This morning, it appears that the gulf coast is bracing for the impact of Rita. Texans are fleeing the coast. Rita has strengthened, and then slightly weakened. The markets are getting pummelled. Precious metals are at close to 20-year highs. Oil barrels are approaching record territory again. And, the pundits are predicting $5/gallon gas out of this storm. What the heck is going on?

The good news is, I guess, that it looks like the hurricane is moving more north than originally thought, which should spare the refineries near Galveston and Houston. It also looks like the powers-that-be have finally realized that for many, the lives of their pets are as important as their own lives, and they are being allowed to evacuate with their masters, rather than being left behind to drown or starve. It appears the various government agencies have learned how utterly deplorable their response was to Katrina, and have set up ahead of time for a better response to Rita.

At the end of day though, there’s nothing I can do about any of it, and nothing I can do to help, aside from send money to the the American Red Cross, which I will do again for this event. I really think it’s the best way to get aid directly in the hands of those that need it.

I also heard about a cool site from the folks in San Francisco called 72hours.org. It’s basically a site designed to help you plan out survival for the first 72 hours of a disaster, realizing that you may very well be left to manage your own survival for that long until help arrives. Cool sounding site that I will be digging deeper into.

I think there’s good lessons to be learned from these disasters, and I intend to pay attention in class.