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'[OT] Perspectives on the Earthquake Tsunami net'
2004\12\29@174834 by Robert Rolf

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Mike Hord wrote:
>>>Anybody make a cheap, PIC based floating Tsunami sensor they would
>>>like to sell a few thousand of?
>>
>>Could you do that?  Floating GPS receiver that detects unusual changes
>>(speed and magnitude) in altitude?  Could it transmit info fast enough
>>to do any good?  Is the change in altitude in deep sea areas even
>>that significant?  Or are you talking about a big but shallow swell
>>that only reaches significant height in shallow water?

GPS does not have great accuracy in height. 10's of meters
vs. the centimeters of a Tsunami swell.

> As I understand, they are doing just that in the Pacific.  Some sort of buoy
> that somehow detects the passage of the tsunami.

http://www.prh.noaa.gov/itic/tsunami_events/media/factsheets/tsunami_detection_buoy_article.pdf

> As I understand it, a large number of those killed (in India and Sri Lanka,
> at least, where there was no sign of the quake) were people who had
> gathered to watch the sea recede.  Wikipedia claims that the recession
> of the sea can occur some tens of minutes prior to arrival of the wave,
> so even on foot, one stands a good chance of escaping a tsunami if one
> were to hoof it inshore quite quickly after that initial portent.  In fact, an
> alarm which sounds solely based on that may make an effective warning.

Albeit good for only 10 minutes (at most) advance notice. But given
the small area involved, it would be affordable by the local officials
if they wanted it.

DART buoy, $250,000 + $125,000/year to maintain + ship time.

If redesigned with GPS, Cell phone, sensors, batteries,
wave powered generator and a PIC (of course) how $$?

> The other idea of detecting the ocean retreating could also be used by
> having a pressure sensor just outside the normal wave line; this would
> then detect lose of pressure as the water is sucked out for 10's of
> seconds.
>
> This would require many cheaper sensors at every beach or headland.
>
> Then you have ongoing maintenance costs for both options - replacing
> batteries etc.

Use recharable batteries where wave action powers a generator
(there are many commercial designs) to keep the batteries topped up.
Unfortunately the generators/system would likely be stolen if
it were small and lightweight. On the other hand, it could report
the fact that it was being stolen and provide real time tracking
if the thieves were dumb enough.

Would the idea of pressure measurement work if instead of
being on the ocean floor, the sensor were only a few 10s of
meters down on the anchor rope which was kept taunt by a
submerged float? This would make it a lot simpler and cheaper
to implement since long distance underwater comms would not
be needed.

Robert

2004\12\29@183936 by Russell McMahon

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> GPS does not have great accuracy in height. 10's of meters
> vs. the centimeters of a Tsunami swell.

I believe that the short term accuracy of GPS re *changes* in altitude
is far better. And if running in military mode, better again. Relative
altitude need only be determined over a period of tens of minutes at
most. However a surface device must be able to work during severe
weather
conditions.

I also thought of the idea of having a pressure sensor on an anchor
rope a relatively small distance below the surface to allow far more
pressure tolerant sensors to be used. This also reduces the cost of
communicating between sensor and surface. Even with eg solar charging
and eg Iridium or Inmarsat communications I would expect both the cost
and maintenance charges to be far far lower than for the current
units. I would expect (possibly wrongly) something like a
mono-filament line to provide an adequate tether in almost any depths
of water. Presumably the deeper areas could be avoided while still
providing adequate cover.



       RM

2004\12\29@184922 by William Chops Westfield

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On Dec 29, 2004, at 2:48 PM, Robert Rolf wrote:

> Albeit good for only 10 minutes (at most) advance notice.

I'm too non-morbid to follow the news too closely.  I saw one report
of about a 33 foot tsunami coming ashore (someone probably rounded
10m), which is a lot smaller than I would have thought would cause
death toll reported.  How far in from shore were the major fatal
effects felt?  WAS it something that you could walk (or run) away from
given about 10 minutes notice?

BillW

2004\12\29@194148 by Robert Rolf

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Russell McMahon wrote:

>> GPS does not have great accuracy in height. 10's of meters
>> vs. the centimeters of a Tsunami swell.

> I believe that the short term accuracy of GPS re *changes* in altitude
> is far better.

Nope! Even with SA turned off altitude resolution is quite poor.
Since the sat's are in LEO (low earth orbit) the solution
geometry is using quite acute angles when resolving altitude
and so has large errors.

http://gpsinformation.net/main/altitude.htm
"This means that the user of standard consumer GPS receivers should
consider +/-23meters (75ft) with a DOP of 1 for 95% confidence."

"As with any model, there will be errors as the earth is not
a simple mathematical shape to represent.
What this means is that if you are walking on the seashore,
and see your altitude as -15 meters,  you should not be concerned.
First,  the geodetic model of the earth can have much more
than this amount of error at any specific point and Second,
you have the GPS error itself to add in.  As a result of this
combined error,  I am not surprised to be at the seashore and
see -40 meter errors in some spots."

> And if running in military mode, better again.

Yes, up to a point. The intrinsic geometry is not good for
altitude measurement.

> Relative
> altitude need only be determined over a period of tens of minutes at
> most.

And the satellite geometry will change significantly in that
time, causes a change in DOP (dilution of precision).
My 12 channel Garmin Etrex sees my altitude change by 8 meters
over 30 minutes. My Magellan 315, about 2m. Same sats visible
same information used, in theory.

> However a surface device must be able to work during severe weather
> conditions.

And L band GPS signals are heavily attenuated in rain.

> I also thought of the idea of having a pressure sensor on an anchor rope
> a relatively small distance below the surface to allow far more pressure
> tolerant sensors to be used.

Good point. At 100's of meters you've got megatons of water pressure.

> This also reduces the cost of communicating
> between sensor and surface. Even with eg solar charging and eg Iridium
> or Inmarsat communications I would expect both the cost and maintenance
> charges to be far far lower than for the current units. I would expect
> (possibly wrongly) something like a mono-filament line to provide an
> adequate tether in almost any depths of water. Presumably the deeper
> areas could be avoided while still providing adequate cover.

The problem is that ocean currents and winds cause the
buoy position to shift, so the effective depth of the
sensor changes (Cos(theta)).
We're talking about cm of ocean height change, but over a large area
it would show up as a measurable pressure change.
I suppose that having the sensors at ocean bottom allows the
data to reflect a larger area average of sea volume.
And presumably one could measure the anchor line tilt to compute
a depth correction factor.

I wonder what technology they're using to sense 0.0001%? pressure
changes at megapascals? I can only think of piezo crystal methods,
as used by down hole well loggers.

Robert

2004\12\29@201938 by Russell McMahon

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> effects felt?  WAS it something that you could walk (or run) away
> from
> given about 10 minutes notice?

Largely yes. In areas where you had a large land mass behind you and
rising ground, simply running inland a few tens of metres would have
made all the difference. eg Phuket.

On low maximum height islands or where land was very flat it would
have been harder.
The Maldives islands have an average height above high tide level of 1
meter :-(.
Some islands were swept from side to side by the wave(s).  Some
reports were of waves coming from both sides.

In the Maldives after disastrous storm damage some years ago they
erected extra wave protection barriers in some areas and it is
reported that this may have helped where provided. They have reclaimed
and increased height of some of their area and may have to move people
permanently off some of the lower worst affected islands. Not
(probably) directly related, but "Global Warming" (regardless of why
it happens) will severely threaten the Maldives as a whole.



   RM

2004\12\30@095059 by Mike Hord

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> > Albeit good for only 10 minutes (at most) advance notice.
>
> I'm too non-morbid to follow the news too closely.  I saw one report
> of about a 33 foot tsunami coming ashore (someone probably rounded
> 10m), which is a lot smaller than I would have thought would cause
> death toll reported.  How far in from shore were the major fatal
> effects felt?  WAS it something that you could walk (or run) away from
> given about 10 minutes notice?

The footage I'm seeing on the news disabused me of my prior notion of
tsunami quite harshly.  I'd always imagined a huge wave, breaking onto
the shore and crushing everything under it, but not reaching very far inland.

To get an idea of what it's like, imagine the tide coming in very, very fast,
and then receding equally quickly.  The current doesn't LOOK too fast,
but I learned as a foolish youth that fairly low speed currents can pull one's
legs awfully hard.

The problem is, it comes in fast enough to sweep the unsuspecting off
their feet, then increases in depth fast enough to keep them from having
solid ground to get replanted on.  From some of the video I've seen, most
modern buildings (in this case, mainly upscale resorts catering to
Westerners) did survive.  A lot of the footage emerging from the area is
from Western tourists, filming the locals being swept around the base of
their hotels.

In some places, the water reached 2 km inland.  Most healthy idividuals,
when fearful for their lives, could find high ground less than 2 km away
in 10 minutes, especially with the proviso of sturdy buildings being
acceptable.  However, I have no doubt that in many of these areas, no
sturdy buildings were available.

Bottom line is that this was a largely preventable tragedy, but not with
the current warning systems (or lack thereof).

Mike H.

2004\12\30@143519 by steve

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> The footage I'm seeing on the news disabused me of my prior notion of
> tsunami quite harshly.  I'd always imagined a huge wave, breaking onto
> the shore and crushing everything under it, but not reaching very far
> inland.
>
> In some places, the water reached 2 km inland.  Most healthy
> idividuals, when fearful for their lives, could find high ground less
> than 2 km away in 10 minutes, especially with the proviso of sturdy
> buildings being acceptable.  However, I have no doubt that in many of
> these areas, no sturdy buildings were available.

How can you come up with a statement like that after saying you didn't
know how a Tsunami behaved ? If you were having breakfast on a
beach at a resort (prior to this disaster) and were told that a Tsunami
would be here in 10 minutes, do you honestly think that you would have
lept to your feet and run inland for a couple of kilometres ? Given that
you knew next to nothing about them (like just about everybody else),
how would you know that 2km would be far enough or what buildings
would be strong enough ?

> Bottom line is that this was a largely preventable tragedy, but not
> with the current warning systems (or lack thereof).

Sorry Mike, but this is total bs. The warning system in the Pacific exists
because the Pacific is surrounded by wealthy, educated, technological
countries. The project is spearheaded by Hawaii who are particularly
vulnerable and are also part of a country with plenty of money.

That isn't the case in the Indian Ocean. Nearly all of the countries are of
third-world status, with huge populations, largely poorly educated and
very little infrastructure. So what would be the good of an early warning
system other than alerting the politians that a large amount of their
electorate is about to disappear ? The message couldn't get to the
majority of the population and if it did, what could they do about it ?

Despite almost unlimited funds, technology, education and
communications, how many people still die from tornadoes in the US ?
This disaster took place over the coastline of half of a whole ocean.

There is very little that is preventable about a natural disaster like this.
The best we can hope to do is act as global citizens and halt the
suffering of others as soon as is humanly possible.

Steve.



2004\12\30@194220 by John Ferrell

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In spite of their reputation, tornados do not result in a great loss of life
in the US.
They do account for a great deal of property destruction.

John Ferrell
http://DixieNC.US

----- Original Message -----
From: <spam_OUTsteveTakeThisOuTspamtla.co.nz>
To: "Microcontroller discussion list - Public." <.....piclistKILLspamspam@spam@mit.edu>
Sent: Thursday, December 30, 2004 2:35 PM
Subject: Re: [OT] Perspectives on the Earthquake Tsunami net


> Despite almost unlimited funds, technology, education and
> communications, how many people still die from tornadoes in the US ?
> This disaster took place over the coastline of half of a whole ocean.
> --

2004\12\30@195232 by Russell McMahon

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----- Original Message -----
From: <stevespamKILLspamtla.co.nz>
To: "Microcontroller discussion list - Public." <.....piclistKILLspamspam.....mit.edu>
Sent: Friday, December 31, 2004 8:35 AM
Subject: Re: [OT] Perspectives on the Earthquake Tsunami net


{Quote hidden}

I strongly suspect that on a major land mass, even if flat, trekking
inland with best effort would very very very substantially reduce
death toll. Every tree, car, building, wall, drain etc takes away
enerdgy. That said, I saw a picture of a police boat in the 40 foot or
so range sitting in bushes 1 km from the sea. At least, if you'd been
that far in it's reasonably likely that you would not have been
dragged out to sea. That way they'd have a chance to identify your
body :-(.

On low lying islands artificial protection seems the only way.
Maldives were far emough away that, although only 1m average height,
and although water was shown washing right through the capital, major
structural damage was not occurring "inland". Something funtionally
equivalent to a storn cellar would be possible. Paying for enough is
an issue. They COULD be multiuse, as long as they could be readied for
"action" almost instantly. ("hickens out - NOW!!!")(Poor chickens).
Such shelters would also suffice for eg hurricane shelters. A major
hurdle is the relatively long time span between Tsunami in the area -
at least to date. The plate may have more to say sooner than later
alas.

> The message couldn't get to the majority of the population

The major problem

>  and if it did, what could they do about it ?

Trek inland no questions asked if there is an inland.
Go to pre-arranged locations otherwise, (and pray).

> Despite almost unlimited funds, technology, education and
> communications, how many people still die from tornadoes in the US ?

Reasonable comparison. BUT the tornado comes to you semi randomly and
you can't abate it's energy - only shelter from it.
The Tsunami energy goes down quite quickly as you leave the seashore
in MOST cases.  Warning with education is the biggest single thing you
can do. You hear countless stories of people in "advanced" world
countries going down to theseashor to observe the really really really
low tide :-(.

> There is very little that is preventable about a natural disaster
> like this.

Maybe not, BUT, until we can -

> The best we can hope to do is act as global citizens and halt the
> suffering of others as soon as is humanly possible.


       RM

2004\12\30@213914 by William Chops Westfield

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On Dec 30, 2004, at 11:35 AM, EraseMEstevespam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTtla.co.nz wrote:

> Despite almost unlimited funds, technology, education and
> communications, how many people still die from tornadoes in the US ?

It averages far fewer than one death per tornado...
   http://www.infoplease.com/spot/tornado1.html
About 80 deaths per year.
   
http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/car/WCM/Awareness_Campaigns_files/
Severe%20Part%20III.htm

This is significantly smaller than the number of people who freeze
to death each year due to poverty, homelessness, or other inability
to deal with the cold.

But you're generally right.  There is lots of information about how
to survive many types of disasters, but tsunamis aren't one of the
more well-documented examples.

BillW

2004\12\30@221531 by Russell McMahon

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> But you're generally right.  There is lots of information about how
> to survive many types of disasters, but tsunamis aren't one of the
> more well-documented examples.

1.    If you can get out of their path, do so.

2.    If not, enter the Tsunami shelter before it comes and stay in it
until after it has left. Be glad the regular maintenance * was done on
the shelter.

A "shelter" needs enough structural strength to resist the sort of
forces that many buildings managed to and needs to keep out gross
water and provide air for "long enough". being designed not to trap
people inside would help. An adequate tsunami shelter would probably
do fairly well against hurricanes as well.

A semi water tight concrete box, adequately anchored, with a 'high
enough snorkel with a water prevention valve in would probably
suffice. Bunk bed type racking could be storage other times.

Only half baked ideas, but could form the basis of something.

At Lauterbrunnen in the Swiss Alps I saw charming alpine "sheds" in
the valley below the slopes of the Eiger. They had what looked like
reverse mini ski jumps on the valley-wall ward side of them - a smooth
run up to a wall behind the sheds. Anti-avalanche. The snow runs up
the slope and over or even onto the shed BUT doesn't impact it at
speed. Some were full of miscellaneous junk. I suspect they are empty
in winter. (Photo available)



       RM

* Door shuts and seals OK. Stuff inside can be removed asap. No cracks
etc where they shouldn't be. Snorkel or whatever in proper condition.
Non egress water valve working.


2004\12\30@224238 by Dave VanHorn

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>
>http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/car/WCM/Awareness_Campaigns_files/
>Severe%20Part%20III.htm
>
>This is significantly smaller than the number of people who freeze
>to death each year due to poverty, homelessness, or other inability
>to deal with the cold.
>
>But you're generally right.  There is lots of information about how
>to survive many types of disasters, but tsunamis aren't one of the
>more well-documented examples.

Well, around here, tsunamis aren't much of a factor, but we are
"ground-zero" for F-4 and F-5 tornadoes.  An F-5 will peel the pavement off
the road.


2004\12\31@173818 by James Newtons Massmind

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In more cases than not, cold is the chlorine in the gene pool. What this
says about those of us who live in the south... I'm not sure. <GRIN>

BTW, I just realized that I've failed to point out that a few years of
traffic related deaths in the US more than matches this tsunami for number
of people dead.

Does it matter than the tsunami caused all the deaths at once, but only
happened once every how ever many years? It sort of reminds me of the story
I've heard about putting a frog in a pot, with the opportunity to jump out
if desired, and then increasing the water temperature slowly until the frog
cooks.. Supposedly he won't jump out. Of course, if you pour boiling water
in, he will jump out.

Americans will drive to work every day, with a much greater chance of dying
as a result than they would have of dying in a tsunami, and will make NO
contribution to mass transit or other transport systems with greater safety.
Then some natural disaster comes up and the money flows.

Or 911. (you knew I was going to get to this right?) LESS than 3000 people
die in the 911 and MILLIONS are paid out to each surviving family. Invasive
laws are passed, wars are justified, racial and religious hatred blooms.
Yet: On the roads, ~60,000 die EACH YEAR, and cities can't raise a few
hundred thousand for a trolley or commuter train. People love to drive
Hummers and other killer SUVs.

Makes you wonder how we survived as long as we have. No logic in humans at
all. Good thing we know how to fuck like rabbits or we'd have died off ages
ago.

Maybe its another form of chlorine in the gene pool... Natural selection
against those who commute... Given that fuel consumption and pollution are
damaging to the rest, nature will eventually breed humans who are unwilling
to drive to work?

---
James.



> {Original Message removed}

2004\12\31@181900 by Edward Gisske

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James,

I used to think that the Red-X was the go-to place for disaster
contributions. Then I lived with a woman who worked for them. She was in the
Wisconsin main office and worked in the disaster-services department. That
department consisted of her (a half-time secretary) and one overworked
full-time director. All the other disaster relief stuff was done by
volunteers.

Upstairs, however, the blood collection and sales department had several
hundred employees. The public face of the Red-X is the disaster relief work,
but what they actually are is a giant multi-billion-dollar-a-year
blood-processing operation. They have quite a racket. They get the raw
materials (donated blood) for free and then sell it for big bux to
hospitals.
Unfortunately, they aren't very good at QC and have been operating under
federal (FDA) receivership for a couple of decades due to screwing up their
blood operation. Check out the book "Bad Blood:
Crisis in the American Red Cross", by Judith Reitman for a really
discouraging look at how they do business. The horror stories include the
50,000 hemophiliacs infected by HIV from Red-X blood because the Red-X
wouldn't spend the $1/bag for testing the blood for hepatitis-C, a very
strong co-indicator of HIV, in the early days of the epidemic.

Google on them for how they collected hundreds of millions of dollars for
hurricane Hugo and 9-11 and spent very little of it on actual disaster
relief. Disaster relief for the Red-X is not a mission, just an overhead
expense to be minimized whenever possible. They drive their truck to a
disaster, get some volunteers to hand out donated donuts, and then leverage
it into a big blood-drive to pump up the blood-sales division.

The place is a mess. The suits live large, while the folks in the cubes get
beaten down. The standard answer to the disaster services people when they
ask
for more money or support is "Stop bitching or we will replace you with a
volunteer." They treat their employees like shit in very much the Sam Walton
mode. There are regular strikes by their blood-collection/processing people.

My donations go to OxFam or Doctors Without Borders. They may be as bad as
the Red-X, but at least I don't know it.

Ed

{Original Message removed}

2004\12\31@183955 by Wouter van Ooijen

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> BTW, I just realized that I've failed to point out that a few years of
> traffic related deaths in the US more than matches this
> tsunami for number of people dead.

Anyone aware of what is happening (and what has already happened) in a
few different regions of Afrika?

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


2004\12\31@200804 by Russell McMahon

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>> BTW, I just realized that I've failed to point out that a few years
>> of
>> traffic related deaths in the US more than matches this
>> tsunami for number of people dead.
>
> Anyone aware of what is happening (and what has already happened) in
> a
> few different regions of Afrika?

Much reduced effects in Africa due to distance BUT still 100+ known
dead, probably 100+ actually dead, and many thousands injured and
homeless.

Most (> 95%) buildings swept away on Somali island of Hafun.

       http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/4129639.stm

      http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&u=/ap/20041229/ap_on_re_af/eastern_africa_quake




US dept of state notice re Tsunami 1 Jan 2005

       http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/pa/pa_tsunami.html


       RM


'[OT] Perspectives on the Earthquake Tsunami net'
2005\01\01@010813 by Russell McMahon
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> The public face of the Red-X is the disaster relief work,
> but what they actually are is a giant multi-billion-dollar-a-year
> blood-processing operation. They have quite a racket. They get the
> raw
> materials (donated blood) for free and then sell it for big bux to
> hospitals.

If this is true, (and I don't know either way, but it sounds rather
over stated) where does the profit from he blood operations go?



       RM

2005\01\01@010818 by Russell McMahon

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I'll assume that this was by way of a "devil's advocate" post and that
you aren't really as oblivious to what is going on and the differences
as it might seem ;-)

> BTW, I just realized that I've failed to point out that a few years
> of
> traffic related deaths in the US more than matches this tsunami for
> number
> of people dead.

Depends whether you are counting US road toll (as you seem to be) or
world wide road toll, or road toll in the areas affected. And depends
whether you are counting the people who died at the time, or the equal
or greater number who may die over the next while if extroadinarily
prompt action is not taken.

The question (seems to) overlook a number of differences. If every
time someone had a road accident a group went to their home, threw
their children randomly around the neighbourhood, killed some of them
and their wife, demolished their house, polluted all the drinking
water available for months to come with sewage and miscellaneous body
parts, spread traces of cholera, typhoid and more liberally all over,
destroyed their place of work, and most of their town, and then did
the same thing for almost everyone who lived around them, you would be
starting to get closer.

A road "accident" is usually the undesirable outcome of an understood
social contract whereby the victim has previously agreed to gain the
benefits of mechanised transportation in exchange for a calculated
risk - and drawn short straw, as some must as part of the contract. As
you know.

The Tsunami is part of a natural contract, but not an understood one.
If you live on a flood plain, or on the slopes of an active volcano or
similar, then you may have a certain expectation of sudden
catastrophy. The Tsunami in this area is a 100++  year event and in
magnitude is a 1000++ year event. (ie a Tsunami of this magnitude is
essentially unknown of).(Krakatoa may not have done as well.)(Taupo
would have done better, but that was 20,000 years ago). As an example
of expectations, minor bridges are typically designed for the 50 year
flood. Very few human designs go above designing for the 100 year risk
unless there are major expectations of loss of human life.

At such extreme scales of uncertainty and of such large magnitude it
is not prudent to plan in advance (such planning taking ther form of
damage mitigation and future risk cost spreading, otherwise known as
insurance). In vv large events it makes more sense for all to "carry
their own risk" (as large corporations do for eg automobile
accidents). This works OK as long as, when damage does occur, all work
together as a whole to meet the cost. Whether we do this remains to be
seen.

I note that the US has now upped its promised contribution 10 fold to
about $US350 million. At slightly under $1 per US man woman and child
the contribution will be welcome and useful.

> Does it matter than the tsunami caused all the deaths at once, but
> only
> happened once every how ever many years?

Yes, obviously.
One only has to place oneself in the same position to get the right
answer.
We all die. Dying sooner is often not desirable. Dying violently
accompanied by so much other loss is far worse than shuffling off the
mortal coil in more standard manners. As I know you'll aggree if you
and yours were the recipients. Providing, that is, dying "matters" at
all to you :-).

> Americans will drive to work every day, with a much greater chance
> of dying
> as a result than they would have of dying in a tsunami, and will
> make NO
> contribution to mass transit or other transport systems with greater
> safety.
> Then some natural disaster comes up and the money flows.

As above. Part of the known social contract. People don't want to.
They are happy witht he stats.

> People love to drive Hummers and other killer SUVs.

While i imagine that these contribute disproportionately to road
deaths, I suspect the majority of accidents are caused by other
vehicles

       RM

2005\01\01@025752 by Wouter van Ooijen

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> Anyone aware of what is happening (and what has already
> happened) in a few different regions of Afrika?

I was not hinting at the tsunami effects, but at darfour, eastern congo
and the places I don't even know about...

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


2005\01\01@031054 by James Newtons Massmind

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As usual, I hear all the words you say and at the end I don't get it.

No, I'm not advocating for the devil. I'm completely serious.

I don't see how YOU can be oblivious to your own friends and neighbors dying
on the roads.

Show of hands: Who actually knows someone who has died in a car accident?
Ok, now: Who actually knows someone who died in this last tsunami? (Please
don't answer that on list... It's a question that must be done in a room
full of people) But I have been asking that question (with "...died in 911")
for some time now, and it has yet to come up that cars are the lesser of the
two evils. If you got the entire world together and ask the same question, I
really doubt that tsunami's kill more people than Honda's.

I totally fail to see how dying in a natural disaster or terrorist attack is
any worse (or better) than dying (bleeding, twisted, broken, burning,
etc...) in a car accident.

Yes, I was talking about the USA. I don't have figures for road kill in
other countries, but I would guess that in all but the least developed
nations, they must be significant.

The numbers here are solid. More people die on the roads. Period. Dead is
dead. The loss of life, irrespective of how it happens, is still a loss of
life. Age is the only thing that makes death less of a loss: By that I mean
that the loss of a young person is "greater" than the loss of an older
person due to the difference in life expectancy. And I don't see that road
kill is any respecter of age...

Money spent to increase transportation safety would do more to save lives
than money sent to detect, protect or otherwise worry about tsunami's,
terrorists, or just about anything else.

My point is just that rather than getting caught up in the emotion of a
single, well publicized event, we should look at the ACTUAL causes of death,
pick the biggest one, and toss money at that.

Reality: That which remains after you stop believing in it. I've lived here
for 12 years now... I've seen a lot more twisted scraps of metal on the side
of the road than I have seen terrorist attacks, tsunami's, earthquakes, or
anything else.

---
James.



> {Original Message removed}

2005\01\01@043617 by Russell McMahon

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I'll put this at the top:

$ spent on the road toll may start a long and slow process of saving
the lives of people who are largely unwilling to have their lives
saved. But if the world doesn't put it's hand adequately in its pocket
in the very near future, between 100,000 and 200,000 MORE people who
would love to have their lives saved will die in the affected areas in
the next few months. The majority will be children.

US contribution of $US350 million is a good step along the way.


> I don't see how YOU can be oblivious to your own friends and
> neighbors dying
> on the roads.

I'm not.
Of course.
I'm just saying that the Tsunami has factors which make it different
and "special".

_________

Thought: Every time you think of the Tsunami imagine that instead a 10
megaton weapon had detonated on one of the ships in San Diego harbour.
You'd probably be alive - especially if you'd been at work at the
time.  [[Bill and Summer wouldn't be .]] Your wife would probably be
depending on whether she'd been in town or not. Your family may be OK
depending on which way the wind was blowing at the time and for the
next while afterwards.
Go from there.

[You actually have far more ability to avoid that scenario than the
Tsunami victims - you choose to live near such devices and take your
chances. You know they wexist. You know the odds].
______________

I'm saying that events like the Tsunami bomb merit our special
attention because

- Most of the people involved were much less able to predict or
prepare for the event than most of us are able to prepare for life's
catastrophes. The real phobic will shun aircraft or private vehicles
or whatever. Most of us who REALLY want to can greatly recue the
prospects of our greatest fears occurring. The vast majority of
Tsunami victims had no idea that the sea could rise up and destroy
them, and no realistic way to avoid it in advance had they known.

- The scale and nature makes special instant reaction essential. When
the car hit my motorcycle side on the worldd turned black and noisy
for what seemed a considerable period. When the movement stopped and
the pain began my overwhelming throught was "I'm alive". I knew I had
to wait for the ambulance and then things would probably start to get
better. When the car hit my motorcycle head on (10 years later) and
bounced me and the bike off another car and I finally landed on top of
the bike with my leg torn impressively open, I again rejoiced in
aliveness and expected the day to begin to improve. For many Tsunami
victims, not having died will seem a bad choice. Same applies to many
road accident victims, but not so overwhelmingly in most cases.

> Show of hands: Who actually knows someone who has died in a car
> accident?

I don't. Surprisingly. (Motorcycle, yes)(only one).

> If you got the entire world together and ask the same question, I
> really doubt that tsunami's kill more people than Honda's.

That's my point. Road accidents are, quite necessarily, factored into
our lifestyles. The question there is, how many injuries and deaths
per year do I find acceptable? Not nice, but a business transaction
that we choose to be part of. These Tsunami victims had no such
expectation or ability to decide what to do about it.

> I totally fail to see how dying in a natural disaster or terrorist
> attack is
> any worse (or better) than dying (bleeding, twisted, broken,
> burning,
> etc...) in a car accident.

For the individual at the time it may be much of a muchness.
But, my bulldoze the house example before is a realistic one.
You may be badly wounded.
But not only your family but your friends, neighbours, employer,
employees are in the same situation, your house is gone, your
livelihood is gone, your neighbourhood largely is gone, your ... .

It's one of scale for every person involved.
Have you actuall;y seen the pictures/
If not, recall the pictures of Hiroshima after the bomb. Much the same
in many areas.

> Yes, I was talking about the USA. I don't have figures for road kill
> in
> other countries, but I would guess that in all but the least
> developed
> nations, they must be significant.

Per capita the less developed countries tend to be worse :-(

{Quote hidden}

Again.
I agree about the tragedy of road carnage.
But road carnage is something you can realistically alter for you and
yours. How much depends on how important it is to you. Listen to all
the turkeys who blather on about how much safer on the road their
radar detectors make them. Listen to them moan about speed limits, in
town and out. Listen to them moan about speed traps and speeding
tickets and. You know where to look. But how should your average Aceh
fisherman have addressed Tsunami risk for himslef and his family,
without the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.

> Money spent to increase transportation safety would do more to save
> lives
> than money sent to detect, protect or otherwise worry about
> tsunami's,
> terrorists, or just about anything else.

Money spent on road safety needs to be spent on coercing unwilling
people to limit their "freedoms". An uphill battle in the land of the
brave and the home of the free and SOMETIMES unbelievably pigheadedly
stupid. passive safety (bigger bumpers, airbags etc) that is used
because people must have their freedoms is a waste of resource and
second best. (Air bags are useful, but seatbelts have a far far
greater cost benefit).

Money spent on assisting Tsunami victims in any area whatsoever will
find an entirely willing target group.

> My point is just that rather than getting caught up in the emotion
> of a
> single, well publicized event, we should look at the ACTUAL causes
> of death,
> pick the biggest one, and toss money at that.

100,000 to 200,000 people who will actively help you help them not to
die will die if allowed to. Already funds are such that worst case
won't happen. In road safety willing helpers are hard to find. Value
for money is easy to find here - don't get caught up in the emotion
:-).

> Reality: That which remains after you stop believing in it. I've
> lived here
> for 12 years now... I've seen a lot more twisted scraps of metal on
> the side
> of the road than I have seen terrorist attacks, tsunami's,
> earthquakes, or
> anything else.

People in Aceh, Thailand, .... lived there for 100+ years and saw far
more terrorist attacks etc (pirates ...) than Tsunamis. This is a 100
year+ event with a 1000 year + severity. If it had occurred off the US
West Coast you would be seeing an awful lot of it right now.

Whatever


       RM

2005\01\01@094054 by Gerhard Fiedler

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> That's my point. Road accidents are, quite necessarily, factored into
> our lifestyles. The question there is, how many injuries and deaths
> per year do I find acceptable? Not nice, but a business transaction
> that we choose to be part of. These Tsunami victims had no such
> expectation or ability to decide what to do about it.

I've lived 10+ years as a everyday biker (bicycle, not motorcycle). I had
no car -- not because I couldn't afford one, but because of principle.

I can't quite see how I had a choice in driving more safely (side by side
with car drivers who don't really care much about the lack of protection
around a bicycle driver) anymore than a Tsunami victim had a choice in
living more safely (side by side with an ocean who doesn't care much about
their safety). I could have stopped driving on public roads, the tsunami
victim could have moved inland. Both rather theoretical choices.

I did not choose to be part of a "business transaction" that includes
accepting the killing of a middle sized city per year in pretty much any
civilized country. Maybe you chose to be part of that; if so, please speak
for yourself only. I did not choose that, and I know a few others who also
did not -- and if it were up to us, this would not happen.

So, if you really chose that death toll as being a reasonable trade-off for
your comfort of living, take it on /your/ balance. I try my best to get it
off of mine. There are options. If you choose this option, it's not because
you don't have a choice. It's because you chose it.

Gerhard

2005\01\01@104327 by Russell McMahon

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>> That's my point. Road accidents are, quite necessarily, factored
>> into
>> our lifestyles. The question there is, how many injuries and deaths
>> per year do I find acceptable? Not nice, but a business transaction
>> that we choose to be part of. These Tsunami victims had no such
>> expectation or ability to decide what to do about it.

It's easy to miss the implications of the way we live. This is not
meant to be a criticism of any individual.

> I've lived 10+ years as a everyday biker (bicycle, not motorcycle).
> I had
> no car -- not because I couldn't afford one, but because of
> principle.

In your case you say that you choose to ride a bike on principle. This
is commendable. But in the process you have agreed to accept a more
dangerous lifestyle. Your exposure to exhaust fumes is probably higher
than in a car and the risk from accidents is substantially higher. You
are no doubt well aware of these risks but have chosen to accept them.
You may well wish they were lower and that people would behave
differently, but you do not choose instead to walk or to take public
transpiort (train, bus, Tuk Tuk etc.)

> I can't quite see how I had a choice in driving more safely (side by
> side
> with car drivers who don't really care much about the lack of
> protection
> around a bicycle driver)

The choice in your case is to ride the bike or not. You choose to do
so for reasons that seem good to you.

> anymore than a Tsunami victim had a choice in
> living more safely (side by side with an ocean who doesn't care much
> about
> their safety). I could have stopped driving on public roads, the
> tsunami
> victim could have moved inland. Both rather theoretical choices.

Unlike some other areas, an Indian Ocean Tsunami is a very rare
occurence. It would not feature in the knowledge set or folk lore of
most of the people in the area. The concept of a giant wave suddenly
appearing on a stormless sea and wiping out everything for up to a
kilometer inland would not have occurred to most of them. Those who
did know it was a remote possibility have chosen not to educate people
about the risk. The choice to move inland never occurred to them.

In your case the choice is far from theoretical. You could drive a
car, use public transport (probably) or move closer to your work or
work somewhere else. Unlike almost all of the people involved with the
Tsunami, you probably have the financial capability to alter your
lifestyle and living location if it is important enough to you. To
move may be very costly to you, but you have the choise. And you know
why you do or don't do it. In the case of the tsunami the lack of
knowledge of the danger was a crucial factor.

People who live on either US seaboard were also relatively unaware of
the dangers until a week or so ago, despite the much more available
information. Many will be a lot less unaware now. Tsunami is not a
major Us coastal hazard and would be largely unexpected by most.

> I did not choose to be part of a "business transaction" that
> includes
> accepting the killing of a middle sized city per year in pretty much
> any
> civilized country. Maybe you chose to be part of that; if so, please
> speak
> for yourself only. I did not choose that, and I know a few others
> who also
> did not -- and if it were up to us, this would not happen.

By riding a bike you choose to risk increasing the accident rate. The
choice obviously has positive benefits for you which outweigh the
negatives. When we discuss eradar detectors and speed limits on list
occasionally there are quite a few people who complain about the
authorities limiting their ability to drive more dangerously. If a
practice is disliked enough by a populace they will sooner or later
rise up in protest against it. The speed limits and traffic controls
that you are subject to are based on an overall social concencus as to
what is acceptable. There will be many who would like things to be
different, but what you get largely reflects what a majority of people
are happy enough with.

I am not, of course, saying that I approve of traffic deaths and
injuries. I would love to see them greatly reduced. The only injury
accidents that I have been in in 37 years of driving were caused
completely by other people breaking road rules and not being aware of
their surroundings - but I contributed to them by riding a motorcycle.
people tend not to see motorcycles - even when they are well lit. I
chose to increase the danger to me by using a motorcycle, and I could
have died as a consequence (and nearly did).

There are people in our societies who have very few choices re
transportation methods and where they live. But most of the people on
this list will not be in that category.

       Russell McMahon





>
> So, if you really chose that death toll as being a reasonable
> trade-off for
> your comfort of living, take it on /your/ balance. I try my best to
> get it
> off of mine. There are options. If you choose this option, it's not
> because
> you don't have a choice. It's because you chose it.
>
> Gerhard
> --

2005\01\01@110939 by Howard Winter

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Edward,

On Fri, 31 Dec 2004 17:21:30 -0600, Edward Gisske wrote:

>...<
> Disaster relief for the Red-X is not a mission, just an overhead
> expense to be minimized whenever possible. They drive their truck to a
> disaster, get some volunteers to hand out donated donuts, and then leverage
> it into a big blood-drive to pump up the blood-sales division.

I believe you are talking about the "American Red Cross", not the "Red Cross".

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England


2005\01\01@114458 by Russell McMahon

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>> They drive their truck to a
>> disaster, get some volunteers to hand out donated donuts, and then
>> leverage
>> it into a big blood-drive to pump up the blood-sales division.

> I believe you are talking about the "American Red Cross", not the
> "Red Cross".

>> Disaster relief for the Red-X is not a mission, just an overhead
>> expense to be minimized whenever possible.

$US30 million initial relief being sent to Tsunami victims

       http://www.redcross.org/press/intl/PR123104_2.html

Other activities (home page)

       http://www.redcross.org/

Interesting "Services" page

       http://www.redcross.org/services/0,1103,0_313_,00.html

*Sound* fairly real.

IF they are  a non-profit, as I imagine they are, then the real
question is, what is their percentage overhead$ to aid$.
As long as they are comparable to other organisations they are doing
OK.  Presumably blood sales make good $ for their other activities.

Clara Barton (US founder and more)

       http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USACWbarton.htm

History, International, US etc

       http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/FWWred.htm

Relationship between various

       http://relief.yahoo.com/redcross/services/intl/


More reading :-)

       http://www.google.co.nz/search?num=100&hl=en&newwindow=1&safe=off&q=%22red+cross%
22+international+american&meta=

   http://www.google.co.nz/search?hl=en&q=%22american+red+cross%22&meta=



       RM

2005\01\01@115257 by Aza D. Oberman

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> > Anyone aware of what is happening (and what has already
> > happened) in a few different regions of Afrika?

<Wouter van Ooijen comments>"
> I was not hinting at the tsunami effects, but at darfour, eastern congo
> and the places I don't even know about...

It's a good bet that life in central Africa will get worse when
international focus is elsewhere.  Rwanda, for example, has both an
excellent military and a very dense population running out of resources.
Dependent on hydroelectric power they've let their reservoirs run down
because of drought and increased demand -- now all you can expect is perhaps
two hours of power a day.  Building new dams will require the cooperation of
hostile neighboring countries.  As we in the US know, a formidable military,
pent up demand, and resources within reach is a very deadly brew.

I gather the root problem in Darfur is the age old Cowboys and Farmer
conflict.  In the past there was a sort of synergy, the farmers would
harvest their crops and then the herdsmen would sweep through to graze on
the winnow and fertilize the fields.  Pushed by drought the herdsmen arrived
early looking for grazing land.  Needless to say the farmers tried to defend
their meager crops -- and lost.

Aza D. Oberman

2005\01\01@121840 by Russell McMahon

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>> > Anyone aware of what is happening (and what has already
>> > happened) in a few different regions of Afrika?

> <Wouter van Ooijen comments>"
>> I was not hinting at the tsunami effects, but at darfour, eastern
>> congo
>> and the places I don't even know about...

> It's a good bet that life in central Africa will get worse when
> international focus is elsewhere.  Rwanda, for example, ...

But, surprisingly, the "Southern Rebels" & government in Sudan have
just signed  a ceasefire after 20 years fighting!  This is intended to
change to a full peace settlement and the rebel leader becomes one of
the vice presidents. This is amazing (and partially the result of US
pressure). Time will tell how well it works. The adverse publicity and
pressure over Darfur has helped here.


       http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/01/international/africa/01sudan.html?th



       RM

2005\01\01@144516 by John Ferrell

face picon face
I really hope you are wrong about this.
One of my pet projects in the local Lion's Club is the Annual January Blood
Drive. It will be conducted on Sunday January 16 this year. The last two
years we have suffered weather bad enough to force cancellation. We only
hope for a total of 30 units of blood.

The Red cross will bring six or eight people (most highly skilled) and a
complete setup of equipment about forty miles to collect those 30 units. I
don't know what they sell the blood for, but those thirty units were pretty
pricey to collect.

I have the advertising up and all that remains to be done in preparations is
to go get the snacks and drinks for the rest area. The Lions would reimburse
me for that, but I figure it is MY PARTY and I am blessed to host it.

As for as internal problems for the Red Cross I found this in my collection
of one liners for the church newsletter:
Nobody's family can hang out the sign, "Nothing the matter here."

- Chinese proverb



John Ferrell
http://DixieNC.US

{Original Message removed}

2005\01\01@145117 by John Ferrell

face picon face
The situation in the Congo is a sore point with many of us. It is nearly
impossible to get a school built there without financing one side or the
other in the so-called "Civil" war. It seems all but forgotten to the
outside world.

John Ferrell
http://DixieNC.US

{Original Message removed}

2005\01\01@153154 by Russell McMahon

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>I really hope you are wrong about this.

I suspect (and hope) that he is for practical purposes. There can
often be local problems that don't give a good picture of a greater
reality. The lady concerned may have been run off her feet and there
may have been an incorrect balance in priorities in the office
concerned. It wasn't said where the $ went that they collected from
blood.

> One of my pet projects in the local Lion's Club is the Annual
> January Blood Drive.

Ask yourself

- Where does the money go that the American Red Cross makes?

- What is the ratio of funds given in aid to total funds acquired from
all sources?

- What does the American Red Cross do that is good and worthwhile?

I don't know the answer to these questions but number 2 should be a
matter of public record somewhere and would go a long way towards
allaying (or confirming) any fears.

Almost any large organisation will have a degree of overheads,
bureaucracy, politics, feather bedding and more. But odds are that
a large and  visible organisation like ARC with a genuine ethos of
service will not go too far off the rails without being publicly
brought to task. You should be able to find out easily enough. In my
quick Google skim I didn't find a single bad word said, and I was
looking. They may well be there, but they weren't easily seen in the
top few pages of hits.

Here's wishing you well with your blood collection.



       Russell McMahon


2005\01\01@173225 by Edward Gisske

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John,

None of what I wrote was meant to denigrate the dedication and selflessness
of the R-X's many volunteers and the people who donate blood to them. I,
in-fact, am a volunteer for them for disaster communications and have been
for 30 years.

They do, however, (and I am speaking of the American Red Cross here) have
some substantial management issues. The Judith Reitman book (Bad Blood)
details this in well-researched detail and has never been refuted by the
R-X. I suggest that you check it out to see for yourself. Within the last
two years the R-X has been forced to shut down their blood distribution
system until all of their inventory was retested for contamination that was
even visible to the naked eye.

The Canadian R-X has been forced out of the blood business and several
officers faced criminal charges related to infecting many unsuspecting
people with AIDS and Hepatitis-C ( See:
http://archives.cbc.ca/IDC-1-70-737-4469/disasters_tragedies/tainted_blood/clip13 )
. The Mounties busted them after a 5-year investigation.

More recently, the American R-X president, Dr. Bernadine Healy, was forced
out over a scandal involving diverting US$250,000,000 donated specifically
for 9-11 relief to other administrative projects, including a communications
system upgrade to improve fund-raising.  The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in
the San Francisco Bay region was another one of these earmarked fund
redirection "issues" where the R-X collected $52M and distributed $12M (see:
http://www.sfmuseum.org/alm/quakes4.html), as was the Mississippi river
flood of 1998, where the MN Attorney General had to lean on them to get
contributed funds actually distributed (See:
http://www.brandchannel.com/features_profile.asp?pr_id=48 ).

Also:

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/rc_history.html

http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/cnty/bos/sup2/press/column-redcross.html

http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=95001506

http://cbs5.com/news/local/2001/11/02/Red_Cross_Controversy_Echoes_Earthquake_Ruckus.html

http://www.withfootinmouth.com/issue8/articles.html

The American R-X has a structure that almost defies coherent auditing. They
have about 1000 local chapters that run, in large part, independently.
Locally (in WI) several chapter execs have been busted in the last few years
for embezzlement. The Midwest blood distribution and testing arm of the R-X
has recently been reorganized and centralized to try to get a handle on lab
problems. I hope it works. Nationally, I also hope they stop appointing
politico's like Libby Dole (who cost them $450,000/yr), to run an
organization sorely in need of overhaul by a professional manager instead of
a figurehead politician.

Meanwhile...The Salvation Army seems to run a tight ship.

Ed



{Original Message removed}

2005\01\01@192543 by John Ferrell

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You sound like you know!
I am disappointed to hear Libby Dole was so expensive, I was led to believe
she served without payment.

I do a lot of volunteer work and sometimes see situations where well meaning
but skill deficient volunteers wind up costing more than hiring a competent
staff. All I can do with a situation like that is to bow out.

The Salvation Army does have a squeeky clean reputation.

I believe my contributions to this cause will go to my church's disaster
relief fund undesignated. I know efforts are under way NOW and by giving
undesignated I can allow them to to make better decisions. It could get to
the point where the money is better used elsewhere, may be even to just
backfuill for the resources already committed. Of course, you have to trust
the organization to do that.

John Ferrell
http://DixieNC.US

{Original Message removed}

2005\01\01@224226 by Denny Esterline

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> More recently, the American R-X president, Dr. Bernadine Healy, was
forced
> out over a scandal involving diverting US$250,000,000 donated
specifically
> for 9-11 relief to other administrative projects, including a
communications
> system upgrade to improve fund-raising.


I remember these events slightly differently. As I recall it was the R-X
board of directors that wanted to redirect the 9-11 funds to those other
projects. Dr. Healy was forced out when she refused to comply.

-Denny


2005\01\02@022250 by Dmitriy Kiryashov

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Hi Russell.

I just found ( through Ebay ) that Paypal has started
donations.paypal.com to collect donations contributed
( as they state ) directly to Unicef tsunami relief
effort without any fee taken by Paypal.

Anyone interested please visit donations.paypal.com


WBR Dmitry.


Russell McMahon wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> -

2005\01\02@023745 by Russell McMahon

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Tectonic plate boundaries and volcano and distributions

       http://volcano.und.nodak.edu/vwdocs/vwlessons/plate_tectonics/part12.html

I live on the two smallish islands at the far right of the
Australian-Indian plate.
Note how our islands follow the curve of the plate.
You will probably have seen the edge of the plate in "The South
Island"* sporting the Gondor to Rohan signal fires in "The return of
the king".
Another portion of the plate in "The North Island"* posed as Mount
Doom.

This is the same plate that moved in the Aceh earthquake.
We had several moderate quakes in the last few months.

It will be noted that the Pacific (one) "Ring of Fire" (to rule them
all) follows the edge of the Pacific Plate. It includes our Mt Taupo
(with a big crater that nobody sees to know it's there and we just
call it Lake Taupo) which sponsored the biggest volcanic eruption on
earth in the last 20,000 years.

The city of Auckland in The North island, where I live, is not quite
on a plate edge, but has a hot spot (as does Hawaii) and we have 100+
small extinct volcanos as a consequence. Next one's overdue.

* You can spot a furriner immediately when they call our two islands
'South island" and 'North Island". These two imaginatively named
islands which make up the vast majority of the country always have the
leading "The" as part of the name. ie "The North Island" - NEVER
"North island".


       RM




2005\01\02@052136 by Howard Winter

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Russell,

On Sun, 02 Jan 2005 20:23:28 +1300, Russell McMahon wrote:

> * You can spot a furriner immediately when they call our two islands
> 'South island" and 'North Island". These two imaginatively named
> islands which make up the vast majority of the country always have the
> leading "The" as part of the name. ie "The North Island" - NEVER
> "North island".

That's odd - I visited the place a couple of years ago (had a great time!)  and a girl I know who's from
Dunedin always referred to it as "South Island" - unless she was talking to someone from the other place, when
she'd call it "The Mainland"  :-)))

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England


2005\01\02@095011 by Aza D. Oberman

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<Russell McMahon opines>"

> But, surprisingly, the "Southern Rebels" & government in Sudan have
> just signed  a ceasefire after 20 years fighting!  This is intended to
> change to a full peace settlement and the rebel leader becomes one of
> the vice presidents. This is amazing (and partially the result of US
> pressure). Time will tell how well it works. The adverse publicity and
> pressure over Darfur has helped here.

That's a different issue from the natural conflict between nomadic herders
and farmers.

2005\01\02@100351 by Russell McMahon

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>> * You can spot a furriner immediately when they call our two
>> islands
>> 'South island" and 'North Island".

> That's odd - I visited the place a couple of years ago (had a great
> time!)  and a girl I know who's from
> Dunedin always referred to it as "South Island" - unless she was
> talking to someone from the other place, when
> she'd call it "The Mainland"  :-)))

South Islanders call their Island the Mainland. We North Islanders
have been known to call it "The Most Land" but in fact 'Mainlanders"
is a reasionably broadly accepted albeit joking term.

Note that I can say "South Islanders" and "North Islanders" when
referring to tthe people, but not to the island per se. we never (or
at least I don't) think of urselves as living on an island (far too
large to have that perception) but use the term unlinking in our
everyday speech.



       RM

2005\01\02@100813 by John Ferrell

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You will likely find this link of interest...

http://hsv.com/genlintr/newmadrd/index.htm

John Ferrell
http://DixieNC.US

{Original Message removed}

2005\01\02@111858 by Dave VanHorn

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At 10:09 AM 1/2/2005, John Ferrell wrote:

>You will likely find this link of interest...
>
>http://hsv.com/genlintr/newmadrd/index.htm

I'm in the lighter blue zone.


I visited the town of new madrid recently.
I saw buildings with steel exoskeletons.
Notably, the police and fire are both in the same building, unreinforced brick.

The Mississippi river can be significantly above ground level in the town,
due to the levee system. You walk up a few flights of stairs to get to the top.



2005\01\02@162206 by Russell McMahon

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> I did not choose to be part of a "business transaction" that
> includes
> accepting the killing of a middle sized city per year in pretty much
> any
> civilized country. Maybe you chose to be part of that; if so, please
> speak
> for yourself only. I did not choose that, and I know a few others
> who also
> did not -- and if it were up to us, this would not happen.

I realise I might have been able to do a better job of explaining what
I was talking about in our being part of a "business transaction".
This is historically what is known formally as a "social contract".
The participants in such a 'contract" do not formally sign anything or
even necessarily understand that an agreement actually exists. It is a
philosophical concept of the balance between opposing advantages and
disadvantages and individual freedoms in a society.In it's basic form
the term "social contract" is now taken to mean  the often unspoken
balance between the desires and freedoms of the population as a whole
which leads to a set of generally agreed behaviours and mutual
restrictions which we can all live under.

Needless to say, almost everyone is unhappy with the resultant
compromises :-)

The term "Social Contract" is generally considered to have first been
formalised by Jean Rousseau in 1762 in his treatise "The Social
Contract - oe principle of political right".

Original paper here  http://www.constitution.org/jjr/socon.htm

The language is rather "heavy going" as it is (probably) english
translated from 18th century French but may be worth a quick skim
.
Section 1.6 "The Social Compact" puts "the problem" as

   "The problem is to find a form of association which will defend
and protect with the whole common force the person and goods of each
associate, and in which each, while uniting himself with all, may
still obey himself alone, and remain as free as before." This is the
fundamental problem of which the Social Contract provides the
solution.

He goes on to discuss his ideas at length.  The general idea was of
course far from new when he wrote about it and has since been much
debated - and still is. Googling on "social contract" gives 600,000+
hits with every conceivable perspective. The term is more useful as a
means to disagree with each other than as a basis for understanding
:-(.


       Russell McMahon




2005\01\02@190628 by steve

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On 2 Jan 2005 at 20:23, Russell McMahon wrote:

> I live on the two smallish islands at the far right of the
> Australian-Indian plate.
> Note how our islands follow the curve of the plate.

If only it were as simple as that. Have a look at this picture.
http://www.niwa.co.nz/pubs/wa/10-4/biofish4_large.jpg/view

In the purple area to the top right, you can see the (pink) Tonga-
Kermadec trench which also extends down the east coast of the North
Island (Hikurangi trough). This is the subduction trench where the
Pacific plate slides under the Australian plate.

> You will probably have seen the edge of the plate in "The South
> Island"*

That's not quite the case either. The Southern Alps are a sort of
geological crumple zone. In picture above, there's a purple line below
the south-west corner of the South Island. This is the Puysegur Trench
and is where the Australian plate is sliding under the Pacific plate.

Note the small problem here - in the north, the Pacific plate is sliding
under the Australian plate and in the south, the Australian plate  is
sliding under the Pacific plate. In between is the South Island.
The net result is that west coast is moving northwards and the east
coast is moving southward at a relative speed similar to that of the
Pacific plate vs. the North American plate around San Francisco.
That plate interface slips about every 100 years and creates a moderate
sized quake. There have been no human recorded quakes from this
interface, so either the plates are not locked and are sliding quietly past
each other or they are locked and the "big one" is well overdue.

> We had several moderate quakes in the last few months.

Most of our (North Island) quakes are very different in origin to the one
that caused all the damage.
As the Pacific plate slides under the Australian plate, it continues
downward into the mantle. If you imagine peeling an apple from the
bottom, the peel comes away at a tangent and then through a series of
small fractures, starts to curve further downward. Those small fractures
are the typical, deep, quakes that get reported but are rarely felt.

> It will be noted that the Pacific (one) "Ring of Fire" (to rule them
> all) follows the edge of the Pacific Plate. It includes our Mt Taupo
> (with a big crater that nobody sees to know it's there and we just
> call it Lake Taupo) which sponsored the biggest volcanic eruption on
> earth in the last 20,000 years.

Taupo has had a couple of big bangs. One in 232ad ejected 100km^3
and one about 23,000 years ago ejected 800km^3. For comparison,
Mount St. Helens ejected 3km^3.

The "Ring of Fire" occurs because of the subduction of the Pacific plate
under the larger and heavier, continental plates. As the plate sinks
further into the mantle, the waterlogged, sedimentary rock that was
once the ocean floor, starts to melt. As this molten rock is lower density
than the mantle, it floats upwards to the crust where it finds a crack
heading towards the surface.
Since the melting point is relatively constant and so are the densities,
the volcanoes tend to occur a fixed distance from the trench and this
can be seen quite well in the picture. You can see the line parallel to the
Kermadec trench that continues through White Island, Rotorua, Taupo
and Ruapehu. You can also see the older, parallel line that includes Mt
Taranaki.

> The city of Auckland in The North island, where I live, is not quite
> on a plate edge, but has a hot spot (as does Hawaii) and we have 100+
> small extinct volcanos as a consequence. Next one's overdue.

The Auckland hot spot is a remnant of when the subduction zone was
further west. It just sits there like a bubble under an ice sheet. Every so
often, a small blob will make it to the surface.
The Hawaii hot spot is unusual in that it isn't a direct result of
subduction, but is there due to the intersection of convection currents
within the mantle.  

One thing New Zealand and Hawaii have in common in this respect is
the most likely cause of a (locally) dangerous Tsunami. This occurs
when the unstable side of a fresh volcano gives way in an underwater
landslide. It only takes a small quake to trigger and there would be
almost no warning. In our case, White Island is a likely candidate, but is
in rather shallow water compared to a chunk of Hawaii Island falling off.
That would be a very bad day.

Steve.



2005\01\02@203008 by Russell McMahon

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>> I live on the two smallish islands at the far right of the
>> Australian-Indian plate.
>> Note how our islands follow the curve of the plate.

Steve suggested:

> http://www.niwa.co.nz/pubs/wa/10-4/biofish4_large.jpg/view

Also good

       http://volcano.und.nodak.edu/vwdocs/Submarine/plates/



2005\01\02@232735 by Russell McMahon

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>> I live on the two smallish islands at the far right of the
>> Australian-Indian plate.
>> Note how our islands follow the curve of the plate.

Steve suggested:

> http://www.niwa.co.nz/pubs/wa/10-4/biofish4_large.jpg/view

Also good

       http://volcano.und.nodak.edu/vwdocs/Submarine/plates/

Shows volcano types at convergent and divergent plate boundaries and
hot spots.




2005\01\03@091035 by Gerhard Fiedler

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Russell McMahon wrote:

> It's easy to miss the implications of the way we live. This is not
> meant to be a criticism of any individual.

It's really easy... see below.

{Quote hidden}

That's all correct, but I fail to see the relevancy.

> but you do not choose instead to walk or to take public  transpiort
> (train, bus, Tuk Tuk etc.)

This becomes very theoretical here. For example my daily commute was at
that time 12 km bike and 40 km train. Not possible to do it all by train,
not practical to do the remainder by bus, don't know what Tuk Tuks are (I
suppose they weren't available where I lived). Then all the other everyday
rides: to the market, visiting friends, and so on. Pretty much either by
foot, bike or car -- or not at all. Sometimes of course a combination of
foot/bike and bus/train was what I used, but most of the time not.

>> I can't quite see how I had a choice in driving more safely (side by
>> side with car drivers who don't really care much about the lack of
>> protection around a bicycle driver)
>
> The choice in your case is to ride the bike or not. You choose to do
> so for reasons that seem good to you.

Right. Just like people choose to live where they live. Choices are always
limited, but they are always there. So I don't really see the difference in
principle.

>> anymore than a Tsunami victim had a choice in living more safely (side
>> by side with an ocean who doesn't care much  about their safety). I
>> could have stopped driving on public roads, the  tsunami victim could
>> have moved inland. Both rather theoretical choices.
>
> Unlike some other areas, an Indian Ocean Tsunami is a very rare
> occurence.

So?

> The choice to move inland never occurred to them.

To most people who die in road traffic accidents, the choice to not use any
public roads ever did never occur. So?

> In your case the choice is far from theoretical. You could drive a
> car,

Well yes, of course, but that's the whole point that you are missing. I was
driving a bike because I didn't want to participate in the collective
polluting and slaughtering. I could have driven a car and accepted the
consequences, but I didn't want to. I don't see how I would have reduced
the overall road kill numbers if I had driven a car.

> use public transport (probably)

Not quite. Would be good if possible or more feasible in more places.

> or move closer to your work or work somewhere else.

Right. Just like everybody else who gets hit by /something/ could have done
/something/ differently to avoid it.


>> I did not choose to be part of a "business transaction" that  includes
>> accepting the killing of a middle sized city per year in pretty much
>> any civilized country. Maybe you chose to be part of that; if so,
>> please  speak for yourself only. I did not choose that, and I know a
>> few others  who also did not -- and if it were up to us, this would not
>> happen.
>
> By riding a bike you choose to risk increasing the accident rate.

Now that's a funny proposal. I thought that by riding a bike I chose to
/reduce/ the accident rate -- that is, the harmful accident rate. If
everybody would ride a bike, I'm pretty sure the road death toll would go
down substantially. I'm not sure you could say the same about the situation
when everybody would drive a tank -- the ultimate safety vehicle currently
known to man and the logical consequence of the thinking "let's buy a
bigger vehicle, because it's safer".

So while the bigger vehicle brings a temporary safety advantage to the ones
inside (temporary because it only lasts until everybody else is up to the
same standard of "safety"), it brings a decrease of safety to everybody
else. In terms of the "social contract" a bad choice, and just one more of
the many examples that we as a species are not capable of optimizing the
collective outcome, only the individual outcome. And that often leads to
the absurd situation that everybody is trying to optimize the individual
outcome and doing that a much higher cost/benefit ratio even when applied
only to the individual benefit than if everybody (or most people) would
optimize the collective outcome (where then the individual benefit would be
a substantial "side effect", causing an overall better cost/benefit ratio
for the individual).

> The choice obviously has positive benefits for you which outweigh the
> negatives.

Not sure about that, considering the increased exposure to exhaust and
danger of injuries. But it definitely had for my conscience. And my legs.
And my blood pressure.

> I am not, of course, saying that I approve of traffic deaths and
> injuries. I would love to see them greatly reduced.

That's exactly the point. Of course everybody would love to see them
greatly reduced. But as long as we are accepting them as normal and the
current way of dealing with public transportation (which includes public
roads and what happens on them), we can't really say we don't accept them,
can we?

And there are /always/ options. We know we have options, we just prefer not
to choose them, collectively. That's exactly the point. We choose,
collectively, to accept the road death toll, because other options would be
more expensive, less comfortable, would need more thinking, whatever. But I
think in the light of this collective choice of accepting for example some
40k deaths per year in the USA (and similar numbers in pretty all
industrial nations) in the name of comfort, we kind of have to think about
our priorities when we get all whacked up about much smaller numbers with
other incidents.

Don't get me wrong, every death is a tragic one for all involved. But
that's exactly my point: not only tsunami deaths are tragic, road deaths
are, too. And as you say: differently from tsunami deaths, we,
collectively, would have a choice; it's part of the "contract", not
something imposed. So in a way, we, collectively, are much more responsible
for road deaths than we are for tsunami deaths.

Gerhard

2005\01\03@113257 by John Colonias

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I do not think this is true at all. I am a Board Member of the
Mississippi Blood Bank, a not for profit organization, and I can tell
you authoritatively, that there are a lot of expenses associated with
accessing, maintaining, testing, storing, and distributing donated
blood.

john

{Original Message removed}

2005\01\03@161704 by Mike Hord

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> Yet: On the roads, ~60,000 die EACH YEAR, and cities can't raise a few
> hundred thousand for a trolley or commuter train. People love to drive
> Hummers and other killer SUVs.

Here's a bit of info for you to consider, James, or to ignore completely, as
you see fit:

According to the BBC, 10 people die in the UK on the roads every day.
3650 people in a country with roughly 1/5 the population of the US,
packed into an area I frequently hear compared to the state of Minnesota.

Adjusted, that death rate is ~18000 for a population the size of the USA.

Less than 1/3.  Interesting.

Mike H.

2005\01\03@183843 by James Newtons Massmind

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I have no problem believing that the USA has "issues" (psychobabble for
mental problems) with regards driving. I've seen it and I've been a part of
it.

As to other countries, I have no figures and yours from the UK are
interesting. I've driven in Mexico (more insane than the USA even), Japan
(very precise, hard for me to keep up, but no or few accidents while I was
there) and Hawaii (yes it's still the USA, but on Maui; very relaxed, calm,
careful)

Still, there are lots of ways that we loose people, medical accidents are
actually the largest, but if you are already in hospital, you have one foot
in the grave and the other on a banana peel right? <GRIN> Of the problems we
could actually do something about, reducing the need for transportation, and
making it safer when it is needed are bound to be the big winners.

Just as an example: If I could automate or eliminate the need for my hour of
commuting each day, I would have an additional 1hr * 5 days * 52 weeks = 260
man-hours per year to spend on solving problems like how to detect a tsunami
and let huge populations of people with little or no communications
technology know it is coming. And that is just ONE person!

Has anyone considered that the problem was not detecting the tsunami (we
knew about it before it hit) but rather communicating that fact to all the
people likely to be affected?

How about skywriting rockets? Russell?

---
James.



> {Original Message removed}

2005\01\03@232003 by William Chops Westfield

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>> Yet: On the roads, ~60,000 die EACH YEAR, and cities can't raise a few
>> hundred thousand for a trolley or commuter train.

"A few hundred thousand"?  Gee, that sounds reasonable.  Too bad it's
off by a factor of 10000 or so.  (For instance,  the 8.7 mile BART
extension  to SF airport cost approximately 1.5 Billion, and SF Muni's
operating budget is about $400 million:
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Francisco_Muni
(and SF isn't very big.))

2005\01\04@174328 by Lawrence Lile

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I'm in the dark green zone, not too safe, but St. Louis, where many very old buildings are brick, would be trashed if New Madrid goes off again.  Same goes for Memphis, as mentioned before, and a number of smaller towns.  Smaller towns are often frame construction, much more resilient, or brick veneer over frame, which just shakes the bricks off the outside and still remains standing.  

The levee system, which pretends to tame the Missisippi and Missouri rivers, would likely burst in multiple places.  Fortunately most everything standing in the path of such a flood was already leveled in the 1993 and 1994 floods.  The 1994 flood would have been the world's record had it not been for 1993.  If the water level happens to be high when New Madrid goes, it will make a helluva mess.  

Nobody follows earthquake codes in Missouri, an oversight which will backfire once the big one pops.  

--Lawrence Lile


{Original Message removed}

2005\01\05@205326 by James Newtons Massmind

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True, most projects do take more than a 6 digits, but BART is not your
average "trolley."

I was thinking of the Red Cars in LA and wasn't cost adjusting for today's
dollars.

---
James.



> {Original Message removed}

2005\01\06@172150 by Mike Hord

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> Has anyone considered that the problem was not detecting the tsunami (we
> knew about it before it hit) but rather communicating that fact to all the
> people likely to be affected?
>
> How about skywriting rockets? Russell?

Frankly, I think the best thing to do would be to inspire fear of the ocean, or
of something in the direction of the ocean, or to inspire a strong desire to
get to something inland.  For example, simulated (or real) gunfire and
explosions on the beach.  Or perhaps rumors or announcements from
helicopters or whatever that free food (or something similar) will be
distributed
for the next 30 minutes at the soccer stadium (which happens to be 2 miles
inland).

Drawback:  People WILL die in a stampede either from a perceived threat or
toward a perceived reward.  Benefit:  More people would probably be saved
than would die.

Of course, the ideal solution is to have warning sirens and lights and speakers
in all public places which are loud enough to be heard indoors in all but the
heaviest of buildings, but for a once in 120 years event, getting a populace to
know what these sirens mean and respond accordingly is almost impossible.
And a system like that might cause a stampede anyway.

Mike H.

2005\01\06@174832 by Bob Axtell

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What disturbs me most about this tragedy is that there was PLENTY of time to
warn the beach sunbathers; the time from the earthquake to the Tsunami was
a few hours. That was enough time to walk around the beach and tell each one
individually, in person.

And according to interviews, the second wave (the worst) came in 4 hours
after
the first one. Seems like somebody was never TAUGHT how Tsunamis work,
therein lies the tragedy...

--Bob

Mike Hord wrote:

{Quote hidden}

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