Response to Warnings

A List of Examples of Warnings

  • This just in: product recalls — life-threatening stuff, but consumers are not getting the recall message. One solution: consumers fill in the product registration card. Second solution: go to “”
  • road signs
  • fog horns
  • vehicle sirens and horns
  • broadcast storm alerts
  • light houses
  • channel buoys
  • depth markers
  • engagement, wedding rings
  • fuel gauges
  • burglar alarms
  • train whistles
  • teeth baring
  • animal growls and the snarl
  • rattlesnake rattles
  • canary in the mine
  • yellow traffic light
  • hand gestures
  • facial expressions
  • noxious smells
  • litmus test
  • blood meters
  • high, low marks
  • sores. rashes
  • a parent’s admonition
  • thunder, lightning
  • weather forcast
  • a policy statement
  • rules, laws
  • appearances of the sky
  • movie ratings
  • ratings of objects for consumers
  • baseball warning track
  • published recalls of defective items


  • “I didn’t know my son’s signals until after he died,” said a character in a movie. Then she tried to learn everything she could about teen suicide. Now she could decipher the signals she couldn’t read before the fact. (The film reviewed: “Silence of the Heart”.) None of the acts of potential suicides are recognized as the distress signals they are.
  • Two geologists working in the summit area of El Chichón in Mexico (March-April, 1981) felt earthquakes and heard loud noises. In September, they wrote a report warning of “high volcanic risk”. “The warning went unheeded, and the eruption seven months later claimed at least 2,000 human lives.” (Science News, 8/21/82)
  • In July, 1976, 26 children of Chowchilla, CA, were kidnapped and held hostage for 27 hours, affecting them with degrees of serious psychological distress for a long time after. One of them believed he had failed to heed a warning that might have prepared him for the kidnapping. His father had taken him to a movie a year earlier in which kids in a school bus had been briefly hijacked. The father asked him what he’d have done in such a circumstance. The son said he didn’t know, but after he was really kidnapped he blamed himself for his lack of awareness.
  • Animal premonitions are being studied to forecast quake events. The aim is to set up volunteer reporting networks of animal handlers keeping an eye on over 200 species. Researchers record any variation in hotline calls. A quake in Hollister, CA, was a first test. There was no significant jump in calls for that area. After the quake, “some 75 rueful observers called in to confess they’d noticed odd pre-quake activity and failed to report it. (Psychology Today, Feb., 1980)
  • Human premonitions were studied by a seismologist, looking at predictions of sensitives, professional geoscientists, amateur scientists, psychics, astrologers, and religious visionaries, compared to quake predictions made randomly by a computer. The “sensitives” showed a slight statistical advantage over the others, but no individuals or groups did significantly better than chance. The amateur scientists, astrologers and psychics did significantly less well.
  • Fran Koster (Why People Don’t Listen to Warnings: With Discussion of Implications for Futurists. University of Massachusetts. ERIC Microfiche ED 152674) found that responses to warnings differed according to the extent to which the event was unfamiliar, sudden, unexpected, and localized. She gives strategies for effective warnings for diminishing oil supplies, water shortages, nuclear explosions, petroleum related accidents, insecticide poisonings, the collapse of the social security system, etc. Key ingredients are the education of leaders to be good warners and increasing the efficacy of communication media
  • What is the duty of carriers of the herpes virus, or any other contagion, to give warnings to close partners?
  • Does a general, color-coded warning system meet the needs of people to know of a danger, or does such a system merely teach the public to discount and devalue any warnings that are to be given? Remember the tale of the boy who cried “WOLF!” too often?
  • What has been the result of warnings given for the coming pandemic of “bird flu”?
  • The coming of “global warming”?
  • The great quake on the West Coast?
  • The growing drought cycle?
  • The effects of cigarette smoking?
  • The onset of type 2 diabetes due to diet, body weight, and exercise deficiencies?
  • All physical Symptoms, internal or external.
  • The next Katrina?
  • A terrorist attack in the U.S.?

Thinking Constructively

  1. What specific preparations are being made?
  2. Who is preparing?
  3. What is the nature of the warning?
  4. Who is our best public warner?
  5. Is whistle-blowing a form of warning?
  6. Should we have a national assessment and a bureau or office making public warnings with a highly credible public “warner-in-chief”?
  7. Warning labels mandated by the FDA are everywhere and can mean life-or-death to some. But some producers and politicians have played politics with the FDA for commercial gain. Shame on them. Shame! Shame! Shame! How many people read the labels on food stuff and the fine print that comes with drugs, stock and bond offerings, toys, and gadgets of all kinds?
  8. People who play dumb must work extremely hard to overcome the effects of their stupidity. If some people had heeded the warnings about cigarette smoking, they might not have contracted pulmonary hypertension and heart failure years later. That can be extremely sad.
  9. People who use their intelligence before the fact find it easier to live with the consequences of their acts.
  10. “UNANTICIPATED CONSEQUENCES” mostly results in tragedy. Or, killing the messenger.
  11. It appears that the jails are crammed full of those who could not anticipate consequences, which were overridden by egoism of passion, greed, self-gratification, a compassion deficit, anger, lust, and other corruptions of REASON, as well as preferences for speed, adventure, danger, chance, excitement, psycho-tropic substances, and other corruptions of SANITY.

(It is extremely difficult for me to understand why people purposely set out to find ways that they know will end up corrupting their reason and sanity, as if those two human capabilities, at the heart of being a hummin bean, are throw-away skills to be murdered and trashed. It seems beastly, beast-like, to me. If the hummin bean is out of his or her senses, he or she is a snake, a cow, a gorilla, in the tiente for fighting bulls, torro, not manso. Something less than human. I cannot understand it. Can you?)

“—and the goblins will get ya if ya don’t watch out!!”


I have become aware of physical, natural and communications events that have implied warnings. Those are the toughest to take as warnings, no red flags, bells or sirens.

  1. Back some time ago, there were the events of gas shortages and very high prices.
  2. Changes in weather patterns.
  3. The rising average temperatures, not just the usual forecast.
  4. Population pressure on food supplies.
  5. Rising hunger and malnutrition.
  6. The growing girth at the waistline (BMI-body mass index) and average body weights.
  7. The increase of certain diseases, such as adult-onset diabetes.
  8. Floods
  9. Drought
  10. Other weather and natural phenomena increasing in strength and frequency.
    • Tornadoes
    • Floods
    • Tsunamis
  11. Atomic Energy meltdowns
  12. Food contaminations
  13. Automobile malfunctions
  14. Joblessness
  15. National Budget Deficits
  16. Islamic and Taliban Terrorism

This is the time for choosing the right policy makers in government, and the formation of new agencies to administer warnings.



This WARNING is probably at the bottom of many of those that have been listed above. We must have negative population growth (NPG), rather than zero population growth (ZPG). Just now we have (PG).

Published on December 3, 2007 at 2:22 pm  Comments (60)  


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