in the world, we clearly have no idea the exact path of the tsunami and the total destruction it will wrecked. Hopefully, we have seen the worst this afternoon but it is unlikely since the tsunami is still moving towards some small islands in the Pacific Rim as well & as far as New Zealand and Chile! I just learned today that tsunami waves actually travel as quickly as the Boeing 737, ie. at 800 km/h. Tsunami waves also come in more than one, that means it can move ashore, back to sea and then returns in full force some 20 mins later! Tsunami is now expected in Hawaii and countries like Indonesia, Fiji, Australia and New Zealand.

According to official sources, "This is a massive one, and it will have different effects depending on the location, on the seabed, and on other sorts of characteristics. But clearly this is very very large, and from that perspective, all countries need to be alert, on standby for the moment." Many countries in Asia are evacuating their residents to higher areas, especially after the last disaster in 2004. CNN reported that

~~~ Friday's 8.9-magnitude temblor in Japan was the largest earthquake since a 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck the Banda Aceh area of Indonesia on Dec. 26, 2004, causing a massive tsunami that killed about 250,000 people in 14 countries and washed away entire communities. The tsunami caused nearly $10 billion in damage and more casualties than any other tsunami in history, according to the United Nations.

The earthquake, initially reported as a 7.8 earthquake, was upgraded to an 8.9 quake.

"When you jump a magnitude from 7 to 8, it's not 10 times stronger, it's 1000 times stronger," said CNN International meteorologist Ivan Cabrera. "With an ... earthquake that shallow, that close to shore, there will be more than one tsunami." ~~~

So, watch out for all that's happening in the world. And PRAY as hard as you can for everyone's sake!!!

I'm now updating this event to a -5 as the number of lives lost have increased tremendously due to the tsunami in Japan. Luckily, the damage is contained elsewhere. However, Japan suffered the most with expected death toll to as many as over 10,000! A city near Sendai had been totally wiped out and as many as 9500 people are feared missing!

Looking at the pictures coming out of Sendai, I could no longer recognized the city I once visited a few years back. The rebuilding will take time and other parts of Japan are also experiencing stress and anxiety. As many as 6 million households were without electricity and water at one stage the last 2 days. The disaster has demonstrated how insignificant humans can be when it comes to dealing with a natural disaster of this scale. Fortunately for me, my friends in Tokyo are not badly affected. Still, the residents wonder when and if there will be more aftershocks of that magnitude! What a scary thought to live through in coming days!]]> Fri, 11 Mar 2011 13:37:06 +0000
<![CDATA[2011 Canterbury Earthquake Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> Tue, 22 Feb 2011 15:26:05 +0000 <![CDATA[BP Gulf Oil Spill Quick Tip by djevoke]]> Fri, 7 Jan 2011 18:09:54 +0000 <![CDATA[Planet Earth Quick Tip by TeamAWAC]]> Fri, 7 Jan 2011 17:30:25 +0000 <![CDATA[BP Gulf Oil Spill Quick Tip by devora]]> Fri, 7 Jan 2011 08:39:51 +0000 <![CDATA[ Our Land, Our Legacy]]>, the equivalent of in China. The DVDs can be played in English, French and Chinese. I'm very pleased with this purchase, so much so I'm planning on getting more for my friends in Hong Kong and Singapore. I'd also love to get it for my cousins in Canada but I'm not so sure if the DVD code is in the right region. Never mind that, I'm still going to get a set for my cousin so that he can at least watch it on his computer if it can't be played on the TV!

After watching the above Youtube video, I now realized why it's sold at such a low price! Apparently Yann Arthus Bertrand distributes his works for free, ie. no copyright. One can even download it from the internet! Where from? I've no idea. You'd have to try googling for it if you're interested!

In my box, there are 4 DVDs focussing on Earth & Its Resources, Sea & Oceans, Fresh Water and Biodiversity + a CD of the original soundtracks. This set of DVDs was released in 2008 and it takes documentary form with images shot by the famous French Photographer Yann Arthus Bertrand. Lots of information and discussion about our depleting the world resources and also about green energy. It's extremely well done and it takes us all over the world. Even if you're not a "green" person, you'd still enjoy the film if you're someone who loves photography or loves to travel. It's a great sensory delight!


]]> Mon, 6 Dec 2010 14:38:07 +0000
<![CDATA[Earth from Above Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> Wed, 24 Nov 2010 06:17:33 +0000 <![CDATA[Yann Arthus-Bertrand Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
Official Site:]]> Wed, 24 Nov 2010 06:01:30 +0000
<![CDATA[Mount Merapi Eruptions (2010) Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> A380 (flight from Sydney) exploded midair last week. Luckily the flight landed safely in Singapore since the other 3 Rolls Royce Turbo engines were still working. 

Volcanic ashes from the Eruptions of Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland grounded air traffic in many European countries earlier this year but luckily no human casualties. The Mount Merapi Eruptions have already killed more than 150 locals!]]> Thu, 11 Nov 2010 05:43:14 +0000
<![CDATA[Mount Merapi Eruptions (2010) Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
Major airlines from Singapore have cancelled all flights to Jakarta on Saturday (Nov. 6) due to ashes from the eruptions.]]> Sat, 6 Nov 2010 15:30:15 +0000
<![CDATA[Mount Merapi Eruptions (2010) Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> Sat, 6 Nov 2010 15:27:51 +0000 <![CDATA[ The life cycle... Seasons]]>
For someone who grew up the first 20 years of her life in hot humid weather, and I do mean hot and humid, Winter is a new concept and perception. My first real winter was in Toronto, Canada. From some 30+ deg. C to some -24 deg C; well, that's a huge turn of event, one could conclude. It's like heaven and hell... the body needed a great deal of adjustment and the mind even more so.

Interestingly, we humans are great at adapting. With time, a lot of changes become easy. Or probably, we have the defense mechanism to cope with it, hence, adapting. Does one like that kind of change? Me? Nope. It's not only hard to deal with an entirely new environment, there are factors which never occurred to me before arriving into Canada. For example, the shortening of the days and hence light. I'm used to waking up in bright sunshine. Lack of light makes me sleepy and lethargic. Hence, with winterly cold weather, energy drops. Less is accomplished.

Even today, while I am living in China, winter is not a time I look forward to. Yes, when winter begins, it's great. It's no longer scotching hot but the cold air somewhat brings a little depression. Hibernation is the body natural reaction to it.  The year is ending and the feeling is like life is slowly "dying" (as with the trees and the chilled air). Over the years, my only way of dealing with winter is to make sure I've bright lights (more so than others) in my home/s and to increase the temperature at home. That way, I am able to get more work accomplished. So much for what I "dislike" about Winter.

Sometime though, I'm crazier than others. There was a time I traveled to Antarctica & then across the globe to the Arctic in the middle of winter. It was some -40 deg (C and F; that's the time when I learned that the temperature C & F converges at -40!) in Coldfoot, Alaska & I was bundled up in the middle of the night alone outside trying to get a glimpse of Northern Lights! How crazy can a person be? To travel alone all the way just to get to 2 poles in a single journey?! Well, there was a time I truly lived (& created history), I guess ;pSo, yes, I've experience Winter in more ways than one. I've also been caught in a snowstorm before. That's another story...

What I truly like about Winter is Christmas in a country which snows. Yes, that's the mood. Christmasty red with pure white snow... Christmas carols ringing in the stores. People rushing home to the homely warmth of family & a fireplace. It's such a nice feeling and vision. And yes, I thank God I've had that kind of life before. And I thank God even more that I've the freedom to relive that kind of life should I wish to.

Autumn is my most favorite season but Winter is the most unforgettable one. So, yes, let us all enjoy Winter again in the coming months! God Bless!]]> Wed, 27 Oct 2010 10:12:12 +0000
<![CDATA[2010 Indonesia (Sumatra) Earthquake Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> Wed, 27 Oct 2010 06:18:10 +0000 <![CDATA[2010 Canterbury Earthquake Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> Wed, 8 Sep 2010 15:55:06 +0000 <![CDATA[2010 Pakistan Floods Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>

Read More: 2010 Pakistan Floods

]]> Sun, 15 Aug 2010 06:02:13 +0000
<![CDATA[1931 China Floods Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
China observes national day of mourning for the mudslide victims today.
]]> Sun, 15 Aug 2010 05:30:45 +0000
<![CDATA[Water Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> Thu, 12 Aug 2010 12:12:33 +0000 <![CDATA[China 2010 Zhouqu (Gansu) Mudslides Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
]]> Tue, 10 Aug 2010 12:27:01 +0000
<![CDATA[BP Gulf Oil Spill Quick Tip by Count_Orlok_22]]> An Anthem for the Age of Oil Spills...
(to the tune of Rule, Britannia!)
Rule, Britannia! music notes
"Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves!
All those execs at BP are knaves!
Oil was spilled, but all for naught.
This one Earth is all we've got!
BP Logo]]> Mon, 2 Aug 2010 00:39:29 +0000
<![CDATA[ Where is the government? Where is the outrage?]]>
Some have compared this disaster to Hurricane Katrina.  President Bush received a great deal of negative press due to the Katrina response by FEMA.  FEMA botched that job on many fronts, turning away help that would make its own response seem anemic.  But there is a major difference.  Natural disaster response lies first with the local government (Nagy failed to get citizens out, using response plans that had been developed just two years prior) and the Governor refused to seek federal assistance.  Bush waited for the call before finally stepping in.  Once the federal government committed to the cause, things went rapidly, but there were still major issues, primarily with FEMA, which was reorganized as a result of 9/11.  I would compare Obama's recent lack of response to the devastating flooding in Nashville more closely with Katrina.  The Gulf oil spill is an entirely different matter.

This oil spill happened within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States.  The response to this tragic disaster belonged to the EPA and ultimately to the President.  Although the Obama Administration attempted to rewrite history two weeks later by continually stating "we have been on this since Day One" and claiming that BP was acting under the direct supervision of the President, the fact remains that the government was conspicuously absent.  This is much worse than Katrina, because the pending disaster could have been addressed much sooner.  It took over a month for the President to truly get a grip on this problem.  If BP has been acting at his direction, than he has fallen woefully short.  Instead, I would suggest that the Administration has been frozen to inaction by a lack of communication and a failure of protocol.

Why is that my assessment?  Because there are many things that could have been done.  Fisheries could have been collecting fish before the oil set in, but were confined to harbor.  Barrier Islands (which Governor Jindal has been requesting for weeks) could have been constructed to intercept the creeping slick (instead the Army Corps of Engineers is bogged down in bureaucracy...something an Executive Order could instantly eliminate) and tankers could have been brought in to pump the oil and seawater into empty holds.  The oil could later be separated, but would be sequestered in the meantime.  This strategy has been effectively employed in the Arabian Peninsula in the past.  So what has been our response?  Inaction.  A willingness to allow a private corporation to guarantee cleanup, while pouring harmful detergents into the ocean.

This mess is an irresponsible failure of an Administration that is too focused on changing the fundamental principles of America to address real threats.  Whether those threats be terrorism or ecological disaster.  They will simply do what they always do and blame greedy corporations and George Bush. That song and dance has gotten old.  In the meantime, there are real solutions that this Administration could have advanced to minimize the environmental impact of this spill.  As a conservative environmentalist, I am appalled that environmental groups, quick to attack conservatives, have given the Obama Administration a pass on their feeble response to this disaster.  So where is the outrage?  Where is the response?


I am not well versed in oil industry standards or oil transportation.  But I found the following article on a patent website:

A system installed within a tanker vessel for collecting all residue oil within a single tank of the vessel so that ballast water within other tanks can be readily discharged into the sea, without oil pollution thereof, prior to refilling with oil; the system consisting of a floating oil collector in ach tank that collects all oil above a water surface therewithin, the collected oil being transported through a pipe to the single collection tank; and the vessel already incorporating systems for pumping sea water into the tanks to serve as ballast, and for pumping the ballast water back into the sea thereafter.

It sounds like tankers are already equipped with the technology to separate the sea water from oil, meaning that the only challenge in using tankers to address this spill would be in collecting the water and oil and pumping it into the hold of the ship.  That seems like it would not be an incredibly difficult challenge when looking at some of the other "creative' ideas being floated recently.]]> Sat, 29 May 2010 17:14:10 +0000
<![CDATA[2010 Eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> Sun, 18 Apr 2010 04:40:01 +0000 <![CDATA[ Symphony of my mind]]> Iceland has certainly been on the headlines in recent 1 1/2 years more than it had been in the last 2 decades! Under normal circumstance, most of the world will not even give a thought to this island north of UK. Most have not heard of it even!

Iceland is fascinating for me. Since my visit to the country almost a decade ago, I've a lot more distinctive and real impressions of this "little unknown" island. It is a beautiful island with a small population but with a varied landscapes from waterfall to glaciers. Read my Iceland review for a touristic perspective.

Now, I'm not just into traveling and shopping. I'm also very fascinated with earthquakes and volcanoes. Perhaps it was my fascination with disaster movies to start with or perhaps it's something else. I've no idea. I'm however very tune in to these events which happened rampantly across the world causing major destructions and disruptions. Hence, it is not surprising that this come to mind when I was on a flight early yesterday from Singapore to Hong Kong. I was taking the budget airline Tiger Airways (cheap and reasonably good for short flights) and bought myself a copy of the Straits Times on board to kill boredom. The reason why these budget airlines are cheap is because there is practically no entertainment on board! 

There on the front page of the newspaper is Iceland's volcanic eruption causing major distress in air travel in Europe!!! Blink, blink... AIR TRAVEL! That's my arena! I'm on a plane, OMG! Of course, I'm alerted during the entire flight! Images from Independence Day (the movie) & 2012 even came to my mind.

It's a bit harsh to think Iceland is causing the world miseries. They are afterall victims. First, financial meltdown, then earth meltdown. Poor people! Yes, they are also getting poor in the process. Once the country with the highest GDP in the world, Icelanders have had their world turned upside down within a span of 18 months!

Now, back to travel plans. So, all hotels are reported to have 100% occupancy rate. Not bad! A plus for the hotel industry! People are spending more money outside and most importantly, may be they might be more inclined to treasure life when something like this happens! It gives a person something to think about, other than disruptions, that is. That, the world can end in no time or that life is meant to be enjoyed every moment of them, not at the end of days!

If you asked me, it is during these times that human beings are at their best. They are more willing to cooperate with one another and humanitarian efforts are at its best. I've been to a few of the dormant volcanoes in Iceland (you can't escape them, I think may be the entire island is volcanic!) and they are truly pretty when dormant. But for me, if I were in Iceland now, I'd love to go and watch the earth comes alive. This is probably the most spectacular moment the island could possibly be! Imagine hot raging lava... it's like a live symphony reaching its crescendo! 

What a climax! And it's like Iceland saying something to the world... 
The way I see it? Do not overlook a country that's small and inconsequential. That is not the case at all!

While this event has caused major disruption and some unforgettable experiences for many travelers (plenty were stuck in airport who were transiting within Europe but without a visa to enter Europe), I'd think that I'm lucky that I'm not traveling within Europe right now. In addition, more than 30 airports have been closed and some could not go home from Asia too. The morale of it all is that be prepared for these kind of events when you travel. A travel insurance is handy. We are lucky that other than major disruptions, no one has died. Unfortunately, for the airline industry, the lost is US$200 million a day! The main loser in this event! This event has now caused the largest air traffic shutdown in the world since World War II! That's even more serious than the airport shutdown during the 9-11 event! Amazing, isn't it?

This is one of those rare occasions where the planet is telling the world a significant message... We don't realised how interconnected we all are, until we are all affected by one single event. Think about the consequences of no air travel for major part of the world for weeks. Think about people stranded out of their own residential countries. Think about medications and organs not being able to be flown to where they are needed. Think about no fruits or vegetables from their country of origins... now, you get the drift? 

(A Lunch Featured Review)]]> Sun, 18 Apr 2010 04:37:59 +0000
<![CDATA[ 8.8 Earthquake Rocks Chile-Tsunami Warning Entire Pacific Region]]>

The largest recorded earthquake in history was also in Chile measuring in at 9.5 on May 22, 1960. That historic quake killed over 1600 people and left over 2 million homeless. People around the Pacific were also killed due to the Tsunami the quake caused including in Hawaii, Japan & the Philippines.

In the early morning in Chile today, people where shaken awake by what some described as a locomotive sound coming through their home. They were then shrouded in darkness in the middle of the night having lost electricity and now water, bridges and buildings collapsing. There are reports of craters in the streets, 10 foot shifts in the pavement all evidence of the trauma inducing quake.

Following the 8.8 quake, there was no break from the shaking and fear as aftershocks have been measuring in at 6.2 and 6.9 magnitude - causing many to fear going into their homes forcing them to wait in the streets. (there have been over 50 aftershocks measuring above 4.5).

Hawaii has been getting frequent Tsunami warnings via sirens since 6 a.m. this morning. We have a friend in Hawaii who has been reporting about the surreal experience as he waits and wonders at his hotel in Hawaii calling the sirens and reality of the tsunami that is approaching Hawaii at 500 MPH "unnerving." They are literally waiting at their hotel - with ocean views - for the tsunami to hit at 500 MPH on the shores.

The tsunami waves are anticipated to be 6-8 foot - which may not sound ferocious. However, these waves are traveling at the speed of a jet plane - 500 MPH and are expected to crash into the shore like a river and suck out to sea whatever they can swallow.

Any daredevils in that area should not mock Mother Nature by going to the beaches and marinas to observe the incoming tsunami if they want to walk away with their life in tact.

It is astounding - not only has Chile been bulldozed by this quake, but the entire Pacific will be impacted. History tells us that the danger is real - as stated above - in the 60's when Chile endured the 9.5 earthquake, people were killed far from the shores of Chile including Hawaii, Japan and the Philippines. Even the west coast of the US were damaged from the ensuing tsunami.

Living in a city (Los Angeles - at the beach) that constantly buzzes about when the "big one" is coming - even movies have been made about the big quake that many anticipate will hit the coasts of California - I look at this terrible tragedy doled out by the ever shifting Earth with horror and sadness at those who have lost family and are living in limbo. I also look on in morbid fascination.

In a snap second - without any control of your own - every single thing in your life can change. As a self acknowledged "worrier" I sometimes trick myself into thinking that if I anticipate every bad thing that could happen and prepare for it or avoid it, I'm some how ahead of the game. The truth is - that is a silly and childish fantasy.

Sure, preparedness is crucial especially when you LIVE in an Earthquake zone as I do, but reality is, you can't stop these things from happening and changing your life forever.

For now, I will pray for everyone impacted by this Earthquake and quickly approaching Tsunami and do my part to donate and help when time appropriate. I also will use it as a reminder in my personal life to live for the moment and count my blessings on a daily basis. As the old cliche goes, 'life spins on a dime', and frankly, I want to get my money's worth.

Monkey Readers:

Do you know anyone in Chile or any of the Tsunami zones?

Have you ever lived through a terrible earthquake and have a story to share?


Or visit my blog,

]]> Fri, 16 Apr 2010 00:41:45 +0000
<![CDATA[Planet Earth Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> Mon, 15 Mar 2010 08:47:29 +0000 <![CDATA[ Truly spectacular!]]>

BBC is not known for making great documentaries. Even when watching news, I'd rather switched to CNN or some other channels. However, in this series of documentaries, I do believe BBC outgrow itself and presented it much better than I'd have envision. The varieties of animals filmed here are amazing. The photography phenomenal. The footage simply stunning. The series was filmed in HD and many producers were involved in each segment of the show. All in all, I enjoyed not only the main segments but also the stories behind the camera lens. It entails the difficulties and complexities in filming in some of the most hostile environments, like filming those cockroaches in the cave, that was bizarre. Then there was the Madagascar hot air balloon filming of the trees. All these brought a sense of reality and life to the show, unlike some National Geographic documentaries which bore me to tears (esp. those that entails animals, since I'm really not into animals!). But for this series of show, I find myself captured in each moment, in the beauty of the animals within the scene, in the preservation of some extinct species, in saving the planet for future generations.

Planet Earth is not merely a documentary. It is a call to humanity for awareness. For some thoughts about animals which we might never encounter in our lives or see them in real. It is truly worth every minute of your spare time to see this mini-series, especially with the little ones if you do have them at home. It is both great entertainment for adults and children alike, understanding the film from a different perspective and seeing it with different eyes. Regardless, it is necessary for us to see how beautiful this planet is and that it is not simply our planet, it belongs to all living organisms out there as well! 

A truly remarkable & awe-inspiring documentary ever produced by BBC. Way to go, BBC!]]> Mon, 15 Mar 2010 08:38:13 +0000
<![CDATA[Planet Earth Quick Tip by trailblazer]]> Thu, 11 Mar 2010 21:10:52 +0000