FEMA's most whimsical metric? The Waffle House index.

What does a fast-casual diner have to do with natural disasters? Quite a lot, actually.

Flickr user Chris Harrison
  • FEMA employs many metrics to assess the severity of natural disasters, but one of the strangest is the Waffle House index.
  • Because Waffle Houses have incredibly robust disaster management policies, their response to a natural disaster can be used to assess how quickly a community can get back on its feet.
  • If your area is about to be hit by a hurricane or an earthquake, look to the local Waffle House: it's not time to panic unless they're closed.
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Politics & Current Affairs
  • Climate change denial draws headlines. But is it actually an obstacle to climate action?
  • A great majority of Americans say they're concerned about climate change.
  • The real roadblock is our unwillingness to pay money to help stop climate change.


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Human-driven climate change meets 'gold standard' of scientific certainty

New statistical analyses show that human-driven climate change is a virtual certainty.

Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash
  • While it's difficult to find people who deny climate change is happening, some still argue that humans are not climate change's primary cause.
  • By applying peer-reviewed statistical methods to 40 years' worth of satellite data, researchers have determined that the evidence of human-driven climate change has passed the gold standard of scientific certainty: the five-sigma level.
  • This threshold is used in particle physics to determine the existence of new particles; now, it's being used to definitively state that humans are the cause of climate change.
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Surprising Science

Washington, D.C. will feel like present-day Mississippi by 2080, researchers say

In one generation, the climate of many American cities will experience a noticeable shift.

Photo credit: by Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images
  • A recent study used climate data, both current and projected, to examine how the climates of North American cities might change over the course of the next generation.
  • In one scenario, the climates of many cities will resemble that of locations about 500 miles away, mostly to the south.
  • The study aims to present the long-term effects of climate change in a personal, tangible way.
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Surprising Science

2018 was the fourth hottest year on record, say both NASA and NOAA

Experts say global warming is no longer some future worry. It's already here.

(Photo: Oli Scarff / Getty Images)
  • President Trump and other politicians have routinely dismissed climate change as a hoax.
  • Data from NASA and NOAA show 2018 was the fourth hottest year on record.
  • Collectively, the last five years have represented the hottest in the 139-year record.
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Surprising Science