Thursday, February 19, 2009

11 Most Expensive Catastrophes in History

(Sent in via email, thanks AGB)

# 11. Titanic - $150 Million

The sinking of the Titanic is possibly the most famous accident in the world. But it barely makes our list of top 10 most expensive. On April 15, 1912, the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage and was considered to be the most luxurious ocean liner ever built. Over 1,500 people lost their lives when the ship ran into an iceberg and sunk in frigid waters. The ship cost $7 million to build ($150 million in today ' s dollars).

# 10. Tanker Truck vs Bridge - $358 Million

On August 26, 2004, a car collided with a tanker truck containing 32,000 liters of fuel on the Wiehltal Bridge in Germany . The tanker crashed through the guardrail and fell 90 feet off the A4 Autobahn resulting in a huge explosion and fire which destroyed the load-bearing ability of the bridge. Temporary repairs cost $40 million and the cost to replace the bridge is estimated at $318 Million.

# 9. MetroLink Crash - $500 Million

On September 12, 2008, in what was one of the worst train crashes in California history, 25 people were killed when a Metrolink commuter train crashed head-on into a Union Pacific freight train in Los Angeles . It is thought that the Metrolink train may have run through a red signal while the conductor was busy text messaging.. Wrongful death lawsuits are expected to cause $500 million in losses for Metrolink.

# 8. B-2 Bomber Crash - $1.4 Billion

Here we have our first billion dollar accident (and we ' re only # 8 on the list). This B-2 stealth bomber crashed shortly after taking off from an air base in Guam on February 23, 2008. Investigators blamed distorted data in the flight control computers caused by moisture in the system. This resulted in the aircraft making a sudden nose-up move which made the B-2 stall and crash. This was 1 of only 21 ever built and was the most expensive aviation accident in history. Both pilots ejected safely.

# 7. Exxon Valdez - $2.5 Billion

The Exxon Valdez oil spill was not a large one in relation to the world ' s biggest oil spills, but it was a costly one due to the remote location of Prince William Sound (accessible only by helicopter and boat). On March 24, 1989, 10.8 million gallons of oil was spilled when the ship ' s master, Joseph Hazelwood, left the controls and the ship crashed into a Reef. The cleanup cost Exxon $2.5 billion.

# 6. Piper Alpha Oil Rig - $3.4 Billion

The world ' s worst off-shore oil disaster. At one time, it was the world ' s single largest oil producer, spewing out 317,000 barrels of oil per day. On July 6, 1988, as part of routine maintenance, technicians removed and checked safety valves which were essential in preventing dangerous build-up of liquid gas. There were 100 identical safety valves which were checked. Unfortunately, the technicians made a mistake and forgot to replace one of them. At 10 PM that same night, a technician pressed a start button for the liquid gas pumps and the world ' s most expensive oil rig accident was set in motion.

Within 2 hours, the 300 foot platform was engulfed in flames. It eventually collapsed, killing 167 workers and resulting in $3.4 Billion in damages.

# 5. Challenger Explosion - $5.5 Billion

The Space Shuttle Challenger was destroyed 73 seconds after takeoff due on January 28, 1986 due to a faulty O-ring. It failed to seal one of the joints, allowing pressurized gas to reach the outside. This in turn caused the external tank to dump its payload of liquid hydrogen causing a massive explosion. The cost of replacing the Space Shuttle was $2 billion in 1986 ($4.5 billion in today ' s dollars). The cost of investigation, problem correction, and replacement of lost equipment cost $450 million from 1986-1987 ($1 Billion in today ' s dollars).

# 4. Prestige Oil Spill - $12 Billion

On November 13, 2002, the Prestige oil tanker was carrying 77,000 tons of heavy fuel oil when one of its twelve tanks burst during a storm off Galicia , Spain . Fearing that the ship would sink, the captain called for help from Spanish rescue workers, expecting them to take the ship into harbour. However, pressure from local authorities forced the captain to steer the ship away from the coast. The captain tried to get help from the French and Portuguese authorities, but they too ordered the ship away from their shores. The storm eventually took its toll on the ship resulting in the tanker splitting in half and releasing 20 million gallons oil into the sea.

According to a report by the Pontevedra Economist Board, the total cleanup cost $12 billion.

# 3. Space Shuttle Columbia - $13 Billion

The Space Shuttle Columbia was the first space worthy shuttle in NASA ' s orbital fleet. It was destroyed during re-entry over Texas on February 1, 2003 after a hole was punctured in one of the wings during launch 16 days earlier. The original cost of the shuttle was $2 Billion in 1978. That comes out to $6.3 Billion in today ' s dollars. $500 million was spent on the investigation, making it the costliest aircraft accident investigation in history. The search and recovery of debris cost $300 million.

In the end, the total cost of the accident (not including replacement of the shuttle) came out to $13 Billion according to the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

# 2. Chernobyl - $200 Billion

On April 26, 1986, the world witnessed the costliest accident in history. The Chernobyl disaster has been called the biggest socio-economic catastrophe in peacetime history. 50% of the area of Ukraine is in some way contaminated. Over 200,000 people had to be evacuated and resettled while 1.7 million people were directly affected by the disaster. The death toll attributed to Chernobyl , including people who died from cancer years later, is estimated at 125,000. The total costs including cleanup, resettlement, and compensation to victims has been estimated to be roughly $200 Billion. The cost of a new steel shelter for the Chernobyl nuclear plant will cost $2 billion alone. The accident was officially attributed to power plant operators who violated plant procedures and were ignorant of the safety requirements needed.

# 1. 2008 Presidential Election-
$800 Billion in the first two months...

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Webster's: Change, transitive verb

1 a: to make different in some particular : alter b: to make radically different : transform c: to give a different position, course, or direction to

2 a: to replace with another b: to make a shift from one to another

Many of you believed that the Obama chant of change was in the positive spirit as defined in 1 a, b, & c. Wow, what a leap of faith! And to think, many of you belonging to the approximately 52% of Obama voters claim believers of God are dumb.

What did you Obama believers get? A negative 2 a & b, which is fine because your anti-Bush blood lust is sated. After all, wasn't that the point.

Change is Good

Admit it, you guys would have voted for the Great Deceiver if he had a (D) trailing his spiked tail. Hmm... maybe you did.

The Great Deceiver

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Nancy Pelosi: 500 MILLION Americans Will Lose Jobs

Wonder why we are in the state we're in? THEY can't count!

Nancy Pelosi lies..uh..scares..uh.. misspeaks..or rather misunderstimates.

Should that have been misoverestimates....

Roll the tape:

Monday, February 2, 2009

It's All About The Ice Cream

Wondering how the loons got into office?

Ponder this simple analogy delivered with levity and sent in via email by a Great American; Ann Bryant.

And for more Political humor in the same vein Don't miss the recent addition:

(Author unknown)

We are worried about "the cow" when it is all about the "Ice Cream."

The most eye-opening civics lesson I ever had was while teaching third grade this year. The presidential election was heating up and some of the children showed an interest. I decided we would have an election for a class president.

We would choose our nominees. They would make a campaign speech and the class would vote.

To simplify the process, candidates were nominated by other class members. We discussed what kinds of characteristics these students should have. We got many nominations and from those, Jamie and Olivia were picked to run for the top spot.

The class had done a great job in their selections. Both
candidates were good kids. I thought Jamie might have an advantage because he got lots of parental support. I had never seen Olivia's mother.

The day arrived when they were to make their speeches Jamie went first. He had specific ideas about how to make our class a better place. He ended by promising to do his very best. Every one applauded. He sat down and Olivia came to the podium.

Her speech was concise. She said, "If you will vote for me, I will give you ice cream." She sat down. The class went wild. "Yes! Yes! We want ice cream."

She surely would say more. She did not have to. A discussion followed. How did she plan to pay for the ice cream? She wasn't sure.

Would her parents buy it or would the class pay for it. She didn't know. The class really didn't care. All they were thinking about was the ice cream.

Jamie was forgotten. Olivia won by a land slide.

Every time Barack Obama opened his mouth he offered ice cream and fifty-two percent of the people reacted like nine year olds. They want ice cream. The other forty-eight percent know they're going to have to feed the cow and clean up the mess.

Pittsburgh Steelers Triumphs in Super Bowl 43 with Historic Win

By Tony Vega

What a game and what a way to finish the NFL 2008 season! Super Bowl 43 began with an historic entry as the Arizona Cardinals for the first time in franchise history made it to the Super Bowl.

Arizona struggled out the gate and came alive in the fourth quarter that turned this game into a dramatic event worthy of a script. Pittsburgh rallied in a stellar performance crushing Arizona's hopes with 5 seconds remaining, the rest is history. Pittsburgh 27, Arizona 23

Prior to the start of the game, some real heroes graced the field. Chelsey "Sully" Sullenberger the captain of US Airways Flight 1549 made an appearance along with his crew and received a standing ovation; General Petraeus was there to perform the coin toss and received appropriate cheers as well. It was a treat to see some real live action heroes on the field in Tampa.

Here are some historical facts about the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Arizona Cardinals and Super Bowl 43;

The Pittsburgh Steelers is the only team to have six Super Bowl wins. They have achieved this feat under four different presidents; Ford, Carter, Bush, and Obama.

In last year's big game, Plaxico Burress of the NY Giants hauled in the winning catch with 35 seconds remaining. In Super Bowl 43, Santonio Holmes caught a Roethlisberger strike for the winning touchdown with, yep you guessed it, 35 seconds remaining. That catch earned Holmes the MVP designation for Super Bowl 43.

The first historical and jaw dropping play came at the end of the half with the Cardinals in the red zone. Kurt Warner was picked off by James Harrison, which he returned for a record 100 hundred yard run into the end zone extending Pittsburgh's lead.

Mike Tomlin, the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers is the youngest coach in franchise history to lead a team to a Super Bowl win. Mike Tomlin at 36-years old played against one of his current players in college, what an amazing feat for Mr. Tomlin.

The Arizona cardinals and Mr. Warner have a lot to be proud of. Quarterback Kurt Warner has a storied career with a pair of Super Bowl entries and a MVP designation as quarterback for the LA Rams in Super Bowl 34.

The Arizona Cardinals will certainly have a place in the history books by finally making it to the Super Bowl and sharing the stage with the Pittsburgh Steelers, as the nation watched the Steelers win their sixth Super Bowl title.

Also for the first time, the Empire State Building has split its tower lights to honor both teams to celebrate the Super Bowl during the weekend. On Monday, the Empire State Building will have the Pittsburgh Steelers colors illuminated on all four sides of the tower to commemorate their historical win. Only in New York, folks.

Great game and certainly one for the record books. Another little historical tidbit that won't end up in the books, for the first time as a sports fan, yours truly won the final score of the Super Bowl 43 office pool. How about that!?


Super Bowl 43 with Jon Madden and Al Michaels