Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Seismologists on trial in Italy

From Nature News blog:

Italian seismologists to be tried for manslaughter - May 25, 2011

Posted on behalf of Nicola Nosengo

Six Italian seismologists and one government official will be tried for the manslaughter of those who died in an earthquake that struck the city of L'Aquila on 6 April 2009.

The seven are accused of misinforming the population about seismic risk in the days before the earthquakes, indirectly causing the death of the citizens they had reassured. 

If only they had used an underage prostitute, they probably would have been left alone.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The rapture that didn't happen did get me some blog hits

I'll say one thing about the rapture that didn't happen: my blog entry about it got over 1,000 hits, and more comments than ever. Maybe there is something about the power of the right blog at the right time with the right title to get to people after all?

By the way, the "rapture day" of May 21 had the usual quakes, but nothing catastrophic. My son felt the 3.6 quake in the East Bay area.

In psychology class in 1970, I read When Prophecy Fails, by Leon Festinger et al., about what might happen to Harold Camping's band of followers. They'll conclude God gets it right, they got it wrong.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

If the world ends on May 21, I can finally stop blogging

I made a presentation about geophysics and the Japan earthquake to 7th graders at a local middle school last week.   One student asked if I thought the world would end in 2012. My answer, not surprisingly, was no. Read NASA's response to that popular belief.

There have also been stories about the end of the world beginning with the rapture on May 21.  That's in 3 days! This is supposed to be accompanied by huge earthquakes.  One website states "On Saturday May 21st, the world will experience what Harold Camping has predicted a Global Earthquake to be the Greatest Earthquake ever.  Camping’s Prophecy Predictions have been proven incorrect in the past, but he has learned from the mistake he made in 1994, and is confident about the date of May 21 2011.  If the earth starts to shake on May 21 Doomsday, how will you react?"

Why would anyone believe this? I'd like to say the spiritual diversity of people is one of the things that makes our species beautiful, but I'm not sure I can.