New York Subways at the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6)


How vulnerable are NYC’s underwater subway tunnels to flooding?Ashley Fetters
New York City is full of peculiar phenomena—rickety fire escapes; 100-year-old subway tunnelsair conditioners propped perilously into window frames—that can strike fear into the heart of even the toughest city denizen. But should they? Every month, writer Ashley Fetters will be exploring—and debunking—these New York-specific fears, letting you know what you should actually worry about, and what anxieties you can simply let slip away.
The 25-minute subway commute from Crown Heights to the Financial District on the 2/3 line is, in my experience, a surprisingly peaceful start to the workday—save for one 3,100-foot stretch between the Clark Street and Wall Street stations, where for three minutes I sit wondering what the probability is that I will soon die a torturous, claustrophobic drowning death right here in this subway car.
The Clark Street Tunnel, opened in 1916, is one of approximately a dozen tunnels that escort MTA passengers from one borough to the next underwater—and just about all of them, with the exception of the 1989 addition of the 63rd Street F train tunnel, were constructed between 1900 and 1936.
Each day, thousands of New Yorkers venture across the East River and back again through these tubes buried deep in the riverbed, some of which are nearing or even past their 100th birthdays. Are they wrong to ponder their own mortality while picturing one of these watery catacombs suddenly springing a leak?
Mostly yes, they are, says Michael Horodniceanu, the former president of MTA Capital Construction and current principal of Urban Advisory Group. First, it’s important to remember that the subway tunnel is built under the riverbed, not just in the river—so what immediately surrounds the tunnel isn’t water but some 25 feet of soil. “There’s a lot of dirt on top of it,” Horodniceanu says. “It’s well into the bed of the bottom of the channel.”
And second, as Angus Kress Gillespie, author of Crossing Under the Hudson: The Story of the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels, points out, New York’s underwater subway tunnels are designed to withstand some leaking. And withstand it they do: Pumps placed below the floor of the tunnel, he says, are always running, always diverting water seepage into the sewers. (Horodniceanu says the amount of water these pumps divert into the sewer system each day numbers in the thousands of gallons.)
Additionally, MTA crews routinely repair the grouting and caulking, and often inject a substance into the walls that creates a waterproof membrane outside the tunnel—which keeps water out of the tunnel and relieves any water pressure acting on its walls. New tunnels, Horodniceanu points out, are even built with an outside waterproofing membrane that works like an umbrella: Water goes around it, it falls to the sides, and then it gets channeled into a pumping station and pumped out.
Of course, the classic New York nightmare scenario isn’t just a cute little trickle finding its way in. The anxiety daydream usually involves something sinister, or seismic. The good news, however, is that while an earthquake or explosion would indeed be bad for many reasons, it likely wouldn’t result in the frantic flooding horror scene that plays out in some commuters’ imaginations.
The Montague Tube, which sustained severe damage during Hurricane Sandy.
MTA New York City Transit / Marc A. Hermann
Horodniceanu assures me that tunnels built more recently are “built to withstand a seismic event.” The older tunnels, however—like, um, the Clark Street Tunnel—“were not seismically retrofitted, let me put it that way,” Horodniceanu says. “But the way they were built is in such a way that I do not believe an earthquake would affect them.” They aren’t deep enough in the ground, anyway, he says, to be too intensely affected by a seismic event. (The MTA did not respond to a request for comment.)
One of the only real threats to tunnel infrastructure, Horodniceanu adds, is extreme weather. Hurricane Sandy, for example, caused flooding in the tunnels, which “created problems with the infrastructure.” He continues, “The tunnels have to be rebuilt as a result of saltwater corroding the infrastructure.”
Still, he points out, hurricanes don’t exactly happen with no warning. So while Hurricane Sandy did cause major trauma to the tunnels, train traffic could be stopped with ample time to keep passengers out of harm’s way. In 2012, Governor Andrew Cuomo directed all the MTA’s mass transit services to shut down at 7 p.m. the night before Hurricane Sandy was expected to hit New York City.
And Gillespie, for his part, doubts even an explosion would result in sudden, dangerous flooding. A subway tunnel is not a closed system, he points out; it’s like a pipe that’s open at both ends. “The force of a blast would go forwards and backwards out the exit,” he says.
So the subway-train version of that terrifying Holland Tunnel flood scene in Sylvester Stallone’s Daylight is … unrealistic, right?
“Yeah,” Gillespie laughs. “Yeah. It is.”
Got a weird New York anxiety that you want explored? E-mail, and we may include it in a future column.

22nd Shake Before the Sixth Seal: Revelation 16

22nd earthquake shakes up town outside of Columbia, SC, geologist report BY DAVID TRAVIS BLAND UPDATED APRIL 07, 2022 11:43 AM Play VideoDuration 0:32 Earthquake startles dogs in South Carolina A 3.3-magnitude earthquake hit South Carolina’s Lowcountry on Monday, September 27, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), giving two dogs in North Charleston quite a scare. BY NICOLE ABERNATHY VIA STORYFUL Elgin, South Carolina had its 22nd earthquake in five months Thursday morning. The 2.0 magnitude earthquake hit at about 5 a.m. near the town about 20 miles northeast of Columbia, according to the United States Geological Survey. A magnitude of 2.0 is considered a weak earthquake. The effects of the quake might not be felt at that low of a magnitude. In all, 22 earthquakes have hit the Elgin and Lugoff area since a 3.3 magnitude quake was recorded on Dec. 27, 2021. Another low-level quake hit Elgin last week. TOP VIDEOS WATCH MORE × Is South Carolina a dynasty? Not yet, says Dawn Staley South Carolina has had 39 earthquakes since September. An explanation for the recent seismic activity has eluded scientists. Digging and blasting at mines, water seeping through the ground from lakes, or other changes in weight or pressure underground could all contribute to seismic activity, The State previously reported, but no one has settled on the single cause for the Midlands’ shaking.

New Nuclear Toys of Babylon the Great: Daniel 7

The Sentinel: US unveils new nuclear-armed ICBM

LGM-35A Sentinel will replace the long-serving Minuteman III and breaks a hiatus in US nuclear capability development


The United States has unveiled a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) to carry its nuclear arsenal to replace its aging LGM-30G Minuteman III fleet as tensions and threats rise around the world.

This month, the US Air Force officially designated its Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent project as the LGM-35A Sentinel, which aims to replace the long-serving LGM-30G Minuteman III ICBMs as the land-based leg of the US nuclear arsenal.

The move ensures continuity of strategic deterrence and costs less than modernizing the 1970s LGM-30G Minuteman missiles, which have already been in service for 50 years.

The LGM-35A Sentinel is a fully integrated launch, flight and infrastructure system equipped with the latest command and control functions, which aims to replace LGM-30G Minuteman IIIs by 2029 and is planned to be in service until the 2070s.

This replacement program is estimated to cost up to US$100 billion, complementing the new B-21 Raider and upcoming Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine, which will form the US’ air and sea-based nuclear deterrent.

The LGM-35A Sentinel has several improvements over its predecessor. In contrast to the LGM-30G Minuteman III, it features a modular design and open architecture, allowing for easy replacement of aging and obsolete components.

Open architecture also allows the US Air Force to control the source code of the system, allowing for multiple contractors to compete for system upgrades and improvements. These may include new safety measures, guidance systems and penetration aids to defeat enemy missile defenses.

Modularity also reduces the LGM-35A Sentinel’s maintenance costs by allowing the replacement of missile subsystems called modules, without totally redesigning the entire weapons system.

This can potentially be a more cost-effective way to support the LGM-35A Sentinel’s life cycle, in contrast with the older program that kept the LGM-30G Minuteman III in service for 50 years. 

The LGM-35A Sentinel also features improved security features. The older LGM-30G Minuteman III requires silo doors to be open for warhead maintenance, which opens a potential vulnerability and necessitates a huge security detail.

In contrast, the modular design of the LGM-35A Sentinel allows warhead maintenance with closed silo doors, eliminating the threats inherent with the LGM-30G Minuteman III, and potentially saving on manpower requirements for the system.

Also, the LGM-35A Sentinel has improved throw weight due to the use of lighter composite materials to house its propellant, in contrast to the heavy steel casings used by the LGM-30G Minuteman III. This allows the former to carry heavier payloads and added mission flexibility.

This increased capacity means that the LGM-35A Sentinel can potentially deploy up to three warheads, or increased penetration aids.

The US Air Force’s missile bases, including Wyoming, F.E. Warren, Montana, Minot and Malmstrom, will house the new LGM-35A Sentinel alongside the LGM-30G Minuteman III. Both systems will meet nuclear safety standards with available missile base infrastructure during the phase-out, phase-in period.  

The Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent project was started in 2020, when the US Air Force awarded a $13 billion contract to Northrop Grumman to develop a next-generation ICBM to replace the aging US land-based nuclear missiles.

This development potentially breaks a hiatus in US nuclear capability development. In the 2000s, the US may have potentially skipped a generation of nuclear arsenal modernization, as it put off modernizing its nuclear triad for 20 years.

Notably, US allies such as France and the UK reduced their nuclear arsenals but continued to modernize their sea and air-based nuclear delivery systems. In contrast, most of the US nuclear arsenal dates to the 1980s and is slipping into obsolescence. 

Against this backdrop of slow obsolescence, China, Iran, North Korea and Russia continued to modernize their own nuclear forces. Notably, these countries are exploring the applications of hypersonic technology to their respective nuclear arsenals, in contrast to the US which focuses its hypersonic research efforts on tactical rather than strategic missiles.

US officials claim that China is on track to substantially increase its nuclear arsenal to 700 deliverable warheads by 2027, and 1,000 warheads by 2030.

China may have also established its own nuclear triad with air-launched ballistic missiles and aims to further improve the land and sea-based legs of its nuclear arsenal. 

In September last year, US open-source intelligence reported that China was constructing at least 250 new long-range silos at three different locations. The alleged missile sites are located at Yumen and Hami in North-western China, and a potential third in Inner Mongolia. 

In addition to its silo-based nuclear arsenal, China is re-exploring the concept of railway nukes, which utilize China’s extensive high-speed rail network for mobility, survivability and concealment.

The Growing Australian nuclear horn: Daniel 7

US, UK, Australia vow to cooperate on hypersonic weapons

Issued on: 06/04/2022 – 07:52

London (AFP) – The United States, Britain and Australia said Tuesday they would begin collaborating on hypersonic missile strike and defence capacity, as rivals Russia and China advance rapidly in the cutting-edge technology.

The trio said they would work on hypersonics in an expansion of their recent AUKUS defence alliance, which is to equip Australia with nuclear-powered submarines to counter China’s growing military clout.

They pledged “new trilateral cooperation on hypersonics and counter-hypersonics, and electronic warfare capabilities” in a statement by US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Hypersonic missiles can travel more than five times the speed of sound and manoeuvre in mid-flight, making them much harder to track and intercept than traditional projectiles.

They may carry conventional or nuclear warheads.

The New Nuclear Order: Daniel

The Ukraine war has ushered in a new global nuclear (dis)order

Here are five ways we can safely say that even before the Russian invasion, non-proliferation was under pressure and on the skids.

APRIL 6, 2022

Written by
Aderito Vicente

The world’s nuclear order was essentially designed to mitigate nuclear dangers, to inhibit arms races, to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons to additional states and, more importantly, to create conditions for their elimination.

At the heart of this nuclear order lies the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which remains until today, for better or worse, the cornerstone of the global nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation regime.

However, February 24, 2022 marked a critical and deeply disturbing challenge to the current NPT regime and the fragile global nuclear order with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This ruthless act of war violated Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter, which prohibits the use of force against the territorial integrity of another state. It also deepened the breach in the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, in which Kyiv committed to give up the nuclear weapons it inherited from the Soviet era in exchange for security assurances by the United States, the United Kingdom, and Russia against the use of force that would potentially compromise Ukraine’s territorial integrity and political independence. Moscow had already grossly violated these assurances in 2014 when it occupied Crimea and Donbass.

That event in itself inflicted a major wound on the nuclear order, which had already been under severe and growing pressure. Besides the violation of the Budapest Memorandum, the post-Cold War era saw the spread of nuclear weapons (horizontal proliferation) to at least three states: India, Pakistan, and North Korea. Like Israel, India, and Pakistan, of course, had never signed the NPT, but North Korea, which had been an NPT member since 1985, announced its withdrawal from the treaty in 2003 and became a state in possession of nuclear weapons as of 2006 when it tested its first device.

Moreover, despite progress in reducing nuclear weapon arsenals since the Cold War, the number of warheads in global military stockpiles has been increasing once again. While the United States is still reducing its nuclear stockpile and France and Israel have relatively stable inventories, China, India, North Korea, Pakistan, and the UK, as well as possibly Russia, are all thought to be increasing their nuclear inventory (vertical proliferation). Thus, the NPT regime has not prevented nuclear proliferation in the post-Cold War era.

Second, states such as North Korea and Iran appear to have learned the lessons from regimes, notably in Iraq and Libya, which give up their nuclear weapon programs and whose regimes were later toppled by the U.S. and its allies. While no evidence that Iran intends to build a weapon has yet surfaced, its nuclear program has progressed to such an extent that it could quickly become a threshold state if it made such a decision. Meanwhile, Pyongyang is conducting new tests of ballistic missiles capable of carrying its growing arsenal on nuclear warheads.

Third, the current security environment has been deteriorating due to the growing perception of a great-power realignment that pits the existing U.S.-led, Western-dominated “liberal” international order against revisionist powers led by Beijing and Moscow. In this context, the two nuclear superpowers, the United States and Russia, have been essentially reversing their previous progress in building bilateral agreements and other measures intended to limit and reduce their nuclear arsenals.

Due to mutual accusations of non-compliance, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which was celebrated for its elimination of an entire category of nuclear weapons rather than their simple limitation, collapsed in August 2019. Since then, both sides began developing weapons that were banned under the INF Treaty. In the absence of agreed limitations, there is now no obstacle to a descent into an arms race placing Europe as the most likely theater of operation.

As a result, the New START Treaty remains the only nuclear disarmament agreement between United States and Russian in effect. Following its extension in February 2021, however, it will expire in 2026. Barring any renewed détente between Washington and Moscow it too could also be at risk, particularly if the Russia-Ukraine conflict worsens or persists.

Fourth, while the risks of nuclear proliferation are likely to increase given the uncertain international security situation of this new era, expectations for progress at the multilateral level are low, including for the Tenth NPT Review Conference, which was already postponed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will now take place in August.

Specifically, obstacles that have bedeviled past progress to agreement on key issue, this includes the inability for states to agree on: 1) the rapid entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty; 2) the multilateral negotiations at Conference on Disarmament towards the signature and ratification of a fissile material cut-off treaty; and 3) the establishment of a Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone and their means of delivery. In addition, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is symbolically important, but if nuclear-possessing states and NATO members don’t come on board, it will remain ineffective as a tool for eliminating nuclear weapons.

Fifth, in a referendum on February 27, 2022, Belarussians renounced the wording of Article 18 of their Constitution, which had guaranteed the country’s nuclear neutrality since its independence from the Soviet Union in August 1991. As a result, the number of countries that could host nuclear weapons has expanded, thus increasing the risk of their deployment in Europe. At the same time, Belarus’s move challenges the strategic stability between NATO and Russia, and, more importantly, undermines the effectiveness of the NPT regime.

So, what kind of nuclear order does the world face now? The Russo-Ukrainian War has effectively confirmed the advent of a new nuclear disorder. First, the NPT regime was affected by both vertical and horizontal proliferation. Second, of the precedents of Iraq, Libya and now Ukraine, insecure states or regimes may have a new incentive for developing nuclear weapons. Third, there is a freeze in U.S.-Russia nuclear arms control and disarmament agreements. Fourth, despite efforts to promote the stigmatization, prohibition, and elimination of nuclear weapons under the TPNW, disarmament negotiations are stuck at a multilateral level.

What are the direct consequences of this nuclear disorder? One is the weakening of the NPT regime. As Sylvia Mishra of the European Leadership Network recently argued, Putin’s aggression towards Ukraine sets a dangerous precedent by abrogating the Budapest Memorandum and undermining the wider framework of security assurances and guarantees that nuclear-weapons states offer to non-nuclear states. In addition, as an NPT signatory, Russia had pledged to disavow the use of negative security assurances . Thus, more non-nuclear states that do not have security guarantees with nuclear powers, such as Finland and Sweden in Europe, may be more willing to align themselves with one these powers or to pursue their own nuclear weapons to avoid a possible conventional confrontation with a nuclear power.

Another consequence is the likelihood of a nuclear war. The increase of this type of conflict has risen, either between two nuclear powers, or between one nuclear power and a non-nuclear power with any kind of security guarantee umbrella. That is perhaps the clearest outcome of the Russo-Ukraine war. Noted nuclear scholars such as Francesca GiovanniniCaitlin TalmadgeJoe Cirincione among others, recently warned of the possibility of Russia using tactical nuclear weapons to deter and, if necessary, tip the course of a large-scale conventional war in Ukraine. The likelihood of this event would shatter the most resilient norms — the non-use of nuclear weapons since Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The end of the nuclear taboo, in this context, could normalize the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states.

All things considered, it seems that unless an abrupt reversal in the dangerous “West versus Russia/China” paradigm takes place, and soon, the nuclear disorder will persist and grow worse.

Written by

Babylon the Great to Remain in Iraq

US to maintain military presence in Iraq, Syria: Pentagon

Aveen Karimaveeenkarim


American soldiers in Syria on February 13, 2021. Photo: Delil Souleiman/AFP

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The United States will maintain its military presence in Iraq and Syria to fight the continued threat of Islamic State (ISIS) and Iran-backed proxies, while it is keen to expand cooperation with its regional allies to deter the threat posed by Iran, the “leading source of instability in the Middle East,” a US department of defense official said on Tuesday.

The deputy assistant secretary for defense for the Middle East, Dana Stroul, identified Iran as a persistent threat to regional security and stability in a talk at the Wilson Center, a US-based think-tank. Stroul stated that Iran’s use of violent proxies, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), its ballistic missile program, and incidents of maritime aggression remain a security challenge. 

She added that ISIS also continued to constitute a security threat, despite no longer holding territory in Iraq and Syria, and that US forces remain in northeast Syria (Rojava) to work with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) against the militant group. Stroul added that these US troops in Syria “experience on a very regular basis threats from Iran and Iran-backed proxies,” referring to the attacks carried out against them over the past years.

ISIS attacked Hasaka’s Ghweran prison, housing thousands of the group’s members, leading to intense clashes in the area. Stroul commended the SDF for their “swift response” and added that the incident served as a reminder of the serious threat posed by ISIS. She stated that the SDF “shoulder the burden of the international community,” referring to the foreign nationals held in these prisons. 

Stroul stated that Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin reaffirmed the commitment of the US to maintain US troops in Iraq and Syria in an advisory capacity to support them in the fight against ISIS. 

“Regional security and stability” remains a priority to the US Department of Defense who is looking to expand its cooperation with regional allies to deter the threat posed by Iran, while also welcoming efforts by the US State Department to engage in diplomacy, likely alluding to the ongoing indirect nuclear talks between the US and Iran. 

No change in policy will be seen with regards to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as US sanctions on Syria are to remain in place, and no plans of a normalization of ties are on the horizon. 

Iraq announced the end of the US combat mission in the country in December, following increasing pressure from Iran-backed factions, with the role of US forces shifting to an advisory one. 

There are currently about 2,500 US troops in Iraq, including in the Kurdistan Region.


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Conservationists fear build up of the nuclear horns: Daniel

Conservationists fear Ukraine war could be opportunity for uranium producers

By Ron Dungan

Published: Tuesday, April 5, 2022 – 2:49pm

For years, low prices and a glut in global markets have forced U.S. uranium producers to sit on the sidelines.

But the war in Ukraine has led to higher prices, and the industry’s push to create a government subsidy for domestic uranium could be gaining traction.

Conservationists fear that Energy Fuels, the company that owns a handful of claims near the Grand Canyon, could ramp up development.

Amber Reimondo is with the Grand Canyon Trust.

“Uranium prices have blown up. Especially since the war in Ukraine started,” Reimondo said. “For the last 30 years, it’s been pretty regularly in the $20 to $30 per pound range. And right now it’s upwards of $55 to $60 a pound.”

She says that active mines could contaminate groundwater for tribal communities in the region.