Thursday, November 25, 2010

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BP oil spill incident commander dies in small plane crash

DESTIN, Fla. (WEAR & AP) - A former Texas solicitor general has been
identified as one of three victims who died when their small plane
crashed off the Florida Panhandle.

Officials said Wednesday that former Solicitor General Gregory Scott
Coleman, 47, of Cedar Park, Texas, was the pilot of the small Piper
Malibu. He and two others were killed when his plane went down in
Choctawhatchee Bay on Tuesday night while trying to land at the Destin

Also killed were Coleman's mother-in-law, Charlene Black, 63, of
College Station, Texas, and James Patrick Black, 58. Black's address
was not immediately released.

WEAR ABC 3 :: Top Stories - Destin Plane Crash New Developments

Channel 3 News has confirmed that James Black is a long-time BP employee and executive. Black was recently named the Gulf Coast Incident Commander for Restoration for BP. He
was in charge of clean up for the entire spill. He took that position
just 60 days ago. Black was in Houma, Louisiana from the beginning of the spill.
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FEMA Preparing for 'The Big One'.

FEMA Region 8 is no stranger to earthquakes and everyone keeps talking about the big one that could happen.

Thursday night a town hall meeting was held to discuss earthquakes and how you can prepare.

Jeff Presley, Jonesboro Emergency 911 Director said, "Geologists tell us that we're overdue for that big quake. It could happen anytime. So preparedness is the key to survival."

Preparedness was the focus of Thursday night's town hall meeting. Many people from around northeast Arkansas came out to get better educated on how to stay safe.
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Brian Blake with the Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium said that everyone should, "Get prepared, make a plan, put together an emergency supply kit, or strengthen their homes to withstand earthquake shaking."

But what steps do you need to take to make your home safer?
But many people want to know when we will see the next major earthquake.

Scott Ausbrooks with the Arkansas Geological Survey said, "It could be today, tomorrow, weeks, months, even years from now. Maybe not even in our lifetime. But we just don't know that at this time. We don't have that capability."

Although the exact time may not be known, data shows that small earthquakes occur frequently in the New Madrid Fault Zone.
The Sun Steals Comets from Other Stars
Blake says historically a major earthquake occurs every hundred years and the chances of that happening again are on the rise.

'Mag 8' Earthquake simulation breaks computational records

Nov. 18 -- A multi-disciplinary team of researchers presented the world’s most advanced earthquake shaking simulation at the Supercomputing 2010 (SC10) conference this week in New Orleans. The research was selected as a finalist for the Gordon Bell Prize, awarded at the annual conference for outstanding achievement in high-performance computing applications.

The “M8” simulation models how the ground will shake in a magnitude 8.0 earthquake on the southern San Andreas Fault. The simulation covers a larger area, in greater detail, than previously possible. Perhaps most importantly, the development of the M8 simulation advances the state-of-the-art in terms of the speed and efficiency at which such calculations can be performed.

The Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) at the University of Southern California (USC) was the lead coordinator in the project. San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) researchers provided the high-performance computing and scientific visualization expertise for the simulation. Scientific details of the earthquake were developed by scientists at San Diego State University (SDSU). Ohio State University (OSU) researchers were also part of the collaborative effort to improve the efficiency of the software involved.

While an earthquake of magnitude 8.0 or larger in southern California is unlikely to occur (2% chance in the next 30 years), the technological improvements required to produce this simulation allow scientists now to simulate other more likely earthquakes scenarios in much less time than previously required. Because such simulations are the most important and widespread applications of high performance computing for seismic hazard estimation currently in use, the SCEC team has been focused on optimizing the technologies and codes needed to create them.

Funded through a number of National Science Foundation (NSF) grants, the M8 simulation was performed using supercomputer resources including NSF’s Kraken supercomputer at the National Institute for Computational Science (NICS) and the Department of Energy sponsored (DOE) Jaguar supercomputer at the National Center for Computational Science (NCCS). The SCEC M8 simulation represents the latest in earthquake science and in computations at the petascale level, which refers to supercomputers capable of more than one quadrillion floating point operations (calculations) per second.

“Petascale simulations such as this one are needed to understand the rupture and wave dynamics of the largest earthquakes, at shaking frequencies required to engineer safe structures,” said Thomas Jordan, director of SCEC and Principal Investigator for the project. Unlike previous simulations, which were useful only for modeling how tall structures will behave in earthquakes, the new simulation can be used to understand how a broader range of buildings will respond.

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