The most amazing, moving commercial of the Olympics – Meet the Superhumans of the Paralympics

 

This multi-sport training montage reveals that the Paralympics aren’t just a wheelchair affair. As Public Enemy’s “Harder Than You Think” blares in the background, we see Great Britain’s best: the visually impaired soccer team practicing with blindfolds (a way to ensure that those who see more than others don’t gain an unfair advantage), the fierce-looking four-foot tall champion swimmer Ellie Simmonds, amputee runners, and, yes, the wheelchair basketball team.*

Halfway through the clip, there’s a jarring cut to a bomb exploding in a war zone. Then there’s a pregnant mother at the hospital, awaiting word of her unborn child’s condition. That’s followed by a road accident that sends a car flipping on the highway. A second later, we’re back in the gym, where a legless man is doing pull-ups. Then we see a man—presumably the victim of that horrific car wreck—next to his crumpled vehicle.

 

Keep reading: Slate – This Trailer for the Paralympic Games is the Most Amazing Olympic Video You’ll Ever See

Video of Sicily’s Mount Etna erupting with lava flows and steam sprays

April 13, 2012 – Europe’s highest active volcano, Italy’s Mount Etna, erupted again this week. The eruption, which spewed blood-red molten lava and grey and white ash into the air, is the 24th in a series that started in January 2011.

 

A decade ago the volcano was at it again, this time more serious. Several thousands residents were forced to evacuate. Tom Pfeiffer was there, 800 meters away in February 2000, during one of the eruptions and described it for us.

From Scientific American:

After a few minutes, the first red spots began dancing above the crater, rising and falling back into it. The explosions grew stronger, first slowly, then with breathtaking speed, throwing bombs more than 1,000 meters above the rim. Soon the volcanic cone surrounding the crater was covered with glowing rocks. At the same time, a fountain of lava started to rise from a fracture on the flank of the cone. Several other fountains rose from the crater and formed a roaring, golden curtain that illuminated the scene like daylight. Some larger lava bombs crashed into the snow not far from us, but we felt secure in our viewing position. The fountain was nearly vertical, and a strong wind carried the mass of glowing lapilli and ash gently away from us.

 

// Thx to Seth Goldstein

Most of us would probably survive a nuclear blast in Washington D.C.

It’s the most nightmarish scenario—a nuclear device being detonated in downtown Washington.

Whammo and good night, right?

For most of us, actually, that wouldn’t be the case, according to a recent study by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The 120-page report, “Key Response Planning Factors for the Aftermath of Nuclear Terrorism,” was released last November.

The FEMA report posits a detonation a few blocks from the White House. Everything within a half-mile radius would be reduced to rubble and be so irradiated as to make any rescue operations unfeasible. Between half a mile and one mile out, there would still be significant damage and heavy injuries, but the area would be approachable by emergency responders.

And further out, there would just be a lot of broken glass from windows shattered by the force of the explosion, but few, if any, injuries that would require medical attention. (Aside from those sustained by people running face first into their bursting windows when they try to look outside to see what is happening.)

So, good chance of injury, temporary blindness, destroyed hospitals and a massive fallout cloud—but more likely than not, you’d live. At least until the radiation settles in.

 

via DCist – **click for the full report and much more gruesome details**

 

Thx to Shevonne Polastre

 

// Photo – James Nash

Kim Jong Un makes his first deal – halts nuclear program for food aid

North Korea’s offer to suspend uranium enrichment and allow international inspectors into the country breaks an impasse over its nuclear program…

The announcement marks the first agreement between the United States and North Korea since February 2007, when Pyongyang agreed to begin disabling its nuclear complex in return for $400 million worth of fuel oil and aid. The deal fell apart the following year, and North Korea, complaining the United States had not followed through on promises, resumed processing plutonium.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton described the agreement as “important but limited.” She said Washington “still has profound concerns” about Pyongyang’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and will watch to see if the regime adheres to its promises.

Former U.S. officials describe the agreement as worthwhile because it promises to interrupt North Korea’s nuclear program, if only temporarily. It also provides a test of the new regime’s intentions and trustworthiness.

The U.S. Agency for International Development tentatively plans to deliver about 20,000 metric tons of food a month over the next year, officials said. The food is appropriate for infants, small children and pregnant women. (The deal) also includes an increase in cultural, educational and sports exchanges.

via LA Times

 

For more history on North Korea, including two nuclear bomb detonations in 2006 and 2009, read about Korean Unification.