It’s the centennial of the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906. Last week, San Francisco residents received in the mail a pamphlet titled “are you prepared?”

The local Wallgreens is trying to capitalize on this, and there is a shelf with stuff that would be useful after a disaster. An “Are You Prepared?” sign hangs over the shelf.

Among other things, the shelf contains big jugs of aspirin, surgical masks, mechanical alarm clocks, first-aid kits, battery-operated radios, and so on.

What’s with the mechanical alarm clocks? Why would I want to wake up early in the aftermath of a disaster?

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