The first funny thing about earthquakes and Iran comes from that country’s always hilariously unhinged figurehead, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. You see, he is worried about earthquakes in Iran’s capitol city. This is a reasonable concern since Tehran in on a major fault line. But his response to it, well, it’s not so reasonable because lol Ahmadinejad. From the Telegraph:
“We cannot order people to evacuate the city… but provisions have to be made. At least five million should leave Tehran so it is less crowded and more manageable in case of an incident,” Mehr news agency quoted him as saying.
No big deal, right? Just 5 million or so. It’s kind of like moving half of New York City to Albany. Those other 7 million people are probably all assholes anyway, I guess.
In most modern countries, cities on a fault line compensate for the risk by improving building codes, monitoring problematic areas, educating the public on how best to respond, that sort of thing. But Iran’s President seems to want to move toward a more drastic route. To find out why he sees the matter as so incredibly urgent right at this point in time, we might do well to see how his religious leaders may have influenced him.
And as it turns out, this very well could be the case. An imam called Ayatollah Kazem Sedighi had a few insights based on his up-to-date study of geology which is apparently contained completely within the Koran. Let’s see what he has to say about all this. From the Telegraph:
“Many women who dress inappropriately … cause youths to go astray, taint their chastity and incite extramarital sex in society, which increases earthquakes,” [Sedighi] told worshippers at a Tehran prayer service late last week.
Ahmadinejad’s position as president of Iran is more of a secular one than his official clerics. So as a ‘practical’ politician, he’s going to hedge his bets on whether or not Allah will be merciful (6:54, among other places, in the Koran) and try to get 5,000,000 people to just up and move to the sticks… Just as a Plan B in case of the extremely unlikely scenario where Sedighi’s plan to dress women as beekeepers actually doesn’t reduce the amount of earthquakes.
Anyway, Jennifer McCreight, a grad student at Perdue (for full disclosure, I should probably mention that she’s also on the same atheist blogroll as me, which is linked to in the sidebar to the right), decided to carry out an experiment since the good Imam’s claim seemed testable. She calls it Boobquake, but I prefer the National Day of Cleavage. She’s inviting women to dress immodestly this Monday (April 26) and then will analyze seismic readings from around the world in order to see if there are any statistically significant deviations which could confirm or falsify Sedighi’s hypothesis inre: boobs/earthquakes.
There’s also a Facebook page, and as Jennifer’s been getting tons of press for this it’s gotten pretty popular. NY Magazine, the NY Post, the Times of India, and CNN have covered this, and that’s only after a minute of searching.