The Pakistan Floods, Architecture, and Terrorism

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The international community is not responding well to the record flooding in Pakistan, writes Architecture for Humanity head Cameron Sinclair, in the Huffington Post. Without a better response from outsiders, he argues, local groups unfriendly to the U.S. will step up to rebuild the area. That response is largely determined by the fairly random presence of media and media reporting tools. Pakistan has no "hook," so it's getting little attention.

Working in long term reconstruction makes you understand that not all natural disasters are created equally. I've worked in close to a dozen areas affected by earthquake, flooding or hurricanes and it is the most random hooks that spark a massive international response. The 2004 South Asia tsunami was the camcorder disaster as many foreigners were vacationing during the winter holidays, Hurricane Katrina became the 24 hour news channel disaster with endless helicopter footage of stranded homeowners, Haiti was the social media disaster with Twitter relaying information on the ground moments after the horrific earthquake and the oil gusher caught our ire once we saw the underwater smoking gun. Sadly, these media moments make or break a disaster response.

Read the full story at Huffington Post.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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