Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Got Any Fries With that Shake?

I was sitting at my computer desk working on some lesson plans for the upcoming school year when I felt a little jittery inside, like I was on an airplane experiencing some turbulence. I turned to the window to see if maybe I just ate some bad barbecue and was feeling a little lightheaded. The Venetian blinds were rocking back and forth. I felt like little hiccups were undulating through my chest. Slightly alarmed, I got up and walked out into the hallway and continued listening. A couple of lockers faintly rattled. Is it going to get worse? Should I vacate the building? A few other teachers were meeting in a classroom when I barged in on them.

"Do you guys feel that?" Two of the teachers gave me funny looks like I was on something, but the third said, "You know I did feel a little tremor."

Little?! I thought. But it turned out he was once stationed in Okinawa, so he was used to earthquakes. Since Facebook is blocked at my school, I couldn't instantly check to see what other folks were saying. The US Geological Survey web site finally confirmed it. A 5.9 earthquake occurred at 37.975°N, 77.969°W, or roughly between Charlottesville, Richmond, and Fredericksburg, Virginia. The television reports so far that there is no major damage, but that people in DC and NYC have been evacuated from some buildings and subways. A little spooky, but I am relieved that no one is hurt.

Update: There has been a buzz for about an hour after Fox News (consider the source) reported that a police officer stated the Washington Monument was leaning after the earthquake. Every social network has gone ape about it, even some people posting pictures, but no one of any authority has confirmed or denied it. Now, it's been a while since I've been to DC, but I do remember that the Washington Monument is tapered, by 1.3 degrees I believe, from the bottom to the top, so from almost any angle one looks it will seem to tilt. Surely some geometry math-type people out there can confirm this and end this shoot-from-the-hip editorial pseudo-journalistic rumor. "Fox News: when there's nothing real to report, make something up (or quote an analyst and make him/her out to be an expert)!"

1 comment:

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