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Sunday, January 17

Haiti: Gone in 16 seconds

I was just visiting Richard Fernandez's Belmont Club blog at Pajamas Media and saw that on January 14 he'd linked to 30 seconds of very extraordinary raw video taken at the moment the earthquake struck in Haiti. Just reading his description of the footage is frightening. The first 13 seconds show a perfectly normal street scene:
Then on the fourteenth second, there’s the first shock coming straight up from the ground followed by a rhythmic 1.5 Hz pile driver of destruction kicking directly up from the center of the earth. There are 23 shocks in the next 16 seconds. The building in the background begins to disintegrate by the 24 second mark in the 30 second video. It’s still disintegrating when the video gives out. Sixteen seconds was all it took to wreck the city though doubtless it continued for a while longer.
He also provides links to technical data on the quake and satellite images of Port au Prince before and after the quake; these are more extensive than the ones that were shown on TV; GeoEye provided him with the images.

Even for those who aren't interested in poring over the technical details of the earthquake, the video, as Richard notes, is a graphic illustration of "the almost razor sharp dividing line between normal life and catastrophe."
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