Tag Archives: earthquake

Links: Yen Droid Mobile Woot Quake!

I’ve always wondered how the name of Japan’s currency ended up meaning “craving” or desire in English. It turns out to be coincidence, probably from the Chinese yáhn or yin, “craving.” Word of the Day: yen.

TweetUp acquires Twidroid and changes its name to Twidroyd “to ensure minimal confusion with products from Lucas Films.” Fortunately no one will mistake Lucas Films for Lucasfilm

Last month, KTLA reported on a 3.3 earthquake in the Inland Empire. “Dozens of residents” in the region felt it. Dozens! Wow!

I have to agree with @rzazueta: Woot’s Amazon buyout report is an instant classic (via @boingboing)

Chart of the Day presents: What people are actually doing with their cellphones (aside from talking) based on a Pew survey on mobile internet use. (via @ThisIsTrue)


That was a surprisingly long earthquake. When it started, it was mild enough that I thought it was just someone walking heavily across the office. (I wonder how many small quakes I don’t notice because of that?) After about 20 seconds, the shaking got stronger…and it just kept going. 60 seconds? 90? USGS rates it at 5.4 near Anza-Borrego.

Links: Doomed Data, Web Services, WTF Textbook Questions & More

An experiment: I’ve modified* Twitter Tools to create digest posts as drafts instead of publishing immediately. That gives me a chance to edit a week’s worth of random thoughts and links down to the interesting stuff, clean things up a bit, expand things that could use more detail, and remind myself of items that I wanted to write more about later.

If it works out, and if the plugin still offers digests after it’s rewritten to use OAuth, I’ll probably use this same setup to make sure I keep on top of linkblogging at Speed Force.

*It was pretty simple. I just looked for the function that creates digests, then changed the post_status from publish to draft.

The Links

  • Why information storage is hard: The Universe Hates Your Data.
  • Interesting analogy: Facebook, Twitter, and the iPhone aren’t quite ecosystems. Maybe it’s better to think of web services as governments. (via ma.tt)
  • WTF of the week: A book I was looking at on Amazon didn’t have any active discussions related to it, so Amazon showed me some random forum threads. They included this question on used textbooks: “Is it Ok if I used it to bludgeon several people to death with it?” Be sure to read the responses. [Edit: Amazon’s forums have been shut down.]
  • I love how Twitter’s status blog describes Wednesday morning’s outage as “high whales.”
  • Dear CNN: A 4.0 earthquake in California, especially one that didn’t cause any damage, is not breaking news. It’s more like business as usual. (It’s worth noting that a full day later, they haven’t updated the story with anything substantive…probably because there isn’t anything to add!)
  • Very cool: the Sci-Fi Airshow is a gallery of photorealistic images of spaceships from various science-fiction TV shows and movies set at, well, an air show. (via Bad Astronomy and SciFi Wire)

Earthquake Frequency

According to the USGS, the frequency of large earthquakes has remained constant over the last century. In a typical year, the planet has roughly 17 “major” earthquakes (measuring 7.0 to 7.9 on the Richter scale) and one “great” earthquake (measuring 8.0 or higher).

So, no, earthquakes are not increasing as a sign/symptom of the impending end of the world.

(via @2012hoax)

Update March 1: 2012hoax has a nice page showing how recent quakes fit into these statistics, including Haiti, Chile, and the one in Illinois a few weeks ago (which was really quite small — there are 130,000 quakes that size in any given year!).

Star Trek: Experiencing Seismic Activity

Finally went to see the new Star Trek movie on Friday, and enjoyed it quite a bit. As a long-term fan (if a lapsed one — I only watched the first 3-4 seasons of DS9, and gave up on Voyager and Enterprise after only a few episodes each, and still haven’t seen Nemesis) I liked it a lot.

We went again Sunday afternoon to see it in IMAX, but the 4:00 showing sold out while we were in line. So we bought tickets for 7:10 and bummed around the mall for the next three hours. Not my first choice, but with Terminator: Salvation taking over the IMAX screens in a few days, it was a limited window.

So we were in the movie during the earthquake.


Not that I noticed. I’d just leaned over to Katie to whisper something about a music cue reminding me of another soundtrack, so I was moving, and didn’t notice that the chair and floor were moving. (Similarly, I managed to miss the Whittier Narrows quake despite the fact that everyone I knew felt it. As near as I could tell, I must have been standing at or walking to/from my locker at the time.) But a murmur went through the entire audience as they realized what had just happened.

The timing was perfect, too — right at the point that characters in the film open a huge, loud, grinding door to a remote outpost. People thought at first that it was the speakers rumbling. Everyone settled down immediately and went back to watching the movie, but it was the second most popular topic of conversation among people leaving afterward.


It reminded me of another real-world/movie confluence, way back when I saw Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. That film opened with a massive explosion in space that sent a shock wave so far that it hit Captain Sulu’s ship, the Excelsior. Either at the moment of the explosion or at the moment it hit the ship, we heard an incredibly loud BOOM!, and thought at first that it was just a very impressive sound effect…until we noticed that the curtain was draped across a quarter of the screen. The curtain rod had broken during the movie. After a few minutes they stopped the movie, canceled a showing of something else, and moved us all over into another theater (it was opening night, and they had a theater full of Star Trek fans who’d waited for several hours to get in — they were not going to risk our wrath by sending us home, even with refunds).

Back to the Film

Judging by audience reaction, there were definitely lots of people seeing it for the first time today, so I’ll keep this non-spoilery as much as possible.

  • The film manages to recapture the Kirk, Spock and McCoy dynamic that gave the original show its heart.
  • Each character gets at least something to do, even if it does focus heavily on Kirk and Spock.
  • The actors really manage to convey the same characters, rather than new characters with the same names. Especially McCoy and Spock. Karl Urban in particular seems to be channeling DeForest Kelley the way Ewan MacGregor channeled Alec Guinness in the Star Wars prequels. (And yes, Kirk is different, but there’s a reason for it, and that reason is critical to the story and his character’s journey.)
  • The plot moves and holds together (mostly).
  • The effects of course are incredible.
  • They remembered that Trek can have humor — something that ST: TNG and later shows seemed to avoid as if it would somehow taint their artistic value (except when Q was around).
  • The nods to established elements of the series, from character quirks to design elements to music cues, that are there if you know what to look for, but don’t bog down the story if you don’t.

I had no problems with the obvious canon changes, and thought that the huge event 1/3 of the way in was probably the best way they could recapture dramatic suspense and establish the idea that anything can happen.

In fact, the things that bothered me have very little to do with other versions of Star Trek. Again, trying to be as non-spoilery as I can for the people who haven’t seen it.

  • Supernovas are not that dangerous unless you’re in the same solar system. For planet X to be destroyed, it would have to have been that planet’s sun that went supernova.
  • Another planet, to provide the view that it offered of a significant event, would have to have been a moon of the planet on which that event took place.
  • Engineering doesn’t look like a spaceship. It looks like a brewery.
  • It relies heavily on the same dead-relative-as-motivation trope that’s bothering me so much in Flash: Rebirth. But I can see what they were going for and why they did it.
  • A piece of miracle technology is invented which would revolutionize space travel to the point that it would make any further voyages irrelevant, and will most likely be ignored because of this. (Of course, the TV series did the same thing all the time.)


Also, while I liked Michael Giacchino’s music in context, it’s very repetitive. The theater was playing the score while we waited for the film to start, and an awful lot of it is the same theme, over and over, in different arrangements.

My favorite Star Trek music is a toss-up between James Horner’s scores for The Wrath of Khan and The Search for Spock, and Cliff Eidelman’s score for The Undiscovered Country. We were talking about the music before the movie, and neither of us could think of anything else Eidelman had done, so I looked him up on IMDB. It turns out that he’s written music for about 20 films since Star Trek VI, and I recognized almost all of them…I just hadn’t actually seen any of them.