Mike has been talking about installing a railing on the stairway to my loft ever since I fell off the side of the stairs in the middle of the night.

I don’t need a stupid railing, I say. I would much rather see efforts directed toward installing a hot water tank for the shower.

It’s a liability for me if you kill yourself falling off the stairs, he says.

I’m far more likely to freeze to death while taking a shower. Besides, I’ve already demonstrated that I’m quite capable of surviving a fall off the stairs.

Here’s a throwback to Operations Research [1]:

    During World War II, Abraham Wald was tasked with evaluating the problem of bomber losses to enemy fire. Based on evaluating the damage to returning aircraft, it had been proposed that armor be added to the areas that had the most holes from flak and bullets. However, Wald pointed out that these holes in fact represented the areas where the bombers were able to sustain damage – after all, they returned. The areas where there was consistently no damage from enemy fire should be reinforced, because these areas must be the weak spots that led to the loss of a plane if hit.

Abraham Wald's Memo

In the spring, Vit and I are planning to go rafting on the Escalante River aboard a couple of pool toys. Vit proposed that we first reinforce the bottoms with Gorilla Tape. But that would be silly. The proper strategy would be to wait until we sustain a series of puncture wounds, and then only reinforce the puncture areas that result in catastrophic failures. After all, we wouldn’t want to waste tape.

intex explorer 200

1. Five Statistics Problems That Will Change The Way You See The World — Business Insider


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