Shake, Rattle, Roll; Drop, Cover, and Hold On

The average New Yorker probably doesn’t know there’s such a thing as the 125th Street Fault – or that in an earthquake, running out of one’s building is the wrong thing to do. (Staying inside is wiser, preferably close to something load-bearing and away from anything loose.) Yet neither earthquakes nor the technologies for dealing with them are unknown to New York, noted Giovanni Gioia, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, of Dattner Architects, in introducing the speakers on this panel, the latest in the series accompanying the “Considering the Quake” exhibition. The chief challenge, he continued, is applying what’s known before a quake occurs, not after, as with Superstorm Sandy. A contrasting tone appeared in remarks by curator Dr. Effie Bouras, inspired by Carl Sagan’s thoughts on scientific skepticism: “We haven’t found the truth with this exhibit. Our only humble expectancy is to raise questions.” The principles of rational inquiry (gradual, partial, aware of how marginal our knowledge inevitably is) and practical applications of that knowledge (inevitably a matter of urgency) created a useful dialectic as seismic and design specialists explored strategies for preparation and mitigation. Continue reading “Shake, Rattle, Roll; Drop, Cover, and Hold On”