January 7, 2005 | 3:19 PM ET

Doug Carlson writes in to point out his new blog Tsunami Lessons in which he argues that U.S. scientists should have done more to alert the world about the possibility of disaster once they'd detected the initial earthquake.

By coincidence, I came upon a few sites entertaining this line of discussion yesterday.  Like this why-no-warning wiki and this article about the director general of the Meteorological Department of Thailand getting fired for not providing a warning.

In a few cases the argument is made that the media should have been alerted right away to get the word out.  I'm trying to imagine what the newsdesk here at MSNBC would do if someone called up claiming to be a scientist with information about a major natural disaster about to strike on the other side of the world.  Ignoring the fact that I don't think many people in Southeast Asia are tuned into MSNBC and also ignoring the fact that I don't actually work at the news desk, I have a real hard time believing that the cry of "alert the media" would be met with a very swift response.

Speaking of science, how 'bout this as an impressive pick-up line:

Mo varies as a function of the average amount of movement on the fault surface in the earthquake, u, the area of fault surface on which movement occurs, A, and the shear modulus of elasticity µ , a measure of how much force is required to elastically deform the moving rock on either side of the fault.

In other mail, Jörg manages to remember enough of his English lessons to send a choppy but entirely readable note about his tsunami blog.  (Dear Jörg, you speak more English than I do German, so you're OK in my book.)

For some reason I can't get the Babel Fish page translator to work, but the text translator does an adequate job of interpreting the photo captions and other notes.  In addition to the photos, Jörg also offers this handy (if hard to read) blog list.

Just because blogware allows readers to interact with bloggers, that doesn't mean it actually happens.  Frustrated with a lack of responsiveness from readers, Paper Napkin came up with a novel tsunami fundraising idea: De-Lurking Day.  In the end, offering to donate a dollar for every reader comment on the blog turned out to work a little too well.

Speaking of fundraising, in case there weren't enough ways that Jessica Simpson is different from Bruce Springsteen, here's another.

Remember the other day I was looking for thoughtful blog entries about the theological perspectives on the tsunami?  Found one.

More tsunami before and after photos.  The TV folks were reporting a story of ships trying to deliver relief and navigating by GPS and finding that the shore wasn't where the GPS told them it was.  Looking at these, it's no wonder Sri Lanka was considering re-drawing its map.  (By the way Ceneus blog has many interesting insights.)

Speaking of aerial photos:  The world from an RC airplane

Are tsunami fears preventing you from enjoying a tropical vacation?  This may be your best bet.

Video of the Day:  Each click more bizarre than the last, and all true.  The explanation of the success of cigarettes continues to elude me.  These commericials actually worked on people??

This might have been the video of the day if I could figure out what it is.  The idea is that you can make your own movie by using a database of clips they supply.  The part I don't understand is where the clips come from or how to add to them.  The site has a nice list of vloggers though.

Meanwhile, did you know there are vlogger games?

I added it to the SQUEEZE variations. SQUEEZE is a game where a short video clip is passed around via internet and players can add to or otherwise alter it. The trick is to maintain the clips original size (under 1MB!). I am keeping track of this games progress with a list of links on the right hand side of this page.

This is the piece I was looking for

It was announced earlier this week that blogware company Six Apart will be buying blogware company LiveJournal.  Business news doesn't usually interest me, so I noted the headline and moved on.  What does interest me, however, is ethnography, and what is especially interesting about the LiveJournal/Six Apart deal is how users of the two types of software differ culturally.

Speaking of LiveJournal, here's a look at their statistic page.  That age distribution curve says a lot about LJ culture.

Why it's called a strip mall.

Glenn does what he does best and rounds up a lot of blog discussion of the torture issue raised by the Gonzales confirmation hearings.

Speaking of Web-wide discussions, those of us interested in user generated content have been following a(nother) discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of Wikipedia (the reader-written online encyclopedia).

I think the freshest installment is here, with links to the origins of the discussion found in the first sentence here.  Even if you're not particularly interested in the subject matter, it's worth looking at how is able to workshop and develop an idea without needing a central authority site.

A camera is mailed across the country and postal workers are asked to take pictures along the way.  A couple look suspiciously like body parts.

I only drink black coffee, but to be honest, I'm always a little self conscious of the fact that I'm ignorant of what everyone else is ordering.  Now I have a cheat sheet.

WFMU is a popular radio station in the New York area, known for its eclectic set lists.  Unfortunately, every time I turn it on, it happens to be during something like the arrhythmic chanting show.  Now they have podcasts, so I can listen to what I want, when I want it.  Is it the future of radio?

Or maybe this is the future of radio.

Heck even this could be the future of radio.  I'm not sure how they manage to expire the titles once your borrowing period is over, but it looks like a good idea even for people who aren't blind.

Commuter Click:  The BitTorrent Effect.  A few people wrote in after I pointed out how many of the tsunami videos were being offered as torrents, and said that they hadn't been following along as we learned how to use BitTorrent a few weeks ago.  Today's Commuter Click might be useful for folks to print out and read this weekend for a bit of background on the program.

Among his many strengths, Jason Kottke  is a master Flickr spotter.  Behold.

January 6, 2005 | 1:03 PM ET

Yesterday on the bus home from work, some folks were wondering if Habitat for Humanity will be building houses in Southeast Asia.  So it was with interest that I came upon this link at World Changing about Architecture for Humanity.  I've been reading for a few days that was tsunami victims need the most is rebuilt homes and infrastructure, but this is the first charity I've come upon with that as its specific purpose.

By the way, the answer to the Habitat for Humanity question is yes.  Strangely, both sites use the same photo of a destroyed home, but despite their similar names, I don't see that they're related.

An interesting entry on what it costs to get fishermen back on the water.  The cost of boats, plus don't foget the nets, plus the pre-existing cultural problem that boat builders are a disappearing group of craftsmen.

Other fascinating details:

Do not, for heaven’s sake, take it upon yourselves to come and donate to the people themselves. It not only fosters greed, it has led to chaos on an unbelievable scale. If you do want to come down yourself, then contact the village head.

The degree of organization here would put the biggest MNCs to shame. Each family has been given a card, colored according to their proximity to the shore. The head collects all relief material, and only when they have enough for all the people, they start distributing resources, using a checklist!

A few times today I've seen local bloggers telling stories like this one about what they remember about their homes or towns or neighboring islands.  It seems like an important part of the psychological healing process is to reconnect to the surroundings which are in many cases unrecognizeable -or else to find some shred of normalcy is places that are being restored.

I know I've linked to Chiens Sans Frontiers a few times before, but there's so much talk about "hearts and minds" on TV right now that I can't pass up on pointing out what's going on there.  Yesterday the blogger expressed a pretty negative opinion of the U.S. military coming to his country.  In short, he doesn't trust the motives of the Marines. 

If you're looking for some genuine insight into what many people abroad think of the U.S., why they think it, how they reason, and how they respond to American counter arguments, read this blogger's complaint and the comments posted in reply, and then scroll through the blog for his follow-up posts.  Of particular interest is how he distinguishes between Americans and the U.S. government and the U.S. military.  Think the sight of aid being distributed from U.S. military helicopters is all it takes to win the hearts and minds of people around the world whose opinions of the U.S. have been poisoned by recent foreign policy?  Click again.

Times of Asia on tsunami blogs.  I really like the tribe metaphor.  I wonder if the blogosphere will pick up on that.

This sure looks like Tom DeLay is saying the tsunami victims are fools.  Actually, it sounds even more like he's mocking Florida hurricane victims.  Is there something I'm not understanding that makes his prayer appropriate?

On to the sanity links:

Asking the big questions:

Speaking of questions: Blog-gate  This is the second link I've clicked in two days in which someone is question whether blogs can stand up to the scrutiny they subject the media to.  In this case the question is whether all the patting-themselves-on-the-back bloggers have done over what has come to be called "Rathergate" is warranted.  I've seen both praise and derrision for this essay.  It will be interesting to see, as blogs come farther into the mainstream, how history remembers these milestones.

Clicked arts n' crafts of the day: The Money Wallet

These aren't the droids you're looking for.... now buy this.

There's going to be a lot of spin around the social security story.  Lots of bloggers are pointing to the official CBO numbers.

Learning from the Sims (This looks long, but the pictures are big.)  Now if they can just find a way for Spider Solitare to make me smarter I'll be all set.

Something readers of this blog may have noticed about the blog revolution is that there are really two sides to it.  On the one side are the tech folks who invented this new Weblog tool and all the networking toys that come with it, and they're all chomping at the bit to come up with new ways for people to distribute, integrate and categorize their own personal content. 

On the other side are the content people (and by that I mean "the media") who are discovering all these tools the tech folks are coming up with and learning how to apply them.  And so it's entirely common in media circles lately to see folks talking excitedly about how to incorporate amateur content and make greater use of audience contributions .

It is in this theme that we find the latest Press Think discussion of "open source journalism" at the Greensboro News & Record.  This isn't "inside baseball" media talk, this is the future.

What pi sounds like.

I don't see it on the Musicplasma chart, however.

Video of the Day #1:  What strikes me about this Iraq car bomb video (aside from the staggering subject matter) is how much it looks like many of the video of the day links we've seen -and yet it's on a very mainstream Web site.  No flashy media player, just a little video square stuck in the page.

If you've had enough images of violence in Iraq, here's Video of the Day number two, in which a whale turns a guy in a kayak into a bobbing human Cheerio.

Video #3: For the non-violent, shadow art.

January 4, 2005 | 3:08 PM ET

My notes are a bit of a hodge podge today, but since I've been talking on the TV again I wanted to make sure I had a fresh entry up.

Speaking of messy notes, let me make a quick correction pointed out by a helpful reader:

In that page, you have given haveeru.com.mv to be "A life with a view" . It should be Haveeru Daily, a news site from the Maldives. It is not the correct URL of the blog "A life with a view".

Here is the correctly linked " A Life With A View."

This quote from Jeff Ooi's site is what I'm finding personally most valuable about blogs at this stage of the crisis:

So, you can see, by talking to the people on the ground, you hear their grievances raw.  Some may not even be valid as we have to accept the fat that it's never easy to handle disasters. 

At another point on that site they show some of the crap people are donating.  Some people just kill me.

On the air yesterday I mentioned sites helping to organize people who want to go and personally help tsunami victims.  Time will tell whether that's a useful or foolhardy plan, but at least their heart is in the right place.  The sites I mentioned are:

In spite of the encouragement by the president(s) to stick to cash donations, volunteers like the above may find a place in the relief chaos.  If they do, they'll need to know how to do more than pass out blankets.  Here is a local site's advice.

U.S. Navy aid photos.

Speaking of photos, Waves of Destruction is making an effort to assemble and serve every bit of multi-media available.

In about an hour I'll be back on the air talking about finding missing people online.  I may have mentioned some of these sites in entries from the past week, but here they are again so you don't have to dig for them.

Tsunami Help's blog list has been useful to me.  (Also on this page.)

The Australian carries a warning of scams.  This is the guy they mention being under investigation.  His site is one big apology now.  I'm not sure what he did that's different from other people collecting on behalf of the Red Cross, but it does highlight the danger of giving money to people and places you don't know.

The online gaming fellow I mentioned yesterday who is selling virtual money is Crazy Joe.

While we're talking about unique fundraising efforts, Anders Jacobsen is offering a buck a blog to tsunami charity for every blogger who posts a list of relief organizations.

And the Wooster Collective is selling something called a Rubble with proceeds to go to charity.

I cannot recommend India Uncut highly enough for fascinating insight into the relief effort.

One of the most dramatic one-line news updates I've read so far.

Moving on to what I've come to think of as "sanity clicks," this is the same part of the world, but nothing to do with the tsunami.  Instead it's Indonesian Street Art.

Butterflies of Sri Lanka.

I thought we were done with awards (I'm beginning to see how boxing got its "alphabet soup" of championship belts.), but nominations for the 2005 Bloggies are getting a good amount of attention.    I was a judge for the 2002 Bloggies and it was an eye-crossing amount of reading.  Good luck to them.

Video of the Day:  Substitute "stuff" with "blog" and you have my bio.

Other Video of the Day:  A home made tank.

"If I had my way, everyone would get Newton Week off as a paid vacation and could spend the time doing physics, or other activities of their choice," he says.
It's not Festivus, but I'll take it.

This silly page raises an issue I've been running into more lately.  With the increase in blog traffic and profile, some bloggers are having to deal with increased bandwidth costs.  It's one thing to share a site and maybe some video with a circle of friends, but get mentioned in USA Today and you end up with a monster Web hosting bill.  Folks using blog services like Blogger.com don't have to pay for extra traffic, as far as I know, but as we've seen with tsunami video sites, not everyone is in that situation.

Commuter Click:  OK, new term:  "Free tagging systems"  On the recommendation of Peterme.com and bloggers pointing to him I'm printing up this essay to read later and hopefully come out smarter at the other end.

Alternate Commuter Click:  If the link above is too dense for you, this is probably the sexiest thing I've read in a while.  (I mean sexy in the mindblowingly cool, real life is cooler than fiction way, not in the wait-until-the-kids-are-in-bed way.)

Speaking of new things, remember what I was saying about "post-blog?"

Biojewelry sounds gross in a cool way, but also painful.  The folks I've shown this link so far have reacted with a retch, but if Billy Bob and Angelina can wear blood around their necks, what's wrong with a bone ring?

If you're like me, you're getting tax forms in the mail lately.  You may want to wait until your check is in the mail before you look at a chart like this.

January 2, 2005 | 5:28 PM ET

I'm not sure how much time I'll have online on Monday, so here's a double post of some of this weekend's clicks.

The blogosphere continues to prove itself to be a rich source of compelling and useful information on the tsunami disaster.  I had expected things to slow down after the initial push of home videos and first hand accounts, but instead we're seeing more photos and more stories as more people find their way to the Internet.  We're also seeing more first hand accounts from the front lines of the recovery effort.

We've read about bloggers doing a tremendous amount of work to help guide money to relief organizations.  Now there's a site for bloggers to donate the proceeds of their own blogs (yes, a lot of them actually make money doing it) directly to the cause.  As I write this they're up to 84 bloggers.

Evelyn Rodriguez, mentioned here last Tuesday , is working hard to put into perspective not only her personal experience surviving the tsunami, but also the amount of public attention she's received as a result of her blog.

Del.icio.us is an interesting aggregating Web site.  Bloggers sent link recommendations to for listing and categorization.  I found a lot worth clicking in the tsunami category.

Wikipedia gives us another set of before and after photos, though this is the most complete list I've seen.

India Uncut is showing up on everyone's must-read list for insightful first-hand coverage and commentary.  Here's one item that stood out to me:

There is one thing that many people, seeing these people in their sad state, do not realise: these people are not beggers. They have lost their livelihood, which is why they have nothing on them, but they are, nevertheless, proud people. They do not like handouts.

Glenn found another passage to excerpt.

Phuket Tsunami survivor stories

A gripping account of survival from Orbyn: "Suddenly the bolted door flew open and a wall of water 8ft high rushed in and instantly we were swimming about 2 ft from the ceiling amongst all the furniture which was trashed."

With greater frequency I'm seeing the South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami Blog referred to as "SEA-EAT."  That said, here's the SEA-EAT volunteers Yahoo group.

Rocket Boom has a collection of videos and slide shows.

I found more tsunami videos here and then I followed a link here, so I'm starting to get a sense of how well the online tsunami video network is fleshing out.  To ease bandwidth issues, most folks are offering bit torrent streams so it's a good thing we spent the last couple weeks learning how to use it.  If you're still working it out, one tip I can offer is that using it with Firefox was a little more automatic than using it with IE.

Only a memory of the town remains.

How the Morgan sea gypsies survived the tsunami.

The blogosphere's pundit side is starting to swing into view.  Another feature of the Internet that traditional media doesn't handle very well is discussing matters that aren't easy to talk about in polite company.  How much aid is appropriate for the U.S. to give and how generous are Americans?  Are Muslim residents of Southeast Asia also followers of Osama bin Laden who cheered when Americans died on 9/11?  I'm not sure how many of these kinds of discussions I can comfortably link to in this blog, but here are a few that I clicked:

Chuck Simmins is leading the charge against the stinginess accusation with a detailed look at how un-stingy Americans are and have been.  ( More here.)

Speaking of giving, here's a challenge to the conventional wisdom:  The CW is that the U.S. government should give a lot of money to the tsunami victims, right?  Click again.  Given the amount of money that Americans are donating on their own, it's probably moot to argue that the federal government doesn't have the authority to give away tax money, but it's an interesting idea.  How much would the U.S. citizenry vote to send if asked?

(I'm starting to wonder if we could make a regular feature of "click again."  How 'bout this one:  The CW is that anyone who would vacation in a tsunami-devastated country is an insensitive jerk, right?  Click again.)

One story I've not seen at all in the mainstream press but that has come up in a few spots in the blogosphere is the reception by Islamic countries of Israeli aid.  While bloggers sort out rumors, the Jerusalem Post has a pretty specific explanation:  "Sadly, yet predictably, politics still transcends people, and so both Sri Lanka and India declined – a la Iran – the rescue and medical teams Israel generously offered to send. "

Here's a pretty outrageous page comparing the loss of life in the World Trade Center to the loss of life in Southeast Asia.  Is this from some kind of anti-American pundit blogger?  Actually, it looks like just a weird site that likes, among other things, to count stuff.  I also clicked their TGIFriday menu prank and made a note to go back and see what else they have when I have more time.

On that note I'm obviously veering from the subject of the tsunami.  A lot of people I've spoken with are beginning to burn out on the tsunami story.  We can't turn our backs on the ugly side of life, but like the planes of September 11th, news consumers can only stand to re-watch the destruction of innocent life so many times and still maintain sanity.  Were I not required to watch the story as part of my job, I probably wouldn't have clicked as much as I have.

So for those folks who are in need of a bit of a break, this is what I clicked:

Rocket Boom, mentioned above, is actually the most watchable video blog (vlog) I've seen.  Among several entries I clicked was this one on " art mobs" which I now thankfully understand better.  And lest I think too highly of myself, I found out that I'm actually behind for not having heard of ViPodder.

Speaking of art... Complexification art -pretty much exactly what it sounds like.  When was the last time you were able to look at the "source code" for the art you looked at?

And the arrival of a new panoramic photo on panoramas.dk is often a hot topic online.  The new set of 360 degree New Year's photos is no different.

Everyone is excited to note the launch of Dan Gillmor's new blog.

Listening to Fluxblog will make you cool.

How I learned French in a year.  This is the same site that gave us 'How to learn a language in a year' a few weeks ago.  If you missed that or maybe you're facing a new resolution, here's another chance.

Really cool super-zoom-in science photos (I looked at them all, no gross ones except maybe image 4 in zoology.)

Commuter Click: The Free Lunch Is Over: A Fundamental Turn Toward Concurrency in Software  I thought this would go right over my head, but instead I found it an interesting insider's look at a significant issue facing programmers in the near future.

Good Photoshop tutorials.  Even if you don't care to learn the program, this also makes an interesting "how do they do that?" site.

Some ideas are so good you can spot them a mile away.  That's probably the case with Preshrunk, a brand new t-shirt blog.  Only a few posts old and already creating a big buzz.  A few years from now when your kid is buying t-shirts you don't understand at the Preshrunk store in the mall, you'll remember when it was just three entries in a blog.  (Maybe you can find fortunes of your own in t-shirts.)

Banished words list, 2005 (Nominations for 2006 already being accepted.)

Alternate Commuter Click:  I can think of an over-used, under-used-correctly word for nomination.

" Torture is abhorrent to both American law and values and to international norms.  This universal repudiation of torture is reflected in our criminal law..."

Lennie Briscoe quotes

Ways to fix your life: Quit your job

Video of the Day: Regular viewers of public access TV in New York City will be excited to learn that Concrete TV (with the occasional nudity blurred out) is now viewable online.  For those not familiar, Concrete TV is a half hour mix of mostly heavy music, scenes of campy ultraviolence, and attractive people wiggling around in their underwear.

I say "regular viewers of public access TV," but to be honest, I was really surprised to see that link show up.  Sitting on the coufch in the middle of the night watching motorcycles crash over and over again to heavy metal music, intercut with clips of aerobic instruction videos, I would have sworn that I was the only one watching.  Just goes to show, " Men work together whether they work together or apart."


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