December 29, 2004


Shaanxi, Shanxi, and Henan Provinces of China on February 2, 1556. Believed to have killed approximately 830,000 people.

Tangshan, China, on July 28, 1976. The official figure of 242,000 deaths.

Earthquake off the coast of Sanriku, Japan, in 1896, approximately 27,000 people were drowned when a tsunami hit the coast. A wave that struck Shirahama had a distance between wave trough and peak of 38.2 m (125 ft).

A magnitude 8.2 earthquake in Kanto Plain, Japan in 1923, destroyed an estimated 575,000 dwellings in Tokyo and Yokohama. The official total of people killed and missing in the quake and its resultant fires was 142,807.

The Napier earthquake in 1931 killed 258 people and was 7.8-7.9 on the Richter scale. The area was raised 1-2 meters.

On January 23 1855, the Wairarapa Fault ruptured in a 8.1-8.2 magnitude earthquake and the entire Wellington Region was tilted westward. About 5,000 square kilometers of land was shifted vertically, with uplift of 6m near Turakirae Head and 1-2m in the Wellington Harbour. The greatest horizontal movement along the fault was 12m. A tsunami washed over Lyall and Evans Bays, flooded shops along Lambton Quay despite arriving at low tide.

A large, shallow quake along the Wellington Fault, say magnitude 7.4, which happened during the day would kill 400 people. We could expect about 2,800 homes and other buildings to be destroyed and another 100,000 buildings to be damaged in some way.

The 1989 San Fransisco earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale killed around 75 people and damaged 100,000 buildings. In contrast, the 1906 earthquake killed around 700 people at a similar magnitude.

The Kobe earthquake in 1995 killed over 5,000 people, and had a magnitude of 7.2. Very few of the buildings built to the strict 1981 building code were damaged. An 8.0 earthquake in Hokaido in 2003 only killed one person. The Great Kanto earthquake (magnitude 8.2) in Tokyo in 1923 killed over 200,000.

The Mexico City earthquake of 1985 was an 8.1 and killed around 8,000 people.

The earthquake which flattened Bam in Iran on Boxing Day last year was only 6.6 but killed 26,271 people due to the traditional building materials and techniques.

The 9.5 magnitude earthquake in southern Chile in 1960 killed more than 2,000 people injured 3,000 and left 2,000,000 homeless, tsunami caused 61 deaths in Hawaii; 138 deaths in Japan; 32 dead and missing in the Phillippines. The tsunami also knocked over some of the Easter Island giant statues.

The Lisbon earthquake was estimated at 8.0 on the Richter scale and killed around 60,000 people.

Around 25,000 were killed in Armenia in 1988 in an earthquake of only 6.9 in magnitude.


In case anyone cares (or remembers at a relevant moment) I'll be heading to the Aro Valley Community Centre or Te Aro Primary School if a bad quake hits Wellington (though probably after leaving word at the local Civil Defence Centre for the are I am in at the time - and assuming I can still get around ok).

Posted by carla at 03:38 PM

December 26, 2004

happy christman and merry new year

This link has phrases saying merry christmas and happy new year in many, many, many languages (including Maori, Welsh and Cree).

Posted by carla at 08:54 AM

December 21, 2004

in the spirit of christmas

Whatever I feel about a large Christian symbol adorning Mt Victoria, it does seem a little macabre to celebrate the birth of a child with an instrument of torture. I mean, what sort of message does that send?

"Hi sweet Baby Jesus, just thought we'd welcome you with the method of your demise. Enjoy hanging out with the human folk."

I can just hear the warmth in the voice from here...

Posted by carla at 09:27 PM

December 13, 2004

who knew?

anchovies and boiled egg taste good togther.


Posted by carla at 03:09 PM

December 12, 2004

eating your cake

Colin James' Nov 30th article includes this quote:

"The government has been fiscally prudent; the private sector has not."

This alludes to the idea that the government has been carefully stashing surpluses, but households and businesses haven't.

This raises some points for me:

1. The Neo liberalists argued that government was inefficient because it was inherantly set up to spend more rather than act prudently. Interestingly very little of New Zealand's political history (post-Muldoon) would indicate that to be true.

2. Why would private organisations find circumstances different from the state? Why are we more optimistic about our ability to pay off our debt? The overall state of the economy affects income, profits and taxes equally, we have the same data, what possible reason (given that we are all rational) would private organisations and citizens have for coming to different conclusions?

Point 1 was kinda obvious, but interesting. I'd love the neo liberals to try as hard to explain it as they did to explain how it could never happen...

Point 2 worries me. Perhaps the idea that the government is being responsible is causing the population to be foolhardy. Perhaps pessimism in tax take projections is sexy in government at the moment (it certainly let Clark and Cullen take the wind out of Brash's sails). Perhaps saving is in some way unfashionable (like prunes). Perhaps people are so used to having their debt comfort zone stretched they have whole new settings. Perhaps people are lacking information about how debt works. Perhaps money is cheap and the government is poorer than the private sector? Perhaps people just think that they have no control over the slings and arrows of outrageous economic effects so they're just going to take the goodies while they can. Maybe student debt is just so big it is skewing the results (and yes, I could usefully research this, but can't be bothered right now. Maybe tomorrow morning).

p.s. For those of you who are now more depressed, anxious or irritated than you were at the beginning of this post, um.....

think kittens, or possibly pumpkins?

Posted by carla at 09:15 PM

December 10, 2004

humanity and human rights

In her speach on the Civil Union Bill, Judy Turner said something I think is interesting.

"I, for instance, do not believe that marriage is a human right. I believe that human rights are about those things that add to one’s survival and to what it means to be human—anything that contributes to one’s humanness."

Which I think is a massive contradiction.

I'm aware of the lurking miasma of insinuating that people who aren't in relationships just to my right. What I think I mean is that the process of being in (some) relationships adds to people's humanness. I think relationships can contain some of the hardest work and greatest achievements in a person's life. This adds very much to people's humanness.


In the same debate, Lockwood Smith apologised twice for voting against the Homosexual Law Reform Bill in 1986. And once for (I think) voting against the Human Rights Amendment in the early 1990s.

And still didn't vote for the CU Bill.

Posted by carla at 07:54 AM

December 07, 2004

you're all just breeding units

No kidding, that was the contribution to the debate about the Civil Union Act in Parliament tonight from Judy Turner of united Future. The main criteria for marriage is being a "breeding unit". Me and my friend E nearly started laughing hysterically (which would probably have resulted in us being ejected from the Public Gallery). Same sex couples should not be able to get married because they are "non-breeding units".

Others were more interesting: Stephen Franks and Maurice Williamson appeared to spend their entire speaches explaining why we should be repealing the Marriage Act rather than passing a Civil Union Act.

Tim Barnet won the delivery contest, but I can't remember what the substance of his speach was as it added almost nothing to the debate.

Bill English avoided explaining his conscience by explaining that the Bill didn't explain what the Civil Union would result in. This is possibly a valid point, but they pass a hell of a lot of legislation which is vague and hopeful - why not now?

My winner of the bit of the night I saw was the Member for Invercargill (Mark Peck), who rested his conscience on his definition of Christian values. I can't remember exactly what they were, but he explained them in the tone of one who believes the best of people - which I wish had characterised the tone of more of the debate.

I'll be attempting to remember to put a link to the transcripts here later. My guess is Hansard will have them here in 2-4 years.

Posted by carla at 08:26 PM