Should citizens in general be required to bail out certain cities over and over and over again? New Orleans is a case in point. Suppose a bunch of people got together to build a city and got around to the siting question (where to put it).

New Orleans is at major risk every hurricane season and every 2-4 years it gets hit hard. Let's suppose New Orleans didn't exist and the aforementioned group were to look at the area. "Hmm...there isn't enough land there to build the city on." "Yeah but I have an idea. We'll build walls around part of the water and pump the water out and build our city there." "Under sea level? You must be kidding!" "I'm serious as a heart attack! If the sea wall fails, we'll just depend on the Feds to help us out."

Cities built along the San Andreas Fault are another example.

Maybe Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle should be moved to Kentucky and Tennessee (but not along the Ohio River).

And what about people who build homes in 100 year flood plains? People love to build homes right on the banks of rivers, and they can do so because they know the county, state, or FEMA will come in and rescue them and probably help them out.

How much should the public pay for stupid decisions as to where to build cities or homes?

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Near as I can figure the coastline of the Netherlands is 451 km (280 mi) and there are 3,500 km (2174.8 mi) of dikes.

But we build out dikes decently :P

How can there be a 451 km coastline but nearly 8 times that length of dikes? I'm not saying you're wrong. Just wondering if there are dikes within dikes or what?

When they build dikes they make them layered.

So as to dilute the force, right? To spread it out over a larger area and absorb much of the energy? If so, that makes sense.

That, and we have also put dikes around all our rivers (often double ones as well).

Question, Freek - and admittedly off-thread, but I rarely have a chance to speak with one from the Netherlands, and I'm interested in locating my friend - Is "Bos" a common last name there?

Archaeopteryx: Yes, 'Bos' is a fairly common last name, also variants like 'Bosch' are not too rare. 

That's a bit disappointing - I had hoped if his name was rare, it might make him easier to locate. But thanks for the info --

Or, California is no more prone to earthquakes than the entire nation of Japan.


Should the Japanese go back to invading Korea and China then?

They haven't depended on the US for help.

Well if Californians couldn't depend on the US for help, they might start invading their neighbors too.

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