Why the world is getting weirder (and will get weirder yet)

It used to be that airliners broke up in the sky because of small cracks in the window frames. So we fixed that. It used to be that aircraft crashed because of outward opening doors. So we fixed that. Aircraft used to fall out of the sky from urine corrosion, so we fixed that with encapsulated plastic lavatories. The list goes on and on. And we fixed them all.

So what are we left with?

Sadly, we all know the answer to that question.

…And so, with more rules we have solved most of the problems in the world. That just leaves the weird events left like disappearing 777’s, freak storms and ISIS. It used to be that even minor storms would be a problem but we have building codes now (rules). Free of rules, we’d probably have dealt with ISIS by now too.

Ultimately, this is why the world is getting weirder, and will continue to do so. Now with global media you get to hear about it all.

That is from a very interesting mini-essay by Steve Coast, hat tip goes to The Browser.


The 'don't fix it until it crashes' rule is known in aviation as the Tombstone Rule. In science, and economics, taking a page from Kuhn one scientist--or was it Samuelson--said that science (dismal science?) advances one funeral at a time (same principle if you think about it).

On a broader note, Keynesianism supports this kind of behavior: it is essentially the preservation of the status quo ('ain't broke / don't fix it'). Pace Austrian economics.

@myself - just to make it clear to the IQ 90-110 crowd, which is most people including those that read here: pumping up aggregate demand just channels investment into existing traditional avenues, rather than forcing society to try something different in response to a shock. Shocks are good, never let a crisis go to waste. The USA made great advances during the Great Depression in technology, and could do so again if the existing order was burnt down and we started anew. Unless you think--as TC has argued--that society is naturally stratified and innovation has hit a limit. I don't think so, I think we need to channel more people into R&D and fewer into more lucrative rent-seeking as present.

Also in the news: Lufthansa knew about the suicidal pilots condition. I suppose strict German labor law prevented them from doing anything about it much. Again, preservation of the status quo ('a right to an existing job') is the reason. The same reason college kids are not flunked out more by professors, as they should be.

So you wanted to write a bit about college professors not holding their students to low standards, so think think think how could I relate this to the Germanwings flights and ultimately this blog post. Nice try though.

@Christian - Things Fall Apart, by way of background.

Don't blame RL because you don't see the connections. He did try to make it clear to your crowd.

The reason they did not prohibit the pilot from flying is probably a bit more complex. For example, if everyone who reports psychological problems to their employer is fired or reassigned, I would imagine it would act as a powerful incentive for people to both not report and not get treated. It is entirely possible that there are other pilots who reported a psychological issue, got treatment, and are not a danger to themselves or others because of this. This process did not work for Andreas Lubitz or the people on his flight, but it may be the best approach in the aggregate.


Althought Luftansa's process did not work well and does not seem to have been well-designed, in general this is a balancing act. You want pilots to be able to ask for help before it becomes a major problem that other people notice.

@Brian Smith - good point but against that, in the USA at least, pilots are required to 'self-report' if they don't follow procedures while airborne, and many do. Also, having suicidal ideas is not good for a common carrier pilot. If it's a Fed Ex pilot, with no passengers but mail, it's a different story. A better solution is to say to existing pilots that if they go nuts on the job, they get to retire early with X% of their full pension.

So what exactly would be your incentive in self-report procedure violations or mental issues, and being suspended from flight duty?

"The USA made great advances during the Great Depression in technology..."

Causation, or correlation? I'm not sure how many of those great advances owed their invention/development to the Great Depression, and how many to the needs and opportunities of gearing up for a world war, and filling the vacuum left by the existing world powers having torn themselves to bits in WW1 (and then gearing up to do an even better job of it in WW2). Plus the USA got many of the world's best and brightest as they fled the oncoming second world war. And it wasn't as if the USA wasn't already undergoing massive cultural, artistic, and technological changes immediately prior to the Great Depression.

It was a bit of a useful feedback loop; the depression spurred certain technologies that existed but needed expansion (founding of the TVA, dam-building, electrification), and the Grand Coulee dam - which led to Oak Ridge and Hanford as nuclear sites (since they needed so much electricity). But it does seem like the focus was on practical works, not offbeat R&D...although without the structure of electricity, it's tough to jump to the next, higher level.

pumping up aggregate demand just channels investment into existing traditional avenues, rather than forcing society to try something different in response to a shock.


Most consumption is going to be in "traditional avenues," even when there is substantial innovation.

Besides, there is no reason increases in aggregate demand don't also increase demand for new products. IOf yopu get a raise, are you not tempted to maybe buy that new whatever that sounds useful/enjoyable/etc.

Forget robot cars, I'm ready for robot planes.

I hop around Asia on short flights and seeing a 20 something pilot rock up to the cockpit makes me check my seatbelt.

I can't think of a recent crash that wasn't caused by error or suicide.

So, here I wait, for the first airline startup to advertise pilot-free flights, and at discount prices too without all those salaries to pay.

@Chip- worse, in some societies especially outside of Western societies (but even within them) it is considered disrespectful for the junior pilot (first officer) to correct the senior pilot, so some crashes have been caused by this as well. There are proposals for robot pilots already on the books, or, perhaps, in pilot trials.

A robot pilot would not be very difficult, given that autopilots with the capability of landing an aircraft more accurately than a human pilot have been in service for over 40 years. The main barrier is probably psychological, that people wouldn't want to fly in a plane with no pilot on board.

Reportedly the Germanwings copilot didn't personally fly his airplane into the ground. He just set the autopilot to do it.

I've been told by amateur pilots that autopilots won't do that.

But there's are differences between aviation rules in the US and in Europe, though. The European press is starting to hound the co-pilot's parents. The US media can be pretty ghoulish and surprise me at times, but I think they'd draw the line there.

Making a reliable autopilot landing presupposes a CAT III ILS, of which there may be five or less in India. (Phoenix doesn't have one). Many other major airports only have them in the direction of the prevailing winds. Without a CAT III ILS, I hope about 95% is good enough for you. Besides if we can't keep our credit cards secure, how are we going to prevent hackers from seizing the datalink. It has been demonstrated with DOD drones. For that reason the planes I fly only transmit data from critical systems and do not receive data.

There is little doubt in my mind that current technology would allow development of a robot pilot that could land on any runway better than a human pilot. While it is a non-trivial problem, it is easier than a self-driving car. Also, flying a plane from the ground is viable as a human backup, as alluded to in your comment.

The concerns about security are legitimate but solvable. It is much harder to secure credit card data, because it is necessary for that data to be held on widely-accessible servers that talk to many different parties. Flying a plane from the ground only requires a secure connection with one location, a much simpler problem.

Unmanned aircraft are far more likely to crash than piloted aircraft. I'll look up the numbers when I'm not on my phone; I think it's at least an order of magnitude but I don't know where the DOD drew the line on how large the UAV had to be to count.

Unmanned aircraft are far more likely to crash because it's easy to take chances with them and send them on one-way suicide missions. Hey it's a robot, who cares?

It's a little more than that. In fact, it's not really that at all. Historically, design decisions get made differently when nobody will be on board. There's less redundancy, fewer mechanisms for working around problems, etc. People just make stuff differently when they don't expect lives to be at risk.

Presumably airliners would get the full reliability treatment, even if they were pilotless.

This is a helpful reference on the UAV reliability experience to date:


From the introduction:
"The reliability of UAVs needs to improve by one to two orders of magnitude to reach the
equivalent level of safety of manned aircraft."

So? Nobody's done the work on unmanned passenger aircraft. They don't exist. Like Lord Action said, I'm sure a robotic airliner could be made to be as reliable as current aircraft. But it hasn't happened, and it's not trivial. If you strapped yourself into a passenger pod on any currently-existing UAV to fly somewhere, you're orders of magnitude more likely to die than flying in a commercial aircraft.

OK, https://safety.army.mil/Portals/0/Documents/ON-DUTY/AVIATION/FLIGHTFAX/Standard/2013/June_2013_Flightfax.pdf says that the accident rate (loss >$50,000) for UAVs in the Army is 49.3 per 100,000 flight hours; for manned aviation it's 4.41. Admittedly, many of these are Class C accidents (nonfatal, no or minor injuries, $50-500,000 in damage) involving relatively small MQ-5 and RQ-7 aircraft, but keep in mind that it's a lot easier to do $50,000 worth of damage to a helicopter than to a drone. That same document also mentions that the Army systematically underreports UAV-related mishaps, which I find easy to believe because https://safety.army.mil/Portals/0/Documents/STATISTICS/Standard/PublicReports/ArmyAccidentStatisticsYearEndData.pdf says there was 1 UAV mishap in 2013, which is odd because I personally witnessed two UAVs crash and burn in 2013. http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/investigative/2014/06/20/when-drones-fall-from-the-sky/ says that the Air Force "only" crashes their large UAVs (MQ-1 and MQ-9) at 2-3 times the rate of their F-15 and F-16 jets, even though the latter aircraft are far more complex and undergo more stress during normal operation.

For comparison to all this (http://enhs.umn.edu/current/injuryprevent/aviation/magnitude.html), the general aviation (basically small civilian aircraft) accident rate 6 per 100,000 hours, with fatal accidents occurring at 1.1 per 100khrs. Commercial aircraft (i.e. airliners) experience 1 accident per 100,000 hours, and .022 fatal accidents per 100krs! (The NTSB basically defines a nonfatal accident as anything that causes structural damage to an aircraft with someone inside it). The first link cites a study from 2004 (the last one I could find) that says that human error accounted for about a third of UAV mishaps up to that point--yes, humans, many of them less than 30 years old, are involved in the operation and maintenance of unmanned aircraft. Equipment malfunctions accounted for the majority of accidents. That's probably improved in the last ten years (can't say how much) but unmanned aircraft are definitely less safe than commerical aircraft, including those flown by young whippersnappers who don't even have to get routine prostate exams, and probably no safer than general aviation.

Someday it might be safer to have a computer fly commercial aircraft. Not now, not with any actual extant technology.

except for this of course: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/US_Airways_Flight_1549

The Air France plane that crashed into the South Atlantic en route from Brazil went down because of iced-over pitot tubes, which then gave misleading velocity readings. Not sure if that counts as pilot error.

It counts as pilot error because that discrepancy was short-lived and after that the pilots simply couldn't apply the most basic piloting skill to recover a stalled aircraft over the course of several minutes. Not being able to deal with a very short-lived discrepancy in airspeed indication despite all the other information available to the pilots and the inability to do something as simple as recover from a stall with lots of altitude available make that accident primarily pilot error.

Agreed. The junior pilot basically went into shock and stalled the plane. Other 2 pilots onboard didn't catch it until too late.

Too many rules he says? Be thankful we have not yet reduced most of life's questions to mathematics. When the correct answer is known the number of rules is vastly reduced. We could have an infinite number of rules defining the incorrect answers to 1+1. Instead we have a single rule defining the correct answer. I think most people prefer being told what not to do rather than what to do. More rules sometimes means more choice.

Nice point. As I pointed in my comment below, I think it's better to say that there is an "optimal number" of rules.

My dad spent 40 years at Lockheed trying to keep airplanes from crashing. Due to the efforts of tens of thousands of guys like him for decades, now a significant fraction of airliner crashes are due to mass-murdering pilots, which is actually a good thing:


now a significant fraction of airliner crashes are due to mass-murdering pilots

Quick, find a way to blame furriners for this.

I blame stupid white liberals who are terrified lest somebody get their feelings hurt over being told that their vision problems, emotional disorders and suicidal ideation disqualify them from flying a passenger plane.

That's odd, I blame stupid white conservatives for the same reason.

You got it.

Lockheed's passenger plane business went broke because some greedy bribe taking Japanese!!

Well, the copilot *was* German.

I believe it was IBM who did a study years ago on software bugs where they found that bugs generally fit into three categories: immediately found, quickly found, and those that took a long time to appear. They also found that fixing bugs introduced new bugs with the same distribution. The net result is that more and more of these rare bugs accumulate.

It's almost a "black swan" thing - "rare" may happen more often now that we're so good at fixing things.

See anti-biotic resistant critters as one example.

Count me skeptical on "They also found that fixing bugs introduced new bugs with the same distribution". Having worked in a software shop, my experience suggests that diligent bug fixing leaves mostly latent errors that take a long time (and high stress) to manifest themselves. I wonder how many of these "bug fixes" that were analyzed referred to the addition of new features and not a surgical bug removal process. For political/bureaucratic reasons, a lot of feature creep gets labeled in the system as bug fixes (pushing a useful feature into a running service may require multiple approvals from the managers, a conservative bunch who won't approve them unless they are labeled as bug fixes.)

As a software developer, my experience doesn't match yours. I can think of cases where fixing a bug led to a new "obvious" bug being introduced.

I'm not sure why one would expect the distribution to be different: bug fixing is not really different in kind from adding new features. Both involve writing new code and modifying existing code, and I would expect similar error rates and profiles. It is true that sometimes there is a fine line between fixing bugs and adding features. However, often even pure bug fixing is far from "surgical". A bug may reveal that there was a flaw with the existing design that requires writing significant new code to correct.

Different companies may have different processes, but at the places I have worked in, code has to be reviewed by at least one other pair of eyes before it can get checked in (exceptions are made for "superstar" developers, or in emergencies.) Freshly written code (having larger volume) often gets cursorily reviewed, while bug fixes (when does the proper way, the number of changed/added/removed lines ought to be not more than a handful) have a much higher chance of being properly reviewed and therefore less likely to introduce new bugs. I am not saying new bugs cannot get introduced this way, just that the statistical likelihood is low. And I am talking about obvious bugs, which get fixed through obvious changes. If the change requires a serious re-design or a review of the entire logic, the process was faulty to begin with.

I'm a software developer too, and while you can certainly introduce new bugs while fixing old ones, I do think that bug fixing generally improves the quality of the code base.

It's not difficult to understand why if you think about it. Let's say that, if you write ten lines of code, there's a 10% chance you'll add a bug, whether you're trying to fix a bug or add a feature. (The exact numbers don't matter; I just picked round ones.) Imagine that you fix a bug by replacing ten lines of old code with ten lines of new code. Sure, there's a 10% chance the new code has a bug. But remember, there's a 100% chance* that the old code did!

So even though your new code is not, on average, better than your old code, the fact that the old code is *certain* to have been buggy and the new code *might* be buggy means that bug fixes generally improve your code.

* Not quite, of course—we've all encountered cases where we thought we fixed a bug, but we actually just masked its effects. But I think it's fair to assume that the majority of bug fixes *are* actually applied to the buggy part of the code.

I certainly didn't mean that bugs are introduced at the same rate they are fixed. It is actually possible to improve code!

I rather meant that the rate of introducing bugs is similar for bug fixing to writing new code. If code has 1 bug per 20 lines when you initially write it, then you can expect a similar rate when fixing bugs. As long as the average lines of code written for fixing a bug is <20 (and it certainly should be), then bug fixing improves the code.

If there is a different process for writing/reviewing the code in a bug fix than when writing a new feature, as in Kris's company, then one wouldn't necessarily expect this to hold true.

I think just about everyone would agree that writing bad software and then trying to fix it (patches and bug fixes) is about the worst possible way to develop software.

Which is to say, even though code reviews remain useful and fixing bugs is necessary, the larger gains in software quality come from doing quality design before coding begins, and from improved development methodologies.

And therefore if you have software that truly was built badly to begin with but was made useable with innumerable fixes, sometimes the only way to fix it will be to discard the legacy code and re-do everything. Although in the real world that's rarely done as few are willing to pay to get it done (and, you'd have to admit how bad the original code was).

So, should Airbus program the fly-by-wire system to automatically try to prevent controlled flight into terrain? As far as I know, their systems already try to prevent pilots from stressing the airframe beyond its design limits and do their best to prevent inadvertent aerodynamic stalls.

Freak storms is a thing created by journalists. If you care to look at weather records, "freak storms" have an expected frequency. Unless one day people say this beautiful river / sea can destroy my property, I should live somewhere else..........you'll have to deal with freak storms and yellow journalism.

This is too pedantic. A "freak storm" need not mean more than a rare, unexpected event. Something that has a very low probability of occuring is surprising when it occurs, and one might not be prepared for it--even if one knew that it could be expected to happen every 1000 years (or whatever) on average.

I like how Dr James Thompson has phrased it:
"The dilemma faced by psychiatry is that it must champion humane treatment, guard against public anxiety about the mentally ill, while also being absolutely fair minded about actual risks ...Flying is safe because so many errors have been squeezed out of the system. We are now at the point when many of the remaining errors are human ones. My view is that major psychiatric illness should be a bar to being a commercial airline pilot."

Solve for the equilibrium.

People who want to be pilots will hide their psychiatric problems at all costs, including never admitting it to themselves. Even seeing a psychologist today might be the scarlet letter in ten years, so don't do it.

None of this is helpful.

I agree just like during pandemics it makes no sense or quarantine. After all people will just hide their symptoms. Plus (and let's face it this is really the motivating impulse behind this kind of mushiness) consequences are so Victorian or some such. On the path to optimal self-fulfillment there going to be a few muderous psychopaths. But don't forget the real danger is that diversity/ openness/ equal oppurtunity might be sacrificed just because a psychopath killed three generations of one family.

The end result is going to be David Brin's transparent society, all surveillance and sousveillance all the time. You would have to hide things really well. There will be no forgetting. Everything will be on your permanent record. The corporations's choices are going to be choosing between a lot of people who showed some signs of issues and those who took help will be preferred over those who didn't.

"Pilots will hide their psychiatric problems at all costs" -- they can indeed still hide their problems as long as the testing process remains based on old-fashioned (and rather silly) personality questionnaires that ask questions such as "Are you the type of person who likes to spontaneously change the plan?" But testing for psychological maladies is increasingly shifting to objective measures like fRMI scans, so the days of faking your personality are numbered.

"Free of rules, we’d probably have dealt with ISIS by now too." ISIS is our frenemy, at least according to the foreign policy elites on the right who may dislike ISIS but absolutely hate Iran and view ISIS (or Sunni extremists) as our ally in the war against Iran. As for Coast's rant against what he calls "rules", it's just a rant. Coast: "The primary way we as a society deal with this mess is by creating rule-free zones. Free trade zones for economics." Of course, the "rule" in a free trade zone is no tariffs. Or this: "It’s essentially illegal for you to build anything physical these days from a toothbrush (FDA regulates that) to a skyscraper, but there’s zero restriction on creating a website. Hence, that’s where all the value is today." No "rules" on the way the internet works? Or this: "Nothing happened from the beginning of time up until something like 1980. Maybe the industrial revolution. You get to pick. The explosion in transactions came from a feedback loop of an explosion of population and ideas." Coast was born in 1980. My generation used to say "don't trust anyone over 30". Maybe it needs updating: "Don't trust anyone under 40".

"ISIS is our frenemy, at least according to the foreign policy elites on the right who may dislike ISIS but absolutely hate Iran and view ISIS (or Sunni extremists) as our ally in the war against Iran."

Please provide some evidence for this ludicrous assertion.

Well, given that US/EU allies created ISIS (were governments involded or only private individuals? I doubt it was the latter...) , it can only be assumed that it had the blessing of the US/EU.

This is an equally silly argument.

To be fair, its actually a sillier argument.

No, what is silly to assume the opposite... that Saudi Arabia/Qatar etc. (ok, maybe only some rich individuals, but i doubt something this big, is only the work of some private crazy rich guys) did something against US/EU interests without even a hint of protest...if you notice, punishments in Saudi Arabia are very similar to ISIS and this is certainly not a coincidence.

Wait, how did the US or EU create ISIS, exactly?

Well it was idiotic to pull out of Iraq that early, so that helped them grow considerably.

It is a stupid statement though.

Sounds like a lot of people here get their information on ISIS from the dummy box.

They grew in Syria...
And its leaders got its training in the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. So you have to go back a few steps and say it was idiotic to go into Iraq and destabilize a secular dictatorship.
At least with Syria's destabilization of a secular dictatorship, it came about fairly organically, and was funded more by Turkey and Arab states...

gabe does prove his own point.

Attacking Assad and arming moderate sunnis, who turned out to be not so moderate themselves or surrendered their weapons to those not so moderate.

This might be true, in an universe were those same elites don't collaborate with Iran against ISIS.

By the way I think this is the root problem behind the 'bulshit jobs' phenomenon. People don't understand the rules. And there is a positive feedback in that - because when they don't understand why they do something than they still do that even when circumstances make it 'bullshit' - so then any new circumstance never reduces the complexity - only grows it.

In software we have been dealing with these problems for a long time.

Coast's essay is worth reading in its entirety. His critique of rules is well-taken but it goes too far. I would argue instead that there is an optimal number of rules. Too many rules may stifle innovation and productive pursuits by increasing the costs of doing business, but at the same time too few rules might likewise deter people from engaging in productive pursuits, especially if there are no effective property rules protecting innovators and investors alike, allowing them to reap the rewards from their risky ventures. (By the way, while we’re on the subject of rules, I recommend Richard Epstein’s book “Simple Rules for a Complex World.”)

Yes, I agree with you that he goes to far when he talks about "rule-free zones". Actually, things like free markets have a carefully limited set of rules rather than no rules. Libertarianism and anarchy are two very different things, even if they look similar from the vantage point of a rule-bound society.

Our law is based on English common law, judge made law (concepts) applied to the particular facts of the case. By comparison, the continent of Europe primarily relied on statutory law (called codes), detailed rules for everything. Over time, as our society became more complex, we came to rely more on statutory law (codes), then administrative rules to further explain the codes. I'm a lawyer and I draft lots of contracts, often for very complex transactions. There are two basic ways to draft a contract: the big picture way (only concepts - or intent - are addressed, what might be called a common law contract) and what I call a four corners contract (every conceivable possibility is addressed). I learned from a brilliant lawyer who used the four corners contract. Why don't all lawyers use the four corners contract since they address every conceivable possibility? Because not all lawyers are brilliant and can't identify every conceivable possibility. So what? While one cannot exit a four corners contract, one cannot enter it either. And so it is with a rule-based (four cornered) world where the rules are prescribed by less than brilliant rule-makers who cannot identify every conceivable possibility.

"By comparison, the continent of Europe primarily relied on statutory law (called codes), detailed rules for everything." I think this is a common misunderstanding of the civil law from common law attorneys - the idea that codes are detailed lists of specific rules that are the precursors to today's administrative codes. That's not quite right.

Here is one of the foundational articles of the French civil code: "Tout fait quelconque de l'homme, qui cause à autrui un dommage, oblige celui par la faute duquel il est arrivé à le réparer." (CC 1382). Basically, "anything done to cause another man injury, requires he who is at fault to repay it." (my French sucks). The next article clarifies that "fault" includes "negligence and imprudence," not merely intentional torts. (CC 1383). These two articles make up French tort law, more or less in its entirety, and they have been unchanged since Napoleon. Far from a "detailed rule for everything;" there is a ton of leeway for judicial interpretation there. Moreso, perhaps, than in a strict common law country, where later courts are firmly bound by on-point precedent on what is or is not negligence.

Yes. The whole thing gets silly pretty quickly.

We would have dealt with ISIS? How, exactly?

Free markets are "rule-free zones?" No. They are not.

I read somewhere that Airbus aircraft could actually be flown from the ground, but that the public feels they are safer if there are "pilots" at the helm. In that same article I guess Boeing jets need people to work the controls. Because Americans like to drive things, I guess. But it's not safer. That was pre-787 so I don't know if Boeing has made their jets more automated.

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro" Hunter Thompson

He made one good point about weird causes of airplane crashes, then followed it up with a series of hasty generalizations. He should have stopped with the tiny bit that Cowen quoted.

The whole thing felt like a deadpan parody when I took the latter part into account.

The Joker pictures used repeatedly felt like the real tell here. General mayhem and murder.

Oh, I think I'll keep striving to keep this little light on, then, and keep trying this rule making approach that, like the Monty Python Romans, has done nothing for us at all except for a great deal of specific examples.

Not sure about German law, if this crime had been committed on an American carrier, a number of American trial lawyers now would be planning to place orders for new private jets.

The co-pilot could have committed suicide in a number of ways without harming anyone else. He likely murdered that planeload of people to achieve his 15 minutes of fame. Inquiring minds want to know whether he didn't want to augment the body-count by crashing into a crowded area, but the window (pilot pee break) of opportyunity did not allow it.


"Why do the Kurdish love the French flyers most and the american flyers least? And why to ISIS fear the French flyers the most and the Americans the least? Because France's dreaded "great black pigeons," as ISIS calls them, swoop in right when they are called and don't leave until the job is down whereas the American planes often do a single run without follow up and any strike must first be approved by a lawyer on a case by case basis, and then often come late, sometimes too late.
This is because President Obama instituted the "near certainty" requirement for targeted strikes on terrorists after his NDU speech and the Awlaki debate. So, there must be a near-certainy that the actual terrorist or target is present at the site when hit and near certainty that non-combatants will neither be injured nor killed. You can say that this is America at its best -- the rule of law matters even in war -- but these aren't terrorists; they are whole armies ruling an area of more than 10 million people and thousands of miles of borders and they are on the move. Applying the logic of Awlaki and drones to what is happening here is more than nuts."

I find it weird that nobody noticed the GDP figure at the end of the post....Totally wrong!!!

I think the most relatable statement to this post is “Rules are made to be broken”. I can’t count the number of times I have heard this saying and this post brings it to reality. The more rules that are created the more often they will be broken. People will always be tempted to break a rule if it means receiving satisfaction.
In the case of the airplane pilot that drove into the side of a mountain, the rules created for airplane cockpits after 9/11 seemed to make it easier for him to commit such a crime. Afterwards, the rule about having two people in the cockpit at all times was created, and it seems like a good rule to keep individuals from committing acts of terror. Again, this new rule might work for a while but what happens when either person in the cockpit attacks the other? The new rule will then be broken. Eventually some person will find the determination to break new rules if it is their will to do so.
For every event that causes new rules to be created another event will eventually break that new rule. It makes sense that the events will become weirder and weirder after each continuance of a rule is broken. What do we do to combat this? Stop establishing rules after they are broken? Revise rules until we think they are nearly impossible to break, until someone does break them? There isn’t a way to combat keeping these events from happening, but the more rules we create the more creative people will get in breaking them. These issues will eventually become recurring events, look at school shootings and eventual gun control.

Comments for this post are closed