Emergency cell phone messages from the president

Does anyone see anything wrong with this?

A new national alert system is set to begin in New York City that will alert the public to emergencies via cell phones.

It’s called the Personal Localized Alert Network or PLAN. Presidential and local emergency messages as well as Amber Alerts would appear on cell phones equipped with special chips and software.

The Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Emergency Management Agency said the system would also warn about terrorist attacks and natural disasters.

“The lessons that were reinforced on 9/11 is the importance of getting clear and accurate information to the public during a crisis,” New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a news conference on Tuesday.

Verizon and AT&T, the nation’s largest cell phone carriers, are already on board. Consumers would be able to opt out of all but those presidential messages.

via National Emergency Alert System Set To Launch In NYC « CBS New York.

It sounds like a good idea.  So why does it FEEL wrong?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://mikegastin.com Mike Gastin

    I think it’s wrong. The first thing that came to mind is the potential for it to be used as propaganda. Why the president? Is the president to become involved in every level of our daily lives? If I’m in trouble he will reach out from the Oval Office and personally warn me?

    This warning system is born out of fear. We can’t even leave our houses without our cel phones in case we get into trouble and need to call for help. Now we need a national warning system to alert us to every danger no matter where we are and what we’re doing?

    I don’t like it and I don’t like what it says about our society.

  • http://mikegastin.com Mike Gastin

    I think it’s wrong. The first thing that came to mind is the potential for it to be used as propaganda. Why the president? Is the president to become involved in every level of our daily lives? If I’m in trouble he will reach out from the Oval Office and personally warn me?

    This warning system is born out of fear. We can’t even leave our houses without our cel phones in case we get into trouble and need to call for help. Now we need a national warning system to alert us to every danger no matter where we are and what we’re doing?

    I don’t like it and I don’t like what it says about our society.

  • Jonathan

    Why stop at cell phones? Some people still (only) have landlines.

    Why not have Microsoft and software put in IM pop ups for home computers?

  • Jonathan

    Why stop at cell phones? Some people still (only) have landlines.

    Why not have Microsoft and software put in IM pop ups for home computers?

  • Tom Hering

    I’ve already opted in to our county’s Code Red system, which delivers a variety of emergency notifications to any cell phone, and/or land line, and/or e-mail address. No special chip required. Would I mind receiving a message from the President in a true national emergency? No. But if the system were used by the President for anything other than a true national emergency, he/she could count on one less vote at re-election time.

  • Tom Hering

    I’ve already opted in to our county’s Code Red system, which delivers a variety of emergency notifications to any cell phone, and/or land line, and/or e-mail address. No special chip required. Would I mind receiving a message from the President in a true national emergency? No. But if the system were used by the President for anything other than a true national emergency, he/she could count on one less vote at re-election time.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    I think it feels wrong because 1) The government wants the capacity to override our phone in emergencies and 2) many of us don’t trust the government’s judgment to use this ability wisely. It’s like when a sketchy friend wants to borrow your phone “for a sec.’” It’s not an onerous request in itself, but you hesitate because you can’t help wondering what else will come along for the ride.

    Also, a special chip seems rather elaborate in the age of twitter, text messages, etc. That in itself makes me wonder what else the chip will do.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    I think it feels wrong because 1) The government wants the capacity to override our phone in emergencies and 2) many of us don’t trust the government’s judgment to use this ability wisely. It’s like when a sketchy friend wants to borrow your phone “for a sec.’” It’s not an onerous request in itself, but you hesitate because you can’t help wondering what else will come along for the ride.

    Also, a special chip seems rather elaborate in the age of twitter, text messages, etc. That in itself makes me wonder what else the chip will do.

  • Kirk

    Why does it feel wrong? Because a DEMOCRAT is doing it. If it were a Republican, we’d all blithely accept it “for our security.”

  • Kirk

    Why does it feel wrong? Because a DEMOCRAT is doing it. If it were a Republican, we’d all blithely accept it “for our security.”

  • Carl Vehse

    “The government wants the capacity to override our phone in emergencies”

    Not the government, but traitors in the government.

  • Carl Vehse

    “The government wants the capacity to override our phone in emergencies”

    Not the government, but traitors in the government.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Kirk is right – this was probably Bush II’s dream for security management! But I think it feels wrong because it is wrong on some level. It feels to me as though the Federal Government is trying to take the place of husband and father in society.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Kirk is right – this was probably Bush II’s dream for security management! But I think it feels wrong because it is wrong on some level. It feels to me as though the Federal Government is trying to take the place of husband and father in society.

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ Carol-Christian Soldier

    1984 anyone?-
    We were warned-we did not pay any attention-especially the Christian “leaders”–
    The slow slide to tyranny has been going on for 80+ years–
    Time for our “leaders” to read some Biblical HIStory and some American-Founding HIStory!
    and to stop worrying about their 501 C3 status!
    C-CS

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ Carol-Christian Soldier

    1984 anyone?-
    We were warned-we did not pay any attention-especially the Christian “leaders”–
    The slow slide to tyranny has been going on for 80+ years–
    Time for our “leaders” to read some Biblical HIStory and some American-Founding HIStory!
    and to stop worrying about their 501 C3 status!
    C-CS

  • http://mikegastin.com Mike Gastin

    Kirk, you really believe that? You think we’re so partisan that all that matters is *who* makes the rule, rather than the validity and wisdom of the rule itself?

    I don’t want ANY president chipping my phone, sending me messages or tracking what I do day in and out, for that matter.

  • http://mikegastin.com Mike Gastin

    Kirk, you really believe that? You think we’re so partisan that all that matters is *who* makes the rule, rather than the validity and wisdom of the rule itself?

    I don’t want ANY president chipping my phone, sending me messages or tracking what I do day in and out, for that matter.

  • Orianna Laun

    On the one hand, we have weather alert radios for receiving messages regarding severe weather. These radios also cover Amber Alerts. Would it be much different than having an app for your iphone that does the same,warning of terrorist attacks along with tornados? If it is limited to matters of the Emergency Broadcast System, such as they test on the radio monthly, that would be fine. It does sound as though it has the propensity for misuse.

  • Orianna Laun

    On the one hand, we have weather alert radios for receiving messages regarding severe weather. These radios also cover Amber Alerts. Would it be much different than having an app for your iphone that does the same,warning of terrorist attacks along with tornados? If it is limited to matters of the Emergency Broadcast System, such as they test on the radio monthly, that would be fine. It does sound as though it has the propensity for misuse.

  • Joe

    Kirk – you’ve been around here long enough to know that your statement (for the vast majority of us) is simply false. Right now I generally think of you as a witty and intelligent commenter – don’t give me a reason to think otherwise.

  • Joe

    Kirk – you’ve been around here long enough to know that your statement (for the vast majority of us) is simply false. Right now I generally think of you as a witty and intelligent commenter – don’t give me a reason to think otherwise.

  • Tom Hering

    If anyone is worried that the new chip will allow the government to track your whereabouts, you’re a little behind the times. From the IP Law Blog:

    Since the end of 2005, the Federal Communications Commission has mandated that cell phone service providers must be able to locate 67% of all callers to within 100 meters, and 95% of all callers within 300 meters. Cell phone companies have a variety of ways of doing this. They can triangulate your position by using three cell towers to fix your position. Others have gone one step further, and most new cell phones come with a GPS chip which can be used to pinpoint your position to within a few feet. The cell phone companies record your location data as determined either through triangulation or from the GPS chip, and store it as “historical location” information. An important feature in this equation, however, is the ability of your cell phone service carrier to transmit “real-time” location information (of your cell phone, anyway) to law enforcement at any time.

  • Tom Hering

    If anyone is worried that the new chip will allow the government to track your whereabouts, you’re a little behind the times. From the IP Law Blog:

    Since the end of 2005, the Federal Communications Commission has mandated that cell phone service providers must be able to locate 67% of all callers to within 100 meters, and 95% of all callers within 300 meters. Cell phone companies have a variety of ways of doing this. They can triangulate your position by using three cell towers to fix your position. Others have gone one step further, and most new cell phones come with a GPS chip which can be used to pinpoint your position to within a few feet. The cell phone companies record your location data as determined either through triangulation or from the GPS chip, and store it as “historical location” information. An important feature in this equation, however, is the ability of your cell phone service carrier to transmit “real-time” location information (of your cell phone, anyway) to law enforcement at any time.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I like the idea. I guess there is the potential for misuse. But it doesn’t scare me too much. Like Tom said, they already have all they need to carry out whatever they want.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I like the idea. I guess there is the potential for misuse. But it doesn’t scare me too much. Like Tom said, they already have all they need to carry out whatever they want.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    If it’s just an alert system, then I guess I’m OK with it. But, as others have noted, I don’t understand the need for “special chips.” Hopefully that’s just typical misreporting by an un-knowledgable reporter.

    I’d like to hear more about the technical implemntation of the system.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    If it’s just an alert system, then I guess I’m OK with it. But, as others have noted, I don’t understand the need for “special chips.” Hopefully that’s just typical misreporting by an un-knowledgable reporter.

    I’d like to hear more about the technical implemntation of the system.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Per Kirk’s comment, I’d be concerned that politicians of all stripes would abuse it. We have the fourth estate for a reason, we can use that, I think.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Per Kirk’s comment, I’d be concerned that politicians of all stripes would abuse it. We have the fourth estate for a reason, we can use that, I think.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    It seems to me that anyone that’s hopped on the smart phone fad doesn’t really care about their personal privacy. Ditto for folks who use Wifi on laptops.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    It seems to me that anyone that’s hopped on the smart phone fad doesn’t really care about their personal privacy. Ditto for folks who use Wifi on laptops.

  • DonS

    It feels wrong to me because it is mandatory. At least the presence of the chip in your phone is mandatory. It’s not clear to me whether phone subscribers are required to receive the messages, or can opt out. My question is why governments always feel like they have to do things by force. Why don’t they simply offer the option of being able to receive these notifications, instead of forcing them on us? Actually offer a product that people will want and will opt into? What a concept!

  • DonS

    It feels wrong to me because it is mandatory. At least the presence of the chip in your phone is mandatory. It’s not clear to me whether phone subscribers are required to receive the messages, or can opt out. My question is why governments always feel like they have to do things by force. Why don’t they simply offer the option of being able to receive these notifications, instead of forcing them on us? Actually offer a product that people will want and will opt into? What a concept!

  • Stephanie

    In practice it would be hugely annoying. We have a similar system at my workplace (a university campus). On occasion an alert is sent out that goes to cell phones, land lines and emails. What this means in real terms is that when an alert goes out we have 2 – 5 minutes of every office phone and every cell phone in the office ringing. Not to mention that I get to go home to hear the same message on my home phone answering machine. Plus the emails. It is way over the top.

  • Stephanie

    In practice it would be hugely annoying. We have a similar system at my workplace (a university campus). On occasion an alert is sent out that goes to cell phones, land lines and emails. What this means in real terms is that when an alert goes out we have 2 – 5 minutes of every office phone and every cell phone in the office ringing. Not to mention that I get to go home to hear the same message on my home phone answering machine. Plus the emails. It is way over the top.

  • Kirk

    @ Bryan, Joe and Mike

    Come on, let’s be serious here. Why would I expect conservatives to get worked up about Presidential text messages? To put things in perspective, let’s talk about what’s been put up with in the War on Terror(tm), thus far: warrantless wire tapping, preemptive invasions of other countries, invasive pat-downs and scans at airports and the effective redefinition of the concept of POW. And you all are concerned that President Obama could, theoretically, send everyone a text message that says “Vote for me in 2012″? Seriously?

    Personally, I feel the text message idea is dumb, unnecessary and pretty much pointless. But, from my cursory thinking, it’s not unconstitutional or really that harmful to anyone, which is a lot more than can be said about many security precautions taken by the last administration. And maybe you all were dead set against those, too. I just find it extremely odd that a pretty innocuous, albeit stupid, security notification system is considered such a threat to our rights. And, yes, I’m pretty sure that if this had come from Bush II, there wouldn’t be quite this hullabaloo on this blog.

    PS: The government can already override TV and Radio signals to announce an emergency. It’s called “The Emergency Alert System.” Pretty much the only communication system they can’t override, at this point, is phone service.

  • Kirk

    @ Bryan, Joe and Mike

    Come on, let’s be serious here. Why would I expect conservatives to get worked up about Presidential text messages? To put things in perspective, let’s talk about what’s been put up with in the War on Terror(tm), thus far: warrantless wire tapping, preemptive invasions of other countries, invasive pat-downs and scans at airports and the effective redefinition of the concept of POW. And you all are concerned that President Obama could, theoretically, send everyone a text message that says “Vote for me in 2012″? Seriously?

    Personally, I feel the text message idea is dumb, unnecessary and pretty much pointless. But, from my cursory thinking, it’s not unconstitutional or really that harmful to anyone, which is a lot more than can be said about many security precautions taken by the last administration. And maybe you all were dead set against those, too. I just find it extremely odd that a pretty innocuous, albeit stupid, security notification system is considered such a threat to our rights. And, yes, I’m pretty sure that if this had come from Bush II, there wouldn’t be quite this hullabaloo on this blog.

    PS: The government can already override TV and Radio signals to announce an emergency. It’s called “The Emergency Alert System.” Pretty much the only communication system they can’t override, at this point, is phone service.

  • Kirk

    And I don’t think anyone is malicious about applying a double standard (except maybe C-CS). It’s a pretty natural thing to do.

  • Kirk

    And I don’t think anyone is malicious about applying a double standard (except maybe C-CS). It’s a pretty natural thing to do.

  • http://mikegastin.com Mike Gastin

    Kirk – you’re assuming I’m a conservative/Republican. You’re also assuming that I have been fine with everything a conservative does and not so much with liberal/Democrats.

    For the record, I’m a very reluctant conservative. I think that only Christ’s rule is ideal/perfect and that conservatism and liberalism fall miserably short of fixing our society’s problems. But, I will quickly say, the conservative approach is the best we can do, under the circumstances. So, I’m a conservative waiting for the perfect rule of Christ to come.

    As to holding double standards, I was (aggressively) critical of Bush for the Patriot Act, Homeland Security and a host of other enlargements of the size and reach of the federal government. I did vote for Bush in both elections, but not happily.

    The current president is a farce. I don’t feel that way because he’s not a Republican. I feel that way because he’s doing one of the poorest jobs running the country I have ever seen and I’ve seen a few.

    Good day, sir. ;)

  • http://mikegastin.com Mike Gastin

    Kirk – you’re assuming I’m a conservative/Republican. You’re also assuming that I have been fine with everything a conservative does and not so much with liberal/Democrats.

    For the record, I’m a very reluctant conservative. I think that only Christ’s rule is ideal/perfect and that conservatism and liberalism fall miserably short of fixing our society’s problems. But, I will quickly say, the conservative approach is the best we can do, under the circumstances. So, I’m a conservative waiting for the perfect rule of Christ to come.

    As to holding double standards, I was (aggressively) critical of Bush for the Patriot Act, Homeland Security and a host of other enlargements of the size and reach of the federal government. I did vote for Bush in both elections, but not happily.

    The current president is a farce. I don’t feel that way because he’s not a Republican. I feel that way because he’s doing one of the poorest jobs running the country I have ever seen and I’ve seen a few.

    Good day, sir. ;)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Fear! Fear and uncertainty! Fear, uncertainty, and technology! … And Obama!!!

    “Does anyone see anything wrong with this?” I do: we’re relying on a local news story for facts. I’d honestly trust a decent blog more than anything in that story.

    Fortunately, FEMA has a Web site, which you can find if you Google “Personal Localized Alerting Network”. I think it has a little more information.

    The reason they need particular phone technology becomes clearer once you read the FEMA page. The technology apparently goes out via a different protocol than just normal phone traffic — “This new technology ensures that emergency alerts will not get stuck in highly congested user areas, which can happen with standard mobile voice and texting services”, says FEMA. It’s also geographically targeted, such that a person with a NYC phone number wouldn’t get a NYC alert if they were out of town, but a person with a Chicago phone number would get the NYC alert if they were visiting. It’s based on where the phone is physically. That’s smart.

    And participation is voluntary … for wireless companies. So if your aluminum hat is all akilter from this news, better hurry to find a non-participating wireless company. (As if any decent paranoid would ever use a cell phone!)

    As to what constitutes a “Presidential alert”, nobody seems to know, so speculation is the order of the day.

    Along that line, I have to say that Kirk’s first response (@5) was the one that popped into my head, as well. Maybe it was a bit snarky, but it also seems to apply just a wee bit, for certain people. Of, not you, of course. No, other people.

    Like Tom, I signed up for a local text-message based alert system quite a while ago. I’ve actually never gotten any alerts from it, that I can remember, so I’m not given to assuming that this will turn into some sort of “Fireside Tweets” from Obama. But I do want to know if flooding makes a local bridge impassable or something like that.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Fear! Fear and uncertainty! Fear, uncertainty, and technology! … And Obama!!!

    “Does anyone see anything wrong with this?” I do: we’re relying on a local news story for facts. I’d honestly trust a decent blog more than anything in that story.

    Fortunately, FEMA has a Web site, which you can find if you Google “Personal Localized Alerting Network”. I think it has a little more information.

    The reason they need particular phone technology becomes clearer once you read the FEMA page. The technology apparently goes out via a different protocol than just normal phone traffic — “This new technology ensures that emergency alerts will not get stuck in highly congested user areas, which can happen with standard mobile voice and texting services”, says FEMA. It’s also geographically targeted, such that a person with a NYC phone number wouldn’t get a NYC alert if they were out of town, but a person with a Chicago phone number would get the NYC alert if they were visiting. It’s based on where the phone is physically. That’s smart.

    And participation is voluntary … for wireless companies. So if your aluminum hat is all akilter from this news, better hurry to find a non-participating wireless company. (As if any decent paranoid would ever use a cell phone!)

    As to what constitutes a “Presidential alert”, nobody seems to know, so speculation is the order of the day.

    Along that line, I have to say that Kirk’s first response (@5) was the one that popped into my head, as well. Maybe it was a bit snarky, but it also seems to apply just a wee bit, for certain people. Of, not you, of course. No, other people.

    Like Tom, I signed up for a local text-message based alert system quite a while ago. I’ve actually never gotten any alerts from it, that I can remember, so I’m not given to assuming that this will turn into some sort of “Fireside Tweets” from Obama. But I do want to know if flooding makes a local bridge impassable or something like that.

  • Stephen

    News flash:

    My 13 year old nephew has an app on his iPhone that can find the location of any cell phone of which he knows the number. No chip needed for that, just 99 cents.

  • Stephen

    News flash:

    My 13 year old nephew has an app on his iPhone that can find the location of any cell phone of which he knows the number. No chip needed for that, just 99 cents.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Hey, remember when I said I’d trust “a decent blog” more than that local CBS squib? Hey, look what I found! Some highlights:

    Other communities haven’t made arrangements to activate the alerts while NYC apparently has. …

    The texts will provide limited details. They will only contain 90 characters, and will not contain URLs to avoid network clogs when lots of people try to hit a web site at the same time. …

    U.S. Presidents have had ability to send “Presidential messages” to the American public since the mid-fifties through what’s now called the Emergency Alert System. (Virtually everyone knows EAS through the tests and alerts they regularly hear on radio and TV.) With PLAN in place, the President will have ability to now send messages via text. Although Presidential messaging has been available since the fifties, no President has ever used it. [Remember how scared you all were that George W. Bush or Reagan were going to "override" your TV? Yeah, me neither.]

    With exception of Presidential messages (if any are ever issued), IPAWS alerts will originate from local and state officials…not from the federal government. (Most need for alerts is at state and local level anyway.)

    In short, this is a recognition of the fact that our phones are every bit as much the medium of choice as were radio and TV back in the day.

    Of course, those prone merely to complaining about the government, regardless, will always have one of two options: complaining that it doesn’t work very well, or complaining that they fear it may work too well. The latter option is clearly more attractive in this situation.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Hey, remember when I said I’d trust “a decent blog” more than that local CBS squib? Hey, look what I found! Some highlights:

    Other communities haven’t made arrangements to activate the alerts while NYC apparently has. …

    The texts will provide limited details. They will only contain 90 characters, and will not contain URLs to avoid network clogs when lots of people try to hit a web site at the same time. …

    U.S. Presidents have had ability to send “Presidential messages” to the American public since the mid-fifties through what’s now called the Emergency Alert System. (Virtually everyone knows EAS through the tests and alerts they regularly hear on radio and TV.) With PLAN in place, the President will have ability to now send messages via text. Although Presidential messaging has been available since the fifties, no President has ever used it. [Remember how scared you all were that George W. Bush or Reagan were going to "override" your TV? Yeah, me neither.]

    With exception of Presidential messages (if any are ever issued), IPAWS alerts will originate from local and state officials…not from the federal government. (Most need for alerts is at state and local level anyway.)

    In short, this is a recognition of the fact that our phones are every bit as much the medium of choice as were radio and TV back in the day.

    Of course, those prone merely to complaining about the government, regardless, will always have one of two options: complaining that it doesn’t work very well, or complaining that they fear it may work too well. The latter option is clearly more attractive in this situation.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Stephen (@23), I am … doubtful. What’s the name of the app?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Stephen (@23), I am … doubtful. What’s the name of the app?

  • Kirk

    @25

    Stalker

  • Kirk

    @25

    Stalker

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Kirk (@26), I couldn’t find an iPhone app called “Stalker”, but there is one called iStalkr. Stephen (@23) may want to read the full description of it, excerpted below:

    Do you want to show your friends how much cooler your iPhone is than their Nexus One? iStalkr can do it. iStalkr is a magic trick that will convince your friends – or your teenage children – that you know where they are, anytime you want to. iSkalkr has fooled some serious skeptics. Great for April Fool’s Day or anytime.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Kirk (@26), I couldn’t find an iPhone app called “Stalker”, but there is one called iStalkr. Stephen (@23) may want to read the full description of it, excerpted below:

    Do you want to show your friends how much cooler your iPhone is than their Nexus One? iStalkr can do it. iStalkr is a magic trick that will convince your friends – or your teenage children – that you know where they are, anytime you want to. iSkalkr has fooled some serious skeptics. Great for April Fool’s Day or anytime.

  • Kirk

    No, I was calling you a stalker. But that sounds like a sweet app.

  • Kirk

    No, I was calling you a stalker. But that sounds like a sweet app.

  • steve

    There’s no way there is a commercially available application that shows the location of another person’s cell phone.

  • steve

    There’s no way there is a commercially available application that shows the location of another person’s cell phone.

  • steve

    “Residents of Tokyo likely had about 80 seconds of warning before a devastating quake rumbled through the city after striking 373 kilometers away, off Japan’s northeast coast, thanks to a new early warning system. But tsunami alerts take longer to generate, giving just minutes of warning before the waves first struck the coast—a reflection of the differing technologies needed to detect earthquakes and calculate their impacts, researchers say.

    Japan has the world’s most advanced earthquake early-warning system, with more than 1,000 seismographs scattered over the country. Collectively, they detect tremors and allow for brief advance warnings not only to vulnerable sectors like railroads and utilities—so they can slow down high-speed trains and shut off gas lines—but also to the public via television, Internet and text-message. “This hits probably what I would consider the best prepared country in the world for earth quake preparedness,” says Stephane Rondenay, a geophysicist at MIT.”

    http://www.csmonitor.com/Innovation/Latest-News-Wires/2011/0314/Japan-earthquake-How-Tokyo-got-an-80-second-head-start

    What would you do with that 80 seconds?

  • steve

    “Residents of Tokyo likely had about 80 seconds of warning before a devastating quake rumbled through the city after striking 373 kilometers away, off Japan’s northeast coast, thanks to a new early warning system. But tsunami alerts take longer to generate, giving just minutes of warning before the waves first struck the coast—a reflection of the differing technologies needed to detect earthquakes and calculate their impacts, researchers say.

    Japan has the world’s most advanced earthquake early-warning system, with more than 1,000 seismographs scattered over the country. Collectively, they detect tremors and allow for brief advance warnings not only to vulnerable sectors like railroads and utilities—so they can slow down high-speed trains and shut off gas lines—but also to the public via television, Internet and text-message. “This hits probably what I would consider the best prepared country in the world for earth quake preparedness,” says Stephane Rondenay, a geophysicist at MIT.”

    http://www.csmonitor.com/Innovation/Latest-News-Wires/2011/0314/Japan-earthquake-How-Tokyo-got-an-80-second-head-start

    What would you do with that 80 seconds?

  • Tom Hering

    “What would you do with that 80 seconds?”

    Microwave mac ‘n’ cheese.

  • Tom Hering

    “What would you do with that 80 seconds?”

    Microwave mac ‘n’ cheese.

  • Jimmy Veith

    Sounds like a good idea to me.

    I’m afraid that the reason that it FEELS wrong, is that you have allowed yourself to become a victim of anti-government fear mongering.

    Top ten signs that you too may be a victim of anti-government fear mongering:

    10. When the government census worker came to your door, you hid in the closet.

    9. You can’t find your long form birth certificate and question your own citizenship.

    8. You have already contacted your local hospital administrator to see what you have to do to get appointed to serve on a “death panel”.

    7. You watch “King of the Hill”, and think that Dale Gribble is the smart one.

    6. While waiting on a table at a restaurant, you refuse to give the host your real name.

    5. You think that FBI agents are living in your attic. (Personal note to my big brother, “Dr. Veith”. This one runs in our family. Don’t tell anyone.)

    4. You refuse to set your clocks to daylight savings time.

    3. You have nightmares where a team of Navy SEALS descend upon your compound in black stealth helicopters and shoot you in the head. (Wait a minute. . . . that could actually happen!)

    2. When you watch Fox news you think you are watching the news.

    1.. Headdress of choice: Tin Foil

  • Jimmy Veith

    Sounds like a good idea to me.

    I’m afraid that the reason that it FEELS wrong, is that you have allowed yourself to become a victim of anti-government fear mongering.

    Top ten signs that you too may be a victim of anti-government fear mongering:

    10. When the government census worker came to your door, you hid in the closet.

    9. You can’t find your long form birth certificate and question your own citizenship.

    8. You have already contacted your local hospital administrator to see what you have to do to get appointed to serve on a “death panel”.

    7. You watch “King of the Hill”, and think that Dale Gribble is the smart one.

    6. While waiting on a table at a restaurant, you refuse to give the host your real name.

    5. You think that FBI agents are living in your attic. (Personal note to my big brother, “Dr. Veith”. This one runs in our family. Don’t tell anyone.)

    4. You refuse to set your clocks to daylight savings time.

    3. You have nightmares where a team of Navy SEALS descend upon your compound in black stealth helicopters and shoot you in the head. (Wait a minute. . . . that could actually happen!)

    2. When you watch Fox news you think you are watching the news.

    1.. Headdress of choice: Tin Foil

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Good ones, Jimmy! See my background, every body? No wonder we had FBI agents living in our attic. I’ll be glad to take the President’s phone calls. After all, with the GPS device in our phones, he and his SEALS will know right where we are all the time.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Good ones, Jimmy! See my background, every body? No wonder we had FBI agents living in our attic. I’ll be glad to take the President’s phone calls. After all, with the GPS device in our phones, he and his SEALS will know right where we are all the time.


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