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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

When the next "Big One" hits, the U.S. Geological Survey really hopes you'll pay attention to the alert on your phone.

Why it matters: The ShakeAlert system, installed along the West Coast, can provide anywhere from seconds up to a minute of warning to areas outside the epicenter that a big quake is on the way.

  • "Depending on the distance, that could be enough time to automatically slow trains, stop industrial machines, start generators, pull a surgical knife away from a patient or tell students to put the 'drop, cover and hold' drill into action," the AP reports.

Between the lines: The system didn't alert anyone this time, and that was on purpose.

  • The app "will only send out a ShakeAlert — that is, the message — if a particular area experiences a level of shaking that’s potentially damaging," Robert-Michael de Groot of the USGS told The Verge.
  • "This is why we’re saying that it worked exactly as intended because the earthquake was out in Ridgecrest, which is about 150 miles or so from Los Angeles."
  • In LA, "ShakeAlerts only get sent to people when there’s potentially damaging shaking — where things get broken or people can get hurt."
  • "If people are getting ShakeAlerts every single time there’s an earthquake, people are going to begin to ignore them."

The bottom line: A warning only works if people heed it, and hopefully that moment doesn't come for a very long time.

Go deeper ... In photos: California's historic earthquakes, less than two days apart

Go deeper

Exclusive: GOP Leader McCarthy asks to meet with Biden about the border

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy at CPAC. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has requested a meeting with President Biden to discuss the rising numbers of unaccompanied migrant children at the U.S.-Mexico border, in a letter sent on Friday.

Why it matters: Biden is facing criticism from the right and the left as agency actions and media reports reveal spiking numbers of migrant children overwhelming parts of the U.S. immigration system. Recent data shows an average of 321 kids being referred to migrant shelters each day, as Axios reported.

Vaccine hesitancy drops, but with partisan divide

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

69% of the public intends to get a COVID vaccine or already has, up significantly from 60% in November, according to a report out Friday from the Pew Research Center.

Yes, but: The issue has become even more partisan, with 56% of Republicans who say they want or have already received a coronavirus vaccine compared to 83% of Democrats.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
3 hours ago - Energy & Environment

China's 5-year plan is hazy on climate

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

China's highly anticipated 5-year plan revealed on Friday provides little new information about its climate initiatives, leaving plenty to discuss in multinational meetings this year and lots of blanks for China to fill in later.

Driving the news: The top-line targets for 2025, per state media, aim to lower energy intensity by 13.5% and carbon emissions intensity by 18% — that is, measures of energy use and emissions relative to economic output.