I just stumbled across this New Scientist story from a year ago (and presumably the situation hasn’t improved…)
European nuclear power plants ill-set for disaster
It’s just as well earthquakes and tsunamis are comparatively rare in Europe, because the continent’s nuclear power plants are ill-equipped to cope with them, a report has revealed. Commissioned in the wake of the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan following an earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011, the investigation by the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group used “stress tests” to assess the readiness of Europe’s reactors for similar events.
Of 145 reactors checked, 121 had no or inadequate seismic instruments to detect earthquakes, and 32 lacked venting systems to prevent pressure build-ups in reactor vessels if the primary cooling system fails. Without these systems, reactors can explode and release radioactive pollution, as happened at Fukushima. Some 81 reactors did not have adequate equipment available …
Pakistan’s recent deadly 7.8 magnitude earthquake had a surprising twist – an entire island rose out of the ocean.
I think it looks bigger in the photo than it really is, because it is only 600 meters from the shoreline:
The earthquake was so powerful that it caused the seabed to rise and create a small, mountain-like island about 600 metres off Pakistan’s Gwadar coastline in the Arabian Sea. [ABC Australia]
“It’s an oval shaped island which is about 250ft to 300ft (76-91m) in length, and about 60 to 70ft above the water,” he said. It has a rough surface, much of which is muddy and some parts are mostly made up of fine- to coarse-grained sand. [BBC]
So if an island can come into rapid existence, presumably one can disappear just as easily, like Atlantis allegedly did.
SHTF has been a common name for a global disaster or cataclysm, but the reality is that in many parts of the world it is our own faeces that helps feed us.
Check out these snippets from an article in the South China Morning Post:
You produce some 500 litres of urine and 50kg of faeces a year. Besides water and organic carbon, your annual output contains about 10kg of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium compounds, the three main nutrients plants need to grow – and, helpfully, in roughly the right proportions.
Scale that up and the world’s population excretes 70 million tonnes of nutrients annually. Applied to fields, this could replace almost 40 per cent of the 176 million tonnes of nutrients in chemical fertilisers used by the world’s farmers in 2011.
In India, despite laws banning the practice, an estimated one million people, mostly women and girls from lower castes, are still paid …
Well, it will be the weakest solar cycle in more than 50 years if it doesn’t pull off a double peak. Look at this graph to see how weak it has been compared to the last solar maximum:
Solar cycles vary between 10 and 13 years, so cycle 24 should definitely be peaking right now. The previous peaks of 1989 and 2001 were doubles. So, unless we have a lopsided double-peak, it is either a weak double-peak or it has already peaked and that’s all folks.
I’m certainly not disappointed, but the only three 2012 doom’n’gloom experts who had some degree of respectability (myself, Geryl and Joesph) all nominated the Sun as the most likely cause of harm.
I opened this news item with my skeptical hat on, given that there are so many parameters that could be used. However, it looks pretty legit*. Climate change (regardless of what is causing it) means more violence – yet another reason to be a prepper and/or shift away from highly populated areas.
The research, which was published in Science, examined 60 previous studies from all major regions of the globe. The results suggest that changes such as drought, flood and high temperatures strongly correlate with spikes in conflict.
Researchers noted examples including increased domestic violence in India and Australia, assaults and murders in the United States and Tanzania, ethnic violence in Europe and South Asia, land invasions in Brazil, police violence in the Netherlands and civil conflicts throughout the tropics.
The biggest culprit: higher temperatures. Out of 27 modern societies studied, all 27 showed a positive relationship between higher temperatures and violence.
[Source: Huff …
Gut instinct tells me that cosmic rays are an important factor in human evolution, and that humans have evolved much more recently than scientists can ascertain (they basically only have bones to look at, whereas we are much more than just bones). But it’s not just cosmic rays, but rather a collection of factors that might occur at the same time during and after a global cataclysm:
Cosmic Rays – they certainly cause genetic mutations in humans, and a mass influx of cosmic rays could accelerate mutations
The problem with human genetic mutations is that they are random. And if everyone has different mutations, that won’t lead to evolution. If everyone mutated in similar ways, then that would be different.
Until now I figured that our DNA repair mechanisms were the solution. I won’t go into it deeply here, but there is evidence that our DNA not only has the ability to repair damage, …
What I love about archaeology is that new things are being unearthed all the time. And when you are someone like me who makes crazy declarations that “pyramids are bunkers”, then each time a new subterranean chamber is opened, it could contain evidence that supports my position.
A small robot has discovered three possible burial chambers under a temple in Mexico’s pre-Hispanic city of Teotihuacan, a find that may reveal secrets about funeral rituals in the ancient site.
The robot, dubbed Tlaloc II-TC, located the chambers in the last section of a 2,000-year-old tunnel tucked under the Temple of the Feathered Snake, surprising archeologists who had expected to find just one room.
The National Anthropology and History Institute said the find could shed light on the burial rituals of the rulers of Teotihuacan, which is some 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Mexico City.
The mystery-filled ancient city is known for its majestic pyramids of …
For a long time Tunguska has been a mystery – was in a comet or a meteorite or something else (Tesla anyone?).
To my knowledge, this is the first time the mystery has been solved using facts rather than speculation:
An icy comet would evaporate on impact, which could explain the lack of any observable evidence. But a study in the journal Planetary and Space Science provides, for the first time, evidence that the impact was not caused by a comet. Researchers collected microscopic fragments recovered from a layer of partially decayed vegetation (peat) that dates from that extraordinary summer.
Victor Kvasnytsya from the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and his colleagues used the latest imaging and spectroscopy techniques to identify aggregates of carbon minerals—diamond, lonsdaleite, and graphite. Lonsdaleite in particular is known to form when carbon-rich material is suddenly exposed to a shock wave created by an explosion, such as that …
Incredibly, ancient cities are still being discovered, with large & intact buildings. Some jungles really are extremely impenetrable! Two weeks ago one was found in Cambodia, and now a Mayan city has been located in Mexico:
The city was recently spotted in aerial photographs that had been snapped some 15 years ago by the National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity. A team of archeologists then spent about three weeks cutting a 10-mile path into the opaque jungle to reach the site marked on their aerial map.
So far, the archeologists have found in the 54-acre stretch some 15 pyramids, one of which is about 75 feet tall, as well as ball courts that indicate the city was likely a prominent one in the empire.
Every pyramid and structure provides new possibilities for writing to be discovered, and perhaps clues to why the Long Count calendar was set to end last …
For years now I have been saying that it is unlikely that an ancient culture could have predicted a natural event (I highlighted the return of a long period comet or a massive solar storm) accurate to a day or even a week.
My (unique) take on the 2012 meme was that Dec 21 was chosen by the ancient Maya (or a prior culture) symbolically, because as the winter solstice it is the darkest day of the year. Consequently I determined that 6 months either side of that date was the time frame in which any event they predicted was most likely to happen.
That year has just ended, and obviously nothing happened.
Big grin, because nobody want any doom event to occur.
However, terrible events (natural and man-made) have occurred in the past and will again, and the sane response is to be prepared.
2012 has turned me into a prepper. When this journey …
Robert Vicino, CEO of The Vivos Group, received a lot of media attention leading up to 2012 – promoting the idea of buying a berth in a bunker. His plans were grand, and relied on hundreds of people providing up-front money. Although many reasons were cited, my guess is that the Barstow missile silo was never purchased because too few people had paid a deposit.
While I am sure he would get customers if the facility was already built, it is hard to ask people to believe in what would be the first commercial bunker of such a scale.
Still, Vivos now has plans for a new silo bunker in Kansas:
Dubbed the Vivos Survival Shelter & Resort, it’s hoped the complex will accommodate more than 5,000 people “for a minimum of one year of autonomous survival,” be able to store DNA and gamete cells of thousands frozen within a series of cryovaults, …
When Bruce Willis nuked an asteroid in Armageddon, scientists told us that we didn’t have nuclear weapons powerful enough to pull off such a feat. And if the asteroid still struck Earth, but in smaller pieces, the damage might have been worse.
The best recent solutions involve getting to the asteroid early enough to nudge it slightly – meaning it would miss Earth by a long way once it got here.
However, a new nuclear solution has made the news:
Bong Wie, director of the Asteroid Deflection Research Centre in Iowa, described the system at the International Space Development Conference in California last week, in which he explained that an anti-asteroid spacecraft would carry a nuclear warhead to destroy asteroids that were on a collision course with the planet Earth.
Wie added that the two-section spacecraft would consist of a kinetic energy impactor that would break off to blast a crater in the asteroid. …
After numerous serious and blockbuster films about the apocalypse, some of which were certainly a result of the 2012 meme, here come the comedies. Of course they were probably written and filmed prior to last December, but it wasn’t unusual to expect the Mayan doomsday to be a flop. And now that it has flopped, it is time to let out a sigh of relief and laugh a little.
Last year we had Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, and now there are three more on the horizon:
This Is The End opens this week, and has the stars: James Franco, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen. Six Hollywood friends survive and philosophize, read a review that gives it high marks. I can’t see it being a hit – because without CGI and action and romances etc, where’s the appeal?
Rapture-Palooza was released last week, but perhaps most people will see it …
Often when I am discussing killer solar storms with people, they’ll say something like I’m going to die one day anyway, so, whatever. It’s the opposite attitude of a prepper. But how do preppers react to the concept of something mundane killing them? I guess some strive to stay alive no matter what the culprit. But others might not find a fight against heart disease exciting enough?
Survival Life have made a nice list of all the non-catastrophic ways of dying, and the associated odds. I’ve added how to beat the odds…
Get Heart Disease (diet and exercise)
1 in 6
Get Cancer (diet and exercise)
1 in 7
Have a Stroke (diet and exercise)
1 in 29
Die in a motor vehicle incident (walk)
1 in 98
Die from Intentional self-harm (choose not to)
1 in 109
Unintentional poisoning by and exposure to noxious substances (I think these odds are wrong?)
1 in 126
Falls (take more …
Of the many major concerns I have with a general lack of preparedness in society, two stand out that can be jointly fixed:
Lack of government preparedness – especially in the more major scenarios like the next Carrington Event
Just in time delivery to stores and supermarkets, as well as just in time manufacturing – where very little inventory exists
Providing food for the starving masses is quite achievable if the government stores the items that preppers know are durable and cheap. Tinned beans and rice for example. But you can’t really trust a government that doesn’t really care about preparing to rotate supplies.
What if all the government needed to provide was secure warehouses? No purchases, no transport costs, no quality control, no rotating…
1. Identify the types of products our country would need a lot of in a massive catastrophe2. Create laws that stipulate they are essential supplies
3. Require manufacturers to deliver the …