Opinion By David Nabhan: Of Jet Streams, American Heroes, and…Earthquake Prediction
By David Nabhan
America lost more than its populist icon when Will Rogers perished in a tragic plane crash in Alaska in 1935. The pilot of the craft was the most famous aviator of the day, the first man to circumnavigate the globe by air, none other than Wiley Post. While America mourned the deaths of both men, the eulogies for Post were somewhat more difficult to compose. He had his fair share of detractors.
Wiley Post was the discoverer of jet streams. This barnstorming daredevil came upon them as he pushed his plane into rarified altitudes attempting to set speed records. No one believed him, of course, and certainly not earth scientists who had at that very time only just silenced another crackpot, Alfred Wegener, who had been positing an even more absurd delusion: continental drift. Both men were vilified by science; both went to their deaths never seeing their discoveries verified and accepted.
Few should be surprised by this story. To the contrary, it’s only the very rarest of occasions that any discovery, in any era, in any country is accepted without a fight. Microscopic organisms, smallpox vaccines, jet streams, plate tectonics—and everything else under the Sun—started out as laughing stock. Since earthquake prediction still might elicit snickers in some quarters, it’s a privilege to present the same facts to Informer readers that have long since tended to suppress chuckles from San Diego to Seattle. I’m the individual directing a worldwide public opinion campaign to impel the honorable governor of California to convene the California Earthquake Prediction Evaluation Council to determine whether or not higher probability windows for seismicity exist on the US West Coast. There is compelling evidence that they may: at dawn and/or at dusk, during certain near-syzygy new and/or full moon phase dates. A plain spoken explanation of how and why those intervals might be highlighted and a list of those times and dates has been made public so that Californians might see for themselves how the forecasts should be judged against the proofs held in the future. That’s how science is done; prediction and observation are the foundation stones of the scientific method. Western civilization should be profoundly grateful that Galileo, for example, instead of waiting for a commission of grand inquisitors to hand him a permit, simply climbed to the top of a tower and by dropping a heavier and a lighter weight simultaneously, allowed the people of Pisa to utilize the surest of all scientific instruments: their own eyes.
America came to see in the end that Wiley Post had been speaking truthfully. The Empire of Japan drove the point home a few years after his demise during World War II. The only civilian fatalities suffered on continental American soil during that conflict were on the West Coast and the result of incendiary balloon bombs, launched on the other side of the Pacific and wafting their way across the ocean—on supposedly non-existent jet streams.
It is hoped that in this new century facts needn’t come only by virtue of their crashing down on people’s heads, like in all the centuries past. With regard to seismic forecasting, that’s both a figurative and literal hope.
David Nabhan is the author of Earthquake Prediction: Answers in Plain Sight (2013) and two other books on earthquake prediction. Detailed information regarding the seismic advisory he proposes, along with dozens of recent articles and interviews from all over the world, can be accessed at www.earthquakepredictors.com Mr. Nabhan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org