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 -
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 -
Ever wonder what happened to Fukushima Storage Unit #4? You remember, the one filled with 1,500 wet stored and combustible fuel rods that threaten a total of ~134 million curies of radioactive cesium137 and, at least as of last April, seemed to be in maybe not such great shape
) This August, TEPCO released a comprehensive and easily understandable report on the condition of the structure as well as measures being done to both reinforce it against likely earthquakes and ultimately remove the fuel rods, which are still hot enough to require wet storage elsewhere (PDF)
. On the other hand, Kohei Murata, the former Japanese Ambassador to Switzerland who had the attention of the world during the crisis
, remains both unimpressed and eschatological.
posted by Blasdelb
on Oct 23, 2012 -
Radio contact ceased. Temperatures in the cockpit were rising precipitously; aluminum fixtures began to melt. It's possible that one of the pilots, or both, simply caught fire. At air-traffic control in Moncton, the green hexagon flickered off the screen. There was silence. They knew what was coming: the huge fuck, the something terrible. God save them. One controller began trembling, another wept.
It was falling.
Six minutes later, SR111 plunged into the dark sea.
posted by barnacles
on Aug 20, 2012 -
October 14, 2010: A breach
at a bauxite processing plant spilled a million cubic meters of red sludge across the countryside near Ajka, Hungary, killing nine people. Six months later, photographer Palíndromo Mészáros took photos of the disaster site, abandoned save for The Red Line
. (via) [more inside]
posted by googly
on Jul 16, 2012 -
Wireless Emergency Alerts
(WEA) are a new service from U.S. weather service and FEMA. Starting in June, they will send a text message with a strange tone to your mobile device if you are in range of a Tornado Warning, Tsunami Warning or other major event (in the U.S. only). Major events include "Presidential Alerts." You do not need to sign up. Washington Post Capital Weather Gang
has a few more details.
posted by LobsterMitten
on May 24, 2012 -
Chilling amateur home video of the Challenger disaster "Obviously a major malfunction."
Those words have always haunted me, but to hear them here, echoing across a PA system as shocked onlookers come to terms with what they have just seen, they carry even more power than they did when they were just an anonymous voiceover on a TV shot.
posted by LondonYank
on May 2, 2012 -
One hundred years ago, a network of Marconi wireless operators documented history's most famous shipwreck. Jack Phillips and Harold Bride, the RMS Titanic's radio officers, were usually tasked with sending personal communications for first-class passengers. But on April 14, 1912, they turned their tapping fingers to the CQD distress signal
(and, later in the evening, the relatively new SOS call), using the distinctive slang of their fellow operators to report the wreck, call for help, and indulge in a bit of gallows humor. [more inside]
posted by mynameisluka
on Apr 13, 2012 -
Ross Becker's photographs
of Christchurch. The central business district reopens this weekend for the first time since the earthquake (Previously: 1
) on February 22, 2011. [more inside]
posted by doublehappy
on Oct 26, 2011 -
It's raining radiation. It's a quiet night. We are well into autumn. And despite the growing sense in the Tokyo metropolitan area that things are now all right -- with train services back to pre-disaster schedules and the regret we once felt over our wasteful consumption of electricity dissipating -- Fukushima remains a war zone. [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu
on Oct 12, 2011 -
Seven boxes marked "WW3"
hold works ready for immediate evacuation if the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC faced catastrophic destruction. An essay published in the Washington Post discusses how Curator Andrew Robinson decides which seventy-four items in his area of responsibility hold top priority out of more than 100,000
watercolors, drawings, prints and rare books.
posted by woodway
on Aug 15, 2011 -
FEMA Administrator W. Craig Fugate has what he describes as a "Waffle House" theory of emergency management to assess how bad a situation is after a disaster. "If the Waffle House is open and serving food and has got a full menu, then it's green," he said during an interview inside a FEMA mobile home parked outside a fire station in Joplin. "If the Waffle House is open but has a limited menu, it's yellow, and if the Waffle House isn't open, that's red." - FEMA Gets its Groove Back
posted by Slap*Happy
on May 27, 2011 -
A wave of powerful storm cells
swept the southeastern United States this week, spawning hundreds of tornadoes
that wreaked havoc from Texas to Virginia. While damage was widespread throughout the region, the most terrible toll was seen in Alabama, which has accounted for two-thirds of the more than 300 reported deaths
-- the deadliest since the Great Depression -- and where many small towns
were simply wiped from the map. Especially hard-hit was the university town of Tuscaloosa, the state's fifth-largest, where a monstrous F5 tornado (seen in this terrifying firsthand video
) tore a vicious track
through entire neighborhoods and business districts -- narrowly missing the region's primary hospital -- and continuing a path that rained debris as far as Birmingham, over sixty miles away. The disaster prompted a visit from President Obama today
, who declared "I've never seen devastation like this"
after surveying the area with Governor Robert Bentley, Senator Richard Shelby, and Mayor Walter Maddox
. More: photos from In Focus
and The Big Picture
, aerial footage of the aftermath
, "before and after" sliders
, the path of the Tuscaloosa twister on Google Maps
, People Locator
, local aid information
, MetaTalk check-in thread
posted by Rhaomi
on Apr 29, 2011 -
"It was always about the intersection of creativity and chaos."
So said Kirsha Kaechele, described at Wikipedia as an "American contemporary art curator, artist, and practitioner of sustainable architecture," of the avant-garde Life is Art Foundation/KKProjects
art happening that she carried out via Katrina flooding-devastated homes in the St. Roch area of New Orleans' Upper Ninth Ward. These homes now lie in ruins, as they did before. She owes back taxes on the homes, and city has placed tax liens worth $28,000 on two of them. While she can afford the back taxes, she says, the liens are beyond her means. A medicinal marijuana farm created to fund Life is Art failed to make enough money to fund the projects. In any case, she has spent the past five months in Tasmania with her boyfriend, professional gambler and art curator David Walsh
, where he has established something called the Museum of New and Old Art
. (Pause.) I believe that connects all the most relevant dots as succinctly as possible. [more inside]
posted by raysmj
on Apr 4, 2011 -