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Aug. 24, 2011

Earthquake Strikes Home

by Ira Flatow

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Courtesy: US Geological Survey
 
The Quake of 2011 brings to mind a running gag-line I’ve used often in my work: “If Capitol Hill sat on a fault line, Congress would stop cutting the budget for earthquake research.” ( I’ve said this about oceans, atmospheric and other low hanging budgetary fruit.)
 
Well, now, it happened. An earthquake did hit Washington and while that sleepy summer town could certainly use a jolt, one wonders whether it will wake up and shake loose any more basic research funding slated to be cut. Because as those those seismometers were reading 5.8, the budget for earthquake research was facing the axe, again, with cuts in the budget to the U.S. Geological Survey set at 10%.
 
Will this quake jolt any common sense loose? Critical thinking is in short supply these days. But if timing is everything, it might lift the spirits of all those geoscientists coming to DC in September.
 
How about a double deja-vu? There’s that hurricane headed in DC’s direction. Hmmmm…wonder how quickly NOAA scientists can get those buses loaded and headed to the mall.
 
And maybe, just maybe, someone might ask one of the candidates running for President, his or her view about earthquake research. That would be a real seismic event.
About Ira Flatow

Ira is the host and executive producer of Science Friday.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.
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