Friday, November 25, 2016


AVI recommended Antifragile, and I've started it. It does, as AVI says, demand an occasional time of cross-checking with your own experiences.

I know one example of how placidity hid information. When I lived in Liberia the place seemed quite stable. It had had wars in the past, but nothing significant lately, and the party line (one party) was that development was slowly happening and the future looked bright. I had no great interest in studying the political situation, and wasn't encouraged to, though Growth Without Development sat waiting on my parent's bookshelf. Not my business. And if some tribal Liberians weren't thrilled with the state of the state, they weren't likely to confide in a young American lad.

Tolbert made some changes, and was afraid to make others, and between growing expectations and some world-wide economic problems, there were problems. (I had headed off to college.) Then a coup(*) killed Tolbert, and Doe's rule was bad enough to provoke several counter-attacks, and finally a civil war with tribal splits. I didn't see any of this coming; it all looked quite peaceful. But a one-party state often looks peaceful.

I might have known better, with a little more observation and curiosity, but I was content in my bubble--like quite a few others up until just recently.

I notice that in his examples of "Interventionism" he includes "Copy editors trying to change your text," and says the iotrogenic cost is bland writing.

He's pretty down on "fragile" technology, so I wonder what he thinks of gas pipes. A small leak in a water pipe may or may not be a catastrophe (leaks in the floor above have been known to drip down to our server racks), but leaks in a gas pipe...

(*) Some conspiracies claim that the US was behind the coup. Given the kind of person Doe was, and his position at the time, this is inane.

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