The Null Device

Catastrophist digest

The Indian Ocean earthquake may not only have killed a lot of people and wiped out entire towns, it may have also permanently taken a fraction of a second off each day, by accelerating the Earth's rotation.

Meanwhile, some experts say it's only a matter of time before a landslide in the Canary Islands causes a mega-tsunami in the Atlantic, with unimaginably devastating effects; places like Ireland and south-west England will get off lightly, with only waves similar to those that battered Sri Lanka and Thailand; meanwhile, the east coast of the US will be wiped out with 20-50-metre waves obliterating cities including New York and Washington DC, and the Caribbean and northeastern Brazil would suffer similar devastation. And since it would be impossible to evacuate the entire eastern seaboard in a few hours and impractical to do so preventively for an indefinite period, nobody wants to hear about an early-warning system:

No national leader wants to evacuate the entire coast for an indefinite period of time, causing an economic and refugee crisis on the scale of a world war, for what might be a false alarm. But nobody wants to ignore a warning, and perhaps be responsible for tens of millions of deaths. From a political standpoint, it's better not to have the warning at all.

Mind you, that's only one opinion; some dude on Slashdot said that the depth profile of the Atlantic would cause such tsunamis to dissipate more rapidly, so perhaps things will turn out OK.

Anyway, back to the spin-acceleration thing; this means that there'll be, theoretically, even less time in a day to do things. I, for one, wouldn't mind if someone devised a way of slowing Earth's rotation down, giving its inhabitants a 25- or 26-hour period to go about their day in; those of us with longer-than-24-hour biological clocks, who otherwise tend to retire and rise later each day, would be grateful.

There are 1 comments on "Catastrophist digest":

Posted by: Raffi http:// Thu Dec 30 04:16:38 2004

Strange how none of those psychics managed to predict this one, isn't it....?

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