Michael Buhrley writes "I felt a pretty good earthquake this afternoon in Tokyo. I immediately went to the Japan Weather Association earthquake information page to see if it had registered the quake, which it had not (the ground was still shaking at this point.) 20 seconds later when I refreshed the page the server had slowed to a crawl. I had been looking at traffic graphs for one of my servers earlier and thought it would be neat to correlate the traffic data with the seismic data for the event. I wonder how quickly a noticeable traffic spike could be detected and what other information could be gleaned from the web behavior. Lots of traffic = big quake or quake in big city. The U.S.G.S. Pasadena Field Office has a page that compares this phenomenon to the Slashdot effect."
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