Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries Tagged as 'natural disasters'

The Wisdom of Deer

February 14th, 2014 · No Comments

When the Indonesian government looks back upon its handling of Mount Kelud’s latest eruption, it may lament its failure to heed a clue from the animal kingdom. Two days before the volcano began to belch its noxious contents, the critters that inhabited its slopes seemed to know that something was up: “We received reports from […]

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Dodging Zeus

July 5th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Virtually every ancient mythological system included a deity who was fond of hurling lightning bolts at unfortunate humans. Concocting the notion of such violence-from-above certainly took little imagination on the folklorists’ parts, since lightning fatalities were commonplace in bygone times. In fact, as the chart above shows, it is not until quite recently that the […]

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Degrees of Fragility

March 11th, 2011 · No Comments

I was all set to end the week with a post about a particularly egregious patent-medicine fraud, but it somehow seems wrong in light of the catastrophe in Japan. We often forget how much our species is at the mercy of the planet, and how quickly everything we treasure can be snatched away. For the […]

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The Terrible Predictability of It All

January 13th, 2010 · 5 Comments

One of the most ghoulish-yet-wise sayings we’ve ever heard is “Earthquakes don’t kill people, buildings do.” (Or, a bit more accurately, “poorly constructed buildings do.”) So as soon as we heard news of Haiti’s latest natural catastrophe yesterday, we knew the death toll would be high. There is little chance that the nation’s relatively weak […]

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Dinosauring the Sandbag

March 24th, 2009 · 4 Comments

The humble sandbag remains mankind’s main line of defense against floods. Take the current situation in Fargo, N.D., where upwards of 10,000 Good Samaritans are furiously filling bags in order to combat the rising Red River. Working around the clock, the volunteers have so far managed to deploy about 70 percent of the requisite sandbags—seemingly […]

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