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Sam Penny

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Member Since: Mar, 2004

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· Was a Time When

· Broken River

· Memphis 7.9

Short Stories
· Chapter 1: Hooked

· Achafalaya 1, New Orleans 0

· Out-Take: Survival On The Side Of A Mountain

· Another Arkansas Earthquake

· That Arkansas Earthquake, Don't Worry About It, Right?

· Lessons From The Tsunami, Is The USA Missing Out?

· Penny’s 7.9 Scenario Novels Teach Earthquake Reality Through Fiction

· Sam Penny’s Reality Fiction Series Describes New Madrid Earthquake Dangers

· Broken River Receives Honorable Mention in Darrell Awards

· New Image for The 7.9 Scenario Website

· Broken River Available September 27

· Interview on "Curious Mind"

· Memphis 7.9 Available at Jonesboro Hastings Bookstore

· Memphis 7.9 receives Honorable Mention in Darrell Award competition for Best Science Fiction novel

· Memphis 7.9 finalist for Darrell Award at MidSouthCon 22 in Memphis

Sam Penny, click here to update your web pages on AuthorsDen.

"10.5" receives an F for science

NBC’s made-for-TV mini-series “10.5” aired Sunday and Monday, May 2 and 3. The production can be critiqued in several ways. Most reviewers will comment on the program’s merits as a movie. I consider how well the show informs the public about earthquakes; in that light it is a complete flop. In fact, the sensationalism and misinformation presented in the program may well cost some people their lives.

When I retired in 1998 from a career as a scientist, engineer, and executive, I turned author and lecturer and studied in detail the effects of a great earthquake on the population and economy of the central United States. The results of my research were horrific, but they had nothing in common with NBC’s mini-series.

“10.5” tells of a fantasy earthquake originating from a fault seven hundred kilometers deep that is about to drop the entire west coast of the country into the Pacific. The movie spins a rescue mission taken from Peter Hernon’s novel “8.4” to save the day. There is simply no scientific basis for either the problem or the solution presented in “10.5.” I consider the work to be pure fantasy.

Consider instead the worst earthquake that can really happen in the United States. It is not on the west coast, it is in the center of the country. Based upon available data from the United States Geological Survey and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake on the New Madrid Fault can kill 80,000 people, injure 350,000, and leave over six million homeless across twenty states in the eastern part of our country.

Such an event would instantly destroy 4% of our country’s manufacturing capability and 20% of its transportation capacity. The ripple effect of losing industry raw materials, energy sources, parts, and logistics could result in a 10% drop in the United State’s Gross Domestic Product within days. It could turn the United States into a second rate power.

The probability for the “10.5” event is zero; it will never happen. On the other hand, the USGS estimates the chances for an earthquake between magnitude 7.5 and 8.0 on the New Madrid sometime within the next fifty years to be 7% to 10%. Those are the odds you will blow your brains out if you play Russian Roulette with a twelve shot revolver.

Consider the Good, Bad, and Ugly aspects of the movie.

The Good about “10.5” is that the mini-series focused people’s minds on the fact that the earth can shake, dangerously. Once aware, people can learn and prepare to save lives and property.

The Bad is that “10.5” sensationalizes the fantasy of the west coast falling into the ocean and shows an astounding number of violations of physical reality. Some of the special effects are outstanding, but they belong in “The Matrix.” The movie is not a learning experience. Instead it passes along false information that could prove fatal when an earthquake really happens.

Because of geological factors and the lack of preparedness, a giant earthquake in the center of the country will be ten times more destructive than one of the same size on the west coast. The Ugly fact is that “10.5” got the subject right: the most dangerous catastrophe that faces the United States is indeed a great earthquake. But it is one that happens on the New Madrid Seismic Zone in the central US alongside and under the Mississippi River. It is not “10.5” or any other earthquake on the west coast.

A majority of the public and some parts of government and industry in the central United States do not recognize the dangers they face. Some even argue that such an earthquake will not happen for hundreds of years, so “why worry?” The USGS disagrees, saying that the danger of such an inevitable earthquake on the New Madrid is the same as one the same size in southern California.

Things can be done to lessen the impact when the inevitable happens. Things can be done to mitigate the costs in life and property. Things can be done to plan for contingencies. But such things happen only when the public is properly informed of the risks and support common sense efforts by their elected officials. “10.5” did not help.

About Sam Penny:

My chosen mission is to inform the people of our country of the dangers they face from the New Madrid. Having written and read scientific articles in the past, I understand the limitations of disseminating information through those channels. Feeling the need to reach the wider public audience, I present the results of my studies as a “what if” story and am writing four novels called The 7.9 Scenario series, telling of how such an earthquake occurs, what it does to our environment, and what to expect afterwards. Some say it is Science Fiction; I call it Reality Fiction.

Web Site The 7.9 Scenario

Reader Reviews for "NBC’s Mini-Series “10.5”, Good, Bad, and Ugly"

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Reviewed by Chrissy McVay 12/5/2005
Well, I know we are not prepared for hurricanes so this is worth being informed of. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and research...
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 5/22/2004

i watched 10.5, it was...okay, some of the special effects were great, some were hokey :), the plot, well, seems like an earthquake shook that one off the map LOL--but it was intriguing, anyway, at least to me

your 7.9 series sounds more plausible, i will check it out, i'd love to read it

(((HUGS))) and love, karla.

so how does one get a copy? :)

Books by
Sam Penny

Was a Time When

Buy Options
Amazon, more..

Broken River

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Signed copy!

Memphis 7.9

Buy Options
Signed copy!
Amazon, more..

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