Ian (ringbark) wrote,
Ian
ringbark

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.
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