Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Image

Scientists Say Toads Can Predict Earthquakes 66

Posted by samzenpus
from the does-the-toad-think-it's-safe? dept.
reillymj writes "Researchers claim toads sensed a severe earthquake last year five days before it hit. Last spring's L'Aquila earthquake devastated the medieval city of the same name in Italy. Five days earlier, a group of biologists noticed some toads behaving strangely in a pond nearby that would later be the quake's epicenter."

*

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Scientists Say Toads Can Predict Earthquakes

Comments Filter:
  • Pfft (Score:5, Insightful)

    by somersault (912633) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @04:39AM (#31698424) Homepage Journal

    They didn't predict it. They CAUSED it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Jurily (900488)

      This should be an ad for a university.

      "Study biology and you too can get excited watching frogs fuck!"

      • by d3m0nCr4t (869332)
        From the "League of Gentlemen":

        Workman: Got a frog here for Mr. Denton.
        Harvey Denton: A WHAT?
        Workman: A frog.
        Harvey Denton: How dare you sir. In this house we do not use the f word. This... is a toad!

        Still hilarious! :)
      • >>>"Study biology and you too can get excited watching frogs fuck!"

        This morning a girl kissed me.
        Beware. The end is nigh.

        • by Moryath (553296)

          They must have all had beer goggles on. Have you ever seen how ugly toads are?

          Wait.

          Oh shit. Sorry scientist-dudes, but your premise is busted. Me and my buddies were out getting shit-faced that night and I think I just figured out where I spilled my last beer...

      • So Mrs. Frog did the earth move for you ....
    • Re:Pfft (Score:4, Informative)

      by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@D ... com minus painte> on Thursday April 01, 2010 @05:04AM (#31698542) Journal
      Scientists are doing a lot of strange things nowadays ...Scientists Use Gene Splicing To Create Real "Cadbury Easter Eggs" [slushdot.com]
    • I wondered who the f*ck modded THAT as "insightful". Hopefully not a seismologue...
      • Obviously a fellow toad hunter, well versed in the knowledge of their dark and mysterious powers.

    • Japan's been researching this sort of thing for hundreds of years. This is actually in perfect timing with my senior project in Japanese; I translated a textbook article about the history of the relationship between catfish and earthquakes in Japan. Catfish are the popular ones there, and once upon a time they actually were assumed to cause the earthquakes.

      It's basically non-scientific common knowledge over there that some animals can predict earthquakes in some form. According to the textbook, people from

      • by Smauler (915644)

        I heard an interview with the woman whose PhD project this is on Today [bbc.co.uk] this morning I think (though could have been yesterday), and she was pretty unassuming. Basically, she said the toads have been studied for about 4 years, and their dissappearance was pretty unexpected, but she wasn't drawing any major conclusions. Seemed pretty sensible to me...

        Though she didn't explitly say it, I think what she was implying was that weird occurences happen _all_ the time, and some are bound to happen just prior to an

  • Useful (Score:5, Funny)

    by VisualD (1144679) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @04:46AM (#31698454)
    So all we need now is a way of measuring this reliably and we canALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD
  • Facepalm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DryGrian (1775520) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @04:46AM (#31698456)
    The pinnacle of scientific achievement, obviously.
  • Don't RTFA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 01, 2010 @04:54AM (#31698490)

    That's right. Don't read it. I'm going to summarize it for you:

    Some scientists noticed frogs acting "strange". A couple days later, an earthquake followed. Scientists wondered if the frogs were somehow aware of the earthquake. They had no particular reason to believe they were. Other scientists interviewed on this matter say probably not. People retroactively attribute all kinds of things to big events that follow.

    The article ends: "For now at least, the hunt for a way to predict earthquakes must continue."

    That's it. You're welcome.

    • Re:Don't RTFA (Score:5, Informative)

      by VJ42 (860241) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @05:40AM (#31698660)

      That's right. Don't read it. I'm going to summarize it for you:

      Some scientists noticed frogs acting "strange". A couple days later, an earthquake followed. Scientists wondered if the frogs were somehow aware of the earthquake. They had no particular reason to believe they were. Other scientists interviewed on this matter say probably not. People retroactively attribute all kinds of things to big events that follow.

      The article ends: "For now at least, the hunt for a way to predict earthquakes must continue."

      That's it. You're welcome.

      No, I heard the researcher on the radio yesterday; the toads unexpectedly left the area for a few days & whilst they were gone, the quake hit; the toads returned after the quake, she had a couple of hypotheses about how the toads could detect the coming quake, but freely admitted she had no strong evidence for them.

      • Re:Don't RTFA (Score:4, Insightful)

        by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @07:44AM (#31699094)

        No, I heard the researcher on the radio yesterday; the toads unexpectedly left the area for a few days & whilst they were gone, the quake hit; the toads returned after the quake

        I'm sorry to be the one to have to burst this bubble, but toads cannot travel far enough in a couple of days to leave the large area affected by an earthquake. And if they just so happened to be right out the outlying portion of the area affected by the earthquake, then they would have been too far away from the epicenter to have detected it anyway, if they could, which they can't, because they are toads.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by shock1970 (1216162)
          So the researchers studying the toads obviously don't know much about them other than their mating habits. The toads in my area leave sometime around the mid to late fall. But it's not like they're packing their bags and catching the cheapest Southwest flight to Miami. They really can't leave because even if they hop 5 miles away, its still going to be cold. Perhaps a more astute observation would be that the frogs were not observed to be in the area, which doesn't necessarily imply that they left the a
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by eldavojohn (898314) *

        No, I heard the researcher on the radio yesterday; the toads unexpectedly left the area for a few days & whilst they were gone, the quake hit; the toads returned after the quake, she had a couple of hypotheses about how the toads could detect the coming quake, but freely admitted she had no strong evidence for them.

        More anecdotes if you want them. I was on Grand Cayman a week after Haiti was struck with an earthquake. Anyway, offshore a large earthquake happened [allheadlinenews.com]. Coincidentally I was at the turtle farm (a massive sea turtle farm on the island). Now, all we felt was a bit of a brief shaking but the sea turtles were flipping out during it and for about ten minutes afterward. They were trying to crawl out of their cement tanks and looked like they didn't care what was getting scratched up, they just wanted up and ou

    • by jandersen (462034)

      The article is a load of crap, unsurprisingly.

      However, although there is no more than anecdotal evidence to go on - it being difficult to experiment with earthquakes - it is not something that is necessarily taken out of thin air. An earthquake doesn't just happen - it is basically like when any other material under stress breaks, just scaled up. Before the big breakage occurs, a number of smaller "cracks" form in the material. This is likely to have some measurable effects - perhaps a characteristic "rumbl

      • difficult to experiment with earthquakes

        Oh, I don't know. Maybe we'll find a way. [popsci.com]

        From that link:
        On December 8, 2006, Markus Häring caused some 30 earthquakes -- the largest registering 3.4 on the Richter scale -- in Basel, Switzerland. Häring is not a supervillain. He's a geologist, and he had nothing but good intentions when he injected high-pressure water into rocks three miles below the surface, attempting to generate electricity through a process called enhanced geothermal. But he produc

    • What the article failed to mention is that part of the frog's strange behavior involved etching out signs in the mud of the nearby pond that read "EARTHQUAKE COMING". And FYI... yes, it was in all caps.
  • The quake was the 6th of april, and the toads already sensed it 5 days before that... What a marvelous coincidence that this news reaches us *exactly* one year later. We should declare this day a worldwide holiday to celebrate the glory of toads!
    • Oh ye of little faith! Here's the video [youtube.com] of one of them acting strangely. I know it's says it's a frog but Italian toads are just more handsome than your average toad.
    • The quake was the 6th of april, and the toads already sensed it 5 days before that... What a marvelous coincidence that this news reaches us *exactly* one year later. We should declare this day a worldwide holiday to celebrate the glory of toads!

      Five days you say? Hmm ... 365 days in a year ... minus five days for unanticipated toad activity ... that's 360 ... a circle has 360 degrees ... the Earth is a circle (this was proven years ago by that guy with the boats who does have a day named after him) ... the Earth has earthquakes ... Ah Ha! This isn't a coincidence, it's a geometrically based inevitability!

  • by clarkkent09 (1104833) * on Thursday April 01, 2010 @04:56AM (#31698500)
    From TFA:

    I consulted with Susan Hough, a seismologist at Caltech. After having a read of the paper, here's what she had to say: This is a good example of bad science. The earthquake prediction heyday of the 1970s was launched and sustained by similar studies: people who found snippets of data after the fact that showed an apparent correlation between some signal and an eventual earthquake. This is not good statistics. You can't select data after the fact. In this case, there's no way to know what kind of fluctuations are normally seen in toad activity, or what else might have been going on in the study area that could have influenced toad behavior.

    Slashdot interpretation: Scientists Say Toads Can Predict Earthquakes!!!
    • "This is a good example of bad science."

      This is a good example of horseshit. No science is bad unless it persists in promoting a point that it has already discredited. Examining prima facie unlikely hypotheses is as necessary and expected as examining hypotheses that are 'obviously true by common sense'. It is also perfectly good science to publish observations rather than experiments, particularly when it is impossible to catalog the entirety of the environment as well as impossible to enforce controls, bo

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I would like to point out that Giampaolo Giuliani predicted that same earthquake measuring radon gas around there (link: http://www.nowpublic.com/environment/giampaolo-giuliani-laquila-earthquake-youtube-warning-ignored )

  • Real funny thing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by oldhack (1037484) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @05:06AM (#31698554)

    Nowadays, I can't tell the difference between your typical slashdot stories and April Fool's Day stories.

    Everyday is April Fool's day here.

  • In a seemingly unrelated incident, Philippe Gaston XI, nicknamed "The Toad", had inexplicably escaped from police holding cells when the earthquake cracked a wall.
  • That's nothing. (Score:2, Informative)

    by kirill.s (1604911)
    The same toads can also predict the release date of Duke Nukem Forever.
  • When it comes to getting news or information on the net, this is one day that pisses me off more than any other. Say what you like about "spirit of the day" or whatever, but I do what I do because it keeps my brain working in ways that work and solitaire cannot. I frikken NEED my slashdot fix every couple of hours and if I don't get it, weird things start to happen to me. And since nothing today can be taken seriously at all, it's useless.

  • ...utterly shaken by this news.
  • Whenever I read a piece of news like this, I remeber what happened at a scientific congress many years ago.
    A well known seismologist (I will omit his name...) published a paper claiming that he found a way to predict earthquakes. Some time later at a conference a young and brilliant mathematician showed, using the very same equations and methods described by the seismologist, that not only it happened that every time the seismologist did a prediction an earthquake happened, but that the reverse was true,
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I toad you.

  • This is fabulous news for those earthquakes that occur during Bufo bufo species sex season that just happen to have a team of biologists observing them. When the males lose interest in sex, RUN!

    But what about other seasons? And places that don't have Bufo bufo to rely upon? Will Bufo alvarius (Colorado River toad [wikipedia.org]) work just as well? And can I claim it's an earthquake detector when I bet busted for toad-licking?

  • No Hypnotoad comments yet?

  • What I hate about april first is that this odd new will be on the site tomorrow also, and tomorrow it's not april fool day!

  • Or would that be Toadmometer? I can just imagine the news stories of the future...

    "Citizens of San Diego evacuated today in response to a 9.2 reading on the city's recently installed toadmograph. The mayor had this to say, 'We thought it might be a false alarm but we almost hit 10 toadies when one of them didn't make it across the road. Hence the extra two-tenths of a toad. That's not something you take lightly!' The mayor continued saying that if no further toadmic activity is reported citizens can re

  • This makes it fairly obvious that it was actually toads, not mice, that rigged up the earth in the first place.

    Nice bit of coverup, Douglas!

    Next up, what species if not the dolphins? And what's the real qoute behind "So long and thanks for all the fish?"?
  • by Foobar of Borg (690622) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @11:13AM (#31700492)
    Now that we have frogs to predict the earthquakes, we can more effectively employ sheep bladders to prevent them!

The world is moving so fast these days that the man who says it can't be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it. -- E. Hubbard

Working...