All shook up


It’s been awhile since that’s happened. Or at least since I’ve felt it.

Earthquake in (well, I presume near — it wasn’t *that* strong) Ottawa at about 1:45pm.

Thank god for Twitter, that’s all I can say.

I’ve been on a weird night shift sleep pattern lately so I was sleeping when it happened. Thought someone was blasting or something. (We have construction going on near here.) But it went on for quite awhile, longer than blasting or a big truck passing by would be — about 20 or 30 seconds, followed by a little lull and another little shimmy. (I don’t know if it was related but within about a minute of the shaking ending, a number of emergency vehicles went past here. Surprisingly, there were no car alarms.) Then I thought maybe I was (a) imagining it or (b) having some kind of weird back spasms.

So, I did what any self-respecting person would do. I Googled “Ottawa shaking”.

Internet WIN.

Loads of tweets within seconds. Blog posts within minutes. And there are already news reports about it. The Earthquakes Canada site is impossible to load, as is much of the rest Natural Resources Canada. (I can just imagine how many hits their servers are taking right now).

Edited to add: Finally got the Earthquakes Canada site to load (kind of) and all it says about today is “June 23 1:45 pm Eastern Time – A moderate earthquake has occurred in the Ottawa-Montreal region. More information to follow.”

The US Geological Survey DYFI (did you feel it?) page for the event (event ID us2010xwa7) loads much more quickly. (The main USGS page for the event offers more details about the event.) They say the earthquake was at 13:41:41, centered about 50 kilometers northwest-ish of us (see Google maps), a magnitude 5.5 at a depth of 15 kilometers. Until the Canadian site is working better (and updated), report your experience on the USGS site.

Edited to add again: The Earthquakes Canada home page is now only loading the message I quoted earlier and nothing else. But you can visit the page for this event (which has been downgraded to a magnitude 5.0, with a depth of 18 km) directly and submit a report without going through the home page.

And again (16:00): An interesting commentary on how the earthquake became a Toronto earthquake in the Twitterverse. Some particularly awesome tweets include freemurphy (“Pitchfork gives the #earthquake a 5.5, calls it “derivative, clearly influenced by more seminal eastern quakes”), kylemcinnes (“Ottawa government buildings evacuated. Productivity unaffected.”), and Guin (“Reports coming in that the #earthquake caused a tsunami at the #g20 fake-lake :P”). Some nicely in-depth coverage by the Ottawa Citizen now, as well. Some raw CBC video footage (you can see what that looked like on TV here). Some YouTube video coverage:

And finally a little apropos xkcd:

xkcd Seismic Waves


Do Not Want!

Is it April 1st, again?

Google is apparently “experimenting and implementing lot of user interface ideas from Bing search“, including having background images on their search home page. Apparently last night was’s turn to get Binged up. Google is “excited to announce that this feature is now available internationally. [They] hope you enjoy the new artist collection and making Google feel more like your own!

The problem with this particular feature is that you can’t turn it off on If you are logged into your Google account, you have the ability to change the picture to something else; but if you are not logged in, you’re stuck with whatever random picture Google pulls out of its hat. And you can’t pick “none” in either case. appears to have no image by default (if you’re not logged in), and gives you the option to “Remove background image” if you’re logged in, but doesn’t. Hopefully that’s just a temporary glitch. In the mean time, I guess I’m going back to using