Was the 20th Century Unusually Calm?
People worry that disasters have become more frequent and more damaging since the close of the 20th century. But the 19th century’s natural disasters were plenty devastating; but there weren’t nearly as many of us around to suffer the consequences (nor as much media to record it). An 1811 earthquake centered in Missouri made the Mississippi run backwards and rang church bells in Boston; in 1815, a massive volcanic eruption in Indonesia brought starvation to Europe (global dimming) and snow to New England in June; in 1821, a bulls-eye strike by a hurricane nearly sank Manhattan; and a magnitude 5.5 earthquake rattled Gotham in 1884. Randall Parker wonders if the perils of the 19th century foretell even graver dangers today. [%comments]