The earthquake in Indonesia
has had unexpected consequences: Earthquake speeds up Earth’s spin
The deadly Asian earthquake may have permanently accelerated the Earth’s rotation — shortening days by a fraction of a second — and caused the planet to wobble on its axis, US scientists say.
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 one millionth of a second, faster and to tilt about 2.5 cm on its axis.
When one huge tectonic plate beneath the Indian Ocean was forced below the edge of another “it had the effect of making the Earth more compact and spinning faster,” Gross said.
For a change, at the UN, Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland realized that “The international assistance that has come and been pledged from the United States, from Europe and from countries in the region has also been very generous,” after complaining the US & Other developed nations were stingy and should raise their taxes and give that money to the UN. It isn’t the first time someone suggests that the USA raise its taxes to give more money to the UN. Just last September Jacques was suggesting just that.
Back on the subject of the earthquake, Simon Winchester’s article at the NYT, The Year the Earth Fought Back, talks about plate tectonics and Gaia Theory,
In recent decades, thanks largely to the controversial Gaia Theory developed by the British scientists James Lovelock, it has become ever more respectable to consider the planet as one immense and eternally interacting living system – the living planet, floating in space, every part of its great engine affecting every other, for good or for ill.
Mr. Lovelock’s notion, which he named after the earth goddess of the Ancient Greeks, makes much of the delicacy of the balance that mankind’s environmental carelessness increasingly threatens. But his theory also acknowledges the somber necessity of natural happenings, many of which seem in human terms so tragically unjust, as part of a vast system of checks and balances. The events that this week destroyed the shores of the Indian Ocean, and which leveled the city of Bam a year ago, were of unmitigated horror: but they may also serve some deeper planetary purpose, one quite hidden to our own beliefs.
Mr. Winchester is the author of “Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded, August 27, 1883”, and “The Professor and the Madman”, books that I highly recommend. Both books are available through Amazon, which has page for donations to the Red Cross. Apropos of Amazon, Prof. Reynolds has a Stinginess Update,
And while amateurs outperform the French government, the United States government is sending $35 million plus two Naval groups. Not that that has stopped people from bitching about the United States’ response. It’s almost as if they’re determined to find fault no matter what.
However, at this rate the Amazon donations will soon pass the German government’s contribution of 2 million Euros (2.7 million dollars), too.
Jack, however, has a comment on Gaia Theory and the NYT readers,
Winchester makes passing reference to the Gaia Theory, which holds that the earth is an eternal living organism, but he never suggests (as Gaia lunatics propose) that the planet has some sort of consciousness that is visiting retaliation for man’s environmental depredations. The idea that the earth “fights back” reflects the liberal guilt of a newspaper that serves the most physically unnatural city on the planet. If the Times readers believe that the earth really does “fight back,” and I do not doubt for an instant that many of them do, why are they living on a densely populated slab of bedrock almost entirely covered in concrete?