Why All the Earthquakes?
Question: Is the recent spate of earthquakes part of a broader pattern of unusual geological activity?
Arthur Lerner-Lam: Well they’re unusual in the sense that statistically it’s unusual. You could say it’s a statistical anomaly, statistical fluke. There is no reason to think that earthquakes are occurring any more frequently now than they occurred last year or ten years ago or ten years into the future. There is no reason to believe that, and it has nothing to do with global warming. Believe me, that’s a question that we often get.
Question: Based on current forecasts, where might we see earthquake activity in the near future?
Arthur Lerner-Lam: Now, one of the things we learn as seismologists is that earthquakes can occur at any time and any place. In fact, they don’t even have to occur at plate boundaries for that matter, but that’s a whole other topic, but along some of the major plate boundaries, like the Pacific Northwest,we have evidence of past earthquakes and that actually is an interesting thing. Obviously we didn’t have instruments going back more than about 100 years or so, so we don’t have an instrumental record, but we have a record from old newspapers for example. We have a record from some old mission records, particularly in California, Spanish mission records and elsewhere throughout the western hemisphere. We have very long historical records in China and Japan and in parts of Asia where people have been writing things down for quite a few centuries, but in some places we simply don’t have that written record and we have to rely again on proxies.
There are a couple of things we can do in a place like California or Seattle. Let’s take California first. One thing we can do when we have a fault like the San Andreas is to actually dig a trench across that fault and when we trench across faults like that and you do that trenching at different places; you can actually see in the disturbed soil the record of past earthquakes. It may occur every 150 or 200 or 3 or 400 years, but with very good carbon dating or other geological techniques we can get a good sense of what that history is and by doing that trenching at various places along the fault we can even get an estimate of the size of the rupture, which gives us a way to calculate the magnitude. That then allows us to calculate the repeat interval, say, for these very large earthquakes. In Seattle or actually more generally, off the coast of British Columbia, Washington and Oregon going down into Northern California that’s a different kind of a plate boundary. It’s what we call a subduction zone. It’s a convergent boundary. It creates the Cascades and the volcanoes, so we can’t trench it, but what we can do is look at the history of uplift on the coast because every time and earthquake occurs the upper plate, which is basically the coast of Washington and Oregon and Northern California gets bumped up a little bit and by looking at the sedimentary record, actually sometimes it can go down as well, but you know looking at the sedimentary record, looking at the way say even trees are drowned by encroaching water or lifted above the water table and so on you can get a sense of the history. People who look at things like tree rings or the history of corals. There aren’t any corals up there now, but if we go elsewhere around the world we see that. These are all proxies for past big earthquakes.
There is another proxy, which and particularly for the Pacific Northwest works, and that is earthquakes along that boundary have a tendency to generate a tsunami and when a tsunami propagates or moves across the Pacific Ocean, particularly a big one, when it hits islands on the other side of the Pacific you get what is called tsunami deposits. It’s a very turbulent phenomenon. It brings up pebbles and rocks and disturbs the beaches and you can detect some of those, but and particularly, for the particular case of the Pacific Northwest around 1700, actually in 1700 a tsunami was generated. It was recorded in Japan and by looking at the tsunami records in Japan, both the historical record and the actual geologic record of the tsunami modelers have been able to kind of back project that, go backwards across the Pacific, show that the source of that tsunami was in fact the Pacific Northwest and get a good date, 1700 for that event. That event looks like to be about a magnitude 9, 9 ½. That’s bigger than what we had in Chile just a few weeks ago and it’s about as big as the biggest earthquake we’ve recorded instrumentally. So now that we know that that boundary can support a monstrous earthquake, a magnitude 9, we can go about the job of measuring how fast the plates are converging, making some assumptions about how stress is building up and come up with some sense of what the repeat interval might be for that earthquake and sad to say we’re pretty close to the repeat interval for that earthquake, so that is a forecast. It’s not a prediction. It’s a forecast and thankfully, at least in the United States, going back a decade or more, Seattle and Oregon have been well aware of the potential for that earthquake and they’re taking the appropriate steps one would say to try to mitigate the potential damage.
From Haiti to Chile, China to California, earthquakes have dominated recent news. Is this a pattern or a fluke? And where might the next one hit?
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Whether or not women think beards are sexy has to do with "moral disgust"
- A new study found that women perceive men with facial hair to be more attractive as well as physically and socially dominant.
- Women tend to associate more masculine faces with physical strength, social assertiveness, and formidability.
- Women who display higher levels of "moral disgust," or feelings of repugnance toward taboo behaviors, are more likely to prefer hairy faces.
Beards and perceptions of masculinity<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjU5OTg0MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NzkxMjM3N30.cH-GqNwP5GVqvstgJWAhBPn1B_lYpVEAI0I7iax7EQw/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C1900%2C0%2C849&height=700" id="caae6" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="cb0a355a4e8e1899789bc45f3f7aef56" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Photo Credit: Wikimedia<p>The study used 919 American (mostly white) women ages 18-70 who rated 30 pictures of men they were shown with various stages of facial hair growth. The photographs depicted men with faces that had been digitally altered to look more feminine or more masculine, with a beard and without a beard. The women rated the men according to perceived attractiveness for long-term and short-term relationships. The study found that the more facial hair the men had, the higher the men were rated on their attractiveness, particularly for their suitability for a long-term relationship.</p><p>Part of this might be attributed to facial masculinity — i.e. protruding brow ridge, wide cheekbones, thick jawline, and deeply set narrow eyes — which conveys information to a woman about a man's underlying health and formidability. Women tend to associate more masculine faces with physical strength and social assertiveness. It can also indicate a man with a superior immune response. The researchers suggested that their findings favoring bearded men could be due to the fact that facial hair enhances the masculine facial features on a man's face, like creating the illusion of a thicker jaw line. This could communicate direct benefits to women like resources and protection that would enhance survival among mothers and their infants. In other words, while a beard doesn't mean superior genetics in and of itself, it might be a primitive, ornamental way of saying, "Hey girl, I'm a testosterone-fueled lean, mean, pathogen fighting machine." <br></p><p>It could also be that a beard becomes its own destiny. The researchers in this study cite prior research that found that by growing a beard, men felt more masculine and had higher levels of serum testosterone, which was linked to a higher level of social dominance. They also tended to subscribe to more old-school beliefs about gender roles in their relationships with women as compared to men with clean-shaven faces.<span></span><br></p>
What does disgust have to do with beard preference?<p>Obviously, not all women dig beards. The researchers were particularly interested in what traits make a women prefer bearded men over clean-shaven faces. They looked into several factors including a woman's disgust levels on various concepts, her desire to become pregnant, and her exposure to facial hair in her personal life. </p><p>According to the study, women who were not into facial hair were turned-off by potential parasites or other critters they imagined could be in the hair or skin. Women ranking high on this "ectoparasite disgust" scale might have viewed beards as a sign of poor grooming habits. However, women who ranked higher in levels of "pathogen" did find the bearded men to be desirable, possibly because they perceived beards as a signal of good health and immune function. An intriguing discovery in the study was links to morality. Women who displayed higher levels of "moral disgust," or feelings of repugnance toward taboo behaviors, were more likely to prefer hairy faces. The authors opined that this could reflect a link between beardedness, politically conservative outlooks, and traditional views regarding performances of masculinity in heterosexual relationships.</p>
Additional findings<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjU5OTg1My9vcmlnaW4uZ2lmIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNDI1NjUyOX0.P9B8WbmJR0q4nfzYZKbuNSA-2SAigVWJgrQE-_Gxlds/img.gif?width=980" id="49143" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2ed3b1d6f20fc170bf2974646e565e8d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />Giphy<p>The correlations that existed between married and single women's rating on the attractiveness of beards were not particularly clear, although the researchers noted that single and married women who wanted children tended to find beards more attractive than the women who didn't want children. They also found that women with bearded husbands found beards to be more attractive, which might indicate that social exposure to beards influences how desirable they are perceived of as being. Or it could be that men with wives who like beards grow beards.</p><p>It's important to note that culture plays a huge role in how attractive women perceive certain male characteristics as being. This study looked at a small, culturally specific group of American women, so no big, universal claims should be made about masculinity, facial hair, and male desirability to women. However, research like this is important in highlighting how human grooming decisions are driven by much more than fashion trends. Sociobiological, economic, and ecological factors all play a part in the way we choose to present ourselves.</p>
Yet 80 percent of respondents want to reduce their risk of dementia.
- A new MDVIP/Ipsos survey found that only 35 percent of Americans know the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.
- Eighty percent of respondents said they want to reduce their risks.
- An estimated 7.1 million Americans over the age of 65 will suffer from Alzheimer's by 2025.
Credit: logika600 / Shutterstock<p>Remaining healthy requires regular screenings. Here again we see a disassociation between risk reduction and proactivity. Seventy-seven percent of respondents don't talk to their doctors about lifestyle habits that support brain health; 51 percent have never been screened for depression; 44 percent have never had a neurological exam; and 32 percent have never been screened for hearing problems. </p><p>Common early warning signs of dementia, <a href="https://news.yahoo.com/americans-worry-alzheimers-disease-survey-140644803.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">according to</a> Dr. Jason Karlawish, co-director of the Penn Memory Center, include repetitive questions and stories, difficulties with complex daily tasks, and trouble with orientation. </p><p>In terms of intervention, <a href="https://bigthink.com/21st-century-spirituality/does-lack-of-exercise-lead-to-dementia" target="_self">exercise</a>, <a href="https://bigthink.com/surprising-science/obesity-dementia" target="_self">diet</a>, building a <a href="https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/brain-reserve" target="_self">brain reserve</a>, and challenging your brain (such as learning a new language or musical instrument) are all proven methods for staving off the ravages of Alzheimer's. Oxytocin has also <a href="https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/alzheimers-oxytocin" target="_self">showed promise</a> in brain-addled mice, while researchers found positive results for a <a href="https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/intermittent-fasting" target="_self">group of intermittent fasters</a> in promoting neurogenesis. </p><p>Epidemiologist Bryan James says that dementia is <a href="https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2013/04/15/176920391/how-exercise-and-other-activities-beat-back-dementia" target="_blank">not an inevitable result</a> of aging. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"It's simply not pre-destined for all human beings. Lots of people live into their 90s and even 100s with no symptoms of dementia." </p><p>Professor of neurology at Boston University School of Medicine, Andrew Budson, <a href="https://news.yahoo.com/americans-worry-alzheimers-disease-survey-140644803.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">recommends</a> aerobic exercise and the Mediterranean diet. As has long been known, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, fish and shellfish, and healthy fasts like nuts and olive oil seem to have brain-boosting properties. </p><p>To learn more, take the <a href="https://www.mdvip.com/brain-health-iq-quiz" target="_blank">Brain Health IQ quiz</a>.</p><p><span></span>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>