Oh Boy an Earthquake!

I must remind you all that even though I now work as a highly sophisticated GIS’n’Excel monkey, I’m still a geophysicist, god dammit. And someone’s been sucking the physics right out of geophysics, to replace it with stupid not-at-all trendy math:

Keilis-Borok’s team now predicts an earthquake of at least magnitude 6.4 by Sept. 5, 2004, in a region that includes the southeastern portion of the Mojave Desert, and an area south of it.

Still, not all seismologists are convinced. “Application of nonlinear dynamics and chaos theory is often counter-intuitive,” Keilis-Borok said, “so acceptance by some research teams will take time. Other teams, however, accepted it easily.”

Dude that is so last decade! Chaos theory hasn’t been cool since Stephen Wolfram wrote that book and ruined it for everyone; you may as well just get drunk and watch Pi while wearing nothing but your most-falling-apartest pair of underpants, for all it’s going to help you pick up cute grad students at AGU. On the other hand, a casual mention of the snakes in Haicheng can work wonders. Snakes are sexy classics that are currently back in vogue!

Sure, my house falls more or less within “the southeastern Mojave, or maybe Palm Springs, or someplace in the San Bernardinos or near one of those other places starting with San” but I’m not falling out of my chair to stock up on bottled water.

Trackbacks & Pings

  1. AGU One on 11 Nov 2007 at 2:45 pm

    […] Boolean Delay Equations as a novel form of chaos (neat!), and an odd amount of credulousness w.r.t. Keilis-Borok. My seismolab companion stared derisively at that one as well, so I feel like my instincts have […]


  1. des wrote:

    Non-linear dynamics is what I do for a living, of course, but you’re quite right about its pulling potential. And its predictive potential, for that matter.

  2. yami wrote:

    At least you’re employed by people who can remind themselves that the maths are only a model, and handwave about why it might or might not correspond to reality, isn’t it?

  3. des wrote:

    Oh, very much so. But aren’t earthquake prediction “algorithms” legendary anyway? I was brought up to believe that they were pretty much like astrology, only without the rigour…

  4. Camilo wrote:

    Two possibilities: 1- Vassili is right about the earthquakes, and his predictions are completely true. His book sells on Amazon for US$100.
    or 2- Vassili’s cousins are investing heavily in real estate, suddenly to strike it rich.
    And please, chaos theory has no pulling potential whatsoever. People would ask me “gays theory?”

  5. Rana wrote:

    If ya really want to work yourself up, go look for the trailers for the new “big calamitous earthquake strikes California!” movie. It’s a 10.5! Seattle falls into the sea! Whole cities fall into the chasm!
    Californians with even the slightest bit of geological knowledge hurl themselves angrily at the tv!

  6. yami wrote:

    I should think a “gays theory” would have quite a lot of pulling potential, applied correctly! Though of course not useful for everyone.
    I’ve heard about 10.5, but I generally don’t expect movie science to withstand even basic scrutiny, so I haven’t hurled myself at the TV yet. If they use a patently absurd premise to set up an interesting story it’ll be fine by me – of course it’ll be crap, just like all the other natural disaster movies, but that’s a whole nother issue.
    And yes, earthquake prediction is a persistent bugbear, and most claims don’t pass the smell test. Algorithms without even a handwaving acknowledgement of physics are particularly galling, though they may or may not be particularly unscientific. Lots of genuinely rigorous people have pet theories about how proper earthquake prediction might eventually be possible, though, and there’s no shame in that.

  7. David Kim wrote:

    FUCK man i dont want to die bitch stop the FUCKING earthquake!!!!!!!!!

  8. David Kim wrote:

    is there any to stop this shit?

  9. David Kim wrote:

    ummmm……sorry for the fucking cusing

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