Programming the nature #1: Import earthquake XML into underworld


Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a set of rules for encoding documents in machine-readable form. It is widely used for abstract representation of arbitrary data structure in programming. I wrote down the scientific data of recent significant earthquakes in xml format, and marked every single character or sign on individual stone. Then, I threw the 916 stones into an abandoned coal mine tunnel, Stollenmundloch von Braut, located in Hattingen, Germany. The data is accorded to the National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC).

Too many earthquakes have occured recent years. It is enough. If there were any divine being living under the Earth, I just let them know. I threw the stones one by one, in order of the xml coding sequence. I had imported data into the underworld.

Programming language is an artificial language designed to communicate instructions to a machine, particularly a computer. I am interesting in its abstract thinking pattern. For example, things are defined into individual objects in object-oriented structures. Events are explained in cause-and-effect logics with the if-else statements. When we ask computers to solve our everyday problems, I wonder how it influences our concept of the World. I have been developing a series of works in the name of “programming the nature”. I wrote programming codes on natural matter. The codes were inevitably scattered in chaos. And the actions are destined to be useless and meaningless.

<?xml version=“1.0” encoding=“utf-8” ?>
   <evt id=“0” date=“2011-03-11” M=“9.0” D=“32” reg=“HONSHU,JAPAN” NS=“38.322” EW=“142.369” fatality=“28050” ⁄>
   <evt id=“2” date=“2010-04-13” M=“6.9” D=“17” reg=“QINGHAI,CHINA” NS=“33.224” EW=“96.666” fatality=“2968” ⁄>
   <evt id=“3” date=“2010-02-27” M=“8.8” D=“35” reg=“BIO-BIO,CHILE” NS=“-35.909” EW=“-72.733” fatality=“577” ⁄>
   <evt id=“4” date=“2010-01-12” M=“7.0” D=“13” reg=“HAITI” NS=“18.443” EW=“-72.571” fatality=“316000” ⁄>
   <evt id=“5” date=“2009-09-30” M=“7.6” D=“81” reg=“SUMATRA,INDONESIA” NS=“-0.725” EW=“99.856” fatality=“1117” ⁄>
   <evt id=“7” date=“2009-04-06” M=“6.3” D=“8.8” reg=“ITALY” NS=“42.334” EW=“13.334” fatality=“295” ⁄>
   <evt id=“9” date=“2008-05-12” M=“7.9” D=“19” reg=“SICHUAN,CHINA” NS=“30.986” EW=“103.364” fatality=“87587” ⁄>
   <evt id=“10” date=“2007-08-15” M=“8.0” D=“39” reg=“PERU” NS=“-13.354” EW=“-76.509” fatality=“514” ⁄>



date : date of the earthquake occurred

M : M stands for magnitude. Seismologists indicate the size of an earthquake in units of magnitude. Earthquake magnitude is a logarithmic measure of earthquake size. In simple terms, this means that at the same distance from the earthquake, the shaking will be 10 times as large during a magnitude 5 earthquake as during a magnitude 4 earthquake.

D : The depth where the earthquake begins to rupture. This depth may be relative to mean sea-level or the average elevation of the seismic stations which provided arrival-time data for the earthquake location.

reg : Location of the earthquake occurred

NS : Latitude of the earthquake occurred

EW : Longitude of the earthquake occurred

fatality : Recorded number of fatalities (deaths) caused by this earthquake