All posts by Marshall Brain

Just heartbreaking – the worst oil disaster in the world

This video is both eye-opening and heartbreaking, both for the planet and the people affected by this spill. The video is called “The World’s Worst Oil Related Disaster You’ve Never Heard Of”:

The World’s Worst Oil Related Disaster You’ve Never Heard Of

From the Video’s description:

“Deep in the Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador lies the “Amazon Chernobyl”, a 1,700-square-mile environmental disaster brought on by oil extraction and production. After a visit to Ecuador in 1993, human rights lawyer Steven Donziger and other attorneys brought a class-action lawsuit against Texaco (later Chevron) on behalf of over 30,000 farmers and Indigenous people from this Amazon region who were affected by this disaster. Through his personal testimony and supporting footage, Steven recounts his experience advocating on behalf of the environment and affected communities and the personal toll this work has had on his life. It’s time to wake up.”

There are so many reasons to immediately stop using all fossil fuels. It really is a no-brainer decision at this point, and we as a species should make the decision to invest the resources necessary to fast-track their elimination. To do otherwise will cause us to lose so much.

Keep in mind that this is just one mega-spill out of many:


The Doomsday Book” by Marshall Brain lays out this scenario in amazing detail and offers solutions to prevent this doomsday scenario from unfolding. You can order the book today on Amazon and other retailers.

Is battery backup a viable option in a grid failure?

Several chapters in The Doomsday Book talk about power grid failures, because there are multiple ways for the grid to fail, including:

  • Coronal Mass Ejections
  • Terrorist attacks
  • EMP attacks by foreign countries
  • Bad weather, like hurricanes

Hardening the grid against these problems can limit the duration of grid failures, but we will probably never have a grid with 100% uptime. I have personally been in a grid failure, caused by a hurricane, that lasted a week, and one caused by an ice storm that lasted several days.

What are the options for people when the grid fails. It is possible, with enough money, to create a whole-house backup system that can provide power for a long time. A large generator running on natural gas or propane can do it. So can a big battery bank with a large solar array.

The problem is that whole-house can mean a lot of power. Things like air conditioning, deep well pumps, electric hot water heaters, refrigerators, freezers, and electric car recharging require lots of power. You might need a 20 kw generator to handle the entire load of a typical suburban home. A battery bank need 100 kilowatt-hours of capacity plus a huge inverter to handle the full load of a house for any reasonable period of time. Both options get expensive.

This is why the book advocates a much smaller approach, understanding that if the goal is to provide only the essentials, the equipment needs are radically smaller and therefore affordable. For example, Keeping an internet modem plus router up, along with the ability to recharge devices like laptops and phones, takes relatively little power. Building a backup system to supply just these needs costs a few hundred dollars. The size of the battery is a few kilowatt hours and the inverter is small. A single solar panel could extend the duration significantly, perhaps indefinitely. At this low price point, every home or apartment could have this facility and then, in the case of a power grid failure, everyone would be able to communicate and use the internet.

This article talks about some of the issues with trying to build a whole-house system, rather than a small targeted system for backup power:

The Myth of Whole-Home Battery Backup

Lots of insights in here about backup power.

The Doomsday Book” by Marshall Brain lays out this scenario in amazing detail and offers solutions to prevent this doomsday scenario from unfolding. You can order the book today on Amazon and other retailers.

The unbelievable, unimaginable seige on the U.S. Capital

Yesterday (January 6, 2021) a real doomsday scenario came to life. At the behest of a U.S. president, a mob of thousands of his supporters stormed the U.S. capitol building. Both the house and senate were in session to certify the election results from the Electoral College. The mob was able to overwhelm security forces, break into the capitol building itself and enter the congressional chambers.

Only by several strokes of luck was a catastrophe averted:

  • The representatives and senators were escorted to bunkers and safe spaces before the mob got to them.
  • No one was able to find and breach these safe spaces.
  • There was very little gunfire, so only a few people died.
  • None of the representatives or senators, nor the vice president, were captured or killed.

This event is being currently written up in a thousand news sources, and it is likely to be something historians are still discussing a hundred years from now. The event is unprecedented, nearly impossible to believe. The amount of corruption represented in the event is something that (hopefully) will become the subjects of a dozen investigations. The corruption includes:

  • The lies the president and supporters have repeatedly told about a “stolen” election.
  • The people in power (including over a hundred representatives, a dozen senators, multiple attorneys general, major news organizations like Fox news, etc.) who supported and amplified these lies.
  • The obvious failure of capitol security forces, perhaps because of insider interference
  • The lack of a military response (ditto)
  • The background of the rally that immediately preceded the attack.
  • And so on….

It is quite possible that the American democracy could have been lost in this event had things gone differently. Conjecture is that, had there been enough deaths, or had the vice president and others been captured or killed, the president would have declared martial law, invalidated the election, and seized essentially dictatorial power. A doomsday scenario indeed.

Transporting natural gas by rail through cities – a doomsday scenario

If you have read The Doomsday Book, you know that one thing terrorists look for is places that store potential energy. They especially like to release potential energy in crowded areas. This proposal brings big concentrations of potential energy right through the heart of many cities:

‘That Terrifies Me’: Trump Rule Allows Natural Gas Transport By Rail In Dense Areas

What makes it terrifying?

In an effort to boost natural gas exports, the Trump administration has reversed longstanding federal policy and approved transport of gas by rail anywhere in the country. Opposition has come from Hollywood stars, state attorneys general and local residents who worry about the danger this poses. But plans are moving ahead for a New Jersey project that calls for one of the longest such transport routes in the country: 200 miles through densely populated areas of the East Coast.

The gas from Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale would first be sent by pipeline to a new liquefaction plant in the rural northeast part of the state. Refrigeration units would chill it to negative-260 degrees Fahrenheit, at which point it becomes liquid and easier to ship. The part of the plan that scares a lot of people is the next step — transporting the gas by truck or rail down the busy I-95 corridor to a planned export terminal along the Delaware River in Gloucester County, New Jersey.

Generally speaking we do not ship gasoline – another flammable liquid – this way. Gasoline is flowing in underground pipelines, which is much safer.

What could go wrong? It is easy to imagine a 50-car train of liquified natural gas. Each car has 30,000 gallons say of LNG, or about 100,000 kilograms of LNG . That is 1.5 million gallons of LNG total, or 5 million kilograms. And now a bomb blows up a part of the train. If all of the LNG ignites, that’s the energy equivalent of about 50,000 tons of TNT (ref). That is 3 times more energy than the energy released by the nuclear bomb at Hiroshima. Even if only a few cars ignite, it is still a huge explosion. It is a doomsday scenario in the making. This video shows the potential problems:

Communities at Risk: Hazards of LNG

The Doomsday Book” by Marshall Brain lays out this scenario in amazing detail and offers solutions to prevent this doomsday scenario from unfolding. You can order the book today on Amazon and other retailers.

COVID-19 is mutating, and we do not know exactly what that means

A scary article about the COVID-19 virus:

The Mutated Virus Is a Ticking Time Bomb – There is much we don’t know about the new COVID-19 variant, but everything we know so far suggests a huge danger.

The new mutation allows the virus to spread faster. In other words, it is more contagious. Why does that matter? The article puts it this way:

A more transmissible variant of COVID-19 is a potential catastrophe in and of itself. If anything, given the stage in the pandemic we are at, a more transmissible variant is in some ways much more dangerous than a more severe variant. That’s because higher transmissibility subjects us to a more contagious virus spreading with exponential growth, whereas the risk from increased severity would have increased in a linear manner, affecting only those infected.

Because the vaccine roll out will take many months (possibly years in the United States if the government keeps bungling things), this more contagious version will cause millions more to get infected, meaning many more deaths. Especially when people are acting like idiots during a pandemic:

At Least One Person Is Hospitalized With COVID-19 After Attending That Republican Christmas Party With A Conga Line

The Doomsday Book” by Marshall Brain lays out this scenario in amazing detail and offers solutions to prevent this doomsday scenario from unfolding. You can order the book today on Amazon and other retailers.

What if the world has a pandemic but your government responds incompetently?

The United States has repeatedly fallen apart in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in large part because of leadership issues. The pandemic was downplayed, then masks were politicized and mocked, then PPE was the issue, along with lack of testing, and so on. And now the United States is falling apart in its effort to vaccinate its citizens quickly:

Operation Warp Speed at a crawl: Adequately vaccinating Americans will take 10 years at current pace

The Trump administration’s Covid-19 vaccine distribution program needs a major shot in the arm because at the current rate, it would take almost 10 years to inoculate enough Americans to get the pandemic under control, a jarring new NBC News analysis showed Tuesday.

The goal of Operation Warp Speed, a private-public partnership led by Vice President Mike Pence to produce and deliver safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines to the public, is to ensure that 80 percent of the country’s 330.7 million people get the shots by late June. To meet that goal, a little more than 3 million people would have to get the shots each day, the math shows. But so far, only about 2 million people — most of them front-line health care workers and some nursing home residents — have gotten their first shots of the 11.5 million doses that were delivered in the last two weeks, a review by NBC News of data from federal and state agencies showed.

It is heartbreaking to understand how many people in the United States have died, and to know that the vaccine could solve the problem, and to know that the vaccine could be distributed at a much quicker rate, and to then watch as the government’s leadership is once again dropping (or intentionally destroying) the ball. A tragedy.

It is also heartbreaking to know that many other governments have responded in exemplary ways, and there has been much less death and suffering and economic destruction in these countries.

This Coronavirus pandemic is a true doomsday scenario. Then on top of that, the response of the United States’ leadership has made the effects far worse than they should have been.

More info:

‘We’re repeating all the mistakes we made with PPE and testing’: Health expert Dr Jha slams fact only two million Americans have received their first vaccine shot when 20 million were supposed to be vaccinated by end of year

The Doomsday Book” by Marshall Brain lays out this scenario in amazing detail and offers solutions to prevent this doomsday scenario from unfolding. You can order the book today on Amazon and other retailers.

What does climate change look like from orbit?

It can sometimes be difficult for an individual person on the ground to personally witness the effects of climate change right now. If you were in California or Australia during the wildfires, you might have been directly affected, but more people still are now seeing direct effects. However, satellite imagery allows a view of the whole planet, and what we can see from satellites paints a terrible picture:

Watching Earth Burn – For 10 days in September, satellites in orbit sent tragic evidence of climate change’s destructive power.

Last winter, for example, Australia experienced one of the worst brushfire seasons in its history. On the first Sunday of 2020 I decided to take a look. Himawari-8 revealed a vista as spectacular as it was unnerving. A giant furnace door had seemingly been pried open. A plume of smoke extended outward from the continent’s southeastern quarter, a region twice the size of Texas where flame vortexes had been spiraling 200 feet into the air. Carrying the color of the land it came from, that noxious exhalation bore the residue of a billion or more incinerated animals and innumerable plants, baked into tinder from decades of ever-hotter summers.

The author points out in the article how you can look through the eyes of these satellites yourself:

My earth-watching, made possible by NOAA and Colorado State University websites, originates in three geostationary weather satellites parked in exceedingly high orbits above the Equator.

The effects of climate change will only become worse and worse unless humanity takes direct and massive steps to correct things.

The Doomsday Book” by Marshall Brain lays out this scenario in amazing detail and offers solutions to prevent this doomsday scenario from unfolding. You can order the book today on Amazon and other retailers.

The Nashville Christmas Day RV Bombing – Police had plenty of warning and did nothing

Early on December 25, 2020 in downtown Nashville, TN, a huge bomb inside an RV exploded. This is what the blast looked like:

Nashville explosion: CCTV captures moment of blast – BBC News

Thousands of articles have already been written about the day of the blast because it was so incredible and so unexpected.

But then we find out that the terrorist’s girlfriend and lawyer had reported his bombmaking activities to police, and nothing was done to stop him:

Anthony Warner’s girlfriend warned police he was building bombs in his RV last year

Police were warned Anthony Warner was making bombs in his RV more than a year before his Christmas morning attack in downtown Nashville. The tip came from Warner’s distraught girlfriend in August of 2019…. The police report states that an attorney who was also there and represented both the woman and Warner – told police that Warner “frequently talks about the military and bomb making.”

And then we find out the intent of the bomb:

Nashville bombing froze wireless communications, exposed ‘Achilles’ heel’ in regional network

The vulnerability of the telecommunications system in Nashville and beyond became clear Christmas Day when AT&T’s central office in downtown became the site of a bombing. Mayor John Cooper called the blast on Second Avenue an attack on infrastructure. The effects of that attack are sure to ripple through the region for weeks, as the telecom giant scrambles to restore services while maintaining the integrity of an active investigation site teeming with federal agents. State and local officials and experts say the fact that a multistate region could be brought to its knees by a single bombing is a “wake-up call,” exposing vulnerabilities many didn’t know existed and predicting it would lead to intense conversations about the future.

The Doomsday Book” by Marshall Brain lays out this scenario in amazing detail and offers solutions to prevent this doomsday scenario from unfolding. You can order the book today on Amazon and other retailers.

China has a fleet of Super Trawlers capable of stripping the ocean bare

Humans are rapidly depleting the ocean of fish. There are simply too many people catching too many fish for the fish to replenish themselves, and soon we will see more and more species collapsing. There is a whole chapter in The Doomsday Book about these kinds of mass extinction events. Watch this video:

Peru defends its waters as Chinese boats are accused of illegal fishing


Why is the government letting destructive ‘supertrawlers’ fish in Marine Protected Areas?

The intensity and scale of supertrawler fishing is a real threat to the habitats within MPAs. These industrial vessels stay at sea for weeks on end, catching, processing and freezing hundreds of tonnes of fish every single day. Ocean life is deeply interconnected, so when vast numbers of fish suddenly vanish from one part of the ecosystem, it’ll inevitably have serious impacts on everything else.

Supertrawler-size ships also carry a massive extra risk if anything goes wrong. There’s simply no margin for error when you’re working with mile-long nets that can cause serious damage if they’re not used correctly. Even without the direct impacts from fishing, supertrawlers put these vulnerable habitats at risk every time they enter an MPA.   

Currently, it’s completely legal for them to do all of this, which makes a mockery of the idea of a Marine Protected Area. 

Exposed : Supertrawlers fish in UK Marine Protected Areas in 2019

The Doomsday Book” by Marshall Brain lays out this scenario in amazing detail and offers solutions to prevent this doomsday scenario from unfolding. You can order the book today on Amazon and other retailers.

It cannot get any worse – active destruction of the Amazon rainforest

This article is terrifying:

Amazon fires: Bolsonaro actively trying to devastate rainforest, leaked documents show

The Brazilian government intend to build bridges, motorway and hydroelectric plant in the jungle to “fight off international pressure” to protect the world’s largest rainforest. The plans, leaked to political website openDemocracy, emerged as devastating fires rage through the Amazon.

As described in the Doomsday book, the Amazon rainforest is too important to let a country like Brazil destroy it. The entire forest should be taken over through international stewardship, humans should be removed from the forest, and every effort should be taken to keep it alive. If the rainforest is allowed to die, there will be a huge pulse of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the loss of the rain cycle, and the destruction of a million or more species. It will be catastrophic. See:

The Doomsday Book” by Marshall Brain lays out this scenario in amazing detail and offers solutions to prevent this doomsday scenario from unfolding. You can order the book today on Amazon and other retailers.