Friday, December 11, 2009

Howard Leland and the SPCD

Someone wanting to drift anonymously through life shouldn't live in a small town. It's like the old joke says: "If you can't remember what you did today, ask someone - they'll know."

So, it was a bit of a surprise to be when I learned that Howard Leland, someone I've known for years, is a long-time member of the SPCD.

I made the discovery, talking about the news with him last week. I mentioned an article about plate tectonics, which led to Howard Leland explaining a few things to me.

For years now, America has been drifting away from Europe. Literally. At a rate of 2 point five centimeters a year. That doesn't sound like much, but it adds up. The Atlantic is a dozen feet wider now than it was back in 1866 when the first trans-Atlantic cable was completed.

Obviously, Mr. Leland said, there has been a great deal of needless expense: repairing and replacing cables as North America moved west.

It's more than cables, of course. As North America and others drift recklessly around, their movement causes earthquakes, volcanic eruptions: and even, as mountains grow and oceans change shape, climate change.

The SPCD, or Society for the Prevention of Continental Drift, wants to change all that. They've sent petitions to Congress, and are raising funds for a national advertising campaign.

Mr. Leland was disappointed when I didn't sign the SPCD petition. As a sort of recompense, I thought I'd alert my readers to the perils of continental drift.

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