September 01, 2005

yet another NOLA post

This is the best and most reasonable article I've seen on New Orleans so far. Where he has facts, he gives them; where he does math; he shows it; where he makes assumptions he lists them. This is how you analyze data and make good decisions. (The way you argue those decisions is to show either where his data are wrong or how other conclusions can be drawn from the information. But oh, his conclusions are scary.

Thanks to Bear for the link.

There are consoling bright spots (I'm particularly impressed with what Texas has been doing, and all the people taking thoeir boats in to help), but the news is much more depressing than after other major disasters I can remember: arguments over whether looters are justified, gunshots fired at aid helicopters, infighting among government agencies, stupid decisions like stopping Canadian aid at the border. My theory is that we're just more comfortable with somenoe to blame. After 9/11 or the London subway bombings, we knew who to blame, and the vast majority of bile was funnelled to the bombers instead of the victims or the government. No person set this hurricane to hit New Orleans, so instead, we turn to blaming local and Federal governments, looters, people who stayed behind, rescue organizations, and whoever else is there.

SOme actually are at fault, of course. I don't know if reinforcing levees would have allowed them to survive a Category 5 hurricane, but it would have increased the chances; figuring out how to evacuate those without cars or stocking water in the stadium you designate as a refuge for the desperate seem like good ideas. But even so, it seems like a better idea to work on fixing problems now. Cast blame later, and use even it for productive purposes like deciding who to vote for next time, or setting up better emergency plans. National sniping isn't productive, and in a desparate situation, wasted energy isn't affordable.

In other more local news, work is still frustratingly indeterminate and I'm still pissed off about it, we're still getting record high temperatures here, we're still flying to Oregon tomorrow, I'm still a bit nervous about that but looking forward to seeing Rudder's grandparents, to cooler weather there, and to time to relax between flights.

Posted by dichroic at September 1, 2005 01:16 PM

Someone (Emerson?) suggested that the value of disasters was scientific because "we learn geology the morning after the earthquake."

Posted by: l-empress at September 1, 2005 02:31 PM

Holy crap. That was quite an article.

Posted by: Melissa at September 1, 2005 07:15 PM
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