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8 May 2007, Tuesday
Cake frosting and White glue 8:20 pm   (heart this)

There's an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent in which a character commits a particularly ingenious murder by "repairing" the leaks in a partly-rotted old boat with a mixture of cake frosting and white glue, knowing that when their intended victim took the boat out, the concoction would keep water out only long enough for the boat to get dangerously far from shore.

It appears that the US Army Corps of Engineers might as well have repaired New Orleans' levee, pump, floodwall and floodgate systems with cake frosting and white glue, according to this National Geographic article.

And, since URLs change... full text behind the cut.Collapse )

I suppose it's good news that there's a class-action suit already under way... but it's hardly likely that it will be resolved before the "repaired" systems are put to the test by this year's hurricane season. Even if a judge were to rule in the plaintiffs' favour, *and* the Corps were to take immediate action to do the repairs right this time, it might still be impossible to shore up New Orleans' defences before the next big storm hits. Is it also a good thing that most former residents of the Lower Ninth Ward and St Bernard's Parish haven't returned to the city (and can't because those areas are still full of contaminated and condemned buildings with no utilities or other municipal services)? For crying out loud. If you have engineers from the *Netherlands* coming over to help you design and implement your *flood-control* systems, and they're *still* not working, then *you can't really be trying* to make them functional.

I don't even know what to say at this point -- other than, perhaps, You're doing a heckuva job, Brownie U.S. Army Corps of Engineers!


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