‘Hurricane truthers’: Bonkers conspiracies are putting lives in danger
First it was the moon landing, vaccines, and New Coke. Now nutty conspiracies are surrounding the life-and-death matter of hurricanes.
With warming waters providing extra fuel, tropical cyclones have become more frequent and more intense in recent years, causing deadly flooding, widespread power outages, and hundreds of billions of dollars in damages. Some people (ahem) see a sinister plot behind it all, an attempt to overhype the threat of disasters so that Big Government can take over (or something). This bonkers “hurricane trutherism” has spread from right-wing blogs to a much broader audience.
And it might already have real-world, fact-based consequences. A working paper suggests that by downplaying hurricane risk, conservative media hosts like Rush Limbaugh could be discouraging people from getting out of harm’s way…
Explained: Asia’s deadliest eruptions – and four volcanoes to watch
Predicting when a volcano might erupt is notoriously difficult, and if the prediction is wrong the consequences can be devastating – as seen with the explosion on New Zealand’s White Island on Monday that claimed up to 16 lives and left dozens seriously injured.
Scientists are able to monitor emissions of gases, the shape of the volcano itself and whether there has been any recent earthquakes to gauge how likely an eruption might be…