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Rethinking Houston

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Terrel L. Shields

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Over the past twenty years an awful lot of tech, finance, and especially oil companies, have moved to Houston. Concentrating all their resources in one megalopolis seems economic until your entire operation is shut down by a mega event like Harvey. Take ConocoPhillips. Continental Oil was a creation of J.P.Morgan about 1920. They bought out Marland Oil in Ponca City, and merged them into Denver. Phillips was in Bartlesville,OK. Conoco moved to Houston, then closed Phillips in B town, causing that little town to implode. They had already lost CITGO, the old Cities Service, AKA Indian Territory Illuminating Oil Co., when Venezuela bought them and they refine heavy crude in LA, in Harvey's path.

Every company and town potentially can be in path of a storm, flood, tornado, but decentralizing operations seems an under-rated concept, what Taleb calls "anti-fragility". Now consider towns with tech concentrations with Damoclean swords hanging over them. I speak of Seattle,WA, Vancouver CA, and to lesser extent Portland, OR where volcanoes will erupt again and for the first two, Tsunami potential is ever present. The geologic record is clear. These huge events happen upon a long-term, irregular but inevitable basis.
 

AMF13

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Jan 24, 2002
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California
Hurricanes, volcanoes, and Tsunamis, oh my.
I will take earthquake risk over all of those. :shrug:

Companies can decentralize, but what are Houston residents going to do?
Rebuild everything that's ruined 6 feet off the ground on stilts?
 

Riick

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Delaware
... Companies can decentralize, but what are Houston residents going to do?
Rebuild everything that's ruined 6 feet off the ground on stilts?
Guess what the regulations (now) are in New Jersey for building / rebuilding homes along the coast?
Up on piers, at least 8 ft, and maybe 10 ft in the air. Lots of covered parking & garages with tall ceilings. House below has exterior staircase with 15 treads - that's 10ft. UP


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Elliott

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Restrain

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Florida
Bigger berms around the chemical plants with backup power systems for the petro-area. Backup systems in Dallas for IT. But for residential, flooding has been a history, just not this extreme. I was in Pasadena in 1979 when we had 40 inches of rain, flooded all south of 610 to the Gulf. Braes Bayou floods routinely. Astrodome had a rainout when everything around it was under water.

Just something Texas will deal with.
 

Terrel L. Shields

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Arkansas

Mark K

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Jan 27, 2004
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Indiana
I have a buddy in Houston. 3 yrs. ago flew there and drove west over to Baffin Bay for a week fishing. I was amazed how flat and low that part of TX is. Only things over 10' high were the bridge overpasses. Miles of scrub, pool table flat and only a few feet above sea level. I can't imagine how long its going to take for the water to drain from that area.

Catastrophic floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, wildfires, droughts, etc... they're all part of nature and happen frequently on the geologic clock. We call them 'historic' or 'unprecedented' when, in reality, they're just another day at the office for nature.

We arrogantly think that we can construct buildings, dams, etc. that will protect us from nature; we can't. Best thing is to run from danger but we tend to think that we can 'wait it out' or that it 'can't get any worse than the last time'. Harry Truman and Mt. St. Helens comes to mind.

We can't build things strong or tall enough to fight nature. Run, come back, rebuild, rinse and repeat. Always have, always will. Might be time to buy Lowes and Home Depot stock, maybe US Gypsum. They're going to need a lot of drywall.
 

Riick

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Aug 14, 2007
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State
Delaware
^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^
They keep building homes right on the side of Vesuvius, no one remembers the lava flows.
Definition of madness: Doing exactly the same thing over and over, thinking: "THIS time it will work"

Dot Com Bubble: This Time It's Different !
 
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