Tuesday, September 30, 2008

DOST OSIST project


Commercialization of DOST technologies

The Department of Science and Technology last week activated an online portal designed to promote commercially viable technologies from Filipino scientists and researches.

The One-Stop-Information Shop of Technologies in the Philippines is an online database of over 280 technologies, inventions, and process improvements that can be used by small-to-medium scale businesses, manufacturing operators and other industries.

The OSIST project cost P20 million and was funded through the e-Government fund of the Commission on Information and Communications Technology.

It is currently operated through the Philippine Council for Industry and Energy Research and Deveopment (PCIERD).

While only 280 technologies are available, Mariño said about 50 others are being validated for commercial viability.

These are also categorized according to industry, such as energy, food, agriculture, textile, information technology, health transportation and process.

Each technology's information, as well as the contact of the developers, are included in the site, to allow businessmen and potential development partners to talk directly to the developers.

Mariño said there are plans to transfer the website to the DOST's Technology Application and Promotion Institute.

He said the DOST is planning a series of regional activities to promote the use of OSIST and also to inform technology developers to use the site to disseminate their own technologies.

By Alexander Villafania

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Philippines bans China's milk products


Liquid and powdered milk, candy, biscuits, chocolate bars and drinks, and yogurt with dairy components from China are now banned in the country.

An analyst at the Bureau of Food and Drugs is set to extract samples from milks products from China. The BFAD refuses to give a list of other products to be tested including those originating from other countries like candies that used milk products from China as ingredients.

The Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) Tuesday imposed the ban amid growing fears over the safety of dairy products made in China where four children have died and more than 50,000 have fallen ill after drinking milk tainted with the industrial chemical melamine.

Melamine has been found in infant formula and other milk products from 22 of China’s dairy companies. Suppliers trying to cut costs are believed to have added it to watered-down milk because its high nitrogen content masks the resulting protein deficiency.

In an advisory, BFAD Director Leticia Gutierrez directed all importers and distributors of “registered milk products from China to immediately stop temporarily from further importing, distributing, selling and offering for sale the aforesaid products.”

The ban stays “until it is assured that (these) are safe for human consumption,” Virginia Francia Laboy, BFAD Policy, Planning and Advocacy Division officer in charge, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer (parent company of INQUIRER.net).

The BFAD refused to give a list of the products to be tested. But the Inquirer saw the names of popular chocolate and candy brands in the matrix being drafted at the agency’s main office in Muntinlupa City.

Though milk and milk products from China would be easy to spot, Laboy acknowledged it would be harder to list food products that might have originated from other countries but used milk-products from China as ingredients.

“We have the records of all registered products. We will have to check them one by one,” she said.


source: newsinfo.inquirer.net

Ducky Science


NASA Dispatches Rubber Ducks

When a sophisticated science probe failed to return any data about whether pools of melted glacial ice were showing up in the ocean, a NASA researcher turned to a decidedly low-tech solution: a brigade of rubber ducks.

Robotics expert Alberto Behar, with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., wants to figure out if water shooting through tunnels in Greenland's Jakobshavn Glacier makes it into Baffin Bay.

The work is part of ongoing studies by NASA and other agencies to understand changes in the levels of Earth's seas, which may be tied to global warming.

Behar, a robotics expert, dispatched a probe with a positioning sensor and satellite telephone into one of the glacier's water tunnels in hopes of tracking where the water ends up. In the summer, ice melts on glacier's surfaces and pools into shallow lakes and streams that then fall into water tunnels in the ice known as moulins.

source: discovery.com

Thursday, September 18, 2008

World's Oldest Man Celebrated his 113th Birthday


The world's oldest man celebrated his 113th birthday on Thursday, telling reporters at his home in southern Japan about his joyful life and healthy appetite.

Tomoji Tanabe is pictured in his home in Miyakonojo, southern Japan September 12, 2008. The world's oldest man celebrated his 113th birthday on September 18, 2008, telling reporters at his home about his joyful life and healthy appetite. Picture taken September 12, 2008.

"I'm happy," said Tomoji Tanabe as the local mayor presented him with flowers and a giant tea cup glazed with his name and date of birth. "I'm well. I eat a lot," he added.

Tanabe, recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest living male last year, eats mostly vegetables and believes the key to longevity is not drinking alcohol.

The former civil servant lives with his son, drinks milk every day and has no major illnesses, although he now writes in his diary only once or twice a month. He used to write on a daily basis.

"His favorite food is fried shrimp, but we've heard that he's cut back on oily food," said an official at his hometown of Miyakonojo, about 900 km (560 miles) southwest of Tokyo.

"He's said he wants to live for another 10 years, that he doesn't want to die." The Japanese are among the world's longest-lived people, with the number of those aged 100 or older at a record 36,276, a government report last week showed.

Japanese women have topped the world's longevity ranks for 23 years, while men rank third after Iceland and Hong Kong.

source: news.yahoo.com

My nominee for the Philippines Blog Awards 2008


For the Bloggers’ Choice Award my nominee was one of my fellow pinoy blogger, Makoy's Memoirs Of A Certified Blogger the owner was Makoy as his friends called him. Ever since when i first saw his blog its find me interested because of his unique post and the way how he setup his blog.

To those who wants to nominate Makoy or your friends that being nominated you may visit the Nomination Form but you must read first the guidelines. The awarding will be on Sunday, September 21, 2008.

Good luck Makoy and to all the nominess...

The Philippine Blog Awards 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Youngest Pinoy Skater


The youngest filipino skater, Alah Rick "Potpot" Corpuz, a six-year old boy shows off his skills at skateboarding and relates how he started learning the sport. Potpot's father explains how he has helped his son through the years become a better skater.

source: www.inquirer.net

World's smallest man meets leggiest woman


Trafalgar Square routinely serves as a stage for mimes, jugglers and other acts, but the tourist attraction drew an exceptionally curious crowd Tuesday when the shortest man who can walk met the woman with the longest legs.

He Pingping from Inner Mongolia, China's autonomous region, the world's smallest man sits underneath Svetlana Pankratova from Russia, the Queen of Longest Legs.

He Pingping, of China, stands precisely two feet 5.37 inches tall. The 20-year-old was born with a type of dwarfism.

He called Svetlana Pankratova's legs "very beautiful."

The two met, with He standing at Pankratova's knees, to publicize the release of "Guinness World Records 2009." This year's version of the popular book is due out Wednesday.

Pankratova, who is Russian but lives in Spain, has legs that are nearly 52 inches or 132 centimetres long. Her upper body has nearly typical proportions, giving her a giraffe-like appearance.

Dressed in a bright-blue mini-dress and low-heeled pumps, Pankratova, 36, said she liked her legs, though they can complicate things. "It's hard to find clothes, especially pants," she said.

She isn't the tallest woman on record. Sandy Allen, of Shelbyville, Ind., who died recently, held that title, according to the book. And He is the smallest man who is mobile, the books says.

The latest edition of the book lists pop star Britney Spears as the most-searched person on the Internet and the television show "Lost" as the most-downloaded show of all time.

The book has been around for half a century. About 3.5 million copies are sold each year, according to editor-in-chief Craig Glenday.

source: cnews.canoe.ca

Arctic sea ice melt comes close


WASHINGTON - Crucial Arctic sea ice this summer shrank to its second lowest level on record, continuing an alarming trend, scientists said Tuesday.

The Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E), a high-resolution passive microwave Instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite shows the state of Arctic sea ice on September 10 in this image released September 16, 2008. Arctic sea ice melted to its second-lowest level this summer, rising a bit from 2007's record but still showing a strong downward trend that is a key symptom of climate change, U.S. scientists said Tuesday. The ice slipped to its minimum extent for 2008 on September 12, when it covered 1.74 million square miles (4.52 square km), and now appears to be growing as the Arctic starts its seasonal cool-down, the National Snow and Ice Data Center said.

The ice covered 1.74 million square miles on Friday, marking a low point for this summer, according to NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo. Last summer, the sea ice covered only 1.59 million square miles, the lowest since record-keeping began in 1979.

Arctic sea ice, which floats on the ocean, expands in winter and retreats in summer. In recent years it hasn't been as thick in winter.

This Radarsat-1 image of the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf in northorn Canada obtained July 29, 2008 shows the network of cracks threatening the integrity of the ice shelf. Two ice shelves in Canada's far north have lost massive sections since August while a third ice shelf now is adrift in the Arctic Ocean, said researchers Wednesday who blamed climate change.

Sea ice is crucial to worldwide weather patterns, both serving as a kind of refrigerator and reflecting the sun's heat. Given recent trends, triggered by man-made global warming, scientists warn that within five to 10 years the Arctic could be free of sea ice in the summer.

Even though the sea ice didn't retreat this year as much as last summer, "there was no real sign of recovery," said Walt Meier of the snow and ice data center. This year was cooler and other weather conditions weren't as bad, he said.

"We're kind of in a new state of the Arctic basically, and it's not a good one," Meier said. "We're definitely sliding towards a point where the summer sea ice will be gone."

source: news.yahoo.com

1926 home is made to look contemporary


Interior and accessories designer Ricardo David’s Ermita home was built by his grandmother Paz Mascuñana in 1926.

The house was occupied by the Japanese during World War II. Old photos show that the interiors were made of tropical hardwoods, with the wood-carved furniture popular at that time.

During a siege, the interior architecture was burned, leaving only the shell.

After the war, Mascuñana rebuilt it into a duplex of sorts. The interiors reflected the architecture at that time—whitewashed walls, narra flooring, high ceiling and heavy baseboards, with Filipino wooden furniture.

Weary of the period look of neutral background which had become too bland, David discarded the furniture, the vintage woodwork and modernized the interiors. The spaces are still dark, due to the half-shut windows, but the interpretation is modern.

David favored a muted color scheme. He streamlined the modern furniture and juxtaposed them with period pieces that had simple lines.

He also installed contemporary lighting fixtures which he himself designed.

The colors are purple and gray in the living room, vermilion in the study room/den and chocolate in the dining room. The wicker matchstick shades block off the sunlight, creating a mysterious but intimate mood.

Since muted shades do not reflect the light, there has to be a play of toned-down colors with soft, matte materials to pull off the scheme.

The light colors of furniture and strong patterns of the rugs lighten the look without breaking the scheme. Wooden furniture, a mix of new designs and antiques and the narra flooring look striking against the knocked-back colors.


Awash in purple and gray

The living room is awash in purple and gray which, says David, were chosen to bring out the colors of his paintings. His paintings otherwise looked flat against white walls so he painted a darker background. The purple-gray mix actually enhanced their subtlety.

Since friends liked to lounge around his place, he built two beds, covered in a warm brown ultrasuede. Pillows, also ultrasuede, in various shades of brown, add comfort. Roller pillows in green silk provide extra sheen.

The clean lines of an antique cabinet, teakwood benches and refurbished chairs from Dao complement the look. The strips of track lighting lend a contemporary touch.

David’s art collection includes Lindslee, RM de Leon, Bencab, Jim Sta. Ana, Bobby Nuestro, Claire Uy and Lex Clip.

The chocolate walls and patterned flooring augment the woods. The focal point is a simple tanguile table, painted in black. To make them look contemporary, his grandmother’s heirloom dining chairs were painted black, with ultrasuede upholstery.

Breaking the monotony

To break the monotony of chairs, the other side of the table is furnished with a narra bench with a dhuri thrown in for some color.

A stack of red wooden cabinets, a gift from his friend, Albert Avellana, cut a dramatic contrast to the deep tones. The metal frame of the circular canvas lighting fixture is good accent.

The walls are lined with presents from artists—Chinese brush strokes from his cousin Rachy Cuna, for instance. The other presents were from Michelle Lim, Dan Raralio, Sam Penaso, Solomon Saprid, Popo San Pascual, Lito Carating, Benjie Cabrera and Roger San Miguel.

David’s favorite room is the study and den. The orange is toned down by red, brown, white and yellow, to create deep vermilion. Accessories are in beige, rust and light blue to create a handsome scheme.

The work area has an Indonesian work table, a narra cabinet from Bohol and a reupholstered study chair in ultrasuede.

The conversation area is a mix of heirloom pieces such as a floral-printed, cane-backed sofa and armchair. It also has David’s contemporary designs such as the cube, which serves as a side table and a tray table, all in woven strip leather.

A wrought-iron candleholder adds sparkle, while the bold prints of the kilim rug give punches of color.

The tiered lighting fixture is made of halogen bulbs, ensconced in brown fabric.

Not only has David created a transitional look, a blend of the old and new, he has also achieved visual harmony.

by Marge C. Enriquez
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Scientists raise new concern over plastic containers


A new study released Tuesday linked a controversial chemical widely used in baby bottles and plastic food containers to diabetes, heart disease and liver abnormalities in adults.

The report published in the September 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reviewed the effect on adults of the chemical known as bisphenol A (BPA).

It found that adults with the highest concentrations of BPA in their urine had nearly triple the odds of cardiovascular disease, compared with those with the least amounts of the compound in their systems.

Of 1,455 adults studied, those with the highest BPA levels had more than double the odds of having diabetes, the report found.

"Higher urinary concentrations of BPA were associated with an increased prevalence of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and liver-enzyme abnormalities," the authors wrote.

The release of the report coincided Tuesday with a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hearing in Washington into the safety of bisphenol A, which the FDA has so far deemed to be safe in a preliminary report issued in August.

"A margin of safety exists that is adequate to protect consumers, including infants and children, at the current levels of exposure," Laura Tarantino, senior scientist at FDA, told the hearing.

The FDA's August report triggered an outcry from the scientific community and consumer protection groups.

They accused the agency of ignoring the results of studies done on animals showing that small doses of BPA could provoke changes during development in the brain, prostate glands and at puberty for females.

A group of toxicologists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) also published their concerns about the levels of the chemical found in many food containers, plastic bottles and dental fillings in a study earlier this month.

According to the NIH findings, the chemical could have dangerous effects on the development of the brain and the prostate gland in fetuses and newborn babies.

BPA is said to interfere with estrogen, the hormone which plays a key role in fetal and childhood development.

The authors of Tuesday's study said it was the first to track the prevalence in the human body of BPA, which authorities in Canada have outlawed as a health risk and major environmental contaminant.

The compound is found in detectable levels in more than 90 percent of Americans, "primarily through food, but also through drinking water, dental sealants, dermal exposure, and inhalation of household dusts," researchers said.

More than two million metric tons of BPA were produced worldwide in 2003, and demand for the compound has increased by between six and 10 percent each year since then, the authors said.

Consumer groups are pushing for the FDA to review its initial conclusions, which they say have been based on industry-funded research.

Elizabeth Hitchcock of the US Public Interest Research Group said she hoped the FDA would take into account the evidence "about the consequences of bisphenol A particularly on children's health" in making its decision.

But the industry group American Chemistry Council said more follow-up studies were needed.

"Overall, due to inherent limitations in study design, this new study cannot support a conclusion that bisphenol A causes any disease," said Steven Hentges from the council.

"The weight of scientific evidence continues to support the conclusion of governments worldwide that bisphenol A is not a significant health concern at the trace levels present in some consumer products."

by: Agence France-Presse


Friday, September 12, 2008

DepEd 5-year ICT plan in 2009


Education Secretary Jesli Lapus unveiled a 5-year Information and Communications Technology for Education (ICT4E) strategic plan that will also involve spending P2 billion in 2009 alone.

The education department also plans to intensify the use of ICT to revitalize schools, link students to global resources and enable them to critically seek and analyze information, create new knowledge and products and eventually develop habits of self-learning.

The strategic plan will include activities, such as complete integration of ICT into the curriculum; intensifying competency-based professional development program; establishment of necessary ICT infrastructure and development of processes and systems for governance and management.

Lapus said the proposed P2 Billion budget for next year will cover 44,300 primary and secondary schools nationwide.


source: technology.inquirer.net

Greece unearths treasures


Archaeologists have unearthed gold jewellery, weapons and pottery at an ancient burial site near Pella in northern Greece, the birthplace of Alexander the Great, the culture ministry said on Thursday.

The excavations at the vast cemetery uncovered 43 graves dating from 650-279 BC which shed light on the early development of the Macedonian kingdom, which had an empire that stretched as far as India under Alexander's conquests.

Among the most interesting discoveries were the graves of 20 warriors dating to the late Archaic period, between 580 and 460 BC, the ministry said in a statement.

A warrior helmet excavated in northern Greece is depicted in this handout photograph distributed by the Greek Culture Ministry, September 11, 2008.

Some were buried in bronze helmets alongside iron swords and knives. Their eyes, mouths and chests were covered in gold foil richly decorated with drawings of lions and other animals symbolizing royal power.

"The discovery is rich in historical importance, shedding light on Macedonian culture during the Archaic period," Pavlos Chrysostomou, who headed the eight-year project that investigated a total of 900 graves, told Reuters.

Pavlas said the graves confirmed evidence of an ancient Macedonian society organized along militaristic lines and with overseas trade as early as the second half of the seventh century BC.

Among the excavated graves, the team also found 11 women from the Archaic period, with gold and bronze necklaces, earrings and broaches.

Nine of the graves dated to the late classical or early Hellenistic period, around the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC.

Alexander, whose father Philip II unified the city states of mainland Greece, conquered most of the world known to the ancient Greeks before dying at the age of 32 in Babylon. Educated by the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle, Alexander was never defeated in battle.

source: news.yahoo.com

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

2008 UAAP Cheerdance Competition Videos


UAAP 2008 Cheerdance Competition videos of the top 3 teams the UP Pep Squard, Santo Tomas Salinggawi Dance Troupe, and Far Eastern University Cheering Squad.




video source: youtube.com

The UP Pep Squad won as a champion and retain the crown last season. The team, did the ethnic style, from mixing tribal songs and dances with difficult stunts and acrobatics, to having their locks cut. Among the stunts were three pyramids, some straddle tosses, one-man pop-off catch flip transfer for twisting dismount, pull downs, a four-man full twisting transfer, tumbling passes and a tick-tock stunt.

UP team victory with sweeping effect using a huge green and maroon colored as their official color cloth that when it was removed, two letters "U" and "P" and the human oblation emerged.

Related Post:

2008 UAAP Cheerdance Competition Results

2008 UAAP Cheerdance Champion the UP Pep Squad

source: anima9.wordpress.com & wikipedia

2008 UAAP Cheerdance Competition Results


University of the Philippines Pep Squad won the second straight UAAP Samsung Cheer Dance Competition with a score of 93.3 points, way ahead of the Santo Tomas Salinggawi Dance Troupe, which also finished runner-up for the second straight time with 85.3 points. Far Eastern University Cheering Squad took third place honors with 83.9 points.

Here is the list of scores:

UP - 93.30

UST - 85.27

FEU - 83.96

ADMU - 83.81

AdU - 81.04

UE - 72.89

DLSU - 70.07

NU - 68.30


The UP Pep Squad team, composed of a total of 80 competing and non-competing members took home the top purse worth P195,000 plus Samsung MP3s to 25 members.

UST and FEU received P120,000 and P80,000, respectively.

Related Post:

2008 UAAP Cheerdance Competition Videos
2008 UAAP Cheerdance Champion the UP Pep Squad

Sunday, September 07, 2008

2008 UAAP Cheerdance Champion the UP Pep Squad


The University of the Philippines Pep Squad was declared champions in the recent 2008 UAAP Cheerdance competition this Sunday afternoon at the Araneta Coliseum, Quezon City, Philippines.

2008 UAAP champion, the UP Pep Squad bring home P195,000 cash prize and Samsung MP3 players. Fallowed by the UST Salinggawi dance troupe bagged also the P120,000 cash prize and the Far Eastern University cheering squad also went home with P80,000.

More than 20,000 audience compose of students, teachers, alumni, family and friends cheered for their universities at the Araneta Coliseum also known as the Big Dome.
UAAP LogoRelated Post:

2008 UAAP Cheerdance Competition Videos

2008 UAAP Cheerdance Competition Results

Wordpress developer preview 'Crazy Horse'


The latest version of the popular open-source blog site Wordpress was revealed for the first time during a blog convention in the Philippines Saturday.

Wordpress founding developer lead Matthew Mullenweg gave a demonstration of Wordpress version 2.7, codenamed "Crazy Horse", to about 350 Filipino bloggers at the WordCamp 2008 Philippines, which is the first WordCamp event in Southeast Asia.

The new Wordpress has drag-and-drop action allowing users to easily move plug-ins to other sections of a page. There are also more user-friendly plug-in install updates, as well as an updated sticky post.

Although Wordpress 2.7 is live, Mullenweg said in an interview that it is currently in alpha testing but will be ready for launch in November this year.

Wordpress 2.7 will precede version 2.6.1, which was launched only last August.

source: technology.inquirer.net

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The new GOOGLE CHROME browser


Google Chrome
browser is meant to provide users a choice.

Google launched on Wednesday Google Chrome, an open source-based web browser that aims to compete head-on with Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Mozilla's Firefox.

CHROME, the brand spankin' new browser that's out to change the way we surf the net, (and along the way, kill Microsoft's stagnating Explorer) debuted today, and it has all the cool killer apps that seem to be thought of first by the Google Geniuses!

According to Linus Upson, Director of Engineering, Google Inc,"The biggest challenge for us is that users don't realize they have a choice when it comes to browsers. If there is a competition, this will help improve the available browsers in the market. Our goal is to provide more choice for users, less problems for developers and grow the over-all market"

Available in more than 40 languages including Filipino, Google Chrome was released as a beta product now available for free for Windows-based users.

Chrome will be available for Mac and Linux users in the coming months, Google executives said.

With the goal of improving user's experience, Chrome included a great new interface features this are:

OMNIBOX - which works as the URL, search and history box. It also suggests frequently visited sites, while providing Google's own popular query whenever a keyword is typed in the box.

INCOGNITO MODE - which allows users to browse a website without leaving any trace on the site visited, including username and passwords.

DYNAMIC TABS - whenever you open a new "tab", your Most Visited sites are conveniently displayed, so that you can easily access without having to type the address, or pull down your favorites menu.

Google Chrome uses a JavaScript engine called V8 that speeds up current web applications and enables a whole new set of web applications that could not exist on browsers other than Chrome.

The Google engineering team from Aarhus, Denmark built V8 from scratch to respond to the dynamic and interactive sites.

Google Chrome was released as an open source project which intents to help make future browsers better while continuing to develop additional features and technology.

try the new

sources: technology.inquirer.net & www.pinoyblogosphere.com

Why Disasters are getting worse?


In the space of two weeks, Hurricane Gustav has caused an estimated $3 billion in losses in the U.S. and killed about 110 people in the U.S. and the Caribbean, catastrophic floods in northern India have left a million people homeless, and a 6.2-magnitude earthquake has rocked China's southwest, smashing over 400,000 homes.

If it seems like disasters are getting more common, it's because they are. But some disasters do seem to be affecting us worse — and not for the reasons you may think. Floods and storms have led to most of the excess damage. The number of flood and storm disasters has gone up by 7.4% every year in recent decades, according to the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters. (Between 2000 and 2007, the growth was even faster — with an average annual rate of increase of 8.4%.) Of the total 197 million people affected by disasters in 2007, 164 million were affected by floods.

It is tempting to look at the line-up of storms in the Atlantic (Hanna, Ike, Josephine) and, in the name of everything green, blame climate change for this state of affairs. But there is another inconvenient truth out there: We are getting more vulnerable to weather mostly because of where we live, not just how we live.

In recent decades, people around the world have moved en masse to big cities near water. The population of Miami-Dade County in Florida was about 150,000 in the 1930s, a decade fraught with severe hurricanes. Since then, the population of Miami-Dade County has rocketed 1,600% to 2,400,000.

So the same intensity hurricane today wreaks all sorts of havoc that wouldn't have occurred had human beings not migrated. (To see how your own coastal county has changed in population, check out this cool graphing tool from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.)

If climate change is having an effect on the intensities of storms, it's not obvious in the historical weather data. And whatever effect it is having is much, much smaller than the effect of development along the coastlines. In fact, if you look at all storms from 1900 to 2005 and imagine we had today's populations on the coasts, as Roger Pielke, Jr., and his colleagues did in a 2008 Natural Hazards Review paper, you would see that the worst hurricane would have actually happened in 1926.

If it happened today, the Great Miami storm would have caused $140 to $157 billion in damages. (Hurricane Katrina, the costliest storm in U.S. history, caused $100 billion in losses.) "There has been no trend in the number or intensity of storms at landfall since 1900,"says Pielke, a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado. "The storms themselves haven't changed."

What's changed is what we've put in the storm's way. Crowding together in coastal cities puts us at risk on a few levels. First, it is harder for us to evacuate before a storm because of gridlock. And in much of the developing world, people don't get the kinds of early warnings that Americans get. So large migrant populations — usually living in flimsy housing — get flooded out year after year. That helps explain why Asia has repeatedly been the hardest hit by disasters in recent years.

Secondly, even if we get all the humans to safety, we still have more stuff in harm's way. So each big hurricane costs more than the big one before it, even controlling for inflation.

But the most insidious effect of building condos and industry along the water is that we are systematically stripping the coasts of the protection that used to cushion the blow of extreme weather. Three years after Katrina, southern Louisiana is still losing a football field worth of wetlands every 38 minutes.

Human beings have been clearing away our best protections all over the world, says Kathleen Tierney, director of the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado, Boulder. "The natural protections are diminishing — whether you're talking about mangrove forests in areas affected by the Indian ocean tsunami, wetlands in the Gulf Coast or forests, which offer protection against landslides and mudslides."

Before we become hopelessly lost in despair, however, there is good news: we can do something about this problem. We can enact meaningful building codes and stop keeping insurance premiums artificially low in flood zones.

But first we need to understand that disasters aren't just caused by FEMA and greenhouse gases. Says Tierney: "I don't think that people have an understanding of questions they should be asking — about where they live, about design and construction, about building inspection, fire protection. These just aren't things that are on people's minds."

Increasingly, climate change is on people's minds, and that is all for the better. Even if climate change has not been the primary driver of disaster losses, it is likely to cause far deadlier disasters in the future if left unchecked.

But even if greenhouse gas emissions plummeted miraculously next year, we would not expect to see a big change in disaster losses. So it's important to stay focused on the real cause of the problem, says Pielke. "Talking about land-use policies in coastal Mississippi may not be the sexiest topic, but that's what's going to make the most difference on this issue."

source: www.time.com