Friday, January 23, 2009

Continuity error

Unfortunately, we've been having a few issues lately with our internet access, meaning that I've been unable to update from work. This post is brought to you from our Emergency Operations Centre, which still has a workable connection to the world wide web.

The Ministry of Health, on the other hand, is still without internet after being hit by a rather nasty worm - the computers that is, not the staff... They shut down their systems when they realised they were infected, and are quarrantining themselves from the web until they are sure that the infection has been cleared up, and that they won't be reinfected. Quite a bit of their work is web-based and, up until the end of last week, they couldn't even order stationery.

A definite test of the ministry's business continuity planning.

Another test for those in Wellington was a power cut on Wednesday morning, affecting the southern suburbs, much of central Wellington and as far north as Johnsonville and Khandallah, from 7.42am. Traffic lights were out and trolley buses stranded, causing traffic snarl-ups all over. Some people were trapped in lifts, and others had to use the light of their cellphones to find their way down darkened stairwells, and according to some, the thing which caused general panic was the fact that many of the coffee shops couldn't operate! The ones that did have power had very long queues. The power cut also took out the city's internet, which took longer than the power to come back on line. It even affected us in Porirua, as so much of our internet traffic goes through Wellington.

So the combination of general lack of power until about 9am , the resulting loss of internet for longer, and the under-caffeination of Wellington's office workers meant that a lot of businesses had a very unproductive day.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Now those are what I call aftershocks!

There have been a few earthquakes near the north coast of Papua, Indonesia, some rather big ones in fact, but thankfully none have posed a tsunami risk to us.

Earthquake magnitude is a logarithmic measure of earthquake size. In simple terms, this means that at the same distance from the earthquake, the shaking will be 10 times as large during a magnitude 5 earthquake as during a magnitude 4 earthquake. The total amount of energy released by the earthquake, however, goes up by a factor of 32. Now check out these magnitudes, courtesy of the US Geological survey. Times are in NZ Daylight Savings Time.

January 4 2009

07:43am- 7.6
08:47 - 4.8
09:30 - 5.1
09:41 - 5.6
10:07 - 5.2
10:23 - 5.0
10:33 - 7.3
11:01 - 5.2
12:00noon - 5.4
12:05pm - 5.3
12:55 - 5.1
01:55 - 5.3
02:29 - 4.7
02:47 - 4.8
03:28 - 4.9
05:44 - 5.4
06:05 - 4.9
06:53 - 4.7
07:14 - 6.0
07:33 - 5.1
08:12 - 4.9
08:54 - 4.3
11:08 - 4.6
11:49 - 5.0

January 5 2009
01:06am - 4.8
01:10 - 4.8
03:43 - 4.6
05:13 - 4.7

Those are some big aftershocks, and not knowing whether the next one is going to be worse or less than the previous one has to be terrifying!

Think before you strike the match

It's the time of year when farming types like to burn things - piles of gorse, crop stubble, etc. Just remember, you always need a permit to do this anywhere within Porirua's jurisdiction, and you aren't allowed to do it during a total fire ban, even if you've been issued a permit.

If you do have a permit, you still have to make sure that your fire stays under your control, otherwise you'll be looking at the bill for having the rural fire force put it out for you. And that doesn't come cheap, with one Southland farmer facing a bill of over $500,000.

For more information about what you can and can't burn where and when in Porirua, please contact Porirua City Council's Principal Rural Fire Officer, ph - 237-5089.