Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The end of color-coded alerts

One of the most foolish DHS initiatives was the much-satirized color-coded alert of five colors. "Red alert" meant that there was a terrorist attack in progress, so was not of any informational significance: we'd be in front of our televisions rather than relying on the DHS website if this happened. "Blue" and "green" meant all clear, and thus was never going to be used: who wants to be held responsible if there's a terrorist attack when you've given the green alert? So we really had a two-color system, yellow and orange. And then, sometime in the Bush administration, someone upgraded us from yellow to orange alert, and we never went back down. So it literally conveyed no information whatsoever. The system has finally been dropped.

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