This article appeared in the July 08, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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Rock steady on rolling land, and rolling sea

John Antczak/AP
Seismologist Lucy Jones methodically clears up questions at a news conference at the Caltech Seismological Laboratory in Pasadena, California, July 4, after a strong earthquake rattled a large swath of Southern California. Dr. Jones has long had a following in the region.
Clayton Collins
Director, editorial innovation

Welcome to your Daily. Today we look at the EU’s reach for global sway, why populism may wane, black chefs reclaiming their culinary heritage, keeping pillow talk nonpartisan, and a famous library’s centennial rose.

First, two quick profiles in values-clad professionalism. 

Amid a new round of temblors near the second-largest U.S. city stands the stabilizing force that is the “earthquake lady.”

Lucy Jones, an unshakable CalTech seismologist, has long been a rock star among Angelenos, who hang on her every word about “foreshocks” and “preshocks” and openly appreciate her calm explanations of which fault lines connect to which. A rolling motion? That means the event is “pretty far away.” 

The catchphrases that have emerged in L.A. – “I trust Lucy,” “Lucy is my co-pilot” – say a lot about how greatly Dr. Jones exceeds the expectations of a subject-matter authority. She deploys smarts against fear. 

And the integrity that makes her the dominant analyst isn’t limited to cold physics. Speaking about how Southern Californians might best respond to a large-scale quake, she counsels empathy: “The most important thing you can do,” she said at a press conference, “is help yourself and help your neighbor.” Connected communities recover fastest.

Empathy and connection have also shown up lately at sea. On Saturday, a second migrant-rescue ship forced its way into the Italian port of Lampedusa, putting ashore 40 imperiled people despite a ban on doing so. (A third ship was redirected to Malta.)

The docking may have been inspired by a similar act of mercy in late June by German ship captain Carola Rackete, arrested after landing her 40 African migrants, bumping a police boat in the process.

Captain Rackete weighed lifesaving against legality and declared the migrants’ lives “more important than any political game.” She was ordered released July 2 by an Italian judge. His ruling: She had been fulfilling “her duty to protect life.”

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This article appeared in the July 08, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 07/08 edition