engineering questions re. Katrina

From: Keith Miller <>
Date: Mon Sep 19 2005 - 22:29:12 EDT

The message below is from Ruth:

> I'm not on the listserv, so please cc me if you reply to asa:
> We have watched the events in New Orleans, southern Mississippi and
> Alabama with increasing sorrow and frustration following Hurricane
> Katrina's arrival in late August. All the human suffering there seems
> particularly poignant to this engineer, at least, because Katrina
> should not have been unexpected. The questions raised by the storm's
> effects have been lying there for all of us to think about for
> decades, but the slow and, for many in the area, torturous response of
> those equipped to help strongly suggests that these questions had not
> ever considered seriously by those in authority. I invite ASA
> members, particularly those in engineering, to dialogue in this
> newsletter, on the listserv and in Perspectives, on questions such as
> these:
> Is it humanly possible to engineer safety for the population of a
> large city below sea level in a region subject to known periodic large
> strong storms? If yes, what sort of engineering solutions are there,
> and can they be implemented now in rebuilding New Orleans? Or should
> the solution be sought in permanent relocation of the population that
> lived on the Mississipi delta? Or is there some intermediate choice?
> What sort of engineering solutions would help with evacuation, rescue,
> and providing for basic human needs? Are there technologies known or
> conceivable to protect oil refineries, oil drilling platforms and
> other vital industries close to the coast? Can we engineer an
> electrical distribution system for coastal communities that is not
> vulnerable to both flood and wind? What about water, sewage and
> natural gas distribution?
> I'm sure I haven't thought of half the questions relevant to this
> situation, yet it seems to me if God has given me the calling of
> engineer, considering these kinds of questions should be high on my
> list of assigned stewardship duties. I welcome other members'
> thoughts and look forward to productive dialogue.
> Ruth
> --
> Ruth Douglas Miller
> Associate Professor
> Dept of Electrical and Computer Engineering
> 261 Rathbone Hall
> Kansas State University
> Manhattan, KS 66506-5204
> ph 785-532-4596
> fx 785-532-1188
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Received on Mon Sep 19 22:33:42 2005

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