#759 – Nerdy Natural Disasters

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I think the rest of the country experienced something called a polar vortex. I don’t even know what that means. I do know, though, that it has been 80 degrees and sunny in southern California this week. But we also had to pay our penance this week.

We had an earthquake.

Sometimes I forget how scary earthquakes are, then we have one, and I remember. On Tuesday night there was a 4.4 magnitude earthquake centered five miles from my home. The rolling woke me up in time for a loud bang that shook our entire apartment.

I know “the big one” could happen at any time, sending California drifting into the Pacific. To prepare for that coming natural disaster, I’ll learn how to respond from these nerdy natural disasters.



Praxis is a moon above the Klingon home world of Qo’noS. While its destruction wasn’t an entirely natural disaster, it’s not like it was destroyed by a manmade black hole. After years of over-mining the moon, Praxis explodes at the beginning of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. As I wrote about last year, Praxis exploding sets the stage for my third favorite Star Trek movie. Praxis’s destruction also sets the peace process between the Klingons and the Federation in motion, as the proud warrior race must turn to the Federation for help. The peace treaty between the Klingons and the Federation provided the context for some of The Next Generation’s best episodes. Natural disasters are bad but some good can come out of them.

I Am Legend

I am Legend 5

As I’ve shared many times before, I do not like vampires. I know they’re not real but I’m not always a rational person. I saw I Am Legend in theaters mostly because an extended preview of The Dark Knight ran before it. Alycia and I had just started dating and my whimpers and screams weren’t enough to turn her away. Again, the disease that turned people into vampires wasn’t exactly natural; it was a mutation of a virus intended to cure cancer. But like life found a way in Jurassic Park, crazy vampiric mutilation also found a way in I Am Legend. And even though dinosaurs were real, I’m still way more scared of vampires.



Sunshine is actually about a full-blown natural disaster. Eventually our sun is going to die out. Sunshine is about humanity’s attempt to reignite that big yellow ball in the sky. It also turns into a little bit of a monster movie but the real focus is on saving the earth from an icy death. I really enjoy Sunshine; it is an intense sci-fi thriller that didn’t get the praise it deserved. It also begs the question, what good was it for Superman to throw all the nuclear weapons into the sun if they couldn’t keep it from dying?

If California falls into the ocean I don’t think the Federation or Will Smith will be of much help. At least when “the big one” hits, it will probably be warm and sunny. Disasters are always better when it’s warm.

What nerdy natural disasters would you want to avoid?


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