Dr. Jonas Parkinson who leads the joint CALTECH/MIT Earthquake Structure Design Team or ESDT has just released their groundbreaking study of the survivability of structures. "What we have learned is that we have not and may not ever become proficient in predicting earthquakes, but what we can do is learn to survive them. That is not so much a seismographic quality, but a architectural/design challenge. First, it is buildings that kill people in earthquakes and not the earthquakes themselves. Unless, that is, you happend to be unlucky enough to be standing directly above a fissure. We have learned that the modern skyscraper has it all backwards. You do not want to put the bulk of the weight in a structure skyward so that it can fall on the inhabitants. This was also verified in the World Trade Center disaster, but for different reasons. No. You want to put a declining density structure in earthquake zones and urban areas. After twenty-seven years and 8.7 billion dollars in development, we have come up with the perfect design and release it now," said Dr. Parkinson at Friday's meeting in New York.
Members of the Army Corp of Engineers said that they had seen this design before, but felt that it has had no significant value for earthquake survivability, a charge that Dr. Parkinson said is "poppycock". The Army Corp of Engineers said that they would like to verify the Parkinson team's work with a study of their own that would cost in the neighborhood of 8.7 billion dollars.