NYC earthquake risk: the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

NYC earthquake risk: Could Staten Island be heavily impacted?

By Ann Marie Barron

Updated May 16, 4:31 AM; Posted May 16, 4:00 AM

Rubble litters Main Street after an earthquake struck Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Napa, Calif. A report by the U.S. Geological Survey outlines the differences between the effect of an earthquake in the West vs. one in the East. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – While scientists say it’s impossible to predict when or if an earthquake will occur in New York City, they say that smaller structures — like Staten Island’s bounty of single-family homes — will suffer more than skyscrapers if it does happen.

„Earthquakes in the East tend to cause higher-frequency shaking — faster back-and-forth motion — compared to similar events in the West,“ according to a report by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), published on its website recently „Shorter structures are more susceptible to damage during fast shaking, whereas taller structures are more susceptible during slow shaking.“

DIFFERENCES IN INTENSITY

The report, „East vs West Coast Earthquakes,“ explains how USGS scientists are researching factors that influence regional differences in the intensity and effects of earthquakes, and notes that earthquakes in the East are often felt at more than twice the distance of earthquakes in the West.

Predicting when they will occur is more difficult, said Thomas Pratt, a research geophysicist and the central and Eastern U.S. coordinator for the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program in Reston, Va.

„One of the problems in the East Coast is that we don’t have a history to study,“ he said. „In order to get an idea, we have to have had several cycles of these things. The way we know about them in California is we dig around in the mud and we see evidence of past earthquakes.“

Yet Pratt wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a high-magnitude event taking place in New York, which sits in the middle the North American Tectonic Plate, considered by experts to be quite stable.

„We never know,“ he said. „One could come tomorrow. On the other hand, it could be another 300 years. We don’t understand why earthquakes happen (here) at all.“

Though the city’s last observable earthquake occurred on Oct. 27, 2001, and caused no real damage, New York has been hit by two Magnitude 5 earthquakes in its history – in 1738 and in 1884 — prompting many to say it is „due“ for another.

While earthquakes generally have to be Magnitude 6 or higher to be considered „large,“ by experts, „a Magnitude 5, directly under New York City, would shake it quite strongly,“ Pratt said.

The reason has to do with the rock beneath our feet, the USGS report says.

OLDER ROCKS

In the East, we have older rocks, some of which formed „hundreds of millions of years before those in the West,“ the report says. Since the faults in the rocks have had so much time to heal, the seismic waves travel more efficiently through them when an earthquake occurs.

„Rocks in the East are like a granite countertop and rocks in the West are much softer,“ Pratt said. „Take a granite countertop and hit it and it’ll transmit energy well. In the West, it’s like a sponge. The  energy gets absorbed.“

If a large, Magnitude 7 earthquake does occur, smaller structures, and older structures in Manhattan would be most vulnerable, Pratt said. „In the 1920s, ’30s and late 1800s, they were not built with earthquake resistance,“ he said, noting that newer skyscrapers were built to survive hurricanes, so would be more resistant.

When discussing earthquake prediction and probability, Pratt uses the analogy of a baseball player who averages a home run every 10 times at bat and hasn’t hit one in the past nine games: „When he’s up at bat, will he hit a home run? You just don’t know.“

And though it would probably take a magnitude of 7 to topple buildings in the city, smaller earthquakes are still quite dangerous, he said.

„Bookshelves could fall down and hit you,“ he said. „People could be killed.“ A lot of stone work and heavy objects fell from buildings when a quake of 5.8 magnitude struck central Virginia in 2011, he noted, but, fortunately, no one was injured.

To be safe, Pratt encourages New Yorkers to keep a few days‘ worth of drinking water and other supplies on hand. He, himself, avoids putting heavy things up high.

„It always gets me nervous when I go into a restaurant that has heavy objects high on shelves,“ he said. „It’s unlikely you’ll get an earthquake. But, we just don’t know.“

Sabotage of the Iranian Nuclear Horn

Natanz blast looks like traditional sabotage.

By the CyberWire staff

An explosion and fire at Iran’s Natanz uranium processing center on July 2nd was initially reported, by Iranian sources and others, to have been caused or facilitated by a cyberattack, but the incident looks increasingly more like an instance of traditional sabotage. The Washington Post cites an anonymous “Middle Eastern security official” as saying the damage was caused by a bomb placed in the facility, and that the operation was an Israeli effort to “send a message” that would deter Iran from accelerating its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Israeli Foreign Minister Ashkenazi and Defense Minister Gantz issued soft denials of Israel’s involvement, according to the Jerusalem Post, with Gantz stating, “Not every incident that transpires in Iran necessarily has something to do with us.”

The Jerusalem Post says the blast appears to have destroyed nearly three-quarters of the facility’s centrifuge assembly hall. Simon Henderson from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, writing in The Hill, explained that the site is no longer suitable for the assembly of the IR-2m centrifuges necessary to enrich uranium that can be used in nuclear weapons. Henderson added that “from Israel’s point of view, the likelihood of Iran obtaining enough highly-enriched uranium for its first nuclear weapon has been delayed by months, perhaps even years.”

The Rift Between Iran and Babylon the Great

Implications of US-Iran rift

News coming from Iran in recent days are quite unusual and disturbing on many accounts. Traditional Washington-Tehran rivalry seems gaining new vertex in the backdrop of unraveling Iran nuclear deal. It is intriguingly mysterious that some extraordinary damages occurred at two Iranian nuclear sites once US vigorously striving to tighten the noose around Tehran’s neck. Neither the timing of incidents nor the interests of regional players like Israel and KSA, siding by the US, can be ignored. Mike Pompeo’s address to the UNSC urging extension of arms embargo on Tehran met an unexpected preemptive response, in the form of arrest warrant of President Trump, by the Iranian judiciary for murdering General Sulemani. Iran’s effective optics of approaching the Interpol for arrest of Trump and his aides successfully gave a momentary jolt to the US.

As expected, Interpol regretted pursuing the politically-motivated arrest request; however, Iran did its part well to vent the anger against the US. This eye catching move of Trump’s arrest warrant made big headlines in media but couldn’t do any harm to the US. While retaliating to Sulemani’s assassination, Iran’s rocket attacks on military bases in Iraq were also very loud but least damaging to the US. Tehran needs to re-evaluate the existing scenario for the sake of its own survival and much needed regional peace. Unshakable commitment of Iranian leadership to its revolutionary ideology under nerve testing times have been a strength for masses at internal front but at external front the challenges growing exponentially. Damages caused by the rivals to Iranian state apparatus are too serious to repair.

Spillover effects of growing Iranian instability will be nasty for the entire Middle Eastern region. While rightly pointing out the ill effects of foreign interference in the Arab world, Saudi minister of external affairs could not correct his focus towards Iran. So is the case with Tehran where sense of Persian supremacy over Arabs hinders the process of logical decision making. This painful disunity in the Muslim world over racial, sectarian and so called ideological grounds is going in the favor of Israel. While Tehran and Riyadh calling shots to coerce each other in Yemen and Syria, it is Tel Aviv making some serious moves to strengthen its roots in the region.

Mysterious explosions and fire damages at two Iranian nuclear facilities within short span of time are hard to be believed as coincidental accidents

A temporary pause in implementation of west bank’ annexation plan reflects Israel’s correct assessment of unfavorable scenario. Obviously, Tel Aviv is waiting for the right moment to implement the annexation plan. Unfortunately, Middle Eastern stake holders lack pragmatic approach and flexibility in decision making process. Idea of siding with the foreign forces against neighbors on the false pretext of over exaggerated security threats has proved detrimental to broader unity and honorable survival. Resources rich Middle Eastern countries badly lack in scientific research, sovereign economic management and self-built defence potential. This must be understood that flowing effortlessly at the mercy of tide proved destructively futile for most of the regional stake holders in the Middle East.

The US maneuvering to target Iran with renewal of terms of 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), must be questioned specifically by the OIC and Arab League members. Pompeo’s outburst at the UNSC urging extension of arms embargo against Iran was though opposed by Russia and China but no neighboring country joined the chorus. Mysterious explosions and fire damages at two Iranian nuclear facilities within short span of time are hard to be believed as coincidental accidents.

Media reports reveal a possible Israeli and US backed sabotage at Iranian nuclear sites. Satellite spying of Iranian nuclear sites by Israel is further complicating the already grim situation. This aggressive grinding must be viewed in connection with past assassination of Iranian scientists known to be associated with nuclear program. As a sovereign state, Iran’s, right to build and run nuclear facilities for peaceful purposes must be regarded. If Iran is abiding by the instructions of international nuclear watchdog than any US led coercion and ultra-violent persuasion in the absence of authentic evidence will ignite a greater destabilization in the region. Unjustified and highly partial joint US-Israel maneuvering against Iran brings many questions on the neutrality and independence of international forums including the UN.

Both US and Israel face a serious credibility crisis due to their poor track record. Nuclear strikes on Japan and air strike on Iraqi under construction nuclear reactor by US and Israel respectively are enough of evidences to comprehend their venomous ways to deal with sensitive security matters. Decades long, violent coercion has pushed Iran to a limit from where any unpredictable response may blow the fragile peace of entire Middle East. Regional stakeholders should come out of this illusion that by remaining neutral or silent they would be able to avoid the spillover effects.

This situation poses some very tricky problems to Pakistan as well. While battling against terrorism, volatile LoC , burning Kashmir issue, complex Afghan peace process and Indian sponsored separatists now Pakistan has to be more cautious about worsening situation of Iran. The decision makers in Islamabad should not take US footprints in all regional disputes and Israel’s close ties with traditional adversary India casually. Israeli overstepping against Iran’s nuclear program must be correctly assessed and interpreted by keeping special focus on hostile designs of regional and global players towards Pakistan’s nuclear assets. Pakistan should make all possible maneuvers on diplomatic front to reduce tensions in the Middle East by bringing Iran and KSA on dialogue table. Continuation of unrest in surroundings is multiplying the security challenges for Pakistan.

Writer is a freelancer

Pestilence: the Fourth Seal Continues (Revelation 6)

Florida reports largest, single-day increase in Covid cases | Newser

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Florida on Sunday reported the largest single-day increase in positive coronavirus cases in any one state since the beginning of the pandemic.

According to state Department of Health statistics, 15,299 people tested positive, for a total of 269,811 cases.

California had the previous record of daily positive cases — 11,694, four days ago. New York had 11,571 on April 15.

The numbers come at the end of a grim, record-breaking week in Florida, with 514 fatalities. On Sunday, 45 more deaths were reported.

Throughout May and into June, the state reopened much of its economy with some restrictions.

Testing has increased, but the percentage of people testing positive has risen even more dramatically. A month ago, fewer than 5% of tests came up positive on a daily average. Over the past week, the daily average exceeded 19%.

Because of the increase in cases and the positivity rate, doctors have predicted a rise in deaths, saying the mortality rate usually increases two to four weeks later as some of those infected get sicker and eventually die. Health experts are concerned that people are gathering in crowds, and have expressed concern that the Republican National Convention’s nomination party for President Donald Trump will be held in Jacksonville in August.

On Saturday, the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom reopened at Walt Disney World in Orlando, concerning health experts who urge people not to gather in groups. Guests at the park said that people were wearing masks and social distancing, and videos showed near-empty parks.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said that even with the rising rates, he still wants the schools to reopen as scheduled next month, saying children have not proven to be vectors for the disease in states and countries where campuses are open. He said while each county will have to come up with procedures, depending on their local infection rate, not opening the schools would exacerbate the achievement gap between high- and low-performing students.

“We know there are huge, huge costs for not providing the availability of in-person schooling,” he said. “The risk of corona, fortunately, for students is incredibly low.”

The Terror of the Pakistani Horn (Daniel 8:8)

Nine soldiers have lost their lives this year

Updated: Jul 11, 2020 15:30 IST

By Ravi Krishnan Khajuria, Hindustan Times/Jammu

(Photo: Representative Image/AP )

Amid the Indo-Chinese standoff in eastern Ladakh, Pakistan had also intensified ceasefire violations in Jammu and Kashmir. As many as 2,542 violations were recorded by the Indian Army till June 30.

South of the Pir Panjal, the army lost nine soldiers in the Rajouri and Poonch sectors this year.

A senior official, on condition of anonymity, said, “In 2016, Pakistan had violated ceasefire violations 228 times, in 2017 the violations rose to 860. In 2018, they almost doubled to 1,629. In 2019, there were a staggering 3,289 ceasefire violations.”

“This year, till June 30, Pakistan has violated the ceasefire 2,542 times and we anticipate more violations,” he added.

India and Pakistan, both of whom possess nuclear weapons, had mutually brokered a truce deal in November 2003, which of late has been left in tatters.

Both countries have reiterated that in case of an issue, restraint will be exercised and the matter will be resolved through the mechanism of hotline contacts and border flag meetings at local commanders’ level.

‘15-16 terror launch pads across LoC’

“However, Pakistan has always backtracked from its commitment because it has to export terrorists from terror factories operating on its soil. There are around 150 terrorists in 15 to 16 terror launch pads across the LoC waiting to infiltrate to this side of the border,” said the officer.

The 3,289 violations recorded last year were the highest in 16 years.

The officer also said that in 2019 the Northern Command lost two officers, three junior commissioned officers (JCOs) and 72 other ranks along the LoC and in anti-terror operations in Jammu and Kashmir.

“This year, we have lost nine bravehearts at the Pir Panjal range,” he said.

The Nuclear Space War (Revelation 16)

The Space Arms Race Is Ratcheting Up

Even as a growing number of countries send weapons into orbit, there are no guardrails to prevent things from getting out of hand.

Ramin SkibbaUndark

Prakash Singh / AFP / Getty

On April 22, after several failed attempts, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps announced a successful launch of what it described as a military reconnaissance satellite. That satellite joined a growing list of weapons and military systems in orbit, including those from Russia (which in April tested a missile program designed to destroy satellites) and India (which launched an anti-satellite weapon in March 2019).

Experts like Brian Weeden, director of program planning at the Secure World Foundation (SWF), a nonpartisan think tank based in Broomfield, Colorado, worry that these developments—all confirmed by the newly rebranded United States Space Force—threaten to lift earthly conflicts to new heights and put all space activities, peaceful and military alike, at risk. Researchers at SWF and at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, D.C., both released reports this year on the rapidly evolving state of affairs. The reports suggest that the biggest players in space have upgraded their military abilities, including satellite-destroying weapons and technologies that disrupt spacecraft, by, for instance, blocking data collection or transmission.

Many of these technologies, if deployed, could ratchet up an arms race and even spark a skirmish in space, the SWF and CSIS researchers caution. Blowing up a single satellite scatters debris throughout the atmosphere, said Weeden, co-editor of the SWF report. Such an explosion could hurl projectiles in the paths of other spacecraft and threaten the accessibility of space for everyone.

“Those are absolutely the two best reports to be looking at to get a sense of what’s going on in the space community,” said David Burbach, a national security affairs expert at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, who was not involved in the new research.

Today, Burbach added, the world is very different compared with the Cold War era, when access to space was essentially limited to the United States and the Soviet Union. Many more countries now have space programs, including India, Iran, North Korea, France, Japan, and Israel.

Despite this expansion—and the array of new space weapons—relevant policies and regulatory bodies have remained stagnant. “What worries us in the international community is that there aren’t necessarily any guardrails for how people are going to start interfering with others’ space systems,” said Daniel Porras, a space security fellow at the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research in Geneva. “There are no rules of engagement.”

The new reports use available evidence and intelligence to explore a range of weapons that various countries’ militaries are developing or testing—or already have operational. (Notably, CSIS’s report doesn’t include the American military.) Each nation has unique abilities and characteristics. For example, India has invested heavily in space infrastructure and capabilities, while Japan’s post–World War II space activities were limited until a recent change to its constitution. For Israel’s space program, Weeden said, little good data is available.

Potential missile attacks on military satellites “tend to get most of the attention, but that is not all that we see happening around the world,” said Todd Harrison, director of the Aerospace Security Project at CSIS and a principal author of its report, during an April 6 livestream.

For example, the thousands of everyday satellites that already circle low-Earth orbit, below an altitude of 1,200 miles, could potentially suffer collateral damage. More than half of those satellites are from the U.S.; many of the rest are from China and Russia. They provide key services like internet access, GPS signals, long-distance communications, and weather information. Any missile that smashes into a satellite—either as an attack or during a test—would disperse thousands of bits of debris. Any one of those pieces, still hurtling at orbital speeds, could take out another spacecraft and create yet more debris.

“It’s very easy to pollute space,” Burbach said. “The debris doesn’t discriminate. If you create debris, it might just as well come back and hit one of your own satellites. So I think we’re pretty unlikely to see countries actually use those capabilities.” Still, he said, “it would be worrying to see countries showing off that [they] can do it and start testing.”

When China conducted an anti-satellite missile test in 2007, it created a massive cloud of space junk that drew international condemnation. India’s engineers tried to limit debris from their recent test by conducting it at a low altitude, so that Earth’s gravity would pull the pieces down and they would burn up on descent. But some pieces were flung up to the International Space Station’s orbit. There were no collisions; as of February, only 15 trackable pieces of debris remained in orbit, said Victoria Samson, director of the Secure World Foundation’s Washington office, during the CSIS livestream in April.

A number of countries are developing new military technologies for space. France, for instance, is working on laser beams that could dazzle another country’s satellite, preventing it from taking pictures of classified targets. North Korea is studying how to jam radio frequency signals sent to or from a satellite, and Iran is devising cyberattacks that could interfere with satellite systems. Meanwhile, the big three space heavyweights—the U.S., Russia, and China—are already capable of all three approaches, according to the SWF report.

The big three have also begun to master what the reports call “rendezvous and proximity operations,” which involve using satellites as surveillance devices or weapons. A satellite could maneuver within miles of a rival’s classified satellite, snap photos of equipment, and transmit the pictures down to Earth. Or a satellite could sidle up to another and spray its counterpart’s lenses or cover its solar panels, cutting off power and rendering it useless. Russia may be ahead with this technology, having already launched a series of small “inspector satellites,” as the Russian government calls them. Last fall, according to Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, chief of space operations for the U.S. Space Force, one crept near a U.S. spy satellite, which he called a “potentially threatening behavior.”

So far, there are relatively few international policies or norms about what’s allowed in modern-day space and what’s not. The SWF report notes that an incident or misunderstanding could escalate tensions if it’s perceived as an attack.

The lack of guidance has left room for a range of activities. Weeden said that in December 2019, the Trump administration signaled its intention to strengthen the United States’ space weaponry and protect its spacecraft from possible attacks by Russia and China by transforming the Air Force Space Command into the U.S. Space Force. That shift “brought a full-time operational focus to the space domain, which was a needed change,” wrote Lieutenant Colonel Christina Hoggatt, a Space Force spokesperson, in a statement to Undark. With these forces, the Defense Department seeks to “strengthen deterrence” and improve capabilities to “defend our vital assets in space,” she wrote. This emphasis, Burbach said, likely means that the U.S. military will focus on making satellites more resilient to attack, rather than developing offensive weapons.

Compared with the U.S., smaller space powers have fewer satellites and therefore less to lose, the U.N.’s Porras said. He argues that tense regional relationships could be particularly unpredictable. For example, he said, if North Korean leaders found themselves in a standoff with South Korea and the U.S., they might launch and detonate a nuclear weapon in space; its dangerous radiation would disable most satellites.

The U.N. and other international groups—including SWF and the Outer Space Institute, a global research organization based in British Columbia—are working to avoid such scenarios. Weeden said that as long as countries don’t launch destructive space weapons near other countries’ spacecraft, conduct overtly provocative tests, or disable critical satellites, peaceful space activities should continue. For now, he points out, countries have only tested missiles on their own defunct satellites, and exercises against other nations’ spacecraft have remained nondestructive.

Existing international laws offer little guidance for modern military technology in space. While these rules—including the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963 and the U.N.’s Outer Space Treaty of 1967—prohibit weapons of mass destruction in space, they don’t explicitly limit other kinds of space weapons, tests, or military space forces.

Weeden points out that space diplomats could create new guidelines by developing something like the Incidents at Sea agreement, which the U.S. and the Soviet Union signed during the Cold War to maintain safe distances between ships and avoid maneuvers in heavy traffic. But until similar rules involving space weaponry are hammered out, he said, unexpected satellite tests will inevitably fuel speculation and paranoia.

“Any time you have militaries operating near each other without a lot of transparency or clarity,” he added, “you always have the opportunity for misperceptions that could lead to something very bad.”

Ramin Skibba is a writer based in San Diego. His work has appeared in Undark magazine, New Scientist, and Nature.

Islamic Nations Unify Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Hamas, Hezbollah seek to unite ‘Islamic ummah’ against Israel – Iran media

Iran has suffered setbacks to its missile and nuclear program due to recent mysterious explosions and the Iranian regime has been reticent to blame Israel directly or to respond.

Tasnim News agency stressed on Saturday an alliance between Hamas and Hezbollah against Israel over recent annexation plans. While Hamas and Hezbollah have not apparently been in close contact about coordinating efforts, the Iranian media outlet, which is close to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, suggested that the two terror groups were both confronting Israel over recent policies.

The article is important because it hints at Iran’s strategy in dealing with Israel in coming months. Iran has suffered setbacks to its missile and nuclear program due to recent mysterious explosions and the Iranian regime has been reticent to blame Israel directly or to respond. Iran is seeking a larger agreement with China in the meantime and the end to an arms embargo. A new crisis with Israel may not be in the regime’s interests. But stoking tensions with Hezbollah and Hamas likely is in Tehran’s interest.

It is in this context that the relatively short article appeared on Saturday. “Hamas and Hezbollah stress the need for unity of the Islamic ummah [community] to counter the conspiracy,” the headline reads. The “conspiracy” refers to Israel’s annexation plans and “depriving rights to Palestinians.”