Monday 27 December 2004

Save 'em all, and let God sort them out

Via Tim Blair, a reader at the SMH writes:
It is a sad and grim reminder of how vulnerable we are to the force of nature. A pity our army is busy fighting America's immoral war when they should be providing assistance to the affected areas.

Shane Arnold
From the abstract of a paper (No 56 - scroll down) I co-authored for SimTect 2004, the Australian Simulations Technology conference :
A 6-week 2-person project is described that developed a detailed simulation of airborne logistics transport for evacuation and disaster recovery in remote areas.
Cargoes to be transported are in general heterogenous, including outsized and oversized loads such as generators, vehicles, and bulk containers of assorted sizes requiring special handling.
Each individual flight is modelled in detail, along with taxiing, loading, refueling and air traffic control delays. Both Fixed- and Rotary-wing aircraft are modelled, as are limitations such as MOG and ACN of airfield nodes.
The xtUML process and Bridgepoint tool were used to develop the simulation, which is quantised to the level of 1 minute increments of time. The resultant executable is generated using a C++ model compiler.
The requirements of the simulation underwent significant refinement during the course of the project, requiring agile techniques. The problems and benefits of agile development are described, along with metrics about the development process.
The possibilities of planned extension of the model to cover road-, rail- and sea-borne transport with modal-split are discussed.
Annette was the xtUML Guru and Expert on Bridgepoint - as well as being a top person to work with. I provided the knowledge about how to simulate stuff and the "domain knowledge' - when the wind is southerly, I know a Hercules from a Hacksaw. Or a Candid from a Caribou for that matter.

Finally, from the ABC :
Prime Minister John Howard has offered his deepest sympathy to Australia's Asian neighbours which have been devastated by tsunamis.
Australia is to provide an initial $10 million of relief assistance which will go to the Red Cross, other non-government organisations and directly to Indonesia.

This afternoon two C-130 Hercules headed to the region laden with supplies such as water purification units, blankets and bottled water.

Mr Howard says he will speak to leaders from the region over the next day to learn what further help Australia can offer.

"I imagine that it will be some days before the full extent of this tragedy unfolds," Mr Howard said.

"I can only repeat that the Australian people feel great sympathy for our friends in the region.

"We'll do everything we can as a regional neighbour and a regional friend to assist the countries that have been so badly affected."

The Government says it will donate more money as the full scale of the disaster unfolds.
It will take a few days before we have a good idea what we should be sending. It will also take us a few days to gather up spare ROWPUs (Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Units) - which weigh quite a few tonnes each - generators and the like. In the meantime, 2 C-130 loads of supplies that were top-ups destined for Iraq and Afghanistan have been diverted to help.

We - and by that I mean those baby-eating bloodthirsty barbarians in the Australian military - have plans for dealing with natural disasters. We - and by that I mean us Evil Warmongering Boffins that support the military - even develop simulations and models to help the guys in uniform plan what to do. Unlike some SHM readers, we don't have a direct line to God, so we don't know when and where such catastrophes will occur. The same resources that could support an armoured infantry company operating round Mosul would also be useful for relieving natural disasters, and more importantly, there are plans so to use them. We can walk and chew gum at the same time, provided we don't over-commit ourselves. That's why we have so few troops in Iraq, and resisted the strong pressure from the USA pre-war to commit more in the post-war phase. The US understood this, and didn't make a fuss about us keeping a Strategic Reserve.

More importantly, we don't just write Idiotarian letters to the SMH decrying terrorism, we do something about it. We also don't just write factually-challenged letters to the SMH about the "force of nature", we do something about that too.

We do what we can, reflexive and limited immediate aid first, but we also figure out what's needed, think and research before acting. You save more lives that way, even if the wilfully ignorant of the chattering classes get into a lather because of it.

Like the War on Terror, we're all in this together. In cases like this, we don't worry about what stupid and insulting things various Malaysian government bigwigs have said about us recently, nor even whether today's victims in Aceh were slaughtering Christians and burning down Churches last week. When Mother Nature throws a tantrum, we save 'em all, and let God sort them out.

If you want to help, try going to The Command Post, which is maintaining a list of relief organisations you can donate to.

And G'day from Oz once again to visitors coming from Instapundit. Feel free to have a look around. Just hit the HOME link on the left, browse through the archives, or use the search facilities on a word or phrase of your choice. You'll find links to games, puzzles, articles on Brain function and AI, a guide to Australian Politics, articles on space (some first-hand, as I'm a sometime Rocket Scientist), a banana-bending machine, a virtual Tardis, and "Blue Suede Shoes" in Klingon. (If these words look familiar, they are. They've been re-used from a previous post. As a Systems/Software Engineer, I re-use good Program fragments all the time. If it works, don't fix it.)

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