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Monday, January 14, 2013

Ideological Discretion Advised

Posted by on Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 9:41 AM

You gotta love this lede:

WARNING: This column contains science. It might be considered inappropriate or offensive by certain members of our congressional delegation and others who call themselves conservative. Ideological discretion is advised.

Funny lede. But everything that comes after that lede is pretty depressing—particularly to anyone who wants to see New Orleans survive this century.


Comments (16) RSS

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Everything concerning New Orleans is a fucking tragedy. The Army Corp were a bunch of incompetent, lying shit heads before, during and after the storm. Current storm prep efforts don't do enough to protect the city long term and the incredibly indigent rural communtities surrounding New Orleans have been left to be slowly swallowed up by the sea. And due to economic pressure concerned locals tend overlook the role oil and natural gas extraction and transportation have in land subsidence and the destruction of barrier islands and cypress forests that are vital in protecting against storm surge. It's an amazing city, but I'm not sure it has much of a future.
Posted by Hanging in C.C on January 15, 2013 at 1:04 AM · Report this
@15, it's not just natural disasters--an earthquake can strike anywhere. This is different--this is a long term problem with predictable effects. What we choose to do about it is an open question.

Do we work to mitigate those effects? Do we try to mitigate the damage from those effects?
Posted by clashfan on January 14, 2013 at 5:46 PM · Report this
@12 No, I'm talking about storm cycles. We have a couple of decades with relatively few storms then a couple of decades with relatively many storms. We had a long period of calm up until about the end of the twentieth, during which many people built all sorts of important things right near the ocean.
Posted by DRF on January 14, 2013 at 3:27 PM · Report this
SPG 15
I'm really surprised to see so many people writing off New Orleans. By that same logic, we should have written off most of Southern California, a good chunk of Pierce County, Florida, all of Japan, the Netherlands, Bangladesh, Bangkok, Manilla, and the list of places that are threatened by natural disasters becomes nearly endless.
New Orleans is not doomed. It has some challenges, but nothing that can't be remedied if the will is there. On balance, New Orleans is worth keeping for the culture alone.
Posted by SPG on January 14, 2013 at 3:01 PM · Report this
Bonefish 14
Psh. You "progressives" and your "progressive" belief in "progressive" science. "Progressive."
Posted by Bonefish on January 14, 2013 at 1:51 PM · Report this
Zotz 13
Hey, it's not just New Orleans. It's New York City, New Jersey, much of Puget Sound lowlands, etc., etc.

We should not be rebuilding, but pulling back. The FEMA dollars should be an investment used to pay people off and let nature take its course in the least disruptive way possible.

It's insane to rebuild any of this shit. And you shouldn't be able to get any kind of insurance. It's just gonna get hammered again and again...

Posted by Zotz on January 14, 2013 at 1:21 PM · Report this
treacle 12
It was pretty obvious after Katrina that New Orleans would be pretty shortly lost to sea rise and global climate change in general. Probably the first major city we've lost to climate change. Er, "will have" lost... pretty inevitable.

@9 - DRP "More big storms are on the way, at least for the next few decades."

Feeling especially hopeful today? Riding on extra VitD from all the sunlight yesterday? I somehow doubt that the atmospheric chaos caused by increased CO2 and water vapor --(to say nothing of the extra methane released from the Taiga and Tundra)-- and the warmer-water feedback loop will take merely "a few decades" to sort itself out. Probably more like a few centuries. If that. :/
Posted by treacle on January 14, 2013 at 12:45 PM · Report this
Read James Patterson's "Zoo". It's a quick read and fallout from government bureaucracy described in the book is unfortunately hilariously apt.
Posted by Drew2u on January 14, 2013 at 12:19 PM · Report this
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on January 14, 2013 at 12:11 PM · Report this
New Orleans, Red Hook, Union Beach and other places damaged by storms should be rebuilt to last, not just as they were. More big storms are on the way, at least for the next few decades.

And on a hope-for-humanity note, the average number of children per woman is down to about five from about eight in the mid-twentieth century. We've taken the lead out of the gas. We might be spewing pollution but we and the international community and the public all know about it and have a consensus that it's not cool. So some things have changed for the better and others have had their foundations laid.

Oh! And the forests in Costa Rica or someplace are growing back because of remittances to farmers' families from relatives living in the U.S.!
Posted by DRF on January 14, 2013 at 12:08 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 8
When you see the pollution China is spewing, the damage will only increase. Warmer oceans will need larger storms to disperse their heat. With sea levels already rising because polar ice is melting, coastal regions are in for relentless pounding.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on January 14, 2013 at 11:05 AM · Report this

According to EPA estimates:…

While the projected rise would be severe, it does not seem to accelerate until after 2030, giving us a comfortable margin of 15 years to reevaluate the models at that time.

For example, while they mention a CAT 5 hurricane, nearly all hurricanes since 2004 turned into tropical storms or depressions when making landfall.

Also, none of the models seem to take into account the greater capacity of the heated atmosphere to store water vapor, or increasing specific humidity.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on January 14, 2013 at 10:35 AM · Report this
Max Solomon 6
@2: Agreed, not much that can be feasably done to save it, but "our" engineering of the mississippi delta has hastened its destruction. If the delta were intact & building as it did historically, the surges would be reduced.
Posted by Max Solomon on January 14, 2013 at 10:31 AM · Report this
If Jesus had been born in New Orleans, we'd still be waging war over the place.
Posted by SPG on January 14, 2013 at 10:24 AM · Report this
Pick1 4
The comments on the story are particularly depressing.

So much hatred for science.
Posted by Pick1 on January 14, 2013 at 9:59 AM · Report this
New Orleans has been doomed for a long, long time. It's ecologically vulnerable, and I don't think there's anything we can do to save it, apart from letting a significant amount of acreage go back to mangroves and wetlands. But sadly, it won't happen. And people will pay for it again.
Posted by NateMan on January 14, 2013 at 9:46 AM · Report this

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