Catherine Hooper's Blog
China & the U.S. Power Grid
Tuesday, 25 November 2014 18:10

Last Thursday, while testifying before the House intelligence committee, Admiral Michael Rogers, director of the National Security Agency and head of U.S. Cyber Command, noted that China has the capability to shut down the U.S. power grid via cyberattacks.

It’s a bold statement, and one that’s slightly convoluted.  The real truth is that China (and one or two other countries) could do some serious cyber damage to the U.S. power grid infrastructure, but that grid is so segregated into different units that any attacks would likely affect only localized areas, not the entire grid.

 
Mapping 20 Years of Meteor Impacts
Friday, 21 November 2014 20:44


NASA just released a map showing the locations of 20 years worth of meteor impacts.  The map notes approximately 556 small impacts, although small may be a misnomer; the largest impact was over Chelyabinsk, Russia last year, which destroyed almost 7,000 buildings and injured several hundred people.  The map is part of NASA’s Near-Earth Object program, an effort “to create a plan to find all asteroid threats to human populations and know what to do about them."

 
Winter is Here
Wednesday, 19 November 2014 21:35


The above picture (photo credit: Jessica Marie of West Seneca, via @jimcantore) is from the recent storm in upstate New York, outside the city of Buffalo.  The region was hit with approximately 70-inches -- yes, almost 6 feet --  of snow earlier this week.  More is expected today (Thursday).

The record-breaking snowfall was one small part of a nation-wide series of severe weather events.

 
Taipei 101
Friday, 07 November 2014 12:50


Taipei 101 is formerly the world’s tallest building (it’s currently #6) and it has some incredible earthquake engineering. The architectural solution to frequent earthquakes was to hang a 700-ton steel ball, pictured above, between the 87th and 92nd floors.  The ball, which allows the building to sway 5 feet in any direction, acts as a counter-balance for the entire building.

 
Family Preparedness
Wednesday, 05 November 2014 22:02

Americans who have an emergency plan and have discussed it with household. - See more at: https://ajem.infoservices.com.au/items/AJEM-29-04-11#sthash.3yJ8dHBb.dpufFigure: Americans who have an emergency plan and have discussed it with household.

A recent article in the Australian Journal of Emergency Management discusses family and community preparedness.  Based on data from FEMA, the article mentions that about 40% of U.S. families have a disaster plan and have discussed that plan with the household.

Eric Holdeman of Emergency Management Magazine thinks that number is way too high.  Mr. Holdeman (who authors the Disaster Zone blog and is a great Twitter follow for preparedness enthusiasts) doubts that the 40% range is applicable even to professional emergency managers and first responders, which has been our experience as well.  He notes:

“Thus it is for most of Americans. Disasters always happen somewhere else, it has never been that bad in the past and if it is really bad, there is nothing that I can do about it. Safe and secure in their thinking, they live oblivious to the dangers that surround them.”

Figure 2: Americans who have an emergency plan and have discussed it with household. - See more at: https://ajem.infoservices.com.au/items/AJEM-29-04-11#sthash.3yJ8dHBb.dpuf
Americans who have an emergency plan and have discussed it with household. - See more at: https://ajem.infoservices.com.au/items/AJEM-29-04-11#sthash.3yJ8dHBb.dpuf
 
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