reply to post by jadedANDcynical
yes, I also referred back to this thread and re-read it after going back through some posts on the “Experiment” thread. (As you know, I've been
posting there for almost 4 years now.
) And also yes, I followed FissionSurplus' thread with great interest.
On to the Quakefinder issue: good pickup on that subscription angle.
I hadn't spotted that. However, while it could be that they published data
as a sweetener before pulling the plug on its public availability, six years seems like rather a long time to have it available before taking that
step. Be that as it may, in respect of the now-missing data it seems to me that the 50$ p.a. contribution for the report gives the subscriber a copy
of processed and analysed data. I don't see that in itself as a reason to deny the public free access to unprocessed and unanalysed data.
I mean that if they were an entirely private entity, meeting all their own costs, or were funded solely by voluntary public subscription, then they
ought to be able to make the data available (or not) to whoever they choose. But they have received grant funding from NASA, and as NASA's budget is
provided through the US federal budget by vote of Congress, then it means that the Quakefinder organisation is being partly funded by taxpayers.
Therefore, if they are gathering data that can be made available (and has been in the past), it really should be available still.
However, things being as they are these days, with seemingly low standards of accountability for public funds, you could well be right.
don't like the timing.
I agree with you wholeheartedly on “public” (or off-the-shelf) technology versus the cutting edge variety. Just within this thread we found out
about a few projects and tech advancements that I doubt few of us knew about before. The mind boggles at what is going on in this sphere that even
fewer are privy to. And the fact that NASA is providing funding to Quakefinder makes me think that they could be a lot further ahead than they're
It also makes me wonder if there is some kind of NDA attached to that funding. You know, a kind of “if we give you funding to study (x) and you
discover/confirm so-and-such, then it must remain secret and can only be discussed with us.” That kind of thing.
And that brings me to your last point. Agreed, tactical advantage is likely a major factor. And beyond that, there might be a strategic advantage as
I suspect that if any individual or organization is able to demonstrate a reasonably reliable method of predicting large, potentially highly
destructive quakes within short time frames and quite specific locations, some within the (very real) circles of power might consider this as a risk
to national security – if that information and the methodology and data sets are made public.
I see this possibility because if a country or region is hit by a massive quake (say a mag 9 plus tsunami on the CSZ), it may then have to
re-prioritize energy, water, food and medical requirements, deploy military personnel (to assist in rescue, recovery and emergency engineering ops or
even act as enforcement if martial law is declared to maintain “law and order”), reposition military assets and perhaps even instigate emergency
shutdowns of some nuclear power plants. All this while still maintaining bases, monitoring ports, borders and the like.
Clearly, it would be disadvantageous to the affected county if other, possibly hostile nations knew in advance that this was to occur. Strategically,
it could be catastrophic.
I feel that this angle applies more specifically to quakes than just about any other natural disaster event. Hurricanes and other large storms can be
tracked and often there is a period of days to make some preparations. Volcanoes tend to give some warning as well. But most people believe that with
quakes, we get no effective
warning at all most of the time.
Now, after considering this aspect, I believe the tactical/strategic value to a select few might be so vital that even if researchers can reliably
predict large quakes, that information and ability
might not be made public by issuing general warnings days (say) in advance.
But there might be ways to read between the lines, because some damage-limitation plans would be put into action. For example, if a couple of nuclear
power plants in a quake (or tsunami) zone get suddenly taken offline and put into cold shutdown for unscheduled “maintenance” (ditto major oil
refineries), and if at the same time there seems to be a lot of movement of military assets, then I'd be a bit worried about the why.