After watching the live coverage from Hawaii yesterday I think we can safely say that tsunami prediction is not an exact science yet. At some point in time, Mother Earth will fuck us up real good. We’re not capable of predicting any of the things she can throw at us without even breaking a sweat: Earthquakes, volcano eruptions, floods, tornadoes. We can’t even predict the weather correctly twelve hours in advance. That cute weather girl tells you the sun will shine the next day and you wake up to a blizzard. Of course it will all accumulate in December 2012 when everything is supposed to go to hell. I, for one, would really like to experience 2013 and the years to come after that, so I’m leaning towards the Wulfmorgenthaler explanation to the whole Mayan calendar thing. See the comic above. Click to enlarge or find a good magnifying glass.
In terms of technology and the internet, the last 24 hours have been very interesting. After the earthquake in Chile, land line and cell phone networks went black in many areas, while the internet continued working. Because of this, people were able to communicate with the outside world, send pictures, messages and even connect video calls through Skype and other voice over IP services. The same thing happened to some degree after the Haiti earthquake.
I was following the CNN coverage because BBC World for reasons beyond me stuck to their scheduled programming and aired UK Report as events started to unfold. To be honest, I’m a bit skeptical when it comes to US media, mostly because I’ve heard a lot of nasty things about FOX News. Seeing how they present the news on their web page, I can see why it’s a good idea to be a bit skeptical about those guys. But CNN did a great job.
They were focusing a lot on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, taking information from those sites and presenting it on the air. There’s an ongoing discussion at work about social networking sites and how they can be used when reporting news. Some people want to take it to the extreme and include Twitter feeds with #hashtag searches directly into news articles. One Norwegian newspaper, Dagbladet is already doing this to some extent.
To use social networking sites directly, with out any kind of verification, sounds rather dangerous to me. How can you be sure that the information provided is correct or that the event being reported is even actual? Even though some bloggers claim that modern media will die a slow and painful death at the hands of social media, this won’t happen in quite some time, if ever. This means that established news providers risk a lot by presenting news that might be fake as the real thing. The same goes for the bloggers; if they fabricate stories, they will soon lose their credibility. So who can you trust? As of now, I would stick to the established media. Although social networking sites can be a great additional source for information - as we’ve seen since the Chile earthquake - you can’t rely entirely on them for reliable information. If you start to think that everything you read on the internet is true, you’ll think that Zach Braff is dead. He’s not, by the way.