[ExI] Avoiding bad black swan events/was Re: extropy-chat Digest, Vol 111, Issue 15

Adrian Tymes atymes at gmail.com
Thu Dec 13 17:54:46 UTC 2012

On Thu, Dec 13, 2012 at 1:24 AM, BillK <pharos at gmail.com> wrote:
> The preppers are getting quite a lot of flak at the moment as stocking
> up with supplies and generators, etc. seems somehow to be 'unsporting'
> and selfish. And obviously if a disaster happens they will become a
> target for the rest of the desperate population.
> But the problem I see is that a black swan event is not guaranteed.
> How much do you spend on planning for an event that might not happen?
> Do you want to double the cost of power satellites by building
> possibly unnecessary protection?
> Human history shows that usually we go for the cheapest version and
> hope it will turn out OK.

And it often does.

Almost all engineering students these days have heard of the
Tacoma Narrows Bridge, but how many suspension bridges have
been built - say, since 1800 - that have failed to self-destruct yet?

There has been quite a bit of publicity about the attention given
to airplane fatalities, vs. the overall record of being safer than

The flak direct at the preppers has, I suspect, more to do with
how they are driving costs up for everyone else by taking
supplies out of the economy, in exchange for protection that
is unlikely to ever be of much value (especially once one
discounts "peace of mind" and the like, since most people
get peace of mind without spending any resources on
protection against that particular black swan event).

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