Friday, May 29, 2015

Panic Caused Over Supposed Imminent Earthquake In CA By Blogger Dutchsinse

One of the very reasons I began my blog was to bring you no-nonsense news on geological and volcanic events, sourced with good references and links, and an attention to detail. The catalyst for this was a conversation over email I had with a blogger I do admire, Jon Frimann who writes the Iceland Geology Blog which frequently is the prime source for volcano and earthquake news in Iceland. I wanted to help him out with editing and English, however this offer was declined.

I had become fascinated with volcanoes at an early age, and frequented his blog, especially during the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in 2010. At first, this interaction puzzled me... "Why wouldn't a blogger like to hire an editor for free? Wouldn't it lend more credibility to an English reading audience"? But perhaps my request to help out came off as a bit rude. I mean, the guy invests his own money and time deploying geophones/sensors all over Iceland to really monitor volcanoes. He speaks a few languages, and if I were him I'd be proud of that and take offense to my offer too. But I was just starting out.

So I say to myself, maybe I'll just start my own blog, and simply aggregate links to reliable sources, while injecting a bit of background based on my quick research. But keep speculation to a bare minimum, and always edit your reports when new info is available.

And then I ran into "Dutchsinse" (Google him if you will, I refuse to link to and/or promote his garbage). Dutchsinse is... who? Well, for one, he is a blogger who hides behind a monkier/screenname, posts outlandish articles claiming a volcano in LA, California blew up (it didn't), that a mssive volcanic eruption had occurred in Nevada (it didn't), that the whole West Coast of the US moved because of an eruption at the Axial Seamount volcano (it didn't), and now, people are unfortunately cross linking and spreading this garbage throughout the 'net. His blogs are so obviously hype and science fiction I cannot honestly believe anyone would take him seriously... but the Internet is a blessing and a curse... information is highly available, yet entirely suspect at times. And there are predators. 

People on social media such as Facebook or Twitter are especially vulnerable to this type of click-bait yellow journalism. We are living in an age (at least in the US) where people actually believe in the "end times", and people like Dutchsinse prey on this. What really made me want to have a volcanic eruption of my own was when I saw my beloved news stream "I F*cking Love Science" post a link to one of their articles, I was appalled to see that they had posted a video of the eruption of Wolf Volcano in the Galapagos that directly linked to Dutchsinse's Youtube account. 

I happen to have a great deal of love for IFLS. They typically do great reporting, but this time they made a serious boo-boo by actually giving credence to someone who is so absurdly wrong that it spurred a guy like me to start writing his very own volcano blog out of the goodness of his heart, and a desire not to see everyone duped and sent into panic by a charlatan and bad reporter. Dutchsinse's modus operandi is to link real-time earthquake data, and not just speculate, attempt to predict eruptions, and spread false info.

This is ALL to generate ad revenue through Google, and nothing more.

Now, I learned firsthand how gullible people are, when one April Fools Day, I posted an article that read "BREAKING: Yellowstone Moved to Highest Alert (Red) After Tremor, Wildlife Fleeing". It was meant as a HUGE joke (even at the end of the blog, I completely self-destruct and say April Fools), however it is one of the biggest revenue generator blog posts I've ever posted. Part of me is ashamed, and the other part is laughing all the way to the bank. Dutchsinse has no shame. He's in it for the money, and he really IS lauging all the way to the bank.

At the top bar of my blog, I list MANY credible sources, and other blogs that are tried and true. So don't fall for click bait. And please, for the love of all things science-y, do not reference Dutchsinse.

2 comments:

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