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09:26 am: Quiet week of Risk Management
Regular readers will note that I haven't posted this week, but this is partly because very little has happened here that is away from the norm, so that there is very little to say. On Monday I let the Jobcentre know I was home and they interviewed me on Thursday. No sign of promising leads elsewhere in the job market, unfortunately. I spent a lot of the week with my laptop on my lap. It's nearing the end of its useful life, I fear. The laptop, I mean. Full screen videos, virus scans, simple games of Age of Empires - they're too much for it these days, unfortunately.
I had fun looking at the AOL search data that escaped, and found that I had to learn MySQL to do it, as the files were too large for MS-Access. Dealing with 36 million records in a database and getting meaningful results. Just like the old days.

But the main news this week has been the Government's reported thwarting of a terrorist plot to blow 5/9/10/some planes out of the sky. Obvious questions include: if the plot has been thwarted, why is security wound up to the max afterwards? Is it real, or is it the Government preying on our fears? Every day, we have far more chance of dying on the roads than in a terrorist plot. Elsewhere in LJ, people have asked why no governments are targetting the real killers of diet and legal drugs. (A related issue is why more is being spent on AIDS than on malaria, but that's for another day.)

The problem is that the Governments think they can win. They cannot. The whole thing relates to risk management. My years working in that discipline taught me that you cannot eliminate risk. Even if we strip the passengers naked, determined suicide bombers will still be able to get explosives on board a plane. Someone else pointed out that sipping a poison from a milk bottle, providing it won't kill you instantly, doesn't matter if you're going to die in the next few hours anyay.
The whole world is based on the management of unavoidable risk. Elsewhere, we hear of "safe sex", but there is no sex that is 100% safe. When I fly from Liverpool or Manchester to London, there is a chance that I will not arrive. When I take the train from Liverpool to London, there is a chance (higher, I understand) that I will not arrive.

Remember that in the US, the chance of dying in a terrorist attack is less than the chance of dying from a lightning strike. I understand that car accidents in Israel are carrying off more people than bombs.

Current Location: CH63 0EB
Current Mood: quixoticquixotic

Comments

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From:takahe
Date:August 13th, 2006 10:34 am (UTC)
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Reminds me of the workshop we had recently that said, people really ought not say they are stressed, we all need stress or we'd be terribly bored, it's how we handle it that matters.

And I guess responding to risk is maybe something similar. It's how we handle it, minimise it, accept it to a certain extent, take as many precautions as possible and always be prepared. You never know the hour ;) The authorities may well be to blame, as you say, for ruining our lives completely by letting us set out on twelve hour flights with no books!

I like the points you make here. I just hope all your train trips are safe ones. I recall reading that most car accidents happen within 5km of one's home...

And ooh, I get to try out my new Nick icon, for the hell of it.
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From:ringbark
Date:August 13th, 2006 11:34 am (UTC)
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Nice icon.

Twelve hours without books is not the end of the world.
[User Picture]
From:takahe
Date:August 13th, 2006 11:49 am (UTC)
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-Nice icon.
Thanks!

Twelve hours without books is not the end of the world.
It isn't?
*g* I guess I'd just lean back and write in my head. And OMG maybe passengers will talk to one another! Improve international relations!
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From:mintogrubb
Date:August 13th, 2006 11:25 am (UTC)
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Some good points raised here.
Hope that you arrive safely, all the same, and that you manage to bag the sort of job you are after.
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From:617
Date:August 13th, 2006 12:26 pm (UTC)
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Judging from the reaction here I think New Zealand has a good grasp of this risk management you speak of. There are a lot of planes in the sky, if they happen to actually get your one that's either bad luck or just life.
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From:highway61poet
Date:August 13th, 2006 07:26 pm (UTC)
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if the plot has been thwarted, why is security wound up to the max afterwards?

This is the question I always ask myself. It's like closing the barn door after the horse has escaped.

What I'll never understand is why governments love to tell everyone exactly how the terrorists planned to blow up a plane. Thanks to the media attention, people with evil intentions now know exactly how to make bombs with liquid containers and camera flashes. It's just ridiculous to tell the media these things. But government officials do it all the time. Can't they just capture the terrorists, take the necessary precautions learned from the arrests, and not tell everyone the details of how the bombs were constructed?

If people want to blow up a plane, they will find a way to do it. I've always wondered why they just didn't stand outside an airport and fire rocket-launchers at the planes taking off.
From:tonybologna
Date:August 14th, 2006 02:37 am (UTC)
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If people want to blow up a plane, they will find a way to do it. I've always wondered why they just didn't stand outside an airport and fire rocket-launchers at the planes taking off.

There was fear of this (ok, and I guess just about everything else) right after 9-11. Commercial jetliners would be totally defenseless and most everyone on the plane would die.

I guess it's just not really practical. I mean, how much damage could they possibly cause this way? I'm sure they're thinking a lot bigger than blowing up a few planes.

What I wonder is, if supposedly this unseen enemy is trying to make the average citizen afraid, why they don't randomly attack non-important suburban or small town targets, just to give everyone the feeling that they're not safe anywhere?

I'd assume it has to do with limited resources, and again practicality.

My real question is, why can't we all just get along?
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