Posts Tagged ‘flood’
Drug companies have a problem: they are finding it ever harder to get painkillers through clinical trials. But this isn’t necessarily because the drugs are getting worse. An extensive analysis of trial data has found that responses to sham treatments have become stronger over time, making it harder to prove a drug’s advantage over placebo…
Bad, good, or simply confusing news? Decide for yourself at Nature.
* Salvador Dalí
As we take the red pill, we might recall that it was on this date in 1814 that London suffered “The Great Beer Flood Disaster” when the metal bands on an immense vat at Meux’s Horse Shoe Brewery snapped, releasing a tidal wave of 3,555 barrels of Porter (571 tons– more than 1 million pints), which swept away the brewery walls, flooded nearby basements, and collapsed several adjacent tenements. While there were reports of over twenty fatalities resulting from poisoning by the porter fumes or alcohol coma, it appears that the death toll was 8, and those from the destruction caused by the huge wave of beer in the structures surrounding the brewery.
(The U.S. had its own vat mishap in 1919, when a Boston molasses plant suffered similarly-burst bands, creating a heavy wave of molasses moving at a speed of an estimated 35 mph; it killed 21 and injured 150.)
Blizzards across the U.S. (record snowfalls)… droughts in Russia (worst in a century) and China (likely the worst in 200 years)… a one-two punch in the Antipodes: a century-worst decade of drought in Australia followed immediately by devastating floods…
There’s no question that climate disruption (or “global warming” or whatever one wants to call it) is having real impact: disrupted transit and hammered retail sales in the U.S. (and the U.K.) seem mere inconveniences in the face of drought-driven pressure on global food prices– pressure that’s aggravated the already painful problem of poverty around the world, and that’s surely contributed to the tensions roiling repressive/regressive regimes in the Middle East and elsewhere… all, scientists suggest, just a taste of the broader and deeper impacts to come if humankind doesn’t heal its relationship with Nature.
And, of course, it is up to us humans. Nature doesn’t care. Nature is perfectly prepared to get on with a future sans people. Memento Mori, Memento Natura…
Thankfully, there are artists to remind us– artists who were, as is so often the case, attuned to the threat even before the scientific establishment. Consider, for example, Jinzo Ningen Kikaida (a 70s Japanese TV series in the tradition of the great Ishiro Honda), which fielded this crystalline allegory:
Mother Nature’s go-go boots are made for walking– walking all over you.
As we ask not what Copenhagen can do for us, but what we can do for Copenhagen, we might recall that it was on this date in 1611 that Johannes Fabricius discovered sunspots (now reputed to have some impact on global climate); he published his observation on June 13 of that year in Narratio de Maculis in Sole Observatis et Apparente Earum cum Sole Conversione (“Narration on Spots Observed on the Sun and their Apparent Rotation with the Sun“).