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OMG a megaquake is going to destroy Seattle OH WAIT maybe not



A whole hell of a lot of people saw this article on the New Yorker yesterday, all about how Cascadia is overdue for a massive earthquake and it’ll destroy Seattle and OH GOD OH GOD WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE.

(Which, I note, is a VERY cheerful thought to be having when you’re on your way to work in downtown Seattle, let me tell you.)

If there’s anything dealing with my years of medical crap has taught me, though, it’s that big scary shit freaking me out becomes slightly less scary if I can get data and figure out a way to begin to deal with it. Dara and me, we do like us some data. So we got into talking yesterday afternoon about possible appropriate steps to take. In my specific case, this means “start building up an emergency stash of thyroid meds”–because I can do without all the various vitamins and supplements I take if I have to. But the levothyroxine? NOT OPTIONAL.

And we’d have to think about stuff like “do we try to retrofit or sell MurkSouth?” and what steps we can take if the region’s actually out of commission for more than a couple of days. Likewise, I got into thinking about exactly how fast I could haul ass up the hill from Big Fish, and whether I could make it past I-5 in thirty minutes on foot.

But, being the geeky sorts of people who like data, we also went digging for more. I found a book Full Rip 9.0 by Sandi Doughton, which goes into a lot of the history of seismic science in the region. I’ve checked it out digitally from the local libraries and am now reading through it. I’m about five chapters in, and it’s described in depth a lot of the efforts involved in nailing down when the last massive earthquake happened, and what they can extrapolate from that as to when the next one might occur. It seems pretty solid so far, so if you have any interest in geology and seismic science, you might get a hold of a copy.

Dara also found a couple of PDFs to check out:

Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquakes: A Magnitude 9.0 Earthquake Scenario, by the Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup

King County Liquefaction Hazard Map

And today, some local earthquake experts have an AMA going on Reddit, answering readers’ questions about earthquakes in the region and disseminating more data about what we could actually expect, what measures are already in place for disaster mitigation, and what reasonable steps ordinary people could take to make it through. Notably, one of the people answering questions on this AMA is the author of the aforementioned book.

As I’ve told folks on Facebook, the takeaway I want to have here is less “OH GOD OH GOD WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE” and more “okay yeah make DAMN sure we have a disaster plan in place and otherwise go about our daily business”. Facebook friends have also pointed out quite correctly that it ain’t like the rest of the North American continent doesn’t also have any number of other ways to kill you–tornados or hurricanes or blizzards or volcanos, to name a few. Or, for that matter, other earthquake regions, because if the New Madrid fault ever fires off in the Midwest, that’s going to send Memphis sliding right down the Mississippi into the Gulf of Mexico. So you could be all “WHELP there goes my plans to move to Portland”, but you’d also have to worry about what could kill you anywhere else you’d move, so.

Because seriously, if we all spend too much time worrying about the shit that could kill us in our places of residence, we’d never leave the house. And I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve got shit to DO.

That said? I’m going to definitely finish reading Full Rip 9.0.

ETA: Additional useful links spotted in the Reddit AMA:

Seattle Emergency Management Plans (and, relatedly, Earthquake Retrofits done after the 2001 Nisqually quake)

Regional Catastrophic Plans for the State of Washington

The Great Washington ShakeOut

ETA #2: Fixed the broken link to Sandi Doughton’s book, since I noticed some bad hits coming through on my Google Analytics. Oops. Sorry about that!


Monday news roundup

For those of you who are my Kickstarter backers:

I have arranged with PS Print to get a second shipment of posters since the first shipment arrived damaged. When that second shipment arrives (ETA currently somewhere between the 20th and the 23rd), I’ll get those posters out to you. I also need to start sending out the postcards, since I have those as well.

Props to PS Print’s customer service who were very willing to work with me on getting this satisfactorily resolved.


I am deploying an updated digital file for Faerie Blood out to the places where it’s sold. The differences in this file are:

  • I’m correcting a long-standing typo of the name of the demon Azganaroth in Chapter 20
  • Adding a bit of extra styling to fix wrapping issues with an mdash early in the book
  • Adding the same “Also by the Author” list of my titles that appears in Bone Walker
  • Adding ads for my other books and for the soundtrack at the end of the book, similar to Bone Walker

This updated file has been deployed to Smashwords, and as soon as it clears review there, I will be using Smashwords to deploy out to B&N and Kobo.

Which, by the way, is a thing I’m going to be doing now. My sales numbers on B&N and Kobo are low enough that I am electing, moving forward, to use Smashwords to deploy out to those sites instead of deploying to them directly. I will also be looking into Smashwords to deploy to iBooks as well.

The overall reason for this is to simplify my book deployment process some, and to cut down on the number of individual sites I have to check for sales numbers. If I use Smashwords to deploy to B&N, Kobo, and Apple, that’ll cut the number of sites I need to check from six to three.


Pleased to report that crossposting to Dreamwidth and Livejournal is working again. But in case you missed a couple of my recent posts that had crossposting issues, here they are:


Last but not least, I was pointed on Facebook to this rather nifty little video, called “What is up with Noises? (The Science and Mathematics of Sound, Frequency, and Pitch)”. Pretty much what it says on the tin, and it’s a lovely little exploration of the science of sound and how we hear things. Check it out.