Spam ? - Lessons of Katrina

Frank Gentges fgentges at
Thu Feb 16 11:11:18 CST 2006


A superb article summarizes a lot of the hype vs reality in the 
aftermath of Katrina.  Surprisingly, from Popular Mechanics Magazine.  I 
think I will subscribe if they are doing this kind of work.

Perhaps we can get some good ideas about the AMRAD van and how it 
functions from this.  It looks like a key underlying problem is the lack 
of communications and more specificically, accurate information.  Can we 
help everyone get a clearer and more accurate picture of what is going 
on in the midst of a disaster with new or improved concepts for the van 
and amateur radio?  Its one thing to pass emergency messages and that is 
needed.  But we need to find ways to develop an accurate aggregate 
picture of the situation .  The military call this "situational awareness".

I had been thinking that input from multiple news  organizations might 
be the way.  However, Katrina experiences seem to indicate that attempts 
to aggregate only their viewpoints may result in aggregating a bunch of 
self referencing misinformation based on what turns out to be a tiny set 
of flawed input data. 

We need to think how we might better do this.   Hams and first 
responders with "boots on the ground" could be key to weeding out false 
media reports.  These hams may be the same hams providing emergency 
communications.  Some questions: 

Do we need to add or redefine the hams role in emergencies?   
What aggregation strategies should we use? 
What do we need to provide for the aggregation that gets it right?

Could this be the application where artificial intelligence finally 
blossoms?  I doubt it.  More likely non-parametric statistics if we 
could only figure out how to apply it.

Note:  Even if you are not printing it out it is much more readable if 
you click on the "Print This" icon.

Frank K0BRA

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