Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
your point is well made, and we should also include the obligatory nod to Fooled by Randomness :-)  and there's a lot of research on pattern-recognition as a cognitive predisposition, etc.

however, a few false positives don't discredit all pattern recognition, and there's an noncoincidental history of failure to do thorough epidemiology in most of these cases...  I'll concede the likelihood of some overaggressive pattern id on one side, but I think we have plenty of documentation of [my gut feeling is more, and better funded] coverup and denial on the other side.

I'm posting at a disadvantage here being in the midst of downsizing and packing, short on sleep and free time and with half my reference library packed or disarranged so I can't find anything.  in about 4 months, I hope, I'll be able to come back with something more substantive on epidemiology and geomapping of toxic plumes of various kinds...

my fundamental point remains that distance or decoupling, whether geo or chrono, has an obfuscating effect on cost, cause/effect, and a warping effect on ethics.  zBs plastics plants in the SE US are contributing to cancer in beluga whales in the Arctic, but the delay factor and the physical distance contribute not just to deniability, but to a kind of conceptual difficulty in grasping the connection.  as the global commons becomes increasingly saturated with industrial "externalities" refusing to remain theoretical and external, this problem of distance or detachment and its skewing effect on operational ethics becomes more and more urgent;  and imho localisation is far cheaper, more robust and straightforward than micromanagement and totalising surveillance...

btw I am glad the French managers live near their plants.  it's a good policy and s/b law.  for one thing, a manager is far more likely to blow the whistle on a safety vio (even if his job is on the line) if it's his own family in the plume path.  but imho their neighbours should be the designers, the safety inspectors, and the investors...

I will happily live next to any wind or solar farm of any size.  you couldn't pay me enough to live next to a nuke...  maybe if I lived in France I'd be less definite about that, but not in the US.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu Jul 12th, 2007 at 07:06:39 PM EST
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