For those of you following Twitter or watching the television in the university cafeteria, you’ll know that the North Carolina port of Morehead City is being evacuated. Nine containers of an explosive, pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN), have been punctured and there is concern of an explosion. (This report now says that of the nine containers, only one has been punctured – by a forklift operator).
Not only do I have relatives out on the barrier island but science bloggers Kevin Zelnio and Southern Fried Scientist are stationed out there at the Duke University Marine Lab in Beaufort, about four miles from the port. Zelnio started off on Twitter scaring the hell out of me with a message to his wife and kids until I realized he was writing in jest (I think).
For those of you who know the NC coast, the mainland port of Morehead City connects to the Bogue Banks beaches, a barrier island that runs almost horizontally east-to-west. The bridge from Morehead leads to Atlantic Beach, a favorite destination for military families stationed inland, as well as the family-friendly beaches of Pine Knoll Shores, Salter Path, and Emerald Isle before snaking back to the town of Swansboro.
For ScienceOnline2010 attendees who may have never been to North Carolina, never fear. This incident won’t interfere with your travels (well, maybe for Zelnio and SFS) or the meeting proceedings. Morehead City is safely 181 mi/291 km from the Sigma Xi meeting headquarters in Research Triangle Park.
I can tell you that we expect the meeting to be a blast but this is not exactly what I had in mind.
Dispatched via Twitter to @abelpharmboy: @sfriedscientist @kzelnio @bomaiblat and bluegrassbluecrab evacuating in style (not in order, not drawn to scale). None are known to have PETN in their underpants.