December 12, 2012

Disaster History, Brought to You By Google

The project, “Memories for the Future,” began with a team from Google Streetview compiling a set of before-and-after panoramas of the region’s street network. Now, with demolition imminent, Google has begun constructing three-dimensional interior maps of dozens of public buildings as well. Like Streetview, they are freely navigable.

[…] The scenes are strange, sad, sometimes beautiful. In Rikuzentataka’s Municipal Kesen Elementary School, flooded by a surge in the Kesen River, children’s toys lie scattered in the rubble. On the first floor of the Rikizentakata City Office, where the carcass of a silver car has come to rest, a purple vase sits boldly on a ledge.

Read more. [Images: GoogleMaps]

12:54pm
  
Filed under: Google Japan Disaster 
October 31, 2012

A Visual History of New York City’s Fictional Destruction

This week, Hurricane Sandy struck New York to become one of the city’s most devastating natural disasters on record. Officials from both energy monolith Con Edison and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority have called it “the worst” in their respective 189- and 108-year histories. I feel incredibly lucky to have survived with virtually no damage and no power loss, but thousands of people across the river in Manhattan, including many friends, haven’t been so fortunate. How jarring it is to see this magnificent city, always so proudly imbued with its own myth, brought uncomfortably close to the scenes and landscapes we’re so used to seeing in apocalyptic fictions.

Read more. [Images: Louis Guglielmi, Mental Geography, 1938, Yale University Press]

October 30, 2012
No One Knows When New York’s Subway Will Reopen

As residents and officials survey the damage to New York City this morning, one thing is clear: it is the worst mass transit crisis in city history.
"The New York City subway system is 108 years old," MTA chairman Joseph J. Lhotasaidin a statement last night, “But it has never faced a disaster as devastating as what we experienced last night.” Seven subway tunnels were inundated, Lhota said. Photos showed flooding in stations from Bay Ridge, at the foot of Brooklyn, toHarlem, in Upper Manhattan. The PATH station connecting Lower Manhattan to New Jersey alsoflooded, Kubrick-style, as did the World Trade Center construction site.
According to New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor, Lhota told CBS the situation was worse than the worst case scenario the MTA had envisioned. There have been rumors the system could be down for a week, but the MTA has refused to speculate about a timeline.

Read more. [Image: Reuters/Andrew Kelly]

No One Knows When New York’s Subway Will Reopen

As residents and officials survey the damage to New York City this morning, one thing is clear: it is the worst mass transit crisis in city history.

"The New York City subway system is 108 years old," MTA chairman Joseph J. Lhotasaidin a statement last night, “But it has never faced a disaster as devastating as what we experienced last night.” Seven subway tunnels were inundated, Lhota said. Photos showed flooding in stations from Bay Ridge, at the foot of Brooklyn, toHarlem, in Upper Manhattan. The PATH station connecting Lower Manhattan to New Jersey alsoflooded, Kubrick-style, as did the World Trade Center construction site.

According to New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor, Lhota told CBS the situation was worse than the worst case scenario the MTA had envisioned. There have been rumors the system could be down for a week, but the MTA has refused to speculate about a timeline.

Read more. [Image: Reuters/Andrew Kelly]

October 29, 2012

Give Thanks for Goretex: The Rain Gear of Yore

Are your feet wet? Perhaps you need some “rainy-day shoes from China-land.

[Images: Chronicling America, Library of Congress]

August 29, 2012

This Drought Is So Bad Salt Water Is Flowing Up the Mississippi, Threatening NOLA’s Water Supply

Due to the historic drought still searing the Midwest and taxing the heart of our agricultural economy, the Mississippi River is at its lowest flow rate in years. In Memphis,for instance, the river is 8.9 feet below baseline. While the low flow has been grounding barges andcreating pockets of quicksand, it is also allowing the Gulf of Mexico to flow nearly 90 miles upstream from the mouth of the Mississippi.

Why? Salt water is denser than fresh water, which means if you mix the two, the salt water sinks. The Gulf is salt water. The bottom of the Mississippi is lower than the surface of the Gulf. Following that gradient, the dense gulf waters actually flow up the Mississippi, crawling along the riverbed. Theoretically, the salt water can flow 350 miles from the mouth of the Mississippi, the point where the bottom of the river reaches an elevation higher than the surface of the Gulf. But the salty waters never makes it this far, as the downward flow of the Mississippi holds them back.

Read more. [Images: Amy Corps Report]

9:38am
  
Filed under: Drought Weather Disaster 
August 23, 2012

In Focus: Animals in the News

These images and many others are part of this roundup of animals in the news from recent weeks, seen from the perspectives of their human observers, companions, captors, and caretakers, part of an ongoing series on animals in the news.

See more. [Images: AP Photo/Sascha Schuermann, AP Photo/Police Hanover, Reuters/Yazen Homsy, Michal Cizek/AFP/Getty Images]

August 22, 2012

In Focus: Animals in the News 

It’s time once more for a look into the animal kingdom and our interactions with the countless other species that share our planet. Today’s photos include a WiFi-enabled donkey, a wayward badger, Slash holding a koala, and a farewell to Bao Bao, the world’s oldest male panda. These images and many others are part of this roundup of animals in the news from recent weeks, seen from the perspectives of their human observers, companions, captors, and caretakers, part of an ongoing series on animals in the news.

See more. [Images: Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann, John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images, Reuters/Vasily Fedosenko, AP Photo]

2:17pm
  
Filed under: Animals Photography News Disaster 
August 8, 2012

In Focus: Monsoon Rain Floods Manila 

The capital city of the Philippines has been drenched by heavy, deadly rainfall for 11 days now, beginning with the arrival of Typhoon Saola last week, leading to mudslides and extensive flooding. About 60 percent of Manila is currently flooded, and authorities are reporting 72 deaths so far. Nearly 850,000 remain stranded or displaced, as residents wait for a break in the downpour, predicted to begin on Thursday. 

See more. [Images: Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images, AP Photo/Aaron Favila, Jay Directo/AFP/Getty Images]

July 23, 2012
Writing the Rules for Smart Cities 

Being a smart city is not only for the developed world’s cities, to make it easier to find a place to park, however. Anil Menon, the Bangalore-based president of globalization and “smart and connected communities” for Cisco, says smart cities are really about averting catastrophe. The world’s urban population is expected to increase from 3.5 billion in 2010 to 6.2 billion in 2050, and almost all of this growth is expected to take place in less-developed countries. Technology helps those cities manage those huge increases in population, Menon says, with more efficient and less expensive provision of basic services such as water and sanitation.
Read more. [Image: Anthony Flint]

Writing the Rules for Smart Cities 

Being a smart city is not only for the developed world’s cities, to make it easier to find a place to park, however. Anil Menon, the Bangalore-based president of globalization and “smart and connected communities” for Cisco, says smart cities are really about averting catastrophe. The world’s urban population is expected to increase from 3.5 billion in 2010 to 6.2 billion in 2050, and almost all of this growth is expected to take place in less-developed countries. Technology helps those cities manage those huge increases in population, Menon says, with more efficient and less expensive provision of basic services such as water and sanitation.

Read more. [Image: Anthony Flint]

March 9, 2012

In Focus: Japan Earthquake, One Year Later

This Sunday, March 11, will mark the one-year anniversary of the horrific earthquake that struck northeastern Japan, spawning an incredibly destructive tsunami that crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. In the year that has passed, much has changed. Mountains of rubble have been cleared, but not fully disposed of yet. Nuclear power has fallen out of favor, and confidence in the government has been shaken. Japan mourns the confirmed deaths of more than 15,850 people, and still lists 3,287 as missing 12 months later. Questions remain about rebuilding villages, cleaning up the nuclear exclusion zone, and deciding the future of nuclear power in Japan. Collected here are recent images of those affected by the disaster, coping and moving on one year later.

See more.

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