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Radiation Nation | Columbia University Press
"On March 28, 1979, the worst nuclear reactor accident in U.S. history occurred at the Three Mile Island power plant in Central Pennsylvania. Radiation Nation tells the story of what happened that day and in the months and years that followed, as local residents tried to make sense of the emergency. The near-meltdown occurred at a pivotal moment when the New Deal coalition was unraveling, trust in government was eroding, conservatives were consolidating their power, and the political left was becoming marginalized. Using the accident to explore this turning point, Natasha Zaretsky provides a fresh interpretation of the era by disclosing how atomic and ecological imaginaries shaped the conservative ascendancy. Drawing on the testimony of the men and women who lived in the shadow of the reactor, Radiation Nation shows that the region's citizens, especially its mothers, grew convinced that they had sustained radiological injuries that threatened their reproductive futures. Taking inspiration from the antiwar, environmental, and feminist movements, women at Three Mile Island crafted a homegrown ecological politics that wove together concerns over radiological threats to the body, the struggle over abortion and reproductive rights, and eroding trust in authority. This politics was shaped above all by what Zaretsky calls "biotic nationalism," a new body-centered nationalism that imagined the nation as a living, mortal being and portrayed sickened Americans as evidence of betrayal. The first cultural history of the accident, Radiation Nation reveals the surprising ecological dimensions of post-Vietnam conservatism while showing how growing anxieties surrounding bodily illness infused the political realignment of the 1970s in ways that blurred any easy distinction between left and right."
book  publisher  nuclear  energy  disaster  culture  1970s  history 
7 weeks ago by tsuomela
Scheidel, W.: The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century. (eBook and Hardcover)
"Are mass violence and catastrophes the only forces that can seriously decrease economic inequality? To judge by thousands of years of history, the answer is yes. Tracing the global history of inequality from the Stone Age to today, Walter Scheidel shows that inequality never dies peacefully. Inequality declines when carnage and disaster strike and increases when peace and stability return. The Great Leveler is the first book to chart the crucial role of violent shocks in reducing inequality over the full sweep of human history around the world. Ever since humans began to farm, herd livestock, and pass on their assets to future generations, economic inequality has been a defining feature of civilization. Over thousands of years, only violent events have significantly lessened inequality. The "Four Horsemen" of leveling—mass-mobilization warfare, transformative revolutions, state collapse, and catastrophic plagues—have repeatedly destroyed the fortunes of the rich. Scheidel identifies and examines these processes, from the crises of the earliest civilizations to the cataclysmic world wars and communist revolutions of the twentieth century. Today, the violence that reduced inequality in the past seems to have diminished, and that is a good thing. But it casts serious doubt on the prospects for a more equal future. An essential contribution to the debate about inequality, The Great Leveler provides important new insights about why inequality is so persistent—and why it is unlikely to decline anytime soon."
book  publisher  history  economics  inequality  disaster 
february 2017 by tsuomela
The Maximums of Maximums: The Hurricanes, Earthquakes, and Other Disasters That Worry Emergency Planners Most - The Atlantic
"The frustrating paradox for disaster planners is that even though people are fascinated by the risk of natural disasters, they seldom do much to prepare for them. That’s a problem that extends from the upper reaches of government down to individual citizens."
risk  disaster  management 
september 2015 by tsuomela
Human population reduction is not a quick fix for environmental problems
"The planet’s large, growing, and overconsuming human population, especially the increasing affluent component, is rapidly eroding many of the Earth’s natural ecosystems. However, society’s only real policy lever to reduce the human population humanely is to encourage lower per capita fertility. How long might fertility reduction take to make a meaningful impact? We examined various scenarios for global human population change to the year 2100 by adjusting fertility and mortality rates (both chronic and short-term interventions) to determine the plausible range of outcomes. Even one-child policies imposed worldwide and catastrophic mortality events would still likely result in 5–10 billion people by 2100. Because of this demographic momentum, there are no easy ways to change the broad trends of human population size this century."
population  world  growth  future  demography  disaster  catastrophe 
november 2014 by tsuomela
Verification Handbook: homepage
"The Verification Handbook is a groundbreaking new resource for journalists and aid responders, which provides step-by-step guidelines for using user-generated content (UGC) during emergencies. In a crisis situation, social networks are overloaded with situational updates, calls for relief, reports of new developments, and rescue information. Reporting the right information is often critical in shaping responses from the public and relief workers; it can literally be a matter of life or death."
user-generated-content  disaster  emergency  social-media  verification  data 
august 2014 by tsuomela
Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER) Association
"Extreme events engineering is an experience-driven field. Immediately following the occurrence of an extreme event (e.g., earthquake, tsunami, hurricane, landslide, or flood), perishable data that can be used to advance our understanding should be systemically collected. The importance of detailed mapping and surveying of damaged areas relative to general damage surveys cannot be overemphasized, as they provide the hard data of the well-documented case histories that drive the development of many of the empirical procedures used in geoengineering practice."
science  geology  extreme  events  rapid  disaster  earth-science  geoengineering 
july 2014 by tsuomela
The New Normal: School Shootings as Industrial Disaster » Cyborgology
"Industrial disasters are called “accidents” instead of terrorism because they are committed in the name of profit. A freight train derailment is just as calculated, deliberate, and ruthless as a homemade pipe bomb. The only difference is that industrial terrorists don’t know exactly when the bomb is going to go off and they never have the guts to be there when it does."
accidents  industry  business  business-as-usual  risk  normalization  disaster  capitalism  economics 
february 2014 by tsuomela
Outage after Marathon Bombings Prompts Emergency Network Proposal | MIT Technology Review
"When professional responders are performing their vital jobs but others cannot easily communicate, these approaches can empower citizens, not-for-profits, and companies, helping them communicate and possibly provide other necessary assistance. In this mutual aid configuration, the more people affected, the more possibilities there are for those people to contribute resources, helping create a disruption-tolerant, delay-tolerant network—a form of scaling that is impractical for the traditional model."
disaster  communication  crisis  community  informal  emergency 
june 2013 by tsuomela
The World Bank - Climate Change - Climate Change Report Warns of Dramatically Warmer World This Century
""A 4°C warmer world can, and must be, avoided – we need to hold warming below 2°C," said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. "Lack of action on climate change threatens to make the world our children inherit a completely different world than we are living in today. Climate change is one of the single biggest challenges facing development, and we need to assume the moral responsibility to take action on behalf of future generations, especially the poorest.""
world-bank  environment  economics  capitalism  climate-change  global-warming  disaster  risk 
january 2013 by tsuomela
Guest Commentary: Climate spin is rampant - The Denver Post
"Along with colleagues around the world, I've been studying climate change and disasters for almost 20 years, and we just had a scientific paper accepted for publication this week on damage from U.S. tornadoes since 1950. What we found may surprise you: Over the past six decades, tornado damage has declined after accounting for development that has put more property into harm's way. Researchers have similar conclusions for other phenomena around the world, ranging from typhoons in China, bushfires in Australia, and windstorms in Europe. After adjusting for patterns of development, over the long-term there is no climate change signal — no "footprint" — of increasing damage from extreme events either globally or in particular regions."
climate-change  global-warming  disaster  insurance  politics  spin  climate  meteorology 
october 2012 by tsuomela
UnderstandingSociety: Regulatory thrombosis
"What this all suggests is that the U.S. government and our political culture do a particularly bad job of creating organizational intelligence in response to crucial national challenges. By this I mean an effective group of bureaus with a clear mission, committed executive leadership, and consistent communication and collaboration among agencies and a demonstrated ability to formulate and carry out rational plans in addressing identified risks. (Perrow's general assessment of the French nuclear power system seems to be that it is more effective in maintaining safe operations and protecting nuclear materials against attack.) And the US government's ability to provide this kind of intelligent risk abatement seems particularly weak."
book  review  disaster  risk  government  regulation  regulatory-capture  business  congress  failure 
july 2012 by tsuomela
Don’t Tell Me What (I Need) To Do, Tell Me What (I Want) To Do « how to save the world
"No matter that simplistic models and solutions and symptoms rarely work: Still, we want books that tell us we can lose weight easily in 7-10 days, or that we can geoengineer our way out of climate change. We want to believe what we already believe, or at least what we want to believe, or, in cases when there is overwhelming evidence that those beliefs no longer make sense, we want to believe what we are ‘born-again’ ready to believe. And, likewise, we want to be told that what we ‘should’ do is what we are already doing, or what we want to do, or what we are at last ready and willing to do. Until then, we are deaf, and there is no point arguing with us."
habit  psychology  disaster  risk 
april 2012 by tsuomela
Cozy Catastrophes
"Now, I relish the schadenfreude-laden flavors of a mega-disaster scenario as much as the next misanthropic, science-fiction-loving geek, especially when it's paired with some "The fools! Can't they follow simple math?" on the side. Truly, I do. But squeezing that savory, juicy DOOM out of (for instance) the distribution of solar flares relies on the shape of the tail, i.e., whether it's a pure power law or not. The weak support, in the data, for such powers law means you don't really have empirical evidence for your scenarios, and in some cases what evidence there is tells against them. It's a free country, so you can go on telling those stories, but don't pretend that they owe more to confronting hard truths than to literary traditions. "
statistics  disaster  powerlaw 
february 2012 by tsuomela
Views: Get Out While You Can - Inside Higher Ed
"Tenure won’t save us from a higher education collapse. Start making alternative career contingency plans now because this collapse could be sudden and catastrophic. "
education  disaster  collapse  decline  future 
september 2011 by tsuomela
Tomgram: Rebecca Solnit, The Earthquake Kit | TomDispatch
"Who, then, does it serve to imagine that we are wolves and sheep, fools and savages? Lee Clarke, a disaster sociologist and professor at Rutgers, wrote after Hurricane Katrina, “Disaster myths are not politically neutral, but rather work systematically to the advantage of elites. Elites cling to the panic myth because to acknowledge the truth of the situation would lead to very different policy prescriptions than the ones currently in vogue.” That is to say, if we are wolves and sheep, and so not to be trusted, then they are the shepherds and the wolf-killers."
disaster  media  metaphor  propaganda  militarism  government  framing  crisis  earthquake  country(Japan) 
april 2011 by tsuomela
Metaphors Matter: Disaster Myths, Media Frames, and Their Consequences in Hurricane Katrina
"It has long been understood by disaster researchers that both the general public and organizational actors tend to believe in various disaster myths. Notions that disasters are accompanied by looting, social disorganization, and deviant behavior are examples of such myths. Research shows that the mass media play a significant role in promulgating erroneous beliefs about disaster behavior. Following Hurricane Katrina, the response of disaster victims was framed by the media in ways that greatly exaggerated the incidence and severity of looting and lawlessness. Media reports initially employed a “civil unrest” frame and later characterized victim behavior as equivalent to urban warfare. The media emphasis on lawlessness and the need for strict social control both reflects and reinforces political discourse calling for a greater role for the military in disaster management. Such policy positions are indicators of the strength of militarism as an ideology in the United States. "
disaster  media  metaphor  propaganda  militarism  government  framing  crisis  law 
april 2011 by tsuomela
UT Knoxville | College of Arts
"My research focuses on disasters. I have conducted in –depth research on several major disasters including Love Canal, the Exxon-Valdez oil spill, the 1993 Mississippi Flood, the Hanta Virus outbreak of 1993, ground water contamination in Woburn, MA, and Hurricane Katrina. I am presently conducting research on the TVA ash spill in Kingston, TN. My research on disasters has focused on several different aspects of these events: environmental health, scientific uncertainty, disaster mitigation response and preparedness, disaster policy, long-term recovery, clean-up efforts, human rights, environmental justice, displacement, economic dislocation, crisis communication in extreme events, public health, bioterrorism, community response efforts, and the dichotomy between lay and expert opinion. I am currently finishing a book on unnatural disasters. My courses include: disasters, environmental health, bioterrorism
people  anthropology  disaster  crisis  school(UTenn) 
march 2011 by tsuomela
Chernobyl | The New York Academy of Sciences
"This is a collection of papers translated from the Russian with some revised and updated contributions. Written by leading authorities from Eastern Europe, the volume outlines the history of the health and environmental consequences of the Chernobyl disaster. According to the authors, official discussions from the International Atomic Energy Agency and associated United Nations' agencies (e.g. the Chernobyl Forum reports) have largely downplayed or ignored many of the findings reported in the Eastern European scientific literature and consequently have erred by not including these assessments. "
nuclear  power  energy  environment  risk  accidents  disaster  country(Russia) 
march 2011 by tsuomela
How Josef Oehmen's advice on Fukushima went viral - opinion - 21 March 2011 - New Scientist
"On 13 March, an essay entitled "Why I am not worried about Japan's nuclear reactors" appeared on a new and unknown blog. Within hours the post had gone viral – a testament to the power of hyperlinking and social media."
information  diffusion  rumor  country(Japan)  nuclear  energy  risk  disaster  crisis  viral 
march 2011 by tsuomela
Safe nuclear does exist, and China is leading the way with thorium - Telegraph
"A few weeks before the tsunami struck Fukushima’s uranium reactors and shattered public faith in nuclear power, China revealed that it was launching a rival technology to build a safer, cleaner, and ultimately cheaper network of reactors based on thorium. "
country(China)  country(Japan)  nuclear  energy  risk  safety  disaster  crisis  environment  technology  america  fear 
march 2011 by tsuomela
UnderstandingSociety: Thinking about disaster
"[Charles Perrow's] current book is truly scary. In The Next Catastrophe: Reducing Our Vulnerabilities to Natural, Industrial, and Terrorist Disasters he carefully surveys the conjunction of factors that make 21st-century America almost uniquely vulnerable to major disasters -- actual and possible. Hurricane Katrina is one place to start -- a concentration of habitation, dangerous infrastructure, vulnerable toxic storage, and wholly inadequate policies of water and land use led to a horrific loss of life and a permanent crippling of a great American city. The disaster was foreseeable and foreseen, and yet few effective steps were taken to protect the city and river system from catastrophic flooding. And even more alarming -- government and the private sector have taken almost none of the prudent steps after the disaster that would mitigate future flooding."
risk  catastrophe  disaster  regulation  government  centralization  concentration  failure  institutions  technology 
march 2011 by tsuomela
Challenger, 25 Years Later - James Fallows - National - The Atlantic
"In my mind, what makes the Challenger story so tragic isn't that there was a civilian teacher on board. It was the disconnect between what insiders knew at the time and what the public was being told, or sold. "
history  space  disaster  1986  1980s  space-shuttle  risk  technology 
march 2011 by tsuomela
Shaken but not scared
"Having studied people’s actions in major emergencies as varied as the evacuation from the twin towers on 9/11 and the fire in King’s Cross station in 1987 it was with a mixture of horror and fascination that I found myself in Tokyo’s Narita airport on Friday afternoon when the ground began to shake as if a heavy goods train was passing too close for comfort and the three storey high plate glass window started to wave about like so much thin plastic. "
social-science  disaster  participant-observation  country(Japan)  earthquake  crisis 
march 2011 by tsuomela
From Hiroshima to Fukushima | The Nation
"The problem is not that another backup generator is needed, or that the safety rules aren’t tight enough, or that the pit for the nuclear waste is in the wrong geological location, or that controls on proliferation are lax. It is that a stumbling, imperfect, probably imperfectable creature like ourselves is unfit to wield the stellar fire released by the split or fused atom. When nature strikes, why should humankind compound the trouble? The earth is provided with enough primordial forces of destruction without our help in introducing more. We should leave those to Mother Nature."
country(Japan)  disaster  nuclear  energy  environment  commentary 
march 2011 by tsuomela
Japan, the Persian Gulf and Energy | STRATFOR
"It is not the loss of the reactors that will shake Japan the most but the loss of the certainty that the reactors were their path to some degree of safety, along with the added burden on the economy. The question is how the political system will respond. In dealing with the Persian Gulf, will Japan continue to follow the American lead or will it decide to take a greater degree of control and follow its own path? The likelihood is that a shaken self-confidence will make Japan more cautious and even more vulnerable. But it is interesting to look at Japanese history and realize that sometimes, and not always predictably, Japan takes insecurity as a goad to self-assertion."
political-science  country(Japan)  disaster  geopolitics  foreign-affairs  energy  nuclear  confidence 
march 2011 by tsuomela
Some Perspective On The Japan Earthquake: MicroISV on a Shoestring
"The overwhelming response of Japanese engineering to the challenge posed by an earthquake larger than any in the last century was to function exactly as designed. Millions of people are alive right now because the system worked and the system worked and the system worked."
country(Japan)  disaster  preparation  crisis  earthquake  nuclear  engineering 
march 2011 by tsuomela
Guest Blog: Beware the fear of Nuclear....FEAR!
"It is frightening to watch what’s going on with Japan’s nuclear plant at Fukushima. It is also worrying to watch the fear racing around the world as a result of those events, fear that in some cases is far in excess of what’s going on, or even the worst case scenarios of what might happen."
nuclear  energy  power  country(Japan)  disaster  earthquake 
march 2011 by tsuomela
"Armageddon Science": Our coming apocalypse, explained - Our Picks: Books - Salon.com
In "Armageddon Science: The Science of Mass Destruction," English science writer Brian Clegg, who has an advanced degree in physics from Cambridge University, considers the threats, both real and theoretical, that science and technology pose to the world. He searches beyond the obvious examples of nuclear warfare and global warming and introduces such strange concepts as antimatter bombs, nanorobots and cyberterrorist war. Despite the unnerving title and the alarming cover art of a post-apocalyptic city, Clegg's book presents a sober and rational analysis of the threats -- or lack thereof -- that we face. He dismisses several Armageddon scenarios, such as dark matter explosions or world-dominating robots, as unlikely
book  interview  author  disaster  catastrophe  armageddon  science  apocalypse 
december 2010 by tsuomela
Making Light: Tips for an apocalypse
1. Contact your people
2. Beware of rumors
3. Brace yourself: the idiots are coming
3. Hang in there. Take care of yourself.
advice  apocalypse  disaster 
may 2009 by tsuomela
14 reasons Main Street loses while Wall Street sinks democracy - MarketWatch
Why? The real "game changer" already happened. Democracy has been replaced by Wall Street's new "disaster capitalism." That's the big game-changer historians will remember about 2008, masterminded by Wall Street's ultimate "Trojan Horse," Hank Paulson. Imagine: Greed, arrogance and incompetence create a massive bubble, cost trillions, and still Wall Street comes out smelling like roses, richer and more powerful!
economics  markets  capitalism  disaster  democracy 
december 2008 by tsuomela
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