Safety

Beach Bacteria Warning: That Sand May Be Contaminated

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 26, 2005   View Article

Building sand castles and playing beach volleyball may be grittier vacation pastimes than you think, according to a new report.

Sand at many U.S. beaches contains bacteria that indicate potentially unhealthy levels of fecal material, the report states. The Clean Beaches Council, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, issued the report earlier this month.

Tsunami Proofing: Where to Put Walls, Why to Keep Trees

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 28, 2005   View Article

The images from the Indian Ocean tsunami that left nearly 300,000 dead or missing last December are striking. Amateur video shot in Phuket, Thailand, for example, shows huge ocean waves ripping across beachfront swimming pools and crashing through hotel lobbies.

“All of those videos were shot from the upper floors of hotels; [the buildings] survived,” said Gerard Fryer, a geophysicist and tsunami expert at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa in Honolulu.

True Axis of Evil Is Poverty, Pollution, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: January 13, 2005   View Article

Acts of terrorism like the September 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S. are a worst-case symptom of global insecurity brought about by the festering interplay among poverty, infectious disease, and environmental degradation—the true “axis of evil,” according to the Worldwatch Institute in its State of the World 2005 report.

The Washington, D.C.-based research group released its annual report Wednesday. It concludes that until these conditions—and compounding factors such as the spread of small arms—are fiercely fought, political instability, warfare, and extremism will continue to thrive.

Locust Inspire Technology That May Prevent Car Crashes

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 6, 2004   View Article

Locusts are commonly associated with plagues, food shortages, and death. But for a team of European scientists, the grasshopper-like insects are inspiring a technology that may save lives by preventing hundreds of thousands of car crashes.

“Locusts are good at avoiding collisions,” said team member Claire Rind, a biologist at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in England. “We should learn from a species that is good at the task.”

Key to Lightning Deaths: Location, Location, Location

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: June 22, 2004   View Article

Lightning is a killer. It claims more victims each year than do snowstorms, hurricanes, and tornadoes. It keeps a low profile as the second largest weather-related killer, usually striking one person at a time. Only floods, which can wipe out towns, kill more people.

According to the U.S. National Weather Service, 73 people die from lightning strikes each year and hundreds more suffer life-debilitating injuries. Memory loss, attention deficits, sleep disorders, numbness, dizziness, and weakness are some of the maladies cited.

Shoring Up N. Carolina Islands: A Losing Battle?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 10, 2003   View Article

When Hurricane Isabel roared onto the Outer Banks of North Carolina two months ago, stilted homes bowed to their knees, power lines snapped, sand piled over roadways, and residents in the hamlet of Hatteras sat isolated from the rest of the world.

Storm waters locked up in the estuarine side of the islands desperate for escape punched a new inlet between Hatteras and Frisco, washing sand, vegetation, and U.S. Highway 12 out to sea.

Sonar Device May Prevent Manatee-Boat Collisions

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 17, 2003   View Article

Researchers are developing a sonar system to help boaters steer off a collision course with the Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus Linneaus). The technology could be the difference between population growth and decline in the endangered species.

In 2002, 95 of the 305 recorded manatee deaths resulted from boat collisions, making it the leading cause of death for the slow-moving animals. The remaining manatee population is estimated to be less than 3,300, according to conservation groups.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach