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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.

FLOWBEE OFFICIAL HOW TO
HOW NOT TO
HOW TO WITH A PARROT
HOW TO ON LIVE TV
HOW HOW?
DELUX EDITION
SHAVE YOUR OWN HEAD BY ACCIDENT
MISHAP FLIGHT

(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

8,681

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

Spectacular Destruction

Fire whirls, aka fire tornadoes, aka fire devils, aka firenados, are frequently photographed but have only recently been scientifically validated based on data from the 2003 Canberra fires in Queensland, Australia. Although rare, the physics behind firenados is straightforward enough to create your own. The most devastating fire tornado was the "dragon twist" that devastated Tokyo immediately following the great Japan quake of 1923.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on Nov 19, 2012 - 25 comments

A story of disaster solidarity and mutual aid

As you all know, being the creative type that I am, I love do it yourself projects… however, I found myself in the middle of a rather unusual project, which involved a lot of creative “thinking outside of the box” and it was more then just a do-it-yourself. It was more of a “do it ourselves” project. and we did it. successfully.: Here’s the story of how we helped Nick Dupree. [more inside]
posted by latkes on Nov 2, 2012 - 5 comments

Ever wonder what happened to Fukushima Storage Unit #4?

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? (PREVIOUSLY) 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 - 24 comments

Supercut: Apocalypse

The world has ended many times - a supercut of apocalyptic visions.
posted by Happy Dave on Sep 7, 2012 - 55 comments

SwissAir 111

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 - 64 comments

The thick red line.

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 - 20 comments

One of the biggest disasters in Colorado history

Back in March, Samuel Smith wondered "Will 2012 be the summer when Colorado finally burns to the ground?" A perfect combination of record high heat, record low snow pack, low humidity and high levels of underbrush made Colorado (and elsewhere) a tinderbox ready to blow. Unfortunately, that is now playing out. The Denver post says the fires are "shaping up as one of the biggest disasters in Colorado history." Some of the best sources for following the fires.. [more inside]
posted by stbalbach on Jun 28, 2012 - 86 comments

Irreversible

In the fifth edition of the Global Environmental Outlook, released today at the Rio+20 conference, the United Nations warns that the earth's environmental systems "are being pushed towards their biophysical limits" and that sudden, irreversible and potentially catastrophic changes are looming. [more inside]
posted by j03 on Jun 6, 2012 - 69 comments

Wireless Emergency Alerts debut

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 - 62 comments

We Survived.

One year ago today, a tornado devastated Joplin, Missouri. Photographer Robert X. Fogarty's "Dear World" project commemorates the survivors of that day with two galleries of portraits. Each survivor has a short message written on his or her skin: "I survived Joplin's EF-5." "Together these work miracles." "Survived."
posted by BoringPostcards on May 22, 2012 - 10 comments

"Obviously a major malfunction."

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 - 107 comments

Betsy, We're Not in Barneveld Any More

How does a natural disaster, a tragedy, change people? The Barneveld tornados of 1984 were considered some of the strongest tornados recorded. Survivors tell their stories 25 years later. Here is some video (news footage) of the aftermath. More survivor story video.
posted by JohnnyGunn on Apr 30, 2012 - 9 comments

Another Night to Remember

"I never believed this could still happen in 2012." The sinking of the Costa Concordia. In slides.
posted by Avenger50 on Apr 20, 2012 - 57 comments

"Say, old man, we are stopped and surrounded by ice".

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 - 43 comments

Floods, aftershocks, and fallout.

The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom. Japan, still feeling the aftershocks of the earthquake, the tsunami, the Fukushima exclusion zone... An opportunity for everyone to reflect on the disaster, share stories, and contemplate the impact of a year ago and what it means today.
posted by markkraft on Mar 10, 2012 - 10 comments

A (potentially) not so sunny day

Earth Faces 12% Chance of "Catastrophic Solar Megastorm" by 2020 The last gigantic solar storm, known as the Carrington Event, occurred more than 150 years ago and was the most powerful such event in recorded history. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Feb 29, 2012 - 75 comments

Guasto Titanico

Cruise Captain says he 'tripped' into lifeboat and couldn't get out. Audio recording of an Italian Coast Guard Captain telling him to get back on board [Transcript]
posted by panaceanot on Jan 18, 2012 - 194 comments

Photographs of the Christchurch earthquake recovery

Ross Becker's photographs of Christchurch. The central business district reopens this weekend for the first time since the earthquake (Previously: 1, 2, 3) on February 22, 2011. [more inside]
posted by doublehappy on Oct 26, 2011 - 3 comments

放射能が降っています。静かな夜です。

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 - 41 comments

Fighter at Point Zero

"In the wake of the March 11 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, former Shooto heavyweight champion Enson Inoue has been on a one-man charity mission, repeatedly traveling to northeast Japan to directly help those in need."

A 9-Day Diary of the Trip and an interview about his experience covertly visiting the derelict Fukushima Reactor to feed stray animals and witness the gravity of the disaster zone.
posted by lemuring on Sep 4, 2011 - 22 comments

Priceless art most worth saving

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 - 127 comments

Brokers with hands on their faces

Brokers (or traders?) with hands on their faces - blog (updated)
posted by Surfin' Bird on Aug 10, 2011 - 45 comments

How do I cut you? Let me count the ways.

You probably knew that much of the physical Internet consists of fiber optic cable. However, you probably didn't know just how many ways it can be broken. via
posted by fake on Aug 9, 2011 - 31 comments

Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant

On June 7th the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant in Nebraska briefly lost the ability to cool spent fuel rods after a fire at the site. The FAA issued a directive prohibiting aircraft from entering airspace in a two mile radius of the plant. Since last week the plant has been under a "notice of unusual event" because of the Missouri River flooding. Local news reports that the "facility is an island right now". The flight ban remains in effect. [more inside]
posted by thescientificmethhead on Jun 16, 2011 - 121 comments

"Apocalypses are not only catastrophes; they are also opportunities: chances for us to see ourselves, to change."

Apocalypse: What Disasters Reveal: An essay by Junot Díaz.
posted by Fizz on Jun 6, 2011 - 4 comments

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