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Archive: 12 December 2005

No Room at the Inn

Boy, Dave wasn’t kidding: available hotel rooms for SXSW are mighty few and far between.  I ended up at the Radisson, just like Dave and a few other people I know, and that was only by calling the Radisson directly instead of going through the SXSW housing desk, which doesn’t have any more rooms available there.  The direct booking was more expensive than the SXSW rate, but at least I’m on the north side of the river—oh, excuse me, the lake.  Plus I got a king suite for only a few dollars more than the conference rate for a single room in the Hilton, and there’s free wifi in the lobby.

I called a number of other hotels directly, and most of them were booked up solid.  Apparently, there’s a very large writers’ conference ending the day before SXSWi begins, and that’s thrown extra monkey wrenches into the gears.

So if you still haven’t booked your room, don’t wait any longer, and try calling places directly even if the SXSW site shows them as sold out.  Otherwise, you’ll be a mile or more away, pay through the nose, or both.  I’d have booked sooner, except I wasn’t even certain that I’d be going until a couple of weeks ago, and in the chaos of prepping for AEA and our annual holiday party, I didn’t get to booking until today.  Hopefully, you’ve avoided my mistake, but if not, don’t compound it.

So… anyone else staying at the Radisson?  We could all geek out in the lobby some night.

Mapping the News

The Hertfordshire Oil Storage Terminal explosion and fire has doubtless dominated news in the UK and Europe, though in all honesty it hasn’t gotten major play here in the US.  Doubtless that’ll change if it’s found to be a terrorist attack and not an accident, but that’s not actually my point.  It occurred to me that this is a relatively high-yield detonation, and I have the means to chart its effects in a basic way.

So, based on the seismic report of a 2.4 magnitude event, I’ve estimated the yield at about four metric tons of TNT (as per the chart found on the Wikipedia‘s Richter scale article, as well as other sources).  As you can see on the chart, that gives figures consistent with initial damage reports: the 0.25psi ring extends out to 1.02 kilometers (0.64 miles), which is about where you’d stop seeing widespread window shattering and door displacement.

Remember that the distances shown don’t define the distance out to which a human would be able to feel a blast, and certainly don’t say anything about the distance at which a blast could be heard.  And also remember that I’m making a rough estimate of yield based on an initial estimate of the explosion’s seismic magnitude, not to mention I just made a guess as to the exact epicenter.

Still, it’s interesting to be able to chart the event like this.  To me, anyway.

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