Botswana earthquake explanation

Botswana suffered its largest ever earthquake on Monday evening – magnitude 6.5. Tremors were felt as far away as Johannesbeagle.

Immediately, environMENTALists leapt all over it, including a scaremongery article claiming that fracking (which may or may not be taking place in that area of Botswana) was obviously responsible.

After all, Botswana had never had an earthquake that big, just like it had never had an earthquake as big as the one which set previous record, pre-hydraulic fracturing.

So:

Well, Jeffrey Barbee (for it is he) admits in the very first line of his piece:

There’s not enough information to answer that scientifically

But… but… there is circumstantial evidence!!

Statistic likelihood would surely result from scientific investigation, though? And would be a result, meaning that there would be “enough information to answer that scientifically”. And you said… ag… never mind.

Also, because of the remote area in which this quake occurred, no-one can accurately say exactly where the epicentre was. Your 5km claim is therefore a bit of a stretch.

Fortunately, following the knee-jerk hysteria, there came informed, independent sanity, as Stephen Hicks, a postdoctoral research fellow in Seismology at the University of Southampton gave us this highly technical description of the real likely reasons for the quake.

We call these types of events ‘intraplate earthquakes‘. It is likely that the rupture occurred partly due to the gradual transfer of push and pull stresses from the East African Rift toward the more stable part of the continent. Occasionally, this stress is released along pre-existing weaknesses in Earth’s crust as earthquakes. It is fundamentally the same reason why quakes occasionally occur in other stable regions such as the United Kingdom and the midwestern states of North America.

Hicks doesn’t mention fracking at all in his detailed explanation of the factors leading to the earthquake, presumably because fracking was not one of those factors. However, predictably it does get brought up in the comments, where it is promptly debunked.

Still, if you’re the “director and founder of AllianceEarth.org”, you’ve done work for Al Gore’s Climate Reality and you released a 2015 film about the alleged secret roll-out of gas developments in Southern Africa, wouldn’t you try to get some extra mileage out of a completely natural phenomenon? 

(There’s not enough information to answer that scientifically.)

Big Night

Well, it could be, but I’m not getting my hopes up just yet. Still, that’s not stopped thousands of fans from queuing up around the block at Beautiful Downtown Bramall Lane to try and get tickets for the match later.

It’s these sort of evenings that remind you how difficult it is to support your club from afar. The atmosphere is going to be electric and I would love to be there, but I will have to make do with watching Premiership footy on my sofa and not straying too far from Whatsapp.

And of course, if it doesn’t work out tonight, there are still plenty more opportunities for promotion to be secured – the next one being on Saturday. Still, it would be nice to get things sorted this evening.

Apparently, I’m supposed to put stuff like #ForgedInSteel and #RedAndWhiteWizards here, but let’s rather settle for #NevouslyDrinkingBrandyOnTheCouchInCapeTown.

The Circle

No, not some secret LCHF cult or anything. This single from the massively underrated Brummie Indie-Rock geniuses, Ocean Colour Scene. I just heard it on BBC 6 Music and had to share.

That riff. Wow.
This was the third Top 10 song from the 1996 Moseley Shoals album. The height of Britpop and weren’t they all about it?

As part of the 90s revival, they’re doing a world tour which includes dates in the UK, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand, but which comprehensively fails – once again – to include SA.

Mending apostrophe’s

Theres an anonymous Grammar Vigilante in Bristol, UK. A gentleman who is going around under cover of darkness, mending apostrophes. And by mending, I mean wiping out the one’s that shouldnt be there and adding the one’s that should. Theres a radio show about him going out later today.

The Grammar Vigilante carrie’s an Apostrophiser (spoiler: its just a big stick) around with him to expunge the errant punctuation and to add in anything missing. To be honest, he actually sounds a bit creepy in real life (theres a quick interview with him on that link), but I think this is a great idea.

I might start a similar campaign here.

Ready to go

Today was the last free day we had before our trip away. There are a few more days before we go, but they’re not free. They have annoying stuff like lab work and spreadsheets lying in wait for me. And potentially a report waiting to leap out from behind a Tuesday afternoon and be dealt with.

So, obviously, we sorted everything out for our trip today.
It being our last free day.

No. No, we didn’t.

Instead of that, we sat outside in the sun with friends and discussed fracking, Theresa May and the ridiculous price of private education in South Africa. The conversation was lubricated by several (or more) bottles of wine, a couple of Bloody Noras* and (perhaps to a lesser degree) by some non-alcoholic gin and tonics. Mmm. I know.

For the record, I regret nothing – except maybe the G&T thing.

Anyway, consequently, there will be some panic this week. Hopefully not too much, but it would be foolish to not take the opportunity to worry a bit.

And I know all about not taking opportunities.

 

* A Bloody Nora is like a Bloody Mary,  but made with Henderson’s Relish.