Tag: earthquakes


The Little Man was at school, the Little Miss was napping so Kelly and I decided that it would be a good time to take a nap. She napped on the couch and I went up stairs to our room. I was just dozing off when, at 1:51pm,  it felt like a large truck was rumbling by. Then it got stronger and I immediately recognized it for what it seemed to be: an earthquake–

(When I lived in L.A., I lived through many earthquakes, including the Northridge earthquake in 1994. So I am very familiar with the sound and feeling that comes with earthquakes.)

–but I simply couldn’t believe it was an earthquake. As the shaking got harder and the rumbling continued, I thought to myself: we’re in the DC area, there are no earthquakes here. It has to be a terrorist attack of some kind. It continued to get stronger and I decided it was an earthquake, or I would treat it as such. I jumped out of bed and started running down the hall shouting, “Earthquake!” Kelly was sitting in a chair with the Little Miss and the earthquake continued to rumble. Eventually things settled down. Nothing fell in our house and there is no obvious damage.

It is now being reported that it was a 5.9 magnitude earthquake centered somewhere near Fredericksberg. Kelly’s parents were in the grocery store and said stuff was coming off the shelve and people were dashing out of the store. I’ve heard from friends as far north as Boston saying that they felt the earthquake. Several friends in New York reported feeling it as well.

I checked the house, looked at the chimney and things look okay around here. I went across the street to pick the Little Man up from school. They were in the middle of their nap time when the Earthquake struck. They were evacuated to the playground, well away from the building and they were all hanging out when I got there. They had a bunch of emergency supplies like water and food. I was very impressed by how well-prepared they were.

I’m sure there will be more later. In the meantime, you can follow more on the #earthquake hashtag on Twitter. I’d say that now things have settled down, I’d try to go back to sleep but the adrenaline is still flowing and I don’t see sleeping any time soon.

Japanese disaster and the quality of news reporting

With the horrible earthquake and tsunami in Japan (here’s how to help) people around the world are depending on news agencies to report on what is happening on the ground in the affected areas. But at least here in the Washington, D.C. area, and especially watching the Today Show, the reporting has been generally awful. The reporters don’t seem to focus on reporting facts. The “experts” that they bring on (with a few exceptions) seem more interested in speculations that raise the level of the drama of the story–as opposed to reporting the facts. And pardon my language, but the reporters are asking people on the ground dumb fucking questions. Case in point:

The anchor on the Today Show this morning was interviewing an American living in Tokyo and asked him, “What was going through your mind when the earthquake hit?”

How is that question of any value at all? How does that question help to report the news, or help rescue organizations determine where aid is most needed? How does it do anything than ratchet up the drama of a situation that is already plenty dramatic enough? If I were in that situation and was asked that question by a national news anchor, I hope I’d have the presence of mind to answer honestly by saying, “That is a dumb question.”

My friend Alison pointed out an interview last night where special expert guests were asked if this disaster was a wrath of god, or perhaps had something to do with the gravity of the moon pulling on the Earth. As she described it, at least one of the guests, the witty and intelligent astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson, rolled his eyes when this particularly moronic question was asked, and when on to point out why it was impossible for the moon to have played a role in this particular case.

People in Japan are suffering and need help. People who have friends and loved ones in Japan need facts–not hyberbole–from the media. If the various news organizations really want to perform a valuable service, they should give up the drama interviews and celebrity experts for a few days and focus on Edward R. Murrow style reporting. Everyone would benefit from that/