Background Text: The Simple Art of Murder by Raymond Chandler
Viability Index is scrambled in line code on different localized US and UK versions of the Year Zero CD booklets as well as a flier from the OSR LA meeting. One or two pieces are missing.
Viability Index is a real estate guide. Showing cities affected by the "climate change," this site offers advice on how to sell your property in that area or whether or not to invest there. Each city is scored according to climate, toxicity, economic outlook, your neighbors, and long-term outlook, resulting in the viability index for that city. The higher the number, the better the quality of life.
The portents are grim; every city depicted is wracked by some kind of disaster on a regular basis. Alaska is temperate. Mexico City is "hell on earth." Los Angeles and New Orleans both have index scores of 0.
The site is darkly humorous. For example, the entry for Philadelphia, which in Year Zero has become incredibly overcrowded due to people moving from more coastal locations, shows a picture of a pink flamingo in front of the Liberty Bell. Each city has "The Facts," a brief description of problems with the city, and "The Spin," some lines to help entice for potential buyers. Even Lagos, Nigeria, the lowest-rated city on the site (rated 0.4 in a system with 4 at the average), while described as lethally hot, lawless, and squalid, has the silver lining of "Land is cheap, though." Oddly enough, the LA dirty bombs have happened already, so the Los Angeles page is n/a for both The Facts and The Spin and has a viability index of 0.0. New Orleans also has a viability index of 0, presumably because it (along with most of southern Louisiana) disappeared under the ocean years before Year Zero.
Interestingly the Viability index links to modern-day, Year -15 websites. The page for Charlotte, North Carolina, includes a link to an animation depicting the impact of sea levels rising. Pages for several other cities link to descriptions of environmental concerns, hinting that the climate change problems of Year Zero have their genesis in current weather phenomenon.