Showing posts with label Disaster. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Disaster. Show all posts

May 21, 2019

Nightmares All Night

Been watching the HBO miniseries on the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster. 

HBO has done an excellent job with showing what happened. 

Maybe too good...I was up with nightmares all night. 

Last night's episode 3 showed in gory detail the initial causalities from the facility and first responders suffering with acute radiation syndrome, and was completely horrifying. 

In the end, the people were in unimaginable pain and were left as mounds of decomposing flesh from the cellular degradation rather than recognizable human beings.  

(The photo here was just a precursor to that end state.)

The ultimate death toll has been estimated at between 10,000 and more than 100,000. 

The effects of the the radiation was described in the show as like trillions of bullets penetrating everything it comes in contact with for the next 50,000 years.

So far we've had Chernobyl (1986) and Fukushima (2012)...OMG, let's hope and pray that we don't have any others, because this was truly looking at hell on earth. ;-)

(Source Photo: Official Trailer here)
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October 14, 2017

We Broke The Weather

So my friend who lives in FL and recently experienced the crazy hurricanes down there said something very interesting to me. 

This was during the series of numerous recent hurricanes in just a few weeks period of time, including Harvey, IRMA, and Maria that devastated Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.

He said to me:
"We broke the weather!"

And after decades of warning about the impact of global warming--maybe he is right.

This last September was the most active month for Atlantic hurricanes ever on record. 

Further, we are seeing simultaneously the deadliest wildfires raging in California in its history. 

This only 13 years after the deadliest Tsunami from the Indian Ocean in recorded times killing about a quarter million people!

And only 28 years after the deadliest Tornado occurred in Bangladesh in 1989 that killed 1,300 people.

All these as if the increasing threats of nukes and other weapons of mass destruction and cyberattack weren't enough to keep you up at night.

As we get more sophisticated and technologically dependent, incredible manmade and natural disasters are threatening us superbig time. 

And over and over again, it is being reported that a well-placed EMP explosion over the United States would kill 90% of the population within a year--talk about a extinction level event!

As we experience temperatures15 degree above normal this fall, even the trees are behaving abnormally as the leaves are not changing to colors of yellows and oranges and reds and purples that we expect and enjoy. 

Nature is messed up by our abuse of the planet and nurture is messed up by megalomaniacs with the weapons to do us in. 

If we don't correct the dangerous path we are on polluting our planet and over-relying on technology then soon we could be turning horrible colors even if the leaves just fall to the ground or turn to ash. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 28, 2017

At The Doorstep...WMD

With a new threat again of a chemical weapons attack in Syria...

The U.S. is sending clear warnings to the Assad regime--Don't do it!

Generally, the threat of using weapons of mass destruction--chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear--have become all too blase!

- Syria uses chemical weapons on its own people. 

- Iraq used chemical weapons on Iran and the Kurds

- Terrorists used chemical weapons in Japan and have threatened similar in UK

- Russia threatens use of nukes over Crimea or in a conflict with NATO.

- North Korea threatens preemptive nuclear strike on the U.S. 

- Iran has threatened attacks on Israel over nukes.

- Biological weapons such as Anthrax have been used against the U.S. and bioterror has been threatened in India

This list is far from comprehensive--and how very commonplace this is becoming is exactly the problem!

It is one thing (already scary bad) to have weapons that can do the unthinkable, and it is quite another to actually use or threaten to use them in such blase fashion like taking out the garbage or something!

I would add that these days, we also need to add cyber attacks and EMPs to the threats of mass casualty and destructive events. 

If we don't ensure that cooler and more stable heads prevail at the notorious red buttons around the world, then the risk of someone eventually doing something very stupid and dangerous to millions--or even billions--of lives is no longer just in the realm of science fiction anymore, but becomes so very ominous and real a disastrous possibility. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 25, 2017

The Trouble With Our Security

So the problem with our security is that we value our openness more than we do our security.

And perhaps, we fear war more than we desire true peace. 

This was a photo from Summer 2015 when the Pope was in DC.

And despite a "massive" security apparatus set up to protect the Pope, the "largest security operation in U.S. history"...


Check out this photo of a colleague who was able to literally run up to the Fiat car where you can see the Pope waving from. 

Our security is full of holes--if this guy had a gun, molotov cocktail, or bomb then the top Christian leader in the world could've been taken out, just across the street from the U.S. State Department. 

As a democracy, we value openness and freedom to say what we want, do what we want, protest what we want, carry guns as we want, but when is open too open?

Again, whether it comes to cybersecurity or physical security, unless we start to get serious about what massive and large security really means, it is just a matter of time before something really terrible happens, G-d forbid. 

We've got to do a better job balancing security and openness. 

No one should be getting right up to the Pope's car like this!

No one should be smashing windows, burning cars, and attacking police and pedestrians in Washington, DC or anywhere.  

No one should be buzzing our battleships and jets!

No one should be hacking into our sensitive cyber systems, taking down and crippling them and stealing our secrets!

No one should be recruiting, plotting, and carrying out increasing and devastating terrorist attacks right under our noses in this country or elsewhere. 

No one should be using chemical weapons around our red lines in population centers or in airports!

No one (Iran, North Korea, Russia) should be developing, testing, and aiming nuclear ballistic missiles at the West!

War is a last resort, but this is not peace.

It is time to rethink our security posture...it is past time. ;-)

(Source Photo: A Colleague)
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February 23, 2017

No Smartphone, No Life

So we are utterly and helplessly dependent on our smartphones and mobile communications.

If our enemies strike our communications networks, we are as good as dead. 

Can you imagine the panic and chaos that would ensue?

Cut off from family, friends, and colleagues.

Unable to get unto the Internet!

No eCommerce. 

No online Banking. 

No social networking.

No easily and readily available information.

No online music, videos, or gaming.


No online (fake) news. 

As you see in the photo, under the smashed smartphone...it says, "Disaster"!

We wouldn't know what to do with ourselves. 

And we wouldn't know how to conduct ourselves by ourself. 

We are completely dependent on mobile communications and connectivity to each other.

Without, we wither and die. 

And G-d created the marvels of the Heaven and Earth in 6 days. 

But we have become so tethered and dependent on our technology, we are toast in just a split second. 

If we don't get serious about cybersecurity, and fast, there is going to be hell on Earth to pay. 

And not a single shot needs to be fired. ;-)

(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)
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February 10, 2016

Hate, Discrimination, and Violence...But We're One

As we live day-to-day in near endless and escalating cycles of hate, discrimination and violence along national, religious, racial, gender and other divides...

It is nice and refreshing to see someone wearing a t-shirt this morning that says:

"One World, One Dream"

I don't know what the Asian characters above it say...but hopefully, it's more hopefullness!

Unfortunately, without a common enemy--whether disasters, plague or alien invasion--what divides us normally seems stronger than what holds us together.

Hence, routine murders, maimings, abductions, rapes, enslavement, and harrassment of one neighbor against the other. 

We behave like little children fighting for the toys in the sandbox except with consequences that can elevate all the way to genocide or WMD. 

As we squabble with each other, perhaps there are moments when we can have the self-awareness and strength of character to actually look in the mirror with some shame for how low we'll stoop to get our share in a world of divine comedy. 

Wouldn't it be nice for humanity to change ways and instead have compassion on each other (children of G-d), share the toys, and end the miserable hate. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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February 17, 2014

Alert, Alert, And More Alerts

No this is not an alert, but some strategic thinking about alerts. 

As a kid, we get our first alerts usually from the fire alarm going off in school and practicing the buddy system and safely evacuating. 

As adults, we are used to get so many types of alerts:

- Homeland Security threat alerts
- Breaking news alerts
- Emergency/Disaster alerts
- Severe weather alerts
- Smog alerts
- Transportation delay alerts
- Accident alerts
- Fraud alerts
- Economic and financial alerts
- Amber missing child alerts
- Internet security alerts
- Power loss alerts
- Home or business intruder alerts
- Fire alerts
- Carbon Monoxide alerts
- Medical/health alerts
- Chemical spill alerts
- Product safety or recall alerts
- Unsafe drinking water alerts
- Active shooter alerts
- Work closure alerts
- Parking garage alerts
- Dangerous marine life alerts
- Dangerous current or undertow alerts
- Air raid siren alerts
- Solar eclipse alerts
- Meteorite or falling space debris alerts
- Special sale or promotional event alerts

With the arrival of highly successful, mass social media applications like Twitter, we have alerts aggregated for us and listed chronologically as things are happening real-time. 

The brilliance of the current Twitter-type alerting is that we can sign up to follow whatever alerts we are interested in and then have a streaming feed of them.  

The alerts are short--up to 140 characters--so you can quickly see the essence of what is happening or ignore what is irrelevant to you. 

When more space is needed to explain the details behind an alert, typically a (shortened) URL is included, which if you click on it takes you to a more in depth explanation of the event or item. 

So alerts are a terrific balance between short, attention grabbing headlines and links to more detail, as needed. 

What is also great about the current alerting mechanism is that you can provide concise alert information, including:

- Message source (for ensuring reliability)
- Guidance (for providing immediate instruction on response). 
- Hazard (for specifying the type of incident)
- Location (for identifying geographic or mapping locality)
- Date/time (for implications as to its currency)
- Importance (for determining severity such as catastrophic, critical, etc.)

While we remain ever, hyper-vigilant, we need to be careful not to become anxiety-ridden, or at some point, simply learn to tune it all out, so we can actually live life and get stuff done.

It's good to know what's going on out there, but can too much information ever become a bad thing? ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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