Posts Tagged: ‘Haiti’

This video opens with a great quote: “Earthquakes don’t kill people. Buildings do.” And this is very true. For example, in last year’s Haiti earthquake, thousands and thousands of people died as poorly-constructed buildings collapsed on top of them. The way to prevent tragedies like Haiti is to build buildings that can survive earthquakes, and […]

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Two months after Haiti’s devastating earthquake, the country continues to grapple with the disaster’s most pressing demands: providing food, shelter and medical attention to a displaced population. But the country — and especially Port-au-Prince, the epicenter of the destruction — is also faced with long-term problems. The capital city is in rubble. Much of the infrastructure is gone. And according to NPR, gross per capita income hovered around only $1,000 a year even before the quake.

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I was reading a BBC article about the Desarmes family, who either consider themselves extremely lucky or incredibly unfortunate, considering they lived in Port Au Prince in January when the 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti. So they left their home to go stay with another member of the family — who lives in Santiago, Chile. They arrived just in time to survive the 8.8 magnitude quake that crushed Chile on February 27.

Having spectacularly failed statistics in college and passing only after negotiating my release with the professor, I can’t even begin to calculate the odds of being in two places where major earthquakes took place six weeks apart. (If you know how to, let me know; I’m very curious how one would come up with that probability). Despite adopting Disraeli’s lies, damn lies and statistics philosophy as a defense mechanism, I must admit there are some pretty cool stories of people inadvertently carving out a place for themselves in the narrow margins that make up the hinterlands of probability.

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You know, the history podcast hasn’t afforded us nearly enough opportunities to talk about camels. Or long-haired rats. Thankfully for us, if not for Burke and Wills, the Victorian Exploring Expedition let us rectify the situation on Monday’s podcast.

On Wednesday’s podcast, we tackled Toussaint L’ouverture’s role in the Haitian Revolution, a years-long battle that had its roots in the French Revolution and erupted in St. Domingue in blood and fire.

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If you’re a child of the ’80s like yours truly, then USA for Africa, “We are the World” and Live-Aid hold a pretty special place in your memory bank. Seeing the world and, in this case, the music community rally around a cause can help restore one’s faith in humanity. Whether it’s starvation in Africa or the days following 9-11, Hurricane Katrina, the Asian tsunami or what Haiti is currently experiencing, humans coming together in a time of need is a beautiful thing.

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The outpouring of aid to Haiti following the earthquake that left the country even worse off than it is normally is heartening. Thanks to our lightning-fast telecom infrastructure, we can send $10 to Red Cross relief efforts on the ground just by texting “Haiti” to 90999. We can also hop onto any number of sites, including which is serving as a kind of clearing house for relief organization’s contact info, and send money via credit card.

And just as 21st century as being able to help someone you’ve never met using your iPhone is major corporations skimming off the top for their own profit. The Consumerist published a post about AT&T and Sprint maintaining their standard fees for the texts, while T-Mobile and Verizon opted to waive them for Haiti donations.

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Photos that are coming in from Haiti show the level of destruction that occurs when an earthquake hits a city not designed to handle earthquakes. The last photo in this package, of the former U.N. building, is especially unnerving. It is easy to understand how the U.N. lost so many staff members after seeing that […]

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Good day, sirs and madams… I said GOOD DAY. I hope the sun is shining in your neck of the woods. It’s Friday at SYSK headquarters and things have finally thawed out here in the previously frozen South. If you wonder why I always seem to lead the Friday podcast recap with a weather report, […]

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We at Stuff You Missed in History Class try to be objective, but I find that very difficult when it comes to Pat Robertson. Recently, Robertson implied that the earthquake in Haiti was the people’s own fault for making a pact with Satan.

According to UCLA history and anthropology professor Andrew Apter, who spoke to Salon, this idea of a satanic pact comes from a misunderstanding of the voodoo ritual that’s the legendary start of the Haitian Revolution: a sacrifice of a pig to voodoo spirits.

Even without the voodoo and the devil, trust me, The Haitian Revolution is fascinating. It’s the only slave revolt that was ever truly successful.

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How Haiti Works

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Haiti is in everyone’s thoughts right now, first because of the tragic level of death and destruction that has occurred this week, and second because of the knowledge that natural disasters can strike anywhere at any time, and we are all vulnerable. Here are some facts about Haiti to help you get a better perspective… […]

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