Haiti Stands with Japan

Two Haitian kids who lost their home in the Haiti earthquake last year watch the tsunami in Japan:


“I can not help them, so I’m sorry. If I had something I could help them, but I do not have nothing.” Very moving.

Geoffery & Joseph had their home destroyed in the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Today they watched as Japan was devastated by the Tsunami. Despite having nothing, Geoff wishes he could help the children of Japan. What then should we, who have everything, do for the children of Japan and Haiti?

via RYOT

The Japan Earthquake Shortened the 24 Hour Day

By changing the distribution of Earth’s mass, the Japanese earthquake most likely caused Earth to rotate a bit faster, shortening the length of the day by about 1.8 microseconds. That’s according to calculations done by Richard Gross of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory:

The calculations also show the Japan quake should have shifted the position of Earth’s figure axis (the axis about which Earth’s mass is balanced) by about 17 centimeters (6.5 inches), towards 133 degrees east longitude. Earth’s figure axis should not be confused with its north-south axis; they are offset by about 10 meters (about 33 feet). This shift in Earth’s figure axis will cause Earth to wobble a bit differently as it rotates, but it will not cause a shift of Earth’s axis in space—only external forces such as the gravitational attraction of the sun, moon and planets can do that.

Great — as if the days weren’t passing by fast enough already!

This Is What Despair Looks Like

This is probably as close as you come in a single picture. If it doesn’t make you consider donating to Red Cross, I don’t know what will.

There are some people — comparatively few, I hope — who rejoice in the recent tragedy, claiming it is some sort of “karmic retribution” for Pearl Harbor. I feel truly sorry for them and their unspeakable ignorance. (I wonder what they think the events that unfolded on August 6th and August 9th, 1945 in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were, and if they’ve forgotten this.)

What’s more, while more than ten thousand people are missing, and millions more are threatened by a possible meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, some worry most about their supply of fresh sushi. Disgusting.

Japan was beaten senseless by Nature. Its people “deserved” none of it. Now, they deserve nothing but help.

Help Japan.

Isaac Asimov's Visions of the Future

This is so awesome. Isaac Asimov began working on a TV show called “Visions of the Future” in 1990 — only two years before his death — and now, for the first time, the footage from the pilot episode is freely available.

Listen to one of the greatest writers of all time talk about the close relationship between Science and Science Fiction:

Albert Einstein on Capitalism and Socialism

With everything going on in Wisconsin and elsewhere in the U.S., you’d think this essay was written today, but in fact Albert Einstein submitted it to the Monthly Review magazine over 60 years ago, in May 1949. Here’s an excerpt:

Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of smaller ones. The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society. This is true since the members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes, separate the electorate from the legislature. The consequence is that the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population. Moreover, under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights.

Production is carried on for profit, not for use. There is no provision that all those able and willing to work will always be in a position to find employment; an “army of unemployed” almost always exists. The worker is constantly in fear of losing his job. Since unemployed and poorly paid workers do not provide a profitable market, the production of consumers’ goods is restricted, and great hardship is the consequence. Technological progress frequently results in more unemployment rather than in an easing of the burden of work for all. The profit motive, in conjunction with competition among capitalists, is responsible for an instability in the accumulation and utilization of capital which leads to increasingly severe depressions. Unlimited competition leads to a huge waste of labor, and to that crippling of the social consciousness of individuals which I mentioned before.

This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism. Our whole educational system suffers from this evil. An exaggerated competitive attitude is inculcated into the student, who is trained to worship acquisitive success as a preparation for his future career.

Read the whole essay entitled “Why Socialism?” here, or here.