Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Earthquakes Go Viral

Yesterday was the quietest day we've ever had in our office, for an unexpected reason: most of our staff woke up in the middle of the night and ran outside. A viral message had spread through text messages and cell phone calls that a major earthquake was imminent and everyone needed to get outside, like, immediately. Our staff is a pretty worldly bunch, so after a bit most of them returned to bed... but, with all the coverage of Haiti, how well would you sleep if your father had just called you up, insisting that the roof was about to fall down?

Everyone was very relieved when a former-geologist-now-survey-printer stopped by (I had recently successfully printed something!) for a very nerdy conversation about fault lines near Ghana and the fact that earthquakes can't be predicted... by scientists:

Me: Nerd nerd fault lines nerdy offshore nerd-nerd.
Geologist-Turned-Printer: Nerdy nerd rock fractures under Accra; nerdy seismic nerd.
Me: Nerd! It's strange that the radio and TV didn't squelch this rumor earlier.
Geologist-Turned-Printer: Haha, yes. There's really no way to predict earthquakes. [Smile drops from face] Unless someone Prophesied it. [Introspective look up and to the left] But there's no way for scientists to predict earthquakes.

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