This is one of those shaggy dog posts where I wander around and finally make a point tying it all together…
We’ve got the big storm rolling in tonight, through Monday and into Tuesday. Hopefully no power outages… school has already been cancelled for the next two days and the kids are home. Teenagers + power outrage + trapped inside = bad tempered pouting and frankly the kids don’t handle it any better than I do lol.
I’ve been having endless thoughts about this totally inane Italian court case against scientists supposedly predicting an earthquake wouldn’t happen in Italy. It would all be laughable except they were all found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to six years’ jail time. Apparently the phrase “We don’t think there will be a serious earthquake but you obviously can never rule it out.” was taken to mean, “Stay in your shitty homes constructed in medieval times, L’Aquia has been completely leveled three times in it’s history by earthquakes, and well you know how things come in threes.”
Having grown up in Wellington, New Zealand, I’m totally familiar with earthquakes and have felt several dozen strong enough to be noticeable. The entire city population is completely aware of earthquakes and what causes them. There’s always a middle school trip to see the seismic center measuring them off Victoria University. You can just stand there and watch the little needle twitching it’s jagged line on the scrolling paper in real time. The earthquakes never really stop. Wellington building codes are extremely strict for a major population center, “high rise” means six stories tall… and those buildings sit on massive coiled springs acting as shock absorbers. The greatest shock to Wellingtonians was that the big one in fact hit two hundred miles south in Christchurch a few years back on a fault line no one knew about.
What causes earthquakes is well understood by science, but obviously we are a long way off from any hope of predictive modeling for when major quakes hit. Even then, I’m thinking it’s going to be like weather forecasting… only fairly accurate.
What concerns me most though is that the entire city of a western nation is so scientifically illiterate, about their primary natural disaster concern, that they could demand what amounts to human sacrifices to appease their sense of vengeance against natural forces. If that doesn’t scare the shit out of you, I don’t know what will. That’s really really really bad. It’s not that far off throwing virgins into the volcano, which frankly is a waste of virgins.
I’m usually a pretty positive guy about civilization, but the truth is civilization can go backward scientifically. Realistically there could have been a man on the moon by say about the 16th Century… but there wasn’t… because we went backwards.
So anyway, as much as we all joke about weather forecasters having the ultimate bullshit job in the universe, for the most part they are reasonably accurate in short term prediction thanks to all the computer modeling. A hurricane 500 miles across is coming, we’re going to get the wind side of it as opposed to the rain side of it. Zeus played no part in making it because he only makes the nice days, it’s not punishment for sin unless it’s a country where people aren’t white. For what it’s worth, I find that all deeply comforting that we have the knowledge it’s coming and what to do about it. You just stock up on supplies, nail stuff down and ride it out as best you can.
Last year all of Connecticut was essentially without power for an average of about a week after the 2011 storm. The culprit was far too many untrimmed trees acting in a unison of Arborgeddon taking down power lines in one massive swoop. Which is to say we humans screwed it up. This year the trees are trimmed and already 1000 linemen have been brought in from Ohio in readiness. People learned a lot of lessons from last year and we’re as ready as we’re going to be.
Thanks to science, plenty of things are “fairly predictable” but it’s all a little like golf in that you’re expecting to drive the ball somewhere near the pin and not hit a hole-in-one every time. Good enough is good enough.
You and your relationship are also “fairly predictable” too. Once you understand how dopamine, oxyticin, vasopressin, testosterone et al work, a lot of things in your relationship and sex life become a lot clearer. I can’t give you a guarantee of exactly how things will play out, but storms in your relationship are fairly predictable too. The good news is that you can do things to be ready for them and when the bad stuff happens, instead of your whole life pancaking down like bad Italian construction, you can ride it out with minimal damage and maybe something to bond over. Some people find MMSL too late to save their relationship… even then, it helps you prepare for the next one.
So anyway… yay science and human effort.
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