Monday, May 16, 2016

9 Percent Chance That a Devastating Tsunami Could Strike Hawaii!

May 16, 2016
Hawaii Is At Risk Of Devastating Tsunami: Is The State Prepared?

In the end, they found that although the occurrence is rare, there is a 9 percent chance that a tsunami could strike Hawaii.

Over what time frame? The article doesn't actually say.

1. Within 50 seconds?
2. Within 50 hours?
3. Within 50 years?
4. Within 50 centuries?

It's kind of important to know! Better safe than sorry! Evacuate now!! And while you are evacuating, I'll do some more research.

After digging through a link to another article, turns out there's a 9% chance within 50 years. Whew!

"They don't happen all the time but there is a chance for them."

That did not calm my fears. I already knew that tsunamis don't happen all the time. My worst case scenario was one every 50 seconds! Hence the warning for you to evacuate! Hahaha!

No idea how science news gets twisted and mangled with each new iteration of the same story. Or wait, maybe I do?

Dammit. I wrote my headline before I found out more information from another article. In hindsight, it looks so alarmist now. Sorry about that! Thank goodness I'm a responsible sarcastic blogger. There's therefore a 9% chance that I'll change my headline to be less alarmist, at some point in the next 50 years. Perhaps even before someone else links to my post and adds Godzilla to the mix. That's assuming I don't just move on to the next story and forget this ever happened, of course.

Science news, baby. That's what I'm talking about.

May 9, 2016
John Oliver explains why so much ‘science’ you read about is bogus

Once upon a time when I was a wee science-writing babe, I actually wrote an academic thesis on how the media handles science. My big takeaway was that it's like some hellish game of "telephone," where results get more and more garbled as they trickle through the media. I can't explain this any better than PhD Comics can, to be perfectly honest.


mab said...

Modern science really took a turn for the worse early in the 20th century. It's gotten worse ever since.

Take the esteemed Richard Feynman. He started off giving insightful lectures with a simple over-arching message - if the theory, no matter how mathematically elegant, doesn't agree with experimentation, then the theory is wrong.

He then went on to concoct and espouse theories (multiple histories) that couldn't be verified experimentally. Good grief.

Stagflationary Mark said...


Publish or Perish

mab said...

Absolutely! But what to publish? When in doubt, just claim your experiment(s) once again "prove" Einstein's theories. It never fails. Ever! It prevents all mainstream criticism.

Gravity Probe B!!!!! The billion dollar boon doggle from Stanford that "proved" relativity yet again. Well, ~ 20% of it's data "proved" relativity. And if 2 out of 3 ain't bad, then 1 out of 5 ....... well whatever.

Fortunately for the publish or perish scientists, the majority can still see The Emperor's New Clothes.

Fooled by randomness? Sure. And bamboozled by ridiculous maths and explanations that have no relation to reality.

Stagflationary Mark said...


I was a research assistant in my university's physics department. My professor was studying short-range gravitation. It was all very interesting. I really enjoyed the job.

That said, he once told me that it was like I was always looking for something that would invalidate the results. I said I was.

It's easy to think of all the things we thought of. Much harder to think of the things we hadn't. The equipment was extremely sensitive. Imagine a small ball in a cooled vacuum chamber being pushed around by gravity from a nearby ring, air currents inside the chamber, a potentially shifting floor due to my weight, and so on. I was always looking for what could be wrong.

I did manage to find one thing. The vacuum chamber was warping the thick plastic viewports over time, which turned them into lenses. I discovered this by measuring the width of the suspended metal ball inside the chamber. It was not the correct width when viewed from outside. He was amazed that I even checked, since we already knew the width of the ball. I'm just a very sjeptical person though. I didn't distrust the ball. I distrusted the small telescope on a rail we were using to measure where it was. What if the rail was warped?

He was very thankful that I gound a problem though, replaced the viewports with thick glass, and we both continued to measure both sides of the ball from there on out.

Can't know what we don't know, and there is so much that we don't know. Experiments are therefore error prone under even the best conditions. That's why they need to be verified independently, preferably many times. And even then, absolute proof will still be lacking. Sigh.

Stagflationary Mark said...

I have backtested all of Jeremy Siegel's stock market theories about the future. Two out of two centuries agree. The stock market's 10% growth rate is at a permanently high plateau, lol. Sigh.

1. 10% is a universal constant.
2. Proof is for wusses.

Forehead. Desk. Whack. Whack. Whack.

mab said...

Experiments are therefore error prone under even the best conditions.

We're on a spaceship known as earth. Near the equator, we're rotating at ~ 1000mph. We're also hurling around the sun at ~ 67,000mph.

Our atmosphere is in constant flux in terms of pressure, temperature, humidity, etc. The earth itself is in constant flux - earthquakes, lava flows, weathering, etc.

To make matters worse, there are zillions of things in the universe that, according to gravity, are pulling us in a zillion different directions.

Nothing is for certain. All of that being said, we can do without the patent dishonesty especially from prestigious institutions like Stanford.

Stagflationary Mark said...

Don't even get me started on patent dishonesty! ;)

mab said...

The technology at issue here involves Plasma-fluorinated filters

Go figure. Just after you mention not knowing.

When I was in school, we were taught that there are three states of matter - solids, liquids and gases. Some in science now hold that plasma is a fourth state of matter and that it accounts for most of the matter in the universe.

Regardless of what they come up with next, I'm keeping Pluto as a regular planet. I mean it!

Stagflationary Mark said...

You are wise to respect what you had previously learned about Pluto. I am the same, especially simce we all know Pluto is the god of the underworld.

On the off chance you don't agree, let me remind you who you are dealing with. My gods are better than yours. This is an undisputed fact according to my elders. So, watch yourself. This flat planet doesn't need another pointless holy war. ;)