Irresponsible Science and Reporting

Posted by Administrator on August 17, 2007, 8:53 am
in General ( General)

Oregroanian August 17, 2007 page 1A: An article titled —Peru’s quake makes local experts tremble—. This article states “The main difference: A northwest quake could be stronger and longer.” Sure, my aunt could have been my uncle if she would have been a man. The truth is that anything could happen. The words could, can and would were used 6 times in this article. These types of articles are used to scare people and get more money for research and are an example of irresponsible science and reporting.

These types of random events are controlled by complex systems that cannot be analysis specifically but they can be and are analyzed routinely by the science of statistics. Each of these events have what is called a return period. Responsible science should use both probability and the return period to illustrate the veracity of their claims.

The return period for a magnitude 9 earth quake off the Oregon coast is much longer than age of the state. Thirty years ago, we spent tons of money strengthening Portland’s Structures. That effort has successfully protected Portland from magnitude 9 earthquakes. In fact Portland has not felt an earthquake 1000 time less than a magnitude 9 quake. If we have an infinite supply of wealth and no other problems then we should consider these remote events. One hundred years ago, these events were called act’s of God. Today that same concept is summed up by the phrase, “XXXX happens!

Science and reporting that uses propaganda and other peoples tragedy to make a buck is despicable.

By Emmett Geese
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