A massive earthquake shook Chile, causing 15-foot waves and flooding – Natasha Bertrand, Christina Sterbenz and Dan Turkel


Screen Shot 2015 09 16 at 7.31.37 PMUSGS

A powerful earthquake hit Chile’s Northern coast Wednesday night, killing at least three people in a quake that could be felt as far away as Buenos Aires, Argentina, according to Reuters.

The earthquake’s initial magnitude was updated to 8.3 from 7.9, one of the largest earthquakes to hit the area in recent years.t

“Once again we’re having to deal with another harsh blow from nature. Unfortunately we’ve received information that as of now we are certain three people are confirmed dead,” Chile President Michelle Bachelet said in a televised statement.

Authorities issued a tsunami alert for the Chile’s entire coast. The quake injured a number of people and caused damage to buildings and houses. Waves of up to 15 feet pounded Chile’s coastal town of Coquimbo, according to Reuters.

“We’re going through a really grave situation with the tsunami. We have residential neighborhoods that have flooded …. the ocean has reached the (Coquimbo) downtown area,” Coquimbo Mayor Cristian Galleguillos said, according to Reuters.

One person killed was a 25-year-old woman killed by a falling wall in Illapel, a coastal town about 30 miles from where the quake hit, according to The Guardian. At least 20 others had been injured.

Hawaii and coastal area of California were also under tsunami watch on Wednesday night, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service Pacific Tsunami Warning Center and the National Weather Service, respectively.

The Honolulu Department of Emergency Management said tsunami waves could reach the island between 2:30 a.m. and 3 a.m. local time Thursday.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reported Wednesday night that tsunami waves could affect countries totaling in the 30s, mostly in near Central and South America and Asia.

 

Article continues:

http://www.businessinsider.com/ap-strong-quake-shakes-chile-capital-causing-buildings-to-sway-2015-9

Wendell Pierce on the tragedy and triumph of New Orleans after Katrina: “It’s created a schism between the haves and have-nots” – SCOTT TIMBERG SATURDAY, SEP 5, 2015 11:30 AM PDT


Salon talks to Wendell Pierce, star of “The Wire,” to discusses his poignant new book “The Wind in the Reeds”

Wendell Pierce on the tragedy and triumph of New Orleans after Katrina: "It’s created a schism between the haves and have-nots"

When the actor Wendell Pierce returned to his native New Orleans in the summer of 2005, he saw a city that was 80 percent underwater.

“Nearly fifteen hundred people were dead. Half the houses in the city had four feet of water in them, or more. There was no electricity or clean water in the city; looting and the breakdown of civil order would soon follow.”

You can remember these bare outlines and still be startled by the immediate and direct way that Pierce, best known for his roles in “The Wire” and the post-flood saga “Treme,” recounts them in his new book. “The Wind in the Reeds” tells of his deep roots in the city, the catastrophe of Katrina, and his experience acting in David Simon’s celebrated series. The center of the book is his intertwined effort to put on Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” in post-Katrina New Orleans and to help bring back his old neighborhood.

We spoke to Pierce about art, tragedy, his city and its past and future. The interview has been slightly condensed for clarity.

The first part of “The Wind in the Reeds” gives a detailed picture of your family history, the establishment of the black middle-class neighborhood Pontchartrain Park, and your own early years. Your childhood exposure to music, the arts and culture in general made a powerful, and it seems, permanent impression on your life. How did it end up hitting you so hard?

One of things about growing up in New Orleans is that we live our culture. It is part of our life. It is something that you wake up in the morning with; when it comes to our cuisine, you hear music constantly, in every part of your life there is music included. So I always knew culture to be part of my life, and something of great importance.

 

Article continues:

http://www.salon.com/2015/09/05/wendell_pierce_on_the_tragedy_and_triumph_of_new_orleans_after_katrina_its_created_a_schism_between_the_haves_and_have_nots/

Louisiana’s Disappearing Island (Excerpt from ‘Oil and Water’) – Vice News Published on Sep 4, 2015


Louisiana is currently losing around a football field’s worth of land every hour to the encroaching ocean. The erosion is due to an array of factors, from an ill-conceived historic levee system, the legacy of oil and gas drilling and, of course, the area’s susceptibility to hurricanes.

VICE News travels to the site of one of the largest man-made environmental and economic disasters in US history to see what can be done as the situation continues to deteriorate.

In this excerpt, VICE News heads to Isle de Jean Charles, an island in Louisiana considered by many to be beyond saving from the rising tide.

Read: Ten Years After Katrina, Here’s What’s Happening to Louisiana’s Coastline – http://bit.ly/1Vk25Ct

Louisiana’s Coastal Crisis: Oil And Water – Vice News Published on Aug 29, 2015


Louisiana is currently losing around a football field’s worth of land every hour to the encroaching ocean. The erosion is due to an array of factors, from an ill-conceived historic levee system, the legacy of oil and gas drilling and, of course, the area’s susceptibility to hurricanes.

VICE News travels to the site of one of the largest man-made environmental and economic disasters in US history to see what can be done as the situation continues to deteriorate.

Watch: The Recovery That Wasn’t: Two Years Since Hurricane Sandy – http://bit.ly/1NBnuWG

Some Moved On, Some Moved In And Made A New New Orleans – Greg Allen AUGUST 26, 2015 4:28 PM ET


hurricane katrina: 10 years of recovery and reflection

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans today is smaller than when the storm hit, with 110,000 fewer people than the nearly half-million who had lived there. But the city’s recovery is a story that varies with each neighborhood. In some neighborhoods, like the Lower Ninth Ward, many residents never returned. Others, like the French Quarter, have seen many newcomers and now have more households than they did in 2005.

In some neighborhoods, like the Lower Ninth Ward (bottom), many residents never returned after Hurricane Katrina. Others, like the French Quarter (top), have seen an influx of newcomers.

In some neighborhoods, like the Lower Ninth Ward (bottom), many residents never returned after Hurricane Katrina. Others, like the French Quarter (top), have seen an influx of newcomers.

David Gilkey/NPR

With new residents, a different mix of people now calls the city home than before the storm. Proportionately, the number of whites has risen while the number of black residents has gone down. There are 100,000 fewer black residents in New Orleans than before Katrina. African-Americans now account for less than 60 percent of the population. That’s down from two-thirds.

And that has changed the culture of the city. “You can’t even hear the same dialect that you used to hear,” says Stan Norwood, a barber and leader of a community group in the Freret neighborhood. After spending so much time in Houston after evacuating during Katrina, Norwood says he’s even lost some of the city’s distinctive drawl. “The drag? The New Orleans drag? It’s hard to find,” he says.

After Katrina, Norwood says, many elderly were unable to return to flooded homes. Because the schools were in disarray, some families with children moved to other cities and decided to stay. Others found, even with federal assistance, they didn’t have enough to return and rebuild. And now, Norwood says, those who still want to return to the old neighborhood find houses have been priced out of reach. “Put it like this,” he says. “If you don’t own a property by now and you’re originally from this city and you’re from Uptown and you haven’t had one by now, your chances of getting one are slim to none.”

Article continues:

http://www.npr.org/2015/08/26/434288564/some-moved-on-some-moved-in-and-made-a-new-new-orleans

Is The World Ending In September? – Published on Aug 21, 2015


According to a popular online rumor the latter half of September could look like this. Many people are spreading the rumor that an asteroid will hit the Earth sometime between September 15th and 28th. NASA is denying the rumor. John Iadarola delivers his Final Judgment on the rumors of Armageddon.

In Measuring Post-Katrina Recovery, A Racial Gap Emerges – Cheryl Corley AUGUST 15, 2015 8:42 AM ET


 

Large homes and lush lawns are common in Lake Forest Estates, a subdivision in New Orleans East. After Katrina, 6-foot-deep flood waters devastated the region.

Large homes and lush lawns are common in Lake Forest Estates, a subdivision in New Orleans East. After Katrina, 6-foot-deep flood waters devastated the region. Cheryl Corley/NPR

 

Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at Aug 15, 2015 10.06

How can you tell if a city has come back from a tragedy as devastating as Hurricane Katrina?

Ten years after the levees failed in New Orleans, and the waters of Lake Pontchartrain, whipped up by Hurricane Katrina, flooded most of the city, New Orleans residents say there’s been much progress since then.

A new NPR/Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that a majority surveyed — 54 percent — says New Orleans has mostly recovered, measured by returning population, new housing, jobs, infrastructure and quality of life.

Break the results down by race, however, and the numbers show a big gap. Just 44 percent of black New Orleanians think the city has come back. The number is much higher for white residents, at 70 percent.

In the Broadmoor area, one of the most diverse in New Orleans, residents fought down plans to turn a parcel of low-lying land into a park. Now a new library and community center at the site hosts classes, clubs and events.

“This is one of the anchors the community worked really, really hard to rebuild and to renovate in the years after the storm,” says Emily Wolf, director of the Broadmoor Improvement Association.

Cheri Babich (center) and her friends gather at the Broadmoor library for a weekly game of mahjong. Residents rallied to save the building after the low-lying area was designated to become a park in the aftermath of extensive Katrina-related flooding.i

Cheri Babich (center) and her friends gather at the Broadmoor library for a weekly game of mahjong. Residents rallied to save the building after the low-lying area was designated to become a park in the aftermath of extensive Katrina-related flooding.

Cheryl Corley/NPR

On this day, a group of friends has come in to play its regularly scheduled game of Mahjong. They’re white, and one of them, Cheri Babich, is enthusiastic about the city’s prospects.

“Now we’ve got young people moving in here,” Babich says. “There’s new restaurants opening every week. It’s just amazing. So many people are just bustling around and working. It’s great.”

Some areas have more people and housing than even before Katrina. Mary Logsdon, who lives in one of those neighborhoods, says there’s a bit of a downside to the boom.

“Rents have gotten unbelievably high,” Logsdon says.

For many long-time residents, rents are unaffordable and they’ve had to move elsewhere. But two-thirds of whites and those with higher incomes say the recovery efforts have helped people like them, either some or a lot.

About 10 miles northeast of Broadmoor is the Lake Forest Estates subdivision, one of several neighborhoods in the New Orleans East region. Houses here are big, lawns expansive.

Realtor Sylvia Scineaux-Richard, a black former biology professor, describes this neighborhood as well-to-do.

Realtor Sylvia Scineaux-Richard says residents of New Orleans East were among the first to return to repair flood-damaged homes. Scineaux-Richard doesn't expect New Orleans to fully recover from Hurricane Katrina for another five to 10 years.

Realtor Sylvia Scineaux-Richard says residents of New Orleans East were among the first to return to repair flood-damaged homes. Scineaux-Richard doesn’t expect New Orleans to fully recover from Hurricane Katrina for another five to 10 years. Cheryl Corley/NPR

“You’re not going to see a whole lot of blight in these areas here, because people had invested quite a bit of money in these homes, as you can see,” Scineaux-Richard says. “These are not throw-away types of properties.”

Most of the homes here are occupied; in other areas of New Orleans East, not so much. One reason for the disparity is the way the rebuilding grants worked. The Louisiana Road Home program maxed out federal rebuilding money at a home’s pre-Katrina value, meaning more money for wealthier homeowners and substantially less for those in poorer neighborhoods.

Civil rights activists and homeowners filed suit, accusing the program of discrimination. A settlement eventually allowed homeowners to apply for additional funds.

Scineaux-Richard says there should be more of a focus on New Orleans East.

“New Orleans East deserves to have the rebirth here and the renovation as a priority, because we were so badly devastated and damaged,” she says.

Article continues:

http://www.npr.org/2015/08/15/432254189/in-measuring-post-katrina-recovery-a-racial-gap-emerges

Ghosts Of Katrina Still Haunt New Orleans’ Shattered Lower Ninth Ward – Greg Allen AUGUST 03, 2015 3:52 AM ET


The flooded streets and destroyed homes of the New Orleans neighborhood known as the Lower Ninth Ward were among the most powerful and iconic images from Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath 10 years ago.

Now, much of New Orleans is back — more than half of the city’s neighborhoods have recovered some 90 percent of their pre-storm population.

That’s not the case for the Lower Ninth.

Blocks and blocks of the 2.25-square-mile Lower Ninth Ward are dotted with empty lots and abandoned homes.

Blocks and blocks of the 2.25-square-mile Lower Ninth Ward are dotted with empty lots and abandoned homes. David Gilkey/NPR

Today, there’s a feeling of desolation on nearly every block of the predominantly African-American neighborhood.

One of the first things you notice is the many empty lots, several on every street. Instead of houses, they now hold weeds and tall grass.

After Katrina, only about 37 percent of households returned to this once-vibrant neighborhood, which had a population of about 14,000 in 2000.

Edward Gasper is among those who came back. He grew up in the neighborhood and was out with his son recently cutting grass in some of the empty lots.

“We’re trying to get these lots back together down here,” he says. “It’s horrible, it’s real bad.”

The Lower Ninth Ward is cut off from the rest of New Orleans by a shipping channel, the Industrial Canal. During Hurricane Katrina, when the canal’s flood walls gave way, water surged through the neighborhood, pushing houses off their foundations. Water, up to 12 feet deep, stood in some areas for weeks. It was the last neighborhood to have power and water service restored, and the last to be pumped dry.

The devastation was worst on streets near the flood wall breach.

Article continues:

http://www.npr.org/2015/08/03/427844717/ghosts-of-katrina-still-haunt-new-orleans-shattered-lower-ninth-ward

 

‘Killer robots’ with AI must be banned, urge Stephen Hawking, Noam Chomsky and thousands of others in open letter – DOUG BOLTON Monday 27 July 2015


The letter claims that totally autonomous killing machines could become a reality within 'years, not decades'

The letter claims that totally autonomous killing machines could become a reality within ‘years, not decades’

More than 1,000 robotics experts and artificial intelligence (AI) researchers – including physicist Stephen Hawking, technologist Elon Musk, and philosopher Noam Chomsky – have signed an open letter calling for a ban on “offensive autonomous weapons”, or as they are better known, ‘killer robots’.

Other signatories include Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, and hundreds of AI and robotics researcher from top-flight universities and laboratories worldwide.

The letter, put together by the Future of Life Institute, a group that works to mitigate “existential risks facing humanity”, warns of the danger of starting a “military AI arms race”.

These robotic weapons may include armed drones that can search for and kill certain people based on their programming, the next step from the current generation of drones, which are flown by humans who are often thousands of miles away from the warzone.

Article continues:

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/killer-robots-with-ai-must-be-banned-urge-stephen-hawking-noam-chomsky-and-thousands-of-others-in-open-letter-10420169.html

FIGHTING FOREST FIRES BEFORE THEY GET BIG—WITH DRONES – AUTHOR: SHELBY CARPENTER. SHELBY CARPENTER DATE OF PUBLICATION: 06.09.15. 06.09.15 TIME OF PUBLICATION: 10:00 AM. 10:00 AM


The Meadow wildfire burns on September 7, 2014 in in Yosemite National Park, California. TIFFANY ROSE/GETTY IMAGES

At 10 AM on Friday, May 15, wildland fire season kicked off in California. Officials from the Bureau of Land Management, the US Forest Service, and a few other agencies gathered at the Kern County Fire Department Headquarters in Bakersfield to, if not celebrate, at least observe the moment. Everyone knew they were looking at a rough year. The ongoing western drought will make sure of that.

Now, a team of researchers believes they may be able to help. The idea is to enable early location and identification of fires using drones, planes, and satellites mounted with special infrared cameras. They’re calling it the Fire Urgency Estimator in Geosynchronous Orbit—or Fuego—and once fully operational the system could spot new wildfires anywhere in the Western US barely three minutes after they start. “All year round is going to be fire season now,” says Carlton Pennypacker, an astrophysicist at UC Berkeley and lead researcher on Fuego. “That makes this more urgent.”

When it’s done, Fuego would consist of infrared cameras mounted on drones and piloted aircraft soaring across fire-prone areas of the country, plus another camera on a satellite. The cameras would snap photos in a 3.9-micron band, a wavelength of light that fires emit but which is invisible to the human eye. A computer would then subtract recent photos from new ones of the same area, and by looking at the difference be able to tell when a new fire has erupted.

“This is something we’ve used for years in the astrophysics community,” Pennypacker says. “You subtract one image of a galaxy from another. That’s how you find supernovas.” He got the idea during the 1991 Oakland fires, but at the time, infrared imagers were too expensive and clunky for anything like this to work. Now that lighter and more affordable infrared cameras are available, Pennypacker has been able to apply his expertise at finding distant supernovas to tracking wildfires back on Earth.

 

Article continues:

http://www.wired.com/2015/06/fighting-forest-fires-get-big-drones/