Reading Around the Internet: October 20, 2014

Last week was fall break at Southeast Missouri State. I had a lovely, relaxing long weekend but went back to work today… Here’s some reading I was doing over the weekend to catch up on happenings in the world of disasters, property and politics:

Ebola

So a couple of things about Ebola: first, unless you come into contact with bodily fluids when that person is symptomatic, you’re not going to “catch” Ebola…   And, stories and images about the disease that spread false information — and even ones that don’t — can make a crisis situation worse. See Laura Seay and Kim Yi Dionne’s great piece on this in the Washington Post. In fact, keep an eye out for Laura Seay and Kim Yi Dionne’s coverage on this. They are very knowledgeable about African politics in general, and have been doing a great job analyzing this situation. And the disease is certainly being politicized, making it important to pay attention not just to how the disease spreads but what politicians are doing with it (especially as we get closer to the election here n the US).

Here’s the thing, though — there are real people suffering a true calamity, and help can be had. To learn more about Ebola and see past the terrifying voices that are out in the world scaring us, to see the reality of the disease and understand better the situation as it plays out in everyday life, take a look at Ebola Diaries. It will wrench your heart, but you will have a better understanding of this disease and the challenges it poses.

Hurricanes

In the Pacific, Hawai’i is being hit again with heavy rain and high surf thanks to Hurricane Ana. Meanwhile, in the Atlantic Hurricane Gonzalo made its way to Bermuda. Though hurricane season has been a fairly slow and low intensity this year so far (with Hawai’i seeing more than it usually does of this activity), we should expect more storms. For the rest of us, forecasters say that we should expect an unusually wet winter this year.

Colorado Flood Recovery

A couple of weeks ago, Governor Hickenlooper issued a flood recovery report in Colorado. Here’s a summary, and here’s a link to the website where you can review the report itself.

Disaster Mitigation: Floodplains

My emergency management students have been learning about mitigation the last couple of weeks. It occurs to me that there are readers out there who may want to know more about FEMA’s floodplain (in particular) mitigation program since there’s been a lot of discussion of mitigation in coastal and river/lakefront areas. Here’s a link to their website.  You may find this page interesting and worth looking around. It can provide you with a broader sense of the goals and aspirations of the National Prevention Framework, which I think deserves more attention than it’s gotten — and will get some attention here sometime during the winter.

Reading Around the Internet: October 6, 2014

Welcome to October! This is my favorite month of the year… Fall leaves in my part of the country turn brilliant; temperatures cool down so that I can make stews and soups; and best of all, Halloween comes at the end of the month! (That’s my favorite holiday, so you see, October is my favorite month).

This week’s Reading Around the Internet includes — you guessed it — more about…

Volcanoes!

A friend posted a link to my FB page recently, and when I followed the link I discovered a whole bunch of fascinating videos put together by DJI, a company that makes drones for aerial photography. It’s part of a series of videos they are putting together called “DJI Feats”.  Since I usually associate drones with military uses, I shied away at first, but then decided I should see what aerial photography with a drone could look like (the nature photographer in me coming out here)… Here’s their YouTube video on the Bardabunga Volcano eruption in Iceland. DJI does some fascinating work, and not just with volcanoes. Check them out! I find myself wishing I could go with them sometime!!

Ebola

So what do you need to know about Ebola? Here’s some helpful information.  Note that the Ebola virus is not transmitted through the air. You have to come into contact with bodily fluids. And a person is not contagious until they are showing symptoms. This is not a virus that moves easily from one person to the next.

US Supreme Court

Another reason to love October when you study law — the first Monday in October means the Supreme Court is back in session… Here’s a run down from the New York Times concerning the Court’s current docket. Scotusblog also has its summaries up here.  While there isn’t a blockbuster property case on this year’s docket, I know that at least some of our readers — particularly the ones who love to fish — will find Yates v. U.S. (No. 13-7451) interesting. The Court will address whether the prohibition against destroying “any record, document or tangible object” in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 applies not only to the white collar crimes the law was originally written to address; but could it also be stretched to include dumping over-sized fish back into the water when you’re about to be cited by a state fish and game officer? At issue here is not simply whether you can destroy evidence in this particular case, but whether Sarbanes-Oxley can be used as a general destruction-of-evidence provision in federal law. See the National Law Journal’s discussion of this case and others on the docket here.

Emergency Management: Preparing for a Possible Oil Spill Along the Mississippi

From Minnesota Public Radio, we have an excellent report on emergency preparations for potential oil spills that many states along the river have been working on. Driving this concern is the large number of crude oil shipments moving along the river and what many experts say is an inevitable emergency waiting to happen: an oil spill in the river’s watershed or the river itself. Many of these shipments travel by rail, but should a train derail and the oil spill, first responders and emergency management officials want to be ready. the MPR story has some excellent photos, and the audio is available at this link.

Learning About the Oceans

The scientific community was excited this week with release of new satellite imagery of the ocean floor that shows many more mountains in the deep than had previously believed to exist. This was story was covered by several news outlets, but the BBC has a particularly good discussion that includes some very interesting maps. For those interested in plate tectonics and the drift of our continents, this is fascinating stuff. For those with access, the news stories are summarizing research that was published in Science, titled “New Global Marine Gravity Model From CryoSat-2 and Jason-1 Reveals Buried Tectonic Structure” (David T. Sandwell, R. Dietmar Muller, Walter H.F. Smith, Emanuel Gracia and Richard Francis). Mind you, whenever we talk about plate tectonics, we are in the realm of earthquakes, volcanoes — and when that happens under the ocean floor, we’re also in the realm of tsunamis.