Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Don’t listen to the lunatic

Moon Man Ken Ring has made a lot of noise by saying he predicted the big Christchurch earthquake.

Technically, he’s right.  He did. But…

calSource: David Winter,  S C I   B L O G S

… and he can’t even get his magnitudes right.

This man is now telling people there will be another serious earthquake on March 22, scaring already scared people so much that some are even talking about leaving.

Ken Ring is a shroud-waving disgrace.

Not only is the charlatan scaring people so he can help himself to a headline, but when the inevitable aftershock occurs on March 20 (hopefully a minor one), Ring and his lunatics will jump and down and say “see!”—forgetting that even a monkey on a typewriter will eventually make a word, especially when there’s  so many words you can make.  Because since September 4 Christchurch has endured over four thousand aftershocks.

GeoNet Source: EQ.org.nz

And “the embarrassing fact is that Ring himself did NOT expect there to be another major earthquake in Christchurch.” [SCROLL DOWN to comment 147]

And while correlation is not causality, and Ring says the moon causes earthquakes,  no correlation is really nothing at all, is it. See below. (The grey line at the top of the graph below shows the moon illumination percentage …  the blue line shows the distance between Earth and the moon … the red line shows the total energy released each day … the orange line shows the total number of quakes each day.)

Fullscreen capture 1032011 122024 a.m.
Source: Paul Nichols’ Christchurch Quake Map

Ken Ring is a man who predicts the weather, while telling people he doesn’t make predictions.

He says he has opinions but no proof. On that we can certainly believe him.

He can’t predict the weather.

He can’t predict earthquakes.

Ken Ring is a charlatan.  Catabrians, if any are reading this, please don’t change your lives on the basis of a man who’s selling you snake oil.

You can have an open mind, but not so open that you allow anything to crawl in.

PS: No, I didn’t see the interview with John Campbell on Socialism at Seven last night. I don’t watch him. (You can see it here if you like.)
    If it’s true that Campbell bullied Ring, the greatest damage done by the bullying is not that it was the worst piece of egotistical, self-important, out of control, closed-minded, biased, unprofessional  non-interviewing Brian Edwards has seen in more than 40 years of New Zealand television (because that pretty much describes every interview Campbell does, which is why I don’t bother watching him), but that it didn’t give Ring a chance to bury himself in his own words. That’s surely the point of good interviewing. To let your audience see for themselves when a flake is being interviewed.

And in bullying rather than burying his interviewee, Campbell would have allowed Ring to gain his viewers’ sympathy instead of their contempt. Surely not at all what he intended.


  1. The popularity of Ken Ring's bullshit amongst members of the general population only shows that there are idiots, illterates and suckers everywhere.

    I reckon that Ken Ring & John Campbell should rent a room together, in that way, they'll find out if Ken's predictions is correct or just bullshit.

  2. The following article is relevant to estimating the probability and a likelihood of earthquakes occurrence. The method which is called scaling laws, described in the article, doesn't tell when it is going to hit exactly, but it gives likelihood window.

    Unified scaling law for earthquakes

    I wouldn't be surprised if scaling-laws (heavily used in Physics) is the method adopted by geologists/scientists of today to estimate earthquakes' magnitudes/frequencies.

  3. He reminds me of a broken watch which manages to get the time right twice a day.

    I have a vague memory of him predicting a big one for Wellington several years ago as well but can't find anything now to confirm.

    The theory that the moon can affect weather and earthquakes, in the same way it casues tides, is a valid theory (i.e. worth investigating using a scientific method). If he ever wants to be taken seriously he will need to open up his data and methodology (if he has one) to the scientific community.

    Co-incidently I had just finshed reading Richter 10 by Arthur C Clarke which is about a obsessed man whose craziness leads him to a method for predicting earthquakes.

  4. Campbell let himself down as he ought to have let Ring run off for a bit and hence destroy himself. The "interview" exhibited the amateurish nature of NZ's MSM.
    I do not generally watch any television news but this week has been an exception. What I find truly distasteful is the unmasked envy of the presenters: ie "These million dollar homes are in danger of falling off the hillside." Presented with glee. What has the value of the home to do with its predicament? It seems that the destruction of a valued asset is to be welcomed as it is some weird form of deserts for the owners.

    How did the NZ media become the domain of socialist pricks?

    Chris R.

  5. Further reading:


  6. Good work here.

    I should say the EQ.org.nz map is an excellent thing but I don't think it shows aftershocks.

  7. The man (Ring) has put his credibility on the line in a BIG way...out of apparent concern for people who may be able to avoid disaster if they heed his warning.

    Right or wrong, I'd reserve judgement on the man until March 23rd.

  8. I have listened (and paid) to get Ring's localised weather on a number of occasions over the years. The predictions are in my experience 80% or greater accurate. I would not have gone to him a second third and fourth time if they weren't. It has benefited me commercially when I have had to plan for things two months out. I therefore probably count as one of the 'idiots, illterates and suckers' to whom FF refers.

    The logic behind gravitational pull by planetary alignment seems plain enough. If the tides, and the atmosphere respond, why not the earth's surface? I would rather go through a false alarm with heightened preparation than a real event caught flat footed.

    Ken Ring has put his credibility on the line and I don't see him crowing 'I told you so!' The fact that Ring's views have gone viral probably prompted someone to sic that fractious little talking head Campbell on him to demolish him in order to allay panic.

    We will see.


  9. Much as he might be letting people repeat it, I wouldn't call what's on the website 'putting his credibility on the line.

    "19-21 March
    The Alpine Fault itself seems to be fairly inactive at the moment. However, as we have said, it could be anywhere in NZ, or it may not even happen at all. Whilst the timing can be calculated, there are many wild cards. One is always the depth, even if one was to arrive on time. Recent earthquakes have been very shallow, within 10-12kms of the ground level, and these bring the most damage. Let us hope nothing happens around 19-20 March or 18 April. "

  10. The logic behind gravitational pull by planetary alignment seems plain enough. If the tides, and the atmosphere respond, why not the earth's surface?

    It's obviously true that the moon has an effect on these things...anything that exerts forces on the earth must affect it; but it's insane to conclude that the degree of influence from the moon compared to other things is significant enough to bother taking it into account when there are vastly larger forces that we can't account for.

  11. Hear, hear, George.


  12. Good on John Campbell for taking him on. Campbell's problem was that you can't have a reasonable debate with people like Ring as the hedge their bets so that they cannot ever be wrong, or have excuses up their sleeve.

    "The man (Ring) has put his credibility on the line in a BIG way..."

    No he hasn't - he made a really vague predictions that was slightly correct.

    "out of apparent concern for people who may be able to avoid disaster if they heed his warning."

    Panic mongering

    "Right or wrong, I'd reserve judgement on the man until March 23rd."

    March 20th actually.

    "have listened (and paid) to get Ring's localised weather on a number of occasions over the years. The predictions are in my experience 80% or greater accurate."

    80% sounds good, but it's actually quite poor given that he have wide margins of error in his predictions.

    It's pseudo-science.

  13. the drunken watchman1 Mar 2011, 18:22:00

    Falafulu Fisi

    you have such a delicate way of stating the obvious.

    Love it.

    Go the Chiefs!

  14. Goofey, I disagree with you. For example: If you receive a forecast of a specified amount of heavy rain on a date 7 weeks into the future; If that amount of rain is sufficient for the river to wipe out your commercial whitebait stands if you don't pull them; if you watch the neighbouring enterprises trying to salvage their gear from the beach the day after the predicted event occurs, well then you take note.

    I reserve any judgements on March earth movements until March moves on.


  15. @Watchman: I;ll wager that's the first time FF has been accused of delicacy. :-)

    @George: "We will see"? We have. They jury is already in. Test those links above and see what the fat lady is singing.

    It's not a tune about terrifying already terrified people with vacuous scare-mongering.

  16. New Zealand remains a desert wasteland for proper journalism, especially on television. Damn it's just another reason to not return.

  17. Heartily agree that Ken Ring is a charlatan, and it is remarkable that he hasn't manifested in the comments thread yet, as I saw him do the last time he was subject to somehat derisive scrutiny.


    (PS, I should mention that the context of the above was a discussion about the NZ Climate Science Coalition, who have actually endorsed Ring and link to him on their website. Riddle me that.)

  18. Nice article Bernard.

    Fucktards like this guy annoy me no end.

  19. When the predicted earthquake fails to happen, I reckon this fraud is due a dose of Tar & Feathers for winding up the easily fooled masses!

  20. To Anon
    "If you receive a forecast of a specified amount of heavy rain on a date 7 weeks"
    But nobody makes predictable forecasts about heavy rain in 7 weeks - that's the point.

  21. To Anon
    "If you receive a forecast of a specified amount of heavy rain on a date 7 weeks"
    But nobody makes predictable forecasts about heavy rain in 7 weeks - that's the point.

  22. Goofey, I am speaking truthfully and have his forecast still. I ordered this forecast for a small specific area of NZ's coast for a two and a half month period. It contained his predicted rainfall in mm for the calendar days. His usual rider was the 24hr leeway either way and no guarantees at all that the fishing calendar applied to migratory species that were actually not feeding but swimming. I found it as I stated to be greater than 80% accurate. It was my money, willingly parted with.
    We may question his predictions as we should. Observations of the predicted events are another matter-- either coincidental or there is some degree of veracity. Whether his success in weather prediction is transferable to seismic events is moot. He has a theory and does not claim psychic inspiration. Others linked here have blown holes in his hull with their methodology. I would like to have his lucky coincidence rate with lotto however. The odds are against that.


  23. I have just watched Campbell's 'interview' with Ken Ring and I am staggered at what passes for 'journalism' in the MSM. OK... I think any intelligent person would agree that John Campbell is not a journalist and his programme is just mindless trash dressed up as 'information', but with this one he must have pissed on even his own already abysmal standards.

    Right at the beginning of the 'interview' Ken Ring was saying something empathic and supportive of the people of Christchurch by way of an introduction. This was the first time he actually spoke and as soon as he opened his mouth the little twerp Campbell seemed to go off into a fit. He was literally jerking about like an out-of-control mechanical toy. I thought he was having an epilepsy attack.

    Campbell kept this up, screaming and twitching throughout the whole hilarious episode. Meanwhile Ken Ring sat patiently, in perfect control of himself and only wanting to explain his theory.

    I learned nothing about Ken Ring's methods, his claims or his system during this ridiculous piece of shit non-infotainment.... but it was Ring 10 vs Campbell 0 in my mind for pure self-control and manners.

  24. To anon, you say Ring has a theory. No he doesn't, he has an hypothesis as best. A theory (in science) has has evidence to back it up. The "theory of evolution" is not "just a theory" as the ID/creationists claim. A theory is the highest level of proof in science.

    And I reiterate - 80% accuracy is not that good. I can do that by using some very basic information - I can be over 80% correct by telling you that tomorrows weather will be the same as it is today. There are prior probabilities at work here. I can get 80% correct with a bit of research by identifying periods when it rains a lot, when it is warmer, when storms happen, when dry spells occur, etc, etc. You'll be surprised how accurate you can get by making educated guesses. When you say 80% correct, you need to compare that to something before you can say if the prediction is good or bad. If I can get 80% correct by using the probability of weather events I mentioned before, then Ring's 80% isn't much good.

  25. Linuxluver & others,

    "Wait for March 20th".

    What happens on March 20th besides the point in many ways, if not entirely.

    You can tell the "prediction" is not worth of the word 'prediction' *before* March 20th by comparing with what you'd get by dumb luck, based on the typical rate earthquakes occur.

    On a colleagues blog he softened the March 20th prediction to mag. 4-6, within 500km of Christchurch.

    NZ gets roughly 330 mag. 4 earthquakes a year. It makes "predicting" a M=4+ on any particular day somewhere in NZ pretty much meaningless.

    In addition to that there will be more near Christchurch than otherwise as result of the aftershocks of the February 22nd event.

    One possibility is that Ken Ring will declare a M=4 on March 20th as "success".

    On the bright side, I'd like to think Christchurch people will just look blank at that as they've had so many M=4's already. (They had a 4.8 tonight, for that matter.)


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