Disasters

  • What to do about high-seas piracy?

    The debate intensifies over what to do about the growing problem of piracy on the high seas; here is a sample of the points being discussed

  • DHS adds $100 million to emergency food bank

    DHS secretary Napolitano announces $100 million in stimulus package funds for Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP); EFSP, created twenty-six years ago, has so far distributed more than $3.4 billion in federal funds for food and shelter

  • Seeing through concrete, clearly

    Insurgents and terrorists fight from within civilian structures, making it difficult for soldiers and first responders to respond without injuring many civilians; DARPA wants a solution which would allow soldiers to look through concrete walls and give them a detailed picture of a building’s interior — right down to the fixtures

  • Earthquakes cannot be predicted with accuracy, say seismologists

    Monday’s earthquake in Italy, which has so far claimed the lives of more than 200 people, was made more poignant by claims of an Italian researcher that said he had predicted the quake and warned the authorities — which ignored the warning; scientists say this claim is unfounded, as earthquakes cannot be predicted with accuracy

  • Post-Ike ideas for defending Galveston include extending sea wall

    Texas A&M oceanographer proposes extending Galveston’s seawall to the island’s West End, building a similar structure along Bolivar Peninsula, and constructing massive Dutch-like floodgates at the entry to Galveston Bay; oceanographer says his proposed wall and gate system could repel most surges

  • Mathematicians provide new insight into tsunamis

    The number and height of the tsunami waves hitting the shoreline depends critically on the shape of the initial surface wave in deep water; from this it is possible to work out whether a “trough” or a “peak” is the leading wave

  • NYPD wants to expand anti-terror program to midtown

    NYPD wants to duplicate in midtown the measures under way near Ground Zero; these measures will allow allow police to do everything they do downtown — scan license plates, monitor surveillance video cameras, and use radiation and bioterrorism detectors — between 34th and 59th streets, from river to river

  • GAO: TSA lax on U.S. security of commercial trucking, buses

    Billions of dollars have been invested in improving air travel security; critics charge that ground transportation security has been treated as an after thought; there are more than a million U.S. companies which help transport 65 percent of the daily freight across the United States; busing companies carry 775 million passengers a year, more than the airline industry; GAO says both trucks and buses operate virtually free of security restrictions

  • Soldiers' helmets serve as sniper location system

    Commodore researchers develop a networked helmet that help soldiers and first responders fighting in a hazardous urban environment pin-point and display the location of enemy shooters in three dimensions and accurately identify the caliber and type of weapons they are firing

  • New device locates people in danger

    University of Pittsburgh researchers develop a tracking device that can pinpoint within a few feet the locations of people inside burning buildings or other structures where there is an emergency

  • New ideas for deflecting Earth-threatening asteroids

    As scientists use better equipment to make more accurate observations of space, they find more Earth-threatening objects loitering in Near Earth Orbit; a debate is growing as to the best method to deal with this threat

  • Better bullet-proof vests with advanced fiber weaves

    Manchester University researchers say that bullet-proof vests used to protect the lives of police officers could be further improved with advanced fiber weaves

  • Disease maps may help turn Zimbabwe's health crisis around

    The government of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe destroyed the country’s health care system and shut down water treatment facilities; the result has been an uncontrolled cholera outbreak; international aid organizations launch a Web site to help the poor people of Zimbabwe find disease-related information — because their government not only would do nothing to curb the epidemic, it also conceals crucial information from the citizenry

  • U.K. to train workers in counter-terrorism

    Home Office says 60,000 U.K. workers will be trained in counterterrorism so they can assist in responding to terror incidents; the trained workers will augment the existing force of 3,000 dedicated counterterrorism police officers

  • North Dakota EMS employees use disaster money for booze

    Nearly $200,000 of the roughly $810,000 the Bismarck, North Dakota-based EMS group received between 2004 and last year to help produce a plan to fight bioterrorism and other mass disasters was used on “unallowable or questionable” items