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Starting around 2:20 p.m., everybody's cell phones will screech

CONELRAD: Civil Defense TV Spot

How they did it back in the day.

The government is testing out a national emergency warning system then. This is only a test, so you don't have to worry about what to do had this been an actual emergency.

Even phones whose owners have turned off alarms will blare. People who really don't want to have their phones give their presence away should turn them off completely for a half hour or so.


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Comments

occurred at that very moment, everybody would ignore it thinking it's just a test.

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Even phones whose owners have turned off alarms will blare. People who really don't want to have their phones give their presence away should turn them off completely for a half hour or so.

according to reddit, even if you shut the phone off during the alert window, it will still go off as soon as you turn the phone back on. just something to be aware of.

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iOS you can shut these off 100%. I have them all shut off. I don't need to know.

Of course we'll find out today at 2:20pm if this feature actually works.

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is the only one you cannot shut off.
I have all my alerts shut off. A few years ago, they did a presidential alert test. Unavoidable.
As far as if the phone is shut off altogether and you get the alert even after an hour of being off, I'm not aware of that. We'll find out.

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As far as if the phone is shut off altogether and you get the alert even after an hour of being off, I'm not aware of that. We'll find out.

And I found out: it didn't sound after I turned it back on about a half hour later.

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this alert will supersede any ios settings

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it did. which is totally bogus. Sorry I don't want this feature on my phone.

Phone didnt make any noise (b/c I have it set to DND).. my apple watch tho...

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Sorry I don't want this feature on my phone.

It's not a phone feature.

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I think my point was I want the ability to turn off such notices. I don't want people to have a say in what my phone does. It's MY phone.

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What does Apple say? Because they absolutely "have a say" in what your phone does, as does any OS developer.

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But - the government regulates the airwaves and the licenses for their use. Along with regulating the devices that get to use them.

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Only the hardware not the software.

This is a software issue.

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Over more than six decades of CONELRAD, EBS, EAS, and now WEA, there has never been a national alert for an actual emergency.

Not even on 9/11.

The classic example cited, a nuclear attack, is not a reason to maintain a national alerting system. An ICBM takes just 30 minutes from launch to target; a sea-launched missile might arrive in just 10 minutes. That's not enough time for authorities in Washington to decide what to do, let alone give time for the public to take action to save themselves.

If right now we heard that an ICBM was on its way to Boston -- and there would likely be more than one ICBM -- how far do you imagine anyone could get in 30 minutes given the likely gridlock on the highways?

There is, in fact, only one scenario in which Washington taking control of every radio and TV station in the country would be useful: a coup.

All emergencies are local. State and local authorities are best positioned to warn residents of imminent danger -- not Washington, which is usually the last to know.

This system ought to be defunded.

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See: the time a few years ago when everyone in Hawaii was alerted that they were about to be nuked

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I wasn't clear on what "the area" was, so I just ran in a random direction while screaming.

(Apparently, it was intended for people on the Esplanade, watching the fireworks. I was in Somerville...)

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Yeah but this falls under the

"But we're doing something so it looks like we're being proactive when it really does nothing" category

See also Security Theatre at airports.

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My father used to say "If this had been an actual emergency, the attention signal you just heard would have been followed by official instructions to go outside, put your head between your legs, and kiss your ass goodbye".

One fine morning in 1980 I saw a plume rise above a ridge to the north and start forming a mushroom cloud. Then I turned on the radio and found out that 1) it wasn't a test and 2) it wasn't WW III. Just a local mountain exploding.

Warnings about incoming missiles and war were the origin of the system, but that isn't the focus and hasn't been for years.

You can still duck and cover if you like the trip down nostalgia lane.

Now it is mostly useful for tornadoes in places without a siren network where you have only a short time to get your tail to ground and only a short time to know you have to. I remember an online meeting in 2022 with people across the state where tornado warnings were happening from west to east over a period of an hour, and people's phones would scream and they would beg off while they relocated to the basement (often with camera still on so we could see them with the cat under one arm carrying their laptop down dark stairs and a spouse behind with a kid and a dog). Massachusetts has tornadoes but we don't have sirens for them.

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All emergencies are local. State and local authorities are best positioned to warn residents of imminent danger -- not Washington, which is usually the last to know.

Now it is mostly useful for tornadoes in places without a siren network where you have only a short time to get your tail to ground and only a short time to know you have to.

Are you disagreeing with his characterization? The point is whether this Presidential alert system is useful at all. The ability for someone in DC to tell us all "Emergency!" is what he pretty adequately describes as pointless. Your tornado alert needs are local which is what he said.

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It's pointless until it isn't. And that point is waaaaay too late to build or re-activate an alert system.

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Good point.

Also, some might say "We've got multiple newsmedia networks, and the internet! News will get out to us, especially in an emergency, faster and more efficient than the government would notify us."
What about this far-out scenario? Some media/comms empire billionaire decides it's not the right time for the public to hear about something, and throws the OFF switch on his/her network of uplink satellites - muting the news stations and whole bunches of internet content for a while. Far-fetched, I know - couldn't possibly happen.

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Man I get you but if there's a bomb about to hit the city in 15 minutes I want that time to go from the 11th floor with glass windows down to the sub-basement. Personally.

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Until the building collapses into the sub-basement.

Or best case (or worst case) you survive the collapse for a few days, buried under the rubble with no one to come for you. Maybe there's a way out so you can emerge and then die in a couple of weeks of radiation sickness.

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Sure, shelter won't help if the ICBM falls directly on your head.

But there's always some large middle ground between Ground Zero and Very Far Away where taking shelter makes a difference between life and death, or injured and healthy.

A nuclear blast creates bright light and shock waves; taking shelter in the basement is better than staring out a glass window when it hits. Even 1 minute warning would be great.

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In a nuclear escalation, Boston was reputed to be the "signal city" during the Cold War.

The theory was that once nuclear weapons had been used, a step on the escalatory ladder would be to destroy an important city, but not the capital city or the largest city within your opponent's country. This would be to "signal" that you were ready to take extreme steps to achieve your war aims.

Boston would be a good choice - it's big and important enough, but it's not NYC.

With a submarine-launched missile from the Atlantic, only 15 minutes or so of warning.

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2017/06/able-archer-almost-started-a...

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State and local governments use this system too. It would be impractical for each state to have its own communication system for emergency alerts, especially since people take their phones between states. There needs to be a standard that phone companies are required to follow, and the federal government is pretty well equipped to do that.

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30 minutes is plenty of time to duck and cover

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…. all the cellphones go off together in a crowd will the screech reach dangerous noise pollution levels?

What if you’re on the phone at the time and holding it next to your ear?

Why the hell did they schedule this during nap time?!!

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We control the vertical.

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Well last time they did one of these I got HBO in my brain for free.

Weirdly I hear DTMF codes at random now, then I immediately start singing "It's TIIIME to stop & shop"

I hoping this update fixes this..

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Now I'm not only getting HBO, but I am now getting the SPICE channel also.

(DTMF Code)

Did you know there's a local bank in your community that does everything? Well BayBank has you covered. Baaay.. Bank!

(DTMF Code)

Next on HBO...

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How many slices of French toast does this Emergency call for, Adam?

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Five slices is still the max, but ICBM protocol enables the option of the whiskey-based syrup.

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Look over where while I do something with my other hand. Everyone is talking about this stupid thing even going super far out on limbs of chips being activated etc… so while everyone is preoccupied I wonder what GOV will actually be doing, is this the day an alien visits the Oval Office for intergalactic space treaty discussions???

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...but there's a sale on aluminum foil at Market Basket.

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If only there were multiple news agencies and entire TV networks entirely devoted to what the government will be doing that you could follow if you were curious.

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Okay, Anon, you got us. We were hoping the alarms would distract you so you wouldn't see us microwaving covid vaccines into your brain.
...we'd have gotten away with it if it not for those meddling kids!

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It is only a test. Had it been an actual life, you would have been told where to go and what to do.

My mother had this posted on her refrigerator for about thirty years. I still remember it fondly.

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I feel especially bad for the actors and audience of the Huntington Theatre, Lyric Stage, and North Shore Music Theatre who have matinees today.

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I'm looking forward to my vaccination finally activating and getting cool zombie powers.

I could use a fresh start.

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Zombie Powers ARE COOL!

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and done it yesterday during the Kevin McCarthy vote.

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The voice was in English, but the first page of the alert, as displayed on my phone, was in Spanish.

It was a "National Alert", a notification category that can't be turned off on my phone (Moto G Power running Android 12)

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Mine came in at 2:18. Judging from others in my building (full of IT folks, natch), my phone was first but most of the alerts came in at 2:19.

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on how many pedestrians, bikes, buildings, and lakes were hit by drivers who suddenly had the tiktoks they were watching unexpectedly interrupted?

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did any zombies try to remake Stephen King's "Cell"?

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...was so very, very bad, but I did love that opening scene.

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from the playground fight about Pelosi's office?

Only the important issues!

(and thanks to Cybah for the trip down memory lane.)

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" > CLICK <
Turn that back on - I was watching that!
But, Dad, it was Conelrad!
Leave it on, he's a helluva detective!"

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