BBC News – Chile quake affects two million, says Bachelet

via BBC News – Chile quake affects two million, says Bachelet.

The earthquake struck at 0634 GMT, 115km (70 miles) north-east of the city of Concepcion and 325km south-west of the capital Santiago at a depth of about 35km. It is the biggest to hit Chile in 50 years.

Widespread damage to roads and buildings has been reported in many areas, including the capital where a chemical plant caught fire.

Electricity, water and phone lines have been cut.

Fortunately, Chile’s infrastructure is much better than Haiti’s, so the loss of life was much less.

Disaster Awaits Cities in Earthquake Zones –

via Disaster Awaits Cities in Earthquake Zones –

It is not so much the city’s modern core, where two sleek Trump Towers and a huge airport terminal were built to withstand a major earthquake that is considered all but inevitable in the next few decades. Nor does Dr. Erdik agonize over Istanbul’s ancient monuments, whose yards-thick walls have largely withstood more than a dozen potent seismic blows over the past two millenniums.His biggest worry is that tens of thousands of buildings throughout the city, erected in a haphazard, uninspected rush as the population soared past 10 million from the 1 million it was just 50 years ago, are what some seismologists call “rubble in waiting.”

Shoddy construction in some of the world’s poorest cities could condemn millions of people to become victims of the next big earthquake.

America and China: By fits and starts | The Economist

via America and China: By fits and starts | The Economist.

If the United States and China cannot co-operate, what hope of stemming climate change and the spread of nuclear weapons, or returning the global economy to a path of stable growth? Over the past decade, the established superpower and the rising one have rubbed along reasonably well; relations with China are, by common consent, one of the few things George Bush junior got mostly right. But under Barack Obama, after a cordial start, slights have been building up for a while. The past week has produced a sharp reminder of how sensitive the relationship can be—and how quickly it might spin out of control.

The tragedy of dying languages

via BBC News – The tragedy of dying languages.

Boa Sr, who died this week, was the last

speaker of the 70, 000-year-old Bo

The death of the last speaker of an ancient language in India’s Andaman Islands highlights the fact that half of the world’s 7,000 languages are in danger of disappearing. Linguist K David Harrison argues that we still have much to learn from vanishing languages.

What can we learn from these languages before they go extinct? And why should we lift a finger to help rescue them?

Language is the primary means of passing on a particular culture.  As the language dies, so does all the information, values, beliefs, and insights of the culture group.

What knowledge has been lost when the last speaker dies?  Unfortunately, we’ll never know.  Several linguists are trying to preserve dying and endangered languages, but it’s an uphill fight, one that no one is winning.

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