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Tsunamis and the news
Monday, December 27th, 2004

By now I am sure most of you have heard about the devastating earthquake in Asia. The power of nature always amazes me. The sad thing is that the people of the region never really expected anything like that. Many of the areas hit hard had plenty of time to react but not much was done. If you never expect a massive earthquake there, why bother prepare tsunami warnings? India now has plans to install warning devices. Too bad it had to come to something like this for that to happen.

Tsunamis are an amazing force of nature. The speeds and power that is released is quite terrific. I hope everyone prays for those in the region that are affected by this devastating event.

I also suggest checking out a few blogs to get information about what is going on over there rather than the normal media. There have been numerous bloggers from the region talking about this and are worth checking out. The Command Post has lots of good information with other links. Rajanar is from the area and has some interesting commentary. This Blog is dedicated to getting information about relief, how to support, and current news about and by the people affected. If you check one place out, head there. As usual, Tim Blair has lots of good information and insight as well as many links.

I don’t really like watching the news because of its disjointed nature. I have made a few comments about that in other places and when talking about Neil Postman’s “Amusing Ourselves to Death”. News is usually completely de-contextualized and usually has very little meaning to those watching it. The “Now This” mentality is not one I appreciate. One thing I appreciate about blogs is that they are written by real people, usually somewhat involved with the situation or have special interest in what they are talking about. News casters seem to be more interested in the sensational side of the story, not the actual content. Bloggers pick the topics to talk about because they care about them. The problem that car arise is validity of the content. Although with such issues as rathergate, we should also worry about that issue with the MSM (main stream media). Many respectable bloggers will offer cross references and links to their sources and will try to offer unbiased information along with biased commentary (I do say try, because it doesn’t always work). It seems that the MSM tries will often only have a mixture of the two: biased commentary that is presented as unbiased information. In short, check out multiple sources of information; don’t just rely on the MSM.

As an example of why I dislike tv news I offer a slight rant. I was watching one of our local stations (can’t remember which one) and one of the newscasters offered us something along the lines of this: “See how the tsunami has affected tourists from our area later in the broadcast.” I can’t remember the exact way this was said, but that is the gist of it. This tells me a few things: firstly news is completely sensationalistic and secondly they don’t really care about people. 24,000 people have just died and we are supposed to be worried about travel problems for people in our area? I don’t even know those people from “my area” and even if I did, I still would not be concerned for delayed travels. Ok, rant over.

I know this has been somewhat of a ramble, I apologize for that. Please pray for those in Asia and for those helping to get things fixed up.


Interesting animation from NOAA over here. (requires quicktime)

Some very disturbing video can be downloaded from here. (right click and select “save as”)

Another animation can be found here.

(H/t to PunditGuy)

Also, if you want to help out, check out the Tsunami Help Blog (which I linked to earlier, but it really has massive amouts of information and points to places to help out.)

I would also like to point to World Vision as a good charity to donate to.

If you want to help out the red cross you can do that directly through Amazon here.

I don’t know if this is true or not, I apologize if it isn’t. If it is, CNN has something to deal with. I found thos on this guy’s blog.

This morning on CNN, the anchor lady was talking to the weatherman, and for some reason she showed him the cover of the New York Times, which has a picture of a mother weeping over the bodies of her dead children. The weatherman said, “Hmm, oh my. They probably couldn’t swim very well.”

I am sure he was taken off guard, but still, how moronic and insensitive.

The “stingy” US government’s aid contribution as of 12/29: $35 Million and 2 Naval Groups as well as “much more”.

Amount France has offered: about $135,000 US (although to be fair, some are reporting that it could be around $20 Mill US)

Amount Germany has offered: about $2.7 Million US

Amout Amazon users have donated as of 12/29 and 1:45 PST: $2.55 Million. $3.8 Million as of 1:00 am 12/30. $5.38 Mill as of 12:15 PM 12/30.

Scrappleface readers have also given over $3000, just from that site!

Stingy, indeed.

People from all over the world have been donating huge amounts of money. It has been a very heart warming thing to see. Government keep on adding on more funds and resources, people are giving of their time and money. That truly is the Christmas spirit.

This article shows that the American people have (as of 12/29) already donated $18 Million of their own funds. Well done.

Google has set up a page for relief help, check it out.

I have set up a page of satellite pictures from DigitalGlobe, check it out.

Osama and Arafat
Saturday, November 13th, 2004

I am wondering what has happened to Osama? He has made some pretty big threats on those blasted red states (Now, being from a “blue” state and also living in Canada I should be ok, how lucky am I??). The lack of terrorist “happenings” on US soil since the elections should be a pretty clear indication of the “power” bin Laden has. I am actually wondering if some of his followers are pulling a “Weekend and Burnies” type thing, possibly really advanced 3d animation that they have been working on the their caves?

Either him being dead or just inept, doesn’t seem to be much of a concern right now. Him and the rest of his cronies will eventually be tracked down. I am sure they all wept for Yasser Arafat.

Speak of the devil… as a Christian I do indeed mourn for his lost soul. I can’t say the world won’t be a better place without him but it is sad to see a soul lost to the Evil One. Mr. “Peace Prize” Arafat has been a horrid ruler. I agree that with the history of the Palestinians, they deserve their own nation. But Israel does as well. Both sides have been brutal in their “interactions” with each other so neither are blameless. But Arafat made peace inpossible. Even with the peace talks under Clinton, Arafat essentially said its not enough. For him it was all or nothing, taking the notion of “jihad” to the extremes, just as Osama does. They only way there can be peace there is if both sides recognize that they are both going to be there. Peace can not come if one wants to completly rid the other from the planet. Both Israel and Palestine should be their own state, they don’t have to get along, they just have to exist together. Hopefully Arafat’s replacement will attempt to make peace instead of pretending to be for it. Bush seems to be ready to help if both parties are serious about it. I guess we shall see what happens.


Original Post with comments

Sudan Part 3
Friday, July 2nd, 2004

I have been talking with a friend at work who is from Cameroon (2 countries away from Sudan on the west coast of Africa). She has filled me in an the way people see things in Africa. Now this is from her standpoint and she will have her own biases, but still much more imformative than CNN or even the BBC I think.

In my previous post I stated that 70% of the population consider themselves Sunni Muslim. I also made the comment that I don’t really trust those numbers because they (they is the CIA world Factbook) also say 80% of the US population consider themselves Christian. My friend from work puts it this way: the Blacks live in the southern part of Sudan and are Christian, the Arabs live in the north and are Muslim. The Muslim Arabs are in the minority but are in control of the government / militia because the French put the Arabs in power in 1956 when Sudam become independant. The Christian blacks do not have any power. Hence the turmoil.

The problems I had thought to be largley racial both because of how the news has reported and also from trying to figure some of it out on my own. Apparently it is more than that. It really is a religious issue, which is directly related to race as the blacks are largley Christian. My friend did make the point that if there were black Muslim there, they would not be killed.

Eventhough the blacks have no power there, they are still the majority of the population and are needed because the souther part of Sudan is more rich in resources. The mojority of the conflict is taking place in the western region of Darfur where there is the “ethnic cleansing” of the Christian blacks.

I will have to keep looking into this, but I have to get back to work.

Sudan Part 1 and 2
Thursday, July 1st, 2004

(Part 1) I just started looking into what is happening in Sudan and in particular the Darfur region (that is in Africa for all those geographically challenged). I have only had a few minutes of reading. Sounds like things are looking pretty bad over there. Check out this article from the BBC for some of the more current info.

I will have to read some more stuff (when I am not at work) and post more when I can actually make sense of it all (or at least some of it).

Editor’s Addition (Part 2): I found another good primer - a Q&A on the conflict - from the BBC. Check it out.

Here is another article from CNN. The BBC article is quite a bit better, go figure…


I need help here: So the Sudanese government is basically Arab-Islamic centered / favored militia. The population is roughly 52% black and 39% Arab (and others) [it is odd that one of the monority groups (the Arabs) are the ones in control of the givernment militias]. That seems to be a somewhat significant difference in numbers. Now 70% of the population consider themselves Sunni Muslim (how acurate that is, I don’t know, I mean they say 84% of the US population considers themselves to be Christian and it may be un PC of me to say this, but 84% of US citizens are NOT Christians. But I digress.) This % of Muslims obviously implies that a good portion of the blacks are also Muslim. If there is “Ethnic Cleansing” - genocide - going on this must mean that there is division within the Sunni group, yes? They don’t seem to care that they are Muslim, they only seem to care that they are black. Is this what I should take from this or am I missing something? Wouldn’t this be like me wanting to kill off all the Asian Presbyterians? This does not make sense. Ok, genocide is bad, but the militia in Sudan seem to be ok with it none the less, but shouldn’t there be some logic to their killings? Do they just not like blacks or do they not like the fact that they are not “true” Muslim because they are black. Someone help me out here. Am I just reading into things and it is really only a racial issue not a religious one?

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