Category Archives: Interesting News

August 23, 2011 East Coast Earthquake

Yesterday afternoon, we had a brief glimpse into what many Californians and others in earthquake prone areas experience regularly without a second thought. In my house, I was lying down and the wall next to my bed began shaking, the knick-knacks on the shelf attached to that wall began rattling. And there was a sound – a roaring sound. We have an elliptical machine which is about 2 feet away from that wall in the next room. I was sure one of the kids was on their pumping it really hard and causing this problem!
I jumped up…the words “What is going on out there?” falling from my lips as I rushed around the bed and to the door, which when I opened it, I realized the commotion had stopped and there was no one on the elliptical machine. In fact, Daniel, Katrina and Jack were all outside on the deck staring up at the sky! Daniel thought it had been caused by a low flying helicopter, but there wasn’t one in sight. We then realized it must have been an earthquake. First I went to Drudge Report, but there wasn’t any mention there. Then I went to Facebook to place a status update and couldn’t believe it as I started reading posts of friends near and far that they had just experienced an earthquake! When I saw a friend from NY posting, I knew we had just experienced something pretty big and unique.
Turning the TV on, I saw people filling the streets of DC and NY and just like after 9/11 all kinds of reports were coming in – The Washington Monument was tilting, there were cracks in the Smithsonian Main building, the Capitol Building and the White House were being checked for structural damage, local school systems were sending kids home…some of these reports came to nothing and meanwhile, our friends on the West Coast were scratching their heads…A 5.8? Really? And what’s all the fuss about?
We get tremors from time to time on the East Coast, but most of them go unnoticed. This one shook foodstuffs off of grocery store shelves, knocked over bookcases and entertainment centers, caused a few buildings to lose parts of themselves (everything from a lone brick to a complete wall), and left some buildings with large cracks in them.
The East Coast isn’t earthquake territory. Our buildings are not prepared and the sad part is that while we get quakes rarely, they do happen and when they happen, they are felt for a long, long way. This is because of the bedrock that is found under the east coast. Instead of the waves dissipating like they do in the sandy soil of the West Coast, they just keep trucking on in the bedrock of the East Coast. I read where one geologist said it would take several dozen earthquakes of a similar size on the West Coast to have the same reach as we had from one on the East Coast.
Fortunately, there are no reports of death that I am aware of from yesterdays earthquake. While there has been damage, it doesn’t appear to have been extensive. Though, now with a major hurricane aimed at the Northeast, there is concern that buildings weakened by the shaking may not fair well in the high winds that are predicted.
I think the thing that struck me most was the fear that the shaking brought to the forefront for our countrymen in NYC. With the 10th anniversary of 9/11 quickly approaching, and with the memories etched into the minds of those who lived through 9/11 – yesterday’s shaking gave them several horrifying moments.
At this point you might want to stop reading if you don’t want to know more about earthquakes in the middle of our country that could have some effect on us. But, if you are curious, or fascinated (like I am) by all means, read on…You might not want to share with nervous youngsters though.
If you want to read about one of the most damaging series of earthquakes ever to hit the United States, you should check out New Madrid 1811-1812 earthquakes. That is reading that may put a bit of curl in your hair. There are even eye witness accounts. Here is some more information on the New Madrid quakes.
Below you will find a couple of interesting videos.

Some Headlines That Caught My Eye Today

Huge blob of Arctic goo floats past Slope communities – It isn’t oil. It is biological. It may be some sort of algae bloom, but no one remembers ever seeing anything like it. I am wondering if it is the Blob! After all, they did find the remains of a bird (bones and feathers) in it….
The tiddler who caught a monster: Schoolgirl angler nets record catch that’s twice her size and weighs 14stone – This is an amazing story! This young English girl has broken the world’s record too!

H1N1 pandemic spreading too fast to count: WHO – This story just scares me! I am not only worried about the overall affect on the world of a pandemic, but I have plans to go to Australia and New Zealand in two months…geez!
Treatment neutralizes muscular dystrophy in mice – This is an awesome story! I once worked with a child with muscular dystrophy. She died when she was 4 years old. She was an amazing little girl. I know Jerry Lewis must be smiling.

Hand Sanitizer Warning

I received an email today that sent me to Snopes to learn about a threat I had never even thought of. My children are older and probably wouldn’t try to see what hand sanitizer tastes like, but for a younger child who likes to explore, a lick of hand sanitizer could cause them to end up in the hospital. Take a few moments to read this article and be sure to warn friends, family, schools and churches that you are in touch with. These events happened two years ago and I had never heard of them.

Maybe We Can Have Our Cake and Eat It Too

National Geographic is reporting about “Nanofoods” that may be just over the horizon. Nanofoods could be a nutritional break through in that they allow for us to have the flavor of the foods (isn’t that what we are after when we eat) without as many calories. There is still a lot of research to be done, but it is a very interesting concept. Slip over to National Geographic to learn more!

Lost “Sleeping Beauty” Mummy Formula Found

Rosalia Lombardo, a two-year-old Sicilian girl who died of pneumonia in 1920. “Sleeping Beauty,” as she’s known, appears to be merely dozing beneath the glass front of her coffin in the Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, Italy.
Can you believe this little beauty died and was buried in 1920? It’s amazing!
Now an Italian biological anthropologist, Dario Piombino-Mascali of the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman in Bolzano, has discovered the secret formula that preserved Rosalia’s body so well.
If you are interested in looking this good 88 years after you are buried, check out the rest of the article!

Another Reason to Enjoy a Cup of Coffee…

…or hot chocolate or tea…whichever your favorite warm beverage is. I love this time of year in the Northern Hemisphere. The days are getting shorter, the leaves are beautiful, chilly winds chase falling leves across the yard (and puppies scamper after them in delight). These are great days to sit by a fire, read a book, and enjoy a warm cup of ___________________ (fill in the blank with your favorite warm beverage).
Well, I was reading an interesting article at National Geographic that says holding a warm cup of beverage can give you a warmer outlook. People who are physically warmed were found to be more likely to buy a gift for a friend than themselves and to think more favorably of the person they are meeting with during or after the hand warming time.
I am thinking Starbucks should tune into this study to improve business during these economic times…invite your interviewer to Starbucks (or date or whatever) and you treat. Between the fact they aren’t picking up the tab and everyone is sitting around with a warm beverage…great things are bound to happen!

Gigantic River Cave in Laos and Virginian Caverns

When I was growing up, I spent one week each summer for several years with my maternal grandmother. She and I always had fun shopping, visiting, and sight seeing. Every year, she would take me to tour one of the local caves in the Shenandoah Valley, and over the years, I have visited almost every cavern in Virginia. The most well-known one, with the most amazing formations to view, is Luray Caverns. But all the caverns in Virginia are beautiful and if you are in our fine state, here are the Caverns you can look for.
Dixie Caverns
Natural Bridge Caverns
Grand Caverns
Endless Caverns
Skyline Caverns
Shenandoah Caverns
Ironically, there is a cavern in Virginia that I haven’t visited. It has only recently opened, and wouldn’t you know it…it is in my parent’s hometown of Strasburg – the very same town where I spent those summer weeks with my grandma. It is located on Hupp’s Hill (which is named after relatives on my mom’s side). One day, I’ll have to stop in and take a tour of Crystal Caverns.
The only other cavern I have ever visited was one in Colorado, Cave of the Winds. Daniel and I visited in during our honeymoon. We didn’t see the normal sights, though. We took what they called “A Walk on the Wild Side”. We dressed up in our most raggedy clothes and crawled on our hands and knees through places where the roof of the tunnel was just about against our back. It was amazing (and I was younger then). Not sure I would do that again.
I hope someday to visit Carlsbad Caverns and Ozark Caverns is because of a Trixie Belden book I read as a child. The Carlsbad Caverns are supposed to be spectacular.
What got me thinking about all of these caverns? Well, today I was reading about a Gigantic River Cave that has been recently mapped in Laos. Click on the link…the photos are amazing!

From the National Geographic website:

An expedition in February 2008, co-led by veteran caver John Pollack, comprehensively mapped and photographed the 5.9-mile (9.5-kilometer) length of the little-known cavern for the first time.
The spelunking team encountered some of the largest rooms and most impressive structures of any river cave on Earth, Pollack said.
A river cave is any cave with an active water source flowing through it.
Everything about the cave is big–from its towering entrances to its phobia-inducing spiders, which can be 10 inches (25 centimeters) across, Pollack added.
“It’s also extremely well decorated with spectacular formations,” Pollack said.

Who knows, maybe someday, I will be so lucky to visit such a cavern!