The magnitude 5.8 earthquake felt up and down the East Coast certainly generated some overreactions and more than enough jokes—but it also raised serious questions as to whether infrastructure on this side of the country could survive a large earthquake in the future.

According to Nation contributing editor and Tropic of Chaos author Christian Parenti, it can’t. The nuclear facilities are especially problematic, as many of them haven’t been updated with the necessary safety precautions due to cost. "We have to remember, the fleet of atomic reactors in this country are privately owned money-making ventures," he told MSNBC’s Martin Bashir. "And the owners don’t really want to invest more money in safety."

—Carrie Battan