Monday 17 February 2014

Decisions Decisions

Trawling round the web for something, almost anything, different from the current issues that are rumbling away came across two items that have an affinity.  Apparently, in the USA scientists suggest that things can happen fast in that the magma at Mount Hood can change from solid to ready to go in a couple of months.  

This one is alleged to be a volcano that oozes rather than blows, but you never know.  Another article on another page to do with the past says that it could an ultimate big one if there are enough volcanoes that are big enough to do for us all which blow in series. 

The joy of reading this kind of material is that it reminds us of just how trivial we and all our obsessions are.  It also tells us that where there are complex entities which we cannot control or do not fully understand things can happen a great deal quicker than expected and with wide and serious consequences.

One thing little realised in the government and media is how change has altered the pace of things.  As a tiny example, yesterday I dealt with the electric bill.  From the decision to do it to finish online took me five minutes, the meter read, the bill calculated and paid.   Just a handful of years ago this would have been impossible.

The trouble is that if the supplier loses the picture or their system goes wrong then they rapidly have a chaotic situation on their hands.  It could do a lot of damage and at worst lead to a collapse in their system.  If we look at a good many of our government services we see too many potential systemic crashes possible.

At the same time the expectations of the great majority of people are that our very complicated and intricate systems must work well all the time.  In the event of disruption we expect that all will be put right quickly and effectively.  Yet in the interests of cost and price reduction we have been eliminating spare capacity and alternative options.

Currently, we have Syria in chaos, with others in a similar situation.  The western media think it cannot happen to any of them while at the same time they do not realise that they are putting the pre-conditions in place for one type of breakdown or another.

As for all this water, instead of getting rid of it fast, should we be trying to store it against the prospect of drought?


  1. A long period of hot dry conditions are as overdue as the recent storms were! Hose pipe bans will take some selling if it comes to pass. As for climate change obsessives, all Canutes, including Red Ed.

  2. "Mount Hood can change from solid to ready to go in a couple of months."

    I'm almost as quick as that when shopping trips are mentioned.