December 31, 2004

It's Almost Here!

One hour until 2005.

Happy New Year!!!

Posted by Valkyre at 11:08 PM | Comments (0)

December 27, 2004

More News About the Tsunami

The number of casualties keeps going up. And, they were talking about the aftermath. The puddles of stagnant water. The dead bodies that are starting to decompose. People, who survived the tsunami's, may succumb to disease. There was an interesting article in today's Los Angeles Times, about Tsunami's, and how they come about.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-sci-tsunami27dec27,1,2111274.story?coll=la-home-headlines

CATASTROPHE IN SOUTHERN ASIA
A Rare Tsunami, and a Change in Geography

The quake created the Indian Ocean's first wave of its kind in more than a century, and it moved the entire island of Sumatra 100 feet.

By Thomas H. Maugh II, Times Staff Writer

The magnitude 9.0 earthquake that struck off Indonesia on Sunday morning moved the entire island of Sumatra about 100 feet to the southwest, pushing up a gigantic mass of water that collapsed into a tsunami and devastated shorelines around the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea.

The quake was the largest since a magnitude 9.2 temblor struck Prince William Sound, Alaska, in 1964 and was one of the biggest ever recorded by scientists. It triggered the first tsunami in the Indian Ocean since 1883, civil engineer Costas Synolakis of USC said.

Sunday's temblor, which occurred off Sumatra's northwestern tip in an active geological region, ruptured an estimated 600-mile-long stretch of the Earth beneath the Indian Ocean. The quake caused one side of the fault to slide past the other, much like seismologists expect the San Andreas fault to do when the "Big One" hits California.

The massive tsunami waves, not ground shaking, caused most of the damage and more than 13,000 deaths.

Tsunamis — often, and inaccurately, called tidal waves — are unlike anything else that occurs in the ocean. They are most often created by earthquakes, but can also be triggered by events including an underwater landslide or a meteor impact.

In Sunday's case, the sudden movement of Sumatra and the undersea acreage southwest of it caused a mass of water to build up well above sea level. As the water collapsed back down to sea level, it created a disturbance that affected water hundreds and thousands of miles away.

A normal wave, created mainly by wind, affects the top 30 feet of the ocean, at most, and moves very slowly. A tsunami, in contrast, affects the entire water column from surface to sea floor and can reach very high speeds. The deeper the ocean, the faster the tsunami travels. In open ocean, the tsunami moves upward of 500 mph, with the entire column of water moving up and down. But because the ocean is so deep, initial movement of the surface is very slight. Someone on a boat in the area wouldn't notice it.

This process is very efficient, and the tsunami can travel vast distances. In 1960, a tsunami created by a magnitude 9.5 earthquake off the central Chilean coast struck shores all around the Pacific, even as far away as Japan, where 200 people were killed by the surge of water.

As the tsunami nears shore and the ocean becomes shallower, friction with the ocean floor causes it to slow down, producing a buildup of water that can reach as much as 100 feet above sea level. When the water hits the shore, it sweeps inward with massive force, gradually slowing, but continuing inland until the ground level is higher than the wave.

Although a tsunami occasionally appears as a massive wave, more often it is like a fast-moving tide that keeps rising well past the normal high-water level.

Once the water reaches its peak, it recedes rapidly, often causing even more damage. In some cases, the tsunami can appear as several distinct waves, each creating its own havoc.

Sunday's tsunami began hitting coastlines about two hours after the quake. That would have been long enough to provide warnings to inhabitants if the Indian Ocean had a tsunami warning system like that in the Pacific Ocean. Unfortunately it doesn't, because scientists had underestimated the risk of a tsunami there, Synolakis said.

By midafternoon Sunday, the tsunami had run its course, said geophysicist Ken Hudnut of the U.S. Geological Survey in Pasadena. Generally, he said, the areas most heavily hit by a tsunami are those closest to the quake.

Because Sunday's quake was centered in the Indian Ocean, he added, little of its energy was directed toward the Americas.

Seismologists will use the opportunity to learn a great deal about the Earth's structure, Hudnut said. Because of the magnitude of the temblor, "the whole Earth would be ringing like a bell for a long time," he said. That effect will be like a gigantic medical CT scan, allowing researchers to study the structure of Earth's interior in detail.

Posted by Valkyre at 09:27 PM | Comments (0)

December 26, 2004

Magnitude 9.0?

I can't even wrap my mind around this. We like in earthquake country. I've been through several earthquakes, and I can't even fathom the power and destructiveness of a 9.0.

Article here: http://www.freep.com/news/latestnews/pm1982_20041226.htm


Thousands dead across Asia in tidal waves, biggest quakes in 40 years

Sunday, December 26, 2004

BY DILIP GANGULY
ASSOCIATED PRESS

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - An earthquake of epic power roiled the Indian Ocean on Sunday morning, unleashing 20-foot walls of water that came crashing down on Asian beaches in six countries across thousands of miles, smashing seaside resorts and villages and leaving nearly 10,000 dead in their wake.

The death toll along the southern coast of Asia - and as far west as Somalia, on the African coast, where nine people were reported lost - was certain to increase, as authorities sorted out a far-flung disaster caused by the 8.9-magnitude earthquake, strongest in 40 years and fifth-largest in a century.

The earthquake hit at 6:58 a.m.; the tsunami came as much as 261/27 hours later, without warning, on a morning of crystal blue skies. Sunbathers and snorkelers, cars and cottages, fishing boats and even a lighthouse were swept away.

Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India each reported thousands dead, and Thailand, a Western tourist hotspot, said hundreds were dead and thousands missing.

"It's an extraordinary calamity of such colossal proportions that the damage has been unprecedented," said Chief Minister Jayaram Jayalalithaa of India's Tamil Nadu, a southern state which reported 1,705 dead, many of them strewn along beaches, virtual open-air mortuaries.

"It all seems to have happened in the space of 20 minutes. A massive tidal wave of extreme ferocity ... smashed everything in sight to smithereens," she said.

The quake was centered 155 miles south-southeast of Banda Aceh, the capital of Indonesia's Aceh province on Sumatra, and six miles under the Indian Ocean's seabed. The temblor leveled dozens of buildings on Sumatra - and was followed by at least a half-dozen powerful aftershocks, ranging in magnitude from almost 6 to 7.3. The waves that followed the first massive jolt were far more lethal.

An Associated Press reporter in Aceh province saw bodies wedged in trees as the waters receded. More bodies littered the beaches. Authorities said at least 4,185 were dead in Indonesia; the full impact of the disaster was not known, as communications were cut to the towns most affected.

The waves barreled across the Bay of Bengal, pummeling Sri Lanka, where more than 3,000 were killed, according to the health ministry - not including 1,500 reported dead in areas controlled by rebels. Some 170 children were feared lost in an orphanage. More than a million people were displaced from wrecked villages.

The carnage was mindboggingly widespread. About 2,300 were reported dead along the southern coasts of India, at least 289 in Thailand, 42 in Malaysia. At least two died in Bangladesh - children who drowned as a boat with about 15 tourists capsized in high waves.

The huge waves struck around breakfast time on the beaches of Thailand's beach resorts - probably Asia's most popular holiday destination at this time of year, particularly for Europeans fleeing the winter cold.

"People that were snorkeling were dragged along the coral and washed up on the beach, and people that were sunbathing got washed into the sea," said Simon Clark, 29, a photographer from London vacationing on Ngai island.

In India's Andhra Pradesh state, 32 people were drowned when they went into the sea for a Hindu religious ceremony to mark the full moon. Among them were 15 children.

"I was shocked to see innumerable fishing boats flying on the shoulder of the waves, going back and forth into the sea, as if made of paper," said P. Ramanamurthy, 40, of that state.

The earthquake that caused the tsunami was the largest since a 9.2 temblor hit Prince William Sound in Alaska in 1964, according to geophysicist Julie Martinez of the U.S. Geological Survey.

"All the planet is vibrating" from the quake, said Enzo Boschi, the head of Italy's National Geophysics Institute. Speaking on SKY TG24 TV, Boschi said the quake even disturbed the Earth's rotation.

The quake occurred at a place where several huge geological plates push against each other with massive force. The survey said a 620-mile section along the boundary of the plates shifted, motion that triggered the sudden displacement of a huge volume of water.

Scientists said the death toll might have been reduced if India and Sri Lanka had been part of an international warning system designed to advise coastal communities that a potentially killer wave was approaching. Although Thailand is part of the system, the west coast of its southern peninsula does not have the system's wave sensors mounted on ocean buoys.

As it was, there was no warning. Gemunu Amarasinghe, an AP photographer in Sri Lanka, said he saw young boys rushing to catch fish that had been scattered on the beach by the first wave.

"But soon afterward, the devastating second series of waves came," he said. He climbed onto the roof of his car, but "In a few minutes my jeep was under water. The roof collapsed.

"I joined masses of people in escaping to high land. Some carried their dead and injured loved ones. Some of the dead were eventually placed at roadside, and covered with sarongs. Others walked past dazed, asking if anyone had seen their family members."

Michael Dodds, a reporter for The Washington Post, was swimming around a tiny island off a Sri Lankan beach at about 9:15 a.m. when his brother called out that something strange was happening with the sea.

Then, within minutes, "the beach and the area behind it had become an inland sea, rushing over the road and pouring into the flimsy houses on the other side. The speed with which it all happened seemed like a scene from the Bible - a natural phenomenon unlike anything I had experienced before," he wrote on the Post's Web site.

Dodds weathered the wave, but then found himself struggling to keep from being swept away when the floodwaters receded.

On Phuket, in Thailand, Somboon Wangnaitham, deputy director of the Wachira Hospital, said one of the worst-hit areas was Patong beach, where at least 32 people died and 500 were injured. On Phi Phi island, where "The Beach" starring Leonardo DiCaprio was filmed, 200 bungalows at two resorts were swept out to sea.

"I am afraid that there will be a high figure of foreigners missing in the sea and also my staff," said Chan Marongtaechar, owner of the PP Princess Resort and PP Charlie Beach Resort.

Many areas were without electricity. In Tamil Nadu in India, a unit of the Madras Atomic Power Station was shut down after water entered the plant. The Indian air force planned to drop diesel generators - along with packets of food and medicine - to ravaged areas.

Some 20,000 Sri Lankan soldiers were deployed in relief and rescue and to help police maintain law and order.

State Department spokesman Noel Clay said he had no information on the number of Americans who might be affected. He also said the department has not officially been asked for help, but added that "we will provide any assistance that we possibly can."

Indonesia, a country of 17,000 islands, is prone to seismic upheaval because of its location on the margins of tectonic plates that make up the so-called the "Ring of Fire" around the Pacific Ocean basin.

The Indonesian quake struck just three days after an 8.1 quake along the ocean floor between Australia and Antarctica caused buildings to shake hundreds of miles away. The earlier temblor caused no serious damage or injury.

Quakes reaching a magnitude 8 are very rare. A quake registering magnitude 8 rocked Japan's northern island of Hokkaido on Sept. 25, 2003, injuring nearly 600 people. An 8.4 magnitude tremor that struck off Peru on June 23, 2001, killed 74.

Associated Press reporters Gemunu Amarasinghe in Colombo, Sri Lanka, K.N. Arun in Madras, India, and Sutin Wannabovorn in Phuket, Thailand, contributed to this report.

Comments? Questions? You can reach us at The Freep

Posted by Valkyre at 08:00 PM | Comments (1)

December 24, 2004

Merry Christmas!

Here's hoping that every has a Merry Christmas! And a safe one!

Posted by Valkyre at 05:50 PM | Comments (1)

December 23, 2004

I'll Be Sick For Christmas

...You can count on me! Augh! I went and caught a cold. Right now, I am miserable. It's in my sinuses. And, my head is feeling kind of woozy. Every muscle aches, and I am really, really exhausted. This really sucks.

Posted by Valkyre at 05:55 PM | Comments (2)

ELF

Netflix gives you the option of moving movies around in your rental queue. Since Elf was near the very bottom, of a rental queue with about 367 movies on it, I figured I wouldn't see it for years. So, I bumped it up to number one. Got around to watching it last night. I liked it! Will Ferrell is excellent in his role. The story starts with Santa stopping at an orphanage one Christmas night. One of the babies, crawls into his sack of toys, unknown to him. And, he takes him back to the North Pole. The elves end up raising him. But, there are some problems. "Buddy", as the elves call him, shoots up to 6' 3" tall. Later on, he finds out, surprise, surprise, he isn't an elf at all. He's human. And, his father is still alive. So, he takes off to New York City, to find his long lost father, who's played by James Caan. And, he still dressed as an Elf. I don't want to give away too much more. I will probably buy this one, and we will watch it over and over again for many Christmases.

Posted by Valkyre at 07:51 AM | Comments (0)

December 19, 2004

It's Beginning to "Not" Look Like Christmas

Going by the weather, you would think it was Spring, not Christmas time. It's been in the low 80's throughout this weekend. I went shopping today, and saw women wearing halter tops and shorts. And, convertibles tooling around with their tops down. I even had the A/C running in the car. It doesn't feel at all like Christmas is just around the corner.

Posted by Valkyre at 07:17 PM | Comments (3)

December 13, 2004

DEATH

The jury in the Scott Peterson case recommended that he get the death penalty for killing his wife, Laci and their unborn child, Conner Peterson.

Article found here

Judge gives final decision on Feb. 25

BEE STAFF REPORTS
Last Updated: December 13, 2004, 06:00:30 PM PST

REDWOOD CITY - Scott Peterson should die for killing his pregnant wife, Laci, and unborn son, jurors recommended today in a dramatic ending to the Modesto man’s murder trial.

Sharon Rocha, Laci Peterson's mother, cried quietly after the verdict was read about 1:45 p.m.

Before the verdict was read, Juror 7, a mother of four with dyed pinkish-red hair, winked at the Rocha family from the jury box.

Juror 9, whose husband was killed in prison after he was convicted of murder, wiped away tears after the judge had polled jurors individually - at the defense's request - to confirm the verdict was unanimous.

Two female jurors nodded their heads slightly and smiled faintly at Sharon Rocha as they left the jury box.

Judge Alfred Delucchi can reduce the sentence to life in prison without possibility of parole at Peterson’s sentencing Feb. 25.

In the prosecution’s closing argument Thursday, Dave Harris said, “He lies, he fools, he manipulates. He is not a person who deserves your sympathy.”

Sharon Rocha delivered a searing rebuke of her son-in-law during the trial’s penalty phase, screaming that “divorce was always an option, not murder.”

Thirty-nine defense witnesses tried to overcome Rocha’s unforgettable testimony by describing Scott Peterson as warm, caring and respectful, and some openly disagreed with the jury’s Nov. 12 conviction.

The same six-woman, six-man jury, after a five-month trial, had declared Peterson guilty of first-degree murder in the slaying of his wife, Laci, and second-degree murder for killing his unborn son, Conner Peterson.

Scott Peterson strangled or smothered his wife on or just before Christmas Eve 2002, prosecutors said, and dumped her body into San Francisco Bay. Peterson had claimed he went fishing alone Christmas Eve. The remains of mother and son were recovered near his boating route four months later.

Peterson was a candidate for a death sentence because there were multiple victims. Death Row inmates in California are subject to lethal injection, though executions are rare and typically delayed many years by appeals.

Details of today’s action will appear at this Web site as they become available, followed by complete coverage in Tuesday's Bee and Modbee.com.

Posted by Valkyre at 09:59 PM | Comments (0)

December 08, 2004

Free Annual Credit Report

You can get a free credit report, once a year, from the three credit reporting bureas. You need to go to www.annualcreditreport.com. It may not be available in all states yet. I was able to get ours. Everything looks fine. No one opened any unauthorized accounts under our name. The only problem I saw was our TransUnion report showed us as having two different accounts with CitiFinancial Mortgage that supposedly were opened back in 1993. One was a "line of credit", the other was a "revolving account". These entries did not appear on our Experian report, or our Equifax. These two accounts are in good standing, and it shows them as being transferred to another lender. We never had any accounts, of any kind with these people. I sent an e-mail to CitiFinancial, to see why we are being shown as having an account with them in past. They replied that I have to take it up with the credit rreporting agency. Hopefully, this will get straightened out.

Posted by Valkyre at 10:42 PM | Comments (0)