Views & Reviews From Writer Steve Miller
Formerly Reviews and Stuff at Rotten Tomatoes, 2005 - 2009.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Don't panic! It's only a test! The Red Chinese have NOT landed! Nor have the Martians!

A little later today, Wednesday November 9, there will be nation-wise test of the emergency broadcast system. You can read a short article about it by clicking here: National test to verify emergency system

You can find the event described in great detail at FEMA's website by clicking here.

The government is concerned that there are idiots out there who will assume this is a REAL emergency, in part because some local cable and over-the-air broadcasters might be too lazy or incompetent to provide graphics or long enough screen crawls that will make it clear that the activation of the network (today at 11am on the west coat and 2pm on the east coast, which is the same time due to the magic of time zones) is just a test. Of course, many of these are the same people who expected rioting in the streets and cities aflame when UHF stations switched to digital broadcasting, so one has to take their low opinion of the American public into a account.

One also has to wonder what sort of test of a central emergency alert broadcast system is so sloppily run that they haven't taken the time to show that they can actually broadcast. Wouldn't a true test of the system be one where a graphic or screen-crawl stating "This is ONLY A TEST!" transmitted from a central location for the 30 seconds the test will take?

At any rate, unless you see Martian War Machine vaporizing your neighbors, see the Red Chinese Army parachuting into the parking lot at the mall, or zombies shambling down Main Street (although you may have to look closely on that last one... you might mistake a bunch of Occupy Whatever Comes to Mind campers for zombies, or visa-versa), the 30-second disruption of your favorite radio and television shows IS ONLY A TEST.

(Although some cable providers--like Time Warner--have warned that viewers may have to change the channel or regularly programming won't resume. Which makes one wonder who those cable broadcasters survive the local tests of the EAS....)

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