I went to see Pompeii yesterday. Not the Roman city buried after Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD 79, but the traveling exhibit of sculpture and other artifacts recovered from homes around the Bay of Naples. As I walked through the rooms looking at the pieces of people’s lives, there was one thought I couldn’t get out of my head: weren’t there any warning signs?

Apparently, there were. I’m not a volcanologist, and I gather that predicting eruptions is hard to do. But I can tell you that if you’ve had a major earthquake and then the darn thing starts making noise, you get out of its path.

And so we shove aside 2008. No matter how you slice the data, it was a pretty ugly year around the globe. But U.S. citizens elected a new president and, in so doing, signaled that we’re not going to ignore the earthquake any longer.

Hello 2009. I await your secrets with much anticipation. I think it’s going to be a good year.

Photo by Rennett Stowe (Flickr).