“Bomb” Scare

There was a small explosion at Georgia Tech today. Two other explosive devices were also found. My guess is it was some sort of prank.

According to an email I just received from the Georgia Tech administration, there was a “bomb” scare here today.

The Georgia Tech Police and the Atlanta Police Department disposed of three explosive devices found on the Georgia Tech campus this morning.

Around 8:45AM a facilities worker found the devices between the Glenn and Cloudman residence halls on the southeast side of campus. One of the devices exploded when it was discovered, and the Facilities worker was taken to Health Services complaining of ringing in his ears.

Campus Police were immediately notified, and the two residence halls were evacuated as a safety precaution.

The Atlanta Police and Fire Departments were called in to assess and contain the situation.

The Atlanta Police Department bomb squad detonated the devices shortly before noon and students were allowed to re-enter the residence halls.

Note that the explosion resulted only in “ringing in the ears of the custodian” who found it. So it wasn’t exactly much of a bomb.

Here is the Atlanta Journal-Constitution report.

Georgia Tech evacuated two dormitories Monday morning after a water bottle filled with an unidentified liquid exploded in a campus courtyard, slightly injuring a custodial worker.

The bottle was one of three explosive devices found in a plastic garbage bag on campus.

Tech spokeswoman Amelia Gambino said a facilities maintenance worker picked up one of the bottles while collecting trash before 9 a.m.

“There was a loud explosion, like a cherry bomb going off,” Gambino said.

The maintenance worker was taken to a local clinic for evaluation after complaining of ringing in his ears. An Atlanta Police bomb squad detonated the two other devices.

Approximately 100 students were evacuated, Gambino said.

The school email also had this note:

In the news, you will hear the phrase “terroristic act,” and in keeping with Georgia Code, any explosive device left in a public area fits this definition. Although the Atlanta Police Department has said they will investigate the bombing as if it were a terrorist act, it does not mean that it was in fact a terrorist act.

I was at home today with Michelle, so can’t offer any information from the campus. Also, this part of campus is quite far from where I usually go. However, it looks to me more like a prank than anything else.

Earthquake in Pakistan

There was a devastating earthquake in the northern parts of Pakistan and India about 24 hours ago. The epicenter of the 7.6 intensity earthquake was about 50 miles (80 km) northeast of Islamabad. Latest numbers are more than “18,000 killed and 40,000 wounded.

There was a devastating earthquake in the northern parts of Pakistan and India about 24 hours ago. The epicenter of the 7.6 intensity earthquake was about 50 miles (80 km) northeast of Islamabad. Latest numbers are more than 18,000 killed and 40,000 wounded.

Pakistan says more than 18,000 have been killed by Saturday’s powerful earthquake that also hit northern India and Afghanistan.

The 7.6-magnitude quake, with an epicentre 80km (50 miles) north-east of Islamabad, flattened entire villages.

Another 40,000 people are believed to be injured, said military spokesman Major-General Shaukat Sultan.

[…] The earthquake, which hit at 0350GMT on Saturday, was felt as far away as the Afghan capital, Kabul, and India’s capital, Delhi. Several aftershocks followed. It is thought to be the strongest earthquake to hit the region in a century.

In one incident, around 250 children were said to have died when two schools collapsed in the North-West Frontier Province’s Mansehra district. About 200 soldiers are also thought to have been killed by landslides and falling debris.

[…] The earthquake’s epicentre was close to Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani-administered Kashmir. Rescue teams have reportedly been airlifted into the city.

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said almost 50% of all homes in the area had been destroyed.

Landslides have blocked all access roads to the city, where there is no electricity and telephones.

[…] Indian officials reported nearly 300 deaths in Indian-administered Kashmir, among them 15 soldiers.

The town of Uri, close to the Line of Control that separates divided Kashmir, was worst hit, with 104 dead.

South Asia quake blog is following developments there (hat tip: Chapati Mystery).

I have family and relatives in and around Islamabad. Fortunately, everyone seems to be okay.

UPDATE: Please consider donating to help the large number of victims of this earthquake. Here are some links:

There are also links on the Wikipedia page for the quake and at the South Asia Quake Help Blog.

UPDATE II: Following the news online, BBC looks to have the best coverage. You can also read BBC Urdu.

UPDATE III: My preferred charity in the list above is the Edhi Foundation. We finally got through to their New York office today (I guess they were closed over the weekend). If you are in the US, you can mail them a check at:

Earthquake Relief in Pakistan
Bilqis Edhi Relief Foundation
4207 National St
Corona, NY 11368-2444

They are a registered charity with a Tax ID of 11-345067. Their phone number is (718) 639-5120.

UPDATE IV: If you have Google Earth, you can download this placement map (and another) which show the epicenter, subduction zone, etc.

UPDATE V: E Mullah has Edhi Foundation’s New York bank information so that you can wire transfer any donations.

Environmental Footprint

Results of a quiz about my ecological footprint. Turns out if everyone consumed as much as I do, we would need more than 3 planets.

Via Kianoush, I found this quiz which tells you your environmental footprint. Here are my results:

 

Category Acres
Food 4.9
Mobility 1.7
Shelter 4.0
Goods/Services 4.0
Total Footprint 15.0

In comparison, the average ecological footprint in your country is 24 acres per person.

Worldwide, there exist 4.5 biologically productive acres per person.

If everyone lived like you, we would need 3.3 planets.

Great, I consume too much! So what should I do? If I reduce my meat intake from daily to a vegan diet, it would reduce my footprint by 3 acres. But is that true? I would need a lot more food as well as not get enough of all the food types I need. Plus a vegan diet is definitely not healthy for children.

Or I can reduce my footprint by 2 acres by not eating processed, packaged and not locally grown (from more than 200 miles away) food. Ah, the organic movement! While I consider myself an environmentalist and like the sustainable aspect of organic food, today’s organic food movement is nothing but feel good for the rich. It is expensive food grown using practices that cannot be duplicated across the world without famine or an economic collapse. Also, if we really need to go back to nature, we could return to subsistence agriculture or the hunter-gatherer lifestyle and lead miserable, short lives (especially for the agriculturalists). What is actually needed is sustainable agriculture combined with high yields so that we can grow enough food without impacting the environment so much. Can someone please enlighten me on organic food? And the big SUVs in the parking lots of Whole Foods?

Just my air travel (25 hours per year) adds 3 acres to the footprint. I guess traveling is out then or may be I can bike to Europe and Pakistan!

If I do everything reasonable I can think of, I still go down to only 2.4 planets.

Category Acres
Food 3.7
Mobility 0.7
Shelter 3.5
Goods/Services 3.0
Total Footprint 11.0

In fact, I’ll have to give up flying anywhere, give up almost all meat (not even once or twice a week), not drive anywhere in my car, and live in the smallest apt I can find to go below 4.5 acres. My guess is that the quiz is a bit of the alarming kind.

Pro-Torture Senators or the Nazgul?

Nine senators voted against stopping torture. All are Reublicans, of course.

Here is the roll of shame of the Senators who voted against the McCain amendment S.AMDT.1977 to forbid torture.

  1. Wayne Allard, Colorado
  2. Kit Bond, Missouri
  3. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma
  4. Thad Cochran, Mississippi
  5. John Cornyn, Texas
  6. James Inhofe, Oklahoma
  7. Pat Roberts, Kansas
  8. Jeff Sessions, Alabama
  9. Ted Stevens, Alaska

Of course, all are Republicans.

Let’s see now how the House and the conference committee act.

POSTSCRIPT: Anyone know why my former Senator (former because I no longer live in New Jersey) Jon Corzine, Democrat of New Jersey, abstained?

رمضان مبارک اور نیا سال مبارک

تمام قارئین کو رمضان مبارک ہو۔ آج رات سن ۵۷۶۶ کا بھی آغاز ہے۔ لہذا آپ سب کو نیا سال مبارک ہو۔

تمام قارئین کو رمضان مبارک ہو۔ ہمارے ہاں رمضان آج رات سے شروع ہو رہا ہے۔

آج رات سن ۵۷۶۶ کا بھی آغاز ہے۔ لہذا آپ سب کو نیا سال مبارک ہو۔

Ramazan Mubarak, everyone. The Muslim month of fasting is starting tonight.

Tonight is also the start of the year 5766 of the Jewish calendar. So happy new year as well. Shana Tova!