• Giant blimps to ferry hospitals, buildings to disaster zones

    Giant airship will be able to lift up to 150 tons — more than seven times the weight that helicopters are able to carry; the airship, which will be able to move aid — or even portable hospitals and entire buildings — to remote areas or disaster zones, harnesses aerostatic lift, meaning it is able to fly using lighter-than-air (LTA) gases that keep it buoyant rather than aerodynamic lift

  • California prepares for the Big One

    The scientific community in California is growing more and more wary of the potential for a major seismic event since the last that occurred was in 1857; a recent study projected that there was a 99 percent chance that a 6.7 magnitude earthquake would strike somewhere in California during the next thirty years

  • New hazardous asteroid discovered

    A new stellar “potentially hazardous object” (PHO) has been discovered: The object is about 150 feet in diameter and was discovered in images acquired on 16 September; it will come within four million miles of Earth in mid-October

  • Cold water-pumping submarines to reduce ferocity of typhoons

    Typhoon intensity tends to remain level when ocean surface temperatures are high; reduction in the surface-water temperature would reduce the ferocity of the typhoon; Japanese company receives a patent for a typhoon-intensity-reduction system based on submarines pumping cold water from the depth of the sea to the surface in the typhoon’s path

  • New door design to save lives in earthquakes

    New door design would save lives during earthquakes; the door looks unremarkable but, in an emergency, it can swivel horizontally on a central pivot a little less than a meter above the ground; at the same time, the door folds horizontally so the bottom half of it remains on the ground, anchoring it to the floor and providing additional protection

  • Videos of quakes 5.5 available for downloading 1.5 hours after occurrence

    A Princeton University-led research team has developed the capability to produce realistic movies of earthquakes based on complex computer simulations that can be made available worldwide within hours of a disastrous upheaval; movies of every earthquake of magnitude 5.5 or greater will be available for download about 1.5 hours after the occurrence

  • Louisiana worried about Corps' levee armoring plans

    Louisiana says the Corps of Engineers is $1 billion short for completing levee construction around New Orleans, while the Corps says it has enough money; the disagreement over the cost of completing levee construction centers on a long-simmering argument over the last construction task scheduled for earthen levees throughout the system: deciding what type of armoring will keep the levees from washing away if they are overtopped

  • Geoengineering may affect different regions differently

    Geoengineering approaches would succeed in restoring the average global temperature to “normal” levels, but some regions would remain too warm, whereas others would “overshoot” and cool too much; in addition, average rainfall would be reduced

  • Asteroids: Earth will be hit by a shotgun blast instead of a single cannonball

    Scientists find that many asteroids are not solid rocks, but a collection of small gravel-sized rocks, held together by gravity; instead of a solid mountain colliding with Earth’s surface, the planet would be pelted with the innumerable pebbles and rocks of which it is composed, like a shotgun blast instead of a single cannonball; this knowledge could guide the defensive tactics to be taken if an asteroid were on track to collide with the Earth

  • U.S.: hundreds of levees no longer safe -- property owners to pay flood insurance

    To keep a levee accredited, local governments or other responsible parties must certify that it can handle a flood so severe that it has a 1 percent chance of occurring each year; FEMA has revoked its accreditation of hundreds of levees nationwide, concluding that they no longer meet its standards that ensure protection during major floods, a decision that forces thousands of property owners to buy federal flood insurance

  • The U.S. military prepares for the coming conflicts triggered by climate change

    The popular debate surrounding “global warming” is rife with emotion and has paralyzed U.S. policymakers; military planners, however, remain divorced from the emotional content of the topic, looking at possible future scenarios and conducting planning to address the associated challenges and threats arising from sharp changes in climate

  • Water-proofing cities by using buildings for flood protection

    Buildings, car parks, and roads can be designed in such a way that they can protect the urban area behind them from flooding, alongside their regular urban functions; these innovative construction techniques can also be adapted to the circumstances in the long term, enabling flood protection systems to take account of external influences such as climate change and economic development

  • New method predicts communication-disrupting solar activity

    Major solar eruptions (coronal mass ejections) normally take several days to reach the Earth, but the largest recorded in 1859 took just eighteen hours; solar flares — which can also cause significant disruption to communications systems — take just a few minutes; U.K. researchers develop a method of predicting solar storms that could help to avoid widespread power and communications blackouts

  • Scientist offers better ways to engineer Earth's climate to blunt global warming

    A Canadian scientist suggests two novel geoengineering approaches to limit the effects of climate change on Earth: “levitating:” engineered nano-particles, and the airborne release of sulphuric acid; both ideas are more refined than, and have advantages over, another geoengineering concept developed by geoengineers: mimicking volcanic eruptions by injecting massive amounts of sulphur dioxide gas into the upper atmosphere

  • Study: dinosaurs killed off by more than one asteroid impact

    The scientific consensus about the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago — along with more than half of other species then alive on Earth — is that an asteroid hit at Chicxulub in the Gulf of Mexico, creating a crater more than 180 km across and sending tons of smoke and soot into the atmosphere; scientists now say that the Chicxulub impact began the process of killing off the dinosaurs, but that the coup de grace occurred two to five thousand years later, with an asteroid impact in the Boltysh crater in the Ukraine