did someone muck with the backend here

Re: a bundle of topics

1

I've been wanting to link this for a couple of days: https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/01/12/democrats-cant-win-until-they-recognize-how-bad-obamas-financial-policies-were/


Posted by: roger the cabin boy | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 7:40 AM
horizontal rule
2

What? No hijacking in the first 40 comments.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 7:44 AM
horizontal rule
3

Why aren't trains evacuating people from the path of Hurricane Irma?

Because the link is broken?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 7:46 AM
horizontal rule
4

Swiper no swiping.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 7:46 AM
horizontal rule
5

You can blame Putin, and I certainly do, but there's no way that kind of push on his part would work if there hadn't been a huge number of people in the United States who wished the Civil War had turned out differently. There aren't usually people that attached to the outcome of events that ended more than 100 years before their birth. Except in the Balkans.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 7:49 AM
horizontal rule
6

AIMHMHB, when I was young I stepped on a needle, which strenuous and varied efforts failed to remove, leaving me with a festering wound in one heel for about a year. I learned accordingly to walk on my toes all the time and have kept the habit, leaving me weird-walking and steely-calved.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 7:54 AM
horizontal rule
7

While the link is broken, baseless conjecture abounds. Obviously they would use trains, except freight gets the right-of-way.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 7:55 AM
horizontal rule
8

6 is putting me off my lunch.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 7:56 AM
horizontal rule
9

I've recently taken to noticing that my right heel, the side where I have chronic ankle pain, is noticeably larger than the other heel. That's probably something I should get looked at.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 7:57 AM
horizontal rule
10

3: whoops! Fixed.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 8:00 AM
horizontal rule
11

Huh. Mom must have read the article at the broken link -- she just brought it up. I don't really get it -- is literal transport out of the path of the storm that much of a bottleneck (as opposed to being unwilling to leave, having no place to stay when you get there, and so on)? Dropping thousands of carless refugees at various train stations seems like a problem in itself.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 8:02 AM
horizontal rule
12

2- Even when the OP is just a random grab bag itself?


Posted by: roger the cabin boy | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 8:03 AM
horizontal rule
13

Dropping thousands of carless refugees at various train stations seems like a problem in itself.

That was my thought also. Train stations that I've been to outside of a few large cities (New York, Washington, Chicago) don't seem to be equipped to serve as a node for a large number of arriving passengers. Maybe Atlanta also has that capacity, but I don't know.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 8:07 AM
horizontal rule
14

I would imagine that the reason no one is using trains to evacuate southern Florida is that, judging by the map, there is exactly one railroad in southern Florida, which runs Miami-Hollywood-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, and it is built pretty much right along the sea coast. Not ideal for evacuating during a hurricane.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 8:07 AM
horizontal rule
15

Also, if I were evacuating, I'd personally prefer to take my car because I can fit more shit in it and because I'd like my car to not be flooded.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 8:08 AM
horizontal rule
16

12: Yes. If it's an open thread or Friday WTFuckery I'm less sensitive, but when it takes me a little while to pull together links and write it out, I get annoyed.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 8:08 AM
horizontal rule
17

I assume if you were involving the trains, there'd be a destination coordinated at the other end, right? Austin and Heebieville are certainly used to converting convention centers and hotels into refugee centers for hurricane evacuees.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 8:10 AM
horizontal rule
18

I would imagine that the reason no one is using trains to evacuate southern Florida is that, judging by the map, there is exactly one railroad in southern Florida, which runs Miami-Hollywood-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, and it is built pretty much right along the sea coast. Not ideal for evacuating during a hurricane.

Nah. You have days advance notice, especially with Irma and Harvey. You're not literally trying to get people out of harm's way on the fly.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 8:11 AM
horizontal rule
19

9: Yes. Just be careful if you meet any rude strangers on the road.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 8:11 AM
horizontal rule
20

16- OK sorry.


Posted by: roger the cabin boy | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 8:15 AM
horizontal rule
21

I don't really get it -- is literal transport out of the path of the storm that much of a bottleneck (as opposed to being unwilling to leave, having no place to stay when you get there, and so on)?

But anyway: yes. This is why everyone was told to stay put during Harvey. They do convert both directions on I-10 to be leaving Houston, but you get gas shortages and it has the potential to become a big parking lot. My memory is that most people died in earlier Houston hurricanes because they were stuck on the highway, unable to go anywhere to get out of the way of the flash floods. For all the damage and flooding of Harvey, remarkably few people died.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 8:15 AM
horizontal rule
22

The heel problems didn't start until I was past 40. I don't think late-onset prophesy is a thing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 8:15 AM
horizontal rule
23

20: thanks! :)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 8:16 AM
horizontal rule
24

The article (wsws.org! Published by the International Committee of the Fourth International! bob, where are you now) cites a few examples that don't really seem to be germane. Like:

Prior to Hurricane Gustav in 2008, there was a small successful example of this, as some 2,000 residents of New Orleans were taken to Memphis, Tennessee on special trains.

Yes, but that's going inland, away from the danger area. Not along a low-lying coastline.
As one example, the commuter rail system of Chicago, Metra, has a daily ridership of 295,000 riders. If equipment on that scale were provided to a region at risk of a hurricane, an enormous number of people could be taken to safe shelter.

It's not just about the amount of rolling stock. Could the stations handle that many people? Could the permanent way and the switching and signalling networks handle that many trains?
Also, yes, Metra handles that many passengers, but over much shorter distances, because it's a commuter network! Wsws.org is suggesting moving them to "designated points of shelter established in places like Atlanta, Georgia; Columbia, South Carolina; Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina". Those places are between 700 and 900 miles from Miami. 6.9 million people were evacuated in Florida.
How much rolling stock, how many locomotives, would you need to move that many people 700 miles? This is the sort of problem that previously only the German Great General Staff had to solve.

Florida evacuated 6.9 million people.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 8:18 AM
horizontal rule
25

Clearly I felt that was worth repeating.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 8:19 AM
horizontal rule
26

The problem becomes easier if you assume that nobody will care if you use Belgium as a transit corridor.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 8:20 AM
horizontal rule
27

Yes, but that's going inland, away from the danger area. Not along a low-lying coastline.

But this is not a problem. Don't run the trains during the storm.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 8:20 AM
horizontal rule
28

In south Florida, going inland does not get you away from the danger area. It gets you into the Everglades.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 8:21 AM
horizontal rule
29

The entire argument in 26.last also strains the highway system, which is nearly entirely uncoordinated.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 8:22 AM
horizontal rule
30

This is the sort of problem that previously only the German Great General Staff had to solve.
Exactly, and 6.9 m dwarfs anything they did. It's not impossible, but would require a permanent investment of massive surplus capacity. Which implies, in conjunction with the inadequacy of road transport, that people need basically to shelter in place. If that's impossible in South Florida there shouldn't be cities there.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 8:24 AM
horizontal rule
31

Anyway, my uncle evacuated by car. He said it took him one hour to do one five mile stretch. But, also that it wasn't very stressful since everybody was pretty mellow waiting.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 8:25 AM
horizontal rule
32

30: There shouldn't be cities in South Florida. The whole thing is a monument to real estate scams and a failure to overthrow Castro. But what you are you going to do?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 8:26 AM
horizontal rule
33

Though I would suggest that it would be totally possible for Floridians to shelter in place if they didn't insist on living in endlessly sprawling suburbs made of plywood.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 8:27 AM
horizontal rule
34

But I think the highway system is probably much higher capacity than the railway system, and you don't have to worry about bringing in rolling stock in advance, because people have cars.

The south Florida evacuation only started on Thursday. The storm hit on Sunday. That's just three days of train traffic. At 30 mph, each train will be able to make two round trips from Miami to the "designated points of shelter" and back again, carrying at most 1000 people. Space the trains ten minutes apart and you're really only shifting 300,000 people. It's a tiny number. And you'll need a hundred and fifty complete trains to do it!


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 8:29 AM
horizontal rule
35

I mean, if this was London (pop. 8 million) it would be different. I could empty London in a day, no problem. But London has eleven mainline railway stations, not (like Miami) one, and it has the signalling and track to cope. Even if you were constrained not to evacuate to the east and south, because that's where the advancing Cybermen were, you could still do it in a day and a half.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 8:33 AM
horizontal rule
36

So the take home from this thread is that when the blueprint for mass hurricane evacuation by rail is drawn up by FEMA, it should be named Schlieffen Plan II: Electric Bugaloo.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 8:33 AM
horizontal rule
37

On the Russia bit: "In February 2016 [...] a senior Kremlin adviser named Andrey Krutskikh gave a speech at an info warfare conference [...] to an entirely Russian audience"

You think we are living in 2016. No, we are living in 1948. And do you know why? Because in 1949, the Soviet Union had its first atomic bomb test. And if until that moment, the Soviet Union was trying to reach agreement with [President Harry] Truman to ban nuclear weapons, and the Americans were not taking us seriously, in 1949 everything changed and they started talking to us on an equal footing. I'm warning you: We are at the verge of having "something" in the information arena, which will allow us to talk to the Americans as equals.
It ties to the paper I posted some months back, that the Russians see the Color Revolutions and Arab Spring as Western conspiracies, and all the associated social media and activist stuff as elements in coordinated strategies which will eventually be turned on Russia too.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 8:42 AM
horizontal rule
38

Anyway, my uncle evacuated by car. He said it took him one hour to do one five mile stretch.

Enh, I had to do that on interstate 78 at Fogelsville a few months ago due to construction. (Always check Waze first, kids.) Not a problem so long as that's exceptional and not the norm.

How much are non-major highways used for evacuating? If the highway traffic is only going 10-20mph or less, it seems like traffic should leave and use parallel roads until parity speeds are achieved. Assuming rational actors. (Florida, tho.)

Even if you were constrained not to evacuate to the east and south, because that's where the advancing Cybermen were

You're failing to take into account that the paved surface of the M25 orbital will allow the Daleks to encircle the city.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 8:45 AM
horizontal rule
39

You're failing to take into account that the paved surface of the M25 orbital will allow the Daleks to encircle the city.

In that case we implement CONPLAN 18-M and throw the process into reverse, moving the population east by train and road to Dartford and Felixstowe, where they can be evacuated to the Low Countries by ekranoplan.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 8:48 AM
horizontal rule
40

Actually ISTR from maths class at school working out that you hit maximum throughput for a road at about 16 mph. As you go faster, you have to leave more space between cars, you see.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 8:50 AM
horizontal rule
41

One of my favorite books, Under a Flaming Sky, has pretty thrilling train evacuations barely ahead of a massive forest fire.

I assume that people want to leave by car because they want to bring more stuff. I'll go read the article now.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 8:55 AM
horizontal rule
42

The ICFI has got really boring since they got rid of Gerry Healy. Not that I would defend Gerry Healy under any circs, but at least he brought mad conspiracy theories to the party.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 8:55 AM
horizontal rule
43

41: The article is written by socialists. They don't seem to have considered stuff.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 9:01 AM
horizontal rule
44

41.1: that sounds like a really great read. How come you haven't recommended it before?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 9:02 AM
horizontal rule
45

All this talk about disaster and sheltering reminds me that I should really continue my build-up of basement food. I think we could shelter in place for a week without electricity, but that might not be enough with Trump apparently threatening a nuclear war.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 9:04 AM
horizontal rule
46

Also, we'd have to eat all the food that's at the back of the cabinet uneaten because nobody wants to eat it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 9:06 AM
horizontal rule
47

No offense, but I'm pretty sure North Korea won't target Pittsburgh.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 9:09 AM
horizontal rule
48

Trump said he wanted to help Pittsburgh, so maybe for spite.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 9:10 AM
horizontal rule
49

Trump won't target you either, because he thinks you voted for him.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 9:14 AM
horizontal rule
50

Anyway, it's all hilly, right, so most of the blast will get deflected.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 9:32 AM
horizontal rule
51

41 Was that book about our 1910 fire? There were definitely train evacuations.

34 The challenge isn't evacuating all Floridians, but just those without cars, or gas money. You still have the problem of collecting people at the station, and limiting what they can carry with, but we're looking at folks who don't have other options. Loss of life was light, but sfaik (a) Miami wasn't a direct hit and (b) the storm lost a whole lot of strength before it got to Tampa.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 9:35 AM
horizontal rule
52

How much are non-major highways used for evacuating? If the highway traffic is only going 10-20mph or less, it seems like traffic should leave and use parallel roads until parity speeds are achieved. Assuming rational actors. (Florida, tho.)

Local roads don't have the capacity, and there aren't really any parallel roads that go would go the distance before you'd end up driving through the boonies and getting lost among sugar cane, orange groves, cattle, wetlands, or small towns. There are also major gas shortages in these situations, so the chances of running out of gas in the middle of nowhere are pretty high. I believe the state prioritizes the resupply of stations closer to highway rest stops.

Contraflow (turning both sides of the highway northbound) is also less helpful in FL for a number of reasons; the personnel needed to manage traffic and on- and off- ramps, the fact that heading north is often not the best bet for getting to a safer location, and the fact that emergency responders, and gas and food supplies, and so forth, typically need to be brought into and around the state at the same time evacuees are leaving.

I thought this article was interesting when I read it, but I can't see trains being of much use in these situations, even aside from how expensive Amtrak tickets can get. It would disrupt passenger service and freight along the entire Eastern seaboard.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 9:36 AM
horizontal rule
53

51.1 Minnesota, 1894. It does sound fascinating.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 9:43 AM
horizontal rule
54

All this talk about disaster and sheltering reminds me that I should really continue my build-up of basement food.

I still have all that bottled water that a bought right before super storm Sandy and never used.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 9:45 AM
horizontal rule
55

re: 35

It would never occur to me to evacuate east of London. That'd be like feeling _into_ Mordor.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 9:48 AM
horizontal rule
56

People who feel into Mordor live mostly to your west these days.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 9:50 AM
horizontal rule
57

I mean, if this was London (pop. 8 million) it would be different. I could empty London in a day, no problem. But London has eleven mainline railway stations, not (like Miami) one, and it has the signalling and track to cope.

Well, exactly. This is why I said the reason why not is not very puzzling. No one gives a shit about trains here, and so they're not available as a solution when they might be helpful.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 9:56 AM
horizontal rule
58

What is puzzling, given the topography, is the lack of evacuation by hovercraft and ekranoplan.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 10:00 AM
horizontal rule
59

The whole thing is a monument to real estate scams and a failure to overthrow Castro.
Reminds me: pre-Castro, the Cuban upper and middle classes tended to invest savings in real estate, for reasons I forget, and the real state was very often in South Florida. Many of those refugees already has houses to go to. Which helps explain why they're still Republican after all these years.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 10:05 AM
horizontal rule
60

Dude. I recommend that book all the time. I have four copies at home, so I can just hand one to anyone who asks for a book. I read it out loud to my traveling partner on a weeklong trip. Yes, you should read it.

I am nearly certain I have recommended it here before, because I always recommend it.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 10:06 AM
horizontal rule
61

60: yes.

http://www.unfogged.com/archives/comments_10410.html#1157325


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 10:19 AM
horizontal rule
62

In that case I blame myself.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 10:46 AM
horizontal rule
63

Ot: Do we have a thread somewhere where we discuss this idiot on CNN sexually harassing the host by gratuitously talking about how he believes in "boobs"? And if so could someone please point me to it? I need to read the takes. Because I'm just feeling so fucking exhausted by this shit.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 10:47 AM
horizontal rule
64

urple!


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 10:48 AM
horizontal rule
65

Also that hasn't come up yet.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 10:49 AM
horizontal rule
66

On trains, we should have a rolling meet up.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 11:04 AM
horizontal rule
67

Moby!


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 11:51 AM
horizontal rule
68

The clip in 63 proves that civilization is over. I'm as unhappy about that as anyone but we've got no choice but to accept it. This guy needs to be punched just like the Nazis need to be punched. Nothing else is going to work. I don't like that we're now going to need to use physical violence now to resolve disputes, but that's one of the implications of civilization being over.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 11:55 AM
horizontal rule
69

The video at this link might cheer you.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 11:57 AM
horizontal rule
70

Speaking of Russia and trains "evacuating" people, here is a helluva story on the armored war train Zaamurets and its being used by the Czech Legion to ultimately get out of Russia via Vladivostok.

The best machines were carriages of thick steel armor bristling with gun-ports and turrets. Around 300 armored trains fought during the civil war.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 12:04 PM
horizontal rule
71

And they moved on two thin strips of metal so that everybody in the whole world knew exactly where they were going. How did this work as a weapon?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 12:21 PM
horizontal rule
72

Sadly, my public library has the audiobook of Under a Flaming Sky but neither an e-book nor a physical book.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 12:40 PM
horizontal rule
73

At least in this nation train service is much more vulnerable to bad weather than highways. If a tree falls on the highway, cars can drive around it; if that happens on a track, everyone has to wait for the chainsaw crew. There's almost always an alternate road of some kind if one highway is unusable, there usually isn't for trains. Amtrak stops running somewhat earlier than other modes before a hurricane, so they don't lose their rolling stock..

Train service took a much harder hit than highways in Superstorm Sandy. Highways were usable in a few days, some train lines took months.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 12:55 PM
horizontal rule
74

a bundle of topics

The symbol of Unfoscism.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 12:57 PM
horizontal rule
75

I suppose it might be harder to get them home again, if the train track was damaged.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 1:03 PM
horizontal rule
76

You can never go home again.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 1:06 PM
horizontal rule
77

Shit, I was going to leave work in about an hour.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 1:11 PM
horizontal rule
78

On 9/11, a small part of lower Manhattan was evacuated, but a much bigger problem was getting the millions of commuters home.

The main subway to New Jersey terminated at the World Trade Center, and several subway lines also ran directly underneath the building. The World Trade Center was quite close to the Hudson River, and the tunnels are lower than the river bottom. A breach of the system would fill the tunnels in a few minutes. So it all shut down.

They also shut down the bridges that night out of fear of another attack.

So neither trains nor cars were usable. A Dunkirk-style fleet of tour boats, pleasure boats, fishing vessels, and the very few existing commuter boats. and such brought tens of thousands of Jersey-ites to a state park across the river, where the roads were still working.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 1:16 PM
horizontal rule
79

Talking of evacuating, we just had another pretty unpleasant quake in El Dorado (h/t ajay for name).

7ish rather than 8ish this time - which is an order of magnitude smaller, if I understand the scale correctly, which I probably don't - but considerably closer to CDED, and with an "up and down" component as well as the normal "side to side" motion. That means that it subjectively felt a lot stronger here, and I think that the effect was much greater. Unfortunately there are credible reports of buildings and other infrastructure falling down, as well as gas mains exploding.

I evacuated from a one-storey building, so got to experience the excitement of the ground moving in ways that it absolutely shouldn't, watching buildings sway etc.

Semillas had the experience of evacuating from 30-odd floors up while eight months' pregnant for the second time in two weeks, this time with extra "the stairwell is being vigorously shaken by a vengeful god".

(This is all on the exact anniversary of the '85 quake and follows a couple of hours after a siren drill. I can't imagine what today's must have felt like if you lived through that one, or lost loved ones to it.)


Posted by: Seeds | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 1:35 PM
horizontal rule
80

Twitter already has videos. They're super scary and sad.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 1:40 PM
horizontal rule
81

A lot of sirens and helicopters in my neighbourhood. Ive been avoiding twitter and news sites, as apparently the govt has asked people not to share images and videos so as not to take down the networks, but even secondhand it sounds awful. Apparently a school has collapsed.


Posted by: Seeds | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 1:44 PM
horizontal rule
82

There'll be aftershocks. If you can, stay in buildings built to seismic code.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 1:47 PM
horizontal rule
83

82: Thank you. We're currently ground floor, as far away as possible from the tall buildings that surround us, while remaining somewhere that isn't impossibly uncomfortable for Semillas, given the heat.

Luckily for us the apartment is new build, not built on one of the many parts of CDED that's formed from a dry lake bed, and I'm as confident as I can be in the architect and contractors for various personal reasons. Everyone else seems to have drifted back to their apartments at this point but I am strongly on team "not walking down 30 flights of stairs (best case scenario) in the event of an aftershock".

Absolutely everything is cancelled and people are requested to stay off the road, so little risk that we will need to move. Extended friends and family are OK as far as we have heard, although there seem to have been some frightening near-misses.


Posted by: Seeds | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 2:09 PM
horizontal rule
84

Yikes. Glad to hear you're okay.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 2:37 PM
horizontal rule
85

41: yeah, Hinckley was pretty awful. I've seen some of the interpretive material, but nobody ever mentions it otherwise.

Today I am sad because the two people I've sat with forever at this job are both leaving next week.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 2:55 PM
horizontal rule
86

Stay safe, seeds & semillas!

Stepdaughter was supposed to be on flight to capitol of El Dorado leaving at 1, has been delayed and as international airport closed suspect she may be our guest a bit longer .... Unless she switches flight to El Dorado Sud, hmmmm.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 2:57 PM
horizontal rule
87

Cheers, teo.

Sirens absolutely omnipresent now. A friend is walking across town from here because he can't get in touch with his family in the centre - fingers crossed that it's an issue with the power being out. We offered our car but apparently the roads are all closed.

The centre sounds very bad indeed - there's a Spanish-language list (I'm unsure of the provenance) going around of 30 buildings down, including bridges, schools and hospitals, as well as residential and commercial property.


Posted by: Seeds | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 3:02 PM
horizontal rule
88

DQ: Thanks! As far as I know the runways here (the capital) are all still closed while they're checked for integrity, and worth noting that the airport building itself doesnt seem to have come through completely unscathed. The epicentre was to the south of the capital so airports to the south may also be affected.


Posted by: Seeds | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 3:06 PM
horizontal rule
89

I wouldn't think evacuation by train would be very effective either. Take care.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 3:12 PM
horizontal rule
90

In happier news a cheerful white-haired gentleman just wandered around the building with a large yoghurt pot full of holy water sprinkling it on things


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 3:12 PM
horizontal rule
91

Glad to hear you're OK. There seem to be a lot of natural disasters these days.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 3:15 PM
horizontal rule
92

Apparently, my grandmother was of also from the "sprinkle the house for protection" school. One day, a storm was blowing toward the house and she told my grandfather to sprinkle the house with holy water. My grandfather got the bottle, found it empty, and told grandmother this. She said, "Throw the damn bottle at the house." They didn't get hit by the tornado at least, but the needed a new bottle.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 3:16 PM
horizontal rule
93

91: Only because that's what happens before the world ends.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 3:16 PM
horizontal rule
94

In case it wasn't clear, I was responsible for the holy yoghurt pot comment.

Also thanks Moby. I too am sceptical of the value of a train network during an earthquake (without singling out the network in El Dorado for particular aspersions).


Posted by: Seeds | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 3:17 PM
horizontal rule
95

71: well, most armies were pretty much tied to roads, so not much difference. You couldn't go around blowing up railways willy-nilly to stop armoured trains; everyone depended on them. And they were, as the story says, really just the artillery and logistics bit of a small mobile combined-arms column; just like the mounted columns of the Boer War or the Jock Columns of 1940-41.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 3:19 PM
horizontal rule
96

If anyone's hinting that my soon-to-be newborn child might be the antichrist, I resent the implication and have categorically not been wondering the same thing myself.


Posted by: Seeds | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 3:19 PM
horizontal rule
97

See my forthcoming board game for details.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 3:19 PM
horizontal rule
98

If your boardgame prophesies the life of my child and how it relates to the imminent end of the world please put me on the advance orders list


Posted by: Seeds | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 3:23 PM
horizontal rule
99

95: Why not just park a truck on the line.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 3:29 PM
horizontal rule
100

OT: My son is using Siri to study for a vocabulary test. Apparently, to a computer, "sodden" is very hard to distinguish from "sodomy."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 4:13 PM
horizontal rule
101

Stepdaughter lives in let's call it Mixtecville, so south south of El Dorado capitol. She was just stopping by capitol for a couple of weeks arvival research. At any rate, airport open again and her plane's on it's way.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 4:17 PM
horizontal rule
102

hopes that all are safe.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 5:03 PM
horizontal rule
103

Holy moly, Seeds. Sorry about your demon spawn.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 5:19 PM
horizontal rule
104

Stay safe Seeds & Seedlings!


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 6:09 PM
horizontal rule
105

Update before bed:

Had a bit of a scare with the in-laws maintaining 4+ hours of complete radio silence, after initially checking in and saying they were OK (one had been in hospital for surgery at the time of the quake but had been successfully evacuated, and thankfully before they'd started the main event).

To great relief they just turned up at the door with various other relatives - their phones had all run out of battery and they'd been trying to cross / circumnavigate the city for the whole time. However, sounds like it was fairly harrowing, with a lot of collapsed buildings visible en route.

Night all and thanks for the well wishes.


Posted by: Seeds | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 7:03 PM
horizontal rule
106

Wow, thanks for the update. I'm glad you're all there together, but it sounds scary still. I hope everyone gets plenty of rest and tomorrow is meaningfully better!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 7:18 PM
horizontal rule
107

Yes. That's good to know.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 7:19 PM
horizontal rule
108

alamieda: serious question but unfair. How do you know when to turn back? It's more than ok to tell me to piss off.


Posted by: JFK | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 7:46 PM
horizontal rule
109

Stay safe Seeds.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 8:08 PM
horizontal rule
110

Stanley's appearance in the other thread reminds me of the correct answer to:

Why aren't trains evacuating people from the path of Hurricane Irma?

They forgot to seek advice from the hobo consultants.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 8:15 PM
horizontal rule
111

A lot of sirens and helicopters in my neighbourhood.

Tell me, were there any early-warning sirens going off before the quake hit? I heard that there were during the last quake - but that was a case where the city was farther away from the epicenter.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 8:38 PM
horizontal rule
112

(Since I haven't actually managed to go to sleep...)

The siren went off more-or-less exactly as the quake hit in my recollection - room starts shaking, siren almost immediately / simultaneously goes off, shaking intensifies as everyone begins to evacuate. So it wasn't a very useful early warning, but then the epicentre was 120 km away. Wikipedia informs me that seismic waves travel at 2 to 8 km s^-1, and that secondary waves (slower and more damaging) travel at 0.6 the speed of the primary waves (faster and less damaging). This makes sense to me, since I had time to evacuate a one storey building and corridor, probably 10-15 seconds, and then a further 10-15 seconds at the muster point before the shaking got really intense and the up-and-down motions started.

So being maximally uncharitable to the early warning system, it looks as though the S waves (intense shaking) arrived here one minute after the quake, tops. The P waves (initial shaking) arrived at most 36 seconds after the quake, which - if what we felt first was in fact the arrival of the P waves - is the absolute maximum time it took for the system to respond. I'm not an expert on early warning system latency, but that doesn't seem insane to me. I'm on a phone right now and early warning system manufacturers don't seem immediately forthcoming with latency times in the first page of google results, but I'm seeing "seconds to tens of seconds", which this would be in line with the back of the envelope calculation above (P wave propagation in granite is 5 km s^-1 per Wikipedia, which would give 24 seconds latency at the more charitable end of the spectrum).

Couple of other related points:

While the early warning may not have saved lives, the morning's drill very probably did.

It's also possible that I got a "good" siren, i.e. it went off at all; and it went off as fast as possible. Some areas don't seem to have working sirens, and some people have said "the siren sounded five seconds after the quake" or similar. On the one hand, it wouldn't surprise me if siren times varied, especially if the system isn't fully automated. On the other, there's also a lot of reflexive anti-government feeling around, so it also wouldn't surprise me to find out that some claims were especially uncharitable. I just don't know.


Posted by: Seeds | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 9:44 PM
horizontal rule
113

From the pictures I've seen it looks like a surprising number of buildings didn't have any seismic protection at all.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 10:10 PM
horizontal rule
114

Stepdaughter has been waiting on tarmac for gate to disembark for hours now. Hopefully she can get a flight on down to Mixtecville, as seems likely not a great time to give her talk, do research ...


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 10:22 PM
horizontal rule
115

Surprising? AFAIK CDED has been growing like a yeast infection.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 10:25 PM
horizontal rule
116

Surprising for a place that gets so many earthquakes, including some really devastating ones within living memory.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 11:33 PM
horizontal rule
117

If people can't afford the rents needed to cover the capital cost of seismic code compliance, not surprising. (speculation)


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 11:36 PM
horizontal rule
118

I suppose, but it's not that poor a country.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 11:38 PM
horizontal rule
119

And we're talking about the capital city, which should be able to afford this sort of thing if anywhere in the country can.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 11:39 PM
horizontal rule
120

I guess what I'm wondering is whether this is due to not having sufficient governmental capacity to enforce seismic codes, or not having sufficient governmental capacity to enact them in the first place.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 11:43 PM
horizontal rule
121

115 Canadian Digital Elevation Data?


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09-19-17 11:50 PM
horizontal rule
122

مدينة المذهّب


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 12:34 AM
horizontal rule
123

Ciudad de El Dorado


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 1:20 AM
horizontal rule
124

Compliance is expensive. Roc only started getting its shit together after a bad quake in 1999, and it's a lot richer and better governed than ED.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 1:39 AM
horizontal rule
125

Compliance is expensive, but fatality numbers in an earthquake (or other natural disaster) tend to correlate with governance as much as with wealth.
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2015/04/what-does-it-take-to-make-buildings-earthquake-proof/
Notice how the strongest earthquake of a given year is almost never the most deadly. Exceptions are the 2004 Boxing Day quake/tsunami and the 2011 East Japan one; even then, notice that it was the tsunami, not the quake, that did most of the killing. Similarly, look at the difference between what happens when a cyclone hits a military dictatorship like Myanmar (Cyclone Nargis, 2008; 138,000 dead) or when it hits an equally poor but democratic Bangladesh (Cyclone Sidr, 2007; 5,000 dead).

If you have a government that has to care about its people, it'll enforce building standards and let foreign disaster aid in; if you have a government that doesn't give a shit, it'll block aid at the ports until the NGOs pay "customs charges", and won't bother inspecting buildings too closely if they're built by friends of the president.

Of course, when you have an improvement in governance, you still have a lot of buildings put up under the old regime; or a lot of buildings put up "informally" that avoid the inspections.

It's unsettling that yesterday's earthquake was on the exact same date as the 1985 one; but the 1985 quake killed at least 5,000 people. Yesterday's quake will probably not kill a tenth as many.

https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2015/sep/18/mexico-city-earthquake-30-years-lessons


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 2:08 AM
horizontal rule
126

125: All true, and consistent with Roc history. To quibble though, preparedness and response for cyclones and earthquakes present rather different sets of problems.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 4:57 AM
horizontal rule
127

Yesterday's quake will probably not kill a tenth as many.

Even when they are earthquakes, millennials don't apply themselves.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 5:05 AM
horizontal rule
128

More on babies and Satan.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 5:12 AM
horizontal rule
129

preparedness and response for cyclones and earthquakes present rather different sets of problems.

Oh, sure. But the underpinning factors are likely to be the same. I doubt there will be countries which are much better at dealing with one than the other.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 5:33 AM
horizontal rule
130

Canadian Digital Elevation Data?

RECORD START: 1949 (as Canadian Elevation Data; name changed in 1980)

PRECEDED BY: Upper Canada Register of Altitude; Dominion General Gazette of Elevations; Newfoundland Official Record of Heights, Widths and Depths; Archive des Hauts Quebecois

AVAILABLE FROM: Public Enquiries Office, Canada Height/Hauts Canada, Diefenbaker Building, Ottawa; data@heights-hauts.gc.ca

GENERAL DESCRIPTION AND HISTORY: Implemented in its current form under the Mackenzie King government in 1948 in response to a query from Governor-General the Viscount Alexander of Tunis about how high Canadians were, in general, and whether they were getting perceptibly any higher; formalised the next year by the establishment of the Office of Heights, originally part of the Forestry Department on the basis that most of the high things in Canada were trees; moved to the Department of Defence in 1955 for reasons connected with the Avro Arrow project; moved to the Natural Resources Canada in 1979 in recognition that mountains are fewer in number but significantly taller than trees. The index has risen gradually and fairly smoothly since 1950, with a pronounced dip in 2016 after the death of former Toronto mayor Rob Ford.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 5:47 AM
horizontal rule
131

So, it's great to make fun of Canadian archives, but in my one experience with them, they were ridiculously helpful. I happened up on image description in an archive index and I thought the image might contain a picture of my dad. They just emailed it to me with absurdly good cheer even by librarian standards.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 5:58 AM
horizontal rule
132

Well, good for them. I expected nothing else.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 6:04 AM
horizontal rule
133

The librarians I know (and there are many) are all dedicated and helpful, but not at all notable for good cheer.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 6:05 AM
horizontal rule
134

This was an email-based interaction. It's possible they were dying on the inside.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 6:06 AM
horizontal rule
135

133: oh, come on. Barry is positively jovial.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 6:07 AM
horizontal rule
136

Barry accounts for only a small fraction of my sample.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 6:09 AM
horizontal rule
137

129: Sure. I was thinking which would cost more. I'm inclined to think it would be earthquake preparedness if only because of shorter warning times. But OTOH local factors will likely be overwhelming. eg., Roc handles typhoons well. That's down to wealth and governance, but by far the most important factor is topography: the vast majority of the population lives in the lee of a substantial mountain range. Burma and Bangladesh both have the inverse situation.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 6:14 AM
horizontal rule
138

They live under the mountains, like Dwarf Fortress.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 6:15 AM
horizontal rule
139

The Fortress itself is alive?


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 8:03 AM
horizontal rule
140

I've never played.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 8:05 AM
horizontal rule
141

Long ago, when I went through hurricane training to be allowed to work a summer job at a refinery, they told us that there were two places on earth where the topography aligned with the weather to set up maximum possible damage from a cyclone: Bangladesh and New Orleans.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 9:37 AM
horizontal rule
142

Myanmar (Cyclone Nargis, 2008; 138,000 dead)

JESUS CHRIST. Is it just me, or was this not widely reported in the U.S. media? (Election year, and probably my busiest year in grad school, so it might just have been me.)


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 9:53 AM
horizontal rule
143

Wiki has it at 146,000. I remember the name but not the toll associated with it. Jesus Christ indeed.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 10:28 AM
horizontal rule
144

Wiki-crawling from the page on Nargis, I found the article about a dam failure in China due to Typhoon Nina in 1975. It caused over 220k deaths. Everything ajay says applies. The natural factors sound strangely reminiscent of Harvey, with a cyclone hovering over an area dropping an amount of rain greater than our longest meteorological records have any hope of predicting.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 10:37 AM
horizontal rule
145

The reason you didn't hear about Nargis is that the Burmese government didn't let in journalists (or even UN help) to cover the massive death toll.

Burma is really up there in the "worst governed country" sweepstakes--not that the US can be too cocky about this, but still, we're not Burma. In 1945 it was one of the richer and more developed parts of Asia. Then for about 15 years after independence it sucked and had wars in a non-well-functioning government way, then for almost another 50 had a ridiculous isolationist quasi "socialist" government that impoverished them and kept them isolated from the world without even getting Soviet dollars for a while, then from 1998-2016 they transitioned to aggressively brutal no-longer-socialist military dictatorship that maybe got a bit richer but still was horrendously repressive and impoverishing, then in 2016 the-beloved-by-the-West-Nobel-Peace-Prize-winning daughter of the assassinated in 1947 supposed saint who would have prevented all this came to power, and turned out to be a genocide-perpetrator. Obviously they never hit the peak terrible of a country like Cambodia but for consistency of bad over a long period of time and from all factions it's pretty impressive. Kind of like the Don Sutton of terribly-governed and brutally impoverished countries that have unnecessarily caused millions to die.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 10:59 AM
horizontal rule
146

Kind of like the Don Sutton of terribly-governed and brutally impoverished countries that have unnecessarily caused millions to die.

Is this what you're referring to?

He also holds the major league record for most consecutive losses to one team, having lost 13 straight games to the Chicago Cubs


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 11:07 AM
horizontal rule
147

Was thinking peak terrible government vs. not hall-of-fame peak but long staying power terrible government. Yes I am comparing perpetrating baseball to perpetrating genocide.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 11:10 AM
horizontal rule
148

Pedro Martinez was more like Pol Pot.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 11:13 AM
horizontal rule
149

Paraguay is definitely the the lead contender for career worst governance, though it's non-terrible now. Including 30 years of an insane isolationist nutcase dictator after independence, then Solano Lopez, who lost up to 70% (!) of the population through an insane terrible war, then some incompetent but more vaguely democratic governments that ended in another stupid disastrous war, then hmmm-what-is-with the-German-name Stroessner who ruled basically the whole postwar period until 1989. So basically unremittingly very bad, from multiple factions, from 1811 to 1989. Now just kinda not great. That has got to be the highest career-level bad for a country AND includes some world-historical-scale true peak bad periods. The Willie Mays of terribly-governed countries.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 11:34 AM
horizontal rule
150

This makes sense to me, since I had time to evacuate a one storey building and corridor, probably 10-15 seconds, and then a further 10-15 seconds at the muster point before the shaking got really intense and the up-and-down motions started.

I its useful to have the sirens going off during this time, even if they don't get the there much in advance. The more stimulus you can have telling you "something is wrong" at that time, the earlier your brain can make the decision to get to safety.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 11:50 AM
horizontal rule
151

I was in Ecuador after the earthquake last year that killed ~660. One of the things that was really evident is how much damage varied from one location to the next, based on the quality of the soil. City neighborhoods built on alluvial flats or filled wetlands just got demolished, whereas areas with more stable ground saw relativity limited damage.

One of the problems was that institutional facilities like schools or offices of the national telecommunications company were built to a single architectural pattern that had been adopted as the standard for similar installations across the country. But a building on top of bedrock has different seismic needs than one built on silt. So, a single design can't work everywhere, no matter how convenient that would be from an institutional planning committee's perspective.

It was very fortunate that the earthquake did not happen during school hours.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 12:07 PM
horizontal rule
152

Is Paraguay especially hospitable to strongman rulers for some reason? They seem to have started out independence with a long one too.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 12:09 PM
horizontal rule
153

Oh, missed the "after independence" in 149.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 12:10 PM
horizontal rule
154

This thread should have been called: Topic of Thunder.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 12:12 PM
horizontal rule
155

Is Paraguay especially hospitable to strongman rulers for some reason?

No mountains for rebel armies to hole up in.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 12:14 PM
horizontal rule
156

The wiki page on Paraguay has this wonderfully obtuse sentence in its opening paragraph:

Paraguay is one of the two landlocked countries (the other is Bolivia) outside Afro-Eurasia, and is the smallest landlocked country in the Americas.

Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 12:19 PM
horizontal rule
157

The smallest landlocked country in North America is El Salvador.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 12:25 PM
horizontal rule
158

At least as close as you can get.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 12:26 PM
horizontal rule
159

Smallest thing that isn't an actual island. That is all.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 12:33 PM
horizontal rule
160

The correct comparison for an American of this century for Burma is Jeff Fisher.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 12:46 PM
horizontal rule
161

The smallest landlocked country in North America is El Salvador.

I'm an East Coaster myself, but I don't usually take it so far as to refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the Pacific Ocean.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-20-17 12:53 PM
horizontal rule