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05/17/15 09:07 AM Fun exercise -- pretend earthquake by Bingley


People ought to do this sort of stuff more often!

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05/15/15 05:27 PM Earthquake (1974) Movie by MoBOB

Last night on TCM they showed "Earthquake" (1974). what I found very interesting was the evacuation improvisation that the Lorne Greene character came up with. SCENE: Panicky employees are going down the stairs after the quake. They come to a section where about two floors worth of stairs are missing. SOLUTION: The in-building fire hose and an office chair were fashioned into a sling to lower the folks who were injured - and the ladies, of course. Looked pretty cool. Feasible? Opinions?

533 Views · 8 Comments
05/15/15 04:17 AM What would you do to survive and be rescued? by ATN

Let's say you survive your ship sinking or plane crashing and wash up on a beach of some small uninhabited island (but clearly visible vegetation) with supplies roughly the equivalent of a good commercial 3-5 day survival kit. You know roughly where you were when you had your mishap but now you could be a long way from where it happened and you don't know when or if you'll be rescued. What would you do to survive and be rescued?

660 Views · 8 Comments
05/14/15 10:33 AM SOS Emergency Food Bar taste test by Bingley

I started looking for emergency food bars for my car -- that is, something that can be stored for a long time even in hot weather, compact, and easy to consume (no cooking, heating, or preparation). After reading some online reviews from survival forums and vendors, I decided to try SOS Emergency Food Bar. People seem to like how it tastes. I don't have high expectations, but it has to be palatable and not make me sick. An emergency that forces you to eat a brick of food is stressful enough. You don't want to get an upset stomach on top of that. There is no way to find out except by testing! So I ordered a brick online for a little over $8.

This is what the food bars look like:

There are eight bars per brick. Each bar packs 400 calories.

A common complaint seems to be that the individual food bars are not wrapped very securely. While none of my bars were found to be flagrantly open, some light handling resulted in this:

I'm guessing this is not a big problem if you find yourself in an actual emergency. You'd either finish all the bars during the emergency, or if you have leftovers when the emergency is over, you'd probably throw them away and eat real food.

So how does it taste? It's quite pleasant for emergency ration. It tastes like a coconutty shortcake, and it definitely looks like it, too, if you break off a piece:

It's slightly sweet, and not thirst-provoking. You might be able to pass it off as dessert. So I'm pleased with the taste.

Six hours later, my stomach is still not protesting. I don't know whether my digestive system would be happy after three days on this stuff, but I am hoping not to find out.

832 Views · 11 Comments
05/13/15 08:49 PM Online maps with GIS data can help in bad times by Joseph

Government agencies at all levels have data on GIS (Geographical Information System) servers that can help you plan for bad times and also help you during a bad time if you can still get online. A few months ago I started a public service project to locate that GIS data and produce online maps that primarily showed GIS data layers related to recreation. In working on that project I also came across GIS data layers that were related to emergencies of various sorts and also made map links to display that data.

The types of GIS data that these online maps will display include:
1. Weather watches and warnings with links to the details for each one
2. Current weather spotter reports
3. Wildland fires
4. Wind observations and forecasts
5. Stream gages
6. FEMA shelters with lots of detail for each one
7. Public land boundaries
8. And a lot more....

GIS data is displayed on the map as a symbol, a line or an area (polygon). If you click on GIS data then you will see a popup that shows all the information (attributes) that the GIS server has for the thing that you clicked. Sometimes the attribute data includes a link to even more information and that can be extremely useful.

So far I have completed a number of national level online maps and also map links for 14 states. The type of data that is available varies by state.

After a map opens, you can click "about this map" in the upper left corner to:
1. See the map legends
2. Learn how to turn other GIS layers on/off
3. Get other tips for using the map

Below is the homepage link for this project. Please take a moment to read through the text before you start playing with the map links. Also, if you want to get the most out of these maps, be sure to read the "Tips".

Public land map homepage:

To see a good example of GIS attribute data:
1. Open the "USA Weather Map". This map shows all the current weather watches and warnings. This data is hosted on a GIS server operated by NOAA.
3. Click any colored area and soon a popup will appear. That popup shows all the GIS attribute data for the thing that you clicked. Note that one of the attributes is a link. If you follow that link then you will see the details for that weather watch or warning.

You can make an interesting map by looking at the GIS layer showing weather watches and warnings and then also turning on the layer that displays the weather radar.

All of these online maps are displayed by Gmap4 which is an enhanced Google map viewer that I developed. Using the same software to display all of this GIS data from coast-to-coast means you see a consistent interface based on the familiar Google maps and you also get the same broad feature set for every map.

Please keep in mind that Gmap4 does not attempt to process the attribute data. Instead, it simply displays the attribute data from the GIS server 'as is'. If some of that data is coded or looks like gibberish, don't blame me.

If you are GIS savvy, here is a list of GIS servers organized by state:

Anyone that is willing to follow a few simple instructions can make their own custom Gmap4 map links to display the GIS data they wish to see.

For more information about Gmap4, please see:

Gmap4 homepage: http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.html

Gmap4 default map: http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.php

Joseph, the Gmap4 guy

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