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Welcome to Armageddon Online - Disaster News, Future Scenarios, Preparedness and Survival


Bee catastrophe : The world may be on the brink of biological disaster
The News - Current Events
May 02, 2010
bees dying off economy
Disturbing evidence that honeybees are in terminal decline has emerged from the United States where, for the fourth year in a row, more than a third of colonies have failed to survive the winter.

The decline of the country's estimated 2.4 million beehives began in 2006, when a phenomenon dubbed colony collapse disorder (CCD) led to the disappearance of hundreds of thousands of colonies. Since then more than three million colonies in the US and billions of honeybees worldwide have died and scientists are no nearer to knowing what is causing the catastrophic fall in numbers.

The number of managed honeybee colonies in the US fell by 33.8% last winter, according to the annual survey by the Apiary Inspectors of America and the US government's Agricultural Research Service (ARS). The collapse in the global honeybee population is a major threat to crops. It is estimated that a third of everything we eat depends upon honeybee pollination, which means that bees contribute some £26bn to the global economy.

Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick Forecast Maps
The News - Current Events
May 02, 2010
BP's chairman defended his company's safety record and said Sunday that "a failed piece of equipment" was to blame for a massive oil spill along the Gulf Coast, where President Barack Obama was headed for a firsthand update on the slick creeping toward American shores
 May 2nd
gulf of mexico oil path
 May 3rd
gulf of mexico oil slick path
 May 4th
gulf of mexico oil spill path forecast
Tennessee Flooding leaves 5 dead
The News - Natural Disasters
May 02, 2010
tennessee flooding 2010
At least five people died and hundreds were being evacuated Saturday as heavy rains pounded Tennessee, causing widespread flooding across the state. The forecast called for more rain through the weekend.

The five deaths were storm related, but the exact causes were not yet known, Jeremy Heidt, spokesman for the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, said Saturday evening. Hundreds of homes had been evacuated and shelters were being opened across the state for people stranded due to flooded roads. Heidt said crews were called out for swift-water rescues from Nashville to Memphis.

"It's so widespread, it's a very serious concern," he said. The deaths were in reported in Stewart, Davidson, Williamson and Carroll counties, he said. The southwestern part of the state was extremely hard hit, with several Memphis-area streets declared impassable. Memphis received 10 inches or more of rain during the day and officials were warning that 4 to 8 more inches could fall overnight and into Sunday.

Oil spill disaster is 'out of control'
The News - Climate-Environment
May 02, 2010

President Barack Obama will today visit the Gulf of Mexico coastline threatened by the giant oil spill, as experts warn that the spill from a ruptured oil rig might be growing five times faster than previously estimated.

The oil is gushing from BP's sunken Deepwater Horizon rig at 25,000 barrels a day and could reach 50,000 barrels a day, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Earlier estimates had put the leak at 5,000 barrels a day.

Professor Ian MacDonald, an ocean specialist at Florida State University, said the new estimate suggested that the leak had already spread 9 million gallons of heavy crude oil across the Gulf. This compares with 11 million that leaked from the Exxon Valdez tanker when it hit a reef off Alaska in 1989.

Oil hits Louisiana coast, could reach Florida by Sunday
The News - Climate-Environment
May 02, 2010
An oil spill that threatened to eclipse even the Exxon Valdez disaster spread out of control with a faint sheen washing ashore along the Gulf Coast on Thursday night as fishermen rushed to scoop up shrimp and crews spread floating barriers around marshes.

The spill was bigger than imagined - five times more than first estimated — and closer. Faint fingers of oily sheen were reaching the Mississippi River delta, lapping at the Louisiana shoreline in long, thin lines. "It is of grave concern," said David Kennedy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "I am frightened. This is a very, very big thing. And the efforts that are going to be required to do anything about it, especially if it continues on, are just mind-boggling."

The slick could become the nation's worst environmental disaster in decades, threatening hundreds of species of fish, birds and other wildlife. The spill, caused by an explosion on April 20, is estimated to be leaking as many as 210,000 gallons of crude a day. It could continue for weeks.

Worse and Worse? Surface area of gulf oil spill has tripled
The News - Climate-Environment
May 01, 2010
oil spill getting worse
The surface area of a catastrophic Gulf of Mexico oil spill quickly tripled in size amid growing fears among experts that the slick could become vastly more devastating than it seemed just two days ago.

Frustrated fishermen eager to help contain the spill from a ruptured underwater well had to keep their boats idle Saturday as another day of rough seas kept crews away from the slick, and President Barack Obama planned a Sunday trip to the Gulf Coast.

Documents also emerged showing BP downplayed the possibility of a catastrophic accident at the offshore rig that exploded. [ YAHOO NEWS ]

Earthquakes, Global Warming, and Bad Journalism
The News - Current Events
May 01, 2010
earth isnt mad
Let's get something straight: Earth isn't mad at us. The string of devastating earthquakes that has plagued the planet through the first part of 2010 is just bad tectonic luck. And the small volcanic eruption in Iceland that made big headlines was equally random.

The is no connection whatsoever between them, except for the fact that they occurred in the same year on the same planet. A planet inhabited by at least one person - respected science journalist and author Alan Weisman - who wants to shout "Doomsday is Upon Us!" From the nearest media mountaintop.

Last Friday, Weisman wrote an opinion piece for CNN.com entitled, "Is the Earth Striking Back?". In it, he writes about the dangers of human-induced climate change, and connects it to the recent spate of natural disasters:

Yet something else is lately worrying geologists: the likelihood that the Earth's crust, relieved of so much formidable weight of [glacier] ice borne for many thousands of years, has begun to stretch and rebound.

As it does, a volcano awakens in Iceland (with another, larger and adjacent to still-erupting Eyjafjallajokull, threatening to detonate next). The Earth shudders in Haiti. Then Chile. Then western China. Mexicali-Calexico. The Solomon Islands. Spain. New Guinea. And those are just the big ones, 6+ on the Richter scale, and just in 2010. And it's only April.

Melting glaciers caused the earthquake in Haiti? Chile? Mexico??? No, no and no. And "no" to all the other quakes, and the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull, too. There is no evidence that any of them were affected in any way by global warming (for a more in-depth discussion of the climate-volcano connection, see here and here).

If The World's Population Were Reduced To 100
The News - Current Events
May 01, 2010

Must see : http://www.cracktwo.com/2010/05/if-worlds-population-were-reduced-to.html - If you were to break the World population down to just 100 people, this scrolling picture series will make you appreciate what you have all that much more.

Oil Spill : "Potential mega-disaster"
The News - Climate-Environment
May 01, 2010

The cord-grass marshes of south Louisiana are nurseries for baby shrimp, stalking grounds for blue crabs, and barriers that slow down waves before they bite off more of the mainland. On Friday, they were becoming defenseless sponges for sticky, dark oil.

The locals said the foul-smelling mass had the goopy look of chocolate mousse. The scientists said the enormous slick had the potential to bring environmental ruin to this treasured coastline.

The oil is spilling out of the seafloor at 5,000 barrels a day, maybe much more, from a well about 50 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico, and it could soon eclipse the volume of the infamous Exxon Valdez spill in 1989. That disaster spilled oil onto rocky Alaskan beaches, but it is at least possible to wash oil off a rock. In the Gulf, the oil is floating into wetlands that could hold on to its toxins for years. And, scientists said, the spill's damage could be magnified by its awful timing.

Among the animals that live along the Gulf Coast, this is the time for hatching and rearing: Species as diverse as pelicans, shrimp and alligators are all reproducing, or preparing to. That could bring sensitive young animals in contact with toxic oil or cause their parents to plunge into oily waters looking for food.

Already, rescuers from Delaware were using Dawn blue dish soap to clean the first bird found to be "oiled" in the disaster, the Associated Press reported. The bird, a young northern gannet, had been turned from white to black."I can't imagine we're not going to have some mass casualties" among these birds, said Michael Parr of the American Bird Conservancy. "It's got to be about the worst time right now" for an oil spill to hit.

One environmentalist said the scenario created "a potential mega-disaster." Along the Gulf, they were waiting for it with a dread usually devoted to hurricanes.

'Unprecedented' tornado study
The News - Natural Disasters
April 30, 2010
massive tornado study

An international team of researchers are embarking on what has been described as the most ambitious tornado study in history.

An array of instruments will be deployed across the US Great Plains, where violent twisters are more common than anywhere else on the planet. It is hoped that the data gathered will improve tornado warnings and forecasts. More than 100 scientists will be involved in the study, which will continue until the middle of June.

"Tornadoes rank among the most destructive weather events on Earth," said Dr David Dowell, one of the project's principal investigators and a scientist for the US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

"It is imperative that we learn more about how they develop and why some are so powerful. "

Gulf Coast threat: "This has got all the characteristics of a Category 5 hurricane"
The News - Climate-Environment
April 30, 2010
oil slick satellite 2010

What makes an oil spill really bad? Most of the ingredients for it are now blending in the Gulf of Mexico. Experts tick off the essentials:

  • A relentless flow of oil from under the sea
  • Ttype of crude that mixes easily with water
  • A resultant gooey mixture that is hard to burn and even harder to clean
  •  Water that's home to vulnerable spawning grounds for new life
  • Coastline with difficult-to-scrub marshlands.

Gulf Coast experts have always talked about "the potential for a bad one," said Wes Tunnell, coastal ecology and oil spill expert at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. "And this is the bad one. This is just a biggie that finally happened." It hasn't quite become a total disaster yet. But it's hard to imagine it not being devastating, said Ed Overton, who heads a federal chemical hazard assessment team for oil spills. The Louisiana State University professor has been testing samples of the spilled crude. He compared what's brewing to another all-too-familiar Gulf Coast threat: "This has got all the characteristics of a Category 5 hurricane."

If conditions don't change quickly, devastation of the highest magnitude is headed for somewhere along the coast, said Overton, who works with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Scientists to hit the road for tornado research
The News - Natural Disasters
April 30, 2010
More than 100 scientists, students and others are preparing to leave Saturday in search of tornadoes.

They are participating in this year's version of the Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment, or VORTEX2, and hoping to have more twisters to examine than last year, when they traveled about 10,000 miles over a months time, and the weather yielded only a single tornado to study.

The project starts Saturday and continues through June 15. The goal is to learn more about how, when and why tornadoes form. [ USA Today ]

New California seismic map - Updated from 1994
The News - Natural Disasters
April 29, 2010
california seismic map new
California geology officials have released an updated state seismic activity map that they hope will improve earthquake preparedness and construction decisions.

The map, which had not been updated since 1994, includes more than 50 surface fault lines discovered over the last two decades and compiled in a painstaking process.

The map was unveiled Tuesday at The Tech Museum in San Jose as the California Geological Survey celebrated its 150th anniversary. The Geological Survey also presented an updated version of a second map that identifies the makeup of rock and soil. [ MSNBC NEWS ] - [ 2010 Geological map California ]

Asteroid coated with ice suggests ingredients for life came from space
The News - Science-Astronomy
April 29, 2010
asteroid impact life on earth
Astronomers have detected a coating of ice and organic chemicals on one of the largest asteroids in the solar system.

The space rock, called 24 Themis, is roughly the size of Sicily and orbits the sun in the main belt of asteroids between Mars and Jupiter, more than 300 million kilometres from Earth.

The discovery supports the idea that asteroids may have brought plentiful supplies of water and organic material to Earth in the distant past and so set the stage for the emergence of life.

Two independent groups confirmed the composition of the asteroid's surface after observing the 200km-wide rock using Nasa's Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) which sits on the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii.

Analysis of infrared light glinting off the surface of the asteroid revealed that some wavelengths were being absorbed by water molecules. Further investigation suggested complex organic molecules were also present. The findings are reported in two papers in the journal Nature.

Study to measure impact of volcanic ash on marine life
The News - Natural Disasters
April 29, 2010
volcano ash ocean

Scientists are looking at what impact volcanic ash from the recent eruption in Iceland has had on marine biology.

A team of researchers will spend a month at sea, studying a region of water in the North-East Atlantic.

They say the information will provide "unique data" on how the dust affects the chemistry and biology of seawater.

The eruption under a glacier in south-west Iceland created a vast ash cloud that spread across northern Europe.

"It is a very interesting and unique situation that we find ourselves in," said Eric Achterberg from the UK's National Oceanography Centre, which is leading the study.

"It will provide an angle that we did not expect."[ BBC NEWS ]

Earth could be at risk of an invasion by aliens living in 'massive ships'
The News - Weird-Strange
April 26, 2010
stephen hawking alien invasion
Stephen Hawking has revealed he strongly believes in aliens and warned that Earth could be at risk from an invasion .

In a documentary series, the renowned astrophysicist argued that it is 'perfectly rational' to assume intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe.

And in an extraordinary series of assertions, he said Earth might be at risk from what he imagines to be 'massive ships' which could try to colonize our planet and plunder our resources.

12 Twisted Tornado Facts
The News - Natural Disasters
April 26, 2010
Despite improved warnings and forecasts over the past few decades, tornadoes still cause many deaths each year. To learn a little more about these violent storms, here are 12 facts that illustrate how destructive tornadoes can be, where they can occur and how to prepare for them.
The ash cloud that never was
The News - Natural Disasters
April 25, 2010

The Mail on Sunday can today reveal the full extent of the shambles behind the great airspace shutdown that cost the airlines £1.3 billion and left 150,000 Britons stranded - all for a supposed volcanic ash cloud that for most of the five-day flights ban was so thin it was invisible.

As the satellite images of the so-called 'aerosol index' published for the first time, right, demonstrate, the sky above Britain was totally clear of ash from Iceland's Eyjafjallajoekull volcano. [ DAILY MAIL UK ]

Donít talk to aliens, warns Stephen Hawking
The News - Weird-Strange
April 25, 2010
stephen hawking aliens
THE aliens are out there and Earth had better watch out, at least according to Stephen Hawking. He has suggested that extraterrestrials are almost certain to exist - but that instead of seeking them out, humanity should be doing all it that can to avoid any contact.

The suggestions come in a new documentary series in which Hawking, one of the world’s leading scientists, will set out his latest thinking on some of the universe’s greatest mysteries.

Alien life, he will suggest, is almost certain to exist in many other parts of the universe: not just in planets, but perhaps in the centre of stars or even floating in interplanetary space.

Hawking’s logic on aliens is, for him, unusually simple. The universe, he points out, has 100 billion galaxies, each containing hundreds of millions of stars. In such a big place, Earth is unlikely to be the only planet where life has evolved. [ TIMES ONLINE ]

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