Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How it feels to be in a rare event

Earlier this week I had a chance to interview some of the forecasters that were on duty when Brisbane went under water a couple months ago. Yesterday this conference also had a special session on engineering aspects of tsunami damage in Japan. A common theme was the sense of shock and disbelief as existing systems were overwhelmed. There's a bit of awe but also a bit of resentment. It reminded me of this quote

"[The event is not] entirely predictable, though it is possible to calculate the ranges of probability. Still, in every range there is the one in a billion chance, the blind shot that seems so improbable that we ordinarily discount it. And when it does happen, our sense of fair play is often more injured than our actual conditions." -S. Lewitt


  1. Tom - was Lewitt thinking of floods also?

  2. Jan,

    Actually no. Shariann Lewitt's book "Memento Mori" is science fiction. It's about a futuristic plague/virus.