Thursday, June 18, 2015

Touched by disaster

That's a weird title I hear you say ...

My brain is the type that tends to have random thoughts firing off completely at ... random. Tonight's random brain cell firing was from a chat on the bus on the way home, we were talking about cars ...

How's that connected to disaster ? Valid question. Very valid question. The random neurons went from the circumstances of the car to more general thoughts.

How often have you been affected by a genuine disaster ? I can think of 3 times for me offhand and there's a few where disasters happened nearby but didn't directly affect me. The UK is pretty lucky for that, our land is geologically stable so no earthquakes, we rarely get affected by megawinds and our coasts are fairly well protected from freak waves.

First up is the one that touched everybody - September 11th 2001. I was over here at a design review when that happened. Some of the chief execs for the company hosting the review were on one of the planes. 2001 affected everyone, it genuinely changed the world. I don't think it changed the paranoia level of most of our intelligence agencies but it did give them justifications (excuses ?) for steadily increasing intrusiveness.

The second was the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 which is more widely known for what happened with the Fukushima nuclear plant*. Amongst the problems caused by the earthquake was widespread damage to Japan's industrial infrastructure. This included their automobile factories. This is about the time I was looking to change my Focus to something resembling a good car and the Toyota Prius, Honda CR-Z and Lexus CT were on my list, quickly being narrowed down to the Lexus for its quality.

*(This will be a tragedy for the planet because the good engineering was not recognised, the bad engineering caused knock on problems and set back the cause of nuclear power. What is the least polluting, outside of the low volumes of waste, source of power ? Nuclear).

Earthquake vs car ? They couldn't build them fast enough to keep up with the demand. There had been too much damage to the infrastructure. New CTs were taking ? 3 months to deliver ? I think. Used CTs were rare and almost full price for 6 month old cars. Compare that to now and Lexus seem quite desperate for me to think about having another IS. The infrastructure has been rebuilt and supply has caught up to demand. And I'm seeing a fair few CTs and IS's around, very few CR-Z (it's a nasty, ugly attempt and fails at being a sports coupe) and not many Prius.

The last time is the floods that affected Thailand. Where are most of the hard disc factories ? They were underwater in Bangkok at about the time I was looking to build Pumpkin. The result was that instead of umming and ahhing over whether to get a SSD drive for Pumpkin, it forced my decision because I was unable to buy a conventional drive at an affordable price.

Translation - I had to use a little fast disc with an old big disc from the last machine instead of a new big slow one. And I was able to catch up later.

Yep. I haven't been at all badly affected by disasters, although I've seen their effects from afar. I don't like to talk about things like disasters too much, you see way too much of that from the news media and it's far better informed (cough - Fox - cough) than what I'll know about.

But I do work with people who occasionally get dispatched off to help with disaster relief and I think that's awesome. It's them using the tools we give them for an incredibly positive purpose.

You might be thinking - how about the floods ? how about the hurricane ? We heard about the infamous Michael Fish hurricane report and the aftermath but it missed us completely. The Somerset flooding of a couple of years ago was fairly close to where I live but I didn't see any of it, outside of seeing waterlogged fields by the side of the motorways.

I've been lucky to avoid any real nasty effects from disasters. Being inconvenienced with buying stuff is of zero significance next to the real trauma and loss suffered by those caught up in natural disasters.

Looking back (in the pre-publish check that always misses typos and wrong words !), Chernobyl happened when I was 11. Can't remember how we adjusted to that but we were very nervously watching the news for the spread of the fallout cloud, with the news telling us about how it would contaminate the milk supply for decades to come.

Over to you, have you been involved in a natural disaster ? (Outside of bedrooms and unkempt gardens) Can you talk about what happened ?
I hope you weren't too seriously affected !

Cya and hope for good times.

1 comment:

  1. Enjoying your blog. Particularly liked the Banksy coke bottle. The first natural disaster I can think of that directly affected me was the 1971 LA earthquake. Serious jolt at 6am and then off of work for several days while the schools were being checked for damage. We were caught in a forest fire the next summer driving in the Yukon. Had to drive in caravans when they let us. Thanks for commenting on my Sitemeter problems post. Thanks for the Statcounter recommendation. It looks good and Imay switch. I'll give Sitemeter a few more days to get back working.


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