• Congress to establish a commission to study threat of asteroid impact on Earth

    The annual probability of the Earth being struck by a huge asteroid or comet is small, but the consequences of such a collision are so calamitous that it is prudent to appraise the nature of the threat and prepare to deal with it, experts say; Congress agrees

  • DHS unveils more Than $1.8 billion in FY 2010 preparedness grants

    DHS announces more than $1.8 billion in preparedness grants; the grants are designed to help states, urban areas, tribal governments, and non-profit organizations enhance their protection, prevention, response, and recovery capabilities for risks associated with potential terrorist attacks and other hazards.

  • Particle injection into the stratosphere could mitigate effects of climate change

    In what scientists describe as Plan D, or an insurance policy for the situation in which Earth hits a tipping point in climate change quickly, a 20-kilometer pipe — “garden hose to the sky” — would be deployed to spray a shield of sulphate particles into the stratosphere; the idea is to emulate the eruption of volcanoes which spew sulphur-rich gas that spread worldwide, blocking sunlight and lowering temperatures

  • U.S., U.K. military leaders address climate change's role as a global threat multiplier

    Conflict brought on by droughts, famine, and unwelcome migration are as old as history itself. Yet, a growing number of military analysts think that climate change will exacerbate these problems worldwide and are encouraging countries to prepare to maintain order even as shrinking resources make their citizens more desperate; Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti: “We see climate change as a threat multiplier, as a catalyst for conflict”

  • Australia could face climate refugees

    Australia could face a wave of climate refugees from neighboring Pacific islands unless rich nations help poorer countries with climate change, scientists warned; the 900 climate scientists gathered at a the conference heard specialists say that Australia is already experiencing the effects of climate change and is likely to be one of the most severely affected among developed countries

  • New technology could lead to an earthquake prediction system

    A new airborne radar-based mapping technology allows scientists to see earthquake images on the ground for the first time; the airborne images show tiny or large motions that occurred beneath the surface of the earth, on the fault line, which can not be seen by flying over an area or walking on the surface

  • Scientist says nuclear weapons best bet for saving Earth from asteroids

    Scientists argue that the best way to prevent a large asteroid from doing grave damage to Earth is to blast the asteroid with nuclear weapons; the sheer power of a nuclear explosion may make it the most practical and cost-effective option for deflecting or fragmenting asteroids, compared with alternatives such as chemical fuel or laser beams; for one thing, a nuclear explosive would be cheaper to launch into space due to its large amount of energy per unit mass; in contrast, a non-nuclear blast might require several launches for an equivalent amount of power

  • Italian scientists face manslaughter charges for failing to predict 2009 L'Aquila earthquake

    Italian prosecutors have issued indictment against six scientists for failing to warn the residents of L’Aquila about the 6 April 2009 earthquake; the magnitude-6.3 earthquake caused 308 deaths and 1,600 injuries, and left more than 65,000 people homeless; prosecutors say the scientists participated in a press conference on 31 March, in which they encouraged residents not to move out of the L’Aquila region; coming to the defense of the seismologists, nearly 4,000 scientists from around the world have signed a letter to Italy’s president, urging him to focus on earthquake preparation rather than holding scientists responsible for something that they cannot do — predict earthquakes

  • 2010 hurricane season is going to be a busy one

    The 2010 hurricane season, which began 1 June, is going to be a busy one: the National Hurricane Center forecasts a 70 percent chance of eight to fourteen storms reaching hurricane strength, and three to seven becoming dangerous “major” hurricanes of category 3 and above

  • Scientists monitor earthquakes in real time

    Better to understand earthquakes like El Mayor-Cucapah, researchers have set up GPS instruments throughout the state of California, as part of the California Real Time Network (CRTN); the CRTN consists of more than 130 continuous GPS receivers run by numerous agencies

  • Oregon town plans first tsunami-resistant building on stilts

    Geological findings in recent years suggest there is a one-in-three chance that in the next half century a mega-earthquake will tear the seafloor apart off the Oregon Coast; huge waves would surge onto coastal communities in as little as fifteen minutes; an Oregon city plans tsunami-resistant buildings on stilts

  • Louisiana children taught how to prepare for storms

    The 2010 hurricane season set to begin 1 June; from the Florida panhandle to Brownsville, Texas, there is a 44 percent chance of at least one major hurricane making landfall, compared to a 30 percent average in the last century; the Louisiana homeland security office offers a Get a Game Plan book for children in which the main character, Get-a-Game-Plan Gator, walks children through the necessary preparations for a natural disaster

  • Trains still carry lethal cargo through Dallas-Forth Worth, other American cities

    A cloud of chlorine gas could kill up to 17,500 people and injure 100,000 others within several miles; about 1,300 chlorine-filled cars go through Union Pacific Railroad’s Davidson Yard in west Fort Worth in a typical year; the U.S. railroad industry, which is required by federal common-carrier law to ship chemicals such as chlorine, transported some 75,000 tank cars of toxic inhalants nationwide in 2009

  • GAO: U.S. tsunami detection buoys are costly, difficult, and not always reliable

    A network of 39 buoys makes up the early-warning system to protect 767 U.S. coastal communities at risk of tsunamis; maintaining the system is expensive — it consumes 28 percent o the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s budget — and the sensors are not always reliable

  • End-of-the-world shelter company selling bunker space

    A California-based company offers people a chance to survive the end of the world; for $50,000 per person, the company will sell you a spot in an underground shelter guaranteed to survive nuclear attacks, bio terrorism, chemical warfare, super volcano eruptions, asteroids, solar flares, tsunamis, earthquakes, pole shifts, the return of Planet X, and social and political anarchy;