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Prof. Boerner's Explorations

Thoughts and Essays that explore the world of Technology, Computers, Photography, History and Family.


Category: News
Edited by Gerald Boerner



JerryPhotoI sat in awe as I watched the Tsunami the hit Sendai, Japan, today. To see that thirty foot high wall of water rushing over the countryside taking houses, trains, cars and any other obstacle out as it progressed. Here in Southern California we live with earthquakes of 6.0 + range, but the quake that generated today’s tsunami was an 8.9, about a thousand times more powerful than the largest one that I remember (an 7.1).

The area that generated this tsunami was about 150 miles by 500 miles in size — larger than anything that I have ever thought of. I remember seeing History Channel programs about the Dam Buster raids in the Ruhr valley during World War II. I also remember seeing the sequence in the movie, “Force 10 from Navarone,” that used the force of water from a “blown” dam to destroy a bridge that could not be taken down by explosives. Such is the power of water!


The current post presents some basic facts about tsunamis for your understanding. I have included an excerpt from a Washington Post article as well as a short video of the event. Let us remember the victims and survivors of this tragedy in our prayers… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 3050 Words ]


Quotations Related to TSUNAMI:


“Being here, it is just impossible to imagine what that was like, when the tsunami hit.”
— Connie Sellecca

“Britain can be proud of its response to the tsunami appeal.”
— Gordon Brown

“What is perhaps more worthy of note than how many tsunami dead we’ve seen, however, is how many other recent dead we have not seen.”
— Bruce Jackson

continue reading…

Holocaust Day marked at Nazi death camp Auschwitz

RIP, Auschwitz, May you always be remembered and never repeated… During World War II, the Nazi forces sent European Jews and other ‘Undesirables’, were sent here to be sorted into those to be worked to death or gassed immediately. Those who remained alive were in tragic condition. But 65 years ago, the remaining inmates were liberated by the Allied Forces. A skeleton of the original camp remains today as an “eternal” memorial to those who were sacrificed there.

Let us reflect upon the culture that allowed such camps to exist and work to prevent it from happening again. Human life is worth more than that…


BBC News – Holocaust Day marked at Nazi death camp Auschwitz

Events have taken place at Auschwitz to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp, as the world marks Holocaust Memorial Day.

Elderly survivors gathered in freezing weather in Poland, where the camp was built under German occupation.

Israel’s prime minister and president urged that the Holocaust should never be forgotten, mourned its dead, and warned of a new danger posed by Iran.

More than a million people were murdered by the Nazis at Auschwitz.

The great majority were Jews but they also included non-Jewish Poles, Roma Gypsies and Soviet prisoners of war.

… [MORE]

Well, it’s finally happened: Google stands up to the Chinese!

Google announced today that they will NOT censor the Chinese search results as requested by the government. This is a very important and needed step in the assurance that the information on the web be freely available, not filtered through some narrow ideology. There are implications for both global politics and censorship itself…

What do you think on this issue? Leave a comment and let me know…


The Global Implications of Google’s Stand Against Chinese Censorship 

Google dropped a bombshell today, declaring that it won’t censor Chinese search results after sophisticated attacks on the Gmail accounts of Chinese human activists. This opens the door not only for China to kick Google out of its country, but for a renewal of the battle over censorship and government oppression in China.

I’m going to divide this analysis of the ramifications of Google’s (Google) decision into three sections: what this means for China, the impact of the decision on global politics, and its potential effect on censorship itself.

… [MORE]

Facebook’s New Privacy Changes…

Are the new Privacy Policy changes for the interest of the users or are they intended to advance another agenda? From this and other reports, it would seem that Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg thinks that the only way to compete with Twitter is to change access: everyone is your friend.

Do you agree that Facebook & Twitter are serving the same purpose? Let me know…


Why Facebook’s Privacy Changes are Detrimental to Users 

Facebook’s recent privacy changes mean users have less control over the publication of actions like joining groups. Here’s why this may deter certain uses of the network.

Though Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg says that public is the new “social norm,” many members who use the social network for professional and business reasons have lost the ability to conduct certain actions privately as a result of changes made to the settings.

And despite this being a reflection and a catalyst of our social activities becoming more public through the likes of Twitter and other sites, not having the option to control certain aspects in some ways is detrimental to the way we use the site and has the potential to deter users from using the site freely.

… [MORE]

Social Media has invaded our lives…

But is Facebook responsible for an increase in divorces, as the Telegraph reports in the UK? Doubtful… This article is based on the results from one law firm. It would be interesting to see if the same findings would hold for a larger sample of law firms or especially here in the U.S. When will the public start to learn that the easiest way to lie with statistics is to use small sample sizes which will undoubtedly differ from the "reality" of the phenomenon…

What do you think? Let me know with a comment…


Facebook Is Destroying the Sanctity of Marriage [REPORT] 

Stop the digital presses: People use Facebook to cheat on their spouses and said cheating leads to d-i-v-o-r-c-e (in case there are kids in the room), or so says a rather reactionary piece in the Telegraph.

The British paper seeks to cast Facebook as a enemy to the sanctity of marriage, citing evidence along the lines of:

“One law firm, which specialises in divorce, claimed almost one in five petitions they processed cited Facebook.”

Although the ratio of one in five is staggering, the fact that the reporter only mentions a single law firm is wholly unconvincing. I’m sorry, Telegraph, but one law firm does not a trend make.


For better or worse, Technology has changed childhood…

This article suggests ten technologies, including Facebook, that have changed our children. Another ten technologies, especially online games, that parents could have done without. These technologies have forever changed the environment in which children grow up. Unfortunately, this is probably not the end of the changes that will be brought on be technologies that we are not even aware of at this time…

What do you think? Make a comment with your ideas…


The Digital Decade: 20 Things That Forever Changed Childhood – Parenting on Shine 


Consider this: At the turn of the millennium, what technology issue worried us? Y2K. Our kids listened to CDs on portable players. Laptops and lap dogs weighed about the same. If you wanted to watch a TV show after it aired, you had to program a VCR. AOL ruled email, which most of us accessed through dial-up. Kids surfed the ocean, not the Web; they played games on Game Boys and used their phones to talk, not text; and social networking happened at the mall.

The first decade of the 21st century has been packed with innovations and entertainment that have forever changed childhood — and parenting. Some of these have been fabulous. Others? Not so great. But all have revolutionized how our kids communicate, create, learn, and play.

Here, in no particular order, are the best and worst of the last decade — the stuff that we at Common Sense Media feel has truly rocked our kids’ world.


All is fair in Love and War? No Necessarily So…

The General in charge of U.S. forces in the northern regions of Iraq has released a directive (on November 4th) that will subject any woman who gets pregnant while in country and the soldier who is responsible for that state to courts-martial…

Why? Because he doesn’t want to lose troops under his command! That is a sound reason for punishing soldiers in a selected area of a battle zone, isn’t it?

Let’s hear what you think…


U.S. soldiers in Iraq could face courts-martial for getting pregnant – 

imageA new order from the general in charge of northern Iraq makes getting pregnant or impregnating a fellow soldier an offense punishable by court-martial.

The directive, part of a larger order restricting the behavior of the 22,000 soldiers under Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo’s command, is meant to prevent losing soldiers at a time when troop strength is stretched thin, Cucolo explained in a statement sent to the troops under his command and provided to CNN.

"I need every soldier I’ve got, especially since we are facing a drawdown of forces during our mission," Cucolo wrote. "Anyone who leaves this fight earlier than the expected 12-month deployment creates a burden on their teammates. Anyone who leaves this fight early because they made a personal choice that changed their medical status — or contributes to doing that to another — is not in keeping with a key element of our ethos."


Want to see that new movie on DVD, but don’t know if it is worth buying?

Well, Redbox is here to help… You can rent a movie title for one day of viewing to see if it is what you want. No more going to the local video rental store only to find out that they don’t have any copies left. Sounds great? It is, but the movie industry sees only RED — a loss of revenues from people who do not buy the movie after seeing it!

Oh well, such is life…


Redbox: The Enemy of the Entertainment Industry? [STUDY] 


If bargain movie rentals are your thing, then you’ve probably already happened on those bright red self-servce kiosks that dispense movie rentals at a ridiculously low price of a $1 per movie per night.

The company is called Redbox, and while their service is an entertainment hit with consumers (they have 19 percent share of DVD rentals), they’ve attracted the ostentatious indignation of studios who are feeling the pinch of major declines in movie sales.

Now new research, embedded below, from the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp. (LAEDC) further paints Redbox as the enemy of the entertainment industry. Data estimates that Redbox’s discounted movie prices will cost the entertainment industry $1 billion in revenue and account for 9,280 jobs lost.

… [MORE]

How to successfully navigate your Holiday office (non-)party…

This article provides some very good suggestions on how to survive the office get-together this holiday season. The top tip: the holiday party is NOT really a party, but part of your work requirement. Therefore, you should show up, remain for at least an hour, and BEHAVE yourself — No flirting is allowed…

Read this and take it to heart; it may help you keep your JOB!


20 Tips for Your Workplace Holiday Non-Party – Yahoo! Finance 

office-party With Thanksgiving over, you’re no doubt beginning to see articles listing do’s and don’ts for the workplace holiday party.

Mostly don’ts…

But, you know, there’s really only one thing you need to remember. And it’s simple:

A workplace holiday party is not really a party.

In fact, it’s downright misleading to even call it a "party." It’s actually a "business event." As in, "work." Therefore, the way to successfully navigate your workplace holiday party is to treat it like work. Confuse it for a night out with old college buddies, your siblings, or even the members of your book club, and you have created a recipe for career disaster.

Sounds rather gloomy and unfestive, doesn’t it? Fret not. You do still get to have (some) fun. You do still get to eat and drink (some) at the company’s expense. The trick is simple: Always remember the "work" in workplace holiday party, and you’ll be OK. … [MORE]

Wildlife restoration programs sometimes work better than at other times…

The wolf reintroduction program along the Arizona/New Mexico border appears to be in trouble. This article discusses some of the factors involved and the points of view of many of the interested parties — wolves excepted…

Read this over to get a better perspective on some of the issues and options… Share your ideas through comments…


Wolf recovery at crossroads in the Southwest – Yahoo! News 

A decade has passed since the federal government began returning endangered Mexican wolves to their historic range in the Southwest. It hasn’t worked out — for the wolves, for ranchers, for conservationists or for federal biologists.

And that has resulted in frustration and resentment by many involved in the reintroduction program along the Arizona-New Mexico border, a landscape of sprawling pine and spruce forests, cold-water lakes and clear streams.

"I believe in being a good steward of the land and preserving it for generations to come, but this is ridiculous," said Ed Wehrheim, who heads the county commission in Catron County, in the heart of wolf country. "I’ve had ranchers’ wives come to me just bawling because everything they and their parents have worked for is going down the drain." … [MORE]