Local Scientist Unveils Perfect Earthquake Prediction System

Fake News written by Martha Throebeck on Monday, February 24, 2003

from the insert-iben-browning-joke-here dept.

CAPE GIRARDEAU -- City resident Harold Gersplotten is predicting that an earthquake will strike along the New Madrid fault at 7:24 AM on the morning of Sunday, March 2. But don't panic. Harold Gersplotten is a far cry from Iben Browning.

"I'm talking about a tremor that is less than 2.0 on the Richter scale. Very few if any people will feel it," he said. "But my earthquake prediction system is 100% accurate -- and unlike some less-than-reputable business ventures out there, I'm willing to share all of my research for free."

Gersplotten, a Rolla-educated geologist, stumbled upon his forecasting system while reading the newspaper one morning. "I was reading this really bad letter to the editor written by some ultra-liberal hippie freak college professor," he retold. "When the writer tried to compare George Bush to Adolph Hitler, I nearly lost it. I started laughing so hard that I pounded my fist on the table several times, the vibrations of which caused several pieces of china to fall from a cabinet and shatter on the floor."

Just like Newton's Apple, Gersplotten's china provided an inspiration. What if thousands of people across Southeast Missouri are rolling on the floor laughing because of 'Speak Out' or other Editorial page abominations? What kind of seismic forces would that unleash?

Quite a lot, it turns out. After analyzing seismograph data, Gersplotten discovered that the hour between 7 and 8 AM on most mornings (except holidays) was a prime time for small earthquake tremors with epicenters in the Cape Girardeau area. "The correlation is stunning," he said. "I couldn't believe that something so obvious hadn't been noticed by seismologists before."

The scientist then developed a computer model to simulate the newspaper-earthquake connection. "The days with the strongest tremors are those in which the newspaper publishes letters written by liberal college professors," he said. Meanwhile, days with above-average quantities of 'Speak Out' also have a noticeable impact on seismographs."

For Gersplotten, the trick is to predict those days in which the newspaper contains the highest level of laugh-inducing, fist-pounding, china-shattering editorial page drivel, and then determine what magnitude the resulting tremor will be.

"We must remember that, in all recorded cases, these Editorial Page Induced Earthquakes (EPIEs) have never exceeded 2.0 on the Richter scale. But who knows? Maybe one of these days we will read the Mother of All Asinine Speak Out Comments which will set off a chain of events leading up to the Mother of All Earthquakes. But there's no reason to start hording duct tape anytime soon."