Technology with attitude

Freakonomics On Hurricane Katrina/New Orleans Flood


The author of the wildly popular book ask some questions on their blog:

1) How much of the damage/human toll is because of the hurricane per se versus the levees breaking? If we had perfect foresight, would 1,000 well-placed national guardsmen and some heavy machinery have been enough to save the levees?

2) If terrorists had thought of this first, could they have achieved the same effect as the hurricane, except more devastating because the attack would have come with no warning?

3) If so, are there other potential situations like this out there where a terrorist with a few explosive devices could cause such ruin?

4) Would the initial rescue response have been different if the victims weren’t poor and black?

Will you answer?

I’m particularly interested in your answers to the 2nd and 3rd questions.