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Mar 26 2012

A Few Good Reads (3/26/12): Extent of Flooding in Pakistan

This week: The extent of the massive floods in Pakistan, flood outlook 2012, finishing up the storm surge defenses in New Orleans, kissing our big dams goodbye, and the validity of the 40 hour work week.

Pakistan floods map

New satellite images reveal the full extent of the Pakistan floods (Daily Mail)

There is a danger of more flooding after what have already been the worst deluges in recorded history in the country, affecting 60,000 square miles of land.

But there has been growing fury from survivors who earlier blocked a major highway with stones and rubbish near the hard-hit Sukkur area, complaining they were being treated like animals.

Flood Outlook 2012: Hoping for the Best, Preparing for the Worst (USGS) (HT: Channel Restorationist)

Throughout the last century in the United States, on average, floods have caused more lives lost and more economic damage than any other natural hazard. According to forecasts, severe flooding in 2012 will likely be far less widespread than last year. However, scientists cannot predict weather and water patterns with 100 percent accuracy, and there is always the potential for severe flooding somewhere in the country.

Years of Work on New Orleans Storm Surge Defenses Nearing an End

Years of Work on New Orleans Storm Surge Defenses Nearing an End (ENR)

By mid-March, only about 3,000 ft of a hardened, 123-mile-long storm-surge defensive ring around New Orleans remains to be closed. Contractors have sheet pile and HESCO baskets on hand to defend those last points in case of storm emergency.

The city’s storm surge risk reduction system is undergoing a $14.6-billion upgrade under the direction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers following Hurricane Katrina’s devastation in August 2005. The new system’s design is based on computer modeling of  152 storms with multiple criteria and approach paths to identify discrete vulnerabilities under a host of scenarios.

Are We Ready to Kiss Our Big Dams Goodbye? (AlterNet)

The prescient John Muir knew something that took most of the world a century to figure out. Big dams aren’t necessarily a win-win. "Progress," something that seemed like a given during the early 20th century, looks a little bit murkier now as the silt is piling up inside reservoirs, the fish are dying off in dammed streams, and wild places and creatures have been pushed to extinction.

Work Hard, Play Hard? (Engineer Blogs)

I know there are definitely people out there that can probably keep up that sustained pace where the rest of us mere mortals drop dead. But if you sat back and seriously analyzed your work habits, do you really think you’re more productive working 50-60 hours (or more)? Or do you tend to hit your limit sooner than that?

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