The Future (Probably) Isn’t as Scary as You Think

Season 6, Episode 36 This week on Freakonomics Radio: what is truly inevitable? Stephen J. Dubner speaks with Internet pioneer Kevin Kelly about why we shouldn’t be afraid of the future and the folly of prediction. Plus: why can’t we predict earthquakes? To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “The […]

Why Can’t We Predict Earthquakes? (Ep. 28)

The Tohoku earthquake off the Japanese coast on March 11 measured 9.0 on the Richter scale. That’s the fourth-biggest recorded earthquake in the world since 1900, the worst in Japan since modern instruments were first used 130 years ago. The earthquake and the tsunami it triggered led to shocking damage -- loss of life, loss of property, all sorts of aftermath issues. But as shocking as the damage has been, the earthquake itself wasn’t all that surprising. Seismoloigists -- the scientists who study earthquakes -- know a great deal about where they’re likely to occur, and how serious they’re likely to be.