How to stop a disaster

… or at least lessen its effects.

Let’s say that two trains are traveling from point A. to point B which happens to be 321 miles as the crow flies. The first train is taking a much longer route while the second train is traveling pretty much as the crow flies, except it’s on train tracks and not flying. The first train is traveling at 35 MPH and has three passengers who happen to be writing posts for their blogs. One of the bloggers is your grandma, one is that guy you saw at the grocery store last week, and the last one is Robert Scoble. All three happen to be blogging with Tablet PCs. Your grandma has no idea what a blog or a Tablet PC even are, but has been informed by someone (*cough* scoble *cough*) on the train that it will somehow help her meet Josh Groban. The second train is traveling at 150 MPH, has only one passenger who does not have a blog, and is leaking highly explosive chemicals (the train, not the passenger). The first train left point A at 4:30 PM, the second at 7:15 PM. While the trains have different routes there is one point at which the tracks cross. We’ll call this point “point B.2”. At this point I should be asking: “Which train will reach its destination first?”, but I’ve decided against that and instead am asking: What would happen if the trains were to reach point B.2 at the same moment in time?

Some may speculate that the trains would collide, causing a horribly fantastic explosion that could been seen as far away as the crow who left point A at 8 PM. However, I venture that the trains would not blow up. They wouldn’t even collide. “Why?” you might ask. I’ll tell you. Somehow, some way, Robert Scoble would find out that the passenger on the second train did not have a blog or a Tablet PC and would get both trains to stop so he could convince that passenger that he or she should blog with a Tablet PC.


The point of this isn’t just to poke fun at Scoble. The purpose of this is to point out the power that bloggers have had in helping with relief efforts to natural disasters, especially the most recent one. I think it would be interesting to know how many lives have been saved by bloggers getting the word out about the Tsunami relief efforts. It seems I heard something in passing about an earthquake, but didn’t know much about it until I read Scoble’s blog that day. (I think I need to get out more, subscribe to more news feeds, or both.)

I’m sure there are hundreds, if not thousands of people around the Indian Ocean who have no idea that geeks sitting at their computers helped save their lives. I only wish I could have that kind of effect. Of course, thanks should and do go out to the millions of other non-geeks who have helped just as much or more.

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