Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Berkeley Rocks?

with 6 comments

Credit: USGS

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.)


Written by unitedcats

December 23, 2006 at 11:52 am

6 Responses

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  1. OK, there was third 3.7 a few hours after I posted this. I sure hope it’s a coincidence. :)


    December 23, 2006 at 9:15 pm

  2. USGS isn’t copyrighted at all, it’s public domain material.

    I missed the third quake, we were on the road heading north and about a half hour out of Berkeley when it reportedly hit. Perhaps it would have been possible to feel it but not in a moving car.

    I take your Queen Elizabeth response as mainl a jest, but I have some thoughts on the eastern concept of a “Mandate of Heaven” which is a kind of divine monarchy but subject always to revocation in the case the mandate is abused.

    I think however you look at it, the Bush dynasty must be considered at an end.


    December 23, 2006 at 11:53 pm

  3. I’ve never experienced a quake – and hope not to, it’s one of the (many) advantages of not living in the US;-)

    Monarchaies are inherently more dangerous than democracies, as the only way to remove them is a coup of the rich r a popular (and therefore violent) uprising. At least you’ve had the opportunity to dump Bush – we’re stuck with Queenie, however ridiculous it gets. Although she has probably done a better job of undermining the foundations of her right to rule that Bush has. You lot still believe democracy is the right & good way! You’d have thought the royal family would have learned from history – the public don’t care about extra-marital affairs, but having an aging prince of wales with no job to do is a recipe for disaster.

    IMO the third world war will be a religious one not an economic one. It’s already started. When history looks back at the 21st Century they will see a continuous stream of religious wars, covering the whole world.

    I see Ethiopia has admitted they started it. o save themselves from those nasty Islamists in Somalia who want to sit round a table and talk. Pah, who wouldn’t attack with overwhelming force in those circumstances?

    Congratualtions on being the first American I have seen to state that Iran’s nuclear programme is legal. Perhaps if the western world even offered to practise what we preach, we might get a little more respect from other countries! Bush is happily denying there is any issue about anything domestically, and Blair wants to build a dozen more nuclear plants in the UK!

    juggling mother

    December 24, 2006 at 7:11 am

  4. Thanks for the note re USGS copyrights, I figured as much but didn’t look it up.

    Yes, I have some idealistic ideas about Monarchies too, but practically it is flawed. IE a benevolent monarch would be great, but there is ample evidence that power does indeed corrupt, and there’s the ugly problem of succession/dealing with bad Monarchs. I find the parallels between say monarchies and dynastic aspects of the US presidents fascinating, that is definitely part of my interst in Monarchies. (Plus I am Canadian born and we think we have knights in our family tree.)

    Historically speaking, ethnic violence is the big killer, religious violence runs a distant second. But it’s not cut and dried, religion is often used to justify ethnic or other types of violence and rile up supporters. I mean, the US has military forces in the Middle east to protect “our” oil, yet the people fighting back are in large part inspired by Islam. Yet the US would still be in the Middle East Islam or no, and people would still be resisting violently, Islam or no. My take is that leaders usually choose violence for economic and political reasons, yet frequently use violence to justify themselves and motivate their followers. Does this make the resulting war a “religious” war? Does it matter? Am I making any sense at all?

    I don’t know but I love getting feedback because it makes me think. As for the west practising what it preaches, I’m not holding my breath. Sigh.

    Thanks and regards. JMO —Doug


    December 24, 2006 at 10:12 am

  5. All wars are about territory, by some accounts. Lots of excuses are made, to justify the unjustifiable. Religion is often convenient for this purpose, but nowhere in the New Testament will you find a basis for legitimating war, at any rate. Crusade and Jihad are the same thing, the same word even, just pronounced and spelled differently.

    Monarchy is a nice word for what is, in modern language, called totalitarianism or fascism. Even if you have a “benevolent” despot, no person however well intentioned is capable of making decisions on behalf of so many people without making injurious mistakes. More to the point, everyone makes injurious mistakes on occasion, but if power is limited the impact is not so destructive on such a wide scale.

    We could argue over the psychology of monarchs/dictators but at the bottom it’s the results that matter. Try arguing political philosophy with the victims.


    December 25, 2006 at 11:57 am

  6. * peeks in and looks around*

    i’m sure it wasn’t my fault


    hope u guys are fine though… :D

    can’t ur cats tell when an earthquake is coming?


    December 28, 2006 at 2:33 pm

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