The Associated Press, MSNBC, and The New York Daily News are all running headlines about how the Chilean earthquake that rocked the South American county on the 27th may have shortened the day by a microsecond. The thing that NASA actually reported on their website and is also underplaying, calling it “impressive,” is that due to the location of the fault where the quake hit, earth’s figure axis, where its weight sits, has shifted about 3 inches. That might not seem a lot to you, but try to imagine yourself standing (I know, I don’t want to imagine that either) or better yet spinning: now bend at the waist three inches and keep spinning. Ten bucks says you fell over or at least screwed up your spinning.
Apply this to a planetary scale: life on earth requires a certain amount of luck – the fact that our planet is situated in pretty much just the right place in our solar system, with just the right amount of eccentric spin, coupled with the axes that we rest on, makes for some pretty sweet times. Take away even one of those factors, and the earth is just a snowball spinning in the frozen vacuum of space. I always thought news sources were always about super-sensational, end-of-the world stuff, but here they’ve got the best candidate for the job since Apophis, and they’ve dropped the ball. For shame, news sources, for shame.