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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."


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Scientists Say Toads Can Predict Earthquakes

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  • 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!!!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 01, 2010 @04:58AM (#31698522)

    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 )

  • Re:Pfft (Score:4, Informative)

    by tomhudson (43916) <`moc.nosduh-arab ... `nosduh.arabrab'> 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]
  • That's nothing. (Score:2, Informative)

    by kirill.s (1604911) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @05:23AM (#31698618)
    The same toads can also predict the release date of Duke Nukem Forever.
  • 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:Real funny thing (Score:3, Informative)

    by VJ42 (860241) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @05:45AM (#31698690)

    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.

    This isn't an April fools story, the BBC also has coverage. Note the date:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/earth/hi/earth_news/newsid_8593000/8593396.stm [bbc.co.uk]

I never cheated an honest man, only rascals. They wanted something for nothing. I gave them nothing for something. -- Joseph "Yellow Kid" Weil