In the age of the Internet, disaster relief is no longer the duty of the afflicted. Instead, when we witness a tragedy unfolding in Japan, Somalia, Haiti or elsewhere, the social media machine begins to churn and direct everyone's attention toward the emergency at hand. Having said that (and despite the veracity of recent climatological disasters), humanity has become incredibly adept at responding to disasters with new technologies, ideas and products capable of saving lives.
From flood-proof architecture to nuclear-resistant robots, a wealth of new ideas has germinated from the seemingly infertile soil of disaster. Moreover, these global disasters have a tendency to reshape our philosophies -- Japan, for instance, has completely shifted its social priorities toward environmental sustainability. Although these disasters are almost an inevitability, it's comforting to know that we collectively take lessons from them.
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