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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sochi Olympics Data Exhaust: Cloudy with a Chance of Terrorists

Ever looking for a chance to put my Quantum Leap Analyst software through its paces, I wondered about the chance for an earthquake on or near the Sochi Olympics venue. So I went to the Advanced National Seismic System database (try it yourself, here) and pulled all the earthquake data between January 1st 2002 and January 17th 2014 where the magnitude was over 6.0 on the Richter scale. I then loaded it into Quantum Leap Analyst and hit "Predict." No data massaging. No normalizing. Just quake magnitude, longitude, latitude, date of event and depth of the quake epicenter. Then I produced the scatter plot below and superimposed a world map, after which I homed in on the closest high-probability quake site near Sochi. Here are my results:

Above, you can see the world-wide event map of quakes above 6.0. I pinpointed Sochi on the map (click on it to enlarge to your heart's content) and then identified (in white) a prediction area of quakes. A couple thousand miles from Sochi, there is a 62.5% chance of a quake in the 6.25-to-6.45 range. The chance goes to 100% down around Indonesia, but for the purposes of my exercise, I'm focusing only on the Olympics venue. NET NET: No "Acts of God" on the horizon.
Then I was sitting there, minding my own business on Sunday—listening to speakers at church and thinking about the "Act of God" scenario—when a Sochi Olympics candidate who had been training since he was 11 years old said he'd had a strong spiritual experience to forego his Sochi Olympic dream and go on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints two months early. Instead of delaying his mission for two months, he cancelled his participation and has left this week…THIS WEEK…for the mission training center.

I'm sure I joined the several thousand other people who heard his talk in thinking to myself, "Holy smokes, there's going to be a terrorist attack!" This itself tells me that there IS NOT GOING TO BE A TERRORIST ATTACK, because I don't think God works this way. Maybe this athlete would have been badly injured in the Olympics. Or more likely, God is not a big fan of the Olympics and He had more important work for this individual to do in the mission field.

Is there a chance of a terrorist attack. Certainly the jihadists would have us all believe there is, given the videos and rhetoric coming out of that community. For that reason, there is always a chance of a terrorist rainfall. The above "Data Exhaust" has struck the nervousness chord in my neck of the woods. But if I were to make a prediction, it would be that the Islamic militants are simply playing a PR game to spin up all the athletes and their sponsoring countries. Yes, their threats should be taken seriously, as I am sure the security assets in place are doing.

Like I said, I don't think God works this way. Does He?

Selah.

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