Tuesday, January 04, 2005

silly conspiracy theories, plus a good charity

I read in the New York Times yesterday about some really silly stuff concerning the recent earthquake and resultant tsunami in Asia. Now, granted some of this stuff could have been meant as satire, but we've all heard this type of uninformed comment before about how things that we do cause the earth to react in a certain way. To say that our bombs caused this tectonic activity is just dumb. And insensitive. Millions of people are homeless, more that 110,000 dead, and the only thing these people can think to say is "it's America's fault". What do these people think caused the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius? The evil Roman Empire? Was the Krakatau volcanic eruption and ensuing tsunami caused by some evil man-made force. No. That was an extremely active tectonic region, and it continues to be today. You can read all about tectonic activity here, and about the geologic reasons for tsunamis here.

They say, in the interest of comparing explosions, that the explosion from Krakatau was TEN TIMES GREATER than that of the atomic bomb the US detonated at Bikini Atoll.

I didn't mean to start going off like that, but I did want to mention that I donated a small sum of money to one of the relief organizations for the tsunami victims. There are a number of fine, better known organizations, but I chose to go with The American Friends Service Committee, which is run by the quakers. Now, admittedly, some of their mission statement is a bit too hippie for my taste, but I like that they aren't out there to change anyone's religious beliefs. I like that this relief campaign is committed to helping those in remote areas that might get ignored by the bigger, more visible organizations. To be frank, I also like that you can make a donation from a secure page. Some of the others have contribution pages that, for whatever reason, are not secure.
Anyway, that's that.


Reid said...

My first reaction to the NYT article is that people still haven't gotten used to the idea that bloggers are just people with computers. I repeatedly see conservative bloggers (like James Lileks) who take postings on The Democratic Underground as wide-spread opinion rather than what they are: the rantings of a disordered mind. There's a difference between a blog and an opinion column: the columnist has risen through at least a few ranks to get where s/he is, but the blogger just had enough money to get a computer. Insane people are all over (always have been) and now they have a really, really loud voice, as much for worse as for better. I look forward to the day when one numbskull saying things about things he knows nothing about doesn't warrant an article in the biggest newspaper in the country.

Reid said...

Please note that there were no fewer than two Hudsucker Proxy references in my previous comment.