A Podcast to Help You Understand What’s Going on
Every week, Dr. Jones sits down to share her insights and perspective on the chaotic world around us on her podcast, Getting Through It, co-hosted with community resilience expert John Bwarie. The duo were co-creators of The Great Shake-Out and worked to create sweeping policy changes in seismic safety in the City of Los Angeles and dozens of other communities across California. For Caltech in 2019, Dr. Jones and John developed and co-led the Center’s Science Activation workshop and training program. Getting Through It premiered in June 2020.
Now, in this weekly broadcast, Dr. Jones shares how the world works, why you might feel the way you do about a particular disaster, and how you can manage the chaos around you that is real life. The topics range from earthquakes to other disasters that affect people, as well as the history of science and big disasters, and how through understanding why, we are more able to manage it and be more successful at “getting through it.”
Clips are shared publicly each week, and full episodes and other experiences are offered to supporters of the Center who sign up through the Jones Center Patreon Page. Support this effort to get early access, past episodes, behind the scenes, live Q&A, and more.
(All episodes and the knowledge vault can be accessed for all supporters here.)
Episode 59 – Stationarity is Dead
July 23, 2021
Floods used to be one of the biggest risks people would face. While there have been major engineering improvements to dams and drainage to prevent the impacts of flooding, there is always a flood that will overwhelm the flood controls. Further, climate change is driving disasters like flooding to increase in both intensity and quantity. In this episode, Dr. Jones discusses flood perception and prediction, and how our disaster planning can be improved.
Episode 58 – All About Foreshocks
July 16, 2021
In this episode, Dr. Jones defines what foreshocks are, describes their variability, and explains how to manage “what comes next.” She tells the story of her first papers characterizing what foreshocks are, and what we need to know about the likelihood something bigger will follow. This primer includes all the basics you need to understand foreshocks.
Episode 57 – Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (Related to Earthquakes!)
July 9, 2021
Transportation can be a big issue after an earthquake, even when the infrastructure itself has not been damaged. In this episode, Dr. Jones explains how transit infrastructure will fare during an earthquake, from trains, to cars, to even airplanes. But is it safer to be in a tunnel or on a bridge during an earthquake? The answer may not be what you expect.
Episode 56 – Why Buildings Fall Down
July 2, 2021
What keeps buildings from falling down — and why do they? This episode looks that the governmental and technical solutions to the challenges of tall buildings. From codes to engineers to builders to inspectors — buildings have many people who are the ones responsible for its safety.
Episode 55 – Young and Hot in California
June 25, 2021
California is young and hot compared to the East Coast which is old and cold… as it relates to the rocks, at least. And the age of the rocks is one of reasons that determines how waves from an earthquake travel from the fault – farther on the East Coast and less so on the West Coast. In this episode, Dr. Jones explains why that is, and why a similar sized earthquake has different impacts based on the ground beneath you.
Episode 54 – Hydration to Flushing: Water After an Earthquake
June 18, 2021
You likely use more water than you realize — until it’s not there. When a large earthquake happens, water will be in short supply for many reason, and as Dr. Jones always says: “How long are you willing to stick around with out a shower?” This episode looks at our water, our pipes, and why it matters more than just staying hydrated.
Episode 53 – Will the Internet Survive the Big One?
June 11, 2021
We are dependent on the internet for so many things, and after an earthquake, it becomes essential (especially around information and communication!). Will it be there after the next big earthquake? How we make sure it is there may take more than you might think…
Episode 52 – How Safe Is It to Travel This Summer?
June 4, 2021
How safe is traveling this summer in light of the lingering impacts of COVID19? Is it safer than driving? What about other modes? In this episode, Dr. Jones breaks down the risks, and shows how dramatically different the risk is if you wear a mask or better yet, are vaccinated. And seriously, why do we think we’re safe when we drive — she explains that, too!
Episode 51 – Man vs. Nature (Hint: Nature Wins)
May 28, 2021
In this episode, we look at what we can really control when it comes to natural hazards and systems, and the answer is simple: nothing. But, we can manage them, if we work at it. Listen to learn about new oceans in Africa, storms bigger than anything we’ve planned for, and the reason COVID19 isn’t our last pandemic.
Episode 50 – COVID19 Isn’t Going Away: What’s Next?
May 21, 2021
We know that COVID-19 isn’t going away, so what’s next for us? What can we expect life to be life in 6 months or a year? In this episode, we look at what vaccinated society looks like, what we’ll be able to do, and how we can get through living with this virus.
Episode 49 – Why People Matter More than Preparedness Kits
May 14, 2021
Don’t think that an earthquake kit is what you need to prepare for an earthquake. In this episode, we discuss why people matter to your survival of and recovery from an earthquake or other disaster. A kit makes you feel like you’re ready, but it’s simply a bandaid for what is truly needed.
Episode 48 – Craziest Earthquake Predictions
May 7, 2021
Following up on our 4-part series on earthquake prediction from earlier this season, this episode dives into the deep end with the craziest predictions and prediction sources Dr. Jones has encountered since her time as a graduate student. Hear some wild rationales and the reason why we seek to explain what might happen next.
Episode 47 – How to Watch a Disaster Movie with an Eye on Science
April 30, 2021
Disaster movies – even bad ones – capture our attention because they portray what could happen. Dr. Jones looks at the three types of disaster movies and how real science is used (or not!), and how you can watch these movies to survive what you might face.
Episode 46 – How to Talk About the Climate Crisis
April 23, 2021
In honor of Earth Week, this episode explains how you can talk about the climate crisis, and how it can actually make a difference. Dr. Jones shares the research-based approach to get action on this issue when talking to other people about it.
Episode 45 – How You Can Start an Earthquake
April 16, 2021
In this episode, Dr. Jones explains the ways humans can start earthquakes. She talks about bombs, dams, fracking, and even nerve gas! Take a listen and see how humans can cause earthquakes.
Episode 44 – Why Disasters Breed Conspiracy Theories
April 9, 2021
By their nature, disasters are a prime circumstance for conspiracy theories to emerge and spread. And the explanation as to why is not as simple as people being uninformed. Hear the explanation of why this happens, and learn what you can do to manage disinformation in a crisis.
Episode 43 – Volcanic Ash and Gas… and You
April 2, 2021
In this episode, Dr. Jones explains why even a distant volcanic eruption could impact you where you are. From the ash that impacts air travel to gases that can kill thousands, volcanos emit more than lava that can impact the entire world.
Episode 42 – Six Volcano Myths Explained
March 26, 2021
Volcanoes can be the most visually impressive natural hazard for many reasons, and Dr. Jones explains key facts about these very specific geologic features of the earth that are often misunderstood. She tackles six myths, giving insights on where volcanoes can happen, why “sticky lava” matters, and their impact on climate change.
Episode 41 – All about Tsunamis
March 19, 2021
In this episode, we explore how tsunamis are formed, how they travel, and what to do when you hear (or feel!) a warning of one. Though they’re one of the most feared natural hazards, understanding the basics of tsunamis will help you manage the risk you might face.
Episode 40 – All about Magnitude
March 12, 2021
In this episode, Dr. Jones explores how we come to use magnitude to describe the size of an earthquake, and all the complications that come along with it… and why we need it to manage the human response to fear the uncertainty of earthquakes.
Episode 39 – Defining Disasters
March 5, 2021
“What is a disaster, anyway?” This episode explores how we historically and currently define disasters. By understanding what they are, we can manage them more effectively. Dr. Jones explores how an earthquake disaster can inform our management of the pandemic, and how we can’t let time scale distract us from the impact and severity of longer, “slow” disasters.
Episode 38 – Regulating Yourself out of Disasters
February 26, 2021
In this episode, we explore the failures in Texas in February 2021 to deal with a winter storm that impacted them based on the choices made by that state. We take a look at why government has a role in preventing disasters and how they do or don’t do that critical work – a core function of government in general. And what can you do about it so you can get through the next disaster?
Episode 37 – All about Aftershocks
February 19, 2021
In this episode, Dr. Jones explains how aftershocks are named, how long they can last, and what to expect when in the midst of an aftershock sequence. She reveals the story behind how she came to want to study and explain them, and how understanding aftershocks can help manage fears around earthquakes. This primer includes all the basics you need to understand aftershocks.
Episode 36 – Calm, Science, and Parenting in the Pandemic
February 12, 2021
In this episode, Dr. Jones shares how she came to be the one to explain more than just the science behind earthquakes and disasters. She recalls the story from 1992 that showed to everyone that she was a mother and a scientist and appeared to be able to “have it all.” From 2020 into 2021, the experience of working from home and parenting at the same time focuses everyone on what it takes to do both – often at the same time. Dr. Jones offers her insights on how she sacrificed to make it work, as she had to do quite publicly in the 1990s, and what those trying to cope now could do to get through it.
Episode 35 – 50th Anniversary of the Sylmar/San Fernando Earthquake
February 5, 2021
In this episode, we share the science, damage, and lasting impact that the first large earthquake in modern Los Angeles had on the city and how we address earthquake risk across the country. What was learned created new laws, funding streams, and approaches to manage earthquake risk. In fact, it’s this earthquake on February 9, 1971 that may have put Dr Jones on track to the career she had helping us all get through it.
Episode 34 – Vaccines and Virus Mutation
January 29, 2021
In this episode, Dr. Jones explains the way the Coronavirus works, how the vaccines work, and how virus mutation could impact the vaccine effectiveness. She talks about when you’re most contagious (and it’s not when you’re sickest!), and she reveals why the name of the Coronavirus also relates to how the vaccine works. And, Dr. Jones explains why the virus is “lazy.”
Episode 33 – Earthquake Prediction Part 4 of 4
January 22, 2021
In this final episode of our four part series on earthquake prediction, we explore what can be predicted for a particular earthquake. In this case, we look at the damage, injuries, death, and disruption from an earthquake on the Newport Inglewood Fault running from Long Beach to Beverly Hills. Dr. Jones will explain who will feel shaking (all of SoCal) and how an earthquake on this fault compares to others. She can’t tell you when, but she can tell you what will happen…
Episode 32 – Earthquake Prediction Part 3 of 4
January 15, 2021
In this, the third of our four part series on earthquake prediction, we explore earthquake early warning and what it means to be notified that earthquake shaking is headed your way momentarily. With an earthquake underway, this system can provide a “prediction” of what you’ll feel. Why does this matter? Dr. Jones explains the various benefits, and some may surprise you because it’s more than physically protecting yourself in the moment.
Episode 31 – Earthquake Prediction Part 2 of 4
January 8, 2021
In part 2 of our 4 part series on earthquake prediction, Dr. Jones explains the idea of how the rate of earthquakes can be the piece of information that helps know if another earthquake is more likely. She explains why people think she can predict earthquakes, when really, she’s just explaining the science of what makes an earthquake more likely (hint: earthquakes never happen by themselves!). She helps explain why the San Andreas Fault is different and can be seen as more likely than other earthquakes and when a one day rate might go up around it, where people might think a prediction is being made when triggering is involved. We also reveal the things you should listen for when scientists talk about what’s potentially going to happen next.
Episode 30 – Earthquake Prediction Part 1 of 4
January 1, 2021
This is the first of 4 episodes focused on earthquake prediction. Dr. Jones talks about her personal experience in China and her research into foreshocks and the likelihood of there being something “there” that reveals when an earthquake might occur. And the question is more complicated than just when: where and how big is what we really want to know. Here’s the start of what you need to know to understand why earthquake prediction is currently — and likely forever — impossible.
Episode 29 – Music and Science for Inspiration and Action
December 25, 2020
In this episode, Dr. Jones reveals a bit about her process for writing music inspired by climate change data to help make real the issues we will face in the years ahead. She explains how music taps into the emotional shared experience like no other tool or mechanism does, and we talk about the coming year where she’ll be convening physical scientists, social scientists, and musicians to work together to help inspire action around climate change through music. Take a listen and know that music can help you get through it!
Episode 28 – What’s a Doctor (and How One Responds to Experts, Expertise, and Things They’re Not Expert in)
December 18, 2020
In this episode, we look at the origins of the use of “doctor” (it’s from western theology, as can be seen in the ceremonial robes still worn today) and the role of skills and knowledge and demonstrating expertise. “Doctor” is at times as shorthand for “come to me for expert information,” and for Dr. Jones, it meant recognizing that she had expertise in the 1990s in SoCal when, in comparison to her male colleagues, she was not given the credit of her expertise in the media, being called an “earthquake lady” instead of a scientist. The controversy of the use of the title “doctor” reveals the complicated relationship Americans have with truth and experts. And today, this issue is more important than ever as we all must have the skills to determine the truth we encounter in all forms of media.
Episode 27 – Why the Frequency of Earthquakes Matters to You
December 11, 2020
In this episode, as we look at the frequency of the energy produced in an earthquake — the waves of energy emitted from the earthquake — we’ll explore how music and earthquakes are connected. We’ll talk about how buildings themselves have a resonant frequency and what it means when a building is “excited” by the earthquake shaking. We explore how big earthquakes and small earthquakes are really quite different in terms of the type of energy they produce, and how even the biggest earthquakes that produce a lot of damage likely won’t impact where we live.
Episode 26 – What is an Earthquake, Anyway?
December 4, 2020
In this fundamental episode, we explore the very basics of what an earthquake is. Dr. Jones explains what causes the shaking we feel, the debate over what causes an earthquake to start and stop, and the ways in which stress is transferred and relieved. We also explore the ideas of microseism and stress drop, and Dr. Jones debunks a few more earthquake myths.
Episode 25 – Why Be Thankful for Earthquakes?
November 27, 2020
In this special Thanksgiving episode, we talk about what we can be thankful for in the face of disaster. Dr. Jones explains how disasters make California California. We travel back in time to the Roman Empire to talk about wine, and we explore why our work to make communities safer from disasters might make us less thankful for their benefits. After all, disasters aren’t natural — it’s the people that turn these natural processes into disasters.
Episode 24 – You’re Not as Safe as You Think (But Don’t Give Up!)
November 20, 2020
Don’t give up now — that’s Dr. Lucy Jones’s advice to dealing with the latest COVID19 surge. Our feelings aren’t what the risk actually is because as humans, we have evolved with two systems for analyzing risks we face. Dr. Jones shares the pros and cons of “going with your gut” as it relates to managing risks and explains why we don’t want to believe experts telling us not to have Thanksgiving. We look at how greater benefits appear to lower the risk and discuss ways to manage the emotional conflict with the analytical response in order to get through the extremes, like the current surge in COVID19 cases in California and across the US.
Episode 23 – Where Can Earthquakes Happen?
November 13, 2020
In this episode, we look at where earthquakes can happen… and the answer might surprise you. Certain places, like California, are known for having earthquakes but almost anywhere can have one, especially when human activity causes them (yes, you read that correctly!). And when they happen in places less common for them, they can often be surprising. The US East Coast used to be a plate boundary at the Appalachian Mountains, which were once almost as high as the Himalayas! How will you react when the next earthquake happens — Dr. Jones gives you a big clue on what to expect whether the rate of earthquakes is high or low where you are.
Episode 22 -Dealing with Uncertainty
November 5, 2020
Whether talking about disasters, college acceptance, or election results, humans aren’t wired to manage the stress of not knowing what’s happening next. In this episode, we look at uncertainty and why seeking answers — even if they’re bad — is more comforting than not knowing. Dr. Jones offers her approach to dealing with uncertainty, and shares one of the letters she’s received over the last 30 years that demonstrates the way humans seek some sort of explanation in the face of no certain answer.
Episode 21 – Real Science vs. Alternative Facts
October 30, 2020
Science is a process, and it’s OK to change your understanding based on fact. And figuring out what is actually true is worth the discomfort of the process to get there. In this episode, we delve into the idea of thinking vs. knowing and how that plays into our understanding of scientific information. With an impending disaster of misinformation, Dr. Jones shares her six steps to determining if a scientific “study” is credible when found online or being shared through social media. This includes the role of traditional media and how not to be misled by the “trappings of science.” She also shares what to do when you encounter someone with a different set of facts than you.
Episode 20 – Debris Flows and Landslides
October 23, 2020
Looking at the way intense rainfall can cause massive flows of mud, rocks, boulders, and anything in its path, this episode helps you understand how to manage the risk o debris flows that often follows fires on steep hillsides and mountains. Dr. Jones talks about the hydrophobic chemicals that make this type of terrain so susceptible to this deadly hazard. Consider how society manages this risk: building more interventions to stop mud, water, and debris from inundating neighborhoods leading to death and destruction. How would you manage this risk, as you manage risks every day? Dr Jones says, “don’t underestimate the risk.”
Episode 19 – Earthquake Swarms
October 16, 2020
Dr. Jones is often telling people that “when you have a lot of earthquakes, you have a lot of earthquakes.” This rings truest when an area is experiencing an earthquake swarm — many earthquakes around the same size without their being one largest earthquake as the main shock. In this episode, we explore the concepts of earthquake swarms, what they mean, and what you can do if you’re feeling one or hear about one happening.
Episode 18 – Why ShakeOut?
October 9, 2020
Go back in time with Dr. Jones and John to hear the history of the Great ShakeOut: how it was formed back in 2007 and the social science research that was the basis for its initial success. This episode explores how this one day event has now reached tens of millions of people each year, and why it’s important for everyone to participate — including Dr. Jones!
Episode 17 -The Air You Can See
October 2, 2020
Just in time for Clean Air Day, we spend this episode talking about the air you can see, which is not good air. In fact, air pollution affects millions of people around the globe and is a disaster in its own right. Compounding this is the fact that air you can’t see can be polluted and also contributes to climate change. Take a journey with Dr. Jones back to her childhood in Southern California where smog days kept her home from school, and find out what you can do now to help clean up the air as an individual and a member of your community.
Episode 16 – Why You Feel What You Feel in an Earthquake
September 25, 2020
Have you ever felt an earthquake and tried to guess how big it is? You’re not alone! In this episode, Dr. Jones explains how magnitude is assigned to a quake, why Charles Richter developed his scale, and why we should really be more concerned with intensity. As we wait for the big one, join us as we help you understand how you can put meaning to what you feel and get through the next earthquake.
Episode 15 – Time and the Inevitability of Disasters
September 18, 2020
Time is constant, and we often make decisions on a scale that fails to recognize our own limits in understanding time. With a planet that’s about 5 billion years old, and a written history no more than 5000 years old, we have to really work to realize that the natural processes operate on a different scale. This episode delves into the ideas of geologic time, the likelihood of disasters, and how we can manage our moment in time.
Episode 14 – Science in a Crisis: Better, not Perfect
September 11, 2020
This episode reveals why that latest scientific study may not be your answer in making you feel better during a crisis. As you seek to take control during a disaster, Dr. Jones shares how science is not always about the big picture; it’s about going into the weeds and really: isolating a single weed. We share the process of how science can help inform policy-makers in their efforts to address urgent issues in the natural environment, and that no scientific information keeps you perfectly safe, it just makes society safer than without it. Science makes life better, not perfect.
Episode 13 – Five Rare but Possible Disasters That Science Tells Us Can Happen
September 4, 2020
An Earthquake in New York City? Hurricanes in LA? More than a month of straight rain across California? This episode explores 5 rare but possible natural hazards that are not well-known that could lead to catastrophic consequences. Dr. Jones explains the science behind each event and reveals when they last happened and how often they occur.
Episode 12 – Our Biggest Killer: Extreme Heat
August 28, 2020
Few people are afraid of hot weather, but in the US, on average it kills more people per year than most other geologic or atmospheric events. And, more extreme heat days are coming. In this episode, we look at extreme heat and what it means for us now and in the near future as we try to keep calm and cool.
Episode 11 – Raging Wildfires
August 21, 2020
As humans move deeper and deeper into the wildlands as part of sprawling cities, and with a rapidly warming earth, wild fires are more intense and more destructive than ever before. In this episode, we explore wildfires, their causes, the way we view them, and what can be done to protect ourselves from their impacts. You’ll also learn about “dragon twists” and how devastating a single palm tree can be.
Episode 10 – Pandemic Frustration: How Cognitive Dissonance, Tribalism, Individualism and Social Norms Norms Change the Way We Hear Public Safety Messages
August 14, 2020
In this episode, we explore the frustration felt when other people take actions during the pandemic that put other people at risk. We look at the research as to why this happens and how others can work to communicate most effectively with them. As a community, we must work together to address this long disaster for the months ahead because, as Dr. Jones says, “We’re all in this together.”
Episode 9 – Debunking the Biggest Earthquake Myths
August 7, 2020
In this episode, we’re diving deep into the pool of misconceptions, myths, and legends that seek to explain what makes earthquakes so scary to humans. From the earliest records kept, humans have sought to explain “why” in order to help us feel better about the fact that we don’t know when earthquakes will strike. We take a look at time of day, weather, animals, and more to help you get through it when the earth starts to move…
Episode 8 – The Disaster “Blame Game”
July 31, 2020
In a disaster, systems fail where they are already weak or strained (think of brittle pipes, weak buildings, or overwhelmed levies). Like our physical systems, our social systems function in the same way. In this episode, Dr. Jones explores how society finds scapegoats during a disaster, why, and what we can do about it. And it comes down to trust.
Episode 7 – The Likelihood (and Impact!) of a Natural Disaster in a Pandemic
July 24, 2020
It’s time to avoid “magical thinking” and referring to things as “on brand” for 2020. In this episode, we delve into the likelihood of an earthquake, hurricane, or other natural disaster of occurring during the COVID19 Pandemic. Spoiler alert — it’s more likely than you probably want to admit!
Episode 6 – What Does It Mean When You Have a Lot Earthquakes
July 17, 2020
From the “increased risk” on the San Andreas Fault to many felt aftershocks in Puerto Rico to Yellowstone’s super-volcano and the mythological Ring of Fire — this episode reveals what you need to know about earthquakes they read or hear about and how they might explain what’s next.
Episode 5 – Science: From Ivory Tower to the Public Square
July 10, 2020
In this episode, Dr. Jones discusses the fundamentals of bringing science from the ivory tower to the public square — to everyone — so you can take control of our chaotic world. She talks about science as facts vs. science as a process, the role of tobacco in our science-trust crisis, and why reality really matters to all of us trying to manage the current crisis and the crises we’ll face in the future.
Episode 4 – Why a Pandemic Spikes (and What You Can Do About It)
July 3, 2020
In this episode, Lucy and John explore the recent spike in COVID19 across the US, what the science tells, and how we, as humans need to find a sense of belonging to survive in the long, slow disaster.
Episode 3 – Why You Feel/Fear What You Do about Disasters
June 29, 2020
In this episode, Dr. Jones explains why you feel what you feel about disasters, looking at the innate human reaction that leads to fear-based on dread and uncertainty.
Episode 2 – The Earthquake Name Game
June 22, 2020
In this episode, Dr. Jones explains how earthquakes get their names, why an aftershock is called an aftershock, and how those names can change…. any why it’s important for you to know these things!
Episode 1 – Surviving the Pandemic with Science
June 14, 2020
Dr. Jones explains how we are doing what we’re doing to be safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.