The Incredible Tale of World War II's Single Deadliest Homefront Disaster 


Chances are you’ve never heard of the Port Chicago disaster. Yet it was the worst catastrophe on the US home front during World War II. It was the single deadliest incident on the mainland during the war, and remains one of the worst calamities to ever hit the San Francisco Bay Area. »11/19/15 2:40pm11/19/15 2:40pm


Revisiting the Small Village That Was Completely Devastated By Toxic Red Sludge

Kolontár’s wounds are deep. Five years ago, on October 4, 2010, roughly one million cubic meters of liquid chemical waste burst from a red mud reservoir of the Ajka Alumina Plant. The 2-4 meters high wave of toxic sludge flooded the small village west of Budapest, and minutes later, six other villages and towns. »10/06/15 4:00pm10/06/15 4:00pm

Last-Minute Stockpiling Only Makes Disasters Worse

When a hurricane takes aim at the coast or a blizzard looms in the forecast, something strange comes over us. We swarm into grocery stores, stripping the shelves bare of canned goods and staple foods. Lines stretch all the way around the supermarket, and it’s like Black Friday on the produce aisle, with people arguing… »9/30/15 10:20am9/30/15 10:20am

The Syrian Civil War Has Prompted the First Withdrawal from the Doomsday Seed Vault

The Arctic Svalbard Seed Vault is designed to safeguard the seeds of 820,619 plants in the event of massive environmental catastrophe, disease, a nuclear war, or an asteroid impact. Sadly, the ongoing civil war in Syria has caused the first-ever withdrawal of its precious contents. »9/23/15 6:50pm9/23/15 6:50pm

The Haunting Weather Statement That Saved Lives During Hurricane Katrina

Most of us don’t think much of the weather statements that meteorologists from the National Weather Service make every single day. Until there’s a natural disaster, of course. But a forecast issued as Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf states ten years ago today made history for its eloquence—and changed the way… »8/29/15 1:00pm8/29/15 1:00pm

Earthquake Kits Selling Like Hotcakes After Terrifying New Yorker Story

It’s been more than a week since The New Yorker published a story called The Really Big One, describing how much of the Pacific Northwest will be destroyed by a massive earthquake and tsunami and scaring the crap out of Americans nationwide. Now, emergency kits are “flying off the shelves.” »7/24/15 9:54am7/24/15 9:54am

LA Freeway Looks Post-Apocalyptic After Drones Delay Firefighters

Dozens of charred, abandoned cars made for a surreal landscape after a massive wildfire swept across a major Southern California freeway yesterday afternoon. Early this morning officials confirmed that five drones flying over the scene hindered firefighters’ response and caused the fire to jump the freeway. »7/18/15 11:00am7/18/15 11:00am

What Would Happen If All Our Satellites Were Suddenly Destroyed?

Since their inception 60 years ago, satellites have gone on to become an indispensable component of our modern high-tech civilization. But because they’re reliable and practically invisible, we take their existence for granted. Here’s what would happen if all our satellites suddenly just disappeared. »6/04/15 2:02pm6/04/15 2:02pm