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Updated: 12/28/04

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Tuesday, 28 December, 2004

The scale of the tragedy in South Asia is simply mind-boggling. Yesterday they were saying 23,000 dead and I felt that was light, figuring at least 50,000.

By noon today, the number had passed 55,000.

I get e-mail alerts from the USGS advising of earthquakes above 5.0 around the world. Beginning at 9:15 on Christmas night, I began receiving messages - I have gotten 35 of them since then. Here is the first one - the magnitude was later upgraded to 9.0:

2004/12/26 00:58 M 8.5 OFF W COAST OF NORTHERN SUMATRA Z= 10km 3.30N 95.78E

This information is provided by the USGS
National Earthquake Information Center.
(Address problems to: sedas@ghtmail.cr.usgs.gov)

These parameters are preliminary and subject to revision.

A magnitude 8.5 earthquake OFF THE W COAST OF NORTHERN SUMATRA has occurred at:
3.30N 95.78E Depth 10km Sun Dec 26 00:58:50 2004 UTC

Time: Universal Time (UTC) Sun Dec 26 00:58:50 2004
Time Near Epicenter Sun Dec 26 06:58:50 2004

Location with respect to nearby cities:
250 km (155 miles) SSE of Banda Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia
320 km (200 miles) W of Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia
1260 km (780 miles) SSW of BANGKOK, Thailand
1605 km (1000 miles) NW of JAKARTA, Java, Indonesia

They are estimating 25,000 dead on the island of Sumatra alone.

TsunamiHelp is a website that is collecting information on the earthquake, tsunamis and victims. They also provide information on how to donate to relief efforts around the world. Even better, Command Post has a full page of links to relief organizations across the globe. Or just go to The American Red Cross.

On a much happier note, Mom's cookies arrived - much to the joy of my office!! Actually, they arrived before the move, but got mixed up with all the other boxes and I didn't discover them until last Friday. No complaints from the tasting public, however. Everyone raves about them and looks forward to this annual event. She usually does a couple of standards - chocolate chip and the one bowl brownies - and then adds some new ones. This year it was oatmeal raisin, sugar cookies and brittle peanut bars. Now, Mom, your note said that you weren't sure about those last ones, but I have to tell you that they are drawing the highest praise this year.

But I still think the chocolate chips are the best.

[And the brownies.]

Quote du jour:

It may be the way the cookie crumbles on Madison Avenue, but in Honk Kong it's the way the egg rolls."

-- Robert Orben (1927 - ____)

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