Thoughts from the Loo

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Saturday, September 25, 2004

[E] Living in Harmony with Nature

Can somebody please explain to me why don't Americans build proper houses, at least in hurricane-prone areas? I mean, I understand Japanese houses made of bamboo sticks and paper: nothing heavy to fall on one's head when the next earthquake decides to make face of the earth wart-free. But that is appropriate. This Florida stuff is anything but.

I am watching on CNN some poor soul boarding up his windows for the fourth time in six weeks. Hasn't it occured to him to install solid hinged blinds like those used in the Mediterranean? Does his roof have to be made of light shingle or sheet aluminum? How about flat concrete, or (again Mediterranean-style) ceramic tiles or slate embedded in hard mortar?

People hit by a hurricane (or snowstorm or freezing rain, for that matter) are likely to be without power and telephone for days, sometimes weeks. Is puting power and telecom cables underground (as is done everywhere in Europe, for example, except sometimes for 110kV+ transmission lines) so far from reason (and so expensive, compared to recurrent repairs and cost to consumers)? Perhaps consumers should start requiring service level agreements from their utilities (without 'act of God' clauses)...

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