There’s too many people out there actually get to know them all. While I’m walking down the street, or through a park or through a store, I pass by hundreds of faces and there is no way that I could possibly have enough time to get to know all of these people. In the grocery store, for example, I might pass four or five different people while walking around a single corner of an aisle. There’s no time to get to know all these people and I find it impossible to walk past them without conjuring up an instant impression of who they are. Therefore, I am confessing that I am consciously and unremittingly judgmental.
It’s not that I categorize people by “race” or gender. That would be stupid, given that there’s so many different kinds of people of every “race” or either gender. Nor do I judge people by what seems to be their social economic status. I know many people who work blue-collar jobs who are as smart as anyone I’ve ever met. I have friends who drive old cars when they could afford new cars. Or who wear unpretentious clothing by careful conscious design. I know people who walk, take public transportation or bicycle because they prefer to get around that way. I know people who shop frugally even though they could afford almost anything at all. I know people who are sharp as can be, even though they don’t sound like it when they speak. Therefore, how is it that it is possible to be judgmental in good conscience?
Can human beings cause earthquakes? Scientists are seriously debating this issue. Some are suggesting that the immense amount of water piled behind the Zipingpu Dam triggered a nearby fault that killed 80,000 people in China. The story is covered in the January 16, 2009 edition of Science (available online only to subscribers.). The reservoir began filling in 2004 and the 7.9 earthquake occurred in 2008.
The article cites seismologists who claim that you don’t need much mechanical disturbance to trigger it an earthquake.
Removing fluid or rock from the crust, as in oil production or coal mining, could do it. So might injecting fluid to store waste or sequester carbon dioxide, or adding the weight of 100 meters or so of water behind the dam.
Some scientists suggest other possible occurrences. For instance, they suggest that the water piled behind the Koyna Dam caused a 6.3 trembler that killed 200 people in India in 1967.
I do realize that earthquakes can be lethal, so I shouldn’t sound as though I’m making light of them. The reason for the title is a chapter of the original Christopher Reeve Superman Movie. In the movie, Villain Lex Luthor started an earthquake by aiming an atomic warhead cruise missile along the San Andreas fault. That part of the movie is something I wondered about for many years. Can humans set off earthquakes? Based on this article in Science, the notion is at least plausible.
People are like donuts–topologically, that is. My daughters and I explored this strange statement with a clay figure modeled around a pen (and then I pulled the pen out). What is topology? Topology (Greek topos, “place,” and logos, “study”) is the branch of mathematics that studies the properties of a space that are preserved under [...]
How (corn) ethanol kills: a lesson in basic economics pertaining to fuel supply, fuel demand and price.
In an earlier post, I argued that people need to better appreciate that dollars are fungible (see here and here). Why is it important to understand that dollars are fungible? A case in point is the new American enthusiasm for turning food into fuel. Consider this report from Fortune Magazine: The growing myth that corn [...]