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"Slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God."

Challenger . . . . go with throttle up. Twenty-five years ago today the U.S. Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds into the 25th space shuttle flight. The reports (pdf) tell us of O-Ring failures. Today, we remember one of the most tragic days in the history of the U.S. manned spaceflight program. Today, January 28, 2011, we remember: Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe.
posted by IvoShandor on Jan 28, 2011 - 100 comments

 

A Vacation Spot With An Afterglow

Looking for a winter vacation get-away? How about going to Chernobyl? "Tours to Chernobyl are extreme tourism, plenty of curious people are looking for extreme adventures," he said. previously
posted by Xurando on Dec 13, 2010 - 35 comments

Pike River Mine Disaster

New Zealand Police announced this afternoon that they believe that all 29 miners missing at Pike River are now presumed dead. After several days of raised and dashed hopes, a second explosion at the coal mine has devasted hopes that the miners could possibly be alive.
posted by chairish on Nov 23, 2010 - 88 comments

"The deepest of the deep"

In event of moon disaster...
posted by Artw on Nov 5, 2010 - 70 comments

Flooding in Pakistan

Pakistan is suffering the worst flooding for over 80 years. (NYTimes) (Guardian) At least 1600 people are dead, and approximately 15 million are affected by this tragedy. Millions of acres have been swamped by the floods. The United Nations has rated the floods as the greatest humanitarian crisis in recent history. (Wikipedia) (The Big Picture)
posted by seanyboy on Aug 9, 2010 - 49 comments

""You can't forget there are people listening when you say you are going to do things, and I try not to overpromise."

This past March, former US President Bill Clinton acknowledged to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that tariff policies his administration championed in the mid-1990's helped destroy Haiti's rice production and contributed to the impoverished nation's inability to feed itself. But while most of the world has stopped paying attention to Haiti's woes, Mr. Clinton has become the de facto leader of the effort to rebuild it after the catastrophic earthquake this past January. Will his influence be enough? Reports from the UN Office of the Special Envoy to Haiti indicate that the reconstruction progress has been slow. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 21, 2010 - 35 comments

"They died in the houses, in streets, outside the forest, in the stream."

One of the most dangerous places on Earth, Lake Nyos in northwestern Cameroon sits atop a volcanic source. Early evening Aug. 21, 1986, a cloud of deadly CO2 erupted from the lake surface, killing an estimated 1,700 people and 3,000 cattle.. Now people are trying to tame it (Via NucleophilicAttack via Metachat)
posted by The Whelk on Jun 11, 2010 - 29 comments

Nashville...Waterline?

The Middle Tennessee region, including Nashville, is experiencing extensive flooding after weekend storms dropped a record-breaking 13-15 inches of rain over the weekend. [more inside]
posted by ghharr on May 4, 2010 - 92 comments

Drill, Baby, Drill

Gulf Oil Spill "Out of Control" New estimates of the BP oil spill have it spilling out 25,000 barrels of oil a day, far higher than the original estimates of as low as 1,000. NOAA fears that it could get to as high as 50,000 barrels a day. Alabama's governor, said they are planning for a worst case scenario of 150,000 barrels (6,000,000 gallons) a day. That's an Exxon-Valdez every two days and a fix may be months away. The question now may not be whether this is Obama's Katrina, but whether it's his Chernobyl.
posted by empath on May 2, 2010 - 386 comments

Life, rekindled.

How does an ecosystem rebound from catastrophe? Thirty years after the blast, Mount St. Helens is reborn again. Interactive Graphic: Blast Zone. Also see National Geographic's feature article from 1981, chronicling that year's eruption. Previously on MeFi [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 20, 2010 - 18 comments

Poland reels

The President of Poland, Lech Kaczyński, his wife and 130 others, including a huge proportion of the elite of Polish politics, have died in a plane crash. [more inside]
posted by Busy Old Fool on Apr 10, 2010 - 155 comments

WV Mine Explosion

7 Dead, 19 Missing "The Mine Safety and Health Administration, or MSHA, has cited the Upper Big Branch Mine for hundreds of violations in recent years, including 10 so far this year related to legal requirements for ventilation systems to control methane and dust. The company has contested numerous fines, including two in January totaling more than $130,000 related to mine ventilation."
posted by wv kay in ga on Apr 5, 2010 - 57 comments

American "Preppers"

"Preppers are keen not to be seen as survivalists - the stereotypically anti-government, wood-dwelling, gun-toting hermits of past decades. Rather than isolating themselves in preparation for Armageddon, preppers tend to have normal jobs, mingle with their communities and take a more relaxed view about looming disasters. "
posted by stbalbach on Mar 28, 2010 - 76 comments

WEF Global Risk Report 2010: Risks Interconnection Map

The World Economic Forum's Global Risk Report 2010. Here is the full report (HTML). As reported by the BBC, Wall Street Journal, and Reuters.
posted by WalterMitty on Mar 24, 2010 - 9 comments

More earthquakes expected in major cities around the globe.

Deep from within the bellows, the great Earth monster awakens... to destroy your shoddily constructed city.
posted by Tlery on Feb 25, 2010 - 21 comments

Apocalypse Wow

Steve McGhee is destroying the world as we know it. And it's a beautiful thing to see.
posted by stinkycheese on Feb 20, 2010 - 34 comments

The Tragic Knickerbocker Storm of 1922

The Knickerbocker Theater was an old-fashioned movie palace in Washington, DC designed by Reginald W. Geare for local theatre mogul, Harry Crandall. On January 28, 1922, while patrons were watching Jimmy Durante's film debut in the comedy Get-Rich-Quick Wallingford, 28 inches of snow caused the Knickerboof's roof to collapse, killing 98 people, in an event still known as the Knickerbocker snowstorm of 1922. [more inside]
posted by jonp72 on Feb 6, 2010 - 23 comments

"White Death moving down the mountainside"

"It... picked up cars and equipment as though they were so many snow-draped toys, and swallowing them up, disappeared like a white, broad monster into the ravine below." Nearly 100 years ago, on March 1, 1910, the deadliest avalanche in United States history struck the small town of Wellington, Washington. Ninety-six people died as a massive wall of snow struck two Great Northern trains stopped at Wellington to wait for the tracks to be cleared, rolling them nearly 1000 feet into Tye Creek and burying the victims under huge piles of snow, trees, and debris. [more inside]
posted by litlnemo on Jan 1, 2010 - 13 comments

"I suppose that is why we call it Divine Rupture."

Brando, Depp, the missing millions and Divine Rapture, the lost movie: "After settling into his rented Georgian mansion, Brando phoned [director] Eberhardt asking if they could meet at 11pm. "I said, 'No, Marlon, I'm too tired. I've been rehearsing all day.' Then he said, 'I'm going to shave my hair off and wear an orange wig'."" [more inside]
posted by Len on Dec 14, 2009 - 14 comments

Typhoon Ondoy / Tropical Storm Ketsana leaves Northern Philippines in a state of Calamity

410mm of rain fell over Northern Luzon, Philippines on September 25, 2009, leaving much of the country's capital and the surrounding regions submerged in water, reaching up to nine feet in some areas. As of latest coverage, over 100 were killed and 340,000 affected by the Typhoon. This amount has been the highest recorded amount of rainfall since the country's weather Bureau started recording rainfall levels in 1967, and exceeds the rainfall level of Hurrican Katrina (380mm). Two more tropical depressions could be under way in the midst of Ondoy's wake. As of now, there are still families stranded on the rooftops of their homes without food and potable water. Most relief aid is coming from volunteers. As for the country's president? She used the Php800M(USD16.8M) emergency fund for foreign trips. See the damage. International News Coverage: NYT Reuters CNN BBC [more inside]
posted by drea on Sep 27, 2009 - 23 comments

Russian Dam Disaster

On August 17th one of the worlds largest hydroelectric plants, Sayano–Shushenskaya in Russia, suffered a major catastrophe. [more inside]
posted by Confess, Fletch on Sep 4, 2009 - 40 comments

Whoops

It really isn't safe out there. Click any link and scroll down for up close shipping and aircraft disasters.
posted by adamvasco on Aug 30, 2009 - 17 comments

The Boy Who Fell Out Of The Sky

Pan Am Flight 103 saw the death of David Dornstein (click for video as there's no direct link) - 25 years old, aspiring writer - and the manuscript to his unpublished novel scattered across the countryside and sea. His brother Ken set out to write the story of his life and death. [more inside]
posted by mippy on Aug 24, 2009 - 23 comments

You'll never walk again

20 years ago today, a crush of fans at the Leppings Lane entrance of Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough Stadium killed 96 people, among them the cousin of current Liverpool player Steven Gerrard (who has the dubious honour of being the youngest victim). Coming just 4 years after the Heysel stadium disaster, which killed 39 people and was officially blamed on Liverpool fans, and almost two decades of hooligan violence, the most obvious or convenient conclusion was that history had repeated itself. [more inside]
posted by MuffinMan on Apr 15, 2009 - 61 comments

The Bethnal Green Disaster

On March 3rd 1943, the worst civilian disaster of the Second World War killed 173 people, including 62 children. During an air-raid alert, the noise of a new anti-aircraft battery panicked the crowd trying to get into the shelter at Bethnal Green tube station. In the dark, wet conditions, someone tripped and fell at the foot of the stairs, blocking the pathway and knocking others over in a domino effect. More and more people continued to pile in at the top leading to a massive and deadly crush. [more inside]
posted by Electric Dragon on Mar 3, 2009 - 27 comments

Fair and Balanced

The Disasters' Emergency Committee is an umbrella organisation of 13 major British humanitarian NGOs: ActionAid, the British Red Cross, CAFOD, Care International, Christian Aid, Concern, Help the Aged, Islamic Relief, Merlin, Oxfam, Save the Children, Tear Fund and World Vision. It was created to coordinate a rapid response to major disasters and to launch common appeals for donations to be broadcast in the British media. Since 1963, the DEC has previously successfully run appeals for the victims of a.o. the Asian Tsunami, the Darfur and Chad Crisis, the Congo Crisis, or the Burma and Bangladesh Cyclones. However, their latest appeal has been refused by the BBC. [more inside]
posted by Skeptic on Jan 25, 2009 - 25 comments

NASA releases Columbia report.

NASA releases the Columbia shuttle disaster report. Space shuttle Columbia broke up during re-entry in 2003 as a result of damage sustained to its thermal protection system. This report details the possible lethal incidents and the investigation board's recommendations based on their findings. [more inside]
posted by herrdoktor on Dec 30, 2008 - 65 comments

Go-around power please

An Air New Zealand Airbus A320 crashed in the Mediterranean last week while on an acceptance testing flight at the end of a lease. The tragedy occurred on the 29th anniversary of the airline's worst disaster, the crash of sightseeing flight TE901 in the Antarctic. Beginning in 1977, the popular one-day flights took passengers on low level flights over the Ross Dependency, with experienced guides providing commentary. TE 901 flew on beautiful, clear day, and yet the DC-10 collided with the side of Mt Erebus, killing all 257 on board. The original accident report cited pilot error, but that was only the beginning. [more inside]
posted by szechuan on Dec 3, 2008 - 12 comments

Social Networking, Mobile Phones, and Crisis Communication

Can social networking be used to effect positive social change? Ushahidi (meaning "testimony" in Swahili) is one such project that harnesses mobile technology to empower local citizens to report on crucial and crisis situations in their area. [more inside]
posted by divabat on Nov 28, 2008 - 19 comments

Escaped a disaster? Tell everyone!

Whether you're fleeing tropical storm Fay - which is currently heading for Florida - or you've just been airlifted out of the Grand Canyon due to the the recent flooding due to a dam breach, or even "none of the above/other", the American Red Cross has a way for you to let folks know you're Safe and Sound. You can search for people in the list by family name, pre-disaster phone number, and pre-disaster address. Also, the American Red Cross has a twitter feed. But I don't think twitter being down counts as a disaster...
posted by rmd1023 on Aug 17, 2008 - 11 comments

Anyone for the Global War on Flu?

The UK's national risk register is made public. It is kept updated by the secret squirrels in the Cabinet Office, and was previously kept under wraps. Pandemic flu and flooding beat out terrorism as the major risks facing the UK at the moment. Both are seen as less likely than a terrorist attack, but more devastating. The full pdf has a chart on page 7 showing the main risks on a grid.
posted by athenian on Aug 8, 2008 - 18 comments

Dystopian Evolution: Imagining an Envirogeddon

Dystopian storytelling is pillar of Western narrative tradition, but this decade has seen a significant shift in the way our apocalypse is told. Orthodox tales of government tyranny are giving way to visions of humans running helpless in the wake of environmental meltdown. From the plausible to the fantastic, most of this fiction remains hauntingly real while the non-fiction can get downright scary. In 2008, the 20th anniversary of climatologist James Hansen's landmark speech before Congress, popular art is beginning to reflect an increasingly bleak public sentiment on the future, playing out some of our worst nightmares. It may be that these writers and directors are wishing for the end of the world, but even so, they are certainly giving voice to the creeping feeling that indeed, we might not make it.
posted by dead_ on Jul 7, 2008 - 21 comments

There's no reason to become alarmed, and we hope you'll enjoy the rest of your flight. By the way, is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane?

Russian car magazine "Autoreview" has posted photos of a 1978 Korean Air Lines (KAL) forced landing to accompany an article about the Land Rover Defender pickup that was used to haul equipment at that time. Apparently, Korean Air Lines is not amused (Korean) by this effort to dig up the past. More photos. Via the always awesome Marmot's Hole. [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Jun 5, 2008 - 13 comments

May 25 tornado, Parkersburg, Iowa

The (U.S.) National Weather Service has released its report on a strong tornado that occured in Iowa the evening of May 25th. On the evening of May 25th, 2008 a tornado rated at EF5 (estimated wind speed was around 205 MPH!!) obliterated half of the town of Parkersburg, Iowa. Eight people have died, and 70 were injured. Here is a PDF containing incredible pictures of the damage (taken by employees of the NWS during their survey). [more inside]
posted by ArgentCorvid on Jun 4, 2008 - 36 comments

Burma: monks vs. junta

Monks Succeed in Cyclone Relief as Junta Falters. In Burma (Myanmar) the Buddhist monks are doing more than anyone to help the victims of Cyclone Nargis. At the same time, Burmese officials are trying to stem the influence of the monks by forcing survivors who have sought refuge in monasteries to return to their shattered homes. [Via Barbara's Buddhism Blog.]
posted by homunculus on Jun 1, 2008 - 26 comments

Grief in the Rubble

Chinese Are Left to Ask Why Schools Crumbled. "A staggering number of students died as schools collapsed in the May 12 earthquake, and grieving parents are speaking out about shoddy construction."
posted by homunculus on May 25, 2008 - 24 comments

Anonymous American in Rangoon

A week in Burma after the storm is the second of two anonymous eyewitness reports at danwei.org of the impact and aftermath of Cyclone Nargis. It is the most gripping and tremendously sad report I have read yet on the human tragedy that is Nargis and the Myanmar Junta's non-response. [more inside]
posted by gen on May 14, 2008 - 24 comments

Burma Can't Wait

Burma: It Can't Wait is a month-long video campaign by the US Campaign for Burma to raise awareness of the plight of Burma (Myanmar) and Aung San Suu Kyi. There will be one video a day for 30 days from celebrities including Will Ferrel, Sarah Silverman and Eddie Izzard. [more inside]
posted by homunculus on May 5, 2008 - 57 comments

The Great Baltimore Fire of 1904

"To suppose that the spirit of our people will not rise to the occasion is to suppose that our people are not genuine Americans. We shall make the fire of 1904 a landmark not of decline but of progress."
posted by dhammond on Mar 21, 2008 - 10 comments

At The End Of The World, No One Can Hear You Scream.

10 Disasters That Could Cause The End The World At Any Given Second. [Via, via].
posted by amyms on Feb 11, 2008 - 92 comments

Hartford Civic Center Collapse

It could have been the greatest disaster in US history. On January 18, 1978, 30 years ago today, the 1400 ton 2 1/2 acre roof of the Hartford Civic Center, covered by a blanket of snow and ice, suddenly and completely collapsed, damaging almost all of the seats underneath. Just four hours earlier there was a basketball game packed with 5000 fans. Had it collapsed then, many, if not most, of the fans and players could have died. [more inside]
posted by eye of newt on Jan 18, 2008 - 37 comments

Only Shatner can make Satanists melt

All hail 70s-era Shatner! He began his career with some rather prestigious projects, appearing in The Brothers Karamazov and Judgment at Nuremberg, as well as some rather high profile appearance in Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. But even then, there were hints of exploitation, such as 1961's The Explosive Generation, in which Shatner played a teacher whose job is endangered when she speaks candidly to kids about sex. And there was 1962's The Intruder, a Roger Corman film from 1963 in which Shatner played a carpetbagging racist inciting violence in a southern town. (Clip.) And, of course, there was Incubus from 1965, a horror film in Esperanto. (Clip.) But, after Star Trek, at the start of the 70s, something went haywire. [more inside]
posted by Astro Zombie on Nov 16, 2007 - 63 comments

Massive flooding in Tabasco

300,000 people are stranded due to massive flooding in Tabasco, Mexico. More from UNICEF. Video from Reuters. [more inside]
posted by serazin on Nov 2, 2007 - 21 comments

The Mystery of Andree

In 1897, pioneering Swedish balloonist Salomon August Andrée and two companions took off for the north pole in a hot air balloon. In 1930 their bodies were found, along with records of their expedition. This archive of newspaper articles tells their story. (So does Wikipedia, of course.) Many of the photos they took are here, along with a lot of text in Polish that I can't read any more than most of you can, so don't come complaining to me.
posted by dersins on Oct 8, 2007 - 12 comments

Major earthquake in Peru

A 7.9-magnitude earthquake hit Peru in the Ica region, south of the capital of Lima. Ica, Chincha and Pisco have been hardest hit, although the pavement rippled in downtown Lima as well. BBC (first link) and CNN have been reporting about 336-7 dead, but my uncle (in Lima) says that many towns south of San Bartolo have simply disappeared into rubble.
posted by LMGM on Aug 16, 2007 - 27 comments

Collapsed bridge leaves mess, quarantines locals

Deliberately turning her camera from the wreckage, That Red Girl gives us a look at what's going on in her now quarantined life mere blocks from the recent Minneapolitan bridge collapse.
"Several neighbors and I stood in our driveway late into the night debriefing the day. We now live in lockdown. Police must escort us around. We must meet any guests at the corner, they cannot approach the building alone. Residents are told to ask people they do not recognize to show their keys and prove themselves. We joke about seeing everyone’s “FOBs” to those we know well. The dogs are all leashed, tying themselves together as they try to play like normal. It’s frustrating to everyone that we can’t run around as normal. The word “quarantine” is tossed around. People are nervous. One of the residents hasn’t been seen since Wednesday morning. She may be on vacation… no one knows. We see one of the neighbors being interviewed on the corner and a few young girls trying to flirt with the police to gain entrance to our complex. The dogs continued to wrestle and we continued to talk."

posted by taursir on Aug 3, 2007 - 39 comments

From Happiness to Disaster

The International Disaster Database provides a complete summary of natural and technological disasters from 1900 to 2006. You can see disaster summaries by country or by disaster, such as volcanoes, industrial accidents, transportation accidents, or floods, along with even more detailed data. If this is too much, the tonic is the World Database on Happiness which will allow you to look at happiness trends among countries and happiness maps [prev.].
posted by blahblahblah on Jul 26, 2007 - 2 comments

Fate: 1 Internets: 0

Newsfilter: 30,000 customers in the San Francisco area lost power today at about 1:50pm PDT, in a series of power failures which knocked out a major datacenter hub: 365 Main. The hub controls servers for many social media sites, including Technorati, Netflix, Yelp, Craigslist and all Six Apart properties, including TypePad, LiveJournal and Vox. (6A's twitter stream has updates.) More here and here. Amusingly enough, 365 Main tempted fate and released a press release today patting themselves on the back for "two years of 100-percent uptime".
posted by zarq on Jul 24, 2007 - 82 comments

I Told You Not To Kill That Albatross!

Disaster at Sea!! A collection of dozens & dozens of photographs of misfortune striking those GIGANTIC shipping vessels, the kind that bring goods from China to Wal Mart. Every kind of affliction imaginable, from shipboard fire to heavy weather to grounding amidst crushing waves to capsizing from ill balanced loads to random explosive cargo to terrorist attack to so much more. Descriptions of the vessels and what brought them down are included in the first link.
posted by jonson on Jul 15, 2007 - 57 comments

Chernobyl, 20 Years Later

A striking essay with photos documenting a visit to the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Mark Resnicoff, a database programmer and amateur photographer, visited Chernobyl and took a schwack of atmospheric photos. This reminded me of a set of slightly-controversial Chernobyl photos from 2004. Wikipedia provides a little context on KiddofSpeed, the photographer in question with an awesome Engrishesque nickname.
posted by dbarefoot on May 27, 2007 - 26 comments

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