-thoughts and ideas

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Black Swans and Bridge Collapse

Though I never lived in Minneapolis for more than a few days at a time, I had motored across the I-35 bridge many-a-time. I heard about the collapse via cell phone call whilst traveling on the Florida turnpike. We stopped in a travel plaza and watched on the television mounted in the ceiling corner of a Burger King the "news" coverage of the event. Quite a fright to be there, or as was my case, to have family and friends, as I eventually found out, very close to it. Over a thousand miles away it made me anxious as we continued to drive. Graciously all phone calls were returned and the first priority was vested- knowing they're okay.

A friend of mine, also Minnesotan by birth and primary education, posted something profound about the cause:

...on the cause of the bridge collapse, I think they'll determine it was a cascading failure and not a singular reason...this is a so-called black swan, an event no one would have expected.
I believe he's been reading "The Black Swan" by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Excellent work, both of you. I highly recommend the read. In fact here you go: to buy it; to wiki it; to drink it.

The Economist

Well, it's been longer than I thought I wanted it to be since the last time I managed to log-in to my account and type away something recent. Anyway,

The beer turned out great. Excellent reception and review from those who were, as it seems, fortunate to get a bottle or two. 5 gallons produced about 52 12 oz bottles. 52 times 12 is < 5 gallons, but there ends up being some waste involved. Oh well, now it's time for refinement of the process. If you're interested in a sample, email me. (No, I'm not publishing my email. So it's still an exclusive club...we meet Wednesdays.)

I've been reading The Economist (online, RSS of the "Full print edition") and found it to be pretty on the level. I suppose that depends on your point-of-view, but hard to argue that it's not well written. To check it out: The Economist