May 1, 2009

Small earthquake shakes Los Angeles area

Per the USGS, a 4.4 magnitude earthquake shook the Los Angeles area Friday evening at 6:11 local time.

Twitterers quickly reported the quake, accounting for 1,095 "earthquake" tweets in 10 minutes. @seanpercival beat everyone to the punch with the first tweet:

  1. sean percival
    seanpercival (Los Angeles, Calif.) earthquake

Here were some of the other first tweets:

  1. erik tokle
    etokle (Los Angeles, Calif.) Cue up the earthquake tweets.
  2. Michael Nease
    nease (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) Just went through my 2nd earthquake on the 16th Story... It was a small one.
  3. Mikael
    mikaelgm (Los Angeles, Calif.) Earthquake. These are becoming troubling.
  4. LearningNerd
    LearningNerd (Los Angeles, Calif.) Is it just me or was there just an earthquake in Los Angeles? It felt more like a tree fell on my house or something, though. Just checking.
  5. Saquina Akanni
    saquinaakanni (Ranchos Palos Verdes, Calif.) anybody feel that... we just had an earthquake - real shaker!
  6. OCPaleocon
    OCPaleocon (Irvine, Calif.) Saw "Earthquake" pop up on my Twitter feed, a second before I felt it. Weird!
  7. Anton Perez
    antonperez (Los Angeles, Calif.) just experienced an earthquake while at the office. Good thing it wasn't strong.
  8. seanjohn81
    seanjohn81 (Los Angeles, Calif.) yes we had an earthquake and yes i am safe :) (that's mainly for my family cause i know the rest of you don't care)


Featured TwitPic: Sunset at Magnetic Island in Australia

"Watching a pink sunset off my balcony at magnetic island. Balmy 25 degrees. Life is good." (Posted by @DannyjClayton of Sydney, Australia, May 1, 2009)


China takes precautions as swine flu hits Hong Kong

Per Xinhua, the first confirmed case of H1N1 swine flu has been detected in Hong Kong, prompting Chinese officials to shut down flights from Mexico to Shanghai, the travel route of the confirmed victim.

BBC adds that 300 people at the Hong Kong hotel the man was staying at are being quarantined and police wearing masks are guarding the hotel.

Twitterers in Hong Kong provided context about the impact of the case:

  1. Actress4life_hk_陳靖允
    Actress4life_hk (Hong Kong) The frist swine flu case just happened in Hong Kong..!!This is also the frist day of Golden week holiday a long weekend in HK!...Bad!!!
  2. Jane Cornelius
    HotJaney (Hong Kong) There's just been a confirmed case of Swine flu in Wan Chai in Hong Kong 2 hours ago. Everybody is wearing masks.
  3. Darius Naraghi
    ruisi1 (Hong Kong) Swine flu has hit the shores of Hong Kong! People here are ready to party like it's 2003. Bust out the masks and pass the sanitizer!

One Twitterer used the incident to voice frustration with mainland China.

  1. victor steve
    victorsteve (Hong Kong) the mainland chinese continue to bestow gifts on hong kong... they sent the first swine flu case across the border just yesterday...

Here's some other initial reaction from Hong Kong Twitter users:

  1. Andre Martin
    AndreMartin (Hong Kong) Either the Hong Kong hotel with a swine flu infected guest has also been sealed off communications or there is just no Twitter user inside..
  2. Bryan Ng
    icycoldice (Hong Kong) Nooo!!! Swine Flu in Hong Kong, now waiting for the schools to close down.
  3. Kayla Webley
    kaylawebley (Hong Kong) 1st case of swine flu reported in Asia is in Hong Kong, in my neighborhood nonetheless. 300 people quarantined. Time to break out the mask?
  4. Caitlin M Kerrigan
    caitlinx852 (Hong Kong) can't believe this swine flu [expletive] is in hong kong :(
    what a bad summer this is going to be!


U.N. criticizes Egypt's pig slaughter

Per Al Jazeera English, the United Nations has called Egypt's decision to kill 400,000 pigs a "real mistake."

The Egyptian government initially said it called for the killing in part to prevent panic. Other countries have restricted or banned pigs and pork imports, even though the World Health Organization (WHO) has said eating pork is safe. More recently an agriculture minister in Egypt said the cull would diminish the unsanitary farming conditions in which pigs are reared in garbage-filled slums, per The Times.

Some allege the decision was prompted by religious discrimination, as pig farmers are predominantly part of the Coptic Christian minority.

Twitterers discussed the scientific merits of the situation and WHO's response.

  1. Hal Carim
    HCarim (Paris, France) H1N1 Swine Flu ... and Egypt has undertaken to slaughter its own 350K- taking care of 2 touchy issues in 1 ...
  2. Mo
    mocost (London, U.K.) @Zeinobia Scientifically and economically, the decision to kill all of Egypt's pigs does not make sense. Handwashing is the best precaution
  3. fustat
    fustat (Undisclosed) Trying to reasure society, by a measure that does not provide any real protection, is really making things worse. # swine flu # H1N1 # egypt
  4. Shannon_Iris
    Shannon_Iris (California) @cory_grimes don't you mean H1N1? The WHO changed it to avoid the slaughter of pigs thats been happening in Egypt and other places.

An earlier report by Breaking Tweets examined the response to the news from Twitterers in Egypt.


Delara Darabi executed in Iran

Delara Darabi, a 22-year-old Iranian woman accused of killing a relative when she was 17, has been hanged in Iran on Friday morning, according to Iran Focus and Amnesty International.

Two Twitter accounts broke the news to the world some five hours before these initial media reports confirmed it. Shortly after the tweets, a Farsi-language community Web site also reported that Darabi had been executed.

The first Twitter account to report the news was @DelaraDarabi, the official Twitter of the "international Save Delara!™ campaign" ( The other account is attributed to Iranian-American human rights attorney Lily Mazahery (@LilyMazahery), who has long spoken out about the Darabi case.

The @DelaraDarabi account delivered the news with a single tweet:

  1. Delara Darabi
    DelaraDarabi (Rasht, Iran) @DelaraDarabi was hanged to death in Iran's Rasht prison.

It then began retweeting reaction from both Mazahery as well as other Twitterers, specifically addressing one tweet:

  1. Delara Darabi
    DelaraDarabi (Rasht, Iran) It is. She was hanged not too long ago. RT @dakster9: I hope this is not true. RT @LilyMazahery: @DelaraDarabi was hanged to death by t ...

Mazahery's tweets started with the news and became more animated over time.

  1. Lily Mazahery
    LilyMazahery (Washington, D.C./New York) @DelaraDarabi was hanged to death by the terrorist government of Iran today.
  2. Lily Mazahery
    LilyMazahery (Washington, D.C./New York) I feel like my life just ended with @DelaraDarabi. There is NO forgiveness for Hayedeh Amir Eftekhari for what she's done.
  3. Lily Mazahery

Darabi has long denied being guilty in this case, causing a surge in her support around the world. Amnesty International reported that her death was "imminent," on April 19, before an agreement appeared to give her a two-month stay. Jerusalem Post reports today that Amnesty International is "outraged" by the execution.