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« See This Nanotech Movie Now | Main | Complex Decision-Making »

September 03, 2005


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Chris Phoenix, CRN

And just when you thought you'd seen it all...


The site was getting $3500 per HOUR in donations for New Orleans. As they crossed the $20,000 mark, Paypal shut them down and froze their funds.


Chris Phoenix, CRN



.... the president of Jefferson Parish broke down in tears describing how the mother of the man who runs the city's emergency preparedness center was stranded in the St. Bernard Rest Home. She called every day, was told someone was coming, and Friday night she drowned in the attic. This man had been with crews trying to repair the hole in the levee, He was clearly exhausted. FInally he blurted, "I'm tired of the Secretary and his press conferences! We don't need press conferences! We need somebody to come down here and save us! Nobody's coming to get us! They've left us here!"

Today I was talking to a friend from Venezuela. He said that our response was still better than it would have been in Latin countries, because in Venezuela's horrible mudslide a few years ago, Chavez refused foreign aid. When I told him that we had also refused foreign and domestic aid, he had nothing left to say.

How can we hope to prepare for molecular manufacturing when our government agencies actively prevent our own citizen volunteers from rescuing people with their own boats?



A wise lesson can be learned from this.

Always vote Democrat.

Tom Craver

Jay - Let's try to avoid Red vs Blue cat-fights here. Neither major party has much to be proud of in recent years, and neither side seems to realize that they are
fiddling while the country burns.

Mike Treder, CRN

I agree, Tom. The current U.S. administration will have a lot to answer for regarding their preparation for and response to this disaster -- but so will state and local officials, many of whom are from the other party.

Instead of lining up on Red and Blue sides, one against the other, we should take an objective look at what happened, why, and how it can be prevented in the future.

I expect there will be plenty of blame to go around, and not just to current leaders. Those in the past who willfuly neglected the clear potential and high magnitude of this exact tragedy also must bear responsibility.


You're right Tom. The dems are spineless wimps.

But if I have to choose between a spineless jellyfish and a corrupt liar, I'll take the former.

Tom Craver

Jay: chuckle - maybe - but which of those is Bush, and which is Clinton/Gore/Kerry?!

How about this: how would the handling of Katrina have been different, with fairly capable MNT?

1) Maybe massive private aid would have gotten rushed to the coast before any federal agency got its bureaucratic gears in motion to stop it.

2) Maybe no one would have bothered to evacuate, with homes much more solidly built, pretty much independent of external services, and able to seal out the flood waters.

3) Maybe the levees would have been much stronger and higher, averting the flood disaster.

4) Maybe the hurricane never would have got to shore - MNT-enabled weather control would have made it stall and blow out in mid-ocean.

Phillip Huggan

For the next disaster, I am e-mailing media sources and telling them to report relevent and timely news like the failing of levees (was known, but unreported for days) and to inform citizens pre-hurricane to fill and dam their bathtubs. Many well-intentioned administrators were confused and hindered by recent Dept of Homeland Security/FEMA jurisdiction changes. To put out fires after Grand Forks flooded, massive trucks were finally used to transport firefighting equipment through flooded streets, but I think N.O. is deeper underwater.
There are many urgent infrastructure and personnel investments needed in the USA and elsewhere to stop this from reoccuring (including the construction of a category 5 levy in N.O.). A bird-flu pandemic killing hundreds of millions in the next decade might be averted by ground monitors, a rapid-response force and some quick Southeast-Asian customs clearances. What is really needed is an international threat assessment thinktank with political pull and financial teeth.

Chris Phoenix, CRN

Phillip, that's a great idea, if we can pull it off.

I think one challenge in building such a think tank would be to keep it from being a political football. If any political interest found or manufactured an excuse to stir up a Two Minutes Hate against it, that would sharply cut its effectiveness. "You say we need to do X, but that's just because you're a Republicrat and want to support your party line!" And then X doesn't get done because 49% or 51% of the people are against it, which makes it politically expedient to do nothing. And then the party that prevented action X can talk about how much better it was not to take action...


Phillip Huggan

Scientists, data-mining researchers and professionals could be custom selected for their impartiality. But yes, the catch-22 when you accept strings attached donations or try to exercise real world influence, is that you find yourself pressured into behaviours which lead to recommendations too similiar to the decisions you are trying to find improvements for.

Didn't mean to sound callous with my N.O. rescue suggestions, but the boaters blocked by FEMA had exactly the right response. The way FEMA is handling this tragedy reminds me of the Russian government during the Kursk fiasco.

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