Forget terror attacks, the real reason for an orange alert in NYC has to do with ... rocks. I'll bet you've never heard of Cumbre Vieja
. In fact, if the first hit on a google search
for something is a PDF, you know
it's obscure. (It's a volcano in the Canaries)
. If it erupts, it'll spell the end for Washington, New York and Boston (and parts of Europe will get a bit wet.) Hoo!
Now, short of hoping it will go away, there's nothing you can do, because it will take 35 million years
to dismantle the dangerous bits of rock. Instead, the boffins are talking about evacuating the east coast. Yet more obscure places you wish you could forget menacing the future of the US, hey?
posted by bonaldi
on Aug 9, 2004 -
One hundred years ago today
, 1,358 members of the Kleindeutschland
, the German neighborhood on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, boarded a chartered ferry named the General Slocum
for a picnic excursion to Long Island. A fire broke out in the ship's hold while it cruised up the East River, the captain ran the vessel aground on the rocky shores of North Brother Island amid the swift currents of Hell Gate
, and when it was all over 1,021 people (mainly women and children) had perished by drowning or from the fire, and it remained the worst single-day New York City disaster until 9/11.
posted by Vidiot
on Jun 15, 2004 -
Dramatic Climate Change.
The director who brought us aliens blowing up the White House
has now turned his sights on climate change. In a very dramatic way. Will this highly sensationalized and unrealistic presentation of global warming have any impact on public attitudes? Are we looking at a possible a tipping point, or is director Roland Emmerich jumping the shark?
posted by alms
on Mar 15, 2004 -
"These are good people"...but changes must be made. The Columbia Accident Investigation Board final report was released on Tuesday.
Putting technical answers aside for the moment, the report targets the organizational
and behavioral issues
that led to a breakdown in communication, safety and responsibility. While acknowledging the good will at NASA, the report holds no illusions that changing this culture will be very difficult and very necessary in order to return to flight. What types of management/behavioral obstacles have you encountered in home, work, school or social organizations? How did you try to effect change and what obstacles did you encounter in an effort to make it more effective, safe, productive or enjoyable?
posted by tgrundke
on Aug 28, 2003 -
The Pale Horse Percentage.
The demise of civilization has been predicted since it began, but the odds of keeping Planet Earth
alive and well are getting worse amid a breakneck pace of scientific advances, according to Martin Rees
, Britain's honorary astronomer royal. Rees calculates that the odds of an apocalyptic disaster striking Earth have risen to about 50 percent from 20 percent a hundred years ago.
posted by The Jesse Helms
on Jun 9, 2003 -
The lawyers for the victims of the Rhode Island nightclub disaster are planning to sue
a radio station
that broadcast commercials for the concert. Wistow said that while he still needs to nail down the precise nature of Clear Channel's responsibility, he's all but certain to name the company [in the suit].
posted by Pretty_Generic
on Mar 10, 2003 -
Cosmic bolt probed in shuttle disaster
- Scientists poring over 'infrasonic' sound waves
Federal scientists are looking for evidence that a bolt of electricity in the upper atmosphere might have doomed the space shuttle Columbia as it streaked over California, The Chronicle has learned.
posted by y2karl
on Feb 7, 2003 -
Shuttle "Achille's Hell"
According to this article, Shuttle has one. Curiously it's in the area in which that piece of insulation hit during launch.Were the astronauts warned ? Did they do some space walk to see what was wrong ? I would stop my car to go out and see if I heard a loud "thump" coming from somewhere.
posted by elpapacito
on Feb 3, 2003 -
"There is something noteworthy a rocket can do that the shuttle cannot. A rocket can be permitted to fail." Gregg Easterbrook's 1980 Washington Monthly
cover story looks into the Columbia's beginnings, the hazards he saw in the shuttle, and its weaknesses compared to rockets.
Once you get into space, you check to see if any tiles are damaged. If enough are, you have a choice between Plan A and Plan B. Plan A is hope they can get a rescue shuttle up in time. Plan B is burn up coming back. [via Slate]
posted by kirkaracha
on Feb 2, 2003 -
Is the Internet in danger of collapse from a disaster or terrorist attack?
The Internet was a product of DARPA and designed during the Cold War because it was thought that the centralized phone system networks providing most or all of the National Defense communications networks- used at that time would not survive a nuclear attack disabling our ability to communicate with our troops. At the suggestion of the RAND Corporation and a number of Scientists the design scheme was to make the Internet a system with no central control in order to make it difficult for an enemy to disable our countries ability to communicate during a War. Has the decentralized Internet now become a threat to our very Centralized Goverment that initially created it-and other Goverments? Why would terrorist organizations want to destroy something that they in fact use themselves? Or perhap the researchers are right that the emergence of large centralized hubs brought forth by the increased commercialization of the Net has in fact made the Internet more vulnerable to attack or disaster! Perhaps there are lessons in this story regarding the whole Centralization/ Decentralization dichotomy that Goverments, and Individuals can learn from?
posted by thedailygrowl
on Nov 26, 2002 -
The Death of a Dirigible - "The airship Shenandoah, nose to her high mooring mast, was floating gracefully with the variable breezes. Her twenty gas bags were about 91% full; her tanks loaded with 9,075 pounds of water and 16, 620 pounds of gasoline..."
I was fascinated by this account of the disaster that befell the Navy airship 'Shenandoah', marking the beginning of the end of the era of rigid bodied airships. [ Via a comment on /. ]
posted by GriffX
on Aug 6, 2002 -
An asteroid the size of a football field
just missed the Earth last Friday. Coming in fast out of the sun, where we ain't watching, it missed us by an astro-paltry 75,000 miles (a third the distance to the Moon). If it had hit, the impact would have been about 10 megatons -- not a planet-killer, but enough to spoil your picnic.
In related news, Attorney General Ashcroft arrested a box of moon rocks and the entire staff of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA for questioning. The director of the Office of Orbital Security was at a pro-am golf tournament in Fond du Lac, WI and unavailable for a statement.
posted by anser
on Jun 20, 2002 -
Fighting to Live as the Towers Died
: the NYT continues its fine reporting, reconstructing the final moments of temporary survivors on the upper floors, through over 150 e-mail and telephone contacts used to reach friends and relatives (as well as videotapes and recordings of 911 calls and emergency radio bands). Since I briefly worked in the trade center, I have often wondered what this experience must have been like.
You may want to take a moment to prepare, and expect to need breaks.
posted by dhartung
on May 26, 2002 -
Current NIDS Data.
I like this page because I can see if my house is going to be fried by a lightning strike or flattened by a tornado without having to put up will all of weather.com or intellicast's popup ad B.S. It's very convenient and timely.
posted by dr. zoidberg
on Jun 24, 2001 -
Let us prepare for impact.
A group of scientists is working on a standardized protocol for dealing with the possibility of a comet or massive asteroid striking the Earth, saying humans can do more than the dinosaurs ever could before a colossal impact precipitated their extinction 65 millions years ago.
"We have now overcome the giggle factor."
I don't know if we have........
posted by nonharmful
on May 7, 2001 -
Should all of America pay for Davenport?
If a community has the ability to avoid a natural disaster and chooses not to, are the rest of us responsible? How many times. Apparently, Davenport benefits economically from the great view, unobstructed by a floodwall. Maybe it should use some of those benefits to clean up the mess?
posted by anapestic
on Apr 25, 2001 -
We're overdue for a big disaster.
"Two years without a harvest? It would probably bust civilisation. People would survive all right. It really would cut us back, and that is the sort of thing nobody really prepares for. It's not some ecological poison or GM foods or nuclear that is going to get us, it is going to be some perfectly ordinary natural event."
Almost enough to make me stock canned goods again.
posted by norm
on Sep 19, 2000 -
On Tuesday March 28th at 6:11 P.M. a tornado pummeled downtown Ft. Worth
leaving glass, office furniture, insulation, paperwork, and various other
materials littering a 12 block area of the city. The downtown streets were covered in
shattered glass from the many High-Rise building that were struck by the violent winds
and flying debris. I took some pictures from a 26th floor office window 1 block away
from the epicenter of the storms wrath. At the top of picture 3
you can see the Cash America building that they keep showing on the news - I don't have a
Telephoto lens or it would be a better pic, DOH! You can also see clean up crews
on the roofs of the buildings picking up debris.One of the windows I took the pictures
through was cracked by flying debris, you can see it in picture 2,3, and 6. PICTURES: 1 2
3 4 5 6
posted by Jeremy
on Mar 30, 2000 -