"Hey ASIA: Smoke Signal Tsunami's!"
Not-so incidentally, the Bush Administration has pledged $35 million in relief, or:
The U.S. has spent an average of $9.5 million every hour on the war and occupation of Iraq. With a current price tag of $147 billion, the U.S. has spent an average of about $228 million a day in Iraq. In other words, the U.S. spends what it promised on the tsunami relief effort in less than four hours in Iraq.
Analysis courtesy of the good people at democracynow.org, thanks for putting things in perspectives we need to hear.
But this blog ain't about baggin' Bush in the prairie oysters, it's about why the hell in an age of sports-scores on cellphones, we have no system to warn villagers of pending natural disasters? Especially 4 hours after we know about them?
Well courtesy of my throwback-amigo, Padrone, a throwback-idea that costs less than a throwback-jersey: smoke signals.
They've been used for millenia to signal something's up, first helping primitive man find people he could hang-out with, kill, or eat, and later getting downright Nokia-esque. So why not today?
Quite simply, have your local Jackie or Johnny Meteorology grab pick-up trucks full of old tires, drive them towards a couple of separate hills (e.g. East/West or North/South of the city) or the old mill, and set up a 2-signal system with surrounding villages:
1) TSUNAMI!!! (etc.) Run to the city!!!
2) NUKES!!! (etc.) Run away from the city!!!
Let villagers know the deal in advance, and hope a few remember and collectively yell the same thing upon seeing the signal to convince the others. Once we know something crazy is happening - and usually once a year tropical paradise gets bitten with the disaster bug, jus' pour out a lil' liquor for 100,000 dead homiez, and let flames pierce the sky.
My consigliori and I brainstormed a little conversational aikido, and came up with:
WHO: People with a conscience.
WHAT: Any simple signaling for illiterates, or, smoke signals.
WHEN: Now. Even if unused it's cheap insurance.
WHERE: Any city yelling "RUN!" to surrounding villages.
WHY: Saving a good chunk of people who will listen.
HOW: Build a low-maintenance relationship with the villages.
With all the self-serving whining about the cost of connecting every wretched soul with a Blackberry, countries need to keep corporations from fighting for government tenders that guarantee cost-overruns and delays for dubious results, and go back to basics. It could take decades before every village is equipped with modern communications: it's time for an old-school solution.
This may need refining outside of blogworld, but all the gut-instinct arguments we've heard have answers, including:
"This can't save everyone."
Well of course not.
But for the rest, we've got a shot.