These Guys Do What For a Living? And How the NY Times Sees It …

March 22, 2006

Winds of Change.Net: These Guys Do What For a Living?

Mining is a dangerous business. Death is a possibility of every person entering a mine. Just a hunch, but I suspect there are considerably more deaths per year for mining for coal than any other energy manufacturing business.

Be that as it may, the New York Times, in an editorial also published at chose to severely critize the Bush Admininstration for “packing mine safety agencies with pro-management appointees — which has produced a marked decline in major fines for negligent companies.”

Did the Times consider that mine safety agencies are not the main control of reducing death in a mine? Did the Times consider that maybe companies are not naturally as negligent as they assume?

Did the Times look a the trends in mine safety, as measured in deaths per year? See where these stats are published:

Fatalities and Injuries for All Mining (Coal & Noncoal)

Year Average Annual
Deaths Average Annual
1936-1940 1,546 81,342
1941-1945 1,592 82,825
1946-1950 1,054 63,367
1951-1955 690 38,510
1956-1960 550 28,805
1961-1965 449 23,204
1966-1970 426 22,435
1971-1975 322 33,963
1976-1980 254 41,220
1981-1985 174 24,290
1986-1990 122 27,524
1991-1999 93 21,351

There have been 24 mine deaths so far this year. Assuming this trend continues, this will be approximately the same as the average of the previous decade. If you want to politicize that statment, it’s about the same as achieved in the Clinton admininstration. I’d say the Coal Mining Industry and the Government (starting a long time ago) has made great progress. Surely they can do more. I would prefer that they had gone faster, but the facts speak for themselves when comparing current performance vs. longer term trends. Further, to try to make a political statement just doesn’t cut mustard.

Computer Networks: The Heralds of Resource Sharing – Google Video

March 19, 2006

Computer Networks: The Heralds of Resource Sharing – Google Video

Fascinating 1972 video (available from Google) which describes the creation of the Internet by the people who did it–even before it was called the Internet. They touch on the technology and social changes they envision.

I found the video sobering on two fronts. I was at university in 1972. First, despite (as I remember) these ideas being in the minority and controversial, they were right. Second, I remember discussions of these issues at late-night discussions in the dorm and I used equipment like that shown in the video.

The Risk in Risk Management

March 10, 2006

(free registration required to read this link).

Tom Wescott writes a terrific article on a practical and pragmatics process for building realistic risk ppalns and budgets and integration them into project plans. This is the same message I’ve been promoting (and doing where possible) for many years. It’s so revolutionary it’s hard to see how this will change the world overnight. After all, the proposed process expects the project stakeholders and owners to actually fund risk mitigation activities (vs. making it charity work).

Well done Tom.