Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Fisking Stupidity (cont.)

5. Think positive

Wow. Y'think?

6. Understand linked systems
"I wrote an article for Adventure (September 2002) about an accident on Mount Hood in which a four-man team fell from just below the summit while roped together. On the way down, they caught a two-man team and dragged them down too. Three hundred feet below, the falling mass of people and rope caught another three-man team. Everyone wound up in a vast crevasse. Then, during the ensuing rescue attempt by the military, an Air Force Reserve Pave Hawk helicopter crashed and rolled down the mountain. Because of the complex and coupled nature of the system in which all these people and all this equipment were operating, what had begun as a slip of one man’s foot wound up killing three people, severely injuring others, and costing taxpayers millions in the rescue effort."

Point of order, Einstein: That's not a system, and the only linked part of it was the rope that tangled everyone up when the first unfortunates began their abrupt descent. There's nothing complex nor linked nor even systemic about any of this, unless it was an answer to the Jeopardy question "Name 13 people who wish they hadn't been on Mt. Hood that day."

The actual survival understanding is to recognize that best-laid plans don't count when everything goes to hell. And that gravity works. As Mike Tyson said about his opponents, "Everyone has a plan, until they get hit."

7. Don't celebrate the summit
"Climbers learn this the hard way: Don’t congratulate yourself too much after reaching a goal. The worst part of the expedition may still be ahead. Statistically speaking, most mountaineering accidents happen on the descent."

Great. Instead of survival advice, this has devolved to fortune-cookie wisdom. Except minus the tasty cookie.

8. Get out of your comfort zone
"A study at University College London showed that the city’s cab drivers possessed unusually large hippocampi, the part of the brain that makes mental maps of our surroundings. The fact that London has very strict requirements for cab drivers forced them to create good mental maps, which caused their hippocampi to grow."

Or, only people with unusually large hippocampi could pass the London cabbie test and succeed at the job in a city with a maze of streets dating back to near Roman times.

We don't know which, because nobody measured the cabbies' hippocampi before they became cabbies. This is the difference between science, and junk science. Maybe somebody could let the author know about ad hoc, ergo propter hoc.

And by the way, an inordinate number of jackholes who end up needing to survive something are there because they "got out of their comfort zone", and in over their heads before they knew it.

So this isn't just wrong advice, it's horrible advice.

The correct answer would look like "Grow a bigger comfort zone when your life isn't at stake." Learn critical skills safely when you're not hanging by your fingernails over a cliff. If you don't, you won't rise to the occasion, you will always sink to the level of your training. For a lot of people every year, the last stop on operating outside their comfort zone ends six feet under.

9. Risk and reward
"The more you sacrifice to reach a goal—and the more you invest in it—the harder it becomes to change direction, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that you should alter your course."

That's called stubborn stupidity. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. This is only "survival advice" to people astonished to learn that one shouldn't try to breathe underwater, or light road flares while standing in a pool of gasoline.

(Only 5 more. To be concluded tomorrow...)

1 comment:

Daniel Efosa Uyi said...

hey nice post mehn. I love your style of blogging here. The way you writes reminds me of an equally interesting post that I read some time ago on Daniel Uyi's blog: 12 Timeless Common Sense Kokahinopsis .
keep up the good work.

Regards