A contingent of soldiers from the Maryland National Guard are heading from Catonsville down to the Caribbean to assist with disaster relief.
A historic flash flood tore through Ellicott City over the weekend, a once-in-a-thousand-years kind of weather event that left two dead. The toll might’ve been worse, though, if not for the heroic intervention of a group of bystanders.
In the wake of a disaster — a hurricane, an earthquake, a tsunami — hundreds or even thousands of well-meaning people want to help out. After 9/11, 40,000 wannabe volunteers flocked to New York City to provide whatever help they could. But according to recent research out of Johns Hopkins, these spur-of-the-moment volunteers sometimes hurt more than they help.
It’s not easy being an anxious, paranoid hypochondriac. You try to tell people that either an anthrax attack or a pneumonic plague breakout is immanent, or that you’re sure that you (and everyone else on your street) will surely come down with the flu in the next few days–and no one will pay attention. Well don’t worry, worrywart! Johns Hopkins has some (free!) apps that can help you out.
While rising ocean levels may flood Charm City, there are some other disasters that we’d have a decent chance of surviving. Like, what if someone detonated a nuclear bomb near the White House? According to a government study, the explosion would destroy everything in a half-mile radius. The flash would be so bright it would blind Beltway drivers. But it wouldn’t be the end of the world — for Baltimore, at least.
The study looked at the impact of a 10-kiloton nuclear bomb, which is big — about 5,000 times bigger than the Oklahoma City bombing’s blast — but not as terrifying as the Cold-War era bombs dropped from the sky. The kind of nuclear weapon you could fit in a van couldn’t produce Hiroshima-level destruction. “If you are thinking about (a city) being wiped off the face of the earth, that’s not what happens,” says Brian Michael Jenkins, a senior advisor to the president of the RAND Corporation. So the White House would be flattened, but the U.S. Capitol, the Supreme Court, the Washington Monument, and the Pentagon would probably sustain only light damage.