Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Boobquake 2010

Yesterday was Boobquake Day! What’s a Boobquake, you ask? Seriously? I find it hard to believe that someone who reads this blog doesn’t know about Bookquake already, but I’ll explain.

Just a couple weeks ago a high-ranking Iranian cleric gave a dire warning that linked immodestly-dressed women with earthquakes:

“Many women who do not dress modestly … lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes.” (source)

Basically, if women show off their cleavage, there’s a-gonna be some earth a-quakin’.

Well, a certain Jennifer McCreight (pronounced Crite not Crate), a well-respected skeptic blogger (her blog is Blag Hag), thought that sounded a little fishy, and decided that maybe there should be some scientific testing done to see whether or not boobs equaled earthquakes.

“On Monday, April 26th, I will wear the most cleavage-showing shirt I own. Yes, the one usually reserved for a night on the town. I encourage other female skeptics to join me and embrace the supposed supernatural power of their breasts. Or short shorts, if that’s your preferred form of immodesty.” (source)

That’s right. She tried to see if she could cause a BOOBQUAKE.

The post on her website was done mostly in jest to point out just how ridiculous the idea of causation between method of dress and natural disasters was. But it took off like wildfire. The idea of trying to cause a Boobquake tore through the blogosphere, through Twitter, and through Facebook. Soon regular media started to pick up on it. CNN, WGN Morning News, BBC, Canada AM, and more. The idea of showing off some skin in the name of science turned out to be incredibly popular.

So Monday the 26th arrived, and as promised Ms. McCreight wore what she jokingly called a “horribly scandalous” outfit (source):


So did quite a lot of other people, if Twitter is any indication. Just look at the Boobquake hashtag. McCreight even got interviewed on CNN about it. It was covered on BBC, CBC, FOX… but most excitedly for her, a humorous segment appeared on The Colbert Report:

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Boobquake Day Causes Earthquake
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Fox News

But what of the results? Well, McCreight spent all of Boobquake Day gathering as much data on earthquakes as possible, and in the end it turned out there wasn’t any statistically significant deviation in worldwide earthquake activity on Monday the 26th.

Even though there were several problems with the scientificity of the experiment (control group, quantitative properties of “immodesty,” length of study, etc.), it appears that boobs don’t cause earthquakes. They can get you on The Colbert Report, though!

As an epilogue, I feel somewhat tangentially connected to Ms. McCreight because once she rode in @jeffthefish’s car. So good for her! You go, girl!

Categories: Links, Science, Videos.

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