[extropy-chat] A sad day

Robert J. Bradbury bradbury at aeiveos.com
Mon Oct 10 18:35:18 UTC 2005

> Nanotechnology should allow us to create building materials capable of
> withstanding earthquake forces and other natural disasters much
> better and at much lower cost than we are today.

A good point.  One could imagine something like buildings on buckytubes
which would be much more stable during ground shaking events.

> Unfortunately such technologies will continue to see little or no
> adoption in economically strapped areas of the world.

Here you are probably incorrect.  Remember in a "full" nanotech
environment we are talking less than $1.00/kg for producing *anything*.
It is a question of whether the designs are available and in the public
domain (e.g. open source).  If so everything else becomes relatively simple
(refer back to my "Sapphire Mansions" post many years ago and the subsequent
paper I wrote -- which you can find via Google).

> Is there any accurate early warning systems for quakes that would
> allow time for evacuation as there is with hurricanes?

Hard problem.  We are very good now, particularly as a result of the
GPS system, at knowing how much things are moving and how much strain
is building up each year.  But knowing precisely when rocks will "snap" --
that is a much less exact science.  I'd put it quite a bit behind hurricane
path prediction.  Unlike with hurricanes where we can watch them from the
sky, or fly planes through them, getting a read on the ground potentially
requires drilling a lot of holes.

The Japanese just spent something like $500M on a ship that they hope
can drill one hole into the mantle.  Its very non-trivial and very expensive
to get the information required to even hope to make good earthquake

> And I wonder if our modern architecture and building materials used
> in US major cities would have held up much better in that strong of a
> quake.

Obviously, since we have building codes and most third world countries
do not.  But as Katrina clearly showed even the best building codes
may not be up to what nature can throw at us.

I happen to be particularly fond of a couple of quotes from Armageddon
(see list of quotes at [1]).

They are (and your computer needs sound to play these):

They are somewhat loosely related to our collective hazard function.

1. http://www.wavsite.com/sounds.asp?id=3

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