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Here’s an eagle’s eye view of some recent earthquakes on the island of Lombok in Indonesia. As noted, the four off-island but nearby quakes (in cyan) were all under Richter 5.0. Indonesia has thousands of these Richter 5 and Richter 6 events per year and they rarely get any attention.

Indonesia is made up of over 17,500 islands: 17,504 according to the Indonesian Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs; 17,508 according to the CIA; and 18,307 according to the Indonesian National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (usually abbreviated as LAPAN). I would say it is fair to claim that just over 900 are permanently inhabited. Politically, Lombok is part of West Nusa Tenggara, and the Sumbawa peninsula on the right (= east) belongs to that province as well. Bali with some nearby islands is a province grouped with the Lesser Sunda Islands. For purposes of comparison, Bali has an area of about 5800 square kilometers (2200 square miles – slightly smaller than the state of Delaware) and a population of 4.2 million, while Lombok has an area of 4500 square kilometers (1700 square miles – a little bigger than the state of Rhode Island) and a population of 3.3 million. Bali and Lombok are the 15th and 17th largest Indonesian islands, respectively.


Government Spending in Western Africa


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Generally, Western African governments earn revenue from taxes, mining concessions and fishing rights. The percentages belong reflect the deficit (expenses being larger than revenues) as a percentage of revenues. Sao Tome and Principe has a balanced budget and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mauritania came close.


AIDS in Western Africa



If the figures are more or less correct, it is not clear how Equatorial Guinea escapes gradually increasing percentages of adults with AIDS as well as debilitating economic damage. The situations in Cameroon, Gabon and the Republic of the Congo should be viewed with grave concern – once the prevalence of AIDS among adults passes six percent (6%) it is difficult to foresee how a country recovers.


Malaria in Western Africa



Malaria is complicated. There are multiple types each of which can be transmitted by more than one species of mosquito. If you are not young, old, already sick or pregnant, the odds are excellent malaria will not kill you. That’s the good news. The bad news is you will be weakened; you will likely need to take an anti-malarial drug and you are a reservoir for mosquitoes so that they can bite you and then bite someone else. The malaria – tested numbers are supposed to be fairly accurate and consist of samples analyzed at labs. These numbers are greatly influenced by how many inhabitants choose to be tested as well as how many samples the labs can process. No one (yet) tallies how many people have malaria and something else like Lassa fever, yellow fever or dengue. The malaria-total numbers are supposed to be a sampling of people who have not been tested and a statistical worst case estimate of how the entire national population is doing. Sometimes these samples are done by city or province. A rough rule of thumb is the best case is about one-third (33%) of the worst case.


The Flaws of Floors


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Given the prevalence of foot pain and the number of toe, foot, ankle and knee injuries, it seemed like a good idea to review floor coverings. We are NOT expecting blood to be spilled are buckets of perspiration to be sweated out, but there is a fair chance that if someone has a major seizure there will be some vomiting. Accordingly, it would be preferable to have a floor that can be readily cleaned (especially so we can clean the floor before each class and eliminate a variance) or replaced in a modular manner. Bare concrete has hygiene problems and is brutal on feet and knees (and tough on shoes) so it is out of consideration. For whatever ‘real’  wood actually means these days one could choose between a relatively softwood like pine or a firmer wood like oak. As with synthetic woods like Pergo, one advantage is the lines formed by the edges of the planks can be useful for students trying to line up and to stay aligned. There are issues with acoustic brightness: for example, 20 small cymbals on Heavenly General Nine Point Rakes make an amazing amount of racket.

Among others, Sifu David Chang of San Jose California uses a large carpet. An alternative would be artificial grass – something like AstroTurf. The Chief Cinematographer has expressed some concerns about the rather vivid green usually encountered. Another possibility would be carpet tiles which are modular and have some of the linear aspects of planking. There is quite a diversity of opinions about linoleum.