Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

August 2, 2012

Core characteristics of resilience

Filed under: Preparedness and Response,Strategy — by Philip J. Palin on August 2, 2012

Resilience is often accused of being a homeland security “buzzword,” something regularly referenced and rarely understood.

In ecology and engineering resilience is well-researched, widely understood, even measurable.

In psychology there is substantial consensus regarding the reality of resilience and non-resilience.  There is increasing agreement on those human traits that  correlate with resilience.  There is less agreement on the nature-nurture origins of resilience and whether adults can learn to be more resilient.  But the case for adult learning has been sufficient to produce a US Army program aimed at enhancing soldier/family/community resilience.

There is a growing set of empirical findings related to social resilience (I especially recommend the Digital Library of the Commons).  But the sociology of resilience is less mature than the psychology of resilience.  For the purposes of homeland security we might learn from the psychological findings and try to test them in our more psycho-social domain.

In 2004 Martin Seligman at the University of Pennsylvania and Christopher Peterson at the University of Michigan co-authored the 800 page Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification.  According to the American Psychological Association (co-publisher with Oxford University Press) the text is the:

… first progress report from a prestigious group of researchers in the Values in Action Classification Project, which has undertaken a systematic classification and measurement of universal strengths and virtues. This landmark work makes possible for the first time a science of human strengths that goes beyond armchair philosophy and political science. The handbook begins with the background of the VIA classification scheme and defines terms before describing in thorough detail the current state of knowledge with respect to each of the 24 character strengths in the classification.

Here are the twenty-four human characteristics which some clinical studies suggest are correlated with resilience (taken from the table of contents).

Strengths of Wisdom and Knowledge

  • Creativity [Originality, Ingenuity]
  • Curiosity [Interest, Novelty-Seeking, Openness to Experience]
  • Open-Mindedness [Judgment, Critical Thinking]
  • Love of Learning
  • Perspective [Wisdom]

Strengths of Courage

  • Bravery [Valor]
  • Persistence [Perseverance, Industriousness]
  • Integrity [Authenticity, Honesty]
  • Vitality [Zest, Enthusiasm, Vigor, Energy]

Strengths of Humanity

  • Love
  • Kindness [Generosity, Nurturance, Care, Compassion, Altruistic Love, “Niceness”]
  • Social Intelligence [Emotional Intelligence, Personal Intelligence]

Strengths of Justice

  • Citizenship [Social Responsibility, Loyalty, Teamwork]
  • Fairness
  • Leadership

Strengths of Temperance

  • Forgiveness and Mercy
  • Humility and Modesty
  • Prudence
  • Self-Regulation [Self-Control]

Strengths of Transcendence

  • Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence [Awe, Wonder, Elevation]
  • Gratitude
  • Hope [Optimism, Future-Mindedness, Future Orientation]
  • Humor [Playfulness]
  • Spirituality [Religiousness, Faith, Purpose]

These are framed — and claimed — as preliminary, but meaningful scientific findings.  According to field and clinical results the more an individual demonstrates these strengths, the more resilient the personality.  Research is continuing to refine tests for each trait and better understand co-variances.  But more than a prima facie case has been established for key characteristics of psychological resilience.

The more  a community demonstrates these strengths, the more resilient the community?  The organization?  The nation?

Just for the sake of discussion, what if Seligman and Peterson are at least 80 percent correct in their inventory?  Seligman, in particular, is a strong advocate for resilience “training” (ala the Army program).  What if it is indeed possible to enhance resilience among adults and groups of adults?

How might homeland security (the enterprise) and/or Homeland Security (the government function) meaningfully and appropriately work to advance these characteristics?

–+–

Postscript

Last week we had an extended discussion of “Boydian” concepts.   At the core of John Boyd’s framework is our own orientation and the orientation of our adversaries. Orientation consists of genetic, cultural, and other inputs.  Seligman and Peterson offer evidence and argument that the characteristics listed above are “universal” across the human population.   In other words, these are core elements in the Orientation of resilient individuals.  I wonder what Boyd would do with this claim?  While I’m not sure what Boyd might say, it occurs to me that the Seligman/Peterson characteristics are at least as unfriendly to command-and-control as Boyd.

UPDATE: SUNDAY AUGUST 5

The National Academy of Sciences has released an online pre-publication copy of its forthcoming Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative. I appreciate Claire Rubin bringing it to my attention.  Following is an introductory paragraph.

One way to reduce the impacts of disasters on the nation and its communities is to invest in enhancing resilience–the ability to prepare and plan for, absorb, recover from and more successfully adapt to adverse events. Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative addresses the broad issue of increasing the nation’s resilience to disasters. This book defines “national resilience”, describes the state of knowledge about resilience to hazards and disasters, and frames the main issues related to increasing resilience in the United States. It also provide goals, baseline conditions, or performance metrics for national resilience and outlines additional information, data, gaps, and/or obstacles that need to be addressed to increase the nation’s resilience to disasters. Additionally, the book’s authoring committee makes recommendations about the necessary approaches to elevate national resilience to disasters in the United States.

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22 Comments »

Comment by Faster Forward

August 3, 2012 @ 5:57 am

The list reminds me more of JC than JB. John Boyd was a warrior. If most of humanity more fully developed these 24 characteristics there would be considerably less violent conflict. Much more Jesus Christ than John Boyd.

I’ll take the bait and for the sake of this discussion agree that cultivation of these characteristics would produce more resilient communities and even a more resilient nation.

I don’t think DHS can or should do much (though watching DHS try to do anything along these lines would probably provide a cynical sort of comedic relief).

DHS and other aspects of government CAN purposefully stay out of the way as others cultivate these characteristics. I suppose there are indirect supports, through tax policy and such that could help or hurt.

But mostly these are characteristics that emerge from family, community, culture. They are also characteristics that are under attack. My first reaction was to dismiss the list as sentimental. But that’s a self-destructive decision emerging from an orientation that Boyd has helped me take more responsibility for.

In the Sixties the culture decided we wanted to be “authentic” which was the positive way of saying we wanted to stop being hypocritical. There was a lot of hypocrisy. Could’ve been a good choice.

But instead of authentically embracing higher standards we mostly gave up the standards. The culture endorsed our worst inclinations as a way to achieve authenticity.

I’m authentically pretty lousy. I’d rather be a failed idealist and be accused of hypocrisy. Given a choice between such low authenticity and hypocrisy, I’d prefer to meet a lot more hypocrites.

OK, not sure about that tangent, but yes, these are almost certainly key characteristics of resilience. Yes, they are legitimate concerns for homeland security. AND these issues make cybersecurity seem simple.

Comment by Lynn Wheeler

August 3, 2012 @ 11:17 am

Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War (Robert Coram) pg281/loc4905-6:

He stalked the office, staring at his underlings, then suddenly walking up to them, sticking a bony finger into their chest, and saying things such as, “If your boss demands loyalty, give him integrity. But if he demands integrity, then give him loyalty.”

… snip …

In briefings, in addition to OODA-loop … Boyd would also stress repeatedly to take subject from all possible perspectives (being able to compare&contrast) … not simple repeating same sort of observation. In his “Organic Design For Command and Control” briefing he would stress inability of rigid, top-down, command&control structure to adapt … that was used by US military in ww2 and was starting to contaminate US corporate culture.

There has been some discussion that Boyd’s OODA-loop comes from his experience in aerial dog fights … but there is also aerial view of military events on the ground provides a different perspective … sort of Flatlanders theme (difference between 2d perspective and 3d perspective).

Comment by John F. Morton

August 3, 2012 @ 11:32 am

How might homeland security (the enterprise) and/or Homeland Security (the government function) meaningfully and appropriately work to advance these characteristics?

Continue to advance homeland security professional development at all governmental levels, broadly in the interagency and private sector and NGO mission partner communities. Spcifically do this by advancing NIMS/ICS certifications beginning at entry-level. Find a way to educate elected officials and C-level corporate folks in such approaches.

Comment by Philip J. Palin

August 3, 2012 @ 12:27 pm

John, I agree and I worry. There was a time when “professional development” could depend on some level of liberal arts foundation. The best liberal arts programs gave explicit attention to the 24 characteristics identified by Seligman and Peterson (eventhough from a humanistic or religious angle more often than a scientific angle). If we could still assume a liberal arts foundation I would be more confident of the prospects for professional development. Without the liberal arts foundation, I’m concerned professional development is too often as adding pepper to spoiled stew.

Comment by Philip J. Palin

August 3, 2012 @ 12:33 pm

Mr. Forward, Thanks. Any thoughts on how Homeland Security might fund or facilitate homeland security (family, community, culture) efforts to engage these characteristics of resilience? Or are you saying it really is a no-go-zone for HS?

If resilience is fundamental (authentic question)? And if you are correct regarding the diminishment of resilience over the last half-century (very interesting and will accept for the purposes of this discussion), shouldn’t enhancing resiliency somehow be on the HS agenda?

Comment by Lynn Wheeler

August 3, 2012 @ 10:30 pm

US has been on downward slope for decades in numerous areas … Boyd’s comments about US military rigid, top-down, command&control structure starting to contaminate corporate culture corresponds approx. with this turning point at the end of the 70s
http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2011/09/04/opinion/04reich-graphic.html

quote attributable to Volcker from Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President pg290
http://www.amazon.com/Confidence-Men-Washington-Education-ebook/dp/B0089LOKKS/

Well, I said, ‘The trouble with the United States recently is we spent several decades not producing many civil engineers and producing a huge number of financial engineers. And the result is s*tty bridges and a s*tty financial system!’

… snip …

not spending on infrastructure, results in no jobs which over the decades result in decline of univ. programs. News about recent infrastructure is that they are being outsource to Chinese corporations which have the civil engineers. Large factor in lack of resilience is failing/fragile infrastructure.

Comment by Philip J. Palin

August 4, 2012 @ 6:08 am

Lynn, a couple of alternative perspectives. From WWII to the oil crises of the 1970s, corporate command-and-control was seen as the source of economic and social nirvana. The reaction of corporate command-and-control to the inflationary spiral of the 1970s amplified the problem.

Possible lesson-to-learn: Corporate C&C involves its own risks.

Instead, corporations — and much of American culture — decided the problem was not the C&C paradigm but the data/information on which C&C decisions are made. Therefore extraordinary effort has been expended on increasing our data collection and manipulation capability (with some real benefits).

Taken as a whole we now have at least seventy years of focus on replacing individual human judgment with systems-outputs. Today systems measures are used (or at least attempted) to replace judgment in policing, teaching, even judging. Many problems at TSA, as an example, are the result of profound confidence in automatic systems combined with practically no confidence in human discretion.

Where Boyd called for attention to a whole range of orientation sources, the culture increasingly wants to depend only on the most sanitized and testable elements. Along the way we have allowed long-established methods for enhancing human judgment to atrophy. Even if we wanted to retrieve these methods, it would now be very difficult.

Trying to channel a bit of Boyd: Our “adversary” (that’s us) has convinced us to de-value the cultural and human aspects of orientation. This now provides the adversary much more freedom and speed to cycle the OODA Loop through the more quantitative elements of orientation. Our observations are increasingly constrained, our orientation more anemic, no wonder our decisions and actions are less effective.

I am not arguing against systematic measures and methods. I am concerned that we try too hard to have these measures and methods replace rather than inform human judgment.

Comment by Lynn Wheeler

August 4, 2012 @ 8:34 am

Note that lots of the focus has been to converge to single variable optimization (not able to really understand the issues, represent as a single measure that trivializes complexity with simple moves up&down).

At the same time as Boyd was warning about US military rigid, top-down, command&control contaminating US corporate culture, articles started appearing about the dangers of the rise of the MBA culture and the religion of qtrly numbers. The single variable optimization also is counter to Boyd’s constantly looking from every possible perspective. Boyd’s ODCC briefing also is about moving decisions to lowest possible level … to the people with the most experience closest to the problem.

The genesis of the military rigid, top-down, command&control was at entry to WW2, huge numbers of soldiers had to be fielded with little or no experience and it was used to leverage the few experienced, skilled available resources. The contamination of US corporate culture result is belief that only the few executives at the very top know what they are doing and everybody else doesn’t. This has been used to explain the reports that ratio of executive to worker compensation has exploded to 400:1 (after having been 20:1 for a long time and 10:1 in much of the rest of the world, Stiglitz recently stated it reached 1000:1 in some places).

The belief that only a few executives at the top know what they are doing may be a self-fulfilling … they then move the jobs to places in the world where the workers are cheaper and don’t actually have the experience.

The NYTimes graphics is also blogged here:
http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2011/10/journal-why-the-us-middle-class-is-broken.html
person also runs
http://www.resilientcommunities.com/

Comment by John F. Morton

August 4, 2012 @ 8:51 am

A good thread for starting a Saturday with a cup of coffee. We are onto something, but as Dennis Schrader likes to say, we can’t end up trying to boil the ocean.

Phil, re your comment back to me: if we are bemoaning the decline of American education and the effects thereof, that is another conversation. In the context of developing the Homeland Security Enterprise though, we are not professionally developing a legion of philosopher kings. We need a legion of operational folks who (1) can sling a chain saw, triage a mass casualty event or put ordnance on target as planners and decision-makers, (2) operate in the extreme of the moment or politics and its trade-offs, and (3) are informed by a common workforce culture for process and structure, i.e., NIMS/ICS, an accepted means for dealing with complex interdependency. A liberal arts education or some of it is not as directly applicable as the development of judgment informed by training and experience in the operational.

Now, as to American education: the basis for the common man or woman was and is no longer the 3Rs. Along with that was a separate private system that did train elites in the liberal arts, which to an extent still exists today. The intent of that system was to produce philosopher kings with noblesse oblige. This tradition replicated the British system of Thomas Arnold and Rugby to produce colonial officials for ruling the Empire in some enlightened way. Today, we have neither the 3Rs for the masses, nor a socio-economic system that can employ elites with a liberal arts education and the values that derive from it. But that is another conversation.

Now, some of that can be introduced to homeland security professional development, but I should say not at the entry level, beyond say “leadership” courses like we have at the service academies and in ROTC programs. But I am one who believes that society cannot teach leadership. To some extent, it could be introduced much later in a career in executive leadership programs akin to the Kennedy School and Sloan offerings or CHDS. A fire fighter doesn’t need this stuff either as a prerequisite or in his or her first five years of service. The IS course plan strikes me as much more useful to train folks for increasing levels of responsibility that will inevitably involve work across discipline and jurisdiction. Knowledge of Shakespeare and the Hegelian dialectic are not necessary to prepare the ground here for operational decision-making whatever we think the Bushido way might have to say for us.

Which leads me to Lynn’s point. I was at a gathering in DC in the very early 90s when John Deutch as MIT provost bemoaned the fact that his engineers were not taking jobs in industry trying to solve manufacturing technology challenges but rather succumbing to the campus recruitment drives of Wall Street. Whereas some then wanted a post-Cold War industrial policy for American competitiveness, and were so accused, the U.S. got one anyway, but for the financial services sector. Lynn’s observation is spot on.

Which leads me to to your 6am post, Phil. This substitution of human judgment in American organizational culture may have begun during Progressivism with Fredrick Winslow Taylor’s Efficiency Movement. As I have said before, the postwar development of the national security system with its core substrate the complex responsible for nuclear weapons and missile delivery systems rooted it in the American socio-economic soil. I’ll list a few references that should resonate: RAND, Booz-Allen, MIT, Lawrence Livermore, APL, Systems Analysis, OSD. In aggregate, all was directed to win the Cold War. Or…to justify programs in the Pentagon budget drill. Or both.

Absent the Cold War, this intellectual infrastructure has indeed not gone away but continues to seek application. Deutch noted this in 1990. So the infrastructure shifted to serve other masters. Wall Street? Ballistic Missile Defense? The Homeland Security Enterprise?

The dirty little truth, a phrase that George Foresman likes to use, is that a lot of quantitative analysis is gamed. As one of my three-star uncles used to say in the sixties and seventies, it was gamed by those “who knew the grip.” This by a Navy man who came of age when a ship commander was a god who did not have to take rudder commands from the beach. (His first CO was actually Nimitz.)

So this rambling leads me finally to a line in Jim Loy’s Coast Guard Publication 1, “America’s Maritime Guardian”: “The concept of allowing the person on scene to take the initiative—guided by a firm understanding of the desired tactical objectives and the national interests at stake—remains central to the Coast Guard’s view of its command relationships.” THAT should be the outcome to which homeland security professional development should aspire.

Comment by Philip J. Palin

August 4, 2012 @ 9:18 am

I think it is helpful to recognize macro-conditions — especially if the conditions may have under-recognized second and third-order effects — but I agree we ought not try to “boil the ocean”, either here or elsewhere.

What would make my bath water more comfortable is a HS professional development program that is truly interdisciplinary, interagency, intergovernmental, private-public AND that is clearly important to career advancement across these domains. That last bit is a particular challenge.

The professional development program ought to have early-stage, mid-stage, and upper stage aspects. I would urge rough parity of attention to systems-factors and human-factors.

My bath water would be just about perfect temperature if this professional development program would embrace a mix of Boyd and Snowden (Snoodan). Perhaps: multivariable optimization in a complex context.

I’ve got to get on a plane. Will be interested to see where the rest of you go while I am airborne.

Comment by Philip J. Palin

August 4, 2012 @ 9:20 am

Question: So far no explicit complaints that Seligman and Peterson have a reasonable angle on the key characteristics of resilience. Is this tacit support?

Comment by John F. Morton

August 4, 2012 @ 10:35 am

This list is a list of personality traits that are admirable in and of themselves for any collaborative higher purpose. They seem to be elaborations, if you will, of Michiavelli’s virtu. So, no complaints here, but I’m not sure what it gets us. An insight into personality traits that lend themselves to resilient behaviors and ultimately resilience structures and processes?

Phil, I don’t think you actually mean “key characteristics of resilience.” Resilience is a socio-political state. Maybe you mean key characteristics of a resilience mindset, which leads me back to my first sentence above. I guess I’m confused by what appears to be apples and oranges and then asking WTF? Sorry to be so direct. Maybe if you could tell us again in simple terms what is the objective of this line of enquiry. Is it to recommend policy? If so, what? Professional education or training? Or to help craft a syllabus or course(s)? Or give you feedback on a book outline? Any of the above is fine. I just want to be able to stay within the bounds of what is helpful to you or the larger “us” that is this blog.

Comment by Philip J. Palin

August 4, 2012 @ 3:33 pm

John, These personality traits are, according to some leading researchers, specifically correlated with psychological resilience. It might be said, these are the building blocks of psychological resilience.

While I understand these specific traits are still being researched and the definitions refined, if these are the building-blocks of psychological resilience they should also be important aspects of “resilience structures and processes.”

If so, then it seems reasonable that a prevalence or deficiency of these psychological building blocks would influence our “socio-political state.”

So… if I accept the credibility or even just the helpfulness of this list — and if I perceive resilience is a positive value — I should as a matter of policy and strategy want to increase the prevalence of these characteristics among the population. To undermine these characteristics is to undermine resilience. To ignore these building blocks while seeking to enhance resilience is to pretend.

Yet I have not seen this or a similar set of building blocks given serious attention in a wide range of policy and strategy documents purporting to enhance resilience. Why not?

If as our colleague Mr. Forward has suggested it is true that these characteristics are in decline, then it might be especially important that a resilience policy and strategy at least deal with the implications of such decline.

My objective is to understand what is real. If these characteristics are really core to resilience, then I think our policy, strategy, operations, and tactics should reflect that reality.

Comment by Lynn Wheeler

August 4, 2012 @ 5:03 pm

much shorter list from “Quiet” http://www.amazon.com/Quiet-Power-Introverts-Talking-ebook/dp/B004J4WNL2/ claims that America suffers from the rise of “cult of personality” in the last century at the expense of “character”. This is similar to Boyd’s “To Be or To Do”:

“There are two career paths in front of you, and you have to choose which path you will follow. One path leads to promotions, titles, and positions of distinction…. The other path leads to doing things that are truly significant for the Air Force, but the rewards will quite often be a kick in the stomach because you may have to cross swords with the party line on occasion. You can’t go down both paths, you have to choose. Do you want to be a man of distinction or do you want to do things that really influence the shape of the Air Force? To be or to do, that is the question.” Colonel John R. Boyd, USAF 1927-1997

From the dedication of Boyd Hall, United States Air Force Weapons School, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. 17 September 1999

Comment by John F. Morton

August 4, 2012 @ 8:41 pm

Right. Then it’s an education issue. We need to make the 3Rs into the 4Rs, the fourth being resilience, i.e., the inculcation of those traits. By doing so, we are updating Scouting’s “Be prepared.” We are doing so to move beyond the Nanny State dependence/entitlement ethos of the 20th century to re-empower the individual as the master/mistress of his/her own destiny. In a resilient America, the individual will derive his/her identity not by what he/she owns or can buy, as it was during post-scarcity, acquisitive, consumptive America, but by what he/she can do in the coming scarcity America as homo faber. The Nation is thus reborn though rebuilding itself upon Craig Fugate’s networks of communities of resilience from the bottom up. I’m good with that.

Comment by Donald Quixote

August 4, 2012 @ 10:25 pm

Thanks for referencing Colonel Boyd. Colonel John Richard Boyd was an extremely rare and impressive man, along with the Acolytes that he found, motivated and led into the numerous political and power battles. Their leadership and accomplishments were significant and unique, producing a real impact within DOD and the broader world.

Robert Coram’s book is an enjoyable and thought-provoking read for those naïve enough to wish to make a real difference in this world, especially within homeland security. In the rather undefined world of homeland security, many will “be” and few will really “do”.

I just would not recommend duplicating his personal life.

Comment by Lynn Wheeler

August 5, 2012 @ 8:17 am

A co-worker had decided to find Spinney’s phone number and call him up after seeing the ’83 times article … behind paywall but also mostly lives free at the wayback machine: http://web.archive.org/web/20070320170523/http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,953733,00.html

Spinney told him to call Boyd. Boyd suggested doing his briefing. I then was con’ed into sponsoring Boyd’s briefings at IBM. First time was just Patterns of Conflict … but he was working on Organic Design For Command and Control … and from then on he insisted doing both in single day. Spinney’s bio of Boyd (from USNI proceedings):
http://web.archive.org/web/20011224132049/http://www.infowar.com/iwftp/cspinney/c199.txt

Comment by Lynn Wheeler

August 5, 2012 @ 2:48 pm

Circa 2000 we were asked to look at improving the integrity of the supporting documents in securitized mortgage instruments (CDOs). Fraudulent supporting documents in conjunction with securitized mortgage instruments (for obfuscation) had been used during the S&L crisis. However, the loan origination industry then found out that they could pay the rating agencies for triple-A ratings on CDOs (congressional testimony into the pivotal role that rating agencies played in the crash was that both the sellers and rating agencies knew they weren’t worth triple-A). Triple-A ratings trump everything, including supporting documents. Loan originators realized with triple-A ratings they could do liar loans, didn’t have to care about borrowers qualifications and/or loan quality and no longer needed supporting documents. Without supporting documents, there is no longer an issue of supporting document integrity.

As things were crashing … there was lots of obfuscation and misdirection about the triple-A rated toxic CDOs … claiming that the instruments were so complex it was difficult to correctly evaluate … but once they were paying for guaranteed triple-A rating (w/o evaluation), they dropped having the supporting documents that would have been needed in order to perform any kind of evaluation.

My problem is that the issue of data has frequently been used for obfuscation and misdirection.

During the S&L crisis they never had triple-A rating and only limited market. The (guaranteed, paid-for) triple-A rating opened up market that was restricted to only dealing in (“safe”) triple-A (like large retirement funds) … and were able to do $27T during the bubble.

Comment by Lynn Wheeler

August 8, 2012 @ 8:17 am

Expert Explains In Horrifying Detail How The Next Shock Will Shatter The Global Economy
http://www.businessinsider.com/trade-off-financial-system-supply-chain-cross-contagion-a-study-in-global-systemic-collapse-2012-8

Trade-Off: Financial System Supply-Chain Cross-Contagion: a study in global systemic collapse.
http://www.feasta.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Trade-Off1.pdf

Comment by Philip J. Palin

August 8, 2012 @ 10:47 am

Lynn, very interesting study. Thanks for the link.

Comment by Lynn Wheeler

August 8, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

more failure mode scenarios:

Software Runs the World: How Scared Should We Be That So Much of It Is So Bad?
http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/08/software-runs-the-world-how-scared-should-we-be-that-so-much-is-bad/260846/

folklore warning … in late 80s starting HA/CMP product … did tcp/ip code review (bsd 4.3 tahoe&reno distributions) and RFC standards review. identified some number of issues that needed to be handled. roll-forward to 1995, june 17 the largest online service provider started having internet facing server crashing. they bring in all the experts in the world but the problem continues. finally aug 17, one of the people flies out to west coast and offers to buy me hamburger after work. while I eat the hamburger they describe the characteristics. I then tell them what the problem is (one of the scenarios that had been identified in the HA/CMP effort) and give him a q&d fix that is applied that night.

I then try and get the major vendors to do something about it … but they have no interest. Following aug 1996 an ISP (in NYC) is hit with the problem … this time it shows up in the press … and finally the vendors re-act … publicly patting themselves on the back about how quickly they responded (once it makes widespread news, the year earlier incident, the online service provider was very publicity adverse).

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 9, 2012 @ 2:12 am

Do the ASSET STRIPPERS–BOTH political and economic ever ask what if no asset builders exist?

Suggest the writings of Holocaust survival (resilence?) Viktor Stenkel!

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