Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Roll Your Own News

GigaOm looks at how people are using the Internet to cope with the wildfires in Southern California.

Traditional media have been hopelessly outdated in their coverage. We tracked the fires using the National Weather Service’s reflectivity index, which proved far more accurate. But the enterprising folks at the L.A. Fire Department found a better way: they’ve been issuing frequent updates using Twitter.

Google Maps mashups are being usd to provide a relatively current look at data. Some news sources, whose traditional web sites are flooded and broken, have resorted to Google Maps’ new And for homes without power, mobile handsets are making it possible for people to get details on where to go.

Nothing follows.


Blogger Jrod said...

I can't help but notice how much better organized the emergency response teams--as well as the evacuees--have been in San Diego than in New Orleans for Katrina.
I'm sure it has everything to do with the fact that SD is largely conservative, and mostly middle class and white; so there's no need for Bush to send the National Guard down to shoot anybody.

10/24/2007 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger Alaska Paul said...

I talked about this subject of good and timely response with my friend the other day, who is an engineer for the City of San Diego. One thing is that emergency response planners went over the experiences of the 2003 fires and learned the lessons that needed to be learned, and applied them to an updated disaster plan. The plans were in place, as well as memoranda of agreement and mutual aid MOAs, so they were pretty much ready for anything.

They have done a great job at emergency response to this disaster in San Diego.

10/24/2007 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger Dublin Saab said...

I love the MSM response to the fires. They see the cause of the fires as being due to:

- Global Warming
- The Bush administration
- The war in Iraq

But I have heard no mention of:

- The ancient history of fires in the area every bloody year
- The fact that the area is a desert
- Environmentalists suing to block the removal of deadfall tinder from the forests

Well done MSM, well done.

Next weeks headline, “Dow closes down 23 points, evil baby eating conservatives to blame, vote for Hilary!”

10/24/2007 01:26:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

There are huge wildfires in Australia too and it's not unusual for vast fields of low-lying smoke to blanket large sections of major cities.

Accumulated deadfall is also a major reason for the severity of the blaze. Forests do burn in nature. The fuel oxidizes, one way or the other. But some environmentalists think this is unnatural and this paradoxically leads to unnaturally large fires.

10/24/2007 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger Ivan Douglas said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10/24/2007 09:37:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

After Yellowstone had devastating fires in 1987 and again in 1998, there was much speculation and widely-circulated assertions that the intensity of the fires resulted from a century of our government's policy of fighting all fires --- naturally-occuring as well as man-made --- and thus allowing many decades of deadwood to accumulate.

In fact, the National Park Service Policy after 1945 was to let most lightning-induced forest fires in the park burn themselves out.

At the time there was much fear that the heat of the fires was so magnified by the accumulation of deadwood that the soil had been completely sterilized, even to the extent of exhausting essential nutrients. As it has unfolded though, the recovery of the burned areas has been astounding: rapid, vigorous, and diverse.

A lot those same fears have been expressed about forest fires in California.

Growing up in southern California in the late 1950's and early 1960's I watched many hours EVERY YEAR of KTLA --- LA's huge independent TV station --- coverage of forest fires in the canyons around Los Angeles. Living in Northern California from 1993 to 2003, the incidence of forest fires seemed unabated. But in any case, people forget the discovery that there are species of pine whose seeds will not germinate unless and until the pinecone passes through the heat of a forest fire.

The real craziness is the doctrinaire imposition of the theme of "Global Warming Caused by BusHitler" by the simple-minded reporters.

What a bunch of morons.

10/24/2007 11:51:00 PM  

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