Quadrillions and Quadrillions (with apologies to Carl Sagan)

OMG, it’s full of BS!

The ultimate ridiculous chutzpa lawsuit has just been filed against the US Army Corp of Engineers for damage associated with Hurricane Katrina. Its over 3 quadrillion dollars. Yes thats right, 3 QUADRILLION.  Because levees that failed in New Orleans during huricane Katrina caused residents damage. I guess the plaintiffs didn’t read the “act of of god or nature” clause in their insurance policy, so are suing the government.

NEW ORLEANS – AP- Hurricane Katrina’s victims have put a price tag on their suffering and it is staggering — including one plaintiff seeking the unlikely sum of $3 quadrillion.

The total number — $3,014,170,389,176,410 — is the dollar figure so far sought from some 489,000 claims filed against the federal government over damage from the failure of levees and flood walls following the Aug. 29, 2005, hurricane.

Of the total number of claims, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it has received 247 for at least $1 billion apiece, including the one for $3 quadrillion.

That’s 3,000,000,000,000,000 (3 times one thousand million million; or 3x10 to the fifteenth power) otherwise known as 3 Petabucks. Peta is the order of magnitude like mega, giga, tera, etc.

For some perspective: A mere $1 quadrillion would dwarf the U.S. gross domestic product, which was $13.2 trillion in 2007.  A US dollar bill is .0043 inches thick. A stack of 3 petabucks would then be 203,598,484 miles high (203 million). The orbit of Mars is 141.6 million miles which the dollar bill stack would reach well beyond.

A lawsuit in Petabucks, yeah, thats some chutzpah. The plaintiffs will need a really big Brinks Truck, I hope the government pays them in pennies.

more here

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January 9, 2008 12:29 pm

They should themselves be sued for living in a place which needed levees in order to survive in the first place, and then becoming a burden on the federal government, and consequently the taxpayers as a whole, when eventual disaster struck.
That would be like me expecting the gov’t to do something about Mt Rainier so it doesn’t explode, or if it did that it wouldn’t hurt my property. Chutzpa indeed.

January 9, 2008 1:12 pm

Should the lawsuit be forwarded toward the environmentalist groups who were getting injunction preventing the engineer corps from upgrading the levees.

January 9, 2008 1:22 pm

Those filing the 3 quadrillion dollar may be subject to prosecution under the federal false claims act for claiming damages in and amount that is obviously ridiculous.

January 9, 2008 2:25 pm

I thought the injunction was against the building of the sea gates for Lake Ponchartrain, not the levees in particular. Though the gates would have prevented the majority of the damage.

January 9, 2008 2:37 pm

[…] tip Watts Up With That Share This Sphere: Related Content Share […]

January 9, 2008 4:26 pm

Right on Sylvain!
Save Our Wetlands, an environmental organization, successfully prevented the US Army Core of Engineers from upgrading the New Orleans levee system. Three times in 40 years they convinced a judge that the wetlands surrounding New Orleans were more important than the lives and property of humans.
It’s called misanthropy.

January 9, 2008 5:09 pm

Is there even that much money in the world? I’ve got to check.
(Previously posted under the name Andrew, but logged in to blog just now. So you know.)

Alan D. McIntire
January 9, 2008 5:14 pm

In one of his lectures, Richard Feynman referred to Astronomical numbers, and made the offhand joke that nowadays they should be referred to as “economical” numbers. That quadrillion dollars is even more than the trillions in the gross world product

Steve Moore
January 9, 2008 5:35 pm

Sylvain & Paddy said it sooner and better.
I think this is taking the idea of “entitlement” a bit far.
BTW, Anthony, I know this is OT, but with your obvious love of Vista, I thought you’d appreciate it:
REPLY: Thanks, that was funny.

Evan Jones
January 9, 2008 7:37 pm

I suppose they realize that the entire yearly GDP of the world isn’t anywhere near that much. I doubt vey much the entire accumulated weath of the US is anywhere near that much. Maybe the entire accumulated wealth of the world is around that–including the artwork and the wait staff!
They have finally done it. They are suing for everythng.
Everything. The “Big E.”

Evan Jones
January 9, 2008 7:40 pm

“Three times in 40 years they convinced a judge that the wetlands surrounding New Orleans were more important than the lives and property of humans.”
That’s it. We’ll pay them off in swamp.

Evan Jones
January 9, 2008 7:47 pm

Have no fear. I’m sure they will settle it for 10%. #B^1

Evan Jones
January 9, 2008 7:58 pm

Think of it.
And then there’s delivery. Storage. Liability.

January 9, 2008 8:27 pm

The design problem that contributed to a major portion of the damage was made in the Eary 60’s. The type of thing that is covered under the soverign immunity doctrive. If the contractor and or their insurance companies still exist they might have a problem.

January 9, 2008 9:03 pm

As I pointed out on CA thread in early 2007, it is a matter of verifiable political record that the Army Corps of Engineers made a series of requests to upgrade and strengthen the New Orleans levees during the 1990s, all of which were systematically turned down on “environmental” grounds by the man put in charge of the “environment” by President Clinton, namely VP Al Gore.
So, if these folks really want to sue someone, he’s their man. I’m afraid though that the $100 million plus he’s made so far off his AGW gospel tour will not quite cover the bill.

Paul S
January 10, 2008 1:42 am

Worst of all, the lawyers involved will want 30% of the 3 quadrillion. 😉

January 10, 2008 6:27 am

I was worried that you’d go off in a different direction when you got into PETA-bucks…
I’m suprised that some of them didn’t want to get paid in Starbucks. How many zeros are in a Starbucks, anyway?

Alan D. McIntire
January 10, 2008 5:11 pm

Imagine the US govt making out a quadrillion dollar check to the guy and watch him try to cash it.

January 11, 2008 1:06 pm

Sue the City and the State, as well as the enviro groups. The solution has always been to do at the Dutch have long done. Demonstrated effective sea defenses on a tectonically subsiding margin. No major floods since the 1950s, when the current system started being put in. This is not rocket science, it’s widely available common knowledge. But of course, a significant majority of NoLA residents are Left wing by birth, and part of being a true NoLA type is to consider corruption and whining a birthright.

Evan Jones
January 11, 2008 6:07 pm

Lex Luthur was modest. He only wanted Australia.
Frederick the Great was happy to hang onto Silesia.
Alexander settled for Macedonia, Persia, Afghanistan, and Egypt.
The Romans drew the line on the Danube.
Hitler only wanted Europe (not even past the Urals, acc. to Himmler’s map).
Even the space aliens only wanted our women.
These guys want it ALL.

January 13, 2008 12:24 am

Ok, jeff i’ll try not to let my anger at your ignorance show. You obviously have no clue of anything that the people this city have been through. The city, if you educate yourself, was built here because of it’s proxcimity to a gigantic river, the Mississippi in case you didn’t know, as well as it’s closeness to the gulf of Mexico, that’s the big body of water south of the United States of America. As simply as possible i’ll try to explain it. The corps of engineers built levees, for the last 50 or so years, with our and YOUR tax dollars, and told us we were safe, around the city and region that supplies a signifigant portion of the country’s seafood (also another reason to be close to the water), 50% or more of the petroleum and natural gas shipped (big boats that float on water for you, another reason to be close to the WATER!) from other countries, most of which is refined in plants all up and down the river. I could not even express the amount of shipping traffic and products that flow past my house and most of my neighbors homes who work on those ships and docks, yet another reason to be close to the water. I could go on for a while, but i’ll leave it at that, with one exception or question i should say. Why were you so dumb as to build your house so close to a volcano?

January 13, 2008 12:47 am

Hey anthony i like your site. However your article on the lawsuit was a good opening, yet very limited. The one guy who is asking for $3 quad, like the lady who sued Mc Donalds for hot coffee has the right to stupid law suits under our current system. However you should not judge, or ridicule the rest of the hard working, tax paying people of this city and region without doing proper research. As far as your asertion that it was an act of god, again mis-sinformation. The levees did not break until the storm had passed, the hurricane only danaged roofs and trees, etc. (go to the website levees.org for info) The investigation partially concludes that the walls were built below the corps own standards, which if they were followed, most likely would not have colapsed. Thanks for the chance to respond to you, feel free to contact me for further discussion on this topic.

January 13, 2008 2:43 pm

Anthony, While it is true that people assume the risk for living where they do, and believe me i do not know anyone here that believes there is no risk, it is still too simplistic to say a thing like that. We do have our wakos, mostly in the french quarter, few of them the environMENTAL type though. Most of the objections to the flood gates were for asthetic not enviro concerns. The powers that be didn’t want those “eyesores” in front of their big lakefront homes. For that we take responsibility for electing the morons we did, i firmly believe that part is changing.
One of the factors that caused so much flooding damage to St Bernard parish(county) 100% and 40 plus thousand homes, was a thing called “Mr Go” or the mississippi river gulf outlet. Do a google it’s complicated. Briefly it is a shipping channel that was dug as a shortcut across louisiana to save shipping companies money. It was done by the federal government long ago, the state has some culpability too, but we had no choice. Simply put it allowed salt water intrusion into fresh water wetlands that normaly would resist the storm surge, killing the plant life, and to complcate it further made a waterway “funnel” for the waters to flow through which put pressure on the levees. The water levels were not as high as the the levees were designed to hold back. A contractor for the corps used sheet piling that was ten to twenty feet too short. To give you a visiual put two pencils in a big chunk of playdough, one two inches deep and one five inches, which one will be esier to topple. Everyone here doesn’t expect perfect levees, but we expect a higher level of competance from the people who built them. (trust me when i tell you i realize the folly of that statement, the saying down here is “what’s the 9 most terrifiying words you can hear”, “we’re from the government and we’re here to help.”
Where will we put those refineries and chemical plants that are down here, no one else wants them, so they are here because of closeness to the gulf, you think gas prices are high now, try building a new plant. Should we ask the thousands of workers at those plants to commute 50, 75 or more miles a day to work there. Try telling a community in another state that were gonna put a chemical plant close to their homes so they don’t have to drive so far to go to work, i know the neighbor who works at wal mart would freak out. If you like seafood, hope you do, it’s a sinch to talk us folks down here to send you some authentic Gumbo or Jamblaya, not that popeyes crap, the real thing. Try telling a fisherman (crab, shrimp, fish, oyster or crawfish) that in addition to paying through the nose to fuel his boat, now he has to commute and add cost to his product, most of the ones i know are past the struggling point now. Well i do have a propensity to rant. Simply put the problems down here are very, very, complicated and affect your wallet more than you think. The guy on the mountainside is there for the view or seclusion. It dosen’t affect you or me very much. But the amount of energy resourses that come through here are staggering. Not to mention the wild game and seafood “Louisiana the sportsman’s paridise” is not just our motto it’s a fantastic lifestyle.
thanks for the banter, louis
p.s. a wise man once said “never underestimate stupid people in large numbers”
p.s.s. check out my lighter side at nolalou.wordpress.com

Evan Jones
January 13, 2008 9:25 pm

The objection is confined to the abuse of the legal system. The victims who lost their homes and even family have my complete sympathy. Especially and particularly those who chose not to exploit the tragedy.
I note that quite apart from the 3 qu’illion bucks there is an addtiional $14-plus tril. being demanded–an amount in excess of America’s annual GDP. That alone is risible. There was an old, perhaps not PC expression for an infinite amaunt: “All the tea in China”. But this dwarfs that, itself, by a near-infinite amount.
If there is anything that could elminiate sympathy for genuine victims, and create an atmosphere of unseemly jocularity, it is shenanigans such as this. It is an outrage to the magpies.
Again, my sympathies to you and all the other victims not connected with this risible misuse of legitimate compensatory process.

Paul M.
January 21, 2008 11:15 am

Can you tell me where I can access the records you cite concerning the Army Corps of Engineers requests to upgrade the levees? I think more people need to hear about that.

January 21, 2008 10:10 pm

Paul M. , try nola.com the local newspapers online site, you should also check out levees.org for up to date info on the levee fight, they may even have archives by now

October 9, 2008 6:39 pm

I had a post regarding large numbers with the same title, http://njmalhq.wordpress.com/2008/10/02/quadrillions-and-quadrillions/. But you might want to look at http://njmalhq.wordpress.com/2008/10/02/the-big-picture/

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