Landslides and Translations

The recent Chinese earthquake (70 thousand dead) took place in a mountain range that abuts a densely populated (600 people/sq mile) plain.  Many rivers flowing out of those mountains are blocked by numerous landslides, which according to landslide expert David Petley are very tenuous.  The loose soil damn creates a lake behind, soaks through and collapses or it over-tops and fails or another landslide into the lake creates a wave which over-tops the damn and it fails.  At that point a wall of water heads down stream destroying further landslide damns as it goes along with everything else it encounters.

A huge landslide damn and lake in China unwound over the last few hours and amazingly the Chinese appear to have managed to orchestrate it’s collapse so the worse case scenarios were avoided.  It’s been amazing to watch the story unfold on David’s blog.  Reading between the lines over the last week I certainly got the impression that he was extremely sanguine about their ability to pull this off.

Watching this situation develop I’ve been reading Chinese new accounts, with the help of Google’s translation service.  I highly recomend it.  I have a little bookmark I use; very simple javascript:void(location.href=’http://translate.google.com/translate?u=’+location.href); Which you can play with by draggint this to your browser’s tool bar: Translate! No doubt there are more sophisticated versions but that one works for me translating pretty much any foriegn language page into English.  Here’s an example page: silly bizzare fish stories.  There is a lot of nutty tabloid news out there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.