10 years ago, right here in California, Caltech scientists developed an early warning system that alerts people of incoming earthquakes. It is this very system that helped reduce the amount of deaths in Japan’s last 9.0 magnitude earthquake.
60 seconds prior to the violent trembles on earth’s surface , warning signals allowed the Japanese “to safely stop 11 500km/h bullet trains, disable 16,000 lifts, warn students to get under their desks and set off earthquake alarms across the country. Some 52 million Japanese received text alerts on their mobile phones.”
So why doesn’t California have the same system in place when we live on top of multiple fault lines, including one of the most well-known fault lines of all, the San Andreas?
“The delay here is, in one sense, testimony to human nature. It has been 19 years since the last significant quake rolled through California â the magnitude 6.7 earthquake in Northridge in a corner of the San Fernando Valley in 1994 â and memories of its damage and psychological trauma (some people moved away) have softened with the passage of time.
âWe are in a long period of what I call seismic peace in California,â said Thomas H. Heaton, the director of the Earthquake Engineering Research Laboratory at Caltech. âBut you can go for a long period when things are calm, and then instantly things are transformed into chaos. When you are in peacetime, itâs hard to get peopleâs attention and remind them what a big problem it is.â
10 million dollars was raised to conceive, transport and build the final resting home for Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass at LACMA. If you are a regular reader of our blog, you know that this is not a knock on the art world because we are definitely big proponents of creativity. We’re simply wondering why is it easy to raise money for certain things and not for others?