Recent dramatic events --- which are of course utterly predictable recurrences of similar past events --- have provoked the usual post-traumatic feeding-frenzy in the press and over the airwaves:

- "Who's to blame?"
- "Why wasn't this anticipated?"
- "How can this be prevented from ever happening again?"

... and so forth.

We'll get the usual governmental investigations, technical fact-finding committees, and bureaucratic "solutions". *Ho-hum ...*

The question that **doesn't** get asked remains:

How much are you willing to pay? |

Cost is key, and hardly anybody wants to discuss it ... since there's no fun in thinking about higher taxes, greater inconveniences, and lost opportunities. *(Cost isn't just measured in dollars or euros or ...)* Much more exciting to point fingers and scold!

An honest analysis of cost also requires a wee bit of mathematics --- elementary probability, some statistics, maybe even a derivative or two --- which unfortunately rules out >99% of the producers and audiences for "news". A simple answer makes a good headline; a multidimensional trade-off curve doesn't.

So whether the dramatic event is a natural disaster, a technological collapse, an act of terrorism, or whatever, we can expect the same result: blamestorming, political posturing, eye-candy magazine cover stories ... and perhaps, in a few years when the media have moved on to another fad, the gradual implementation of improved engineering standards and practices --- at least, to the extent that customers are willing to pay for.

Until the next catastrophe ...

*(see also RetrospectiveHistory (7 Mar 2003), ProbabilisticTragedy (12 Mar 2003), ...)*

TopicSociety - TopicOrganizations - Datetag20030816

*(correlates: DetectiveWork, FeedingFrenzy, FragileBeauty, ...)*