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Quickly Noted: Getting Folks to Listen

April 6, 2010

Last week there was an article in the Sarasota, Florida Herald Tribune about a new effort by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) to employ new tactics in the fight to keep people informed about approaching hurricanes. They’ve found, and we’ve seen, that people frequently get the message about evacuation before hurricanes wrong. Either they do when they shouldn’t, or they don’t when they should.

NOAA and NSF have realized that governments seem to be the only people putting out messages that no one listens to, so they’ve taken a page from Madison Avenue and have begun conducting behavioral studies  like those done by market research firms. Those same firms that know how to get you to eat foods that will kill you and watch reality TV and buy things you don’t need. Seems pretty smart, if you ask me – wonder why more of us don’t do that.

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