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Communications Government United States

FEMA, FCC Hope To Forestall Panic Over National Emergency Alert 210

Posted by timothy
from the awaiting-dhs-kickbacks dept.
Ars Technica has a piece on the "first-ever nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS)," slated for this Wednesday at 2 p.m. EST. An excerpt: "This national system will look and sound much like the current (and local) emergency warnings often seen on TV or heard on radio, but the scope is larger and it can be put under the direct control of the President. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the National Weather Service (NWS) will all coordinate the test, but it's FEMA that actually transmits the alert code. Concerned that such a test might alarm people, the agencies are going to extraordinary lengths to provide a heads-up. I first heard about the test in an e-mail newsletter from my city government, which told residents last week, 'Do not be alarmed when an emergency message will take over the airways... this is only a test.' The test will display a warning message on TV screens, though as my city helpfully noted, 'Due to some technical limitations, a visual message indicating that "this is a test" may not pop up on every TV channel, especially where people use cable to receive their television stations.'"
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FEMA, FCC Hope To Forestall Panic Over National Emergency Alert

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  • Hmmm... maybe the first Deus Ex was right.... FEMA was just the first layer of that conspiracy... now they're taking over the airwaves. :-)

  • by gl4ss (559668) on Monday November 07, 2011 @09:18AM (#37972130) Homepage Journal

    perfect time for my invasion fleet to make their move!
    COBRA! COBRA! COBRA! COBRA!

  • Who is watching TV and listening to the radio these days?
    How will the system reach those of us that get 90% of our content online?
    I guess it would work during a sporting event, but what about the rest of the time?

    • by Smallpond (221300)

      Wednesday at 2:00 PM? But that's right in the middle of the Car Credit infomercial!

    • Re:How effective? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kannibal_klown (531544) on Monday November 07, 2011 @09:30AM (#37972218)

      Who is watching TV and listening to the radio these days?
      How will the system reach those of us that get 90% of our content online?
      I guess it would work during a sporting event, but what about the rest of the time?

      Actually, a large percentage of people still watch TV now-a-days. Just because a larger percentage of SLASHDOT has moved off TV and onto Hulu+Netflex+Torrents+Whatever doesn't translate very well to Joe Sixpack that just wants to watch a few shows in the evening or the occasional Football / Baseball game.

      Granted, at 2PM most people would be at work where they won't have access to TV and as much radio but a lot of people (including the elderly and unemployed) will be watching.

      • by vlm (69642)

        Actually, a large percentage of people still watch TV now-a-days. Just because a larger percentage of SLASHDOT has moved off TV and onto Hulu+Netflex+Torrents+Whatever doesn't translate very well to Joe Sixpack

        The live TV viewers are poor people. Watch the commercials for once instead of DVR FF, netflixing the whole series at once, downloading the torrent, or mythtv auto-skipping the entire break. The commercials are all for criminal defense lawyers, scam schools (become a highly paid video game programmer in two months!), used car dealers, scammy loan operations like auto title loans and strange mortgage offers, bankruptcy laywers... There are not many TV commercials for /.ers like AMD CPUs or heatsink paste.

        N

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          No, the GP is right. I'm the only one I know (in meatspace) that gets most content over the internet, but much of what I do get over the internet is over the air radio; I'm a little too far from St Louis to get KSHE and KIHT so I listen to them on the internet, but the EAS message would still come through.

          You can't judge who's watching TV by the commercials, and besides, I see plenty of commercials for new cars, including luxury cars. And drugs. Poor people don't buy new Cadillacs or Cialis. I see commercia

        • by Tim C (15259)

          Now who is going to logically think things thru and not panic, the average /.er or some poor person who watches too much FOX news and CSI?

          Given the levels of logical thinking usually displayed on here I can only conclude that this was a trick question.

      • Granted, at 2PM most people would be at work where they won't have access to TV and as much radio but a lot of people (including the elderly and unemployed) will be watching.

        I suspect that's pretty much the point of conducting the test at 2PM EST. The system gets tested end-to-end, while the fewest people are inconvenienced.

    • by Lakitu (136170)

      you're asking how you will get info on the internet?

      If TV and radio were not "dumb", one-way media, and worked like the internet to begin with, then this would not even be an issue. With full internet-capable devices, you can request your own information on your own schedule, and not rely on an entertainment-focused pre-scheduled TV channel or radio station to interrupt their broadcasts.

      • Umm, no. This works precisely because TV and radio are push media. If there is an emergency, it is easy to push emergency broadcast information to everyone. The web is a pull medium, meaning that you can't get any information unless you know to look for it. They can't just inject 'aliens are invading, please go to your local soylent green factory immediately' into every HTTP request.
        • by X0563511 (793323)

          Well, they COULD. This would require some cooperation on part of the server operators, however.

    • by FlopEJoe (784551)
      Does anyone have a torrent to it?
    • by cvtan (752695)
      I don't have cable so I watch over-the-air TV transmissions. In the car I listen to the radio or CDs or MP3s. Not so weird to me!
  • Wouldn't an 'emergency broadcast' that interferes with America's God-given right to television constitute, in itself, an national emergency?
  • media choice (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mapkinase (958129) on Monday November 07, 2011 @09:24AM (#37972168) Homepage Journal

    TV and radio? That's it? I do not have it at home and the radio channels in my car are unworthy.

    I am already subscribed to a bunch of alerts from my county (text, email notifications) and it works already just fine.

    Given that I am spending about 1 hour every day in my car, 8 hours at work (email access), and the rest at home (6 hours sleep - no access to email, texts + access to email and text for the rest of the home time), I would prefer text messages as the basic alert media. With the noted exceptions I always have access to my phone, so I would prefer "text" as a media.

    I could not find any comparison in numbers between TV subscriptions and cell phones, but I suspect that more people nowadays have access to text messaging.

    Another thing is that TV should be on when the emergency broadcast happens.

    From the other hand, cell phones are more easily disrupted (voice, don't remember the anekdotes on messaging) during emergency situations...

    • Re:media choice (Score:5, Interesting)

      by grumling (94709) on Monday November 07, 2011 @09:35AM (#37972240) Homepage

      In a real emergency, you'll likely get a reverse 911 call if there's time.

      However, as part of an emergency kit you should have some sort of battery powered mass communications device on hand. The EAS isn't just that 10 second alert. If an event is triggered there are designated "tune-to" channels on cable systems and radio bands that can be used to get information out about things like shelters and storm tracks.

      If they are actually used or not is another matter entirely.

    • by Phrogman (80473)

      I have a cell phone. I leave it turned off unless I need to make a call. I only have it because I need to have it for work, otherwise I would likely not have a cellphone at all. Text messages might reach a lot of the current always-staring-at-their-cellphone generation but by no means is it a better means of advertising a warning. It could be added to the list of ways to reach people I suppose but given the fact that SOMEONE out there would then want to spoof it immediately I am not sure that's a good idea

      • by mapkinase (958129)

        >I leave it turned off

        cool story, bro

      • Would Sir wish for a man to follow him around and wave a red flag each time there's a disaster?

        I'm not really sure what your point is. Are you one of these "I don't watch live TV or listen to the radio" crowd? And you turn off your mobile? How exactly do you expect to be warned, then?
    • I would prefer text messages as the basic alert media. With the noted exceptions I always have access to my phone, so I would prefer "text" as a media.

      How would you know the message is authentic?

      • by OzPeter (195038)

        I would prefer text messages as the basic alert media. With the noted exceptions I always have access to my phone, so I would prefer "text" as a media.

        How would you know the message is authentic?

        Text message delivery is not guaranteed to be immediate, so how do you know the message is timely?

        Or better yet, you finally turn on your cell phone and get inundated with a zillion alert text messages which gives you the impression that the zombie apocalypse has already started and you'd better start shooting your neighbors - as after all, they are all walking around as if there is no emergency what so ever.

        • by X0563511 (793323)

          That's not difficult. Whomever sends the message just needs to include a timestamp in the message itself.

      • by vlm (69642)

        I would prefer text messages as the basic alert media. With the noted exceptions I always have access to my phone, so I would prefer "text" as a media.

        How would you know the message is authentic?

        If its a text, it is not authentic unless you're within a very small restricted age range that uses texts constantly.

        I would assume any "attention grabbing" text is just spam. "Zombie apocalypse reported downtown... please email zombie@ripoffonlinephamacy.com for details"

        Just like the QR code fad. I'm not interested in QR codes because I know from history that within a year, 90% of public QR codes are going to be hacked URLs pointing to goatse or some virus delivery payload website that will add another t

      • by mapkinase (958129)

        Any sci-fi fan would tell you that this problem exists on the radio as well (famously popped up 75 years ago) :-)

        I am not taking your question seriously because I do not take a problem of text message pranks seriously.

  • The real story here is that Fed.Gov can take over control of any media outlet without the consent of the media outlet.

    Controlling the media is 90% of any coup...so who else is thinking of skipping an occupy rally today to hack this system?

    • Re:the real coup (Score:5, Informative)

      by grumling (94709) on Monday November 07, 2011 @09:39AM (#37972260) Homepage

      That pesky Communications act of 1934 (amended every congressional session since) specifically states that the airwaves belong to the people, and the people have designated the FCC as the trustee of the airwaves. By getting a license you grant consent.

      The Cable act of 1992 brings cable TV under the umbrella of the FCC as well. Satellite TV, being delivered over the air, falls under the 1934 rule.

    • Re:the real coup (Score:4, Interesting)

      by surgen (1145449) on Monday November 07, 2011 @10:00AM (#37972420)

      The real story here is that Fed.Gov can take over control of any media outlet without the consent of the media outlet.

      No. That is not the story; those are paranoid delusions. Each broadcast station operates their EAS hardware. It can be overridden in many ways, from changing the control setting from "automatically forward messages" to "wait for my cue before forwarding" all the way to removing the electric relay that allows the encoder to inject between the program signal and transmitter.

      If we're ever in enough trouble where EAS is used to "take over a media outlet", there will be enough problems going on that no broadcaster will give two shits about the FCC ramifications of not forwarding EAS messages (which are currently pretty weak anyway and not enforced anyway).

    • by Doc Ruby (173196)

      Yes, and in an emergency that control is necessary. Especially if the media outlet wouldn't voluntarily cooperate. The media resistance is the coup; the government is already the government.

      If the emergency didn't warrant the government control, the media outlets could and would immediately sue the government. If the legal system were changed by the emergency response, the media outlets would continue to resist in ways that would be more powerful that the government, unless the people went along with the go

      • by vlm (69642)

        Yes, and in an emergency that control is necessary. Especially if the media outlet wouldn't voluntarily cooperate. The media resistance is the coup; the government is already the government.

        If five corporations own most of the media, and coincidentally, a handful of big corporations also own all the elected officials, I'm not seeing how, or why, the corporations would fight internally. Sure they do stupid stuff like all interdepartmental squabbles, and they put on an antisocial show occasionally, but I'm not seeing why any serious disagreement would/could happen.

        • by Doc Ruby (173196)

          Yes, "The real story is that the media outlets covering 99%+ of the audience are part of the "coup" that daily damages our rights, and robs and kills us with our rights abandoned."

    • Yes but it is for your own protection.
    • Re:the real coup (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Lakitu (136170) on Monday November 07, 2011 @10:21AM (#37972606)

      if this is really your concern, then you should not be worried about the FCC, which is decently well-regulated and has visible ties to Congress, or Emergency Alert System, which is a program of cooperation between major media providers in TV and radio and the government.

      What you should worry about is all of the extra-judicial cooperation between corporations and the government, with many of them not even questioning government requests even when the government requests have essentially zero legal standing. Ask a cop you know how easy it is for him to get location information from a cell phone provider, for example, without much hassle.

      Many of these types of corporations lay down and roll over at the thought of any law enforcement request, partly because they are making major profits off of the cronyism tendencies of present day America, and partly because they were bullied into giving up information without question by government administrations over the last 10 years.

      if the official, regulated agency administering very little control over media and the airwaves scare you, then you'll be shocked to find out what the unofficial, unregulated relationships are like.

      • by dkleinsc (563838)

        Other examples of behavior from the mainstream media that should be considered far more disturbing than the EAS:
        1. Consider, for instance, that the New York Times has reported, on its own front page, that it sends the White House an advance copy of their major stories and asks them whether it's ok to print it. This was true during both the George W Bush and Barack Obama administrations. This has caused the Times to delay publication of major news stories, including those regarding significant illegal activi

  • "'Due to some technical limitations, a visual message indicating that "this is a test" may not pop up on every TV channel, especially where people use cable to receive their television stations.'"

    So can we say in advance that that aspect of the test quite clearly FAILS? /facepalm

    • by gbjbaanb (229885)

      lets just hope that the visual message indicating that "this is NOT a test" will pop up when needed!

    • by surgen (1145449)

      So can we say in advance that that aspect of the test quite clearly FAILS? /facepalm

      Not really.

      This test probably just focuses on FEMAs ability to get the message to the PEP (Primary Entry Points) for the EAS network, not the end broadcaster to properly transmit, or even receive from the PEP (thats what weekly tests are for). And once the message gets to the PEP, its going to look an awful lot like every other EAS test anyway.

      Its not like its TV stations are going to pop up messages saying "ALERT! EMERGENCY! OH MY GOD! EVERYTHINGS OVER!" with no additional information. Its going to be li

      • Its not like its TV stations are going to pop up messages saying "ALERT! EMERGENCY! OH MY GOD! EVERYTHINGS OVER!" with no additional information. Its going to be like the EAS test that happens every single week. Not overriding video is IIRC tolerable under the FCC requirements. The audio message will be there like always.

        Part of the problem, and the reason the FCC and FEMA are trying to get the work out early, is that the video text crawl will NOT indicate that it is a test. The audio portion will, but the text portion will say "A Primary Entry Point station has issued a National Emergency Action Notification for the United States beginning at 2:00 PM EST, valid until 3:00 PM EST"

        This automatically generated text will show up on every TV screen whether connected to cable, satellite, or off-air antenna. If you are not list

  • by realsilly (186931) on Monday November 07, 2011 @09:32AM (#37972224)

    If our government really wants to reach the people, just take down Facebook for a 30 second window and watch the panic ensue. There is a mass of the population who will see this Nationally broadcast message, but unless they hit the internet and key sites, this is not broad enough to reach a majority of the people.

    Just send a Tweet. I understand that Tweets actually beat the aftershock waves along the Eastern seaboard when the quake hit Virginia a few months ago.

    And a free Text message broadcasted to all phones would also work, but you know they won't do that, it shows how much power our government has and they don't want to tip their hand too early with that one.

  • by Phrogman (80473)

    'Due to some technical limitations, a visual message indicating that "this is a test" may not pop up on every TV channel, especially where people use cable to receive their television stations.'

    Ah forgive me, I live up in Canada. Does anyone NOT receive their television from cable these days? Looking online (for what thats worth), it seems 72.7% of Canadians get their TV signal from cable, and 27% get it from Direct to Home (which is presumably referring to satellite TV) with 0.4% getting it from MDS Satell

    • by surgen (1145449)

      Is it not the same down there in the US? The fact that this might not pop up "THIS IS A TEST" on the majority of home TV systems would be enough for me to consider the entire system completely broken. There is no point in having a warning system that causes as much panic as a real event its intended to help warn against if you choose to test it.

      Its not broken, its just that some people are really, really dumb.

      Not only will the actual audio of the alert be there saying that its just a test, there should be no panic at the presence of an alert if it were real. Every broadcast station here is required to activate the alert system for a test once a week and its used for real whenever there is severe weather.

      There doesn't need to be a graphic "this is just a test" message, the emergency alerts in our country are audio-based with a bit of textual metad

      • by vlm (69642)

        Its not broken, its just that some people are really, really dumb.

        I think a lot of it is people living in areas where there ARE NO ALERTS, for whatever legal / cultural / geographic reasons, so they think human beings cannot survive under those conditions.

        Where I live, the local cableco tests local EAS the first wednesday morn monthly, and the local cops test the useless tornado sirens every thursday morning at 0930 if the weather is non-threatening. Also we activate EAS every weekend evening, roughly, for child custody disputes 50 miles away, sure glad we have that inte

    • by tibit (1762298)

      Does anyone NOT receive their television from cable these days?

      I'm considering dropping the cable TV part of my cable package since all that I watch is either available online on the network sites (with a slight delay), or it's on the channels that are available over-the-air, in HD no less. I have to get my behind up into the attic and install two antennas, though: there are two masts downtown that do OTA broadcasts, and they are separated enough that you need two antennas.

    • by Doc Ruby (173196)

      In 2010 Nielsen said [broadcastengineering.com] that only 9% of American households received only terrestrial broadcast TV (ie. not cable or satellite). That number might have increased as the recession has made dropping paid services in favor of free (plus a possible digital converter/antenna) terrestrial broadcasts, but not much.

      However, I would expect that a much larger proportion of that tenth of American households is in reach of an alertable emergency, like flood or tornado. More who don't work, so are isolated at home, need it

      • by vlm (69642)

        In 2010 Nielsen said [broadcastengineering.com] that only 9% of American households received only terrestrial broadcast TV (ie. not cable or satellite). That number might have increased as the recession has made dropping paid services in favor of free

        Don't forget long term ramifications... If for more than a generation, the median American inflation adjusted income has been dropping, while the cost of paid TV services has been increasing faster than inflation, planning for the future indicates that eventually, very few people will be paying for TV service, its just simple math. It is rare for govt or industry to plan ahead, but it could theoretically happen.

        • by Doc Ruby (173196)

          It's clear that emergency broadcasts must address data networks, including mobile phone networks. In fact the government has recently added broadcasts to the mobile phone networks. I'm surprised that there's been nothing I've heard of to force alert messages to Internet terminals of all kinds, since that's such a smooth way for government to force their way onto monitoring and controlling those terminals.

  • I've hating this since my S3 tivo's decided that any of these alerts it must change the channel to them and make me watch it 2 times in English and in Spanish and disable all functionality till it's over. The bad part is it tells me about things a hundred miles away or local river flooding (I'm 150 feet above the nearest river about the thousand year flood mark). The random amber alerts. This is political theater to scare more people into voting these guys back in. The weather alert systems are cheap an

    • by Hittman (81760)
      It's even better when you're watching a show you recorded days ago and the alert mutes the sound and replaces it with annoying beeps.

      All of the alerts I've seen are for severe weather. Hey, guess what? We're used to thunderstorms. We're already prepared for them. Yeah, if it were a tornado I'd be concerned, but not three days later.

    • When I used to have cable it sucked they cut out the sound even on the local channels so you can't even hear the local live weather report that is more detailed then then in there is a alert in $county.

  • It's a Hoax (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday November 07, 2011 @09:57AM (#37972384) Homepage Journal

    On September 11, 2001, the Emergency Alert System [wikipedia.org] (that replaced the Emergency Broadcast System in 1998) did not alert anything. NYC and DC were under multiple attack by planes that immediately crippled the country, surging panic throughout the nation and the world, and driving the USA down the path of ruinous war. But there were no announcements, no sirens, no alerts. Emergency, but no alerts. Precisely the kind of emergency the system was sold to the public to address. After decades, finally needed, useless.

    The official explanation is so much media coverage that it wasn't needed [wikipedia.org]. As if any event requiring the system to work is going to go uncovered by the commercial media. That means the policy is for the system never to actually be used.

    All those years of "testing" the system, all the money spent, all the alternate preparations ignored in favor of that one - all a total waste.

    The weirdest thing is that it took years before I even heard someone mention that it didn't work. A forgettable comedian in about 2004-2005 had about 45 seconds about it

    Now they'll spend a load of money on something else. It might even work. But since nobody even noticed, there'll be no reason for this new one to work. Except for those annoying tests that interrupt us. And leave us expecting we've built something necessary in an emergency, when we've just wasted more money on military contractors who delivered nothing.

    • That is a very good point, while they are probably right that the EAS was not needed on 9/11, it is the type of incident that the system was created for.
      • by Thelasko (1196535)

        That is a very good point, while they are probably right that the EAS was not needed on 9/11, it is the type of incident that the system was created for.

        No, it was created for thermonuclear war. The only people that would know about such an impending catastrophe would be NORAD, [wikipedia.org] so the EBS (now EAS) was created to disseminate this information to the general public.

        The government didn't know the September 11th attacks were about to occur, and had very little information after the attack. Therefore they had no reason to use the EAS.

        • Re:It's a Hoax (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday November 07, 2011 @02:10PM (#37975660) Homepage Journal

          No, it was originally created for a nuclear war. But that was 50 years ago. The system has been substantially reinvented at least 3 times since then, of which the current testing is part of the latest change. The system currently warns of all kinds of emergencies, most commonly weather and other natural disasters.

          The government knew the attacks were happening. The government had the info within an hour after the initial attacks that all planes were grounded, and that there were only the two targeted attacks. The government had spent all kinds of time and money modeling attacks including ones like that one (despite the CYA BS from Rice and other Bushers about "nobody could have anticipated"), including intel like that made into the August 6, 2001 PDB that anticipated this attack as likely coming soon.

          Meanwhile news orgs were saying all kinds of stuff about the attacks immediately, much of which was wrong. The government should have used the EAS to announce the known facts, including the basic government response, to cut off such misinfo and give the public something to indicate our government was working to protect us, despite letting the attack occur. That is what the EAS is for.

          Of course, this is the Bush/Cheney government that let New Orleans drown just a few years later. Their job was to discredit the government by spending its time and money on their cronies instead of the public. The EAS failure fits right in.

    • The idea is to broadcast useful instructions during an emergency. In the early days, that meant "nukes incoming; prepare to duck and cover / head to bomb shelter / find local fallout shelter". Sometimes we get "tornado incoming; get away from glass"; that one's pretty handy.

      What would you broadcast on 9/11 during the brief window between WTF and 100% landed? "Beware of airplanes"? The news had THAT covered well before anyone in the government could put together a coherent sentence.

      • by Doc Ruby (173196)

        How did you know that the attack was "100% landed"?

        Wait - if you think that the news has put together a coherent sentence since the planes started crashing, don't answer that. Especially if you think the news has had a sentence, coherent or not, before the government has given it to say.

        • Re:It's a Hoax (Score:4, Informative)

          by Dhalka226 (559740) on Monday November 07, 2011 @11:22AM (#37973172)

          Your point is fair enough, but I can't help but notice you fully avoided the question. What would you have said and to what effect? "Beware Arabs?"

          The purpose of the system isn't to inform, it is to alert to action. "Tornado coming, duck!" is an actionable alert. The more probable intent at the time of invention, "incoming bombers" or "incoming missile, get to a shelter" is an actionable alert. You would have told people on 9/11 what? At any point in the situation?

          Once we knew what was going on, planes were grounded. Fighters were in the air. For all the terrible injury and death that occurred I can't think of hearing about a single case that was because the police hadn't properly cordoned off the area around the towers, or any other such issue where action might actually be feasible. The only things we might have said we didn't know to say.

          There may well be problems with the Emergency Alert System, but I would hardly call 9/11 an example of a failure.

          • by Doc Ruby (173196)

            I thought the statement you made was far more interesting than the question you asked. In fact I thought your statement discredited you to the point where I wasn't interested in whether you had a question.

            The answer to your question is what the military statement to the public was supposed to be in the event of such an attack. That attack was not the "nobody could have anticipated" BS that the Bush administration (especially Rice) worked on us. The military and various response agencies have simulated attac

    • by blueg3 (192743)

      It only has any effect if you're watching television or listening to the radio. By the time people knew what was going on, enough to make an emergency broadcast, every TV and radio station had already announced it voluntarily.

      The emergency-alert system is actually pretty effective for local serious-weather alerts. (Not the minor weather alerts put together by the TV station itself, but the occasional Icy Roads of Death warning.)

    • by weave (48069)
      A good point, but it did kick in where I live during Hurricane Irene to let us know there was a tornado sighted within a few miles of our home and what track it was taking and advised seeking shelter quickly. Very useful.
    • Re:It's a Hoax (Score:4, Informative)

      by chill (34294) on Monday November 07, 2011 @10:48AM (#37972868) Journal

      It worked for me during the 1998 outbreak of tornados in Tennessee [wikipedia.org]. I was in Nashville at the time and heading south by car when it kicked in. It was off and on all day and helped me navigate between storms and keep safe.

      Quite useful that time.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ScentCone (795499)
      What were you expecting, an announcement that said, "Alert: We have no idea what to tell you to do, since we have no idea what just happened or what will happen next, who is involved, or the scope of the situation!" ?

      Or perhaps: "Alert! Complex conflict with Jihaddist Wackadoos now coming to a head, since they're supporting and harboring the people who launched this attack! We can't tell you a thing to do except watch the news, because it's not the sort of emergency that lends itself to any specific inst
    • by Thelasko (1196535)
      Just because the 9/11 attack caught our government by surprise, doesn't mean such a system isn't needed. Put the tin foil down!
  • What is really happening is the asteroid that is heading to earth is not really in a stable orbit and it may actually hit the Earth. So the NWO has scheduled this test so that they can get the word out to all the elites to proceed to the shelter stations. Now they have been saying that it is just a test so that the general public will not really pay any attention to what is said in the broadcast. However, the elites will be listening for the key words in the broadcast.
  • After all, short of the Yellowstone supervolcano blasting ash over the whole coultry, what kind of emergency would involve the whole country at once?

  • I would not be surprised if there is a dirty bomb set off in America to galvanize public opinion into invading Iran... let's face it... 9/11 took place while a major air defence exercise was taking place, 7/7 in London took place while a major exercise was underway in the London Tube.
  • I no longer have a TV so I won't see it. I no longer have a radio so I won't hear it. I have a spam filter on my email so I won't read it. So while everyone else panics, I'll be getting RICH (after someone posts on Slashdot how to do it).

  • Bush appointees are worried about the Sun not rising tomorrow.
  • FEMA uses that system regionally for hurricane and tornado alerts. [youtube.com] It's not a big deal.

  • The problem with hyping a test of an emergency system is that its effectiveness drops nearly to zero around the time of the test. Even testing an alert system too often reduces its effectiveness. For a national alert system (and the September 11, 2001 attacks didn't even warrant an alert, apparently) it will probably end up being roughly useless. A propaganda tool at best.

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