April 25th, 2011
April 18th, 2011
July 11th, 2010
September 2nd, 2009
|z_gryphon||12:58 am - Second-person disasterporn?|
There's a new show on Spike TV, Surviving Disaster - another of the curious plethora of shows hosted by ex-Navy SEALs who talk unusually fast. (Maybe all SEALs talk unusually fast. It might be a side effect of their training or something.) I usually sort of flinch and try to stay away from Spike, but I caught an ad for this in something I recorded on another network and decided to give it a look. (What the hell, The Daily Show is in reruns this week.)
It's basically Worst Case Scenario: The Series: Each week they present a disaster situation in which an everyday citizen might find him- or herself caught, and then the host (who is a character in the dramatization, but who often pauses to address the camera without the other characters noticing) explains how to get out of it intact. (Hence the title of the post.) This week's was "How to Re-Take a Hijacked Airliner" (aka the United 93 problem).
I enjoyed this episode - I'm a little skeptical of the opening claim that nothing you're shown is beyond the capabilities of the "average Joe", but only a little. The actual retaking of the aircraft relies on you having the rather improbable ability to make an impromptu SEAL team out of a group of total strangers without actually being able to speak to them, but if you can get past that there are nuggets of interesting, potentially useful information, such as the frequency you need to put the airplane's radio on so you can convince the F-16s not to shoot you down (121.5 MHz, if you're curious). Still, it was pretty entertaining and not (as I often fear with Spike productions) mind-bendingly machismo-soaked. I'll catch next week's and see if it keeps being fun. (Next week's scenario is apparently derived from the 1974 Irwin Allen disaster movie The Towering Inferno.)
(Please note that this series should not be confused with the recent BBC series of the same name, which also looks interesting and which I think I'd quite like to see.)
August 3rd, 2009
|allyson13||12:47 pm - Disaster Tweets?|
Anyone know of any Disaster-oriented Twitter feeds?
July 26th, 2009
|z_gryphon||11:58 pm - disasterporn book club|
I've been listening to the Audible version of David McCullough's The Johnstown Flood, as read by the redoubtable Edward Herrmann. This chronicles one of the classic dam failures of the industrial age, the collapse of the earthen-embankment South Fork Dam above Johnstown, Pennsylvania, on Memorial Day, 1889. Flooding in Johnstown was nothing new then and remains common today - it's one of those towns that really hadn't ought to be where it is - but the Great Flood of 1889 was something special even by the standards of a town on a floodplain. It happened in the middle of a truly spectacular rainstorm and basically involved an entire lake falling off a mountain and ending up where Johnstown and its environs were supposed to be. More than 2,000 people died and the face of liability litigation was changed forever by the aftermath - although apparently not the face of hydraulic engineering, as such sequels as the St. Francis Dam, the Teton Dam, and the Baldwin Hills Reservoir disaster of 1963 illustrate.
July 5th, 2009
June 29th, 2009
June 27th, 2009
June 22nd, 2009
|z_gryphon||11:25 pm - Metro train wreck in DC|
Early reports indicate that one train was stopped when the other hit it. At this point at least six people are known to have been killed in the crash, and the mess is big and tangled enough that I wouldn't be surprised if that isn't the final tally. Upwards of 70 injuries being reported at the moment.
At the risk of seeming ghoulish - but then, we're always at least at risk of seeming ghoulish in this community, aren't we? - it will be interesting to see how the investigation into this deal unfolds, since at first blush it seems like a sort of accident we've seen before - a scenario modern railways are supposed to be prepared for already.