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Tsunami Warnings Now Faster, More Accurate

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the being-rich-is-the-best-defense dept.

Government 135

CWmike writes "As the deadly tsunami generated by Friday's massive earthquake off the coast of Japan headed toward the United States, scientists at NOAA's Center for Tsunami Research tracked its progress in real-time. Dozens of deep-ocean tsunami-monitoring sensors more than three miles beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean picked up information on the silent swell of water and transmitted it by way of a satellite to the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle, Wash. Here, scientists crunched the data and quickly developed real-time predictions about how and when the tsunami would reach select locations in Hawaii, Alaska and the US west coast. The models predicted the wave arrival time, estimated wave height and the likely extent of inundation for about 50 communities likely to be affected." Another piece of useful infrastructure: reader JustABlitheringIdiot writes "Google has launched a version of its Person Finder service for people caught up in the Japanese earthquake. The website acts as a directory and message board so people can look for lost loved ones or post a note saying they are safe."

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And? (1, Insightful)

cowboy76Spain (815442) | more than 3 years ago | (#35459484)

Until we get the data to compare the model predictions with the real results, all that we know is that we have some model calculated fast... Just let it be a few more days (or hours) and then we can talk about something.

Re:And? (1)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 3 years ago | (#35459644)

Until we get the data to compare the model predictions with the real results, all that we know is that we have some model calculated fast... Just let it be a few more days (or hours) and then we can talk about something.

Umm... the tsunami hit California approximately 9 hours ago. How much longer do you think we should wait to see when the tsunami will hit California?

Re:And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35460974)

Until we get the data to compare the model predictions with the real results, all that we know is that we have some model calculated fast... Just let it be a few more days (or hours) and then we can talk about something.

Umm... the tsunami hit California approximately 9 hours ago. How much longer do you think we should wait to see when the tsunami will hit California?

What's the big deal about tsunami warnings anyway?

I don't live on the edge of a coast for the same reason I don't live in a really big city. All the bullshit and all the disasters go down in coastal areas and big cities. Well unlike big cities coastal areas are actually pleasant and beautiful and don't smell like shit and might not have ridiculous crime rates that always happen when humans live in such high-density crowded conditions so thoroughly divorced from our hunter-gatherer small-clan origins ... but if I lived in a coastal area I wouldn't act shocked when a hurricane or a tsunami levels the place. That is where these things happen. It is a bit like sailing a ship in the Artic Circle and acting shocked that there are icebergs everywhere.

It is sort of like people who decide that the very best place they can build their home is on a floodplain. Gee, what could possibly go wrong? Or the dumbasses who lived in New Orleans. Hey, I got a great idea, let's live in a coastal city BELOW SEA LEVEL with nothing protecting us except dikes that are not designed to handle hurricanes that we know will hit the area. What utter shock and amazement that this didn't work out. Somehow that was George Bush's fault that these numbnuts chose a dangerous place to live.

The ability to plan ahead and prepare for eventualities and other foreseeable events is one of the major signs of intelligence. This is real intelligence, not the product of lots of repetition and memorization. If we lose people who don't have real intelligence then the rest of humanity is better off without them voting, driving, and collecting Social Security and other forms of welfare. Harsh but also the fuckin' truth. There are far too many morons fucking up the world for the rest of us.

Re:And? (1)

publiclurker (952615) | more than 3 years ago | (#35461282)

What's really funny about your spewing is that you are actually ignorant enough to consider yourself one of the rest of us and not a simple minded idiot that you ridicule.

Re:And? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35461394)

What's really funny about your spewing is that you are actually ignorant enough to consider yourself one of the rest of us and not a simple minded idiot that you ridicule.

are you a nigger?

Re:And? (2)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#35459898)

No, the models don't have to be that accurate. The sensors and a rough model are the main thing - *immediately* knowing there will be an event and roughly where, so people can be warned. Was that helpful today? Yes! [govtech.com]

This wealth of data allowed scientists to estimate the intensity, wave height and projected time of landfall for the tsunami that struck Japan and then came ashore on the rest of the Pacific Rim. This lead time gave local authorities around the world the ability to close beaches and evacuate low-lying areas in advance.

...Hundreds of miles away, many people working in Toyko skyscrapers knew the earthquake was coming.

We don't know how many lives it saved, but it seems, many. It's nice to know something was learned in 2004, and something was done about it.

Essentially, all models are wrong, (1)

Slutticus (1237534) | more than 3 years ago | (#35460174)

but some are useful

--George Box

Re:And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35460592)

NoAgenda predicted the earthquake on Thursday morning. There was time.

Re:And? (1)

BearRanger (945122) | more than 3 years ago | (#35460902)

I'll give you an example. The model predicted a wave amplitude of 2.5 meters for Crescent City, CA. The observed amplitude was 2.47 meters. I'd say that's pretty good. Source: California Office of Emergency Services. It went around as an email today, but perhaps it's available on their website by now.

Re:And? (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#35461280)

Cart before the horse.... so what, we can detect and make some guesses about Tsunami propagating.

This is like saying we can predict the propagation of radiation fallout.

What about the 500 pound gorilla in the room? Earthquakes?

A lot of good Tsunami modelling did for the folks living near the coast of Japan

Re:And? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#35461650)

Cart before the horse.... so what, we can detect and make some guesses about Tsunami propagating.

A useful thing.

This is like saying we can predict the propagation of radiation fallout.

Another useful thing.

What about the 500 pound gorilla in the room? Earthquakes?

What about it? Are you really claiming that we should completely ignore the more predictable dangers of earthquakes simply because we can't predict earthquakes. Should we then drop earthquake-resistant building codes? Disaster preparedness?

The 500 pound gorilla isn't our inability to predict when an earthquake will occur. Even if we could predict to the hour when it happens, we still have various dangers to people and property. It's our ability to endure large earthquakes and respond to damage and dangers invariably caused by them that allows us to save lives and rebuild society.

Thank goodness for NOAA (5, Insightful)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35459492)

A private service will charge a pretty penny for those warnings...

Re:Thank goodness for NOAA (4, Funny)

wampus (1932) | more than 3 years ago | (#35459538)

I'm sure they will if trends continue the way they have been. No more socialized oceanography! No more Marxist weather!

Re:Thank goodness for NOAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35459586)

Spot on. Everybody expects to receive all this protection and information for free, and the fact of the matter is the agencies that provide this valuable service need to support themselves. This information is worth something, and should be charged for. If you don't want to pay, then you can die. Either way is fine with us. America was founded on freedom and choice: that is your choice to make.

Re:Thank goodness for NOAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35459930)

Why hullo thar Commodore64_Love! (or possibly c6gunner, but probably Commodore).

Re:Thank goodness for NOAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35460300)

His posts are as special as those of Kristopeit and APK aren't they?

Re:Thank goodness for NOAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35461096)

You really need to think about money and where it comes from. Under the fractional reserve system, the money multiplier is 10 for a reserve rate of 10%, so the banking system as a whole can create $100 out of $10. Why shouldn't government be allowed to do the same? The constitution gives Congress the power to 'coin money' (and if you take coin to mean actual coin, then look at the clause immediately following, which would make it constitutional to counterfeit bills) in Article 1 Section 8. Congress ceded that power to the banks, now it's time to really rethink and take it back. The Declaration of Independence makes the right to life unalienable, and government should protect the lives of the poor. Government is mandated to provide for the General Welfare (which founding father Alexander Hamilton interpreted very broadly), whereas the market is cold and heartless and doesn't care if people suffer.

Re:Thank goodness for NOAA (2)

swalve (1980968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35461308)

Congrats. I think you just invented inflation.

Just like hou you choose (1)

publiclurker (952615) | more than 3 years ago | (#35461290)

to be a self serving morally bankrupt parasite.

Re:Thank goodness for NOAA (2)

publiclurker (952615) | more than 3 years ago | (#35461296)

Actually, the republicans just chose to cut funding for tsunami monitoring, probably to pay for new paint job subsidies on corporate Learjets.

Re:Thank goodness for NOAA (2)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#35461412)

In Soviet Union, you change the weather.

Re:Thank goodness for NOAA (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35459568)

Opps, sorry... <Linky> [slashdot.org]

Re:Thank goodness for NOAA (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 3 years ago | (#35460050)

A private service will charge a pretty penny for those warnings...

If only one person per oceanfront block subscribes to the fee service then whenever he comes running out of his house headed towards the hills the neighbors will know a wave is coming.

Re:Thank goodness for NOAA (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#35460316)

Which is why there was no such warning system until the 2004 tsunami made it painfully clear it was well worth a public investment.

Re:Thank goodness for NOAA (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 3 years ago | (#35461646)

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center which covers the Pacific Ocean was established in 1949. The 2004 quake you refer to was in the Indian Ocean which wasn't covered at the time. Since then the PTWC has extended its coverage to the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean Sea until suitable centers can be organized there.

The models the PTWC uses are quite accurate, especially as to time frames, and so are very useful in sending out timely warnings. But if you're close enough to feel the quake you shouldn't expect to get a warning. You should just head to high ground if you're in a tsunami zone.

Re:Thank goodness for NOAA (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35460168)

Don't count on NOAA for too much longer. Just wait, in the eyes* of the US house majority leader, NOAA (1) is inefficient and wasteful by virtue of being the government and (2) has dirty hands from climate research. Notice I didn't say climate change, just merely collecting day to day climate related data points is evil. This is the same crowd that thinks pretending that teenagers don't have sex will cause teenagers to stop having sex.

* For the sake of simplicity I'm assuming that the politician(s) in question believe the views they espouse, since the outcome is the same either way.

Re:Thank goodness for NOAA (3, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#35460512)

Also that they employ people in blue districts. Don't think for a second that Republican cutbacks are anything more than punishing their political enemies. If they obviously cared about the deficit then Boehner would have argued against the F-35 engine program. But he didn't because it provided jobs in HIS district and made his political supporters rich. He doesn't care about the deficit any more than Bush or Reagan did, he is just out to silence those who dare oppose him.

Re:Thank goodness for NOAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35460640)

And, of course, the f****ng republicans will try to cut out all the funding that supports these warning systems and the research needed to improve/extend them. And Obama and the spineless Dems will let it happen.

Re:Thank goodness for NOAA (2)

BearRanger (945122) | more than 3 years ago | (#35460944)

That must be why Congress voted to cut funding for earthquake monitoring and tsunami alerts just this week. Nevermind the fact that an event even larger than the one is Japan is possible along the Cascadia Subduction Zone. This region stretches from Northern California to British Columbian. A magnitude 9 event here won't give the US coast the 6 - 9 hours we had this time. It will be more like minutes.

As ever it seems the Republicans are penny-wise and pound foolish.

Re:Thank goodness for NOAA (0)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35461022)

You know, praying is a lot less expensive, and if God lets it happen no amount of money and monitoring is going to make a difference.

The fact that so many Americans believe that bullshit is why we're going to ultimately cut funding to it and continue to do little to nothing about climate change.

Re:Thank goodness for NOAA (0)

Kyusaku Natsume (1098) | more than 3 years ago | (#35461246)

They believe that God will make another world, more perfect that this if they pray loud and long enough. As a mexican, is in times like this when I can honestly say thank you to the american tax payer and take my hat off to the US scientists. This is a far better investment of tax dollars than new boomers.

Re:Thank goodness for NOAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35461090)

5.5 Billon [noaa.gov] isn't a pretty penny?

That's great... (0)

wampus (1932) | more than 3 years ago | (#35459502)

Until some stupid fucker uses them as an AWESOME PHOTO EARLY WARNING SYSTEM!1!!!1

Well, obviously we can... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35459508)

cut the funding, because it's clearly not a problem!

Major savings! Why ever American gets a quarter back! Or something like that.

Well, they WERE more accurate (5, Informative)

jfengel (409917) | more than 3 years ago | (#35459512)

Fortunately, we decided that we could do without fripperies like the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center:

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20042264-503544.html [cbsnews.com]

saving $126 million, fully .01% of this year's deficit. Now all we need to do is find 10,000 other equally useful programs to cut.

Re:Well, they WERE more accurate (0)

gangien (151940) | more than 3 years ago | (#35459770)

You know, there's a concept you may find interesting, that you really can't spend more than you can afford, no matter how much you want something...

Re:Well, they WERE more accurate (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35459876)

You know, there are a lot of interesting concepts, such as return on investment, public benefit, and signal to noise.

As far as the debt is concerned, tsunami warning expenditure is noise. As far as return on investment for public benefit, it's pretty damn huge.

Now if you're looking for "signal" on the debt, there are much better candidates:

1. Artificially inflated drug prices which are in turn provided as untaxed income, based on age.

2. The tax cut extension, and lower top marginal tax rates in general.

3. War. And I didn't start out making it no. 3 on purpose; but consider the utter disaster of a 3rd middle east war that some buffoons would actually like to see us get into, or WW3. Use your imagination. Some sources say it's only 5%; but I have a hard time believing that.

4. Badly fought wars on nouns, like "drugs" and "terrorism". What's our dope smoking granny-groping budget? I dunno; but I'm pretty sure it's a lot more than tsunami warning, and way too high. Let's throw a good chunk of our prison budget in with this, and more lost tax revenue...

5. Subsidies. Yes, I'm not just goring the Republican oxen here. The government has no business subsidizing education (department of ed, which Reagan wanted to get rid of) or housing. Agricultural is about the only one that makes sense, because you don't want to run the risk of having the free market decide that underproducing food is a good thing.

Re:Well, they WERE more accurate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35460650)

This only relates to point 1. and it's relatively late in the posting cycle . . and it seems to be an article done by a local rather than national reporter . . but I can't get over this:
http://post-gazette.com/pg/11070/1131217-84.stm

And it really relates to point 1.

Re:Well, they WERE more accurate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35461194)

The government has no business subsidizing education (department of ed, which Reagan wanted to get rid of) or housing. Agricultural is about the only one that makes sense, because you don't want to run the risk of having the free market decide that underproducing food is a good thing.

It's simply AMAZING that you acknowledge that a free market is not entirely good for the food industry, but it would be good for our children's education. We certainly need more poor uneducated people in this world, right, who else will eat all our $.99 cheeseburgers? Is that your plan, to create a lower class of enslaved, uneducated poor to compete with developing nations? What a fucking disgrace to humanity.

Re:Well, they WERE more accurate (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35461232)

You're confusing education money with actual education. Subsidies for college are almost a pure waste. The unionized highschools dumb down students to the point where college is the new highschool. Colleges inflate grades because they have to produce graduates as if they were a "product". Now you need a MA or MS to get real respect in your field, and the grade inflation just keeps on coming.

I'm in favor of supplying free education for all up to a point; but we need to get rid of the monopoly in K-12, and giving everybody a free college education is just not practical.

Have you seen what's coming out of our highschools and colleges lately? You're the one who's a fucking disgrace if you want to keep throwing money into those ratholes.

Re:Well, they WERE more accurate (0)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35459892)

That doesn't mean you need to be stupid about what you cut.

Since we are one of the leasts taxed countries in the industrialized world, may we could raise taxes to pay for stuff we want and need? How about we appropriately tax where the majority of the wealth is?

There are better solution then making cuts they will turn us into a third world nation.

You're simpleton views would be laughable if other people with the same views weren't using them to destroy this country.

Re:Well, they WERE more accurate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35460328)

But a Tsunami will only take out those nasty Blue states on the coasts. The GOP doesn't care if they wash away.

Re:Well, they WERE more accurate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35460986)

That doesn't mean you need to be stupid about what you cut.

Since we are one of the leasts taxed countries in the industrialized world, may we could raise taxes to pay for stuff we want and need? How about we appropriately tax where the majority of the wealth is?

There are better solution then making cuts they will turn us into a third world nation.

You're simpleton views would be laughable if other people with the same views weren't using them to destroy this country.

Funny thing is, you are where the majority of wealth lies in America. By you, I mean people earning less than $250k per year. That is why a tax on the "rich" always morphs into a tax on the middle class. If you take the time to learn your history, you will find that the original income tax (you know, that IRS thing) was originally only supposed to be a tax on the "rich". Funny thing is, the "rich" have lawyers and accountants and lobbyists who buy government and make sure that hard-to-find loopholes exist for them. So where does government go to get it's dolleros? Why you of course. You don't have powerful lawyers and tax accountants and lobbyists.

So yeah, lets raise taxes on the rich. Go on. Go heavy. Why not make it 90%. I'll sit back and watch as it slides on down to you.

Re:Well, they WERE more accurate (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35461324)

That's what it was on the top bracket in the late 40's or 50's. (Forget exactly when.) The world didn't implode. The top 1% of earners pay something like 20% of the taxes.

Re:Well, they WERE more accurate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35461426)

Funny thing is, you are where the majority of wealth lies in America. By you, I mean people earning less than $250k per year.

I do not know where you got your numbers, but every breakdown I've seen is not in agreement with you.

The top 5% has over 50% of the wealth, adding the next 20% gets it up to 87%. The bottom 50% of the population? Around 10% of the total wealth.

I'm not sure where the number for your income figure lies exactly, but any REAL look at the statistics kinda puts your claims into a doubtful state.

That is why a tax on the "rich" always morphs into a tax on the middle class. If you take the time to learn your history, you will find that the original income tax (you know, that IRS thing) was originally only supposed to be a tax on the "rich". Funny thing is, the "rich" have lawyers and accountants and lobbyists who buy government and make sure that hard-to-find loopholes exist for them. So where does government go to get it's dolleros? Why you of course. You don't have powerful lawyers and tax accountants and lobbyists.

So yeah, lets raise taxes on the rich. Go on. Go heavy. Why not make it 90%. I'll sit back and watch as it slides on down to you.

Indeed, that sort of thing IS a problem. The rich do have the assets to get what they want. It's part of why they keep getting richer and richer. They can buy all the good stuff first, then sell it at a markup to the rest of us. OTOH, at least it is putting more people with the accounting. I don't know if it's worth it though.

Not sure how to resolve the trick. Maybe we make politicians more accountable, maybe we make laws more public.

Re:Well, they WERE more accurate (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 3 years ago | (#35459912)

Agreed. However, if you were to boost revenue by doing something crazy--you know, like raising taxes on those making more than $250,000 a year---you could actually afford these things.

I know, I know. We have to "starve the beast."

Re:Well, they WERE more accurate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35460674)

Why should those making more than 250000 pay even larger taxes? They work just as hard, indeed even harder than the bum that makes 20000. The 250000 are the people who have the brains and the willpower, and the initiative to build their own companies, educate themselves... rather than sit on their ass, watch tron, and work in a cubicle. How about we take more taxes from whatever you and your parents are making?

Re:Well, they WERE more accurate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35461138)

Yeah they worked so hard to crash the economy and then get bailed out by the govt and then start whining about deficits because that's the only thing that will get them attention anymore. Everyone knows Reagan proved deficits don't matter, especially the RNC with its $20 million deficit. Go back and study Alexander Hamilton and the American School of Economics (as opposed to the British School) which used debt to make America the world's number 1 economy.

Re:Well, they WERE more accurate (4, Informative)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 3 years ago | (#35459954)

You know, there's a concept you may find interesting, that you really can't spend more than you can afford, no matter how much you want something...

You might try explaining that to the defense department. How many NOAA or NASA programs could be funded just by cutting back defense spending by 10%?

Re:Well, they WERE more accurate (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35460006)

How many NOAA or NASA programs could be funded just by cutting back defense spending by 10%?

All of them.

Re:Well, they WERE more accurate (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35460212)

How many NOAA or NASA programs could be funded just by cutting back defense spending by 10%?

All of them.

Several times over, even.

Re:Well, they WERE more accurate (2)

raaum (152451) | more than 3 years ago | (#35460082)

The current budget debates like to talk about "the American family's" budget.

So, we have a family whose budget is horribly over income. They have:
- a huge house with an correspondingly large mortgage (military)
- 3 fancy cars with correspondingly high monthly payments (social security and medicare/caid)
- and they like to eat out once a week (other discretionary spending)

The Republican response is to cut the dinner down from a fine dining establishment to fast food.

Ok. So this is going to make a tiny difference, but is it really the place to focus one's efforts?

Re:Well, they WERE more accurate (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35460754)

If you do $1 menu fast food and just buy what you need (protein, skip the fries and soda), that can save a bundle. Depending on your time, it can actually be cheaper than buying and cooking your own protein (take into count shopping and cooking as well). Not saying you want to do it all the time, but we do it in a pinch. Any sandwich on the $1 is fine. We feed a family of 6 for $12 + tax. We don't do this often, but when you've got kids all playing sports and you're on the go, its not bad. Plus, we make up for it by having nearly protein or very lean meals at home with plenty of salads and other roughage.

Speaking of the American family budget, they need to do what my family did since Nov, '08. We only ate out (other that $1 fast food) for special occasions (birthdays, anniversary).

Eating out was actually one of the few things we could cut, as we were already pretty lean on non-essentials. We actually bought our house just one month before I was laid off from a job of over 7 years (which was a scary thought at the time, but a blessing as well as we'd not have qualified after). Unlike many people, we intentionally bought below what that banks said we could afford. We even bought below what our own calculations could afford, but enough to meet our needs.

As soon as I was laid off, we instantly cut everything we could - which really was just cable Internet and went to a WISP for half the cost. We even cut our heating and cooling costs in half (hot 100-110F summers here). Even still we're used to just knowing once the sun sets we'll need to use a light blanket while hanging out watching TV or on the PC until bed. Thermostat is set at 62F, which isn't warm, but is tolerable if you just keep a blanket and slippers handy. During the summer we open all the windows once the temp gets even on the inside of the house with the outside, and we rise earlier enough to close up the house at the lowest point in the morning, and we just deal with not running the AC.

We also resigned ourselves to no new major purchases, period, and stretched everything we could. When we lost our larger vehicle about 11 months ago due to another driver's fault, the insurance paid it off and we actually came out about $2K ahead, but then decided not to replace it until we were firmly in the black and pay in cash for it. We take turns riding the bus ($1) and just plan our trips much more carefully. For instance I typically get dropped off for work and the Wife drops the kids at school and then I bus home.

The point is, we just lived within our means. Prior to that we also lived below our means (as far as obligations we could not cancel) - with just one auto loan and home loan - every thing else could be canceled.

The good news is we have been able to make it, never went on any sort of government assistance, and were only late on our house payment once (and by less than 30 days). I worked my tail off with my own consulting business, doing everything, including the daily technical work, but went to night classes at the local JC to learn all the legal/tax issues, and ran all the books, billing, "sales," and everything else with the midnight oil.

We had plenty of ups and downs, but all ups went to paying off stupid old debt we should have taken care of earlier (we'd bought two salvage title vehicles, which cannot be financed by an auto loan, but we used credit card tricks and 0% balance transfers, and paid a bit off whenever there was surplus from our less-frugal living prior to my getting laid off). About 18 months into being laid off, we took one large chunk and paid off $10K in debt before a 1-year 0% balance transfer was about to expire. It was a very lean 4 months after that, and we actually had to borrow about $3k in the 3rd month (same month we were late on a house payment) because the work was just so light for my consulting (plenty of work just prior, plenty of upcoming work, but nothing I could book for about 4 weeks straight and then NET30 terms, what can you do?).

We doggedly paid off the $3K (again, on a 0% balance transfer, this time just for 6 months) last September.

I was very fortunate to land regular employment 8 months ago. We've kept things just as lean, paid off that $3K, and then went to tackling medical bills (an emergency dental appointment 16 months ago, and an appendectomy a year ago). Fortunately the dental bill was financed as 0% for 18 months, and we're again paying it off early to incur no financing fees.

Still, we're living very lean. We've corrected a major mistake we had before, and the US (and California) needs to address: in addition to paying off debt, we've begun a savings account so that any "emergencies" should be able to be taken care of without any borrowing. Second, we're not going to finance another car purchase, but use all the extra funds ("extra" as in not paying off any more debt, other than mortgage), and put it all toward saving for a vehicle. Once we have enough and find a decent "get by" vehicle, we'll buy it cash, and then put the "extra" money into saving for a replacement vehicle, well before we need it.

Re:Well, they WERE more accurate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35461222)

The analogy is false. The government is not like an individual. The Constitution grants the government powers that individuals don't have, such as the power to create money, or hold trials. Why shouldn't our elected reps create money like the banks do under the fractional reserve system? The idea that money has to be an artificially scarce resource is holding us back. The real focus should be on innovation and the advance of knowledge for that is what increases survival fitness by allowing us to better predict and adapt to sudden catastrophic changes. Economics is just a means to that end, and it is high time we gave up the old feudal notion that government can only spend as much as it takes in. Why doesn't that principle apply to banks? Japan with its 200% debt-to-gdp ratio is proving, as Reagan did, that deficits don't matter.

Re:Well, they WERE more accurate (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 3 years ago | (#35460320)

That doesn't apply to governments, especially ours. The National Debt is the U.S. spending more than they can afford for decades now.

Neither party can be held as the scapegoat for a problem that has been running so long, only the system itself can be responsible.

Re:Well, they WERE more accurate (1)

glodime (1015179) | more than 3 years ago | (#35460380)

You know, there's a concept you may find interesting, that you really can't spend more than you can afford, no matter how much you want something...

The USA hasn't run up against that limitation yet. But it is planing on doing so in about 25 to 30 years to avoid "death panels".

Re:Well, they WERE more accurate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35460406)

You know, there's a concept you may find interesting, that you really can't spend more than you can afford, no matter how much you want something...

LOL. Typicaly Republican Anorexia strategy. Here's what you do when you're fat and unhealthy, you start working out in a sensible fashion, you eat healthy. You don't starve yourself to death while trying to run a marathon.

This metaphor may offend you, but it really does seem to me that is the Republican mindset. A bunch of whiny Teenage hysterics, not a prudent, sensible course of action.

You want to reduce the US deficit? Stop military operations in foreign countries. Cease undertaxing corporations that seek to use the US for their own private gain. Cease subsidizing them. It'll work a lot better than the "OMG, cut the programs for the poor!" plan which the Republican party has espoused. What they don't understand is that a lot of poor people are going to realize what is being done to them, and decide...hey, we're not going to take it anymore. And by poor, I mean pretty much 80% of the population, if not more. IOW, the people who do all the work, in comparison to the rich who just provide the initial capital then bask in the proceeds.

I just hope it's not too late, and not too bloody.

Re:Well, they WERE more accurate (1)

paiute (550198) | more than 3 years ago | (#35460496)

You know, there's a concept you may find interesting, that you really can't spend more than you can afford, no matter how much you want something...

Farkin' A! That's why I dropped my homeowners, my car, and my life insurance. Waste and fat trimmed from my budget.

Re:Well, they WERE more accurate (1)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 3 years ago | (#35460644)

We just gave an $800 billion tax breaks to millionaires, and even before that, our tax rates were some of the lowest in the industrialized world. We can certainly afford these programs. We merely need to decide what's more important: millions for a few, or safety, comfort, and happiness for millions. Personally, I'm on the side of humanity.

Re:Well, they WERE more accurate (1)

publiclurker (952615) | more than 3 years ago | (#35461304)

Unless the money goes towards helping your rich friends ship jobs overseas and kill them furiners in order to take their resources, right?

Re:Well, they WERE more accurate (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 3 years ago | (#35459982)

The headline is even more misleading than that. It makes it sound like this is something new, but this has been a capability that has existed for many years - in the Pacific ocean only.

The Indian Ocean tsunami a few years ago illustrated that the same coverage doesn't exist elsewhere.

Perhaps a coalition of nations in that region should offer to pay the US to extend its network, or create one of their own?

Re:Well, they WERE more accurate (1)

517714 (762276) | more than 3 years ago | (#35461202)

Gee that's not biased at all, we have a GOP budget now, not a national budget. I challenge anyone to find a single mention of this subject prior to today. It is not news, it is revisionist propaganda. The Republicans use the same reprehensible tactics.

Re:Well, they WERE more accurate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35461588)

Gee that's not biased at all, we have a GOP budget now, not a national budget. I challenge anyone to find a single mention of this subject prior to today. It is not news, it is revisionist propaganda. The Republicans use the same reprehensible tactics.

http://www.politicalforum.com/political-opinions-beliefs/173365-gop-wants-defund-noaa-hurricane-tracking.html

I believe that mentions more the hurricane aspects than the Tsunami ones but as you can see, it's not completely off everybody's radar. I'd try to find others, but it's drowning in a sea of today's recriminations.

But maybe the GOP should just take it as a message from God, don't cut so blindly. Well, I wish they were cutting blind, but they're not, they're just cutting that which doesn't matter to them. If they cut blindly, then at least they might get rid of some real waste. Instead they still manage to spend money

Why do they even go at different speeds (1)

ron_ivi (607351) | more than 3 years ago | (#35459520)

I don't know enough fluid dynamics or whatever; but I'm surprised "when" isn't just "distance / speed-of-waves", and "how big" is just "size * some 1/distance factor, or perhaps 1/distance-squared if energy goes down too.

Re:Why do they even go at different speeds (1)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 3 years ago | (#35459656)

I don't know enough fluid dynamics or whatever; but I'm surprised "when" isn't just "distance / speed-of-waves", and "how big" is just "size * some 1/distance factor, or perhaps 1/distance-squared if energy goes down too.

Those calculations are easy. The problem lies in determining the size, direction, and speed of something that is invisible.

Re:Why do they even go at different speeds (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#35459676)

http://gizmodo.com/#!5781040/see-the-japans-massive-underwater-earthquake-ripple-across-the-world [gizmodo.com] -- Watch the video on this page, it might provide a little insight into how the waves travel. I didn't understand why Los Angeles wasn't given a more serious warning until I watched it. (I'm extra surprised that they were able to tell in advance that would happen...)

Re:Why do they even go at different speeds (2)

istartedi (132515) | more than 3 years ago | (#35459772)

Neither do I, but we're dealing with an irregular shape (the coast), Another irregular shape (the wave energy itself), refraction, superposition, differing ocean density (temp and salinity), and tides. My guess would be that the irregular form of the wave energy input makes it particularly difficult.

Re:Why do they even go at different speeds (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 3 years ago | (#35461336)

As I understand it, you're correct in that it's not the wave simulation itself that's difficult to model. It's reverse engineering the tsunami trigger event.

Sort of like predicting where a bullet is going to hit without being able to see the gun.

Re:Why do they even go at different speeds (2)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35459922)

If you drove across country, and you left your house going 60 miles an hour, would your arrival time be distance / 60mph?

No it would not because shit would get in your way and sometime slow you down.

Re:Why do they even go at different speeds (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35460246)

If I left my house going 60 miles an hour, I would probably take a helluva spill. I think it would be better to pull over first.

Re:Why do they even go at different speeds (1)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35459966)

"When", for the initial wave, is almost as easy as you say: it's mostly a factor of distance and speed. "How big" is much, much harder. You need to take into account the source (a point source such as a landslide needs to be treated differently from a line source such as an earthquake fault), reflections (a wave might bounce off the Japanese coastline leading to a second, delayed tsunami in Hawaii), refraction (a wave front bending around Hawaii might increase the wave energy arriving at San Francisco while reducing the energy at Los Angeles), interference patterns (wave patterns in San Francisco Bay might destroy coastal Oakland while sparing Richmond), multipath effects (a reflection off the Alaska coast might stack with a refraction off Hawaii to amplify the wave height in Portland, and so on.

Re:Why do they even go at different speeds (1)

sirrunsalot (1575073) | more than 3 years ago | (#35460242)

Of course realizing something happened, computing predictions and distributing the information in a timely fashion is also non-trivial. I don't know exactly when they posted it, but there certainly wasn't much delay in getting predictions [noaa.gov] on the internet. The NOAA has some good information on their tsunami research program [noaa.gov] including information about today's event [noaa.gov] and a youtube video of the simulation [youtube.com]

Re:Why do they even go at different speeds (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35461358)

Another huge factor is the shape of the coast underwater. I forget what shape makes what difference, but a gently sloping coast is going to be affected differently than a dredged out harbor.

Re:Why do they even go at different speeds (1)

ron_ivi (607351) | more than 3 years ago | (#35461624)

Answering my own question ---- wow - it's awesome how the pattern of the Tsunami wave is almost exactly like the radiation patterns of an antenna shaped about the same shape as the fault:

http://i.imgur.com/Unyfz.jpg [imgur.com]

Wow math is cool!

Oblig xkcd (1)

Psychotic_Wrath (693928) | more than 3 years ago | (#35459840)

Just thought I would add this. http://xkcd.com/723//url [xkcd.com]

Re:Oblig xkcd (1)

Psychotic_Wrath (693928) | more than 3 years ago | (#35459852)

err i mean http://xkcd.com/723/ [xkcd.com]

Re:Oblig xkcd (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 3 years ago | (#35460078)

best XKCD ever!

Re:Oblig xkcd (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 3 years ago | (#35459904)

What, a 404 not found???

http://xkcd.com/723/ [xkcd.com]

Re:Oblig xkcd (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 3 years ago | (#35460028)

best xkcd ever!

Fucking Wow (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35459894)

Wow...

Bad day for this cooment (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35459944)

Really bad day to post a headline like this retard

Not Impressive At All (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#35460016)

Here in the USA I've read in news of exactly one person dead, and yes I'll troll and point out he and his friends were total DUMBASSES taking photos of incoming Tsunami waves at mouth of river outlet to ocean. His friends are lucky to be alive and can now reflect for years on how their utter stupidity got their companion killed horribly and how they made all their families suffer. I'm much more concerned how this system could have been better to help the Japanese,there were minutes between the quake and when the tsunami hit there. in this age of instant comm could not have more been saved by instant messaging system?

Re:Not Impressive At All (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35460042)

in this age of instant comm could not have more been saved by instant messaging system?

I'm pretty sure the effectiveness of an instant communication system is directly proportional to the number of users of said system. Sure, text messages can be fast and cheap but exactly zero people who don't have cell phones will receive them. Even getting people to respond to tornado sirens is not a trivial matter...

Re:Not Impressive At All (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#35460294)

well, in 2007 the Japanese had 833 cell phones per 1,000 people. could even have land-line phone blast telemarketing style for those with no cell (i'm guessing the elderly maybe not plugged into the ether so much). Sure, there would be panic and the problems it causes, but some would get a chance

Re:Not Impressive At All (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#35460304)

Japan has 95% [wikipedia.org] cellphone penetration.

Re:Not Impressive At All (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35461514)

Just 5% more and it'll fit all the way in...

Re:Not Impressive At All (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35460326)

According to broadcast news sources, TV stations were actually able to provide warnings 30 seconds before the quake actually hit land. The problem wasn't lack of knowledge or notification, just the fact that area residents weren't wearing personal jet packs to allow for speedier evacuations...

Tsunami warnings are also... (2)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35460146)

...harder, better, and stronger.

faster and more accurate predictions than ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35460390)

Now only the day after they've happened!

Looks like Republicans tagged this with donotwant (1)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 3 years ago | (#35460624)

Re:Looks like Republicans tagged this with donotwa (1)

517714 (762276) | more than 3 years ago | (#35461032)

Looks like Democrats couldn't anticipate the consequences since there are zero mentions of this prior to this morning. This is political posturing, and a poor attempt at revisionist history, and seeking to capitalize on a natural disaster. No Democrats opposed the cut or made any statements on the subject prior to today. In the information age, I expect a group as powerful as the Democratic party to manipulate the media better than this.

Re:Looks like Republicans tagged this with donotwa (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#35461376)

True. For all we know, the GOP cuts were aimed at eliminating the National Weather Service tornado warning programs. After all, those tornadoes have been sent by God to punish the wrong doers in the states in tornado alley (primarily red states). The people on the west coast trust science and are less likely to put their fate into the hands of God or the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Re:Looks like Republicans tagged this with donotwa (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35461502)

Nah, well, it's hard to predict tsunamis and earthquakes - easier to predict the weather -
Democrats did attempt to add more money to NOAA’s budget. Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., offered an amendment to the CR that would have directed “no less than $710,641,000 to the National Weather Service Local Warnings and Forecasts.” The amendment was one of several Democratic spending proposals that was found to be out of order, and not voted on.
Well, someone tried to add money to the budget - the statement that no one objected is not true -

There has been a huge redistribution of wealth from the poor and middle class to the wealthy over the past 10 to 15 years - the government no longer has the money - the wealthy, top 1 percent have the money now. If NOAA wishes to survive, it must receive patronage from the top 1 percent. And, thus, the privatization of all government functions is complete.

Re:Looks like Republicans tagged this with donotwa (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35461036)

This is the same party that takes individuals seriously that say that oceans won't rise because God told them so.

Poor japanese (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35460806)

Poor japanese

http://www.pesma.net/

Japanese Reactor Question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35461018)

I am not an expert at all but I have a question.. the Japanese reactors that are said to be overheating since the pumps do not have the necessary power to cool the reactor core. How come they can't SCRAM meaning insert all the control rods into the reactor and stop completely the reactor? Why waste time trying to get power there to restart the pumps and in the meantime possibly increase the risk of leakage of radioactive material?

Thank you for everyone's insight...

Re:Japanese Reactor Question... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#35461314)

I'm no expert either. But my understanding of reactor operation is: even after a scram, the reactor core continues to produce decay heat [wikipedia.org] and must be cooled for some time.

Reactor installations are normally equipped with backup diesel generators of sufficient capacity to run the necessary cooling pumps. It may be that the quake or subsequent tsunami damaged them so that they were not able to start. It is possible to backfeed a plant over the outgoing transmission lines to power pumps as well and that may have been their backup to the backup plan.

Re:Japanese Reactor Question... (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#35461464)

From what I've read, the unit is cooled with steam, so pumps aren't required. Unfortunately, power is required to control the valves. I'm guessing a manual override isn't possible or they've would have put that plan into motion.

I think the fuel is encased with a ceramic shell. The fuel has a melting point of 1000c while the ceramic is 2000c. That would require some serious heat buildup.

Re:Japanese Reactor Question... (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35461398)

I believe the issue is that the massive heat is already there. No doubt they dropped the control rods (or whatever the control mechanism is), but everything is still hot and needs to be continually cooled until no longer hot. There are other complexities, like the one facility that has 6 reactors and only one of them is down. And a different (I think?) facility where they had the generators to run the pumps, but a hose broke or something and there was no coolant.
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