Archive for the ‘Weirdest Disasters’ Category

Death From Above! [Weirdest Disasters]

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

Everyday this week…Brett Rounsaville brings us the Weirdest Disasters ever to strike down man or beast.

In 1986 in Bangladesh death quite literally rained from above (…well, no…I guess that is figurative too since it was actually death, it was hailstones, and it didn’t actually rain so much as, y’know…hail).

Bottomline: These Bangladeshian iceballs measured almost seven inches across and weighed in at 2.2 pounds. They fell with such force that the storm killed 92 people and leveled entire homes.

Can you even imagine being smacked in the face by a 2.2 pound object falling at terminal velocity from the sky?! Oh, right…you probably cant. Let me help put this in terms I’m sure everyone is intimately familiar with:

That’s like being shot in the face with an iPad duct taped to a loaf of bread moving at over 100 miles per hour and being hit with the significantly less squishy iPad side so that the loaf of bread doesn’t add any padding, just weight. Better?

This is not the kind of hail where you put on a bike helmet and run around outside like an idiot taunting nature as it bounces off your Styrofoam and fiberglass covered noggin. This is the kind of hail where you hope to Science (this blog has a bit of a skeptic bent in case you haven’t noticed) that you’re near a bomb shelter and/or a giant hairdryer pointed at the sky.

Even larger hail fell in Nebraska in 2003…but apparently Nebraskans are better at staying indoors than Bangladeshians (probably because there’s nothing to do outside there anyway if you’re not growing corn…).

That’s it gang! Time for the Weird Off! How would you rank this week’s Weirdest Disasters? We have:

1. The Boston Molassacre!

2. World’s Laziest Volcano!

3. Dark Ages 2.0! (Coming soon to an Earth near you.)

4. World’s Most Homicidal Lake!

5. All Hail…um…Hail.

What do you think, gang? Sound off!

World’s Most Homicidal Lake! [Weirdest Disasters]

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Everyday this week…Brett Rounsaville brings us the Weirdest Disasters ever to strike down man or beast.

Here’s a little lesson in the history of Brett. I grew up in a little valley in the mountains surrounded by several lakes. Naturally we spent quite a bit of time out in the water during the summers and as such I had water safety drilled into me just about every weekend. How does that affect a kid?

Well…actually, for most kids it probably makes them safer around water. Unfortunately, for me, it mostly meant I had recurring nightmares about drowning at least once a week.

Dreaming about drowning in a lake is one thing, but the second I finished reading about today’s “Weirdest Disaster” all I could think about was how glad I was that I hadn’t heard this story when I was eight.

Those white dots are lake-murdered cattle...

How the hell is an eight year old supposed to cope with nightmares about a lake ACTIVELY TRYING TO KILL HIM?!

To the point (finally): In 1986, 1.6 MILLION metric tons of carbon dioxide that had, up to then, been sitting safely beneath the weight of Lake Nyos in Cameroon got churned up by a volcanic eruption.

The result? An enormous cloud of deadly gas swept through valley villages at 30 miles per hour killing 1,700 people and 3,500 livestock up to 14 miles from the lake before finally dissipating to not-going-to-kill-you-instantly levels!

From a survivor (…and wikipedia):

I managed to go over to my neighbors’ houses. They were all dead . . . I decided to leave . . . . (because) most of my family was in Wum . . . I got my motorcycle . . . A friend whose father had died left with me (for) Wum . . . As I rode . . . through Nyos I didn’t see any sign of any living thing . . .

Crazy, right?!

Got a weirder disaster story you want to share? No? How about a recurring childhood nightmare?

Always Sunny in the Dark Ages [Weirdest Disasters]

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Everyday this week…Brett Rounsaville brings us the Weirdest Disasters ever to strike down man or beast.

Monday and Tuesday we talked with the Ghost of Disasters Past, today we’re going to have words with the Ghost of Disasters Future. Strap in folks, it’s going to be a dickens of a ride.

NASA says come 2013 the sun will be “waking up from a deep slumber,” resulting in crazy solar storms. How crazy? 20 times the economic damage of Hurricane Katrina crazy! (Why the sun has been such a lazy narcoleptic hydrogen ball for the past many millennia was not discussed.)

The point is this: It is entirely possible that the resulting solar flares could disable satellites, explode transformers and cause widespread EMP related power outages. (In other words, it could be the catalyst for…BUM BUM BAAAA, The Night of a Million Conceptions!)

(Anti-baby) policymakers, researchers, legislators and reporters have gathered in Washington DC to share ideas about space weather and how to mitigate the coming disaster for the last 4 years in a row. That means AT LEAST 96 hours has been dedicated to solving this crisis, so everything should be fine everyone. Just go on about buying your soon-to-be-bricked-by-solar-radiation Apple products and stop trying to ruin the economy with your money-saving antics.

Seriously though, how much would it suck to be tossed back into the dark ages by the sun. (Someone with a lesser grasp of English, like say, Alanis Morissette, might even call that ironic.) All I have to say is, NASA better figure this one out. I don’t want to have to learn how to plow a field or ride a horse…and I sure as heck don’t like the sound of the word fiefdom.

What do you think? How would you handle life without electronics? Are you a hole-up-in-a-bunker kind of person or an organic gardener/Ted Nuggent fan?

Mud Volcano! [Weirdest Disasters]

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Everyday this week…Brett Rounsaville brings us the Weirdest Disasters ever to strike down man or beast.

What strikes me most about today’s Weird Disaster is how closely it mirrors current events, with a couple unique twists.

It seems, in 2006 an Indonesian drilling company hit exactly what they were looking for…natural gas. Unfortunately, what actually resulted from this little Eureka moment was a four-year and counting, non-stop-mud-spewing volcano that threatens to engulf village after village despite all effort to stop it, including dropping giant concrete balls into the opening. (Seriously, what is it with people dropping balls into holes and expecting that to solve their problems?)

The mud volcano looks innocuous enough, in fact, it’s often tough to tell anything is happening at all, and yet, everyday, enough hot noxious mud comes out to fill five Olympic-sized swimming pools. (Which leads me to believe they’re missing out on a major league professional mud wrestling opportunity here…)

Despite the slow movement of the mud, thousands have lost their homes and businesses and although the mud volcano has slowed in recent years it is still pouring out ooze at an alarming rate.

Remind you of another little disaster a bit closer to home? That’s right.

If you had to lose your house to a molasses flood or a natural gas infused mud volcano, which would you choose? I think it may be a toss up…unless you can keep some of the molasses for your impromptu moonshine business.

Have any disasters you’d like to see featured in the remaining three days?