Weather disasters and quakes: who’s most at risk? The analysis below, by Sperling’s Best Places, a publisher of city rankings, is an attempt to assess a combination of those risks in 379 American metro areas. Risks for twisters and hurricanes (including storms from hurricane remnants) are based on historical data showing where storms occurred. Earthquake risks are based on United States Geological Survey assessments and take into account the relative infrequency of quakes, compared with weather events and floods. Additional hazards included in this analysis: flooding, drought, hail and other extreme weather.
For important tips on enhancing your safety before, during and after a natural disaster, please check out these blog posts:
Posts tagged safety.
I and some climate adaptation colleagues visited this a few months ago. The country graciously wined and dined us. Great trip. Here are some pics.
How long will your phone’s battery last when the power goes out? I just changed my settings! Here’s how to extend it (prly wise to do the same on your laptop):
If electricity dies during your Sandy coverage, you don’t want your smartphone to do the same. Here’s a round-up of links on how to save the battery to your mobile (for all the tweeting, Instagramming and source phone calls to come).
- Android: Step by step ways to save power (with pictures) from WikiHow.
- iPhone: Simple tips to save power (in slideshow form) from Huffington Post or try some of Apple’s own tips.
- Blackberry: Another set of step-by-step methods (with pictures) from WikiHow.
Plus, some more general tips, including tapping your laptop or car for more energy from TechHive.
And for the next #Frankenstorm, derecho or other power outage emergency you still need to cover, consider adding this to your journalist toolbox: a way to power your iPhone with wrist power (Thanks for tweeting that one out, Jay Rosen)
Got more battery saving strategies for your mobile device? Share and brainstorm in the comments.
Hurricane Sandy, a late-season Atlantic cyclone that threatens to be one of the worst storms to hit the Northeast in decades, slogged slowly northward on Friday after killing at least 41 people in the Caribbean.
Forecasters said wind damage, widespread and extended power outages and coastal and inland flooding were anticipated across a broad swath of the densely populated U.S. East Coast when Sandy comes ashore early next week.
“We’re expecting a large, large storm. The circulation of this storm as it approaches the coast could cover about the eastern third of the United States,” said Louis Uccellini, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Centers for Environmental Prediction.
He stopped short of calling Sandy possibly the worst storm to hit the U.S. Northeast in 100 years, as some weather watchers were doing, but said Sandy was shaping up to go down as a storm of “historic” proportions.
Reblogging to show a common problem with enviro-reporting.
An un-redacted version of a recently released Nuclear Regulatory Commission report highlights the threat that flooding poses to nuclear power plants located near large dams — and suggests that the NRC has misled the public for years about the severity of the threat, according to engineers and nuclear safety advocates…
The NRC report identifies flood threats from upstream dams at nearly three dozen other nuclear facilities in the United States, including the Fort Calhoun Station in Nebraska, the Prairie Island facility in Minnesota and the Watts Bar plant in Tennessee, among others. More at HuffPo
Important discovery, but the reporting seems over the top. Comparing the threat, for example, of a fresh-water river flood to a salt-water tsunami from the ocean is plainly disingenuous and frankly journalistically lazy.
I get that nuclear power plants are vulnerable to environmental change and climate impacts. Indeed, I have written about the threats several times, but this story smells of fear-mongering.
It’s an interesting article, no doubt. It shows that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission published two different reports, one of which was published publicly.
But discovering that there are two (or more) versions of a report is certainly not proof of a “cover-up.” Writing different versions of the same report is standard operating procedure to my mind.
The NRC has historically been blunt about environmental threats to nuclear power plants - indeed, that’s a primary objective of the commission. One would need crystal clear evidence to successfully accuse such a high-level, highly-scrutinized organization.
Besides, the very flood vulnerabilities discussed in both versions of the report are in fact being mitigated. So, what exactly is the problem here?
Finally, as is common with environmental reporting, the piece does not provide a plan of action to resolve the issue. It doesn’t say that the commission should be disbanded and replaced, nor show that the work being done to mitigate floods are flawed. The article subsumes the public will act, which is plainly disproportionate to the accusation at hand.
Bloomberg cracks open an important (and nasty) issue of food safety with imported food. Over 3,000 people died in 2011 due to food-born illnesses - 10s of thousands “merely” got sick. Many (not all, but a lot) victims caught a bug from food grown overseas, such as China.
The FDA does not inspect food imported into the U.S. to the same standards as food grown locally. Devastating report on the FDA (and arguably the Obama administration).
At Chen Qiang’s tilapia farm in Yangjiang city in China’s Guangdong province, which borders Hong Kong, Chen feeds fish partly with feces from hundreds of pigs and geese. That practice is dangerous for American consumers, says Michael Doyle, director of the University of Georgia’s Center for Food Safety.
“The manure the Chinese use to feed fish is frequently contaminated with microbes like salmonella,” says Doyle, who has studied foodborne diseases in China…
“Many farmers have switched to feces and have stopped using commercial feed,” he says.
About 27 percent of the seafood Americans eat comes from China — and the shipments that the FDA checks are frequently contaminated, the FDA has found. The agency inspects only about 2.7 percent of imported food. Of that, FDA inspectors have rejected 1,380 loads of seafood from Vietnam since 2007 for filth and salmonella, including 81 from Ngoc Sinh, agency records show. The FDA has rejected 820 Chinese seafood shipments since 2007, including 187 that contained tilapia.
Story with videos and interviews: Bloomberg
Roundup, New York City’s most heavily used liquid herbicide, is widely considered dangerous. And it’s coming to a picnic blanket near you.
Invisible Bike Helmet kinda just blew my mind. (via VHX)
Whoa. Mind blown. Also, great quote: “Cars are so yesterday, bikes are the future.”
Regulatory capture is one of my favorite environmental topics. It’s when an agency has been “captured” by the industry they’re trying to regulate.
The very best example is what big oil did to the employees at the Mineral Management Service (MMS, now called the BOEMRE). The MMS regulated oil and gas land-leases, environmental permits, and safety inspections.
MMS was “captured” by the oil and gas industry a few years ago. What happened? How about:
- Provided staff with hookers, meth, pot, porn, and cocaine (here)
- Wined and dined oil and gas well inspectors
- MMS hired employees from the oil and gas companies
- Convinced inspectors to “call ahead” before surprise safety inspections
- Poisoned peoples’ ethics, generally.
In 2010, HuffPo posted an excellent piece on Regulatory Capture. I think this bodes well with the current Congress, which are disgusting slaves to their ideological funders.
In a dramatic illustration of regulatory capture, a new report from an Interior Department review board has found that poorly trained, ill-equipped and overextended federal inspectors who were supposed to be policing the nation’s offshore oil and gas drilling facilities were routinely bullied by industry representatives and were often undercut by their managers when they reported safety violations.
The review board was appointed after a BP rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in April, causing the worst accidental offshore oil spill in history. Its report paints a devastating picture of the Minerals Management Service, the agency now known as the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE).
First day of bummer.
97 today, 98 tomorrow for western Mass. But, look at the south west, 113!
Oil pipeline in Alberta Canada busts a nut. Company not even aware of the leak until locals called to complain. Red Deer, Alberta, Canada river watershed polluted.
Update: Story broke yesterday. Seems the photo is older.
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May 25th, 2012: Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant near Boston deemed safe, gets new 20-year license to operate.
Pilgrim’s site vice president, said, “NRC approval of Pilgrim’s license renewal application was the culmination of extensive and rigorous review by the NRC and a tremendous amount of hard work by Entergy. The NRC spent more than 20,000 hours conducting inspections and reviews. At the end of the process, we effectively demonstrated that our systems, structures and components will continue to safely perform their intended function during the 20-year renewal period.”
May 27, 2012: Plant shuts down days later due to safety issues.
Pilgrim nuclear plant shut down after condenser problem
Power production at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth was halted this afternoon when a condenser at the station lost vacuum pressure during a cleaning, forcing operators to shut down the entire plant, officials said.
Operators shut down the plant, which was operating at about 30 percent power at the time, according to Neil Sheehan, a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Plant operators initiated a manual “scram,” which “involves the control room operators inserting all of the control rods into the reactor core to halt the fissioning process,” according to Sheehan.
The condenser uses water from the bay to cool and convert into water the steam that was produced in the reactor and then used to spin the turbine to generate electricity, Sheehan said. The condenser operates in a vacuum to maximize efficiency, he said.
NRC inspectors at the plant “did not identify any safety concerns or performance issues,” Sheehan said. “They will follow the company’s efforts to troubleshoot the cause of the loss of condenser vacuum and any corrective actions.”
Gabriel Thompson spent a summer working at an Alabama poultry plant, where he observed the hidden health and safety crisis poultry workers face. In this week’s issue of The Nation, Thompson reports on the widespread dangers poultry workers face, and the reason things are about to get a whole lot worse:
We were about to put our hands through a whole new type of hurt. I was soon tearing through more than 7,000 chicken breasts each night (I worked the graveyard shift), while nearby workers sliced up countless birds with knives and scissors. The massive plant was capable of killing and processing nearly 1.5 million birds a week, and the pace was as relentless as such numbers suggest. We often didn’t even have time to wipe bits of chicken flesh from our faces, and I took to popping ibuprofen during breaks to quell the swelling in my hands.
One (worker) was unable to hold a glass of water; another had three surgeries on her wrists; a third had discovered, after a visit to the doctor, that her thumb joint had almost disappeared after twelve years of line work. She told me her doctor had taken a vein from her leg and wrapped it around her thumb in an attempt to replace the missing cartilage. “Everyone on the line had hand problems,” she said.
When the government set the maximum line speed at poultry plants—currently it’s ninety-one birds a minute—it failed to take worker safety into consideration. Instead, the limit was determined by the US Department of Agriculture, based on food safety concerns. And here’s something even worse: in January the USDA proposed a new method for poultry inspection that would allow plants to run lines at 175 birds a minute. That’s nearly double the current limit.
Read the entire story here.