Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Please Consult Wikipedia Before Hitting Publish

It saves you from looking like a complete idiot. Like this Randall Parker post I'm going to charitably call "speculative", asserting that "the 20th century was a relatively mild, wet, and calm century as compared to the 19th century" on the basis of it having fewer earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and no massive solar storm.

Only, Wikipedia provides a handy list of historical earthquakes, and 20th century earthquakes, which tells us that the 19th century saw 16 earthquakes measured with an (estimated) magnitude above 7.5 on the Richter scale and 9 above 8, while the 20th century saw 51 earthquakes above 7.5, with 25 above 8.


Obviously, there was not a threefold increase in earthquakes from the 19th to the 20th century - this is an artifact of better record collection. Nevertheless, to claim that the 20th century didn't show us how devastating earthquakes could be in densely populated areas is particularly laughable in the light of this, this, this, and this, to pick out just a few examples.


Post a Comment

<< Home