The Great Kanto earthquake with a magnitude of 7.9 devastated the Tokyo-Yokohama areas, leaving 140,000 people dead. The tsunami that followed ruined 155 houses and left 60 casualties. Although scientists knew that they couldn't prevent earthquakes, they knew they could do something about the body count. Professors B. Mano and A. Inokuty of Japan built a large, platforms table that would shake models of buildings to see if they would hold up. Meanwhile, Dr. Bailey Willis, emeritus professor of geology at Stanford University, stated that we, not earthquakes themselves, are to blame for the death and destruction following them. Poor building design, fires, and our inability to forecast earthquakes all contribute to needless deaths. A giant ball bearing within houses and foundations would solve the problem. He also posited that plate tremors develop below the earth's surface for months before they turn into earthquakes. If we could find a way to monitor the planet's interior, we should be able to predict when an earthquake will occur. Although that didn't happen, his idea for ball bearings did come to pass when engineers installed a tuned mass damper in Taipei 101.
Read the full story in "Can Man Rob Earthquakes of Their Terror?"