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"Bureaucracies hide their mistakes, because people's careers are tied to those mistakes. Therefore, bureaucracies are a perfect mechanism for perpetuating mistakes."
- Frank Herbert

Cosmoquake  
  Gravity waves ripple across the solar system.  

This is similar to what are described as "gravity waves".

The force of the cosmoquake was nowhere overwhelming. Water in small shallow ponds tended to overflow. Mostly, however, the two impulses were so nearly equal in duration, and so nearly opposite in sign that there was no great damage.

Some chimneys fell. There were a great many traffic accidents. But the damage done by the cosmoquake itself was much less than that caused by violent local earthquakes which followed wherever geologic faults existed.

The thing was inexplicable. It really appeared that not only the Earth but the whole cosmos had experienced something hitherto-unknown phenomenom. There was a monstrous increase in solar disturbances to lend color to the theory.

But Braddick had used a new discovery in his own specialty—which was the study of research methods—and within three days had submitted a paper to the Philosophical Journal on the cosmoquake.

In it, he pointed out that the observed effects on the Earth and sun could have been produced by a body of twelve sols mass passing through the solar system at a speed approaching that of light, along a line from Polaris toward the Southern Cross and at a distance of some six hundred million miles from Earth.

From Things Pass By, by Murray Leinster.
Published by Thrilling Wonder Stories in 1945
Additional resources -

Here's what a cosmoquake feels like to human observers:

In the laboratory, an alarm bell rang sharply. Braddick’s face grew dark. He put his hand to the table to push back his chair. And the earth groaned. Literally. There are millions of people who will always swear that they experienced the shocking vibration of the cry of a tortured earth. And then horrible things happened. . . .

It is not possible to describe them all. There were areas where human beings found themselves completely weightless, and were made mad by the feeling that they fell upward into an empty, cloudflecked sky.

There were other areas in which people felt themselves pressed to the earth as if by an intolerable weight. Those sensations reversed themselves within the term of three seconds to which cosmoquakes seemed to be limited by the nature of things. But the areas in such uncomplicated phenomena showed were the lucky ones.

Compare to the gravity beam from Wandl, the Invader (1932) by Ray Cummings.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Things Pass By
  More Ideas and Technology by Murray Leinster
  Tech news articles related to Things Pass By
  Tech news articles related to works by Murray Leinster

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