Infrastructure Risk

By Carl Southwell | Built structures that present significant risks to their neighbors

Jet fuel from sugarcane? It's not a flight of fancy

The aviation industry produces 2 percent of global human-induced carbon dioxide emissions. This share may seem relatively small – for perspective, …

Energy

Whitefish energy company halts work to restore Puerto Rico's power over unpaid bill

Hurricane-hit US territory says payments were halted after subcontractor complained company owed them money<p>Whitefish Energy Holdings has said it is halting work on restoring power in Puerto Rico because it has not been paid by the US territory’s government.<p>The company said late Monday that invoices …

Puerto Rico

Russia reports radioactivity 986 times the norm after nuclear accident claim

Moscow says ‘extremely high’ levels of ruthenium-106 discovered as Greenpeace urges inquiry into possible cover-up<p>Russia’s meteorological service has confirmed that “extremely high” concentrations of the radioactive isotope ruthenium-106 in several parts of the country in late September, confirming …

Pollution

Sex toy company admits to recordings users' remote sex sessions, calls it a 'minor bug'

I have some news: the Internet of Things is a mess. A hacked refrigerator sounds slightly scary, but a vibrator-controlling app that records all your sex sounds and stores them on your phone without your knowledge? That's way worse.<p>Today, a Reddit user pointed out that Hong Kong-based sex toy …

Security

3.2 quake strikes near Athens Park in South L.A.

A shallow magnitude 3.2 earthquake was reported Friday morning near the West Athens community in South Los Angeles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The temblor occurred at 1:25 a.m. PST at a depth of 7.5 miles.<p>According to the USGS, the epicenter was two miles from Lennox and two miles …

Earthquakes

Mysterious Radioactive Cloud Over Europe Hints At Accident Farther East

European authorities are providing new details about a cloud of mysterious radioactive material that appeared over the continent last month.<p>Monitors in Italy were among first to detect the radioactive isotope ruthenium-106 on Oct. 3, according to a fresh report by France's Radioprotection and …

Russia

NPA to close down 35 high-risk LPG stations nationwide

The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) says it has identified 35 Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) as high risk waiting to close these stations down once …

Why We Should Be Concerned About Artificial Superintelligence

The human brain isn’t magic; nor are the problem-solving abilities our brains possess. They are, however, still poorly understood. If there’s nothing …

Intelligence

Waymo is first to put fully self-driving cars on US roads without a safety driver

Going Level 4 in Arizona<p>Waymo, the autonomous vehicle division of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, reached an important milestone recently: since mid-October, the company has been operating its autonomous minivans on public roads in Arizona without a safety driver — or any human at all — behind …

Transportation

Does regulating artificial intelligence save humanity or just stifle innovation?

Some people are afraid that heavily armed artificially intelligent robots might take over the world, enslaving humanity – or perhaps exterminating …

Artificial Intelligence

Hurricane Maria: Inside a Puerto Rican Barrio's Fight to Survive

What the G8 neighborhoods in San Juan can teach us about the coming age of permanent disaster<p>On a hot and cloudless afternoon in mid-October, the …

Caribbean

Police Commission OKs LAPD 1-year drone pilot program

<i>The Seattle Police Department donated two Draganflyer X6 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to the LAPD in 2014. (The Draganflyer drone pictured here belongs</i> …

Southern California

Kaboom! Russian Drone With Thermite Grenade Blows Up a Billion Dollars of Ukrainian Ammo

A single grenade-carrying drone set off one of the largest explosions in recent memory.<p>A drone carrying a grenade infiltrated an ammunition dump in Ukraine, setting off an explosion that caused an astounding billion dollars worth of damage. The incident points to the growing use of drones in …

Drones

With drones spotted at Port Tampa Bay, international fears hit home

In Rich Bishop's nightmare, someone flies a drone over Port Tampa Bay and drops an explosive device on a gas tank, causing massive …

Drones

Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock 'hit tanks full of aviation fuel' as he fired into crowd

Bullets fired by Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock hit large aviation fuel tanks near the site of the Route 91 music festival, a law enforcement …

Las Vegas

In Natural Disasters, Are Inmates Expendable?

Are prisons built to withstand the kinds of natural disasters that experts say will become more frequent and more intense as a result of climate …

Prison

The Coming Software Apocalypse

A small group of programmers wants to change how we code—before catastrophe strikes.<p>There were six hours during the night of April 10, 2014, when the entire population of Washington State had no 911 service. People who called for help got a busy signal. One Seattle woman dialed 911 at least 37 …

Programming

Sewer in London’s East End Menaced by Giant Fatberg

LONDON — There is a monster beneath the streets of London, menacing the East End underworld.<p>What has been named the Whitechapel fatberg is a rock-solid agglomeration of fat, disposable wipes, diapers, condoms and tampons. It was discovered to the east of the city’s financial district, occupying a …

Cities

latimes.com

Mexico Searches for Survivors After Quake Leaves Hundreds Dead

Mexican search and rescue teams worked through the night after an earthquake rocked one of the world’s largest urban centers, killing hundreds and …

About 1.5 million, mostly in Florida, without power in Irma's wake

MIAMI (Reuters) - About 1.5 million homes and businesses in Florida and Georgia remained without power on Friday after Hurricane Irma, including 46 of Florida's nearly 700 nursing homes caught in the deadly storm's path.<p>Irma, which ranked as one of the most powerful Atlantic storms on record before …

Florida’s Poop Nightmare Has Come True

In the days and hours before Hurricane Irma slammed into Florida, its residents were treated to copious media speculation about nightmare scenarios. …

Water

Earthquake Off Mexico Kills Dozens, Sparks Tsunami Warning

The death toll from the most powerful earthquake to hit Mexico in 100 years kept climbing Friday as rescue crews searched through the ruins of collapsed buildings in the coastal areas closest to the epicenter.<p>As of Friday evening, the National Emergency Committee said 58 had died in the earthquake, …

The world is facing a global sand crisis

When people picture sand spread across idyllic beaches and endless deserts, they understandably think of it as an infinite resource. But as we …

Geography

Death toll in Mexico quake rises to 58 as frantic search for victims continues

At least 58 people are dead after one of the most powerful earthquakes in Mexico’s history struck late Thursday on its southern coast, toppling buildings, destroying hospitals and causing people to flee violently swaying skyscrapers n the capital city hundreds of miles away.<p>In Juchitan de Zaragoza, …

Earthquakes

Hell and High Water

Houston is the fourth-largest city in the country. It’s home to the nation’s largest refining and petrochemical complex, where billions of gallons of …

Weather

Texas chemical plant to burn containers at risk of explosion: officials

HOUSTON (Reuters) - The operators of a Crosby, Texas, chemical factory that ran out of electricity needed to keep flammable material refrigerated will burn the remaining trailers holding the substance, officials said on Sunday.<p>Arkema SA, the French chemicals company that runs the plant, and Harris …

Harvey shines a spotlight on a high-risk area of chemical plants in Texas

Long before the storm dropped barrels of rain over one of the world’s largest industrial corridors, the area was rife with potentially dangerous chemicals<p>It was 2am Texas time on Thursday when the Arkema chemical plant in Crosby caught fire and exploded. Flooded by Hurricane Harvey’s torrential …

Environment

Harvey reveals corporate hubris regarding safety

Richard Rennard, the president of Arkema, shrugged his shoulders when asked what more his company could have done to prevent chemicals from burning …

Arkema