However, these stars can also be the easiest to found extrasolar planets around since the perturbations astronomers look for to find planets are enhanced for these stars, due to their low masses and sizes. But we can only really study these systems if they are close to us.
So, for several reasons, measuring the parallaxes to infer the distances to the nearest stars in the galaxy is an exciting topic.
One of the neatest things he showed was a video of GPS displacements during the huge Tōhoku earthquake in Japan three years ago (above). The left panel shows lateral displacement (the largest arrows reflect only a few meters of displacement, not hundreds of kilometers, as it may seem), while the right panel shows vertical displacement. The waves associated with the earthquake and an aftershock are shown pretty dramatically, as they propagate through the Earth’s surface away from the earthquake source.