Most famous in earthquake mythology is the enormous subterranean catfish of ancient Japan whose sudden movements were reflected in surface ground movement until the fish could be subdued by superior force. (See images– NM0468, KZA63, KZA65, KZA66, etc.) Unveiling a modern earthquake view where great, unseen, natural forces of convection, gravity and friction act on large subterranean tectonic blocks in measureable and probabilistic ways may not have proved such a great phenomenological leap from the restrained catfish explanation for Japanese earthquake engineering. This opinion seems supported by the juxtaposition of the assembled contemporary warriors in business suits with the mythical catfish image offered in the printed version of the program at the March 2013, 10th International Conference of Urban Earthquake Engineering (CUEE – Tokyo Institute of Technology). Engineering technique now subdues natural forces.
Unrelated, recently the NISEE e-library received a request for a 1991 paper [International Workshop on Concrete Shear in Earthquake (University of Houston, TX) -- a solid workshop mysteriously absent of any California representation] in which Professor Michael P. Collins of the University of Toronto illustrated the engineering quest for a “rational model for shear [that] should make it possible to predict not only the shear strength but also the complete load-deformation response of elements subjected to shear… such a theory should be capable of being extended to the seismic situation of reversed, cyclic loading,” with a graphical representation of the number of technical papers dedicated to the shear design of concrete in one journal since the first paper on this topic in 1899.
Despite very considerable research accomplishment between 1899 and 1991 and subsequently (for example — M.P. Collins in 1996 (ACI) which re-uses this graphic), a cursory review of contemporary ACI Journals may suggest the quest and support for concrete shear design theory and practice continues apace.