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April 24, 2015 | 0 comments

For many of us, smartphones have become the primary tool for organizing our lives. Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey are working to turn them into tools for not just organizing but saving lives. Specifically, USGS geophysicists are developing earthquake early-warning systems that can grab data from smartphones and pass along alerts to those in the path of earthquake shockwaves. According to USGS geophysicist Sarah Minson, the idea for smartphone crowdsourcing came out of the service's work on the ShakeAlert early-warning system that is being deployed on the West Coast using seismic instruments: http://gcn.com/blogs/emerging-tech/2015/04/smartphone-earthquake-warning...

April 21, 2015 | 0 comments

Extreme hazards — rare, high-impact events — pose a serious and underestimated threat to humanity. The extremes of the broad ensemble of natural and anthropogenic hazards can lead to global disasters and catastrophes. Because they are rare and modern society lacks experience with them, they tend to be ignored in disaster risk management. While the probabilities of most natural hazards do not change much over time, the sensitivity of the built environment and the vulnerability of the embedded socio-economic fabric have increased rapidly.Extreme hazards — rare, high-impact events — pose a serious and underestimated threat to humanity. The extremes of the broad ensemble of natural and anthropogenic hazards can lead to global disasters and catastrophes. Because they are rare and modern society lacks experience with them, they tend to be ignored in disaster risk management. While the probabilities of most natural hazards do not change much over time, the sensitivity of the built environment and the vulnerability of the embedded socio-economic fabric have increased rapidly: http://www.homelandsecuritynewswire.com/dr20150415-extreme-geohazards-re...

April 21, 2015 | 0 comments

Ever since California began drying out four years ago, Noah Diffenbaugh and his crew of earth scientists at Stanford University have been working on that question. They’re on a mission, like detectives breaking down a psychological profile of a bad guy — only this hunt is done with calculators and computer models: http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/Scientists-Predict-Less-Rain-from-...

April 14, 2015 | 0 comments

When 911 dispatchers get a call that someone has collapsed and stopped breathing, they quickly notify first responders. In hundreds of communities across the U.S., they now also send out a smartphone app alert summoning citizens trained in CPR. If those Good Samaritans arrive at the scene first, they can start resuscitation efforts until the professionals get there: http://www.emergencymgmt.com/health/Rescue-Workers-Use-Apps-Help-Save-Li...

April 14, 2015 | 0 comments

Smartphones and other personal electronic devices could, in regions where they are in widespread use, function as early warning systems for large earthquakes according to newly reported research. This technology could serve regions of the world that cannot afford higher quality, but more expensive, conventional earthquake early warning systems, or could contribute to those systems. The researchers found that the sensors in smartphones and similar devices could be used to issue earthquake warnings for earthquakes of approximately magnitude 7 or larger, but not for smaller, yet potentially damaging earthquakes: http://www.homelandsecuritynewswire.com/dr20150414-smartphones-could-be-...