[Update 19/05/08: It is expected that well over 50,000 people have died. There are several updates on the NPR sites mentioned below. See a BBC article here for a recent summary.]
Well, they’re estimating 10,000 casualties so far from the earthquake in China that measured magnitude 7.9 on the Richter scale. NPR’s Melissa Block and Robert Siegel were actually in the area when it took place and they are filing lots of reports. Melissa had her equipment running at the time of the quake and so you can hear her reactions here. There’s a lot of information (including how to donate to various relief efforts) on the NPR website. Start here, for example.
Of course, there’s a lot more going on in terms of extraordinary natural conditions, including the tornadoes here in America, and the volcano in Chile, and of course the Myanmar cyclone and the dreadful matter of the blocked recovery efforts. Remarkable, overall. If you’ve not been following, you’ll find really good reports at the NPR site too…
It’s bike to work week here in [
LA] California again! Do consider participating (even if it isn’t where you are…) The MTA here in Los Angeles is doing a good job of pushing the idea that biking to work is a good alternative to fighting with other drivers on the highway*. Have a go! (I’ve been noticing more cyclists on the roads in the city in recent times, by the way, so you won’t be alone.) [Update: Click here for the website of the California Bicycle Coalition for events near you.]
If in LA, pop over to the MTA website. They’ve got a number of things going on. There are pit stops along the Red Line today, and on Thursday, if you show up on a bus or the subway with a bike helmet, you can ride for free! (I wonder if they actually bother to check if you have a bike with that helmet…?)
And get this… I’m a bit shocked by this, but if you pledge/register for the bike to Continue reading ‘It’s Bike to Work Week!’
One of my favourite topics to think about, since I was very young, is the effect that direct contact with intelligent alien life would have on our society. It would be transformative, I think, whether it be initially seen as for good or ill. Of course, most imaginings of such an event usually considers the “ill” aspect. I was chatting about the issue recently with a friend of mine while hiking the other day and then I recalled that I forgot to do a blog post on last week’s Sunday night radio listening, part of which was about just this very topic!
The show was in two parts (both good… more on the second later) and the first was a 1994 recreation of the classic War of the Worlds broadcast of 1938. You know the one, I hope… It was a CBS radio broadcast by the Mercury Theater company, masterminded and led by Orson Welles, and was a Howard Koch radio adaptation of the 1898 H. G. Wells novel. As you may know, the radio show created a huge panic among the listening audiences at the time, brought on by a combination of the relative newness of the medium (it was done in the style of a series of on-the-scene breathless news reports) and the general atmosphere in world politics at the time. (There’s a rather good Wikipedia collection of information about it here.)
All of this puts me in a nostalgic mood, since during some of my school days I loved that War of the Worlds rock musical concept album by Jeff Wayne from 1978 (I knew of it only in the early to middle 80s), with a star-studded cast of musicians (Justin Hayward, Phil Lynott, Julie Covington, David Essex and Chris Thompson), and the wonderful voice of Richard Burton as the main protagonist (a journalist). Anybody else remember that? From so many listenings to it, I used to be able to sing along to every note and word of that album! Probably still can, even though I’ve not heard it in so long. Altogether now – Uuuu-Laaaa!!!, or Come on Thun-der-child!!… Here’s a Wikipedia link.
Anyway, I highly recommend the recreation of the broadcast. Find an hour and curl up next to your computer and pretend it’s a warm old valve radio. Leonard Nimoy plays Continue reading ‘We Interrupt This Broadcast…’