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Quick news: Earthquake data edition

November 10, 2010

File under “Life lessons: Back up your darn data”: As per Hurriyet and the Turkish media-at-large, the head of the National Earthquake Watch Center lost his laptop, containing five years’ worth of data on earthquakes, at a bus stop in Milas, Mugla province. While I can sympathize with the perils of bus stops in Turkey for laptops, as the laptop I’m currently typing on is somewhat worse for wear after a four-foot fall while charging at a dinlenme tesisi, I also know one of the cardinal rules of computing-while-traveling: Back It Up. Back It All Up. And the only data on my computer’s some musings on Turkish politics and the last season of Dr. Who. Hardly five years of potentially irreplaceable earthquake data.
Side note: I think my favorite part of the article is when it mentions that the Kandilli Observatory staff don’t actually know what data is missing, and whether there are backups, as Mr. Doğan Kalafat’s cell phone was also left behind, and he is incommunicado. One would think that buying a new cell phone or finding some way of getting in touch with everyone would be towards the top of your to-do list if you’ve just lost five years’ worth of earthquake data in an earthquake-prone country.
Second side note: The National Earthquake Watch Center is headquartered on the outskirts of Ankara and has a mock earthquake-damaged building on-site for trainings and simulations. It looks pretty interesting, although I kind of doubt it’s open to the public for earthquake simulations. Minnesota has a tornado simulator that’s both very cool and very educational, I think Turkey could use something like that.
Oh heck, here’s a third side note: The Kandilli Observatory has a fabulous website with a running list of recent earthquakes in Turkey, where they were centered, how strong they were, and at what depth they occurred. If you live in Turkey, I highly recommend bookmarking it. Also, on the subject of earthquake safety: Istanbullus and other folks in earthquake-prone areas, register at your embassy/consulate, have an earthquake bag prepared, keep an extra supply of water on hand, and realize that most buildings built in the 1960s-1980s are probably going to fall down if a big quake hits (or so I’ve been told). But, fun fact, Sabiha Gokcen airport is the world’s largest earthquake-safe building, so all you Asia-siders will be set, as long as you get there.

So be prepared, be safe, and above all back up your data, especially if it is not easily replaceable and/or is about earthquakes. We are nothing if not servicey here at Istanbul Alti

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