The Virginia earthquake

I felt it, a mild shaking that rattled the china. My first reaction (well, okay, third, right after concluding that it was in fact probably an earthquake and kicking myself for lacking the lightning fast reflexes to evacuate The Daughter immediately*) was to want confirmation and more information. A quick Google search did not (at that point) yield anything, so I posted to Facebook, which proved to be a quick way to gather information. I think it’s the first time I’ve used a social networking site to get actual breaking news; I usually count those services as “keeping up with friends” and “time wasters.” Googling has long been my standard response, and I see Wikipedia’s already been updated. But fast (and more authoritative) as they are, they couldn’t beat the hive mind to the punch.

It did not occur to me to turn on the TV. It’s been a number of years since I considered TV a good source of news. Maybe back to my childhood (I have fond memories of family time in front of MacNeil/Lehrer) but there was definitely a split sometime in the 90s. It wasn’t simply the availability of information online, or alternate sources, or the fact that Jon Stewart made us forget we’d found Craig Kilborn’s five questions amusing; it was the general insipidness of mainstream sources. (Cf. CNN coverage of the first Gulf War and, well, anything recent.) Good political satire is a healthy sign of freedom of speech in action…but it’s a problem when the political satire is also among the better reporting in certain media.

Which admittedly has little to do with the earthquake…but it does explain why I’m just going to sit here and open up another tab for further updates.

* Even if I had reacted instantly, it couldn’t have lasted for more than half a minute, so I wouldn’t have gotten very far. The Daughter did not appear to notice, being far too interested in her purloined juice box. The cat in the basement might’ve, but the dogs—one completely neurotic about thunder, both quite eager to loudly inform us every single time someone walks down the street or rides a quad bike within a half mile radius—apparently missed out on that preternatural animal sensitivity thing.