Northeast lawmakers and Democratic leaders were "in an uproar," as Roll Call puts it, after the House held its last votes of the 112th Congress late Tuesday without acting on a Hurricane Sandy relief bill.
And plunging over the cliff would be "devastating to the economy," says Erskine Bowles, who co-chaired the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles debt commission.
There's another one-third chance that "we'll go over the cliff and people will come to their senses in the first week or so," Bowles says. A third possibility, that a deal takes even longer, "will lead to chaos" he says.
The stock market hasn't factored in the possibility that the country will go over the fiscal cliff, says Bowles. "They don't think we're stupid enough to do that."
Bowles says that if it happens, the stock market will crash.
To contemplate going over the cliff is "like betting the country," says Alan Simpson. "Anyone with that attitude — party above America — is missing the boat."
Those homeowners who are determined to protect themselves from every type of disaster scenario imaginable are testing materials and technology that could change home building for everybody, The Wall Street Journal reports.
As my family spent the weekend getting ready for the approaching Hurricane Sandy, it was disturbing to read in The New York Times that satellite forecasts on which we're relying probably won't be there in a few years.
Experts have become increasingly alarmed, the paper says, because polar satellites are nearing or are already past their life spans and the launch of their replacement has slipped to 2017 — most likely too late to avoid a coverage gap of at least a year.
The reasons are "dysfunctional" management and lack of funding, says the Times.
Seven Italian earthquake experts were convicted of manslaughter Monday and sentenced to six years in jail for failing to adequately warn residents in the months leading up to the 2009 L'Aquila earthquake that killed more than 300 people.
The verdicts "jolted the international scientific community," which fears a possible onslaught of legal actions against scientists who evaluate the risks of natural hazards, says The New York Times.
Alan Leshner of the American Association for the Advancement of Science had written in an open letter to Italian President Giorgio Napolitano in June 2010, urging that the trial be headed off:
"Years of research, much of it conducted by distinguished seismologists in your own country, have demonstrated that there is no accepted scientific method for earthquake protection that can be reliably used to warn citizens of an impending disaster. To expect more of science at this time is unreasonable. It is manifestly unfair for scientists to be criminally charged for failing to act on information that the international scientific community would consider inadequate as a basis for issuing a warning."
When I was a kid in California, one of my treasured possessions was a foot-in-diameter glass globe with Japanese writing that was found on my local beach. It apparently was a fishing-net float that had drifted across the ocean.
Now, more prosaically, the first debris from Japan's tsunami last March may have been spotted in the form of an empty Japanese fishing boat drifting off the coast of western Canada.
An estimated 1.5 million tons of debris — including refrigerators, washing machines, televisions, and roofs — had been expected to reach North America next year. But it looks like it'll be sooner.
The moon may have had a role in the sinking of the liner 100 years ago next month, researchers say.
An unusually close approach by the moon in January 1912 may have produced such high tides that far more icebergs than usual separated from Greenland and floated into shipping lanes that had been moved south that spring because of reports of icebergs.