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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

Real-Time Global Bad News Map

The Global Trouble AlertMap
Are you curious about that chemical spill in Minnesota? Or how about the bio hazard situation in Honduras? The Havaria Information Systems AlertMap is updated in (near) real-time and the wealth of bad news is fairly astonishing. Plus they've got RSS feeds for whatever bad (or locationally relevant) news you want delivered. There are USA only maps, Europe only maps and Hungary too (slow day, just a fire). Previously (focused on bird flu tracking though several comments note how freakin' cool the map is)
posted by fenriq on Mar 17, 2007 - 18 comments

the sheltering sky

Winter has been world's warmest on record.
☀Temperature for December-February highest since 1880
☂The 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 1995
posted by four panels on Mar 16, 2007 - 60 comments

Yenshui Fireworks Festival

The annual fireworks festival at the town of YenShui in southern Taiwan is notable for many reasons, notwithstanding the extreme danger to the many participants (youtube link). Large “beehive” structures created by the townspeople each contain hundreds of rockets which are launched into the crowd. (youtube link). The ubiqui-pedia link is here
posted by mattoxic on Mar 7, 2007 - 9 comments

In Mission Control, while the loss of signal was a cause for concern, there was no sign of any serious problem

Four years ago today the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated shortly upon reentry. Here is a sad, but, fascinating real time video recreation of the final moments, compiled from various sources including Nasa radio transmissions.
posted by ae4rv on Feb 1, 2007 - 27 comments

Salt Crisis

Salt: Not just a condiment, salt is a major force shaping our world. In Australia, what do you get when you combine ancient salt-pans with European farming practices? In one state alone, we're losing a football field an hour to the salinity crisis. What do you farm when all you have is salt?
posted by ninazer0 on Nov 25, 2006 - 33 comments

Great Balls of fire

Maybe it's not really news because no one was killed, but you'd think that more people would notice when a massive explosion in suburban Boston totals 60 buildings, knocks out windows for a half mile around, knocks people out of bed in the middle of the night, and registers on the Richter scale 30 miles away.
posted by alms on Nov 22, 2006 - 46 comments

Bruco, the Texas Italian Caterpillar Concrete Dome

Giant Concrete Caterpillar. Driving on I35 south out of Dallas to Austin, you pass through Italy, Texas, and on the side of the road is Bruco, the Texas Italian Caterpillar, and the home of the Monolithic Dome Institute, makers of fine homes, restaurants, and churches. These domes are green and disaster resistant. (See previous thread). They also can be visually interesting. These domes are concrete as opposed to R. Buckminster Fuller's Geodesic domes, such as Epcot Center or the incredibly interesting Eden Project.
posted by dios on Oct 10, 2006 - 19 comments

Bath of Fire: The Worst and Most Forgotten Mass Murder of American Children

America's worst school violence ever was not a recent event, but the Bath School disaster of 1927. Andrew Kehoe, a school board member upset with his tax bill, used dynamite and some pyrotol from WWI-era military surplus to blow himself up along with the elementary school of Bath Township, Michigan, leaving 45 dead and 58 injured. See a 1927 book on the disaster, a list of victims, the coroner's inquest, a historical marker, a memorial park, an oral history from a witness, and a 1920s KKK rant denouncing Kehoe as an agent of the Roman Catholic conspiracy.
posted by jonp72 on Oct 5, 2006 - 14 comments

Torture 'R US[A]

New terror that stalks Iraq's republic of fear
U.N. Finds Baghdad Toll Far Higher Than Cited
Iraq torture 'worse after Saddam'
The Facts on the Ground: Mini-Gulags, Hired Guns, Lobbyists, and a Reality Built on Fear
U.S. troops in Iraq are Tehran's 'hostages'
Anti-Americanism Is A Glue
posted by y2karl on Sep 22, 2006 - 92 comments

"All guilty had been punished already."

The Nedelin disaster remains the most fatal catastrophe in the history of rocketry. On October 26, 1960 an R-16 ICBM designed by Mikhail Yangel accidentally ignited killing over 100 within moments. The incident remained in strict secrecy for thirty years until it was unearthed by James Oberg. The true casualty rate remains a mystery and Kazakhstan still sees more than its fair share of rocket mishaps.
posted by Alison on Aug 31, 2006 - 16 comments

Bulldozer Politics

New Orleans City Ordinance #26031 --...those who have not been able to make the necessary repairs to their battered homes by August 29th risk having their property seized and bulldozed by the city.... Bush says today: Katrina Repair Will Take Time, but time's up for many New Orleans residents. (more here from ACORN, who has been trying to help save homes there)
posted by amberglow on Aug 23, 2006 - 62 comments

Are you covered?

Some call FEMA's administration of federal flood insurance and disaster relief illogical and illegal, although you won't find that in FEMA's recent summary of Katrina, which reveals that $15.3 billion dollars in federal flood insurance claims have been paid. That's quite a bit more than the National Flood Insurance Fund's budget, and you may recall that payouts didn't go smoothly. Still, having federal flood insurance, as opposed to relying on disaster relief, has proven its worth during the rebuilding process. Certainly Katrina was an extraordinary phenomenon, unlikely to be repeated any time soon. Perhaps that's why the annual disaster relief budget is smaller this year.
posted by owhydididoit on Aug 22, 2006 - 11 comments

Heard about the cat with Bubonic Plague in Flagstaff?

The RSOE Global Disasters Service tracks seismic activity, bird flu, chemical spills and even vehicle accidents by monitoring and processing data of approximately 600-700 news sources, many researching institutes and realtime data of forecasting services. I've subscribed to the RSS feed and you should too . . . you've been getting too much sleep anyway. [via]
posted by If I Had An Anus on Jun 29, 2006 - 8 comments

Small solutions for big problems

The Katrina Cottage is economical, rather charming, and can serve as a "grow" house. At $35,000 for 308 sq ft, it compares favorably to the $75k FEMA trailer. Not a totally new idea - some of the 1906 earthquake refuge shacks are still in existence in San Francisco. Might tiny houses be the future for disaster relief? (via The Blues and Then Some)
posted by madamjujujive on May 2, 2006 - 39 comments

Challenge Bigger than Iraq: Defeat or a Widening War -- or Both?

...Consider the stunning magnitude of the failure. Iraq has been the top priority for the world's only superpower for the past three years, and a central one for many regional and international powers. The United States, intent on keeping Iraq together, has spent more resources in that country than any state ever has spent on another in the history of the world... In this perspective, one central measure of success of the intervention in Iraq is this: Three years later, have the prospects of regional and global security increased or decreased? The answer should propel a debate that's bigger than Iraq.
Challenge Bigger than Iraq
See also Defeat or a Widening War -- or Both?
posted by y2karl on Apr 9, 2006 - 60 comments

Forecasting financial disaster Olympics 2012

Government error in contemporary British history is the stuff of legend and when it comes to the 2012 Olympics can I be on my own in forecasting financial disaster? This morning's announcement that "little can be built until the site's 50 electric pylons are removed" in 2008 comes hot on the heels of an understated Olympics budget which, four days ago, is revealed to be 'short by £2bn.' I am v.fortunate to live in the UK and there is no doubt this government is v.good at bookkeeping; but grandstanding a world event? Not a chance. Discussed in these parts last year, Britain is not good at world class marketing or brand .. management; Britain is not good at capital projects, and Politicians, bureaucrats ... milking the Olympic Games, says London's mayor. I understand but two Olypics have seen modest profit and Britain badly needs Hollywood or Coca-Cola® to make a success of this.
posted by Schroder on Apr 6, 2006 - 28 comments

The Fourth Year of An Endless War Begins

From on the ground in Iraq, with death squads on the prowl in a nation paralysed by fear, with each mile, the divisions deepen. Some suggest Iraq is about to look a lot like Lebanon. Others think we should be so lucky, that what looms is much worse than mere civil war: an archipegalo of complete and total anarchy, the war of all against all.

As the saying goes, even a blind squirrel may find an acorn now and then, especially one planetary in size--like here: predictions of a better Middle East have evaporated.
posted by y2karl on Mar 20, 2006 - 108 comments

A Government with No Military and No Territory : Disintegrating Iraqi Sovereignty

At this point in Iraq, you do not have a central government -- so you don't have a legitimate authority running the country. You don't have a government with the power to establish or maintain order. What you have is a nominal government that can only stay in power because the Americans are there. The government is supposed to have derived legitimacy from the constitution and the elections. It is now almost three months after the elections and there is still no government... A government that takes over five months to form is not a government that is going to have very much legitimacy in the end. The country has already collapsed. Now the challenge is figuring out a way to deal with this fact...
"The Country Has Already Collapsed"
Remember Beirut? Welcome to Baghdad
A Government with No Military and No Territory
Studies of the Iraq Disaster: When Democracy Looks Like Civil War
posted by y2karl on Mar 10, 2006 - 127 comments

Jan. 28, 1986

We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and "slipped the surly bonds of earth" to "touch the face of God."
posted by XQUZYPHYR on Jan 28, 2006 - 82 comments

The Wilhelm Gustloff

On January 30, 1945, the Wilhelm Gustloff, a German cruise ship packed full with refugees fleeing the Russian advance into Poland was sunk by a Russian submariane. Nearly 10,000 people died and it remains the world's worst single maritime disaster. Radio National's Late Night Live recently devoted a programme to this little-known tragedy. Well worth listening to (mp3).
posted by Huw on Jan 13, 2006 - 13 comments

1913 Massacre

Take a trip with me to 1913.
To Calumet, Michigan, in the Copper Country.
I'll take you to a place called Italian Hall,
Where the miners are having their big Christmas Ball.
This time of year, Woody Guthrie's haunting ballad "1913 Massacre" brings to mind one of the most tragic incidents in American labor history. At the midpoint of the bitter and violent miners' strike of 1913-14, miners and their families gathered for a Christmas party given by their union. An unidentified "stupid person" gave the shout of "fire", causing a panicked rush to escape. Unable to get out the door, more than 70 people, mostly children, were smothered to death. A forthcoming documentary (main link) explores the legacy of the event, using Guthrie's song as its starting point.
posted by Miko on Dec 21, 2005 - 19 comments

Ho Ho Ho?

"It's like putting Christmas lights up on your FEMA trailer."
posted by empath on Dec 1, 2005 - 41 comments

A cubic yard of water weighs nearly a ton.

The Day the Sea Came. The stories of six people caught up in last December's tsunami.
Maisara did not look back. She could hear an odd, ever-louder roar. But she never actually saw what she was running from. Only Anis, looking over her mother's left shoulder, beheld the oncoming water. "Mama, what is that?" the little girl kept yelling.
I know, it's the Times, it's long, it's old news, but it's absolutely riveting. Great reporting by Barry Bearak, and for this you need a reporter, not a novelist, because you can't make this stuff up. Part 1 (printer-friendly), Part 2 (printer), Part 3 (printer), Part 4 (printer).
posted by languagehat on Nov 27, 2005 - 25 comments

Guatemala flooding

DisasterFilter: 1250 dead, hundreds of thousands homeless. Though it pales in comparison to the death toll in Pakistan, and though it’s not as close (or visible) as the damage done by Rita and Katrina, the devastation due to Hurricane Stan has been, well, devastating in rural Guatemala, especially around Lake Atitlan.
posted by MrMoonPie on Oct 12, 2005 - 10 comments

The clay characters themselves are not kept after filming because they disintegrate

Classic Aardman (of Wallace and Gromit fame) animation stuff up in flames
posted by magullo on Oct 11, 2005 - 21 comments

Pakistan/Kashmir quake

Over 19,000 dead in earthquake in South Asia
posted by Snyder on Oct 9, 2005 - 66 comments

Left Behind: Bush's Holy War on Nature.

Left Behind: Bush's Holy War on Nature. Chip Ward enumerates the bizarro-world logic and Orwellian language of current American environmental policy. Even as Katrina's aftermath is focusing attention on links between global warming and more severe hurricanes, and studies of arctic sea-ice suggest that we may be 'past the point of no return' of climate change, the Department of "Justice" seems intent on blaming the flood of New Orleans on environmental groups. This War on Terra may not end in our lifetimes (despite the number of lives it will end...)
posted by dinsdale on Sep 18, 2005 - 33 comments

Obermann Swings!

The City of Louisiana. Keith Olbermann has crystallized my thoughts exactly(embedded wmv, qt vid here) regarding the ineptness (or is it the complete indifference?) that has played out for us in the past week.
posted by thedoctorpants on Sep 7, 2005 - 66 comments

No, really, it's the Mayor's fault.

Dept. of Homeland Security: Emergencies and Disasters
Preparing America In the event of a terrorist attack, natural disaster or other large-scale emergency, the Department of Homeland Security will assume primary responsibility on March 1st for ensuring that emergency response professionals are prepared for any situation. This will entail providing a coordinated, comprehensive federal response to any large-scale crisis and mounting a swift and effective recovery effort. The new Department will also prioritize the important issue of citizen preparedness. Educating America's families on how best to prepare their homes for a disaster and tips for citizens on how to respond in a crisis will be given special attention at DHS.
Clearly, we are in good hands.
posted by Ethereal Bligh on Sep 3, 2005 - 83 comments

The Matrix shatters in New Orleans

The Matrix shatters before the eyes of the nation (sorry, WMP link) -- and on Fox News! For those old enough to remember, it's so significant that Geraldo Rivera says of conditions in the New Orleans Convention Center, "it's like Willowbrook in there." (Rivera became famous in 1972 by exposing the horrendous conditions in a home for the mentally retarded called Willowbrook; finally, after decades of degrading himself, he remembers what his job is.) And Slate's Jack Shafer on "the rebellion of the talking heads" -- the refusal of reporters on the ground in New Orleans to regurgitate the official spin. [via TalkLeft]
posted by digaman on Sep 3, 2005 - 100 comments

Privatizing FEMA for New Orleans?

Innovative Emergency Management So this private company got the contract to develop the plan last year. The original release: the Baton Rouge-based emergency management and homeland security consultant, will lead the development of a catastrophic hurricane disaster plan for Southeast Louisiana and the City of New Orleans under a more than half a million dollar contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Now all press releases regarding it have been pulled from their website post-Katrina.
posted by amberglow on Sep 3, 2005 - 21 comments

Planning for the worst?

Tulane University Emergency Information This informational website -- almost a blog -- has replaced Tulane's regular home page, and I found it strangely compelling as it described the encroaching emergency day by day. It set me to thinking about institutional " crisis management plans" and programs in disaster management. Can you plan for a disaster with rational management science, or is it an illusion?
posted by realcountrymusic on Sep 1, 2005 - 16 comments

yup--Halliburton's there

The business of rebuilding --A range of companies that are expected to play a role in repairing damage, clearing debris and restoring power to the hurricane-battered Gulf Coast ... Some are saying that Katrina could actually boost the Gulf Coast's economic growth for the next few years, while others are forecasting higher energy prices, commodity shortages--and even steeper coffee prices. Worse, the storm may blast inflation throughout the economy.
posted by amberglow on Sep 1, 2005 - 17 comments

Still going...

Everyone is (probably) familiar with Something Awful. However, you may not be familiar with their hosting company - located in a New Orleans office building on Poydras in the CBD... but have you noticed that SA hasn't gone blank yet? It's because Zipa, and directNIC upstairs have the whole data center disaster contingency thing on lockdown. Blog and pictures from the directNIC guys are regularly updated. Color me impressed.
posted by kuperman on Aug 31, 2005 - 69 comments

Hurricane Data Smashed Offline by Katrina

National Data Buoy Center (Google cache), "the premiere source of meteorological and oceanographic measurements for the marine environment" in the U.S., is located at the NASA Stennis Space Center on the Mississippi gulf coast, is a primary source of hurricane observational data, and is currently offline. At present, the U.S. spends only $50 million annually on ocean observations of vital socio-economic impact. The latest national commission for ocean policy recommended $4 billion annually, including the construction of a distributed, disaster-proof, national ocean observing system, as a component of a global system. The previous ocean commission report in 1969 resulted in the formation of NOAA and the passage of the Coastal Zone Management Act. Will Congress act? The E.U. has.
posted by 3.2.3 on Aug 31, 2005 - 6 comments

Live Local Coverage Of Hurricane Katrina

Live Local Coverage Of Hurricane Katrina New Orleans television stations WWL and WDSU are providing nonstop live coverage of Hurricane Katrina. The Mississippi Department Of Transportation has live cams along the major highways which show the massive evacuation of the coastal areas of Louisiana and Mississippi including the metropolitan areas of New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. With gusts of 207 MPH this could set a new record for the largest hurricane to ever hit the United States.
posted by robliberal on Aug 28, 2005 - 624 comments

Katrina targets New Orleans.

Katrina targets New Orleans. Mandatory evacuations have been declared, and contraflow evacuation routes are in effect near New Orleans, as Hurricane Katrina, a very wet, drenching hurricane, approaches the city from the Gulf of Mexico, where it is gaining in size and strength, with an estimated 45% chance of making landfall as a category 4 or 5 hurricane. The computer models suggest that New Orleans will sustain a direct hit from Katrina, which could be "The Big One" warned about by experts, capable of flooding the city, polluting it with industrial waste, and even flooding the pump stations, leaving it incapable of pumping out the water. The hurricane is predicted to make landfall early Monday near Port Fourchon, which handles approximately 13% of U.S. oil imports, and 27% of U.S. domestic production.
posted by insomnia_lj on Aug 27, 2005 - 272 comments

Galveston Hurricanes

Thanks to no warning time, the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 was the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. History (ranked #4 in weather.com's Storm's of the Century). Now we can see them coming from their inception. Florida has been getting the recent hurricane headlines, but Texas also has a history. This season has seen an unprecedented number of hurricanes (for so early in the year) and the latest (Emily - already a Category 3) may be taking aim at Texas according to computer models. The Galveston Chamber of Commerce welcomes you! Track all tropical storm and hurricanes (and bone up on hurricane preparedness) at the NHC site. Hurricane basics at National Geographic: Forces of Nature - Hurricanes (FLASH)
posted by spock on Jul 14, 2005 - 7 comments

I.C.E.

Have you got ICE in your mobile? "Following the disaster in London . . . East Anglian Ambulance Service have launched a national "In case of Emergency (ICE)" campaign with the support of Falklands war hero Simon Weston. The idea is that you store the word "ICE" in your mobile phone address book, and against it enter the number of the person you would want to be contacted "In Case of Emergency". LINK.
posted by azul on Jul 11, 2005 - 30 comments

Failing Gracefully

People don't panic in disasters Here's what Lee Clarke has to say about Panic: Myth or Reality. And he has some things to say about terrorism as well.
posted by warbaby on Jul 7, 2005 - 31 comments

Giant Steps

A fire supreme. An all-too brief series of photographs demonstrates the disastrous after-effects of a coal train with an overheated wheel bearing stopping on a wooden bridge to investigate the cause of the smoke...
posted by jonson on Jun 11, 2005 - 37 comments

Tsunami toll among women 3 times higher than men

The boxing day tsunami in Asia is said to have killed 3 times (3/4 of the way down the page) more women than men.
"Many of the losses are being tied to gender roles and styles--such as women's long hair, confining saris, extreme sense of modesty and selfless commitment to husbands and children--that hindered their ability to escape."
There have been reports of abuse (cache) and forced marriages in Refugee Camps as a consequence. Oxfam briefing note (.pdf) and summary.
via (previous tsunami threads)
posted by peacay on Apr 4, 2005 - 14 comments

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