Technology vs social solutions

Major Variola (ret) mv at
Thu Jan 6 07:02:21 PST 2005

At 12:06 PM 1/4/05 -0500, John Kelsey wrote:
>>From: "Major Variola (ret)" <mv at>
>>3. Homebrew warning systems will face the same problems as eg pro
>>volcano warning systems: too many false alarms and no one cares.
>The best defense would seem to be a population with a lot of TVs and
radios.  At least after the first tsunami hit, the news would quickly
spread, and there were several hours between when the waves arrived at
different shores.  (And a 9.0 earthquake on the seafloor, or even a 7.0
earthquake on the seafloor, is a rare enough event that it's not crazy
to at least issue a "stay off the beach" kind of warning.)

Actually, people should know this as *background* in the same way that
you know
not to stand in open fields during lightening, play with downed
powerlines, or
walk into tail rotors.  I think some places have signs pointing
to higher elevations, with wave-glyphs.  I know that FLA has signs like
that for
hurricane storm-surges, and there are tornado signs in the midwest.

The rational explanation, I suppose, is that tsunami are so rare that
the knowledge is not
maintained.  (How many 'Merkins would know how to construct a nukebomb
these days?  How many SoCal'ians know how to drive on icy roads?)

Of course, broadcast media are used to tell people the obvious, eg don't
play in
channellized rivers during storms, and the evolution of the species
suffers slightly
but not entirely from the caveats.

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