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Welcome to my blog, which was once a mailing list of the same name and is still generated by mail. Please reply via the "comment" links.

Always interested in offers/projects/new ideas. Eclectic experience in fields like: numerical computing; Python web; Java enterprise; functional languages; GPGPU; SQL databases; etc. Based in Santiago, Chile; telecommute worldwide. CV; email.

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Earthquake in Chile

From: andrew cooke <andrew@...>

Date: Sat, 27 Feb 2010 08:11:51 -0300

We live in Santiago and woke at about 3.30am to mild shaking that was
growing stronger, so we got out of bed and went to the centre of our
flat, where the building is strongest.  The shaking was pretty
violent, and seemed to go on for a long time (I imagine it feels
longer than it is, but I would say at least 30 seconds).  The power
went out at some point.

When the shaking stopped we found a torch and looked around - books
and decorations had fallen down (luckily a large pot of jam had fallen
over, but stayed on the kitchen table top).  In every room there are
cracks in the plaster and flakes on the floor - the corner of the
kitchen looks like it may have more serious damage, with a vertical
crack where two walls join.

People were going outside, but it wasn't clear to us it was safer
(there are many electrical cables in the streets, and we live in a
lovely avenue with many old elms - unfortunately they have a habit of
dropping branches on people in winds, and at the time we weren't sure
how they would be affected, although in retrospect I guess a strong
wind is worse than an earthquake for a tree).  But from our window we
could see one neighbour, with children, drive away - presumably to a
relative's house.

We found a radio with batteries, found a station that was broadcasting
news, and listened for a while.  Some people's phones were still
working, as they were calling in, and the general impression was that
it wasn't so bad; this morning the news is worse, and I hope the
people we know in Concepcion are OK.

Eventually we went back to sleep - there were aftershocks that
normally would have been pretty worrying, but that now felt like
nothing worth bothering with.

It will be interesting to see how the big, new buildings (often
covered in glass) have survived.  Just a little way east of here they
are constructing what will be the tallest building in South America
(the Costanera Centre)...


Pan Fresco en Providencia, Santiago, Chile

From: andrew cooke <andrew@...>

Date: Sat, 27 Feb 2010 13:46:30 -0300

Hay una panaderia abierta aca - Pan Lido, Dr Luis Middleton 1678
(atras de 11 de Septiembre, cerca de Carlos Antunez)

Tambien hay una panaderia abierta en Tobalaba con Las Achiras (cerca de Bil=


Proud to be (Almost) Chilean

From: andrew cooke <andrew@...>

Date: Sat, 27 Feb 2010 22:00:05 -0300

Anyone who knows me will admit that my relationship with Chile has not
always been the most positive.  But today I've been impressed by how
the country has handled such a major disaster.  Two examples.

First, the generally understated way in which they're living through
this.  There are boats lying in a town square down south, yet people
are getting on with their lives.  Compare that phlegmatic approach
with the fuss about a non-existent tsunami in Hawaii.

Second, the way buildings have survived (with two pretty major
exceptions) shows that people are following basic building standards.
Those are expensive.  That means the level of corruption is low -
impressively so, I think.

There's a lot of bad news here.  A lot of people who never had that
much now have even less.  I guess that's my - our - problem now.


Visiting Rancagua

From: andrew cooke <andrew@...>

Date: Mon, 22 Mar 2010 13:59:00 -0400

Yesterday (Sunday) Paulina and I took the bus to Rancagua, a town just over an
hour (about 100km) to the south of Santiago.  It was a trip we had planned
just before the earthquake, but one we then postponed until it seemed things
were back to something like "normal".

The route is a direct drive down the Pan-American Highway (Ruta 5 here), the
road that holds the country together, North-South, and a critical piece of
infrastructure.  In just the one hour we had to leave the road twice, on
diversions, because of problems with bridges.

In Rancagua itself, which was not a major victim, (the epicentre was much
further South), the damage was mainly to old, single storey, buildings, built
of brick and adobe.  Often the tiled roofs of these buildings were
particularly damaged.

Unfortunately the cemetery, which was the reason for a visit, was also closed
due to damage.


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