Tracking Katrina Through the Blogosphere

I started out looking for something that uses GeoURLs, and found GeoBloggers but am mostly picking up FlickR output. Makes sense, as even folks blogging from I-10 are probably doing it via mobile phone and don't have GeoURLs set. Interesting FlickR and del.icio.us output, such as photos from a plane out of town this past afternoon showing the incoming storm, and empty supermarket shelves-- plus the usual insouciance of the human spirit in the face of nature: a local signboard whose letters ask, "How ya want yer burger, Katrina?" The NWS has put up a feed for Katrina news and alerts, including landfall predictions, and seems to be doing that for all tracked Tropical Storms and Depressions.

What's really funny and sad at the same time is that as I write this, I'm listening to a live Mississippi Public Broadcast radio and the folks on the air are asking their callers about the latest updates on the projected storm track, relaying from TV via the Weather Channel.

RexBlog has the best list I've seen yet of live audio and video feeds, as well as links to LJ livebloggers. Kaye's Hurricane Katrina blog points to useful resources like a Weather Channel blog and a scary article link suggesting that the SuperDome may not be safe shelter from Katrina (via JoshBritton blog).

Rather than watching several feeds independently, I went looking for a utility to mixmaster them, and found James Lee's excellent requirements wishlist for feed mixing, including pointers to FeedDigest, FeedShake, and RSSMix.

I put together a FeedDigest pico-feed: the del.icio.us tag 'katrina', FlickR photos tagged 'hurricane' or 'katrina' or combination thereof, and the NWS Katrina feed.

I could stay up all night mixmastering a truly informative feed, but I know (alas) that it's solely an attempt to feel like I'm Doing Something, when in fact all I can really do is pray for the best possible outcome. Mike and I visited New Orleans on our way home from our sabbatical year on the road in our RV, went to the Jazz & Heritage Festival, rode the St Charles streetcars and toured their carbarn (oldest continuous streetcar operating line in North America), and enjoyed the wonderful French Quarter and the walking Garden District tours. This time tomorrow, all those things could be effectively gone. Reading the live LJ and blog posts from people who decided to stay, and now regret it, or who are already fearing for their families, their friends, and their pets, I retreat to storm-tracking and overanalyzing a sea of data. It's my way of trying not to let the sadness hit me like... well, a hurricane.

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