Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Flaw? (Feeling Pensive)

Is it genetics, part of our evolution as the human species, that we have the horrible
tendency to live in places that any logic would tell us are unacceptable? We build our cities and towns, thriving ports of human activity, in locations that routinely kick our asses. And we keep building and rebuilding after every kick. Why is that?

I've wonder this for years. We build on top of caves, fault lines, mountain sides, tornado prone plains and hurricane prone coasts. I know that to not build in these places would be to turn our backs on places that are highly habitable in most times. It is the times that are not so favorable that put me in this pensive mode. I am not in the safest place, being as near to the New Madrid fault as I am, but I don't worry as much as I probably should about an earthquake. Not as much as I would if were west of the Rockies at least. I am far enough from the Mississippi that flooding from it is not a serious threat, though local springs, streams and creeks do present the occasional over the banks problem.

What continues to draw us to places that are so obviously not the safest port in a storm? Why are we drawn to the coasts when we KNOW that hurricanes haunt them annually? Why are we drawn to the plains when we know that tornadoes can and will rip through at any given time? Why build massive cities on top of a cave system that is so vastly unexplored and stretches from Tennessee to Canada?

Is it a primordial instinct that we possess somewhere deep in our largely unused brains that demands, even in these times of plenty (compared to our cave-dwelling ancestors), that we settle ourselves somewhere that we will be able to scavenge food stuffs should we return to the not so plentiful times (ie major time TEOTWAWKI)?

I told you I was feeling pensive tonight.


Jennersen said...

One would be hard pressed to find an area on the planet that does not suffer from some form of natural hazard be it blizzard, hurricane, tornado, earthquake, sinkhole, drought, flood, volcano, or fire. Add to the mix things like comets and asteroids and there is no where safe from any natural hazard at all on the planet. The real question is why do we not use the technology we have to shore up against the natural hazards each environment faces, for example we could protect our grid by bury the lines instead of letting wind tear them down.

Mayberry said...

Well, speaking for myself (and living on the Gulf coast), I'd have to say that the good outweighs the bad. The weather is cooler on the coast in the summer with the sea breeze. The winters are (relatively) mild here (I HATE cold!!). And at least you know when a hurricane is coming. Tornados and earthquakes come without warning (or very little).

Jennersen, I've often wondered why more power lines aren't underground around here. Probably just too expensive to do... I also wonder why houses here aren't built of concrete block or steel frame instead of wood frame. Again, probably due to expense.....

The Other Mike S. said...

It's because of easy access to food. Coasts provide abundant seafood, the middle of America is quite literally the world's bread basket.

Ozark Momma said...

Well put all!

They are starting to bury lines locally, but not all of them which means that somewhere along the system there will be an outage that will affect customers.

I've always preferred to look at my scenery with no powerlines to block my view, which is part of the reason I loved Germany so much. Off post we were hard pressed to find powerlines marring the countryside.

The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedience, and by parts. --Edmund Burke