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March 7, 2011 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Quakes & Cons

Seems like everything’s jumping these days, from O Week ragers to the very ground beneath us. While it might not have been the 6.3 quake that slammed Christchurch two weeks ago, Wellington’s own 4.5 quake just after 10pm on Tuesday last week had residents sprinting outdoors and huddling in doorframes. Not without reason—with Christchurch struggling to rise from the rubble and the surrounding areas still buckling with aftershocks, it’s no wonder the rest of New Zealand and Oceania feel a little jumpy.

One man, Ken Ring, claims to know that April will see the end of our natural disasters, and has even claimed to pinpoint the date of the next major earthquake in New Zealand: March 20.

To Ring, predicting disasters like floods and earthquakes has everything to do with observing cycles—moon cycles, orbits and tidal activity.
“The moon goes around the earth—that’s one cycle,” he said on RadioLIVE just after last September’s earthquake in Christchurch. Within that cycle, he reported, the moon orbits closer and farther from the earth along an elliptical path.

According to Ring, the closer the moon is, the greater the chances of natural phenomena occuring. He cited the concurrence of last year’s 7.1 earthquake on September 4 and the day the moon was closest to the earth on September 3.

To some, Ring’s predictions are too accurate to be shots in the dark. On February 13th, Ring (@kenringweather) posted a prediction on Twitter supposedly pointing to the 6.3 earthquake in Christchurch: “Potentional earthquake time for the planet between 15th-25th, especially 18th for Christchurch, +/- about 3 days.”

Others largely discount Ring’s theories, citing astrology as a pseudo-science, and pointing to the vague nature of his predictions.
Sceptics have heavily criticised Ring’s books, the Predict Weather Almanac guides for Australia, Ireland and New Zealand. Snowstorms, floods, earthquakes and other natural phenomena are either not mentioned, unspecific or totally wrong in the guides.
Ring’s recent appearance on Campbell Live stirred controversy around the country as host John Campbell spent much of the broadcast browbeating Ring in an interview that prompted many viewers to call in with complaints.

Campbell’s report commented on the lack of concrete evidence supporting Ring’s theories and brought in scientists to provide contrary evidence. He also criticised the predictions’ tendency to scare people more than necessary.

Campbell later apologised, though he maintained his previous position and affirmed that he didn’t believe in Ring’s theories.
Ring, on the other hand, believes his predictions give the people of New Zealand something firm to grasp inthe midst of chaos.
“People have had the ground moving under them for six months,” he managed to say in the initial broadcast. “I’m proud to give them a timeline to rely on.”

Everyone can hope that one of his predictions comes true. “After April,” Ring promises, “it’s all going to return to normal.”


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