Disasters

  • Computer models predicts power outages during hurricanes

    Researchers develop computer model that can estimate how many power outages will occur across a region as a hurricane is approaching; having accurate estimates, prior to the storm’s arrival, of how many outages will exist and where they will occur, will allow utilities to better plan their crew requests and crew locations

  • UK.gov's G Cloud may have security silver lining after all

    Cloud computing offers many benefits, but enhanced security is not one of them — or is it? An expert says that the emergence of cloud computing is making it possible to take a new approach to security; until now, the U.K. government has kept its work on information security in specialist bodies such as GCHQ and CESG, separate from the development of business functions; “The cloud gives us the opportunity to get the specification right before we get too far down the track,” he says

  • Cosmic entropy could be 100 times greater than previously thought

    Entropy increases as the number of ways the system can be arranged microscopically without changing the external appearance increases; new study shows that cosmic entropy is a 100 times greater than earlier estimates; the entropy of the universe must be below the maximum theoretical value or life and other complex phenomena will cease to exist; as the entropy gradually increases it will eventually approach the theoretical maximum, a state many physicists have called the heat death of the universe; the new study thus shows that our universe is closer to its death than previously thought

  • Tornado threat increases as Gulf hurricanes get larger

    New study predicted exactly the number of hurricanes seen for Hurricane Ike: 33; tornadoes that occur from hurricanes moving inland from the Gulf Coast are increasing in frequency

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  • Without water reform Asia will face food shortage by 2050

    There are three options for meeting the food needs of Asia’s population, which will expand by one-and-a-half billion people over the next forty years: The first is to import large quantities of cereals from other regions; the second to improve and expand rainfed agriculture; and the third to focus on irrigated farmlands

  • Massive earthquakes shake scientific thought

    Experts who dismissed notions that far-away quakes could be linked are beginning to think again after huge tremors rocked Samoa and Indonesia on the same day, followed by another major convulsion in Vanuatu

  • DHS recommends three emergency management standards

    DHS, under its Voluntary Private Sector Preparedness Accreditation and Certification Program (PS-Prep), is proposing the use of three existing emergency management and business continuity standards; the three were selected from twenty-five standards submitted to DHS for consideration

  • New Bay Bridge span designed to endure major quake

    Twenty years ago a 250-ton section of the Bay Bridge fell into the water as a result of a 6.9 magnitude earthquake; the new bridge design will be able to withstand the largest plausible earthquake to occur within a 1,500-year period

  • Asteroid collision: How to defend Earth, II

    Asteroid impacts are much rarer than hurricanes and earthquakes, but they have the potential to do much greater damage; moreover, what if an asteroid hits Earth in the Middle East or the Asian subcontinent? Such an event could be misinterpreted as a nuclear attack — both produce a bright flash, a blast wave, and raging winds; the result may be a nuclear war

  • Oil production to peak before 2030

    New reports says that oil will become increasingly expensive and harder to find, extract, and produce; significant new discoveries, such as the one announced recently in the Gulf of Mexico, are only expected to delay the peak by a matter of days and weeks; to maintain global oil production at today’s level will require the equivalent of a new Saudi Arabia every three years

  • How high is the risk of civilization-killing asteroids?

    Planetary bombardments: scientists at a planets meeting discuss the risks of an asteroid colliding with Earth; researchers are worried about asteroid Apophis, which will come uncomfortably close to Earth on 13 April 2029; one scientist said that “It’s 10 times more likely that an unknown asteroid will slam into us from behind while you’re looking at Apophis”

  • Asteroid collision: How to defend Earth, I

    There are thousands of Near Earth Objects (NEOs) orbiting Earth; some of them are of a civilization-ending size, others are smaller — they will take out “only” a country or a city were they to collide with Earth; scientists say we should focus our minds on this danger

  • School closings owing to swine flu could cost between $10 and $47 billion

    The U.S. government urges schools to remain open, but there had already been at least 187 school dismissals across the country affecting at least 79,678 students; cost of closing all U.S. schools could reach billions of dollars

  • Is California's Big One coming?

    In 1992 and in 2004, remote earthquakes caused changes to the San Andreas fault; in both cases, there were distinct changes in the movement of fluids and an increase in the frequency of micro-earthquakes deep within the fault below Parkfield; what will be the effect on the fault of the recent Sumatra earthquake?

  • Majority of Americans would refuse emergency use H1N1 vaccine or additive

    Some 46 percent of people surveyed said they were concerned about
    getting swine flu, but nearly 86 percent said they thought it was unlikely or very unlikely that they themselves would become ill