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Wed Aug 30, 2017, 01:01 PM

We're Nowhere Near Prepared for the Ecological Disaster That Harvey Is Becoming

BY CHARLES P. PIERCE
AUG 30, 2017

SNIP:

Item: And this one may be my favorite, which is to say, the one that pushes me under the bed the furthest. On Galveston Island, there is the Galveston National Laboratory, which is part of the University of Texas Medical Branch. This laboratory contains some of the most deadly biological agents found in the known world, many of them of the airborne variety. It contain several Bio-Safety Level 4 labs, which are basically the places where plagues are studied. And here's the thing, as HuffPost explains—nobody knows what's going on there at the moment:

There has been almost no news from Galveston as journalists have reported being blocked from reaching the island because of severe flooding. There has been no reporting at all on the condition of the lab. A call to the laboratory on Tuesday immediately went to voicemail.

Here's a professor with some happy news.

But the generators run on fuel that would have to be replenished. It is not known if the lab is accessible to emergency crews to refuel the generators, which are stored on the roof, according to the 2008 Times piece. "As I see it the existential problem is this: What happens if and when the fuel for the back-up generators runs out?" asked University of Illinois professor Francis Boyle, an expert in biological weapons. "The negative air pressure that keeps (the) bugs in there ends. And (the) bugs can then escape."

Item: While the tragedy is vast and still unfolding, it was utterly and totally predictable. The Texas Gulf Coast has been Ground Zero for potential hurricanes since the Earth cooled and the continents separated. In 1900, a hurricane hit Galveston and killed 12,000 people. That one was a catastrophic surprise, there being no hurricane warning system at the time. This was after a similar storm had decimated nearby Indianola 25 years earlier. And yet…

the rest

http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a57276/harvey-longterm-effects/

23 replies, 4779 views

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Arrow 23 replies Author Time Post
Reply We're Nowhere Near Prepared for the Ecological Disaster That Harvey Is Becoming (Original post)
n2doc Aug 2017 OP
saidsimplesimon Aug 2017 #1
titaniumsalute Aug 2017 #2
The_jackalope Aug 2017 #5
raven mad Aug 2017 #22
Zoonart Aug 2017 #3
shanti Aug 2017 #4
n2doc Aug 2017 #8
yardwork Aug 2017 #6
FSogol Aug 2017 #7
byronius Aug 2017 #12
KewlKat Aug 2017 #9
BigmanPigman Aug 2017 #10
WinkyDink Aug 2017 #11
Politicub Aug 2017 #13
dixiegrrrrl Aug 2017 #21
kimbutgar Aug 2017 #14
elmac Aug 2017 #15
mrmpa Aug 2017 #16
GreenPartyVoter Aug 2017 #17
KewlKat Aug 2017 #18
mountain grammy Aug 2017 #19
Lucinda Aug 2017 #20
dalton99a Aug 2017 #23

Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed Aug 30, 2017, 01:02 PM

1. k&r thank you

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed Aug 30, 2017, 01:05 PM

2. So why the fuck wouldn't these people keep these germ/bacteria vials

Somewhere safe like underground in Kansas??

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Response to titaniumsalute (Reply #2)

Wed Aug 30, 2017, 01:23 PM

5. My bet is that it has something to do with politics.

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Response to titaniumsalute (Reply #2)

Thu Aug 31, 2017, 12:22 AM

22. Absolutely my first thought, titaniumsalute.

Or up here - away from most people and hard to get to, so what? WTF were the folks thinking, who put this lab on an ISLAND, prone to FLOODS even in normal years??



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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed Aug 30, 2017, 01:14 PM

3. Swell.

This is the DU member formerly known as Zoonart.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed Aug 30, 2017, 01:23 PM

4. Which brainiac decided

that Galveston Island would be a most excellent place to study dangerous bio-organisms??

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Response to shanti (Reply #4)

Wed Aug 30, 2017, 01:32 PM

8. Many times these labs are politically sited, I think

Pork for a Senator. There was another one on an island in Long Island sound, the idea I think being that it could be isolated in case of a loss of containment. Of course if it gets flooded, that is a different story.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed Aug 30, 2017, 01:25 PM

6. Why are deadly biological agents stored on an island?

That seems stupid.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed Aug 30, 2017, 01:29 PM

7. I'm not sure this reporting is accurate. I've designed BSL-3 and BSL-4 labs. A loss of electrical

power or the shutdown of emergency generators would not release materials. Those spaces have very sophisticated dampers and valves which fail closed on a loss of power. The labs do not rely on negative air pressure alone. I trust that the scientists secured the materials properly. Aside from major destruction of the building (think earthquake or explosion) it is safe.

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Response to FSogol (Reply #7)

Wed Aug 30, 2017, 02:19 PM

12. That made me wonder as well. It's not so tenuous as described.

Unless, of course, you're talking Andromeda Strain rubber-eating bugs. That's end of game there.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed Aug 30, 2017, 01:33 PM

9. kick

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed Aug 30, 2017, 02:07 PM

10. Rachel said on her show that the conditions are "serious"

which really mean "dangerous".

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed Aug 30, 2017, 02:09 PM

11. What geniuses thought Galveston was a secure place?

 

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed Aug 30, 2017, 02:35 PM

13. That's kind of a stupid place to store deadly pathogens

Not sure which Jr. Einstein thought of it, but, here's a crazy thought. If virus and germs need to be stored for study, how about putting them in facilities built outside of hurricane, tornado and earthquake-prone zones?

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Response to Politicub (Reply #13)

Wed Aug 30, 2017, 11:11 PM

21. And not on a barrier Islands, which MOVE.

Those islands are actually mounds of sand which, over the years, form and re-form with wave action.
And they serve to slow down storms, by absorbing some of the water.

There is a fairly big one in the Gulf by Mobile Bay, and damned if they have not built very expensive homes all over it, which get blown down in a hurricane, then insurance pays to have them rebuilt so they can get blown away again.
Katrina cut the spit in half. Now there are 2 islands. And the people in the half that got isolated
raised holy hell, demanding the state dredge sand to recreate teh Island again.

So people build, literally, on shifting sands and sit in their very expensive houses convinced that nothing will change, ever, despite the warnings.
until it does, then they get outraged, and demand that someone else fix it for them.

edited to add a quote I stole from someone here...Warpy maybe, it seems apt

The trouble ain’t that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain’t distributed right.--Mark Twain

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed Aug 30, 2017, 03:24 PM

14. Nor do we have any leaders at the federal level anymore

President Obama was excellent in calming people down and trying to solve problems. Now we have an incompetent person who wants it to be about him and not the people suffering. We are do screwed. If you live in a blue state you have competent people in red states you're screwed!

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Response to kimbutgar (Reply #14)

Wed Aug 30, 2017, 03:54 PM

15. yep, we are leaderless

 

people will suffer, people will die and the trumpsters will still be lining up to reelect president dumbass in 2020.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed Aug 30, 2017, 04:06 PM

16. "The Stand" by Stephen King.......

Captain Trips started in Texas when a contagious/dangerous bug escaped. It traveled outside the lab when a soldier saw what was happening and escaped with his family. The end of the line was when the soldier died at the wheel of his car and careened into gas pumps.

Captain Trips didn't die with the soldier. It became airborne.

Sorry, I've read the book probably a dozen times.

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Response to mrmpa (Reply #16)

Wed Aug 30, 2017, 05:20 PM

17. An excellent book by an excellent author. (But as a

Mainah, I am a bit biased. )

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed Aug 30, 2017, 09:02 PM

18. Kick, wonder if Rachel will cover any of this tonight?

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed Aug 30, 2017, 09:24 PM

19. Recommended again and again

The truth from Charlie Pierce.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed Aug 30, 2017, 09:50 PM

20. KNR

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Thu Aug 31, 2017, 08:52 AM

23. Excellent article.

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