Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Giant Anti-Hurricane Wall Around the Gulf of Mexico Would Pay For Itself

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics: , ,

comic 57 - like a hurricane

As Gulf Coast residents prepare to do battle with yet another tropical menace, a few questions may come to mind. For instance, why in this era of polio vaccines and internet pizza delivery have we not found a way to prevent hurricanes? I mean, they’re just large masses of condensed water vapor with some snazzy visual and sound effects.

Well, it’s not like science hasn’t tried. According to the Wikipedia article on the subject, artificial attempts to dissipate hurricanes have included everything from dropping a tarp across the ocean to block evaporation to blowing the things to hell with nukes. Unfortunately, as hurricanes are made by God when He is really really angry, nothing that man has constructed can stand up to them.

Until now.

Instead of attempting to destroy or dissipate a hurricane, we should instead try to block or redirect them to locations nobody cares about. The simplest way to accomplish such a task would be to build a giant wall in the path of the hurricane.

Now I know what you’re thinking: What is Nick smoking today, and where can I get some? But I assure you that I’ve put a lot of thought into this, and I think an Anti-Hurricane Wall could help prevent trillions of dollars in property damage, not to mention countless lost lives.

The best place to start testing an Anti-Hurricane wall would likely be the Gulf of Mexico as it’s home to vital oil refineries and lots of people dumb enough to live below sea level. Here’s how an Anti-Hurricane Wall would work in the Gulf:

  1. Build a giant wall between Florida and Mexico. The wall would have holes near the bottom to allow sea traffic and dolphins to travel through it freely.
  2. The wall would be made of tough anti-hurricane materials such as plywood and bungee cords.
  3. When a hurricane reaches the wall, it would run into the wall and would—much like a person or rambunctious kitten impacting a wall—fall down and start crying or something.
  4. Eventually the hurricane would give up and go home or at least to some other country that can’t afford an Anti-Hurricane Wall.

See, isn’t that simple? Of course, building an enormous Anti-Hurricane Wall the size of the Gulf of Mexico would present a few challenges:

  • The wall would need to be about 500 miles long if built from, say, Key Largo, Florida to Cancun, Mexico.
  • The wall would need to be about five miles high as that’s about how high the outer portions of a hurricane tend to reach. Sure, the eye of a hurricane can reach almost twice that height, but if the surrounding part of the storm can’t get by the wall, neither can the eye.
  • Building a 2,500 square mile wall in the middle of the ocean could be quite expensive. Even if we used some 10% off coupons at Home Depot, it would likely cost around, oh, $100 billion for the 70 billion square feet of plywood and other materials needed to build this thing. But considering that Hurricane Katrina did over $80 billion in damage by itself, this thing could pay for itself in a couple of years.
  • Insurance companies could probably be convinced to pay for some or most of the wall as they’d stand to save the most from blocking hurricanes from making landfall.

Of course, there are a few negative consequences to building the Great Wall of the Gulf of Mexico. For example, I don’t think Cuba would see much sunlight ever again, and they might not like that (especially since they’d be on the wrong side of the wall). Plus some people would argue that the only wall we should be building in that region is across the U.S. border with Mexico, though I would argue that hurricanes are at least a little more dangerous than illegal immigrants. Oh, and heaven forbid a hurricane managed to knock down the wall; the ensuing tidal wave would likely wipe out the entire Gulf Coast, but let’s not dwell on the negatives any longer.

Depending on the effectiveness of the Gulf Coast Anti-Hurricane Wall, I would later recommend constructing one off the U.S. East Coast since, well, that’s where I live and I think I deserve giant protective walls as much as any Texan or Louisianian. So start calling your senators and representatives today and ask for Anti-Hurricane Walls before it’s too late. Oh, and let them know that plywood’s on sale at Lowes this week: buy 5,000,000, get 5,000,000 free!

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