Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Open House at the University

Every August, the Institute where I work open its doors to the public to show what we are doing in the field of earthquake research. In the days leading to the open house, some major housekeeping went down. Somebody lined up all the old bikes that are apparently on permanent storage on campus.

In the lobby of our building, they set up a seismogram to entice some future geologists.

And here is a future structural engineer checking out the integrity of this train and mini skyline before it experiences a mini magnitude 8.

And out in our parking lot they set up the traveling catfish. I'll explain: an old Japanese tale claims that earthquakes were caused by giant catfish in the sea. Old woodblock prints show folks alternating between stabbing the catfish and bringing him offerings for appeasement. Here they have got a van with a mockup kitchen inside hooked up to some hardcore hydraulics to simulate an earthquake. Ryan and I got inside it. They slowly work their way up so that in the beginning I was giggling and standing and by the end I was screaming and holding my head under the table.

We've also got a pretty good collection of old earthquake-themed woodblock prints that we displayed during the open house. I know it's morbid, but I really like the ones with lots of fire. I like how fire and waves are depicted in prints. Unfortunately I have no idea what this one is called.

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