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So much for my vacation.
December 29, 2004 7:07 AM   Subscribe

Yes, I know the Tsunami is old news. We've seen it on tv ad nauseum, the same videos on a loop.
Ok, so now? Stop for a second and imagine BEING there.
posted by miss lynnster (53 comments total)

 
I imagine we'll be seeing quite a few more of these as more tourists with DV cameras get back. Impressive. Does anyone know what happened afterwards, especially in the "BEING" one?
posted by Poagao at 7:26 AM on December 29, 2004


I hesitated here, since it's obviously already a big news story... but in particular the second video is what made me post this. I've traveled extensively throughout Thailand and Indonesia... I can't even imagine relaxing in paradise & suddenly, in seconds, finding myself drowning in Hell.

I've watched the news and it has kind of made me a bit numb... which I don't think is good. The enormity of this disaster is incredibly historical... it's even changed the rotation of the earth and moved islands.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:26 AM on December 29, 2004


Doesn't look like that one couple in Phuket fared too well. SchadenfreudeFilter.
posted by everichon at 7:27 AM on December 29, 2004


give give give give give
posted by Pretty_Generic at 7:29 AM on December 29, 2004


This is amazing: the animals in Sri Lanka may have sensed something coming and fled to higher ground. Does this sound like bullshit to anyone here who may know more about animal behavior?
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:46 AM on December 29, 2004


What an unfortunate tragedy.

I couldn't imagine lounging there in Sri Lanka and out of nowhere a Tsunami struck. These videos are just shocking. I can't believe how quickly the water flooded in surrounding and consuming everything.

Very sad.
posted by kartooner at 7:54 AM on December 29, 2004


Here.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:55 AM on December 29, 2004


Hooray for horrific disaster videos being lumped together with "Brown Bunny BJ" and "Bikini Calculus" (and being lumped under the compassionate header, "You've GOT to See This" on iFilm's front).

Hey, you gotta drive up those hit-counters somehow.
posted by tpl1212 at 8:06 AM on December 29, 2004


Does this sound like bullshit to anyone here who may know more about animal behavior?

I don't know much more than you, but I do know that there's tons of colloquial evidence that animals can visibly respond to even subtlest weather patterns. There was a Chinese earthquake in the 80's or something where a combination of pre-shocks and animal behavior lead the government to evacuate people in advance.
posted by abcde at 8:09 AM on December 29, 2004


Wait, lynnster's link says it all. Never mind.
posted by abcde at 8:11 AM on December 29, 2004


SchadenfreudeFilter

Sure you know what it means ?
posted by the cuban at 8:14 AM on December 29, 2004


The thing that struck me the most while watching these is how restrained the tsunami is. Comparing it to hollywood's conception of a natural disaster, the wave is rather undramatic. Incredibly destructive, of course, but this is part of what struck me; why does Hollywood have to exaggerate these things so much? The reality is chilling enough as is.

On another tack, has there been a recent major disaster that hasn't been caught on video? I mean, we even have footage of the first plane hitting the WTC. That earthquake in Iran last year?
posted by freedryk at 8:20 AM on December 29, 2004


I think these images are necessary . Some people still don't know what a tsunami it, what it does and what it did in Asia..so if the images help solicit sympathy (necessary precondition to action) the more the better.
posted by elpapacito at 8:30 AM on December 29, 2004


Very interesting lynnster, thanks.


SchadenfreudeFilter

WTF?
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:50 AM on December 29, 2004


Nice post, lynnster! Although, I don't think it's actually old news yet.
posted by RockCorpse at 8:51 AM on December 29, 2004


As for being unimpressive, I *think* all the footage we've seen was just the first wave, no? The second wave was the whopper. That was the one that ended up going 6km inland on Aceh in Sumatra.
posted by RockCorpse at 8:56 AM on December 29, 2004


Well, it's amazing how much faster news starts to feel old when we're so far removed from a tragedy and have 24 hour news feeds on a zillion channels... all showing the same loops and the same images...
posted by miss lynnster at 8:59 AM on December 29, 2004


In the second video they were shouting "It's another wave", so I assume it wasn't the first one. Also, some damage seemed to have already been done. Amazing that the camera guy didn't immediately go upstairs or on the roof. The DV tape got out undamaged somehow, though, so I guess he survived (?).
posted by Poagao at 9:02 AM on December 29, 2004


Sure you know what it means?

Your link defines it as "Pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.", where I had always understood the "pleasure" to be of the "Wow, I am certainly glad that's not me" variety, rather than the Sadistic Delight variety.

I can see how both sentiments might be seen as those of an asshole, but (b) seems worse to me than (a), and I will cop to (a).

In any case, I feel sheepish and assholy now.
posted by everichon at 9:11 AM on December 29, 2004


in re: Animals in earthquakes... Someone I know has a horse farm, which was ground zero in a 4.2 earth quake about eight years ago. The horses did not so much as turn a hair before, during or after the quake. They grazed contentedly, not even lifting their heads.
posted by Faze at 9:21 AM on December 29, 2004


From that Phuket video, it looks like the man was saved and his wife wasn't so lucky.
posted by fletchmuy at 9:23 AM on December 29, 2004


Yes, frankly off topic, but in gloomy times, some relief is welcome.
so here it is, from the same site, a nugget about speaking in tongues in volatil Iraq.
/sorry
posted by BastilleWanderer at 9:25 AM on December 29, 2004


Poagao, you're right. Sorry.

Lynnster, I know what you mean. But I think that there are such a huge number of people affected (not just those killed) that we haven't forgotten or gotten tired of it yet. Although, the play-repeat-play thing is tedious, yes.

I have an aunt and an uncle who were visiting Burma at the time and we haven't heard from them or figured out if they're okay yet. I figure they probably are since Burma's on the axis of the earthquake and probably not as badly affected as the spots east and west of it. Still...not quite old news for me, anyway.
posted by RockCorpse at 9:28 AM on December 29, 2004


I believe b is correct, everichon. But don't feel badly... I only know this because I studied 4 years of German. See, Schadenfreude is a German expression (from Schaden: damage, harm; and Freude: joy) meaning pleasure taken from someone else's misfortune or shameful joy. (For example... it's thanks to shadenfreude that America's Home Videos made money off showing zillions kids hitting their father's in the groin with baseball bats.)
posted by miss lynnster at 9:28 AM on December 29, 2004


It's amazing how many people this has effected over such a wide distance, but it's equally amazing how much weblogs have driven the coverage of what happened.

The best, most riveting footage has come from them, which explains why the media are writing some articles not about the disaster, but about the weblog coverage of the disaster, as well as citing weblogs prominently in their coverage.

On late Christmas night, I was at a friends place, having just got back from driving around and seeing all the best decorations in town, when I saw the initial news about the earthquake. I made a quick post before taking off, and then I did a couple directory searches on LiveJournal in likely areas to see who might have been effected. I shared their stories... and there were just more stories, and more stories -- a huge swath of disaster. I kept updating my post, bit by bit. People came out of the woodwork to tell me their stories, share those of their friends, or just look for information on people they were worried about.

Well, today, I got an email. Apparently, Time Magazine's website has a web gude right off their front page, linking prominently to my journal. I wasn't anywhere near the earthquake, and didn't know anyone near the earthquake, but I had amassed something of real value and interest to many, many people.

I've done this same kind of search-based, eyewitness coverage in the past for hurricanes, and for the Ukranian elections -- the number of weblogs has made doing this kind of reporting far more feasible than in the past. The problem I see is that weblog tools still aren't well-suited for finding people based on location. The tools to do this not standard / built-in to most of the applications. Shame really. There are a ton of potential applications for being able to do location and interest based searches for people., and really this kind of an internet is what we should be aiming for.

There is a higher level of international "flow" that is elluding us, here.
posted by insomnia_lj at 9:58 AM on December 29, 2004


the animals in Sri Lanka may have sensed something coming and fled to higher ground. Does this sound like bullshit to anyone here who may know more about animal behavior?

animals have been observed to sense impending natural disasters since the dawn of time.
posted by quonsar at 10:02 AM on December 29, 2004


Comparing it to hollywood's conception of a natural disaster, the wave is rather undramatic. Incredibly destructive, of course, but this is part of what struck me; why does Hollywood have to exaggerate these things so much?

i realize this may come as a profound cultural shock to a member of the hypnotized masses, but hollywood movies aren't real. and hollywood produces what people like you pay them to.
posted by quonsar at 10:06 AM on December 29, 2004


[offtopic]
We're sorry, but the Viral Video QuickPlayer is not currently supported for:

Macintosh OS X, Safari

Our supported platforms and browsers include:
Windows 98, Me, 2000, and XP
Internet Explorer 5.0 or greater
Netscape 7.0 or greater
Mozilla 1.0 or greater
Firebird 0.6 or greater

Macintosh 8.6 or greater (Mac Classic),
OS X 10.1 (Did it have a name?),
10.2 (Jaguar),
10.3 (Panther)
Internet Explorer 5.0 or greater
Netscape 7.0 or greater
Mozilla 1.0 or greater

This makes sense. Firefox 0.6? Mac OS 8.6? Let's get that support rolling! The default browser pre-installed on all Macs for the last two years? Meh, we'll get around to it. [/offtopic]
posted by designbot at 10:16 AM on December 29, 2004


Wikipedia has an excellent comprehensive page full of links to background quake info, past tsunami events, videos and photos taken as the tsunami happened and lots more. There's a summary of aid being provided and much more.

Wikipedia;
posted by X4ster at 10:57 AM on December 29, 2004


Wikipedia; here
posted by X4ster at 11:00 AM on December 29, 2004


I believe b is correct, everichon. But don't feel badly
Don't feel bad. Adjective. You feel badly when you're wearing gloves, like you feel hungrily when you're trying to eat wearing gloves in the dark. But don't feel cold towards me, miss lynnster; I feel picky only because you're discussing grammar.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:19 AM on December 29, 2004


Taking animal ESP out of the equation for a moment, most 4 legged animals are MUCH faster than humans.

They don't stop to gawk, or film it with their camera... they just HAUL ASS.
posted by BobFrapples at 12:24 PM on December 29, 2004


I feel picky only because you're discussing grammar

See, and I just had a frisson of pleasure because it wasn't my grammar being picked on. I am a bad man. *hangs head*
posted by everichon at 12:34 PM on December 29, 2004


ESP? They didn't need ESP.
With three or four hours' warning, you don't even need a siren on a post. Just one guy with a cell phone running on the beach shouting would have saved thousands.

Unbelievable.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:41 PM on December 29, 2004


Hindsight: All beach hotels in the world on a co-ordinated warning network.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:58 PM on December 29, 2004


E-mail from a friend's friend.

-----------

Hello sarah,

I've been getting literally hundreds of emails from people asking me and about my experience during the Indian Ocean tsunami. Long story short, lucky to be alive. I've been evaced to Male, after the experience...Here's my account:

I was in my office at the narrowest part of the island (20 meters across) at the northern end with the sand bank, when I heard a strange bump against the wall outside my office, I ran down the hall to find water streaming in under the door and I could barely open it. As I got it open my eyes popped out of my head when I saw the sea was not only level with our island, there was a wall of water coming, frothing, boiling, and fucking angry as hell, bearing down on us. In the distance, I watched as the 50 water bungalows that lined the reef edge were disintegrating like matchwood dumping guests and furniture into the sea. Eddies and vortexes whirled round and there was a strange mist everywhere, smelled like death, as this wave moved towards us in slow motion. I remember turning to run towards someplace safe. But how can you be safe, 1 meter above the sea, water on all sides, with just flimsy thatch buildings made of coconut wood all around, and a wall of water bearing down? I literally stopped breathing, and ran. I didn't get very far, as a wave smashed me against the wall of the executive offices and instantly my cell phone, keys, watch, ID and wallet were sucked out of my pockets. As I struggled to stand up I heard screams as children and guests were washed past me through reception straight out to sea... I grabbed the ones I could and screamed at them to hang onto my arm, and we inched our way along the wall that was now breaking up from the pressure of the water....in front of us were guests running like crazy from the disintegrating water bungalows and water restaurant that had now collapsed....

As the water rose, Planks and debris smashed up against the walls of the exec offices, and the next thing I knew, the next wave came and tore it open, washing away staff, computers, hard drives, and filing cabinets in a second, straight out to sea. As I reached reception with the two guests I threw them on top of the counter as mattresses and tables and broken windows smashed through the reception, taking everything with it. By now the water was up to my chest, and I grabbed an 80 year old woman who was just drifting past, and hauled her up on top as well. The next thing we knew, the guest shop and water sports center collapsed, and terrified people, on the roof, were desperately clinging to it as the thatch fell apart. My staff stood there on top of the counter, as guests screamed and grabbed them. One security guard handed me a talkie and fled. As the water was continuing to rise, so fast it was like a horror movie, I frantically called out on the talkie to see if any staff were there. No answer. By now I could not hang on any longer and hauled myself up onto the counter, as the big debris from the water bungalows tore through reception, taking what was left of the shops and offices. We were left there, with water surging all around us, with a wall behind us that collapsed into the jewelry store. Then a guest showed me her husbands leg, with a gash so bad I could see his bone, and I frantically got a towel to stop the bleeding. with 2 meters of water in the lobby now, waves 1-2 meters higher, All I could think was how long before we die. how far does the water have to go before we are all washed away into the middle of the Indian ocean? We stayed like this for about 20 minutes, just waiting for the building to collapse, but as suddenly as it came, the water vanished, leaving fish flopping on the floor, and seaweed draped everywhere. As we tried to take stock of what had happened, I looked in the opposite direction of where the wave had come and saw, to my horror, that it was coming back, bigger, madder, and full of dangerous debris.....

Some guests and kids had thought the worst was over, and were starting to get off the trees and remaining roofs. I screamed at them THE WATER'S COMING BACK!!!! STAY OFF THE BEACH!!! And we had even less warning the second time, because the wave just crashed into us with refrigerators, water heaters, computers and smashed wood. We rode out the wave, just waiting to die, as the guest with the gashed leg fainted. His wife was grabbing my throat so hard I could hardly breathe, and for the next 20 minutes the water was up and we could do nothing as the reverse wave filled the lagoon and destroyed what was left of the restaurant, we watched tables get dumped into the water, and 3 gas canisters from the kitchen exploded. With smaller waves now, I tried to evacuate the guests to the other, larger end of the island, I realized the island had been cut in half, a deep dangerous trench had developed and we were trapped. Just then, a second series of waves came through, as large as the first 4, and desperately we ran to the spa, where a cement building without its roof still remained. There, I found other guests with 4 broken bones, massive cuts, and twisted ankles. For the next four hours, we watched as these waves came again and again, some as high as the first, as debris from coconut trees to roofs washed back and forth, as the only staff there, I set up a triage unit to treat the people with the resort doctor (who was so traumatized he could barely speak) about 2 hours into this, we heard a seaplane land in the lagoon.... And I grabbed the talkie and ran down the jetty, screaming at them to take off....

It was too late, they had tied up to the pontoon, and They could not see the water was now coming back, and the eddies were so strong that the plane (with its engines still screaming) was actually being sucked underneath the water.... I ducked down, expecting the engines to disintegrate, but at the last moment, a cabin crew cut the rope, the plane bobbed away and took off, dipping its wings to show us help was coming. Eventually we go all the guests at one end of the island, but walking past the rooms, every single one had been demolished, and suitcases and passports were washed up on the beach. That afternoon, we sandbagged a building and got all the guests inside, and waited for the next waves, which we heard were coming. At least we were safer than at reception, where 30-40 meters of the island had been destroyed, washed out to sea. That night, we set up beach patrols to watch for more waves and 2 times had to send out the alarm that the water was coming back. With the moon full, we had a high tide at midnight, and we were extremely concerned if the waves came back. They didn't. we had no food or water as everything had been washed away, we watched the sun rise and everywhere on the beach were passports, champagne bottles, smashed wood, brochures and business cards not just from our resort but from others too. It took us 2 days to get the guests off, and another day for the staff to leave. We got to male with no belongings, as the staff quarters were washed away completely, it wasn't until we got to male that we had even heard of the devastation everywhere else. I’m in Male now, waiting to go home if I can get a flight.

More news soon, Dave

posted by fandango_matt at 1:21 PM on December 29, 2004


Wow. More compelling than any video, fandango
posted by Rumple at 1:32 PM on December 29, 2004


That was one of the scariest things I've ever read. Thanks for sharing it, fandango.
posted by languagehat at 2:30 PM on December 29, 2004


See, and I just had a frisson of pleasure because it wasn't my grammar being picked on. I am a bad man. *hangs head*

See, now that's schadenfreude.

I'm freakishly tired today (been spending weeks packing up & sorting through 38 years worth of belongings... I'm moving to Northern California on Sunday) & as soon as I hit "submit" I saw that my post was full of stupid grammatical errors. As soon as I noticed, I began to post an apology, declaring that whenever I use the phrase "America's Funniest Home Videos" in a sentence my IQ drops about 70 points... but then the storm knocked out my internet for 5 hours. So, let me just just offer a belated "whupps."
posted by miss lynnster at 2:51 PM on December 29, 2004


i'm speechless. uttlerly blown away.
posted by moonbird at 2:59 PM on December 29, 2004


fandango_matt, that was really amazing, thanks for sharing it and the funny part is that last week I would have been incredibly jealous of your friend. This week I'm glad he is alive.
posted by fenriq at 6:31 PM on December 29, 2004


Oh and thanks Miss Lynnster, a very engaging post indeed.
posted by fenriq at 6:41 PM on December 29, 2004


fandago_matt - the sheer terror of your friend's e-mail - overwhelming - I shudder - so powerful, so real - and it is one account of so many thousands.

As we all sit comfortably in the protection and warmth of our homes (in unscathed parts of the globe) at computer keyboards, none of us can truly fathom the horror.

Accounts like this put so much into perspective. Bitching and moaning about trivial things on MeFi holds not a candle against the vast devastation, tragedy and sorrow a half-a-world-away.
posted by ericb at 10:21 PM on December 29, 2004


i think the really interesting thing about this is how it takes a tragedy to bring this stuff to our attention. im sure there was some guy out there who for the past 5 years has been saying
"people, we really need some kind of a warning system for tsunamis in the indian ocean" and eveyone else just wrote him off. is this what is going to happen when the resources run out? one day its just going to be lights out for everyone and some guy is going to be standing there going "i told you so"
posted by sophist at 4:39 AM on December 30, 2004


Thank you fandango, I'm lost for words.
posted by Tarrama at 7:56 AM on December 30, 2004


The thing that struck me the most while watching these is how restrained the tsunami is. Comparing it to hollywood's conception of a natural disaster, the wave is rather undramatic. (freedryk)

I think it may have to do with the geology and geography of the ocean floor. A shallow coast ramps the wave up the shore, but a steeper coastline makes the wave jump up higher. If there are breakwaters (either natural or manmade) they will concentrate the water from the wave into an even higher wall.

It may not have been a wall of water, but it kept on coming.


With three or four hours' warning, you don't even need a siren on a post. Just one guy with a cell phone running on the beach shouting would have saved thousands. (weapons-grade pandemonium)

Assuming that anyone would listen to them. I have heard that there were Indian policemen telling people to get off the beaches and the people wouldn't listen. (Considering that there hasn't been a tsunami in the Indian Ocean in living memory, and it's not a part of earthquake education, I'm not surprised.)
posted by jlkr at 11:37 AM on December 30, 2004


The description of the giant tsunamis resulting from meteor impact in Niven and Pournelle's "Lucifer's Hammer" has long been one of my favorite passages in SF-dom.

In regard to animals, I think I recall that some dogs and birds can hear or somehow otherwise sense the little waves that come before a large earthquake; I want to call them P-waves but I as I last studied this in 7th grade I don't know if that's right. IIRC the dog starts barking and the bird quits singing 30 seconds before the humans feel anything, not before.

Dunno if they could detect something similar as a tsunami was approaching, though it wouldn't surprise me if they could.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:33 PM on December 30, 2004


Absolutely gripping.

If your friend Sarah hears more from Dave, please ask her to share it with us. I'm glad he is ok (all things considered.)
posted by gen at 12:44 AM on December 31, 2004


There are two torrent packs of videos and photos of the tsunami available ">here. Inside the second pack there is a new video of the Tsunami flowing through Banda Aceh, which I don't know has played on TV much.

This video is one of the scariest, most upsetting things I have ever seen.
posted by dydecker at 5:54 PM on December 31, 2004


Here.
posted by dydecker at 5:55 PM on December 31, 2004


.
posted by matteo at 7:15 AM on January 1, 2005


Taking animal ESP out of the equation for a moment, most 4 legged animals are MUCH faster than humans.

Actually, I'm not sure that's true to begin with... humans can run close to 30mph, which is pretty good. But what I wanted to respond to is the "ESP" claim. Do you think dogs have esp because they can hear sound waves not detectable by our ears? It isn't "extra-sensory", it's just extra-sensitive, by our standards, anyway. A lot of animals can pick up on vibrations in the earth we don't feel - maybe simply because we're wearing shoes and not paying attention...

fandago_matt, thank you for sharing that. Brought tears to my eyes.
posted by mdn at 10:24 AM on January 1, 2005


Down the list on that imagine link? The Halo Physics Experiment. Now THAT was gripping. Fantastic use of Halo game animation coupled with amusing audio from western hemisphere culture. That rglass@oz.net guy. What a character! My ShorDurPerSav of the nanosecond! The guys at Red vs. Blue should consider Glass for their stunt coordinator in future episodes.

...Tsunami? What?
posted by ZachsMind at 11:54 AM on January 1, 2005


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