“For fear they might only get one term they are dashing to secure that indelible legacy. The plan is to outsource so much that reconstructing public services will be impossible in future.” Polly Toynbee reports on an epidemic of evidence-free, faith-based policymaking that is creating moral hazard on a grand scale.
“A moral hazard is a situation where there is a tendency to take undue risks because the costs are not borne by the party taking the risk.”
“It needs to be a finite number, for to set an infinite value on the life of an astronaut is to set both the goals of the space exploration effort and the needs of the rest of humanity at naught.” Robert Zubrin explains how NASA’s approach to risk undermines its mission and costs thousands of lives.
“Spending billions to force the terrorists to alter their plans in one particular way does not make us safer. It is far more cost-effective to concentrate our defences in ways that work regardless of tactic and target: intelligence, investigation and emergency response.” Bruce Schneier debates the former head of the Transportation Security Administration, Kip Hawley, on airport security. This is from the first of Schneier’s three statements on the topic.
www.economist.com 20 March, 23 March, 28 March
“You and I were always talking about risk because she was the beautiful woman we were both in love with, right? The one who made us feel the most special, the most alive? We were always trying to have one more dance with her without paying the price.” Sebastian Junger writes after the death of photojournalist Tim Hetherington in April 2011.
“Natürlich müssen wir uns darum bemühen, die Kontrollen an den Flughäfen effektiver zu machen. Profiling nach Herkunft und Religionszugehörigkeit aber ist eine schlechte Idee, die das Fliegen weder bequemer noch sicherer macht.” Peter Neumann believes that the use of passenger profiling would actually have detrimental effects on aviation security.
“Despite fearful rhetoric to the contrary, terrorism is not a transcendent threat. A terrorist attack cannot possibly destroy a country’s way of life; it’s only our reaction to that attack that can do that kind of damage.” In the wake of last week’s failed bombing of an airplane over Detroit, Bruce Schneier asks us to leverage the inherent strengths of our democracies.
“25 years ago I read a newspaper article which said that one day syringes would be one of the major causes for the transmission of AIDS. I thought this was unacceptable so I decided to do something about it.” Marc Koska’s K1 syringe improves on an old design.
“When we look at the pattern, one thing comes out very clearly. People say HIV is very high in Africa. I would say, HIV is very different in Africa.” Using Gapminder World, Hans Rosling empowers you to think more clearly about the the ways in which HIV impacts on Africa and the wider world.
This is a picture I took of today’s newspaper. You can usually pick me out from a group of cyclists because I am the one wearing the full-face helmet. Comments I get from other cyclists are mostly positive. But somebody, somewhere is always telling me that I must be really scared to be wearing that helmet—before proceeding to tell me everything about injuries and treatments that they had to endure as a consequence of having had a serious crash.
In other news this week, current World Downhill Champion Rachel Atherton was involved in a head-on collision with a car.
“The only things that will keep you alive in traffic are your skills, your awareness of your environment, and always having a tremendous respect for the danger involved.” Richard Katz outlines his approach to riding in traffic.
“We’re about to get slightly technical here—but this is basic information you need to know.” John Locke explains the dangers of surfing the web and what you can do to control the risks.
“While conventional wisdom assumes entrepreneurs have great risk tolerance compared to the rest of us, we consistently found that they aren’t really that different. In some cases, they’re even more risk averse.” Researcher Brian Wu finds overconfidence to be the vital ingredient.
“If everything we did had to be absolutely safe, risk-free, proven to have no adverse outcomes for anyone or anything, we’d never get anywhere.” Professor Sir Colin Berry talks to Brendan O’Neill on why the precautionary principle is making life more dangerous for all of us.
“Combating HIV/AIDS requires more than prevention and treatment. It requires improving the conditions under which people are free to choose safer life strategies and conditions.” Editorial reflecting on what changes are necessary to prevent AIDS from spreading further among those most at risk.