Now this is getting creepy. There was another earthquake last night, again, for all practical purposes directly under my feet. When the building first started to move I thought that it was just the calico jumping off something (she is working on her version of Darwin’s theory: Survival of the Fattest.) However the motion quickly climbed to anything beyond her abilities, the whole building shook like a play toy in a dog’s mouth. It was not pleasant, fortunately it only lasted a few seconds. I believe I have determined why this is happening, just days before the first quake, esteemed reader KrispieDixie commented that “Berkeley Rocks.” Coincidence…or sinister omen? Cue Twilight Zone music…
Oh well, nothing was damaged, there are no piles of clothes and empty cars in the street, so no rapture yet. Some might say it’s good to have these small quakes because they relieve the strain. Sadly I must inform such folks that this is folklore, not science. The Richter scale is logarithmic, it would take about a thousand of these 4.0 quakes to equal the energy of just a 6.0, thirty five thousand to equal a 7.0. It’s not going to happen, and even if I did, a thousand 4.0 earthquakes would be a nightmare all on its own. Speaking of Richter scales, the Richter number really doesn’t tell much about how a quake felt. For that one needs to use the modified mercali scale. This was about a IV on that scale. I experienced VI in the Loma Prieta quake, and that’s as high as I ever want to experience. At level XII all buildings and structures are destroyed, full grown tree trunks snap, objects are tossed into the air, and waves can be seen moving through the ground. Eep.
In another comment, a reader asked what Monarch I swear fealty too. Why, Her Royal Majesty, Queen Elizabeth of course. Do I intellectually or rationally support the idea of Monarchy as a form of government? Of course not. I’m just a royalty fan, I find them a lot more interesting than teams of protoplasmic androids beating each other to death over possession of an inflated animal hide. Furthermore I am pleased to report that the Queen’s secret plan to get the colonies back in the British Empire where they belong is proceeding nicely. In two more short years Bush will have so totally trashed the USA that no one will want to run for president, and the Queen will become head of state by default. You heard it here first.
In further Bush news, an umbrella insurgent group in Iraq has offered the USA a one month cease fire to withdraw it’s troops from Iraq. Seems reasonable enough from the Iraqi perspective I’m sure, though even I have to say that the USA can’t just agree to something like that. It’s another sign of how paralyzed Bush is, that Iraq’s insurgents can even make such demands. And the ugly truth is that it’s just going to go downhill from here, now the insurgents will feel perfectly justified to attack Americans as they flee Iraq. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Just a few decades ago Americans almost gleefully slaughtered Iraqi soldiers as they fled from Kuwait, most of whom were draftees who wanted to be in Kuwait about as much as the Kuwaitis wanted them there. Pretty good bet that there are some in Iraq who will be happy to repay the favour. What a mess, as I never tire of saying.
In Somalia, it just gets worse. The Islamists are fighting the Ethiopian supported Somali puppet government in Baidoa. Both sides claim the other started the fighting. Ethiopia claims that it has no troops in Somalia, but that Ethiopia’s arch rival Eritrea does. Eritrea denies this and urges Ethiopia to withdraw. Ethiopia has also been helpfully issuing threats. For their part the Islamists have called for foreign help to repel Ethiopian invaders. The Somalia diaspora has called for everyone to stop shooting at each other and return to the negotiating table, so there’s a least one voice of sanity in this witch’s brew of meddlesome foreigners and waring warlords. I don’t know how this is going to end, but as long as foreign troops are in Somalia, it’s not going to end well.
In a diplomatic “victory” for Bush, he has gotten the UN Security council to vote to put in place sanctions against Iran for “defying the international community.” Since Iran’s nuclear program is completely legal under international law, they are being punished for refusing to be bullied by the USA. Yes, this is really going to contribute to peace and stability in the region. I don’t know how this is going to end up either, but can only hope that this is not another misstep in the road to a wider regional war.
For decades I have been saying that world war three was going to be the first world against the third world. These days I am thinking that more than ever before. God help us all if I am right.
(The above USGS map is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit and it s central to illustrating the post.)