Home Emergency Preparedness Guide
Infant mortality varies between the two sites and between habitats. In the rich and water provisioned area where Koyama and collegues' (2001) focal groups resided, infant mortality in the first year of life was just 37 in a year of normal rainfall whereas Jolly et al. (2003) report 50 in the scrub forest area of the reserve. At Beza Mahafaly, 80 of infants died in the first 6 months in the second year of a drought. But even in years of normal rainfall, infant mortality averages around 52 (Gould et al., 2003 Sussman, 1991). Such high infant mortality may be related to the suggestion by Gould et al. (2003) that L. catta are income breeders rather than capital breeders (as per Jonsson, 1997), that is, females do not rely upon fat stores during reproduction, rather they use the maximum resources in the environment when pregnant and lactating. Therefore, during natural disasters such as drought periods, when fruiting failures occur, females may simply not have the physiological capacity to...
Despite its scientifically ludicrous depictions, Hollywood has nevertheless served to educate people about the dangers of Earth-crossing asteroids and comets. The overall message of the late-twentieth-century movies Armageddon and Deep Impact was grounded in reality. Asteroid impact can be viewed as the most dangerous single threat to our species' existence.
Firstly, we can assume that all four of these events, as well as the NAIP and possibly other smaller events, were coeval, within the limits of less than a few days. Certainly, such a group of major simultaneous impact events would have had a far greater effect than Chicxulub alone, and would support the viewpoint of those who hold that the dinosaurs were exterminated in a horrendous Armageddon.
Interestingly, although many research projects described in this book emanated from partnerships involving multiple USA zoos working together, most training was conducted by zoos working individually. This should, and is likely to, change because USA zoos are cooperating more closely now through the Giant Panda Conservation Foundation (under the umbrella of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association or AZA) and the AZA's Species Survival Plan (SSP). For example, the Giant Panda SSP programme now meets annually for several days with managers and scientists to discuss common interests, including planned activities in China. High on the agenda is how the respective holding institutions can work together more strategically and more effectively to share resources in the face of what seems to be ever-decreasing revenue, including what can be contributed to China programmes. Contrary to what might be expected, giant panda loans are not good business for USA zoos. US Fish and Wildlife Service...
Clearly, accidents involving travel to and within the research site cannot be avoided. However, surviving an accident when traveling by land, air, or sea may well depend on your or another team member's ability to assess, treat, and, if possible, transport injured individuals to safety or health-care facilities. The research areas can be so remote that help may not arrive for days. Survival skills are then critical to the outcome of the physical harm brought on by accidents. Another set of unpredictable events that have great potential to inflict physical harm on the team and its members are natural disasters. Earthquakes, volcanic activity, hurricanes, fires, tsunamis, and floods must all be considered possible threats to the team. On one occasion, a research group at a remote research facility in southern Peru was caught in a high-magnitude earthquake, which resulted in cinder-block-style buildings falling on the team members. Because of their knowledge of earthquake survival,...
The astronauts themselves also received an upgrade of sorts. Since STS-5, and up to the Challenger disaster, they had only worn light-blue overalls and a clamshell-like 'crash helmet' with a limited supply of breathing air. Afterwards, however, NASA decided to revert to sending its crews into space with the best kind of personal protection possible. When the STS-26 crew lifted off in September 1988, they wore bulky, bright-orange partial-pressure ensembles known as the Launch and Entry Suit (LES). From STS-28 until STS-73, all of Columbia's fliers wore an LES.
For most natural hazards, risk reduction or mitigation strategies can deal only with the consequences of the disaster. Thus, for example, we cannot stop an earthquake or even reduce its force, but we can mandate standards in building construction and develop plans to treat casualties and restore public services after the event. If impacts could be predicted weeks or months in advance,
To appreciate the scale of the global catastrophe thus defined by Chapman and Morrison, we must be clear what it is not. Such a catastrophe is far larger than the effects of the great World Wars but far smaller than the KT impact. Although it could destabilize modern civilization, it would not threaten the survival of the human species. Nor would such a catastrophe leave any fossil record, although this fact would provide scant comfort to those people who experienced such an impact.
Most contemporary scientists also reject the idea of a comet. 'Comets are fluffy in comparison with asteroids and burn up quickly in the atmosphere', Richard Stone writes in Discover magazine. 'For one to have produced an explosion as big as the one over Tunguska, it would have started out as a million-tonne object. The vast swath of gas and dust left by such an object on its way down might well have shut out the sun or altered the climate.' Zdenek Sekanina, an expert on comets at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, agrees 'The effect on life on Earth would have been horrendous. It would have been a global catastrophe, comparable to nuclear winter. The effects on mankind would have been so overwhelming that we could not discuss the topic, because we would not be here.' You and I are still discussing the topic therefore, the Tunguska fireball was not a comet. QED.
It is relevant to consider the causative mechanisms for the introduction of polysaccharide-rich soil organic matter into marine environments at the end of the Permian. At this time, the biosphere experienced a natural pollution event initiated by massive volcanism (Visscher et al. 1995). The Siberian Traps represent the largest of all flood basalt provinces and their emplacement would have involved the release of large amounts of acidifying gases and liquid aerosols to the atmosphere. Once deposited at the surface of the supercontinent Pangaea, chemical changes occurred which had a deleterious effect on ecosystems. It appears that eventually the terrestrial biosphere succumbed to the imposed stresses and a widespread loss of rooted vegetation preceded a dramatic episode of soil erosion. The influx of mobilized soil materials exacerbated stresses in the marine realm completing the global catastrophe.
The Giant Panda Biomedical Survey how it began and the value of people working together across cultures and disciplines
In 1989, zoo managers involved in the North America Cheetah Species Survival Plan (SSP, a consortium under the umbrella of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, AZA) came to a rather radical conclusion the cheetah population held in AZA-accredited zoos should be designated for research, to be studied to understand how to better manage and reproduce the species in captivity. The first step was to understand the well-being and physiological status of the existing North American cheetah population. Because empirical causes of poor reproductive efficiency were unknown, it was logical to establish first the reproductive and health status of the extant population, information that would be critical for making subsequent research and management decisions. In a crucial meeting, the managers agreed to evaluate every available cheetah to learn as much as possible about the health and reproductive status of the existing population. Thus was born the first large-scale, ex situ Biomedical...
Severe drought years have been shown to impact dry, western forests in Madagascar (Gould et al., 1999). But droughts also affect the rainforest by extending the dry season and reducing annual rainfall (Wright, 1999). Drought in rainforests has resulted in high canopy tree mortality (Milton et al., 1994 Condit et al., 1995), reproductive failure (Struhsaker, 1997), fruit crop failure (Foster, 1980 Leighton and Wirawan, 1986), and decrease in young leaf abundance (Leighton and Wirawan, 1986 Struhsaker, 1997). No long-term studies have been conducted yet on the effects of natural disasters such as drought and cyclones on fauna and flora in the Manombo region. However, direct cyclone hits can result in complete defoliation, blowdowns of all canopy trees, landslides, and flooding (Ganzhorn, 1995a,b). As a consequence, neither fruits nor leaves may be available for consumption until the following spring, leaving only crisis foods, such as epiphytes, for the lemurs to eat (Ratsimbazafy,...
The first memory is the DNA repository of ancestral survival techniques, written on the moving scroll that is the gene pool of the species. Just as the inherited database of DNA records the recurrent details of ancestral environments and how to survive them, the immune system, the 'second memory', does the same thing for diseases and other insults to the body during the individual's own lifetime. This database of past diseases and how to survive them is unique to each individual and is written in the repertoire of proteins that we call antibodies - one population of antibodies for each pathogen (disease-causing organism), precisely tailored by past 'experience' with the proteins that characterize the pathogen. Like many children of my generation, I had measles and chickenpox. My body 'remembers' the 'experience', the memories being embodied in antibody proteins, along with the rest of my personal database of previously vanquished invaders. I have fortunately never had polio, but...
Other mass extinction events of earlier times are largely unknown to us, because they occurred when organisms rarely made skeletal hard parts and thus rarely became fossils. Perhaps the long period of Earth history prior to the advent of skeletons was punctuated by enormous global catastrophes that decimated the biota of our planet mass extinctions without record. Yet very little attention has been paid to earlier extinction events. For instance, astrobiologist James Kasting believes that the greatest mass extinction of all time may have been brought about by the Snowball Earth events of around 750 million years.
Warned 'Had chance directed this enormous visitor from space to the site of a city or a thickly settled country the world would have experienced an unparalleled disaster one, we must not forget, which may yet happen should another such meteorite ever arrive.' After more than three-quarters of a century, these doomsday warnings remain 'current' - just swap the word 'meteorite' with 'asteroid'.
Carbon isotope anomalies at era boundaries Global catastrophes and their ultimate cause. Geol. Soc. Am. Special Paper 247, pp. 61-70. Raup, D. 1990. Impact as a general cause of extinction A feasibility test. In Global catastrophes in earth history, ed. V. Sharpton and P. Ward, pp. 27-32. Geol. Soc. Am. Special Paper 247. Schultz, P., and Gault, D. E. 1990. Prolonged global catastrophes from oblique impacts, in Sharpton, V. L. and Ward, P. D., eds., Global catastrophes in Earth history, An interdisciplinary conference on impacts, volcanism and mass mortality Geological Society of America Special Paper 247, p. 239-261.
One alternative scenario for the future is that in which terra-forming is combined with solar engineering. There are, it turns out, a number of ways that the Sun's aging effects might be combated. These ideas have been discussed in the author's book Rejuvenating the Sun and Avoiding Other Global Catastrophes. The details of the solar rejuvenation process need not be recounted here, but in many ways they are the logical, albeit scaled-up, continuation of the skills that will have been developed and honed for the terra-forming of planets and moons within the Solar System. The long-term future, provided humanity can survive until then, need not be one of doom and desolation. Indeed, there are absolutely no reasons to force us to conclude that the deep future won't be one of great growth and prosperity. The Solar System provides the potential, while terraforming and solar engineering the methods, for an incredibly prosperous future for humanity. We can make no predictions about what will...
Shortly after the melting of Snowball Earth, large multicellular life exploded in diversity, a coincidence that has led some workers to suggest that the two events were causally linked (Hoffman and Schrag 2000). That is, the blossoming of life, like that of dinosaurs, may have occurred in the aftermath of a global catastrophe.
Analysis of demographic and genetic trends for developing a captive breeding masterplan for the giant panda
While these concepts were new for China, models could be shared from experiences of the largely successful Species Survival Plan (SSP) of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association or AZA (Foose, 1989 Hutchins & Wiese, 1991). The SSP concept was implemented in 1981 as a cooperative captive population management programme for selected taxa in USA zoos and aquaria. SSPs were initially developed to maintain healthy, self-sustaining populations that were genetically diverse and demographically stable. However, over time they have evolved to become more comprehensive and conservation-oriented, encompassing diverse research, public education, fund raising, field project and reintroduction activities.
Many futurologists have predicted that we will evolve into machine-human hybrids with our consciousness intact or even enhanced. Some feel that this transition might come within the next century. Variations on this theme range from Bill Joy-type doomsday scenarios to utopian visions of uploading our memories and thoughts into an immortal, pain-free machine state and building for ourselves any bodies we choose. The biological stage may be a mere precursor to what technologist Ray Kurzweil calls the age of spiritual machines.
If we are not intelligent, then what is Here's my crack at a definition A truly intelligent species must have the ability to behave, collectively, in ways that ensure long-term survival. It must have learned to avoid self-destruction, anticipate and avoid natural disasters, intentionally and thoughtfully alter its environment and live sustainably within it.
Plato's Timaeus tells the legend of Atlantis, a great and powerful island civilization whose navies sought to conquer the peoples of the Mediterranean. According to Plato, this civilization met a terrible end as a result of a series of natural disasters that caused it to sink into the sea. In Critias, Plato expounds upon the legend of the lost continent and recounts tales of a great war between Athens and Atlantis, which preceded its destruction. According to Plato, the Atlantean civilization enjoyed great riches, both those found within its own fertile boundaries, and those received by trade with other peoples. The capital city of Atlantis was surrounded by alternating concentric circles of land and water. Great bridges and canals were built from
Above the threshold for global catastrophe, the number of fatalities is (by definition) more than one fourth of the Earth's total population. Just above the nominal threshold, the expected average local casualties from the direct blast are tens of millions, while indirect casualties are (by definition of the global threshold) one and a half billion. This difference reflects the different areas affected less than 1 of the Earth's surface for the direct blast, but the entire surface for the indirect effects. Is the greatest risk from the smaller, more frequent impacts that cause local or regional destruction, from larger impacts near the global catastrophic threshold, or from the even rarer mass extinction events Chapman and Morrison (1994) first integrated the cumulative damage over segments of the im-pactor size-frequency distribution to yield some quantitative estimates, while Stokes (2003) contains a more detained recent analysis focused on subkilometer impacts. impact that would...
Our team wanted priority in the shop. So did they. Worse than that, Goddard (like many engineering companies) has what's called a ''matrix organization, in which everyone has multiple bosses who argue over who works on what. The matrix organization would be the death of us as we tried to claim our percentages of time from each person. It wasn't working. The only thing that broke the logjam was a national disaster. In January 1986, the Challenger exploded. Nothing would bring back the dead astronauts. Other rockets exploded in the ensuing months, both American and European. Things looked extremely grim everywhere. National pride stepped in, and people refused to let NASA die too. Congress gave money, and NASA would build another Shuttle. But what would COBE do in the meantime COBE was going to ride on a Shuttle, and so was practically every other NASA payload. That was the bargain with the White House and the Congress. So we were stuck.
Mantle convection models undergo transitions from one style of convection to another. Examples include the possible transition from layered to whole mantle convection and the transition from constant-viscosity-like convection to stagnant-lid or sluggish-lid convection of course, such transitions can also occur in the opposite directions. The occurrence of such transitions in the evolving Earth would have had profound global consequences for the planet. Transitions of this type might also have taken place in other planets providing an explanation for global catastrophic events such as the resurfacing of Venus some 500-750 Myr ago. While all this is speculative, the important point is that the temporal complexity of mantle convection provides an abundance of behaviors that could literally turn over the mantle and reshape the surface. Impacts are not the only way to change the course of planetary evolution the source of global change can also lie within a body, in the dynamics of a...
The timescale for Ediacaran events has been difficult to determine because fossils of any kind are rare, relative dating is controversial, and it is unclear if the many glacial events of the late Precambrian were all of global extent and whether their correlation one with another is correct. The best suggestion at present is summarized in Fig. 15.6. A series of major glaciations culminated in a global catastrophe, with icebergs in equatorial waters. It has been suggested that the ocean froze completely, producing a Snowball Earth , and causing productivity to collapse. It is at least clear that the Earth became an extremely challenging environment for life. This huge glaciation ended abruptly at 635 million years ago and is marked worldwide by a limestone which is the product of the abrupt release of organic carbon into the world ocean, which stimulated primary productivity. This limestone defines the base of the Ediacaran period.
Such a force that if the supposed fireball had fallen on Moscow, half of the Russian capital would have turned into desert, and the other half into ruins', echoed the Russian news agency Novosti. The news of the Vitim fireball also made asteroid doomsayers worried, because such an impact would force them to revise their estimate for the likelihood of a devastating asteroid striking Earth (meaning asteroid armageddon may be closer than you think). You have not yet heard the last word on the Vitim fireball or the Tunguska fireball.
The fur trade was not the only threat the koala had to face during the late 1800s and early 1900s.2 Australia's native animals have always had to contend with natural disasters such as fire and drought, but other dangers are a direct result of human settlement. Habitat loss and fragmentation, disease, overpopulation, inbreeding, dog attacks and road accidents all have taken their toll on the koala. In this chapter we explore the impact of After habitat loss and disease, natural disasters have the biggest impact, of which the most dangerous is fire. Captain James Cook saw fires continually while sailing along the east coast of Australia in 1770.49 The frequent low-intensity fires lit by the Aborigines generally burned along the lower storey of the forest and thus had a limited impact on arboreal mammals such as the koala that live high in the upper tree canopy.50 Falling Aboriginal numbers put an end to a regular burning programme, which allowed the forests' fuel load to accumulate...
During the 1950s, Cold War strategists toyed with the idea of a Doomsday weapon. Such a weapon was terrible, uncontrollable, capable of destroying all human life on Earth including the owners of the weapon. If your enemy knew you were willing to deploy a Doomsday device then so the Cold War logic went they would not dare attack you. I suspect that Fred Saberhagen had the Doomsday weapon in mind when he wrote his famous berserker stories.138
Some 40-50 tetrapods in a fauna, ranging from tiny insect-eaters to giant sabre-toothed gorgonopsians that preyed on the thick-skinned pareiasaurs and dinocephalians, only two or three tetrapod taxa survived. Most famous of the survivors was the dicynodont Lystrosaurus, which spread worldwide in the earliest Triassic. Such dominance by a single taxon, making up perhaps 95 of the post-extinction faunas, is a sure indication that a major crisis has happened. Other survivors included two or three 'temnospondyl' lines (see p. 97), some procolophonids, some basal archosaurs and lepidosauromorphs (see Chapter 6), and some the-rocephalians and cynodonts.
The final term in the equation, L, the longevity of technical civilizations, proved to be the hardest to estimate. The best we can do is to ponder our own future, estimate our longevity, and pray for rain. Then we extrapolate recklessly to the rest of the galaxy. The Green Bank group recognized that this number is totally unconstrained.* We might destroy ourselves after less than a hundred years of radio listening, which began in 1960. Or we might learn how to get along with one another, control our technology, live sustainably, and achieve security against natural disasters. (Well, anything is possible.) If we do all that, we might last for billions of years. So there is a factor of 107, or ten million, separating the optimistic from the pessimistic estimates. At Green Bank, recognizing that we can't really pin down L, they settled on a range of 103 to 108 (one thousand to 100 million) years for the average lifetime of a communicating civilization.
The evidence regarding the mammals' final demise is quite different from that regarding the dinosaurs'. As every first-grader knows, dinosaurs vanished 65 million years ago, smashed to pieces by a space rock. Not all geologists will agree, but I am impressed with the evidence that dinosaur extinction may have involved an asteroid or large meteor striking our planet (L. Alvarez and others 1980 W. Alvarez 1997 Powell 1998), an extraterrestrial accident that has been compared with the detonation of a 50-ton atomic bomb. Whatever happened also wiped out innumerable other terrestrial and marine species, some of them small in size, along with many vascular plants. In near time, however, there is no hint of such a catastrophe. A meteor crater in northern Arizona is about 50,000 years old, too old and much too small to account for extinctions of mammoths and ground sloths. There is no evidence of elements that are common extraterrestrially but less so on Earth, such as iridium, and no sign of...
The geologic record of such an event or series of events could be expected to be unmistakable. Plant extinctions would be indicated by the disappearance from the fossil record of a significant number of taxa. Assuming not just mass kill but also mass extinction, megafossil floras on either side of the K-T boundary would be strikingly different in composition, as would the corresponding microfossil floras. The microfossils would be expected to exhibit their most profound changes coincident with the deposits representing impact debris. Pioneer communities of ferns would be recorded in the stratigraphic record by unusual abundances of fern spores just above the level of pollen extinction. Although not all plant taxa were driven to extinction, some might be expected to show sharp changes in abundance, either reductions or (like the ferns) increases. Plant communities on continents farther removed from the impact site might suffer less than those in closer proximity. Long-term effects on...
Besides asking dinosaurs' expert opinion, what else could scientists do to stop a rogue asteroid from crashing into Earth Once scientists have discovered an asteroid they can calculate whether it is headed our way. The plan to destroy it will depend upon how far away it is. Here are some of the plans to save us from the scenarios dramatised in the movies Armageddon and Deep Impact On the matter of the doomsday rocks, Tom Gehrels has the last word
The Spaceguard Survey is intended to identify any potential threat to the Earth by detecting an asteroid on one of the many flybys that precede an actual impact. This approach should normally provide a warning time of at least several decades. The survey is optimized for finding asteroids near 1 km in diameter, which embraces the lower limit in size for a global catastrophe. Halfway into the Spaceguard Survey decade, about 60 of the estimated 1100 100 of the NEAs larger than 1 km had already been found. This is not
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The Basic Survival Guide
Disasters: Why No ones Really 100 Safe. This is common knowledgethat disaster is everywhere. Its in the streets, its inside your campuses, and it can even be found inside your home. The question is not whether we are safe because no one is really THAT secure anymore but whether we can do something to lessen the odds of ever becoming a victim.