Today’s tsunamis recall Krakatoa

Today’s tsunamis recall Krakatoa: In addition to the coverage from CNN and other news sources, bloggers are following the aftermath of today’s massive tsunamis in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India triggered by the largest earthquake in 40 years. Slashdot has an open thread and The Command Post is updating continuously with links to news stories and bloggers in the regions affected.

Coincidentally (and viewing today’s events, eerily so), I recently read Simon Winchester’s fascinating book, Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883 about the volcano and resulting tsunamis that killed 36,000 in Indonesia. The event, Winchester points out in his book, was the first such natural disaster that happened after the world was fully “connected” by telegraph cables, therefore making it the first global news event followed by people worldwide in something similar to what today we’d call “real time.”

Quote from Simon Winchester’s Krakatoa:

“The eruption of Krakatoa was, indeed, the first true catastrophe in the world to take place after the establishment of a worldwide network of telegraph cables — a network that allowed news of disaster to be flashed around the planet in double-quick time. The implications of this rapid and near-ubiquitous spread of information were profound.”

Need to use those gift certficates

Need to use those gift certficates? The NYT today reviews the colossal and complete collection of New Yorker cartoons published recently.


”The Complete Cartoons of The New Yorker,” (is) a coffee-table book so broad and thick that it doesn’t need a table under it because it’s its own table — just bolt on legs. And the book might have been even larger, its editor, Robert Mankoff, writes. Of more than 68,000 pieces of art that could have been included in its pages, only about 2,000 have been printed on paper, while the rest are reproduced on two CD’s attached to the inside of the front cover. The book is an astonishing object, still. The thought that all (or even just all the best) New Yorker cartoons can be gathered in one volume means that the set isn’t infinite after all. It’s like finding out there are only so many sad songs or only so many attractive blondes.