It is less accurate to call California "a U.S. state" than it is to call it "a future earthquake-induced rubble pile." As happens quite often, scientists have once again made their doomsaying forecasts about California's disastrous future even worse.

Just months ago, scientists calculated almost a two-thirds chance of "one or more quakes with a magnitude of 6.7 or larger striking the Bay Area in the next 30 years." But what about a much more devastating quake, with a magnitude of 8.0? You'll be happy to know that the chances of that happening imminently are on the rise. From the LA Times:

On Tuesday, the USGS adjusted its big-quake forecast, hiking its estimate on the chances of an 8.0 earthquake in California in the next 30 years from 4.7% to 7%...

Stated another way, the chance of an 8.0 or greater quake in California can be expected once every 494 years. The old forecast calculated a rate of one 8.0 or greater earthquake every 617 years.

Thanks to the principles of randomness, there is absolutely nothing useful that you can do with this new information; you can only sit uncomfortable in the knowledge that the gods have just made it significantly more likely that you will die in a natural disaster at some point during the course of your lifetime. True, nothing may happen. But the statistical chance of you being painfully crushed in a building collapse, plunging off of a crumbling freeway, or dying painfully of thirst in a post-apocalyptic hellscape are greater today then when you woke up blissfully unaware just a day ago. Try not to worry.

[Photo: AP]