greygirlbeast (greygirlbeast) wrote,
greygirlbeast
greygirlbeast

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"These things happen."

So...the weird news coming out of Arkansas. Or, rather, what we might perceive as the weird news coming out of Arkansas, if we set aside the certainty of coincidence* and the inevitability of highly improbable occurrences:

1) "More than 500 measurable earthquakes have occurred in central Arkansas since September, and it's unknown if they'll stop anytime soon, seismologists say." (source).

2) "Arkansas game officials hope testing scheduled to begin Monday will solve the mystery of why up to 5,000 birds fell from the sky just before midnight New Year's Eve." (source)

3) "Arkansas officials are investigating the death of an estimated 100,000 fish in the state's northwest, but suspect disease was to blame, a state spokesman said Sunday." (source)

The "bird fall" (to speak in Fortean terms) occurred about sixty miles west of the fish kill. Most (but not all) of the birds that died were of a single species, the red-winged blackbird. All of the fish that died were of a single species, the freshwater drum.

The earthquakes have occurred in the same general area, many north of Little Rock.

These things look odder than they likely are, if we insist upon viewing them as connected. However, the fish kill probably wouldn't have made it past the local news, if not for the "bird fall." Especially given that the fish seem to have died on Thursday night, or earlier that day, well before the birds. And the earthquakes have been being reported for months now, but I feel like I'm the only one who pays attention to geological news, and, near as I can tell, only one crackpot conspiracy website is trying to link the earthquakes to the fish kill and the "bird fall."

But the truth is, these things happen.

There are numerous non-mysterious ways the birds may have died (weather or fireworks are both good candidates). The fish kill clearly isn't the result of a pollutant, or more types of fish would be involved, so it's likely a species-specific contagion (virus, bacterium, fungus, or other parasite; my money would be on a viral or bacterial infection). And the earthquakes...well, while interesting, they need to be viewed in the context of the infamous New Madrid Seismic Zone and the recent discovery of a new fault line, roughly 100 miles east of Little Rock.

Near as I can tell, few have rushed to connect the storm front that stretched from Missouri to Mississippi and caused seven (human) deaths (and passed over central Arkansas) to any of this, even though it's the most likely explanation for the bird deaths.

I think the most curious thing about this— so far —is the connections humans see (myself included).

* Coincidence is a constantly occurring phenomenon with a bad rap. Lots of people treat it's like a dirty word, as something rationalists invoke simply to dispel so-called supernatural events. And yet, an almost infinite number of events coincide during any every nanosecond of the cosmos' existence. We only get freaked out and belligerent over the one's we notice, the ones we need (for whatever reason) to invest with some special significance. Co-occurrence should not be taken for correlation any more than correlation should be mistaken for causation.
Tags: birds, coincidence, earthquakes, fort, ichthyology, psychology, science, weather
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