The magnitude 5.8 earthquake that rattled the east coast back in August triggered speculation about whether the controversial gas drilling technique called fracking may have been responsible. Fracking involves drilling thousands of feet into the shale deep below the earth’s surface, then fracturing the earth by pumping millions of gallons of sand, water, and chemicals into the shale to release natural gas. So far, contamination of groundwater supplies has been the focus of those opposing big energy’s push to expand fracking.
The latest attempt to predict the future: scientists use digital data from Twitter, traffic webcams, and bazillion other places to create a model that can foresee epidemics, social upheaval, and more. That' the theory anyway. Much like the weather, you can't always count on the forecast. Sharon Weinberger writes for Nature. She tell us more about the project.