6.3 Earthquake in Central Italy **UPDATE**

The USGS reports a strong, 6.3 earthquake in Central Italy [map of quake].  No news on major news sites yet. UPDATE:  Fox News now has banner but no story.

UPDATE:  Fox News moves fast. From Sky News Service quoting Rafael Abreu Hael of U.S. Geological Survey:

"This is a significant earthquake," he said. "This is a shallow quake but there is definitely a possibility of damage and even injuries. It is going to depend on what type of buildings are in the area."

Location not far from Rome which felt the quake.

More from Reuters, but still few details on damage or injuries.  Hopefully none.

UPDATE:  4/6, 7:56 AM:  Reuters reports that an Italian scientist who predicted the earthquake in January was muzzled by the government.  The Italian government ordered seismologist Gioacchino Giuliani to remove all references to his prediction from the internet after the mayor of L'Aquila complained that Giulani's prediction was creating a panic.

This is not the first time governments have ostricized scientists who accurately predicted earthquakes.  The US Geological Survey fired Jim Berkland in the 197os, then launched a PR campaign to ridicule the man whose prediction accuracy far exceeds that of the USGS.  Berkland's predictions, it seems, fall outside of the scientific consensus.

That Hideous Rhythm

I just blogged about the bad, sad events in St. Louis, Missouri, today. A 22-year-old police officer shot to death on duty; a famous, majestic church burned. But looking around the internet, I find bad news all over. It was one of those days when the world's rhythms crossed into bad vibes.

Some of those vibrations shook the earth in Peru, to the tune of 8.0 on the Richter scale, killing at least 850, probably more. Lives, homes, schools, livelihoods destroyed or changed beyond recognition. The

Rescue workers in Utah, trying to find the lost miners, became victims themselves a short time ago. There are reports of helicopters and ambulances rushing to the scene, but very few details have emerged.

In Pennsylvania, no stranger to mining accidents, another kind of tragedy. An 18-year-old boy fatally stabbed his 16-year-old girlfriend in her home, then walked out of the door, into her front yard, and slit his own throat.

The richest people on earth, meanwhile, spent much of the day feeling sorry for themselves because the stock market is in the throes of a normal correction. Listening to the news this afternoon, I nearly threw up. While lives came undone in Peru, Americans were nearly in tears because their portfolios lost 5 percent of their paper value. Bastards.

It's the rhythms of the earth that are to blame. Not global warming or the Bush administration or even Jose Padilla. On days like these, we just hold on and hope we make it though to the next. Maybe spend a few more minutes than usual with the kids, reminded, as we are, that any moment with them could easily be our last.