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Katrina, earthquakes and human scale
By Dave Winer on Wednesday, July 11, 2012 at 7:31 AM.
After Katrina, Spike Lee did an HBO documentary where he interviewed New Orleanians, who asked why no one warned them that there might be a storm that the levees couldn't handle.  permalink
But they were warned. Many times over many years in many ways. When I lived there, as a college student in the 1970s, it was common knowledge that eventually there would be a big enough storm to flood the city.  permalink
The warning was repeated on 60 Minutes a decade before Katrina. It was a very stark and illustrated warning from a charismatic LSU professor and a US official. I would love to find a pointer to the piece. As with all great 60 Minutes bits, it was both frightening and highly entertaining.  permalink
Scientific American ran a story in 2001 that was equally stark and unequivocal. No doubt very few New Orleanians read that magazine, but it probably was reported on TV and in newspapers, or it could have been.  permalink
People were warned.  permalink
And the Bay Area lives under a similar sentence. Eventually there will be an earthquake so big that the US economy won't be able to absorb the cost of reconstruction.  permalink
The entire world lives under the cloud of climate change.  permalink
The human species has some strengths but taking warnings like this seriously isn't one of them.  permalink
It's pretty obvious that our numbers and lifestyle have grown to the point where it no longer scales. A lot of systems are overdue to collapse. Katrina was just an early warning.  permalink
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