214 posts tagged with disaster.
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Danger from coal slurry being tipped at the rear of the Pantglas School

21st October 1966, 9.20am and school had just started. (Trigger warning - immense tragedy involving children.) It's 50 years to the day that the tragedy at Aberfan occurred. A school was lost and a community was devastated. And those responsible denied their culpability for as long as possible. [more inside]
posted by Martha My Dear Prudence on Oct 20, 2016 - 49 comments

Roll up for the murderous mystery tour

Dark Tourism On her great blog, historian Donna Seger discusses the phenomenon of Dark Tourism - a cultural trend responsible for the proliferation of ghost tours, vampire tours, and graveyard tours as well as interest in more historically serious places such as Holocaust sites, Civil War Battlefields, and even contemporary war zones. Also known in academia as thanatourism, its subcategories include fright tourism[PDF], disaster tourism, morbid tourism, and grief tourism. [more inside]
posted by Miko on Sep 30, 2016 - 25 comments

King Tides and Exodus in the Marshall Islands

With a global mean temperature rise of 1.5℃ (video, direct .mp4 link) the Marshall Islands, site of the US's Bikini Atoll nuclear weapons tests, may disappear completely. With most islands just six feet above sea level and less than a mile wide the ring of atolls is already severely affected by climate change. ⅓ of all Marshall Islanders are believed to live in the US, although they may face deportation. In recent months the residents of the Pacific island nation have been advised to cease eating fish after elevated levels of PCBs were found in the waters around the US missile base on Kwajalein Atoll. Recently, very previously, previously, previously, personal anecdotes.
posted by XMLicious on Sep 16, 2016 - 13 comments

"Now is not the time to despair, but to act."

Author Rebecca Solnit: "Hope is a​n embrace of the unknown​."
posted by zarq on Jul 20, 2016 - 5 comments

Underground, underwater

In Zarrilli's view, there is no time to waste. By 2030 or so, the water in New York Harbor could be a foot higher than it is today. That may not sound like much, but New York does not have to become Atlantis to be incapacitated. Even with a foot or two of sea-level rise, streets will become impassable at high tide, snarling traffic. The cost of flood insurance will skyrocket, causing home prices in risky neighborhoods to decline. (Who wants to buy a house that will soon be underwater?) - Can New York City Be Saved In The Era Of Global Warming? - Rolling Stone.
posted by The Whelk on Jul 11, 2016 - 34 comments

Thirty Million, a film about Bangladesh and climate change

Thirty Million (direct Vimeo link), a U.N.-funded half-hour film about the expected effects of climate change on the country of Bangladesh. Radio interview with one of the directors on Radio New Zealand. Bangladesh will lose 70% of its land area if there is a one-meter sea level rise, displacing thirty million people. [more inside]
posted by XMLicious on Jun 19, 2016 - 28 comments

The Fire Next Time

Business of Disaster: Insurance firms profited 400 million after Sandy. An investigative report from Frontline and NPR. [more inside]
posted by latkes on May 31, 2016 - 15 comments

"I can’t say what their intent was"

The 2013 explosion at the West Fertilizer Company has been ruled as arson. After 3 years and more than 400 interviews, the ATF has ruled out accidental and natural causes. [more inside]
posted by LizBoBiz on May 11, 2016 - 31 comments

“This was the day, of course, when we learned we were wrong.”

30 years ago today, a fire started near Pripyat. "The time was 1:23 a.m. The world had changed. But those sleeping just downwind had no idea." The Chernobyl disaster began on April 26th, 1986. [more inside]
posted by doctornemo on Apr 26, 2016 - 55 comments

“Of course, there's still a nuclear site with three damaged reactors.”

Five Years Later, Cutting Through the Fukushima Myths by Andrew Karam [Popular Mechanics] Radiation expert Andrew Karam, who covered the disaster for Popular Mechanics in 2011 and later traveled to study the site, explains everything you need to know about Fukushima's legacy and danger five years later. [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Mar 14, 2016 - 57 comments

A Flag for No Nations

Jury rigged Skylab fix alien satellites fall marathon man disaster refugees ubiquitous. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Feb 5, 2016 - 7 comments

"The leak accounts for 25 percent of daily greenhouse gas emissions"

Two months in, Porter Ranch [California] gas leak compared to BP Gulf oil spill: More than 1,800 families have been relocated by the gas company and more than 1,000 remain on a waiting list. Some say they can’t remember a displacement of residents this large since the Northridge earthquake in 1994, when 20,000 people were left homeless. Two local elementary schools have been impacted, with nearly 2,000 schoolchildren and staff slated to be moved to other schools in January. Enough methane gas is being released to fill the Empire State building each day, state officials have said, and the concern has even reached the Federal Aviation Administration, which issued temporary flight restrictions over the area for small aircraft and helicopters. [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Jan 2, 2016 - 51 comments

Médecins Sans Frontières: A Year in Pictures

The following photographs represent a small selection of our most powerful images of 2015. They crossed our desks, held our gaze and moved us during a particularly traumatic year.
posted by standardasparagus on Dec 21, 2015 - 3 comments

Suspension Bridges of Disbelief

Movies often portray suspension bridges being destroyed (for example) but often make basic mistakes that reveal a lack of understanding of how these structures work. This article by structural engineer Alex Weinberg, P.E. aims to fix this.
posted by AndrewStephens on Nov 19, 2015 - 48 comments

The Lisbon Earthquake of 1755

The Museu do Azulejo in Lisbon has an amazing panorama (video) of the city painted shortly before the historic earthquake of 1755 (image, here are some sections). Azulejo is a traditional form of Portuguese painted tiles -- the "azul" does NOT come from the blue color, a fairly recent development, but from the much older Arabic word "zellige" meaning "polished stones". This panorama comes from an age before photography and provides a look at the old city in a characteristic Portuguese art form, providing a fascinating glimpse into the old city before it was virtually destroyed. [more inside]
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl on Aug 18, 2015 - 19 comments

Mine Spill Turns River in Colorado Orange

On August 5th, EPA workers and contractors from Environmental Restoration accidentally released 3 million gallons of mine wastewater -- including massive amounts of arsenic, cadmium, and lead -- into Cement Creek, a tributary of the Animas River and part of the Colorado River Basin. The visible toxic plume took nearly a week to dissipate, and the EPA says that the river nearest the spill "has returned to pre-event water quality levels." [more inside]
posted by Etrigan on Aug 15, 2015 - 21 comments

Massive explosion in Tianjin

Multiple explosions have hit Tianjin's port area. Tianjin is the 4th-largest city in China, sitting squarely next to Beijing in the Bohai Economic Rim, which includes the Hebei area, and slated to be one of the areas of focus and development by the central government. The explosions (recorded footage) have taken place in the Binhai region, by the coast. Details are still incoming, but early indications suggest an industrial accident with 300 casualties.
posted by qcubed on Aug 12, 2015 - 191 comments

Planning for the next Vesuvius eruption

This Italian giant is nestled in the sprawling metropolitan area of Naples, population 3.1 million. We’re not talking “nearby” like Rainier is to Seattle or Popocatépetl to Mexico City. We’re talking a volcano smack in the middle of the city. It is merely ~12 km (~7.5 miles) from the summit craters at Vesuvius to downtown Naples. For your average pyroclastic flow from a volcano like Vesuvius, that is a trip that would take only about two and a half minutes.
The World’s Most Dangerous Volcano May Kill Another City
posted by spinda on Jul 29, 2015 - 45 comments

Last survivors of the Indianapolis

Warship's Last Survivors Recall Sinking in Shark-Infested Waters
posted by Artw on Jul 28, 2015 - 19 comments

2,500 people in their clean picnic clothes

One hundred years ago today, the SS Eastland, about to set out for a company picnic in Indiana, tipped over at its dock in the Chicago River with over 2,500 people aboard. Eight hundred and forty-four of them died in one of the worst non-military maritime disasters in American history. The Chicago Tribune has published some previously unseen photographs of the recovery efforts. [warning: a couple of these are potentially disturbing] [more inside]
posted by theodolite on Jul 24, 2015 - 39 comments

Cascadia Subduction Zone

An earthquake will destroy a sizable portion of the coastal Northwest. The question is when.
posted by Artw on Jul 13, 2015 - 269 comments

Tragedy at sea

September 8, 1934, the SS Morro Castle suffered a catastrophic fire, killing 135 people. Was a crewmember responsible?
posted by Chrysostom on Mar 14, 2015 - 15 comments

Inside the Koch Brothers' Toxic Empire

On the day before Danielle Smalley was to leave for college, she and her friend Jason Stone were hanging out in her family's mobile home. Seventeen years old, with long chestnut hair, Danielle began to feel nauseated. "Dad," she said, "we smell gas." It was 3:45 in the afternoon on August 24th, 1996, near Lively, Texas, some 50 miles southeast of Dallas. The Smalleys were too poor to own a telephone. So the teens jumped into her dad's 1964 Chevy pickup to alert the authorities. As they drove away, the truck stalled where the driveway crossed a dry creek bed. Danielle cranked the ignition, and a fireball engulfed the truck. "You see two children burned to death in front of you – you never forget that," Danielle's father, Danny, would later tell reporters. [more inside]
posted by standardasparagus on Feb 16, 2015 - 84 comments

Watch out for that last 10%...

How do you survive a disaster?
"In life-threatening situations, around 75% of people are so bewildered by the situation that they are unable to think clearly or plot their escape. They become mentally paralysed. Just 15% of people on average manage to remain calm and rational enough to make decisions that could save their lives. (The remaining 10% are plain dangerous: they freak out and hinder the survival chances of everyone else.)"
posted by Blue Jello Elf on Feb 3, 2015 - 136 comments

Wreck of the Kulluk

Wreck of the Kulluk (SLNYT) Three years ago, Shell spent millions to send a colossal oil rig to drill in the remote seas of the Arctic. But the Arctic had other plans. [more inside]
posted by CrystalDave on Jan 1, 2015 - 74 comments

The Tsunami: 10 Years Later

Today is the 10th anniversary of the tsunami that changed life in South and South East Asia. Aceh bore the heaviest losses and the ASEAN remembers the toll of destruction. This event changed the way global agencies coordinate large scale disaster relief. Many lessons were learnt. Other regions which felt the impact hold memorial services too.
posted by infini on Dec 26, 2014 - 24 comments

In the arms of a stranger

In an emergency, would you hand your baby over to a stranger you had just met? This is the story of a mother who did just that.
posted by Admira on Dec 21, 2014 - 48 comments

Beautiful Forest

Bangladesh is struggling to clean up an oil spill that threatens environmental damage in the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest and home to rare Bengal tigers and river dolphins. [more inside]
posted by Ziggy500 on Dec 12, 2014 - 8 comments

Bunker mentality

It's a trifecta! fear, loathing, and paranoia, meet Money. For those below the 1%, but above the 90%, a new kind of status symbol - long-term rentals for surviving the Apocalypse (but what if the Rapture comes while you're underground?). A chiropractor and a health care executive team up to offer pricey reassurance about the long odds.
posted by mmiddle on Nov 17, 2014 - 74 comments

Losing Ground

Louisiana is drowning, quickly.
posted by T.D. Strange on Aug 28, 2014 - 27 comments

Explosive Crude By Rail

Do you or your family live, work, or go to school within the potential blast radius of the next Lac-Mégantic?
posted by 256 on Aug 19, 2014 - 67 comments

What a plane crash feels like: The inside story

“When we yelled ‘Brace!’ ” Brown said later, “I always described it as if you watched a wind come across a field of wheat and everything bends. That’s how it was. Everybody went down. It was like a field of wheat being blown over.” What a plane crash feels like: The inside story of an American aviation disaster — and miracle [more inside]
posted by heyho on Aug 2, 2014 - 27 comments

More pictures of radiation than you can shake a stick at.

Three albums filled with hundreds of pictures of Pripyat and Chernobyl before and after the disaster.
posted by ilama on Jul 21, 2014 - 10 comments

Glasgow School of Art destroyed

The Glasgow School of Art, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and recently voted Britain's favorite building of the past 175 years, has been devastated by fire. While the stone exterior of Mackintosh's greatest architectural masterpiece may survive, Mackintosh's interiors are presumed lost.
posted by scody on May 23, 2014 - 70 comments

The deadliest day on Everest

The Value of a Sherpa Life - Grayson Schaffer reports on Friday's Everest avalanche that claimed the lives of 16 Sherpas in an instant. "And, yes" he says, "there is something that needs to be done about it." In the wake of this devastating tragedy, many Sherpas are threatening a strike and the government is mulling total closure for the upcoming season, which has 335 permits in the queue. Footage of the avalanche. Previously, in The Disposable Man: A Western History of Sherpas on Everest, Scaheffer spoke of the high risks, low pay and shocking mortality rate: "... no service industry in the world so frequently kills and maims its workers for the benefit of paying clients." [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on Apr 21, 2014 - 66 comments

To be a good astronaut, you need to be prepared for the worst.

"I was going through boxes of my grandparents old photographs and found some incredible pictures of a tragic shuttle launch from 1986. I scanned them and made an album. My grandmother actually passed peacefully last week, and was because of her passing that I found these. We were all going through boxes and boxes of photos to find pictures to display at her memorial. I just happened to get the box with the Challenger pictures at the bottom, which was kind of special for me because I am the biggest NASA fan in the family," said Mike Hindes. [more inside]
posted by Mike Mongo on Jan 19, 2014 - 50 comments

A Sea Story

A Sea Story: One of the worst maritime disasters in European history [....]
Another gripping account by William Langewiesche. (Previously: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
posted by Joe in Australia on Jan 12, 2014 - 24 comments

The Environmental Disaster You've Never Heard Of

24 million gallons of jet fuel have been leaking from Albuquerque’s Kirtland Air Force Base for 60 some years. And nobody seems very concerned about it.
posted by fontophilic on Dec 20, 2013 - 41 comments

Worst Case Scenarios

The Coming ‘Instant Planetary Emergency’ [more inside]
posted by eviemath on Dec 18, 2013 - 254 comments

6 haircuts/year x $20 per haircut x 10 years = $1200 in savings.


(Who orchistrated this downfall?)
(Battle of the Titans: FlowBee vs. RoboCut) [more inside]
posted by grobstein on Dec 18, 2013 - 42 comments

"We don't understand what happened. Nobody really understands..."

For several months, bitumen from the Athabasca oil sands has been leaching out of the ground near Cold Lake, Alberta, so far amounting to roughly half of the oil leaked in the Enbridge-caused disaster in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Nearby sites of high-pressure steam injection used to extract the bitumen (and which is already associated with violent seismic activity in natural gas fracking operations) are suspected to have caused fractures that push bitumen "sideways" and out to the surface. As Vice reporter Sarah Berman notes, "The oozing leaks will continue until the underground pressure subsides. How long that will take is anybody’s guess." While tons of contaminated vegetation and dead animals have been removed from the sites, access to the region and to government data by First Nation representatives has been repeatedly denied.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Sep 20, 2013 - 23 comments

The Cardboard Cathedral

Shigeru Ban is a Japanese architect whose work includes 'temporary' structures (YT) made from cardboard tubes. His work blurs the distinction between temporary and permanent, and includes designs that focus on cost effective and liveable shelter after natural and human disasters. Now, two-and-a-half years after the Christchurch, New Zealand earthquake destroyed the city's cathedral, the Cardboard Cathedral has been opened. [See also: 1 2 ]
posted by carter on Aug 15, 2013 - 5 comments

More Than Just Books

MetaFilter's own Jessamyn West (jessamyn) interviewed in today's NPR feature, For Disaster Preparedness: Pack A Library Card?
posted by jim in austin on Aug 12, 2013 - 60 comments

Learning to Look for Resilience

In disaster after disaster, the fear returns that people — under stress, freed by circumstance from the bonds of authority — will turn on one another. The clear consensus is that this has no basis in reality. [more inside]
posted by latkes on Jun 2, 2013 - 42 comments


Railroad bridge domino collapse in Lampasas County, Texas. (SLYT) No reported injuries, and the bridge dates from 1910, according to the AP. The Infrastructure Report Card, released this week (in which America received a D-), may need a small update to "8,680 of the 52,260 bridges in Texas (16.6%) are considered functionally obsolete."
posted by Erasmouse on May 24, 2013 - 80 comments

Not in Kansas Anymore

Several Hours ago a massive tornado hit the town of Moore Oklahoma. The tornado is now being estimated by some sources to be to be an EF-5 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. This means winds at or over 200 mph as well as a damage area of close to 30 square miles. [more inside]
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena on May 20, 2013 - 373 comments

Major explosion rocks West, Texas

A massive fireball and explosion has happened at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas (just north of Waco). Hundreds of injuries are being reported. [more inside]
posted by item on Apr 17, 2013 - 414 comments

"how much of this distress existed pre-Sandy?"

After Sandy, a great and complex city reveals traumas new and old. "Occupy Sandy" represented a disaster cooperativism in opposition to "disaster capitalism" (previously: 1, 2, 3) [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Apr 17, 2013 - 4 comments

"We are the walking dead!"

The zombie apocalypse. Threads. Pandemic. Doomsday Preppers. Post-apocalyptic pop-culture fiction of doom. What's it about? A Stanford scholar explains.
posted by stbalbach on Feb 21, 2013 - 57 comments

It's the end of the world and they know it

The most-watched show in the history of the National Geographic Channel isn't Wild, Taboo or even the longest-running documentary series on cable tv: Explorer. It's Doomsday Preppers, a show that documents the "lives of otherwise ordinary Americans" as they prepare for the end of the world. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 21, 2012 - 115 comments

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