Thursday, May 22

China earthquake: Blogs claim 'swarming toads' warned of Sichuan disaster

China earthquake: Blogs claim 'swarming toads' warned of Sichuan disaster - Telegraph
Chinese internet blogs and media are awash with claims that “swarming” toads, falling water levels and the erratic behaviour of zoo animals were portents to the country’s worst earthquake in 30 years.

The first sign came about three weeks ago, when a large volume of water suddenly disappeared from a pond in Enshi, Hubei province, around 350 miles east of the epicentre of the May 12 quake in Sichuan, according to media reports.

Three days before the earthquake, thousands of toads roamed the streets of Mianzhu, a hard-hit city where at least 2,000 people have been reported killed.

Mianzhu residents feared the toads were a sign of an approaching natural disaster, but a local forestry bureau official said it was normal, the Huaxi Metropolitan newspaper reported on May 10, two days before the earthquake.

“It’s obviously an omen. Officials say that there were environmental factors behind it, but that just goes to show how ignorant they are,” said one blog posting. Another posting said: “These experts are rubbish.”

The day of the earthquake, zebras banged their heads against their enclosure door at the zoo in Wuhan, 600 miles east of the epicentre, according to a newspaper in the city. Five minutes before the quake hit, dozens of peacocks started screeching.

Zoo officials told the Wuhan newspaper that the behaviour was probably a sign that an earthquake would happen.

“If the seismological bureau were professional enough they could have predicted the earthquake 10 days earlier, when several thousand cubic meters of water disappeared within an hour in Hubei, but the bureau there dismissed it,” one commentator wrote on a Chinese internet chat site.

Wednesday, May 14

Jobs Jobs Jobs!!!


Minimum requirements: 1) 18 years of age. 2) High school diploma or equivalent. 3) Eligibility to work in the United States. 4)Valid Class “C” California Drivers License by date of appointment.

The basic agency requirements are listed below. If there is a “Y” present, the requirement is mandatory. If there is an “N”, there is no requirement or they are not hiring for that position.

Albany FD Y N N 1 $5,687.00 6,912.00
Big Bear Lake FPD Y N Y 2 $4,938.00 6,094.00
Central County FD Y Y Y 0 $5,807.00 $7,500.00
Cosumnes CSD FD Y Y N 0 $5,325.00 $6,474.00
El Cerrito FD Y Y Y 2 $5,489.00 $6,673.00
Kentfield FPD Y Y Y 0 $5,495.00 $6,320.00
Larkspur FD Y Y Y 0 $5,156.00 $6,863.00
Mill Valley FD Y Y Y 0 $5,327.00 $7,287.00
Millbrae FD Y Y N 1 $5,178.00 $6,294.00
Mountain View FD Y Y See Website 2-3 $6,555.27 $8,840.91
North County FA-Brisbane Y Y Y 1 $5,624.00 $6,836.00
North County FA-Daly City Y Y N 4 $5,705.00 $6,937.00
North County FA-Pacifica Y N Y 0 $5,688.00 $7,368.00
Novato FPD Y N N 3 $6,991.00 $7,919.00
Palo Alto FD Y Y Y 0 $5,989.00 $7,353.00
Petaluma FD Y Y Y 5 $5,241.04 $7,007.52
Piedmont FD Y Y Y 2 $5,249.00 $6,752.00
Redwood City FD Y Y See Website TBA $5,689.00 $6,916.00
Rio Vista FD Y N Y 1-3 $3,144.00 $3,821.00
Ross Valley FA Y Y Y 0 $4,890.00 $6,593.00
San Bruno FD Y Y N 1 $6,154.00 $7,552.00
San Mateo FD Y Y See Website TBA $3,601.73 $7,853.81
San Ramon Valley FPD Y N Y 0 $6,676.00 $7,787.00
South Lake Tahoe FD Y N See Website 2-4 $3,186.00 $4,027.00
Vallejo FD Y N N 12 $6,809.71 $8,277.27
Woodside FPD Y Y See Website 1-3 $6,341.00 $8,130.00

There are job announcements with all of the agency specific requirements and information on our website at Completed applications, copies of required agency specific requirements, and fees (made payable to FIREHIRE® Inc. by cashiers’ check, money order, or credit card) MUST be received by the application review dates posted at Please do not contact these agencies directly. They will direct you to FIREHIRE® Inc. If you would like to download an application packet, please visit

Thursday, May 1

Rescue medics discover good use for notorious drug

Rescue medics discover good use for notorious drug - 02 May 2008 - Topic

A notorious drug linked to date rape is being used by paramedics because it is a better painkiller than morphine in some emergencies.

The decision to use ketamine, which is also known as a party drug, follows a study by Auckland's Westpac rescue helicopter paramedics on 44 patients between January 2005 and October last year. Advanced paramedics from St John Ambulance are also now using the drug, and have trained about 160 staff nationwide to administer it.

Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust medical director Dr John Orton told the Herald that ketamine superseded morphine in many situations.

"Certain pains are fairly easily manageable with morphine-type drugs, but the excruciating acute pain of acute injury is extremely hard to get on top of with morphine," Dr Orton said.

"We're talking about 10 tonne tractors rolled on top of people ... or typical quad bike idiots on Muriwai Beach. They flip it and they've got two broken legs below the knee pointing at right angles but otherwise they're uninjured."You've got to straighten these limbs out and splint them. If you try to do that without this sort of agent, it's horrible - you cause excruciating discomfort. So to be able to do this in the field is a major bonus."


  • Can be snorted, injected, smoked or put in liquid and drunk.
  • Used as a party drug.
  • Used by vets and doctors as an anaesthetic.
  • Has been associated with date rape cases.


  • Emergency services say it is ideal for rescues where patients:
  • Are trapped in or under a vehicle, or in machinery.
  • Where "angulated fractures" have occurred and broken bones must be straightened while a patient is conscious.

Click the title above for the link to the full story.