On a rural spread of acreage in South Carolina, insurance companies are looking to cover themselves against losses by knocking down houses. That might sound counterintuitive, but from an engineering standpoint it makes perfect sense. The industry-funded Institute for Business & Home Safety yesterday opened a $40 million, 2,300-square-foot disaster lab yesterday that is among the best in the world, with the ability to subject entire homes to tornado-strength winds or Category 3 hurricanes.
Geologists would love to get a closer look at what's going on underneath active volcanoes, but the very thing that makes them so interesting -- their ability to unleash super-hot, super-violent geological destruction -- makes them hard to get too close to. But a new breed of wireless sensor that can withstand temperatures above 1,650 degrees Fahrenheit could change all that, allowing researchers to implement a wireless early-warning sensor network deep within a volcano's molten-hot bowels.
By Dan Bracaglia Posted 09.14.2010 at 2:11 pm 1 Comment
It’s hard to believe, given the tragic scenario, that anyone could find beauty in such an ugly catastrophe as the Gulf oil spill, but Canadian photographer Edward Burtynysky was able to do just that in his newly released aerial images of the disaster.
Scientists who research natural hazards walk a precarious line when it comes to predicting disasters. They're often criticized for over-hyping the situation and disrupting residents' lives. But if they fail to predict a catastrophic event, they're accused of failing to give the public adequate warning. It's a classic case of "damned if you do, damned if you don't."
"Damned if you don't" is the situation that seven of Italy's top seismologists now find themselves in -- the scientists face manslaughter charges for failing to predict the April 2009 earthquake that struck the town of L'Aquila in central Italy.
The New York Times today has a long, detailed investigation into the concrete causes of the April 20 Deepwater Horizon disaster. It describes how the well was equipped with only one blind shear ram, not a prudent two, and how the shear ram's hydraulic system failed, preventing it from shutting off the flow.
A team of NASA researchers has successfully completed the first demonstration of a prototype tsunami prediction system. Using global and regional real-time data from hundreds of GPS sites, the new system can quickly assess large earthquakes and accurately predict the size of resulting tsunamis.
The new system, developed by Y. Tony Song and his colleagues at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, uses GPS data from NASA's Global Differential GPS (GDGPS) and information about continental slope (where the ocean floor descends from the edge of the continent to the ocean bottom) to estimate the energy transferred to the ocean by an undersea earthquake.
The massive oil spill from a BP offshore drilling rig threatens marine ecosystems and fisheries as it makes its way to the shoreline. Here's how it looks from above.
The Macondo well is spilling 5,000 barrels of oil per day into the gulf, about five times more than well owner British Petroleum initially reported. Efforts to stem the leak using controlled burning and even undersea robots have been unsuccessful so far.
It's the 40th anniversary of Earth Day today. To honor our beloved planet, it's nice sometimes to stop and envy the view enjoyed by such a tiny slice of humanity: the astronauts. Here we've compiled some of our favorite views of Earth from space.
Los Angelenos have recently watched billowing clouds from a nearby wildfire hover overhead, in scenes reminiscent of "Volcano." NASA's Terra satellite took the opportunity to snap a photo of the smoke monster on the night of August 30. Red outlines in the photo indicate wildfire hotspots.