May 25, 2000
to reprint a part of Viridian
Note 00155 because it highlights an aspect of the recent Los Alamos
fire story that I had not previously heard about:
But these farsighted attempts
to engineer Nature do have their operational difficulties. Now despite
the recent outcry in Congress and the press, I don't believe these Park
Service people did anything gravely wrong or unusual. The people setting
those backfires expected the heat to go down at night. The heat usually
does. Unfortunately, since the planet Earth has been setting heat records
for sixteen straight months, the heat does not go down at night in the
customary way that it used to do. The night stayed hot, so the fires burned
hot. The feds also expected the winds to die down at evening, as well.
The wind commonly does die down. This time the wind did not die down. Instead,
the wind got worse. Therefore, a backfire, meant to avert a scourge, has
become a scourge.
If this thought frightens
you then perhaps you may be interested in the Viridian
movement. It's not all doom and gloom. In fact, this piece on how
design that incorporates feedback can positively affect behavior became
the antidote to the dark shadow that came from reading the above passage.