Move Beach, Get Out the Way
From a category 5 to a now category 4, Hurricane Irma is still the most powerful Atlantic hurricane on record stretching over 800 miles wide. That’s roughly the size of Texas, y’all. “Irma is anomalous,” says Jim Kossin, an atmospheric scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information (Phew, what a title). “This is a record-breaker. Unprecedented. Catastrophic.”
Irma’s consequences continue to reveal a shocking aftermath as the small island of Barbuda had at least one death and lost 90 percent of its built structures. Other islands have reported at least eight more deaths, and Puerto Rico’s electrical power is predicted to be out of reach for up to six months. “We’ve had two outlier, extreme hurricanes back to back. If that doesn’t raise red flags, I don’t know what would,” Kossin says. Let’s not mention Hurricane Jose luring behind. (Source: CNN)
Shaken, Not Stirred
The most violent earthquake to hit Mexico in a century rattled millions of residents early this morning, killing at least 32 people. The 8.1-magnitude quake was felt as far away as Mexico City and Guatemala City.
The epicenter of the quake was near the Mexican states of Chiapas and Oaxaca, two of the country’s more impoverished areas. Rodrigo Soberanes, a resident in Chiapas, told the Associated Press his house had “moved like chewing gum” during the quake. Given the nation’s vulnerability to earthquakes and the capital’s density, the resounding feeling in the country was one of relief that the damage was not more widespread. Do tsunamis get named too? (Source: The NY Times)
Nothing Is Safe
Equifax, one of three major US credit reporting companies responsible for calculating your credit score, pretty much has all of your personal and financial data since forever. On Thursday, the company disclosed that a data breach it discovered earlier this year may have impacted as many as 143 million people in the United States (i.e. that’s half of the country’s population).
Attackers (we call them stalkers) got their hands on everything from names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, driver’s license numbers, and about 209,000 credit card numbers. Experts say the hackers can sell this data on black markets putting consumers’ identities at risk. As much as 44 percent of the US population will feel the impact of this breach for years to come. In redemption, Equifax is offering a website where anyone can check whether they are one of the people whose data may have been compromised. The company is also offering a year of free credit monitoring and identity theft insurance. Rick Smith may want to reevaluate his marketing plan. (Source: Wired)
In shinier news, here’s a video of cute pandas going down a slide: