Friday, March 10, 2006

More 296C Notes

Class # 8: Transportation as the Victim

Tonight’s class had student presentations about each of the following events:

Pan Am 103 Plane Crash

Madrid Train Bombing

(Each item in the bullet list is a link to their Wikipedia entries.)

The student presentations were good. I especially liked one student’s description of the Kobe Earthquake, “it looked like a bunch of models being kicked around.”
I have my laptop, and the classroom is wireless so I look online at a Google search of the event as they’re talking about it. 21st century! I could look at those pictures and yes, he was right. All the Godzilla movies… (I’ve heard it said that Godzilla was a metaphor for Hiroshima and Nagasaki.) The port at Kobe was damaged and closed it long enough for Yokahama to take its place as second next to Tokyo.
Kobe (Hanshin) has a bunch of filled islands (like that airport in Hong Kong) and they got pretty wrecked. There are some similarities to the Bay Area for sure, the topography is alot alike.

Although Wikipedia has been very helpful here in this class (a nice compendium), it still doesn’t refrain from what you’d expect. For example, the entry that describes the Madrid Train Bombings by saying, “… the “dumb ass mutha fuckin” attacks came exactly 30 months after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.” (See that entry under the “Responsibility” section – it may not last long (as of Friday March 10th it was gone).

And, yes there is more coincidence going on here. When talking about Kobe Earthquake, for example, it happened one year to the day following the Northridge quake. Or, the sportswriter’s (where I first learned the meaning of the word hyperbole) prediction that the Giant’s and A’s world-series would result in an earthquake before game 3 and could therefore never be completed.

There is also an alternative entry about the other reasons for Pan Am 103 to be taken down and that site has a picture of Oliver North at it.
Pan Am 103 had some famous folk who would’ve been on the flight. The Four Tops (or, the Four Tops of that time), Johnny Rotten too... Another story talks about some dude who checked in for the flight, also checking his bag, so he went to the bar, but stayed a little too late. Fortunately he missed the flight, but he became a suspect because he wasn’t on board while his bag had been loaded on the plane. Ironically, PanAm charged passengers an extra $5.00 to "carefully screen baggage" prior to this event taking place.

Yes, these events have complexities beyond just Transportation as the victim. Obviously, yet, that’s our focus… For example, Hwy 17 was closed for a month after Loma Prieta – one way to keep the valley from surfing! This earthquake news inspired each of us to ask, “How many bridges do we cross everyday?” Another one is waiting to happen...
Just yesterday, for example, a Google Earth Tour of the Hayward Fault was released.
More on the bay fill - both SFO and Oakland Airports are on bay fill, so they aren't expected to last... San Jose, however, is allegedly more stable.
In the coming months we here in the bay area will get creamed with stories about San Francisco 1906.

Again, check out the Wikipedia links, especially the links that come from them…


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