Southeast Asian Cataclysm

I’m sure most people have heard about the magnitude 9.0 earthquake that struck yesterday in the Indian Ocean. Upwards of 12,000 dead at the moment, mainly from tsunamis. I’ve been reading news reports throughout the day and this is only getting worse. I donated some money to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, who are appealing for roughly 6.5 million dollars to assist victims of the earthquake. Definitely donate if you get a chance.

Second order of news relates to the asteroid 2004 MN4 that was discovered this summer. Based on observations carried out over the past 6 months, astronomers concluded that there was a small probability of impact with Earth when it passed by in 2029. Initially estimates placed this at a 1/233 chance of happening. Further observations on Thursday required astronomers to revise their estimates to a 1/63 chance of impact and observations on Friday brought that number down to a 1/45 chance! That is still a 98% probability of it completely missing earth, but is still “low” enough to warrant quite a bit of interest. It will be interesting to see what further observations conclude in the next week.

However, using the Earth Impact Effects Calculator that was created by researchers at the University of Arizona, one can plug in some info based on what we know about this asteroid. While this asteroid is dangerous on a regional scale, it isn’t big enough to create global extinctions. That is somewhat reasssuring, though if 2004 MN4 were to hit, it would still leave a crater nearly 3 miles in diameter.

Third order of news: I saw The Phantom of the Opera tonight with my sister, aunt, cousin and my parents. While I haven’t seen the play yet (due to circumstances not working out every time it’s in town), I decided to go anyway! The movie was absolutely phenomenal! At the moment, it probably ranks as one of my favorite movies of all time. If you have any interest in the musical, check this thing out.

Lastly, in a bit of a geek fest earlier today (and taking time out from reading earthquake news), I coded up a neat little search page with the help of this website. I also added a search box. This allows you to search for any sort of subject matter in my blog and it will bring up a list of all posts that contain that word or phrase. Pretty nifty in my opinion. For example: How many posts do I talk about guitars? 🙂 Just a small example of what’s possible.

Anyway, I hope everyone had a great weekend whether they celebrate Christmas or not. It was definitely great to see a lot of family that I haven’t seen in awhile. Plus… my reunion with pumpkin pie!