The Age of Alerts: Wake Me When It’s Over

Illustration by Christoph Hitz

Excerpt from this article:

…Call me a selfish misanthrope who takes his sleep and peace of mind too seriously, but I could live with fewer of the alarms and alerts that keep coming at me these days… As may be expected, public response to Amber Alerts since the latest system was put in place a few years ago has been mixed.

To the system’s credit, there have been cases when cars with endangered children have been found. But even Marc Klaas, whose daughter Polly was kidnapped and later found dead, a tragedy that helped fuel the understandable hyper-vigilance of today, was an unlikely critic of the Amber Alert system that California rolled out in 2013. He told CNN that he believed it had great potential, but that he feared residents too far away to be helpful might be put off by the noise and opt out of the program.

That’s what happened here in July, when an emergency weather alert roused households at 4:19 a.m. from northeastern New Jersey to the five boroughs and southern Connecticut, involving flash floods that never occurred. Instead, it caused a flood of public and Twitter complaints.

The Wall Street Journal found New York City Councilman Pete Vallone’s tweet: “Like many NYers I’m waking up with the question, ‘how the hell do I get this ‘flash flood alert’ at 4 a.m. stuff off my phone?!”’ ”

Hundreds Turned to Craigslist to Find Hot Dates and Sex Buddies to Keep Warm During the Blizzard

Excerpt from this article:

Winter storm Juno got a lot of hype before it even hit. And after everyone finished off their pre-storm to-do lists, some realized they wanted one more thing: company. Where some people saw disaster, hundreds of other New Yorkers saw romantic opportunity. Since no one wants to wait out a blizzard alone—even if it means inviting a stranger over—they decided to post ads on Craigslist.

In the past 24 hours, the personals section of Craigslist has gotten a lot of attention. When searching the term “blizzard” within the entire section (men seeking women, men seeking men, women seeking men, etc.), 417 new ads pop up. Some are pretty colorful.

…While the personal section got over 400 new posts collectively, breaking it down subcategory to subcategory yielded some pretty interesting results. The number of blizzard-related posts in the “Casual Encounters” section totaled 213, the highest of all the subcategories. Coming in second was the “Men Seeking Men” category, with a total of 99 blizzard-related posts. “Men Seeking Women” comes in third, with a slightly lower 75 posts. Then the noticeable drop-off kicks in. A mere 11 blizzard-related posts appear in the “Women Seeking Men” category. “Women Seeking Women” hardly even factors in with just three ads.

Maybe the trends speak to how certain subcultures connect, or maybe not. What we can conclude is that everybody loves company (especially when “company” is code for sex). Winter storm Juno just proves we’re getting more creative at finding it.