Posting in Cities
The pictures were taken under partly cloudy conditions, so some views are darkened, and the entire earthquake zone is not yet available under high magnification. But viewing it is still a humbling experience.
Google has updated its satellite views or Port-au-Prince, Haiti, clearly showing the earthquake's devastation and tent cities on any empty ground there is to find.
The pictures were taken under partly cloudy conditions, so some views, like the one at right, are darkened, and the entire earthquake zone is not yet available under high magnification.
But viewing it is still a humbling experience.
I thought of calling this a bird's eye view so as to avoid offense, but that does not do justice to the tech demonstration. You can click around the map on any browser, jumping up or down magnifications, in ways no bird could.
I chose the headline also because the achievement illustrates how helpless we are in the face of disaster. Haitians were quick to invoke the name of God in the wake of what happened, but much of this destruction is man-made.
The severity of the Haiti earthquake barely exceeded that of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in San Francisco, yet the devastation there is total because there is no functioning government and there were no effective building codes. I render unto Caesar responsibility for government and building codes.
The Google views show that while we can see anything, in extreme detail, we do not yet have the power to affect everything, or to alleviate suffering as we would like. This disaster is 10 times worse than Hurricane Katrina, wiping out all authority, and while we're doing all we can it doesn't seem near enough.
Jan 20, 2010
You're probably using Google Chrome. For whatever reason, posts on Smartplanet and other sites get screwed up with Chrome. Something about line feeds getting improperly inserted. I use Chrome as my primary browser, but if I am posting something more than a sentence or two that I'd like others to be able to read without getting distracted, I post using IE.
The feeling I get is one of helplessness. We are doing an immense amount, and have moved a lot of people in quickly by conventional standards, but the scope of the devastation, and the speed with which buried people turn into rotting corpses, along with the speed with which survivors can turn into savages under the pressure of hunger and thirst, is sometimes too much to bear. Bush lost America in New Orleans. He was never the same politically after that, because we saw the pictures and saw the helplessness and felt more should have been done. I don't know if more could have been done any faster with Haiti, but I get the same feeling watching its tragedy as I did with Katrina. That's unfair. But life is unfair. P.S. -- How do you get your comment lines to line up so well, John? Mine look good while I'm writing, but the margins never seem to play out once they post.
The tragedy and scope of the Haitian earthquake is astounding. I will ad that it's was both a lack of a functioning government as well as poverty is responsible for the degree of devastation. The two play off each other. You can't have growth and wealth without a functioning and stable government, and you can't afford to build to codes as we do in America without some degree of wealth. The upside of this tragedy (if there is one) is that we live in an age where the outside world became aware of the devastation almost immediately. Photos transmitted via the Internet and satellite instantly relayed the scope of the destruction, and Americans responded immediately. Planes with volunteers and supplies were headed south within hours. By the first day, tens of millions of dollars were raised. The only limitation wasn't resources or willingness, but the lack of space to park the incoming planes with relieve workers and supplies at a nearly destroyed airport. If this had happened a mere century ago, most American's would not have even heard about it for months, and our ability to provide aid in any meaningful way would have been limited.