GOOD

Twitter Is Helping Scientists Identify Earthquakes Faster Than Sophisticated Sensors

Because if no one is tweeting about it, there’s probably no earthquake.

Twitter identified the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan, China, faster than U.S. scientists. (via miniwiki)

When the big one comes, chances are Twitter will know it first. That’s the conclusion of a joint Twitter-U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) project, which is using the social media platform to identify major earthquakes even faster than the government agency’s sophisticated detection equipment.


USGS, the government agency officially in charge of tracking earthquakes, got the idea for the parternship when it realized that social media posts identified a 2008 earthquake in Sichuan, China, faster than its 2,000-odd sensors. But to make Twitter data helpful, scientists had to find a way to filter out all the silly, random tweets and aggregate those that would quickly point to major earthquakes. They used existing data to do a little research.

First, the scientists discovered that people feeling and then tweeting about real time earthquakes tend to post in seven words or less:

twitter user MikeIsaac

The researchers also found that relevant tweets generally don’t include links, or numbers relating to the size of an earthquake. (In the heat of the moment, most will not tweet: “Is that a 3.1 I’m feeling?”)

By filtering out tweets with numbers, links, and more than seven words, USGS scientists found they could detect most earthquakes felt by humans in two minutes or less. In 2014, when an quake shook California’s Napa Valley, Twitter data identified it in 29 seconds flat. (The region’s tech savvy population probably contributed to that crazy speed, Twitter notes.)

Government researchers can also use Twitter to determine when their equipment is giving them a false report. Welcome to our modern world: If no one is tweeting about it, there’s probably no earthquake.

(via Quartz)

Articles

Some beauty pageants, like the Miss America competition, have done away with the swimsuit portions of the competitions, thus dipping their toes in the 21st century. Other aspects of beauty pageants remain stuck in the 1950s, and we're not even talking about the whole "judging women mostly on their looks" thing. One beauty pageant winner was disqualified for being a mom, as if you can't be beautiful after you've had a kid. Now she's trying to get the Miss World competition to update their rules.

Veronika Didusenko won the Miss Ukraine pageant in 2018. After four days, she was disqualified because pageant officials found out she was a mom to 5-year-old son Alex, and had been married. Didusenko said she had been aware of Miss World's rule barring mother from competing, but was encouraged to compete anyways by pageant organizers.

Keep Reading Show less

One mystery in our universe is a step closer to being solved. NASA's Parker Solar Probe launched last year to help scientists understand the sun. Now, it has returned its first findings. Four papers were published in the journal Nature detailing the findings of Parker's first two flybys. It's one small step for a solar probe, one giant leap for mankind.



It is astounding that we've advanced to the point where we've managed to build a probe capable of flying within 15 million miles from the surface of the sun, but here we are. Parker can withstand temperatures of up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit and travels at 430,000 miles per hour. It's the fastest human-made vehicle, and no other human-made object has been so close to the sun.

Keep Reading Show less
via Sportstreambest / Flickr

Since the mid '90s the phrase "God Forgives, Brothers Don't" has been part of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point's football team's lexicon.

Over the past few years, the team has taken the field flying a black skull-and-crossbones flag with an acronym for the phrase, "GFBD" on the skull's upper lip. Supporters of the team also use it on social media as #GFBD.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture