[thechat] Tsunami toll: 52000

Luther, Ron ron.luther at hp.com
Tue Jan 4 16:54:34 CST 2005

William Anderson noted:

>>You (the proverbial "you", of course) didn't install a tsunami detection 
>>system as was done by countries with coasts on the Pacific

Dude ... that's cold.

'Detection' is generally an after the fact kind of thing which relies upon
having communications infrastructure and civil defense evacuation planning 
(and personnel ... and well-maintained equipment) in place to be effective. 
'Prediction' and fair warning being, as yet, imperfect sciences detection 
measures may have provided some hours of warning to some of the victims and 
saved some lives ... my guess would be a pretty small fraction.

Detection or butter? ... Locally, and perhaps to some extent globally, 
we are a short-sighted species ... Could any of us have 'sold' these 
governments to have invested money on planning and prevention activities 
for a 'once in 500 years' natural disaster? ... When they have pressing 
concerns that would show more immediate benefits from that funding? 
Could you, today, sell California, Mexico City, or the Pacific Rim (of 
fire) on better planning for the big quake yet to come?

Moving on more to the 'social contract' side of the equation ... 'advanced' 
nations may have internal detection/warning agencies, disaster relief 
organizations and/or privately funded insurance agencies. Are these working? 
Increasingly, (over here anyway), there seem to be more and more heated 
arguments over the use of public tax monies to rebuild the same wealthy 
bugger's ocean front mansion after every hurricane ... and over the increase 
in insurance premiums for all to pay off these same claims every year. 
Perhaps this system is due for change as well.

(My condolences to my buddies in the East ... nobody 'deserved' to suffer 
from this disaster.)

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