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Quake Changes Earth's Rotation, Moves Islands

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the shorter-or-maybe-longer-who-knows dept.

Science 917

kernel panic attack writes "This week's deadly Asian Quake and Tsunami may have been so powerful, that it changed the rate of Earth's rotation. In a Reuters article, a NASA geophysicist theorizes that the quake compacted the Earth enough to speed up the planet's rotation by 3 microseconds. A second article says the quake moved undersea tectonic plates by up to 98 feet, shifting islands near Sumatra out to sea an unknown distance. Also, a USGS team wants images from commercial satellite operators to help pinpoint coastline damage. Lastly, an interesting article from the Australian Spaceguard Survey about the need for a Tsunami warning system in the Indian Ocean. The author comments that tsunami warnings may not help much, as people often flock to the coastline to see the giant waves." The current estimated death toll is now nearly 70,000; Amazon and Google, among others, have added front-page links to simplify donating to the disaster relief effort.

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Apple Too (5, Informative)

ack154 (591432) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208574)

Probably not as much traffic as Amazon or Google, but Apple [apple.com] also has also modified their front page to offer multiple relief links. Even the four boxes at the bottom have been changed to different organizations.

Re:Apple Too (-1, Offtopic)

Nexus7 (2919) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208638)

Mod this gratuitous post 'Off-topic' please.

Re:Apple Too (1)

Fig, formerly A.C. (543042) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208725)

How is it off topic? It references points made at the end of the summary.

With as many catastrophic effects as this event had to both people and (evidently) the planet, I don't think that an occasional nod to the groups willing to help out is a bad thing.

Re:Apple Too (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208738)

I see the Apple fanbois are out in force again today. I dunno about the rotation fo the earth, but we know what they rotate around.

Earthquake, tsunami, pfunami... all that matters for the fanbois is that they have to mention Apple. Sheesh.

Re:Apple Too (1)

ack154 (591432) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208757)

67,000 people dead, and you're complaining about "fanbois"? Of which, I am not. I happened to visit the site today and thought their change of site was a very nice gesture. Just STFU.

Re:Apple Too (5, Informative)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208776)

Don't know why they couldn't put the link in the article summary, but the Amazon donation link is in the sig below:

Re-program ICBM (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208587)

It is time to re-program target locations

Rotation (5, Interesting)

Manan Shah (808049) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208593)

I would not think a quake, even of this magnitude could have that much effect on rotation. Then again, the speculation is that there could never be enough energy for a 10.0 quake, so 9.0 is pretty high up on the list. It is impossible to comprehend, but an 8.6 earthquake has enough energy to equal 60,000 hydrogen bombs. Amazing.

Re:Rotation (4, Funny)

justkarl (775856) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208613)

I'm not surprised that it sped up the rotation by 3 microseconds(not much), but I'm wondering if this really has any secondary effect on the planet. Like "The Day After Tomorrow"-like effects. And I don't mean special effects laced with bad screenwriting.

Re:Rotation (3, Funny)

Squareball (523165) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208694)

Great now we'll have Leap-Second

Re:Rotation (1)

lordsilence (682367) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208625)

Since the richter scale is 10-logarithmic, 10.0 is a great deal bigger then 9.0.

Re:Rotation (2, Interesting)

tomjen (839882) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208630)

acording to ajazeera it now takes the earth 3 miliseconds less for a full rotation.

read the article here [aljazeera.net]

Wobble (1)

TFGeditor (737839) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208753)

Network TV news keeps saying it caused Earth to "wobble on its axis." It already does that, which is where climatic seasons come from. If it did wobble more/differently, how might the seasons be impacted, if at all?

Re:Wobble (1)

arkanes (521690) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208843)

It's not the same wobble that causes seasons, but yes it does wobble. The earthquake, according to TFA, caused about an inch of wobble but the normal variation is in the range of 33 feet so it's well within normal parameters.

It's all about angular momentum (4, Informative)

PhysicsGenius (565228) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208730)

Angular momentum is conserved and is calculated by L = Iw where I is the rotational inertia, w is the angular velocity and L is the constant product. So if I goes up (and I will show in a minute how that happens), w must go down.

I, the rotational inertia, is calculated different ways for different geometries. A long stick held by the end has a larger I than the same stick held by the center, for instance. Another example is a sphere, like the Earth, rotating on an axis. If it suddenly puts out a long arm, that's going to increase its rotation inertia considerably, decreasing its angular velocity. Lifting up a whole region by a few inches could easily do that.

Re:Rotation (1)

mOoZik (698544) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208734)

Think of a ballerina: as she brings her hands closer in, her rotation speeds up. What this did, it seems, is to push a mass of Earth closer to the center of the center, thus speeding it up. I wonder what effect celestial debris, large volcanoes, and so on have on the Earth's rotation.

Makes me wonder (0, Offtopic)

lordsilence (682367) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208597)

if this will have any affect on the asteroid 2004MN4 course, related to the earth.

Re:Makes me wonder (3, Informative)

tage (14671) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208610)

Earthquakes can't change the Earth's orbit anymore than you can fly by pulling your hair upwards.

Re:Makes me wonder (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208640)

But of the circumference of the earth is now smaller because of a large shift in mass, the rotational period will alter.

Its like the effect figureskaters have when they tuck arms in when spinning.

Rotation != Orbital Trajectory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208660)

THe rotation can be effected, exactly how you describe. But that cannot affect the orbit of the Earth.

Re:Makes me wonder (1)

tage (14671) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208696)

Point taken. So, the asteroid that was about to hit the Earth will now probably miss us, since the Earth's diameter is now, what, 1.5 meters less than before? Thank goodness, we're saved!

Re:Makes me wonder (1)

phil reed (626) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208712)

But of the circumference of the earth is now smaller because of a large shift in mass, the rotational period will alter

True, but that will have no relevance to the gravational field generated by the earth's mass, which did not change (and is the only thing that matters).

NASA will have to account for the change when communicating with deep space satellites, but that should be the only real apparent effect.

Re:Makes me wonder (5, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208654)

Only a fool would try to fly by pulling their hair upwards. Everyone knows you have to throw yourself at the ground and miss to fly.

Re:Makes me wonder (4, Informative)

Enigma_Man (756516) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208692)

You're right. Earthquakes didn't change the earth's orbit, they changed the earth's rate of rotation, which is a completely different animal.

-Jesse

Re:Makes me wonder (1)

Cornelius42 (516371) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208767)

Earthquakes can't change the Earth's orbit anymore than you can fly by pulling your hair upwards.

Yea, tell that to an ice skater.

Re:Makes me wonder (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208856)

Pulling hair is not the same...

A better example would be sitting in one of those tilt-a-whirl's at the carnivals. Imagine it spinning around at a constant rate... now what do you do to make it spin faster or slower? Shift your weight.

Same principle applies here... the weight of the earth's crust shifted in a new direction. We are talking about billions of tons of rock movement from this quake, so it is entirely realistic that the rotation changed ever so slightly.

Re:Makes me wonder (1)

tage (14671) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208648)

...oh, and earthquakes certainly don't change the orbits of asteroids.

Re:Makes me wonder (1)

lordsilence (682367) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208698)

Uhm.. silly, but that's not the point I tried to make. If the asteroid changes the earths speed by 3microseconds, would this have the slightest impact on the calculations on which the NASA scientist and others are trying to make. Trying to find out which path the asteroid will take. 1/41 hit probabibility anyone? Or was it 1/39 now?

Just cause it wont or may not happen doesn't mean it's not worth investigating. "No, the earth has got less then ~2% chance of getting hit, lets just forget about scanning for asteroids.. it wont happen anyhow!".

Re:Makes me wonder (1)

rah1420 (234198) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208745)

If the asteroid changes the earths speed by 3microseconds, would this have the slightest impact on the calculations on which the NASA scientist and others are trying to make.

The speed that was affected was the speed at which the earth ROTATED on its axis.

The speed at which the earth REVOLVES around Sol in its orbit remains unchanged by this event.

Re:Makes me wonder (1)

JDevers (83155) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208796)

The only change it could possibly make is WHERE on Earth it would strike if it were to actually hit us. This changed the Earths rotation, not it's orbit. This means that whatever part of Earth's surface which would be in a specific 3D coordinate in our solar system in whatever time of impact would be different, but Earth will still be there. Our mass didn't change, just the average density (and then only very slightly).

Re:Makes me wonder (1)

tage (14671) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208814)

Imagine that you are sitting in a spaceship in soalr orbit holding a nice long-range rifle. You aim the rifle at the Earth. Would the speed with which the planet rotates around it's own axis affect your aim? Nope. If the planet got smaller, that may make a difference, but we're probably talking a couple of feet in changed diameter, which is not much considering the size of teh target.

What you seem to be missing is that the speed with which the Earth orbits the Sun is not what has been affected. No mass has been ejected into space, just redistributed within the Earth, so no change in the Earth's orbit around the Sun has happened. Basic physics, really. I seem to recall something about forces in opposite directions that some Englishman discovered a few hundred years ago.

Friends in Asia (1)

Rock-n-Rolf (79046) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208598)

I have 3 friends which were supposed to be in Asia at the time. 2 have come back before the desaster happened and on had some water around his feet, not realizing the dramatic extend of the desaster. He's safe home now.
Lucky day for my friends, but other people are far from that. I'll donate this evening.

Re:Friends in Asia (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208646)

Hey, didn't you write the intro to Zero Wing?

a NASA geophysicist theorizes (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208603)


but it doesnt make it fact

What is the impact? (2, Interesting)

zeux (129034) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208604)

it changed the rate of Earth's rotation. In a Reuters article, a NASA geophysicist theorizes that the quake compacted the Earth enough to speed up the planet's rotation by 3 microseconds

What will be the impact of this on geostationnary satellites?
On the measuring of time?
On the GPS?

Re:What is the impact? (2, Funny)

khrtt (701691) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208649)

According to the article, the impact is 3 microseconds/day.

Re:What is the impact? (1)

aslate (675607) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208674)

Seeing as time is measured using the cesium atom, i can't quite see an earthquake having an effect on it...

Useless fact courtesy of Bill Bailey.

Re:What is the impact? (1)

UNCfan4life (842992) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208675)

It looks as though the change was no more substantial than normal fluctuations relating to tides and such. As for the measurement of time, since we generally defer to an atomic clock on that, it certainly is not going to influence the speed of vibrations of the cesium atom.

Re:What is the impact? (5, Informative)

Soft (266615) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208729)

What will be the impact of this on geostationnary satellites?

No more than usual perturbations, I suppose: geostationary satellites already tend to drift a little and need stationkeeping.

On the measuring of time?

None. The second is defined relative to quantum levels in the caesium atom, that won't change. As for keeping up with the calendar, the Earth's rotation already has small variations; since 3 microseconds is roughly 1/300 second, we might have to subtract a leap second next July or December. (E.g. straight from 2005-12-31/23:59:58 to 2006-01-01/0:00:00 UTC.)

On the GPS?

Don't know, but don't think the resolution is that precise.

Re:What is the impact? (1)

Soft (266615) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208752)

since 3 microseconds is roughly 1/300 second

Oops... Mistook microseconds for milliseconds, it seems. Forget that.

Damnit! First daylight savings time and now THIS? (1, Funny)

erroneus (253617) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208615)

Does this mean we are going to switch to that guy's alternative calendar [slashdot.org] now?

Wait... (1, Funny)

wikdwarlock (570969) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208621)

I thought Quake was set on Mars, not Earth.

Re:Wait... (1)

bje2 (533276) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208636)

it's sad, but that's exactly what i thought of when i read the headline...

Re:Wait... (1)

justkarl (775856) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208673)

It dosen't matter, you'd need Quad Damage to even think about changing any kind of rotational speed.

Re:Wait... (1)

actor_au (562694) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208852)

Quake, at least Quake 1, was set in an alternate dimension controlled by the Demon Lord Quake, this dimension existed between the jumpgates that were humanities newest system of transportation and lead to an Earth/Quake war the secret final blow of which was destroyed moments before the first Quake game began(the army was wiped out by Quake while the player was off getting some supplies).

Quake 2 and 3 were set on Strogg world during the human invasion(retribution for an attack on Earth apparently) and the Arena Dimension that Sarge was taken to before dying respectively.

Doom 1, 2 and 3(ignoring the many assorted mission packs, expansions etc) were set on The Mars Moon Phobos, The missing Moon Deimos and finally the dimension of Hell in Doom 1, The invaded Earth in Doom 2 and Mars proper in Doom 3.

I need a girlfriend.
And iD needs more stories like these ones.

Ugh! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208622)

3 microseconds faster! 3 microseconds!? That quake is robbing me of SLEEP. I want a 25 hour day dammit, so I can sleep in ONE HOUR extra each day... although, I might not get into the swing of resetting my watch.

3 microseconds per _what_? (2, Insightful)

WillerZ (814133) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208623)

Article is useless, and indeed meaningless without the _what_ filled in...

Phil

Re:3 microseconds per _what_? (1)

Mz6 (741941) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208651)

Well.. that earth rotates once every 24 hours right? So, by the article, that means that the day is shortened by 3 microseconds.

Re:3 microseconds per _what_? (1)

bje2 (533276) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208666)

i thought that was pretty clear...the earth's rotation would be 3 microseconds faster...so, whereas before the quake the rotation was 24 hours (that's probably not exact), now it's [24 hours - 3 microseconds] (atleast by this theory)...

Equalizes out (3, Funny)

randomErr (172078) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208627)

"a NASA geophysicist theorizes that the quake compacted the Earth enough to speed up the planet's rotation by 3 microseconds."

Thats alright, it all works out in the end. You see everytime we launch a explortion vehicle we loose a nanoscopic amount of rotation speed.

Over what time? (2, Insightful)

GeekLife.com (84577) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208631)

"Richard Gross, a geophysicist with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, theorized that a shift of mass toward the Earth's center during the quake on Sunday caused the planet to spin 3 microseconds, or 3 millionths of a second, faster and to tilt about an inch on its axis."

3 millionths of a second faster...per year? Per day? Per second? It would seem that that would be critical information left out of this and all other articles I've seen mentioning this change.

Re:Over what time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208714)

I would guess per rotation. Use some common sense.

The more important thing... (1)

cnelzie (451984) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208731)

...would be the effects of the one inch tilt of the Earth's axis...

What kind of global climate changes could be experienced due to the alteration of the Earth's axis by one inch?

Will that cause more or less light to strike particular areas heating/cooling the air, thusly altering the jet stream enough to manipulate the weather in a good/bad for us fasion?

BTW, the speed up of the Earth's spin is referring to the 24 hour cycle of days on Earth.

Re:Over what time? (4, Informative)

arkanes (521690) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208747)

You know what one rotation of the earth is called, right? One of those is 3 microseconds faster.

Re:Over what time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208755)

Well, the only answer that makes sense is ... per day!!!111!!eleven!!111!!!omg!lol

Re:Over what time? (1)

Orne (144925) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208835)

Well lets see. We're talking about the time it takes for "the planet to spin", which we currently clock as about 1 day for the same equatorial point to make one complete rotation about the axis of the earth. Due to a change in the earth's angular velocity, it now takes 3x10e-6 seconds less time to make one rotation. The best explanation I have seen for this is that a piece of the earth's crust has broken away and slipped more towards the center of the earth; like the ice skater pulling in her arms, the rotational speed increases.

Lucky for us, the US Navy is already on the job [navy.mil] tracking the tilt of the earth & speeds of rotation. What's also interesting is that the rotational speed is not constant [zetatalk.com] , and has been slowing for almost a century...

As was mentioned yesterday (4, Interesting)

AbbyNormal (216235) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208632)

the wiki is here [wikipedia.org] and some amazing videos are here [contemporaryinsanity.org]

Absolutely amazing, the death-toll is reaching 69,000. I don't mean to be pessimistic, but would a warning system really have helped, though? I mean there are accounts of entire villages just being swept out to sea. Any life, obviously, is worth saving, but in the future I wonder how you could warn villages without power/communication systems. Very tragic.

Re:As was mentioned yesterday (1)

tomjen (839882) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208678)

One of the coasts had lifeguard towers. They where so high that the guards discovered the tsumi in time to warn the persons on the beach and get them in safety. only 3 people died.

Re:As was mentioned yesterday (2, Interesting)

slutdot (207042) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208703)

You'd think there would be some sort of international warning system for events like this but apparently there isn't. According to this article [www.ctv.ca] , U.S. scientists tried to reach contacts in the reach but since there is no warning system in place, they couldn't let anyone know what was happening.

Re:As was mentioned yesterday (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208853)

It is a rare event, in having the earthquake in that area, the force of the earthquake and then the size of the tsumani, so why spent resources on a something like that.

Re:As was mentioned yesterday (5, Insightful)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208860)

Well, I'm writing this from Chennai/Madras which was hit quite badly (over 3000+ folks were killed from areas here and around).

The problem is that this region has never seen Tsunamis before, and most people were just curious to see what the hell was happening. That made it only worse - a lot of them were morning walkers who were wondering what's up with the sea.

If erudite urban folks are this naive, what can you expect off villagers? Actually, there is a story making the rounds of a guy from Singapore who called up his village and warned them about this, and they all moved to safety and nobody in the village was affected.

The problem is that, it is not enough if you had a warning system -- you would need to know what to do with it. It's not sufficient to warn people, you need to tell them where to go and what to do, too.

Oh! (1)

beatdown (788583) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208643)

Sp that's why I was feeling dizzy for the past week!

Indian ocean isnt the only place one is needed (2, Interesting)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208645)

Scientist warns of Atlantic tidal wave

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5652141/ [msn.com]

Re:Indian ocean isnt the only place one is needed (1)

justkarl (775856) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208702)

That's why it's nice to live in the Southwest!

slowing rotation (4, Interesting)

justforaday (560408) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208647)

I seem to remember seeing something a few months ago about the earth's rotation slowing a bit -- something that the scientists can't seem to explain. Any chance this sort of thing could be related or a partial explanation?

Re:slowing rotation (1)

LucidBeast (601749) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208805)

My ninth grade science teacher also told us this fact, but I had hard time believing it, because according to his numbers T-Rex would have had only 2 1/2 hours of day light back in its days.

My sceptism was ignored by him and rest of the class.

Interesting. (3, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208650)

It is interesting the Quake speeds up the earths rotation. Because there are factors like the moon that actually slow down the earths rotation. I don't know the rates of average earthquake will speed up the earths rotation vs. the rate the gravitional effect of the moon slows the rotation. So I guess in some ways earth quakes are a good thing in the long term. Because the earth having a 672 hour day would probably be more desasterious to life.

Re:Interesting. (2, Insightful)

n0mad6 (668307) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208809)

With the case of the moon, the Earth's rotation is slowed down enough such that on average, the day is lengthened by 15 microseconds every year. At the same time, the moon gets 38 mm further from the Earth over the same period. This is a result of the two bodies being tidally locked (i.e., having synchronized rotations such that one side of the moon is always facing the Earth).

UTC (1)

espo812 (261758) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208653)

compacted the Earth enough to speed up the planet's rotation by 3 microseconds
Don't forget to adjust your clocks [navy.mil] .

Re:UTC (1)

GrAfFiT (802657) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208785)

In fact, UTC time doesn't exactly reflect the earth's rotation. Its seconds are real SI seconds (cesium stuff you know) but it is adjusted to follow earth rotation one second at a time and very rarely.

For more information read this [iers.org] and this [wikipedia.org] .

No, your wristwatch doesn't need to be readjusted immediately.

Largest Natural Disaster Ever? (1)

LegendOfLink (574790) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208655)

OK, let me rephrase that question, largest natural disaster to affect mankind?

Maybe I'm wrong, but I think it is.

Re:Largest Natural Disaster Ever? (1)

bje2 (533276) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208697)

this article [sltrib.com] says "in recent history"...

too bad you said "mankind", otherwise it could've been the comet that wiped out the dinosaurs..

Re:Largest Natural Disaster Ever? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208742)

There was larger earthquake in China like 100 years iirc. It caused over 350 000 deaths.

Re:Largest Natural Disaster Ever? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208770)

Probably not on a percentage basis. Without taking into account after-effects (disease, famine, whatever), the current death toll is approximately 0.001% of the earth's population.

Still very tragic from a compassionate perspective, however.

500,000 in 1970 recent enough for you? or 1976? (2, Informative)

magicianuk (446906) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208778)

this article at BBC News [bbc.co.uk]
states that a cyclone in 1970 killed up to 500,000 people in Bangladesh.

Also China suffered similar losses when an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.3 almost obliterated the north-eastern city of Tangshan in 1976. The official number of people killed was put at around 250,000, although some said the figure was more like 750,000.

And not much over 100 years ago In 1887, about 900,000 people died when [China's] Yellow River burst its banks in the worst-ever recorded flooding

Or, in terms of real catastrophe that *might* be human-created/contributed
The droughts that swept across sub-Saharan African in the 1980s led to the starvation of an estimated one million people. They are threatening to do the same again

Nuclear power station affected (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208656)

There is a nuclear power station in Kalpakkam, India on the coastline that got hit by the Tsunami. The reactor was shutdown automatically. There was some flooding in the unit. The authorites claim it is safe. I wonder if these nuclear power station has any safegaurds for earthquacks.

Re:Nuclear power station affected (1)

clevelandguru (612010) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208737)

I think every nuclear plant is designed to withstand earthquake. http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&lr=&tab=wn&ie=UT F-8&q=kalpakkam+nuclear&btnG=Search+News

an extra second per 1000 years? (1, Informative)

Emrikol (21551) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208664)

0.000003 seconds * 365 days = 0.001095 seconds per year
0.001095 sec/yr * 1000 years = 1.095 seconds

Ack! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208667)

Something needs to be done about these violent video games.

More information about earthquakes (3, Informative)

Manan Shah (808049) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208681)

A 10.0 earthquake has energy equivilant 1,000,000,000,000 tons of TNT. It would create a fault that circles the earth. A 12.0 on the other hand, with 160,000,000,000,000 tons of tnt energy, would break the hearth in half. Comparatively, the Northridge, CA quake of 1994 was "only" equal to 5,000,000 tons of emergy.

Just the SCOPE (5, Insightful)

Badgerman (19207) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208682)

It's still hard to wrap my mind around the extent of the disaster.

It also is amazing just how much information we have at our fingertips from cell phones, cameras, the internet, and more. Had this happened twenty years ago, the sense of it would be different.

It's amazing seeing the global impact, and being aware of the global impact. The world is much smaller these days.

I am also heartened to see how the internet has given people information on how to help out. That, too, is different than what we would have faced twenty years ago. Let's hope it makes a difference.

Historical impact of (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208684)

While it is important to have a warning system, if you look at the historical impact of tsunamis you will see that they don't happen that often. Aid money could be used for better things at this point in time.

For those interested in historical data, check out the em-dat database

http://www.em-dat.net/disasters/profiles.php
(w ave/surge)

3 microseconds less? (4, Funny)

Woogiemonger (628172) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208691)

As if there wasn't too little time in the day already.

wow! (1)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208693)

Think of all the electric I will save when I use them 3 microseconds of extra sunlight in the evening! I could save a whole seconds worth of power before I die! I don't even feel guilty for running 2 PCs all day long now!

But, But, But.... (1)

10101001011 (744876) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208700)

How could the Earth shift it's rotation?

It always revolved around me before...

Another donation spot (1)

JLSigman (699615) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208704)

Amazon.com's front page has a 1-click donation link available. The money goes to the Red Cross.

24 hours on FOX (1)

phrostie (121428) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208716)

will this force Fox to rename threir show previously known as 24 Hours

Re:24 hours on FOX (1)

bje2 (533276) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208801)

yes, instead of being known as "24", it'll now be known as "23.999997"...

Re:24 hours on FOX (1)

bje2 (533276) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208826)

ah, crap...before someone corrects me, i realize i didn't do that math correct on that...too early for math yet...

Donate some money! (5, Informative)

immerrath (607098) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208727)

I submitted a story with a link to a CNN [cnn.com] page that lists organizations accepting aid for the Tsunami/Quake hit people, but it got rejected.

I myself donated $500 to AmeriCares [americares.org] which seems to be a fairly reputable charity, and I'm only a poor graduate student.

Those of you who are well off enough, please, donate as much as you can to your favorite charity.

I quote John Donne [wikipedia.org] :

"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were. Any man's death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

Re:Donate some money! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208827)

$495 in administrative fees, $5 to the needy. Ameri cares.

Darwin is everywhere! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208735)

The author comments that tsunami warnings may not help much, as people often flock to the coastline to see the giant waves."

What a great system for wiping out large numbers of stupid people! We in the U.S. only get them to assemble in large numbers (we call them "NASCAR spectators"), but the subsequent mass killing by natural forces is too much to hope for. We'd have to call in an airstrike on the racetrack.

Re:Darwin is everywhere! (0, Offtopic)

doppleganger871 (303020) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208794)

I suppose, to a smaller extent, it would help lower crime rates if this was also done at all NBA games.

Re:Darwin is everywhere! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208823)

How about serving bad beer?

How many separate waves were there? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208798)

I keep hearing reports that there were actually two or three tsunami waves hitting the affected areas? Is this normal or does this indicate multiple earthquakes?
As a general rule, if you evacuate an area due to a tsunami, should you expect several waves several hours apart?

Why the earth spins faster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11208816)

If you're wondering why the earth is spinning faster now, consider this. When an ice skater spins around, they start by spinning slowly with their arms outstretched. As they pull their arms in, they spin faster and faster. What happened to the earth was similar. One tectonic plate was shoved underground, making the earth spin faster. The same thing happens to stars when they go nova. All of the mass of the star is condenced into a small area, so it spins very fast. The result is a pulsar.

How? (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208828)

TFA is sketchy.

No mass was added or taken away from the planet, so how exactly could its rotational speed have changed?

Is it analogous to a figure skater spinning with arms extended, then pulling them in, making them spin faster?

Tsunami warning system, courtesy of whom? (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208849)

First comes the well-meaning-but-naive assertion that "there needs to be" this system, then comes the subtle hint that wealthier nations should pay for it, since theirs is the privilege of strength, while others have the right of weakness. All of this culminates in the UN declaring the civilized world to be "stingy", and some knee-jerk reaction by the USian Con-gress to fund it, and 173 miscellaneous pork-barrel projects for midwestern states, all rationalized because its "for the poor".

I, for one, do not welcome our new socialist overlords.

-1, Troll, -1, Flamebait, whatever, its true.

Another Scenario (1)

ashwinds (743227) | more than 9 years ago | (#11208857)

There is now a lot of speculation on other scenarios as well. One that I heard today which seemed entirely feasible is if the plates keep shifting and move down too much they just might punch a hole and let lava burst out causing under-sea volcanic eruption which could trigger off tidal waves. Andaman is having so many earthquakes now that it doesnt seem like the plates have found stability yet. Also reg. the wobble - are they sure its not due to the 8 something in Antartica - being at the pole it really should shake things up.
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