Economic Consequences of the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Scenario Earthquakes for Urban Areas Along the Atlantic Seaboard of the United States

New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation

New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation

If today a magnitude 6 earthquake were to occur centered on New York City, what would its effects be? Will the loss be 10 or 100 billion dollars? Will there be 10 or 10,000 fatalities? Will there be 1,000 or 100,000 homeless needing shelter? Can government function, provide assistance, and maintain order?

At this time, no satisfactory answers to these questions are available. A few years ago, rudimentary scenario studies were made for Boston and New York with limited scope and uncertain results. For most eastern cities, including Washington D.C., we know even less about the economic, societal and political impacts from significant earthquakes, whatever their rate of occurrence.

Why do we know so little about such vital public issues? Because the public has been lulled into believing that seriously damaging quakes are so unlikely in the east that in essence we do not need to consider them. We shall examine the validity of this widely held opinion.

Is the public’s earthquake awareness (or lack thereof) controlled by perceived low Seismicity, Seismic Hazard, or Seismic Risk? How do these three seismic features differ from, and relate to each other? In many portions of California, earthquake awareness is refreshed in a major way about once every decade (and in some places even more often) by virtually every person experiencing a damaging event. The occurrence of earthquakes of given magnitudes in time and space, not withstanding their effects, are the manifestations of seismicity. Ground shaking, faulting, landslides or soil liquefaction are the manifestations of seismic hazard. Damage to structures, and loss of life, limb, material assets, business and services are the manifestations of seismic risk. By sheer experience, California’s public understands fairly well these three interconnected manifestations of the earthquake phenomenon. This awareness is reflected in public policy, enforcement of seismic regulations, and preparedness in both the public and private sector. In the eastern U.S., the public and its decision makers generally do not understand them because of inexperience. Judging seismic risk by rates of seismicity alone (which are low in the east but high in the west) has undoubtedly contributed to the public’s tendency to belittle the seismic loss potential for eastern urban regions.

Let us compare two hypothetical locations, one in California and one in New York City. Assume the location in California does experience, on average, one M = 6 every 10 years, compared to New York once every 1,000 years. This implies a ratio of rates of seismicity of 100:1. Does that mean the ratio of expected losses (when annualized per year) is also 100:1? Most likely not. That ratio may be closer to 10:1, which seems to imply that taking our clues from seismicity alone may lead to an underestimation of the potential seismic risks in the east. Why should this be so?

To check the assertion, let us make a back-of-the-envelope estimate. The expected seismic risk for a given area is defined as the area-integrated product of: seismic hazard (expected shaking level), assets ($ and people), and the assets’ vulnerabilities (that is, their expected fractional loss given a certain hazard – say, shaking level). Thus, if we have a 100 times lower seismicity rate in New York compared to California, which at any given point from a given quake may yield a 2 times higher shaking level in New York compared to California because ground motions in the east are known to differ from those in the west; and if we have a 2 times higher asset density (a modest assumption for Manhattan!), and a 2 times higher vulnerability (again a modest assumption when considering the large stock of unreinforced masonry buildings and aged infrastructure in New York), then our California/New York ratio for annualized loss potential may be on the order of (100/(2x2x2)):1. That implies about a 12:1 risk ratio between the California and New York location, compared to a 100:1 ratio in seismicity rates.

From this example it appears that seismic awareness in the east may be more controlled by the rate of seismicity than by the less well understood risk potential. This misunderstanding is one of the reasons why earthquake awareness and preparedness in the densely populated east is so disproportionally low relative to its seismic loss potential. Rare but potentially catastrophic losses in the east compete in attention with more frequent moderate losses in the west. New York City is the paramount example of a low-probability, high-impact seismic risk, the sort of risk that is hard to insure against, or mobilize public action to reduce the risks.

There are basically two ways to respond. One is to do little and wait until one or more disastrous events occur. Then react to these – albeit disastrous – “windows of opportunity.” That is, pay after the unmitigated facts, rather than attempt to control their outcome. This is a high-stakes approach, considering the evolved state of the economy. The other approach is to invest in mitigation ahead of time, and use scientific knowledge and inference, education, technology transfer, and combine it with a mixture of regulatory and/or economic incentives to implement earthquake preparedness. The National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program (NEHRP) has attempted the latter while much of the public tends to cling to the former of the two options. Realistic and reliable quantitative loss estimation techniques are essential to evaluate the relative merits of the two approaches.

This paper tries to bring into focus some of the seismological factors which are but one set of variables one needs for quantifying the earthquake loss potential in eastern U.S. urban regions. We use local and global analogs for illustrating possible scenario events in terms of risk. We also highlight some of the few local steps that have been undertaken towards mitigating against the eastern earthquake threat; and discuss priorities for future actions.

The Nuclear Threat (Revelation 15:2)

The Nuclear Threat


If a nuclear weapon exploded in a major city, the blast center would be hotter than the surface of the sun; tornado-strength winds would spread the flames; and a million or more people could die. Survivors would have no electricity, no transportation, no phones—and hospitals would be overwhelmed … if they were still standing.

Today, nine countries-China, India, Israel, France, North Korea, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States—hold nearly 16,000 nuclear weapons. That’s enough to destroy the planet hundreds of times over.

While it has been more than twenty years since the end of the Cold War, the existence of thousands of nuclear weapons continues to pose a serious global threat. The likelihood of a nuclear war between the United States and Russia has decreased, but the continued presence of large stockpiles makes the accidental or unauthorized use of nuclear weapons a persistent risk. Many of the countries with smaller nuclear arsenals, such as India and Pakistan, are actively engaged in regional conflicts, making the possibility of regional nuclear war a concern. North Korea illicitly acquired nuclear weapons, and other countries, including Iran and Syria, have violated their nuclear safeguards commitments and are suspected of covertly pursuing nuclear weapons capabilities.

Two countries—the United States and Russia—hold the vast majority of the world’s nuclear weapons. The former Cold War foes account for 93 percent of the total global stockpile. And more than two decades after the end of the Cold War, the two countries still keep nearly 2,000 nuclear weapons on high alert, ready for immediate launch against each other. That leaves both countries too vulnerable to nuclear launch by accident, miscalculation or even cyber attack.


We know that terrorists are seeking nuclear weapons. Today, there are more than 1,800 metric tons of weapons-usable nuclear materials-highly enriched uranium (HEU) and plutonium—stored in hundreds of sites across 25 countries, some of them poorly secured. To build a bomb, terrorists won’t necessarily look to the biggest stockpiles; they’ll go where nuclear materials are the most vulnerable. That makes global nuclear security only as strong as the weakest link in the chain.

Systems Vulnerabilities

Command and control systems are not perfect. People make mistakes. Sabotage can happen. Technology has flaws and systems fail. The possibility of an unauthorized launch—or even an authorized launch without time for due consideration—is simply too high.

Nuclear Proliferation

Nuclear technology and the know-how to build a bomb is no longer a monopoly controlled by states. The threat of cyber-terrorism looms large, and experts are working furiously to keep up with cyber vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers to initiate a catastrophe.

Regional Dangers

Bitter regional rivalries in the Middle East, Northeast Asia, South Asia and elsewhere pose clear and present nuclear dangers to global security. These rivalries raise the risk that a nuclear weapon might be used in a deliberate attack, and the consequences of a regional nuclear exchange would reverberate across the globe.

It’s not all bad news. Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan gave up the weapons they inherited in the breakup of the Soviet Union. South Africa voluntarily dismantled its nuclear weapons. The number of weapons in the United States and Russia has dropped significantly since the height of the Cold War—through diplomacy and cooperation. More than 50 countries have participated in head-of-state-level Nuclear Security Summits to prevent nuclear terrorism. Most recently, world powers reached an agreement with Iran to implement a stringent monitoring and verification regime to prevent Iran from building a bomb.

Despite progress, however, the nuclear threat—once represented by duck-and-cover drills—is more complex and more unpredictable today than ever.

Pushing For A Bigger Nuclear Babylon (Daniel 7)

America’s Nuclear Shield: Time to Modernize?

The Navy is planning to replace its aging Ohio-class ballistic nuclear missile submarines, one element of America's nuclear triad that includes strategic bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles. (US Navy photo)

The Navy is planning to replace its aging Ohio-class ballistic nuclear missile submarines, one element of America’s nuclear triad that includes strategic bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles. (US Navy photo)
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — In describing how little room the Pentagon has to extend the life of its decades-old nuclear forces, the top US nuclear war-fighting commander, Navy Adm. Cecil Haney, says “we’re at the brick wall stage.”

Time to begin modernizing the country’s nuclear weapons is running short, he and other Pentagon leaders say. They contend the force is still in fighting shape — “safe, reliable and effective” is the official mantra. But they also argue the time has come to begin modernizing the force or risk eroding its credibility as a deterrent to attack by others.

They don’t face brick wall-like resistance in Congress, but the debate over spending hundreds of billions of dollars to build and field a new generation of nuclear-capable bombers, submarines and land-based missiles is just beginning.

Critics say full-scale modernization is neither affordable nor necessary.
The debate is influenced not only by the perceived need to fully replace aging weapons but also by worries about North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and concern over what Defense Secretary Ash Carter calls Russia’s “nuclear sabre-rattling.”

Robert Work, the deputy secretary of defense, said the Pentagon will need an estimated $18 billion a year between 2021 and 2035 to modernize the three “legs” of the US nuclear triad — weapons capable of being launched from land, sea and air.

“We need to replace these,” Work said. “We can’t delay this anymore.”

The enormous sums needed are at risk of getting squeezed by high-priority requirements for non-nuclear, conventional weapons. And Work’s numbers don’t include the billions that would be needed to modernize the nuclear warheads on the business end of missiles and bombs.

“Modernization now is not an option” — it must happen, Haney, the commander of US Strategic Command, said in an interview on Friday, just hours after watching a test launch of an unarmed Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM. The Minuteman, which has been on constant 24-hour alert since 1970, has long surpassed its 10-year life expectancy.

Haney said the US stockpile of nuclear warheads is the oldest it has ever been. As head of Strategic Command he is the military’s top nuclear war-fighter.

“We have to realize we can’t extend things forever,” Haney said, noting that the Navy is planning to replace its aging Ohio-class ballistic nuclear missile submarines, while the Air Force intends to build a new nuclear-capable bomber to replace the B-52.

Work said that although the Pentagon is closely monitoring Russia’s nuclear modernization, which includes development of new versions of its ICBMs, those moves are not driving US decisions about how quickly and broadly it should modernize its nuclear forces.

Some private analysts, however, see the US and Russia entering a new arms competition.
“It’s disturbing how quickly both the United States and Russia are sliding back toward the Cold War, both rhetorically and operationally,” said Stephen Schwartz, an independent nuclear policy analyst and author.

“Worse still, both the United States and Russia are now using each other’s nuclear programs and military activities to justify and rationalize their own,” he added.

Haney and Work both were present Thursday night for the Minuteman 3 test launch, which was the second such test of the year. Work said Friday that the test was successful, with the missile’s payload landing within a targeted area of water near Kwajalein Atoll in the south Pacific. He said it was the eighth consecutive successful Minuteman test launch, which would mean the last unsuccessful test was in December 2013, according to a chronology provided by the Air Force.

Saudi Arabia Already A Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7:7)

| Rome (Italy) | 28 February 2016
“We have nuclear bombs”: this is what was said on February 19 on Russia Today by the Saudi political analyst, Daham al-Anzi, de facto spokesman for Riyadh. He repeated it on another Arab channel. Saudi Arabia had already declared [1] its intention to acquire nuclear weapons from Pakistan (not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty), of whom it finances 60% of the military nuclear program. Now, through al-Anzi, the Saudis have indicated that they started buying them two years ago. Of course, for Riyadh, this is to confront the “Iranian threat” in Yemen, Iraq and Syria, where “the Russians aid Assad.” That is to say, where Russia supports the Syrian government to free the country from Daesh (Islamic state) and other terrorist groups, financed and armed by Saudi Arabia as part of the US / NATO strategy.
Riyadh has over 250 fighter-bombers with dual conventional and nuclear capability, provided by the US and by the European powers. Since 2012, Saudi Arabia is part of the “Nato Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency,” the NATO agency that manages European Eurofighter and Tornado fighters, of which Riyadh bought from Britain twice the number of that of the whole Royal Air Force. In the same context, enter the imminent 8 billion EUR maxi contract – thanks to Minister Roberta Pinotti, efficient sales representative for the supply of weapons – to supply Kuwait (ally of Saudi Arabia) with 28 Eurofighter fighter Typhoons, built by a consortium including Finmeccanica with British, German and Spanish industries. This is the largest order ever obtained by Finmeccanica whose coffers will absorb half the 8 billion. Guaranteed with 4 billion in funding by a pool of banks, including Unicredit and Intesa Sanpaolo, and the group Sace Cassa Depositi e Prestiti.
And thus accelerates the conversion of military Finmeccanica, with outstanding results for those who enrich themselves with war: in 2015 Finmeccanica share value grew by 67%. Right in the face of the “Arms Trade Treaty” ratified by parliament in 2013, which states that “no State Party shall knowingly authorize the transfer of arms if the weapons could be used for attacks against civilian targets or subjects, or for other war crimes. ” Faced with the denunciation that the weapons provided by Italy are used by Saudi and Kuwaiti air forces for the massacre of civilians in Yemen, Minister Pinotti replies: “Let us not transform the states that are our allies in the battle against Daesh into enemies. This would be a very serious mistake. ”
This would be especially a “mistake” to allow it to be known who are our “allies” Saudi and Kuwaiti: absolute monarchies, where power is concentrated in the hands of the ruler and his family circle, where parties and trade unions are banned; where immigrant workers (10 million in Saudi Arabia, about half of the labor force; 2 million to 2.9 million people in Kuwait) live in conditions of exploitation and slavery, where those who call for the most basic human rights are hanged or beheaded.
In these hands, “democratic” Italy places bombers capable of carrying nuclear bombs, knowing that Saudi Arabia already has them and that they can also be used by Kuwait.
At the “International Humanitarian Law Conference,” minister Pinotti, after stressing the importance of “respecting the norms of international law,” concluded that “Italy is a immensely credible and respected country.”

London Is Soon Due For The Dirty Bomb (Daniel 8:4)

ISIS Has ‘Dirty Bomb,’ Terror Group Claims In Twitter Messages, Plans To Target London

ISIS claims to possess a so-called dirty bomb, and has threatened to deploy the radioactive weapon in an attack on the West, probably in London, the group said last week on a Twitter account. The postings on the account, which was quickly taken offline by Twitter, are the first apparent confirmation from ISIS that the terrorists have their hands on actual nuclear material.
Even if true, however, ISIS is nowhere near producing a nuclear weapon. A “dirty bomb” is simply a conventional explosive device laden with radioactive material, supposedly designed to mimic the effects of fallout from an actual nuclear weapon.

The Twitter message went on line a little more than a week ago, and was posted by a British citizen, Hamayun Tariq, who hails from Dudley, a town of about 80,000 in England’s West Midlands region. The 37-year old Tariq fled to Syria where he now trains ISIS fighters under the pseudonym Muslim-al-Britani.

“O by the way, Islamic State does have a dirty bomb. We found some radioactive material from Mosul University,” Tariq wrote on the now-deleted Twitter feed. “We’ll find out what dirty bombs are and what they do. We’ll also discuss what might happen if one actually went off in a public area.”

ISIS — also known as Islamic State — militants seized the city of Mosul in Iraq over the summer, including the university there which apparently they looted thoroughly

Back in July, Iraq’s United Nations ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim told U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon that about 88 pounds of uranium had been stolen from Mosul Univsersity.

But the International Atomic Energy Agency quickly determined that the looted uranium, which is now seemingly in ISIS hands, was of a “low grade,” that “would not present a significant safety, security or nuclear proliferation risk.”

The public perception of the danger of dirty bombs, thanks largely to Hollywood and inflammatory news media reports, is far different from the reality of the damage a so-called dirty bomb could actually inflict.

As the Center For Disease Control points out, “a dirty bomb is not the same as an atomic bomb.”
Where a true atomic bomb — a nuclear explosive — creates a chain reaction of splitting atoms that causes a massive explosion followed by fallout of deadly radiation, a dirty bomb is nothing more than dynamite or some other kind of conventional explosive used “to scatter radioactive dust, smoke, or other material in order to cause radioactive contamination.”

But radiation levels from a dirty bomb “would probably not create enough radiation exposure to cause immediate serious illness, except to those people who are very close to the blast site,” the CDC says.

“The main danger from a dirty bomb is from the explosion, which can cause serious injuries and property damage,” says the CDC.

The global security publication Stratfor also notes that the public fear of a dirty bomb may be the most dangerous element of a dirty bomb attack, saying, “the panic generated by a dirty bomb attack could very well result in more immediate deaths than the detonation of the device itself.”

The ISIS threats of a dirty bomb attack, while they should of course be treated seriously, are perhaps therefore not as frightening as ISIS would like them to be.