Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Rock the world!

The UK was hit by an earthquake in the wee hours today. Not exactly like the one that happened in San Francisco on 18th April 1906, which lasted for a full minute; the one in UK, which is just 200km north of London, lasted for a mere 10 seconds. For some, it was a very long 10 seconds indeed.

Unlike California, Indonesia or Japan, the UK is not on any major faultlines. Thus it's not surprising when some aren't quite sure what's going on. Due to the fact that it's relatively low on the Richter (4.7), some even slept through it. No fatalities and just one confirmed injured, Britons got away with it easy.

No major upheavals of roads, no fires due to damaged gas pipes and no cars fell through the cracks and towards the centre of the Earth although that would have been a pretty interesting journey. Other than some damaged chimneys and a few roof tiles lying on the road, the isle has nothing very much to show for.

But 27th Feb 2008 would always be remembered as 'the day when the beds shake'.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Doomsday Vault

An underground vault will start operation today on an island near Artic Ocean. The vault will house millions of seeds from the every corner of the Earth. The idea is to provide the 'new world' with a lease of life should doomsday arrive.

One question (ok, several actually) popped up the moment I saw the article. What are the chances of the vault surviving when doomsday come? Why stop only at one vault? It's a typical case of all eggs in a basket. Why not install a vault in the moon instead? There is a good chance that the aliens would neglect the moon when the invasion comes. What makes the scientist think that the conditions would be suitable for germination after doomsday? Wouldn't that be thinkering around with nature if new species have to compete with those stored in the vault?

Whatever the answers may be, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra is desperately trying to do its bit in delaying doomsday by charming Kim into deactivating all his nukes.

Friday, 22 February 2008

The greatest show on Earth (coming this winter!)

America loves having a show. Heck, in fact the whole world is watching with abated breath. Who is going to inherit Afghanistan? Who is going to prevent the Middle Eastern states from tearing each other apart and ensure that the oil continues to flow? Who is going to decide whether to whether to embrace China's increasing influence or to counter it? Whoever that is, it's not going to be a certain Mr. Bush. He is wise not to appear in any of the Republican rallies at all. In fact, he should do McCain a favour by throwing his weight behind the Democrats.

Clinton, with 2.5 million dollars of her own money in the campaign kitty, is looking a bit shaky. Doesn't help that she is trailling behind Obama in the electoral votes. Thinking that she has found a kink is Obama's armour, she struck out at him in a debtate yesterday only to be heckled by the audience. Barring a miracle (Obama would even survive a sex scandal), the stage is set for a fight between Obama and McCain. That's the strange thing about 'momentum'. Clinton should perhaps look towards cutting losses and hope to sit in as Obama's deputy with some of her own money still intact.

McCain, on the other hand, is not getting on any better even though he's obviously the frontrunner for the Republicans (regardless of what the party elders choose to believe).

Seriously, what do the public expect? There are bound to be skeletons in the closet of people who have tenaciously attain high office. It's really a matter of how deep you dig.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Space shooting race

Pentagon announced that the missile launched from a Navy warship has successfully hit an errant satellite, which if left unchecked, would spiral without control and hit the Earth causing harm with its toxic fuel. Well, that's the official story at least.

China launched a similar missile on 11 Jan 2007 to showcase their military capability to bring down satellite when the need arises. Russia's Putin is too busy wading in his oil pool to jump into the bandwagon.

Needless to say, both China and Russia were quick to point out that Pentogon's sacrificing one of its satellite to save the world is just a cover to test the capability of its missile in space. No one knows the truth. Not even President Bush for he's too busy bringing democracy to Cuba.

Will it be the start of a space shooting race? Will the thousands of satellite orbiting the Earth become fair game for all? Maybe you should run for cover the next time your GPS fails.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Youth's angst and depression...

Another young adult (Jenna Parry) was found hanged in Britain yesterday. Police suspect that it's another suicide case. It's the 17th case of its kind in the Bridgend area (south Wales) since the start of last year. The fact that a number of these incidents involve people who know or are related to each other fuels suspicions that it is a case of suicide pacts. Some blame the media for over reporting on the details for the earlier cases thus glamorising the acts and prompting copycat suicides.

Does the reponsibility lie with the media or are today's youth are less resilient? If the latter is true, does the society has a hand in it?

The act of suicide is indeed an irresponsible one. The victims (or perpetrators depending on how one looks at it) took their lives without regards as to how that might affect their families and the society at large. If our society's emphasis on the individual (instead of the community) is promoting such selfish actions, then wouldn't it be counterproductive to sympathise with the victims? Doing so would only push more youths to go down the same path as that would ensure attention being showered upon them even though it would proof to be meaningless.

The public has called for more emotional support (counselling etc.) to be provided for youths. In my opinion, it's like providing a second crutch to a person who should be learning how to get rid of the first one. Instead of getting youths to 'talk' about their angst and depression, efforts should be channelled towards building up the spirit of community with opportunities that will encourage youths to play a more active part in the local community. Doing that will enable youths understand the impact and implications of their individual actions.

Your thoughts on this matter?

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Democracy rules?

Fidel Castro announced his resignation as Cuban President today and Bush, expectedly, scrambled to suggest a fresh start with a Castro-free Cuba. For starters, the well heeled in Miami will have cheaper Cuban cigars after surviving on those smuggled in. Castro vowed to stay alive to see Bush leave the office. It reminds me of Deng Xiaoping, who struggled at his deathbed to see Hong Kong reverted to China's rule after a 99-year lease to Britain. He died a few months short of the handover ceremony. Bush, on the other hand, will retire as the President in November and Castro is hanging on tight.

I'm curious though. Is the democracy known to US beneficial to all? Would Cuba have flourished if Castro was not in the picture? Or would it end up being just another fledging nation plagued with poverty under a corrupt government? I've heard of Castro being dictatorial but no one has yet accused him of being corrupt.

In Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto's party has trounced President Musharraf's Pakistan Muslim League-Q. Bhutto would have her third shot as the head of the country if not for the unfortunate assination. Now that the 'tyrant' is going to be removed for sure, would Pakistan thrive in the name of democracy? Or will there be a power struggle within the coaliation of previously opposing political parties?

What do you think?