Q: What is Volcano Monitoring?
A: On February 24th, 2009, Governor Bobby Jindal (R) of Louisiana defined it as “something.”
Q: Isn’t Volcano Monitoring simply trying to detect when a volcano is getting close to erupting?
A: Yes, but you can’t expect the leader of a state to be able to make such an assumption. If you think about it, “Volcano Monitoring” could mean many things besides the obvious meaning, like checking to make sure all the volcanoes have hall passes, or throwing monitor lizards into the volcanoes. Governor Jindal implying it’s a positively engimatic grouping of two words in no way displays a lack of common sense on his part.
Q: Why shouldn’t the government spend money on Volcano Monitoring?
A: Well, the government has a pretty big budget deficit. Mostly because lots of people don’t have jobs and thus can’t pay taxes. They also can’t buy things from businesses that need money to keep from having to lay off their employees too, who then are not be able to pay taxes or buy things, and so on. So the best solution for the problem is not to try and keep people working, but to let the people who still have money keep it. Then it will be easier for the starving and homeless people to know who to rob. Then the poor can be shot in self-defense, quickly eliminating the problem entirely with a bare minimum of economic depression and loss of life.
Q: Sounds good, but who even needs Volcano Monitoring?
A: Well, there are 14 states that have volcanoes. The first 13 have volcanoes which haven’t erupted for around 200 years. Except for the one that did and killed 57 people. It was called Mt. St. Helens. In fact, it still is called that. Apart from the 13 mostly non-volcanic states, there’s Hawaii, where they kind of expect it.
Anyway, most people don’t have to worry about it. Probably. I mean, the last time Mt. St. Helens erupted– before the one in 1980 that killed all those people– was in 1857. It turns out those 57 people are the only ones that really had to worry about it. Well, there was a lot of damage from mudslides and stuff, and a plane even had to make an emergency landing when its jet intakes got clogged with ash.
The fact remains that it’s pretty hard to say when a mountain is going to explode– unless you monitor seismic activity and use sensitive laser surveying equipment to look for terrain that is bulging and other science-type stuff. Governor Jindal is right when he says people should take care of that locally. Otherwise, data might be shared and we might someday be able to figure out ways to minimize damage. Then we’d have to make disaster movies about hurricanes or some other thing not as fiery and awesome. That would be bad. Imagine if we could develop a way to slowly relieve the pressure of tons of magma trying to boil up out of the earth instead of just letting it go all at once. That would be no fun at all!
Q: So what does this site propose?
A: Well, we want to be a place where people who live near a volcano can come together and do some DIY Volcano Monitoring. If we show the finks in Washington that we can pull together and monitor our own volcanoes, then we can save some money (as long as we collectively do it for less than $140 million) and hopefully at the same time be able to get out of town before a superheated mudslide gives us a different sort of ride. At the same time we can stem off the erosion of our proud volcanic disaster traditions and values.
Q: Should I become involved in Volcano Monitoring? I live near a mountain, but I don’t even know if it’s a volcano.
A: You should go to your local city hall and ask, or you can wait to see if a Volcano Monitor comes to your residence to collect a Volcano Monitoring Fee.
Q: What is a Volcano Monitoring Fee?
A: Well, since it is wasteful to pay for Volcano Monitoring if you don’t need it, only the people who are in danger of being personally affected by an eruption should pay for Volcano Monitoring. Thus, those people pay a Volcano Monitoring Fee to fund the local efforts of Volcano Monitors in their area.
Q: How much is the Volcano Monitoring Fee?
A: Not much; $20 a year at most. It will very much depend on the budgetary requirements of Volcano Monitors in your area.
Q: How do I know that my local Volcano Monitors aren’t ripping me off? What does proof that I live dangerously near a volcano look like?
A: You certainly aren’t suggesting that a private enterprise providing an esoteric service while being accountable only to their volcano-endangered local governments would attempt to charge too much, cut corners, or charge people who don’t really need the service in the hopes of making extra money. That goes against free market principles, as any other Volcano Monitoring company would then be able to swoop in, charge less, do the job right, and get all those customers. But if that really was a concern for you, you could always become a geologist yourself and review the data collected by your local Volcano Monitors.
Q: I became a geologist and requested the data collected by my local Volcano Monitors. They told me that the data is their property and they didn’t have to show it to me. What’s up with that?
A: Well, that’s your fault. You and your fellow citizens should have waited for a Volcano Monitoring company that offered public data usage and paid them instead. Get a better deal next time.
Q: I just became a geologist to find out if I was getting a good deal on Volcano Monitoring. I had to put my career on hold and spend over $100,000 to learn geology. How will I ever get a better deal than paying a not-for-profit governmental entity 40 cents a year to employ geologists?
A: Well, you are now qualified to enter the booming business of Volcano Monitoring. You can beat all the other Volcano Monitors into the ground and get all the Volcano Monitoring money in the entire country, all you have to do is convince millions of people who know nothing about geology to give you money to study something which, statistics show, only 57 of them will actually need.